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Quietest Firewire recording interfaces?

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by stflbn, Mar 10, 2008.

  1. stflbn


    May 10, 2007
    I've have an ongoing love-hate affair with my Presonus Firebox. I've never had any issue with the unit at all, 'but' it has a low level noise (hissssss) that seems to permeate everything I do with it.

    Doesn't matter if it's recording bass via different preAmps, direct into it, or vocals, keyboard, etc. All have the same hissssssss. Plug nothing into it and turn up the gain past 12:00 and hisssssssssss.... it's driving me nuts.

    So... any thoughts on varying priced Firewire interfaces that aren't locked into one software package? 2 - 4+ input is more then fine. Definitely needs to be an Intel Mac oriented device.

    Looking forward to others thoughts.
  2. MOTU with Logic 8 (express or studio) = killer rig.
  3. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    Look into the MOTU stuff. My MOTU 8-Pre is good and silent and I've had no problems with it running a variety of software on my Core Duo Macbook Pro. :)
  4. I can't think of a combination preamp/interface in that class that doesn't have some thermal noise. You could contact Presonus and maybe provide them with a sample of the noise along with your settings and see if they think it is normal. I don't know how old that Firebox is, but the early ones had a lot of problems. You might be able to send it back to Presonus for service.

    Options: I'd look into the Apogee Duet, as they have a good rep for low noise gear, or maybe their MiniDAC with firewire card, and then go with an external preamp pair. Another option is to look at something like a MOTU with the Black Lion ugrades:


    Otherwise, go to a site like Sweetwater and look at what they offer in FW boxes, sort by price, and then call their customer line and ask specifically about noise floor. My rue of thumb is that when you get a lot of channels/features for a low price you are in for some tradeoffs.
  5. Good recommendation on the MOTU 8pre. That is a really nice piece of gear. If I didn't have an 896HD already I'd own one.
  6. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    I like mine so much I'm thinking of adding a second unit. effortless 16 track digital on the go is pretty sweet.

    On a side note, I racked mine in a Gator Studio-2-go rack bag, which has 2 rack spaces and a padded compartment for a laptop. Very portable and convenient.

    I use a PC laptop for most 'field' recording then I transfer files to my powerbook for all post. The interface works just as easily with mac & PC.
  7. JonathanD


    Dec 13, 2006
    Atlanta, GA
    I do not have any noise with my firepod into headphones. However my monitors pick up noise. If I test it into my bass rig I get no noise. I would call Presonus as Fretlessrock stated above.
  8. msquared


    Sep 19, 2004
    Kansas City
    The Firepod shouldn't have audible noise like you describe. Is your stuff hooked up properly?
  9. stflbn


    May 10, 2007
    Yes, but mine is a "Firebox", not a "Firepod". I believe there's a difference in quality between the two. May be wrong there, will have to check.

    I'm looking into some potential things that could be effecting it. Like turning off Nap with CHUD tools and such. I'll keep the thread posted as I go through different tests. First test will be the CHUD tools, and then to check and make sure the noise IS or IS NOT making it onto a recording.

    Probably won't happen until Friday or Saturday.
  10. fokof

    fokof One day ,I'll be in the future

    Mar 16, 2007
    The noise is the preamps not the AD/DA.

    Try a good external preamp , bypassing those on your unit first.
    There are plenty of choices out there , and you can keep them even if you change your I/O device.

    If you absolutly want "all in one" box , +1 for the MOTU 8pre , very good for the price.
    If you have more budget , check out Matric Halo units , top notch!

    BTW; let's say you use a ribbon mic , you'll need 60db+ gain , so noise will always be an issue except for "world class" preamps......
  11. you may have a defective unit, I dont have any kind of noise with my firebox.
    I did read some time ago a problem like this with a firebox on the presonus forums, maybe you should contact them...
  12. stflbn


    May 10, 2007
    Turning off Napping via CHUD tools isn't an option here because it's an Intel iMac. Leopard takes away that functionality I guess. I'd used it before on my work G5.

    Appears it flaked out last night. I'm able to get general sound through it via the computer (iTunes) to my monitor speakers, and sound IN via my DI and recognized via different apps, but nothing bass-wise out to the monitors.

    Contacting Presonus today.

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