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bubinga5

Best budget interface for Mac.

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[quote name='bubinga5' timestamp='1471376573' post='3112678']
Ok BRX i know about music theory and bass guitar but that just went totally over my head.
[/quote]

OK to simplify...

USB is a "dumb" protocol.

Firstly every device on the USB bus has theoretically equal priority and it doesn't matter whether it's something which requires accurate timing of data like an audio interface or something which can wait a millisecond or two like the computer keyboard they all have the same status on the USB bus when it comes to sending and receiving their data.

Secondly there are already lots of devices on your Mac's USB buses even if you don't have anything plugged in to the USB ports on the side and these are all fighting for an equal slice of the data stream as they require it.

FireWire and Thunderbolt don't have "hidden" devices on their buses. That means the only FireWire and Thunderbolt devices that you have on your Mac are the ones plugged into the ports on the side (or back).

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[quote name='lowdown' timestamp='1471370769' post='3112602']
What does RME do differently with their USB Interfaces ? Curious really.
Because their units are very reliable on Macs.
[/quote]

IIRC RME write their own custom drivers for all their devices, which is why their USB interfaces are generally more reliable, and their FireWire interfaces are still supported despite the fact that the FW drivers built in to OS X are depreciated under El Capitan and beyond.

Also USB has never been as well supported in Macs (even though it has improved considerably since the early days of USB1.1) because Apple would rather you use FireWire and now Thunderbolt which are protocols they have a vested interest in.

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Ok thanks BbRX. so would I better off getting a firewire or thunderbolt.? Also do all these interfaces have there own comparable DAW,s.?

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BRX gave me the USB advisce when I was looking at interfaces. I was tempted by the Zoom Tac 2 as it's thunderbolt.
I decided to go with the NI as it has 4 audio inputs & even though it is USB & I use it along with a USB keyboard (musical one), I've never experienced any issues on either my iMac or Macbook.
I use Logic Pro X as my main DAW & all runs perfectly fine.

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It certainly is the case that if you use other USB devices, in order to maximise the resource, you'd likely want to keep your audio away from the the USB bus, luckily you have options in that you have both Firewire & Thunderbolt.
Whilst I respect the above comment about Firewire over Thunderbolt via an adapter, in our (Focusrite) experience, our Saffire units work perfectly well over Thunderbolt via an adapter.

With regards to Thunderbolt Vs Firewire, you will likely always find yourself with lower latency with a Thunderbolt interface as it's essentially capable of operating at PCIe connection speeds, it other words, it's currently the fastest available connection for audio.

If I was in your shoes, based on what Mac you have, and that you likely want to stay away from USB, I would look at a Thunderbolt interface. Of course I'd like to recommend our Clarett range, but of course there are other brands available :)

On a slightly different note, if anyone is interested in a slightly easier to digest analogy for USB 2.0 vs USB 3.0 (and why they haven't really been adopted by interface manufacturers yet), I wrote one here:

[url="https://support.focusrite.com/hc/en-gb/articles/208095469-USB-2-0-vs-USB-3-0"]https://support.focu...-2-0-vs-USB-3-0[/url]



Si // Focusrite Technical Support

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I couldn't really recommend a FireWire interface anymore. This is because FireWire has been depreciated by Apple from El Capitan onwards. That means they are no longer developing the built-in drivers for FireWire and while FireWire interfaces may continue to work at the moment, there is a distinct possibility that then next major OS upgrade will render them useless. If you can find a cheap second hand FW interface that is supported under your current version of Mac OS X (what are you out of interest?) and you don't intend to update your OS any time in the next couple of years then it could b e worthwhile

Also if the manufacturer provides a custom driver for their FireWire interface then there is a chance it will continue to be supported for longer.

However Thunderbolt is currently the best way to go as far as reliability and future-proofing is concerned.

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I'm thinking of this. Or maybe something cheaper. http://www.gear4music.com/Recording-and-Computers/Focusrite-Saffire-Pro-24-Firewire-and-Thunderbolt-Audio-Interface/B6Q

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[quote name='bubinga5' timestamp='1471443107' post='3113092']
I'm thinking of this. Or maybe something cheaper. [url="http://www.gear4music.com/Recording-and-Computers/Focusrite-Saffire-Pro-24-Firewire-and-Thunderbolt-Audio-Interface/B6Q"]http://www.gear4musi...o-Interface/B6Q[/url]
[/quote]

I have that interface and for most normal uses I can't really fault it. I had a couple of specialised issues which Focusrite weren't able to resolve but so long as you're not running OS X Server on your Mac you'll be fine.

HOWEVER, it's not a true Thunderbolt interface. If you read the small print in the description, it's only Thunderbolt compatible with a suitable adaptor cable which is sold separately. For your current Mac if you do decide to get that interface, you be best off connecting it by FireWire although you will still probably need a FW400 (on the interface) to FW800 (on your Mac) adaptor cable.

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If you only want it for recording Youtube demos that seems overkill. Do you need to record more than a couple of tracks, say a bass and a mic?

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Have the Saffire interfaces been discontinued? Shop stock seems heavily discounted at the moment, and the only Focusrite website only shows the Clarett range - which is twice the price of the USB alternative!

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[quote name='dannybuoy' timestamp='1471448365' post='3113132']
If you only want it for recording Youtube demos that seems overkill. Do you need to record more than a couple of tracks, say a bass and a mic?
[/quote]I would maybe want it have more options in the near future. My research will continue.

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[quote name='ras52' timestamp='1471461225' post='3113252']
Have the Saffire interfaces been discontinued? Shop stock seems heavily discounted at the moment, and the only Focusrite website only shows the Clarett range - which is twice the price of the USB alternative!
[/quote]

That's odd that you can't see them, they're very much listed on the website here:

[url="https://uk.focusrite.com/firewire-audio-interfaces"]https://uk.focusrite...udio-interfaces[/url]

The Saffire Pro14, Pro24, Pro24DSP & LS56 are currently discontinued.
Pro40 & Pro26 are still current products

Si // Focusrite Technical Support

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[quote name='Sibob' timestamp='1471464091' post='3113290']
That's odd that you can't see them, they're very much listed on the websitehere:

[url="https://uk.focusrite.com/firewire-audio-interfaces"]https://uk.focusrite...udio-interfaces[/url]

The LS56 & Pro24DSP are currently diuscontinued.

Si // Focusrite Technical Support
[/quote]

I was followed the "which Focusrite is for you" link on the home page which led me here: http://compare.focusrite.com - evidently the Safire is beyond compare :lol:

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I just bought a Saffire 24 to run with my iMac and I am very very happy with it thus far. Like you I don't need anything super complex, I just want to do some demoing. I can say that the Focusrite sounds a lot better than the cheap m audio I was using. Both through my KRK rokit 6s and through headphones. (Though my headphones are not great quality)

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You can pick up an Old apogee duet on eBay for about £100 or less. The grey first edition FireWire version. Great buy. Highly recommend it.

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[quote name='the boy' timestamp='1471562516' post='3114108']
You can pick up an Old apogee duet on eBay for about £100 or less. The grey first edition FireWire version. Great buy. Highly recommend it.
[/quote]

Apogee have already said that they will no longer be supporting their FireWire interfaces, in light of the protocol being depreciated by Apple. Therefor an Apogee interface is fine so long as it works with you current system and you have no desire to upgrade your OS until you are ready to buy an new audio interface. It's a pity because in all other respects Apogee are very good.

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[quote name='BigRedX' timestamp='1471369348' post='3112589']
The problem with USB on the Mac is that the bus structure is quite convoluted, so that your USB interface may be sharing the bus with other devices without you knowing it. And just because you have multiple USB ports doesn't mean that they are separate buses.

From the photo it looks as though you have the same MacBook Pro as me - (13" Mid 2012). Looking at the bus structure in the System Profile there are 2 separate USB buses - but one already has the keyboard, trackpad, IR receiver and Bluetooth controller attached to it, and the other has the built-in FaceTime camera. Also despite the fact that the Mac supports USB3 on one of the buses, this is ultimately connected via an internal USB hub to one of the main USB2 buses, [b]so despite supporting the USB3 protocol the speed will be throttled back to USB2[/b]. And every other USB peripheral that you add will be competing for USB2 bandwidth.

That's why FireWire and Thunderbolt are always better options on the Mac.
[/quote]

I know that the ports are connected to a USB hub and know that traffic will be shared between devices, that's not unusual at all - but going to the effort of having a USB3 host on board, but still throttling it back to USB2? Then in theory, data transfer tests should deliver similar results on USB2 and USB3 ports. I'm just not sure that I buy that for *all* hardware. Maybe some architecture that bridged the gap between USB2 and USB3. I'd love to see that in some detail. It just seems totally counter-intuitive and no business sense for up to date hardware.

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But I do totally agree that Thunderbolt is brilliant. I've recently changed from a Roland USB Interface that was great, to a new Clarett interface from Focusrite. The performance on my relatively old iMac is absolutely mind boggling. Those published latency figures across Thunderbolt are, even for my machine pretty bang on. I'm having fewer issues processing 48+ audio tracks all with top spec plug-ins running on every channel. Very pleased indeed. Can't say enough good stuff about it.

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[quote name='dood' timestamp='1471607924' post='3114401']
I know that the ports are connected to a USB hub and know that traffic will be shared between devices, that's not unusual at all - but going to the effort of having a USB3 host on board, but still throttling it back to USB2? Then in theory, data transfer tests should deliver similar results on USB2 and USB3 ports. I'm just not sure that I buy that for *all* hardware. Maybe some architecture that bridged the gap between USB2 and USB3. I'd love to see that in some detail. It just seems totally counter-intuitive and no business sense for up to date hardware.
[/quote]

I'm just reporting what I see in the System Profiler on my MacBook Pro which AFAICS is the same model as the OPs. The exact bus structure is quite tricky to see without actually plugging devices in and refreshing the page in SP. If you want I'll investigate further over the weekend when I have a chance and then hopefully I can produce a more accurate picture of the bus structure.

It's not at all straight forward though. For instance, on my old-style MacPro with 3 USB ports on the back and 2 on the front, there a 5 USB buses, but least two of the rear mounted ports are on the same bus and one appears to be internal only...

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[quote name='BigRedX' timestamp='1471606648' post='3114383']


Apogee have already said that they will no longer be supporting their FireWire interfaces, in light of the protocol being depreciated by Apple. Therefor an Apogee interface is fine so long as it works with you current system and you have no desire to upgrade your OS until you are ready to buy an new audio interface. It's a pity because in all other respects Apogee are very good.
[/quote]
Wow. I didn't know that.

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