I've been looking into usb audio interfaces and the one device I was going to buy this week (Lexicon Omega) has turned out to break easily and have crap customer support so it's lead me to look in other areas.

Link to Lexicon:


I realized I have an express card slot on my laptop and am just wondering whether it'd be worth getting a firewire card for a firewire interface rather than a usb... I'm willing to pay extra for quality and for reliability as I find nothing more frustrating than things not doing what they're suposed to :p

I've been looking for a express card soundcard interface but was overwhelmed with search results and none looked suitable for recording...

Anyway does anyone know whether I should go down this route or is there a usb interface I should get? I'm looking for something similar if not identacle to the Lexicon Omega, although going down to 2 ports wouldn't be a problem and I do need pantom power but basically I'm looking for a complete sound card replacement (due to crappy realtek onboard sound) with the ability to record. Something else I'm looking for is an instrument in port for playing guitar with realtime plugins.

Sorry for the long post but I need advice quickly as I was planning on buying this tomorrow and will be starting to record next saturday!

Thanks in advance
As far as firewire goes. You get more data stream. If you go with a firewire card, make sure its chipset is Texas Instruments. Some audio gear have problems with non Texas Instrument chips.
Ah ok, that's one thing I was worrying about, thanks for clearing that up.

I just looked into expresscard audio interfaces and there aren't any, there just seems to be two and they're more multimedia than for recording. It looks like I'll have to go with a firewire interface.

Any ideas on which one I should get? I need minimum 2 line ins and 2 xlr and no latencey idealy with guitar input and it has to completely replace the on board sound, which is one thing I'm not sure about, do these interfaces all become the soundcard for the computer? Like would they work with all the computer sound? Like listening to music and playing games?

Presonus's Inspire or Mackie's Onyx Satellite are solid choices. The latter has no software, but it can take external effects.
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thank you sooooooo much for the advice Fast_Fingers...i would hug you if i could...i looooove you!

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Thanks for the advice!

The Onyx looks like the best bet to me, I'll be ordering one tomorrow!
BTW if you are running vista, (more and more people are these days...) be sure to stay away from the satellite....it doesn't have vista drivers out yet and they dont plan on making any soon from what I've heard...
Just to clear things up. For firewire solutions the "chipset" doesn't matter. The Firewire data bus is controlled by the device itself rather than the expansion card.

On the other hand. For USB solutions (where the expansion card DOES control the data transfer), Texas Instruments is the recommended chipset.

To touch on the OP, I'm a fan of the Inspire. For the money you can't beat firewire + two inputs combo that it offers.
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Oh crap... I have Vista yeh... So... now it looks like I'm gonna have to get the Inspire...

Does it have no latency? I'm just wondering what the sound quality is like aswell :\ It being half the price of the Onyx is kinda worrying...

Thanks for the warning though, and thanks for the help, I'd love to do the research myself but the amount of choices really is overwhelming since I need to buy one this week...

Oh and aswell, do firewire devices have 2 outputs? I've noticed on most devices there's 2 outputs, is this to connect to 2 machines or is it so there's extra bandwidth? I have no experience with it...
most interfaces have two firewire ports but you only use one. the other is simply used so you can chain more firewire devices though your interface.

For me I run my DV camera into my hard drive and run the second firewire port from the hard drive to my PC input.

The inspire has fairly good preamps...I think the Mackie sounds a little better but generally most people wont hear much of a difference...if any at all.
Ok then... so it looks like I'll be getting the expresscard and the Inspire... at least I'll have firewire ports now aswell for any future needs...

Thanks for the help everyone!