Echo firewire audio

Tattoo wrote on 1/12/2005, 4:54 PM

My audio card search is narrowing down to the Echo Gina3G. However, some folks are getting excited about the new Echo firewire products about to be released, which makes me wonder ...

Anyone have a better timeframe for firewire products than soon?

Is there a major advantage for a firewire (vs. PCI card) audio besides the mobility and being able to use it in your laptop, too?

Is there any *disadvantage* to using firewire instead of PCI for an average schmo like me, who will ONLY use it on a desktop computer, probably really doesn't *need* the pro gear (want = need, right?), and will want to play games every now and then (but I'm not a huge gamer)?

My apologies to anyone who clicked here thinking I was delivering cool information vs. asking for it.



MyST wrote on 1/12/2005, 5:02 PM
For consumer grade gear, meaning surround playback for games, yet pretty good sound quality...

M-Audio Revolution 5.1

You didn't mention needing high quality recordings, so...

boomhower wrote on 1/12/2005, 6:49 PM
I sent an email to the sales folks at Echo last month. They responded and said to watch the website for the announcement sometime this month. They also said they expect to be shipping in late Jan/early Feb.

I'm holding off until I see what they put on the market. Someone on the forum (Spot I believe) mentioned he had seen one or knew something about them and stated they were pretty nice.

Maybe they will pull back the curtain soon....
Tattoo wrote on 1/12/2005, 7:03 PM
No, MyST, you're right. I've yet to record anything. It'd be nice to have the capability, but the Revolution is probably perfect for me in reality. The only audio I work with is in Vegas from my miniDV, and some puttering in Acid. Still ... I am somewhat of a techno snob ...

Still curious about any theoretical advantages a Firewire audio setup might have.
NickHope wrote on 1/12/2005, 8:13 PM
In your position Tattoo I would go the PCI route. I find firewire in general to be less stable and a lot more trouble, although most of my bad experience derives from external hard drives. Plus Microsoft never seem to get their IEEE1394 drivers right. There was a recent patch to fix a **** up in SP2. I avoid firewire whenever possible, and for sure if there's a PCI alternative, I'll take it.
farss wrote on 1/12/2005, 8:14 PM
I don't know if I can add much to the PCI v Firewire soundcard issue.
My Firewire 410 sometimes doesn;t play nicely with some of the very old Sony kit but I think that's the fault of the VCR rather than the 410.
At the same time going 1394 avoids the issue of interrupt conflicts.
The one thing I saw in favour of an external box was getting the low level audio away from all the EMI inside the PC enclosure.
Good points both ways, your guess is probably as good as mine, try flipping a coin!
planders wrote on 1/12/2005, 8:41 PM
The advantage to a firewire system is its portability; as long as you've got a firewire port, you can use the unit. That said, for a multitrack recorder I think the greater bandwidth provided by a PCI interface will always make for a more reliable connection.

I'm interested to see what Echo comes up with, though, because they've got a great reputation for stability. And in my recent quest for a laptop card for my Layla24, I was told by the Echo rep that one of the upcoming firewire products (can't remember the name, sorry) will essentially match the capabilities of the Layla3G.
planders wrote on 1/12/2005, 8:43 PM
Actually, here's the statement I received by email:

"...we will be introducing our AudioFire 8 FireWire interface that will be similar to the Layla 3G and will ship in February. Specifications and pricing will be available later this month on our website."
Spot|DSE wrote on 1/12/2005, 10:24 PM
Keep in mind that Echo designed the Firewire aspects of the Mackie Onyx system with 12 channels of Firewire....pretty impressive.
MyST wrote on 1/13/2005, 3:13 AM
Gameplay was mentioned, so I suggested the Rev 5.1.
My Firewire 410 only plays back in stereo when in games, no surround.
Bummer when playing Unreal.
However, for audio work, it's excellent. MIDI playback with Asio is instant, front mounted gain for inputs, headphone out with volume adjustments. I love it.

Tattoo wrote on 1/15/2005, 8:09 AM
The Gina3G appears to have 5.1 support. I don't know if that requires some type of workaround, or if it makes playing games a little more difficult (special setups, etc.).

Anyone with the Gina3G play games with 5.1?

And, other than a $280 difference in price (gulp!), does anyone know of any *downside* to getting the Gina3G versus something like a Revolution 5.1? I know it's more than I need, since I currently don't record anything, but it'd be nice to have the option.

I appreciate everyone's remarks. So much nicer to get real-world feedback rather than just manufacturer's specs and promises. Unfortunately, the Echo web site seems a little sparse on information.

MyST wrote on 1/15/2005, 8:53 AM
The firewire 410 is capable of 7.1.
It's just that it doesn't have the decoder to playback the games in surround. I would think the Gina is the same.
I can mix in surround in Acid/Vegas with the 410, and the Gina will do the same, but they aren't meant to play games in surround, so there is no buillt-in decoder.
If somebody has found a way to use the 410 for this, I'd love to find out how.

Here's a possible workaround. Does your onboard soundcard have surround capabilities? If so, have the cables for it connected to the soundcard, and running to the sub. When you want to play games, unplug the cables going to your high-end soundcard from the sub, and plug in your cables from your onboard soundcard. Before starting gameplay, in Windows, change your soundcard preferences from your high-end card to your onboard card, an play away.
Back to Vegas? Switch cables and preferences and you're back in business with a Pro level card.

Tattoo wrote on 1/15/2005, 9:16 AM
Hmmmm, a little bit of a pain. Perhaps I should just get the Revolution 5.1 for now, and add a high end card/firewire when I require it? I'd love to have the high end card, but I don't want my real-world everyday use to be a pain for some theoretical, may-never-happen, benefit.

MyST wrote on 1/15/2005, 9:26 AM
You want to be impressed with your sound? I'd suggest the Revolution 5.1 (better card for audio than Creative) matched with M-Audio LX 5.1 monitoring speakers.
I once heard an onboard soundcard matched to Tannoy Reveal active monitors...WOW!!

Tattoo wrote on 1/15/2005, 9:37 AM
A good idea, no doubt, but one that will fail the Spousal Test in this house. She really likes our current slim and sleak computer speakers, and is still bitter that I didn't get the Bose cubes for our stereo. "Good enough" quality and "out of sight" are quick to roll off her tongue.

Dang, I need a bigger house (and a LOT more money) so I can make a "man room" for me and my toys!
nickle wrote on 1/15/2005, 10:48 AM
If you want "cheap" Chaintech came out with a model "710" which uses the same chip as the M-audio revolution 7.1 but sells for $39 Canadian. U.S.prices are around $20. because of more competition.

Reviews were good.

The M-audio 24/96 justed dropped to the same price as the Revolution 7.1 so the prices should be dropping for the lesser cards.

There is no end to this.
scifly2 wrote on 1/15/2005, 11:53 PM
consumer pci sound cards have headers to plug in the audio out of your cd-rom. Im courious how this would work with an external sound card. Also my pro sound card (M audio Delta 1010} does not have a audio header on the pci card, so no simple cd play.
MJhig wrote on 1/16/2005, 12:05 AM
Pro soundcards don't usually have analog connectors. This is not a problem however as WMP/WinAmp/Sonic Foundry SIREN have digital functionality. This is much more efficient.

I can vouch for this in the PCI realm, whether it works via firewire/USB I can't support.

scifly2 wrote on 1/19/2005, 8:23 AM
Okay that got me checking again. I visited M-audio site and found that I needed to download a cd reader plug-in for winamp.( Was'nt interested in win media player and hate real player). Small painless install got my cd's playing thru my delta 1010 like they should.