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M-Audio Firewire

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I have just come back from a hi-fi show this weekend and I saw a guy with his Mac Book Pro running into a M-Audio Firewire and then into a DAC1:




Were my eyes decieving me? What would be the point/benefit of running this set up?


Sort of confused by what I may have seen.




Location: Manchester\'ish - UK. System: iMac, YellowTec PUC2 Lite, Genelec 7270A sub, 2 x 8240A monitors, a Drobo and Vovox cables.

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That's a good one MontyW. I think the sound out of the DAC1 would be worse because the M-Audio product doesn't have a USB output that the DAC1 could connect to. Anyway, I can't think of any reason to do this from an audiophile perspective. I imagine there might be a reason from a recording perspective since that is what this product seems to be geared toward. I hope someone can chime in here and let us know.


I'll see if I can get someone from M-Audio to help on this one.


Founder of Audiophile Style | My Audio Systems

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I have been think abou this again - could it be they were using the Firewire from the laptop and hooking up the DAC1 via some other connection other than the USB?




Location: Manchester\'ish - UK. System: iMac, YellowTec PUC2 Lite, Genelec 7270A sub, 2 x 8240A monitors, a Drobo and Vovox cables.

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Besides giving the user inputs for recording instruments or voice and giving this system voice-over and talkback (DJ functionality), the extra outputs and AC3/DTS passthrough feature would allow them to use it for surround sound. The inputs could also be used to allow a musician to 'play along' with the program material through the same playback system. I can't think of anything else.





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So in a pure 2 channel hi-fi set up there appears to be no reason to have the M-Audio Firewire running into the DAC...


Ah well it was worth asking the question - as newbie to the whole computer/audio business :-)




Location: Manchester\'ish - UK. System: iMac, YellowTec PUC2 Lite, Genelec 7270A sub, 2 x 8240A monitors, a Drobo and Vovox cables.

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I forgot the flexible software mixer part. I guess that I take that software function for computer A/D/A boxes for granted.


BTW, I recommend M-Audio equipment. Right now they are making my favorite keyboard controllers, the Axiom series. The quality is great, I love the playing 'feel' and the price point cannot be beat IMO. I use their USB-MIDI interfaces too. I've never been disappointed with a properly chosen M-Audio equipment purchase.


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This causes me concern - "I see no advantage to incorporating a FireWire 410 in a pure 2-ch hi-fi setup with a MacBook Pro."


I had two of these new in box, just sent one back over that comment. I'll keep one to play with. Here's where I thought I was heading and why I liked the 410, three reasons -


First, I found them on a site for 84 bucks. I think it was a price error and should have been 284, so I grabbed two and they were delisted the next day. That's not much of a reason, but at that price it's an interesting new gizmo. Specwise it seemed on par with their small external audiophile units. 1/4 inch jacks tho.


Second, I figured it could function as a DAC to get things all rolling along, then I could upgrade. I'm doing a lot of fiddling before I plunk down the $$$.


Third, I thought I could analog in from a turntable and digital out to PC to "backup" those ole vinyl albums.


So, two out of three reasons are why I "thought" I could use the gizmo with the Mac.


While I can see the comment making sense given the context of another DAC, perhaps I am wrong about what it will do, and perhaps they won't issue a leopard driver in which case I'll try plugging my bass into the lil devil and see if I can melt it!




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Hey Innertuber,


When using an M-Audio (or any other pro-audio) Firewire (or USB) A/D/A DAC unit, those concerns would include things like:

- 1/4" jacks - This is the standard connector (along with XLR) for musical instruments and microphones. Yes this is inconvenient for audiophiles, but not an insurmountable problem. There are plenty of quality cabling solutions available. Try your local musicians' supply.

- No phone preamps - True. They usually do not have them. This issue can be resolved too. For instance, I am lucky enough to own a standalone hi-fi preamp that has phono preamps built in. Add a set of 1/4 to RCA cable's purchased at Guitar Center and it works quite nicely, thank you.

- Phantom power (what the HECK is that?). This is 48v DC power applied to the input that will power an compatible attached microphone. BE SURE that this phantom power is turned off - unless you are using a microphone that requires phantom power - on that input jack!


While these units are designed to be used by musicians to record music, they have also been used by those same musicians to playback that recorded music, and as a bonus - to play back all types of pre-recorded music using all types of source machines (phono, tape, CD, etc.) for years now.


I don't believe the Tech representative from M-Audio meant that one couldn't use the FireWire 410 as an A/D box with a computer for 2 channel hi-fi . I think he meant that the setup described - which already included a DAC 1 - at the head of this thread was a redundant one. That is: why have two DAC's in the same setup?!?! Further, he didn't say that it wouldn't be useful at all, just that it didn't make sense in a "pure 2 channel hi fi setup" (re: the setup described on top of this thread). IMO, the setup described could definitely make sense for other, multi channel purposes though. ......like trying to melt 'tha dang thing' by playing your bass through it while simultaneously listening to 'I've Got A Line On You' streaming off of your computer! - though you are more likely to blow up your speakers here. No, WAIT - you have K-horns! DO IT, dude! Just watch that gain ('flexible software mixer')..... Also, I am totally sure that he was NOT saying that M-Audio's product was inferior in terms of digital to analog conversion quality.........



"There are two kinds of people: those who understand binary, and those who don't"


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Good points Markr


I'll get around to playing with it more, maybe this weekend. More importantly, last Sat. night after 3 bottles of nice wine, the wife and I had the horns up way too loud and they performed splendidly. I can honestly say, her lips moved, but I couldn't hear what she's sayin. Sitting right next to me at 2 a.m. Wowzer.


That was the first time she really ackowledged how nice the new gear was sounding. That was running the Outlaw. I'm glad we have nice neighbors, even with the doors and all closed it must have been pretty loud outside.


Bout a year ago we set off our alarm glass break detector (I blame Coldplay), the police came and the stereo was (**blush**) too loud, we didn't hear them knock. They figured we were deaf or smashed, or both, and left. We got a warning letter in the mail and had to get a new AHorn installed. That's a horn on the alarm in the living room, so we can hear it when it goes off (the lonely one in the attic just couldn't compete). Isn't life grand?


I grabbed some 1/4 to RCA jacks and have the preamp too. Should work to get albums to PC I think.


I did order a couple spirit LPs, uhhhh and some MC5, oh, don't forget the Pink Floyd, ummm or the S. Wonder. Saving them all for the new table so I have got to get in gear.


Oh and don't worry, I'll try to melt it on a lil Eden Amp. KHorns probably drown that out too. I'll get my spl meter out and scare myself straight next time.


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What kind of cabinet are you driving with it? I've heard of them, but never heard one. (Too bad one cannot miniaturize a 32 ft peak to peak sound wave too, huh? *wink*)


The vinyl: (I hope you tried out 12 Dreams!) I am doing the same thing: waiting to update my old Empire belt drive a bit before pulling out the new vinyl. BTW: I apologize for pointing you over to that website. Is your wife (still) angry with me? 8^)


A couple of "more concerns":

- I was worried that the M-Audio Firewire 410 might operate at +4 dbu and that I then hadn't mentioned that. I went and looked and it operates at -10dbv (home stereo) only. No worries there. For everyone else: Be careful of that particular feature of ProAudio A/D/A boxes. They will have differing 'operating levels': -10dbv is what home equipment operates at. +4 dbu is what pro gear normally operates at. Some boxes do one or the other. Some will do either. Mine lets you choose pretty much on each analog I/O. Don't mix them. +4dbu puts more signal than a -10dbv would like to see at the inputs.

- In my experience, the 1/4" to cinch ( greetings to our european friends!) ...or RCA.... converter 'jacks' tend to be noisy. At least after breaking-in some. I'd recommend getting properly wired 'cables' eventually. They ARE out there. I've got a pair of 3 meter Monster's that I bought at Guitar Center that work flawlessly.


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I think it's a single 15 Nemesis (N15S combo) job. I really liked some of the Mesa stuff but as much time as I get to thump it just wasn't worth the 2.5x price.


Agree on the cable, but I just want to get it working and adapters are easier to tote for now, less space.


Oh, 12 Dreams, yup. Wish it would arrive. She's not angry, I grabbed her some Stevie Wonder and she loves him. Now the MC5 won't float her boat, they were local when I was a kid. I still have my old copies but wanted fresh ones. Sadly, I have the turntable, but just need time to get it hooked up. Still using our old Technics, it's fine, but I won't put new LPs on it.


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  • 5 months later...

Innertuber: any updates on using the 410 to do the AD conversion for LPs? I am putting on the finishing touches on my vinyl rig and was thinking about the 410 or one of the Terratec products (iVinyl or the Fire6 usb device which has a 24/196 DAC as well). Curious also if the DAC can handle the new RR 24/176 recordings until a more reasonably priced DAC hits the market.






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  • 7 months later...

Forget going from the Firewire 410 into an external DAC. The DAC within the Firewire 410 is a fantastic Audiophile DAC in my limited experiance, and it is capable of handling high resolution 24-bit 96 kHz sampling rate through all outputs, and up to 24-bit 192 kHz outputs via the analog outputs 1 and 2. You will be amazed at the sound quality. Of course you will need a couple of male 1/4 inch phono plug to female RCA adaptors, which are available from Radio Shack for about $10 to output to your stereo system.


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