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  #11  
Old 07-21-2013, 12:15 AM
TimothyJohn TimothyJohn is online now
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Default Re: Focusrite: Saffire Pro 40 Firewire, or Scarlett 18-20 usb2 on Mac?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darryl Ramm View Post
Possibly you just had the wrong playback engine selected in Pro Tools, then Pro Tools automagically selected the Focusright.
I wish! Yeah, I checked all that stuff out. Including routing, I/O, bus, etc. Checked mac audio/midi. Interesting thing; now, on startup the mac sees the 18i20 as a 14 in, 16 out interface. I have to choose 18 in and 20 out from a pulldown menu. Not a big deal, because I'll just be using 8 in's for the time being. It's nice to know i can expand with stereo spdif and adat optical down the road.

So the sequence was this; download drivers, restart, open MixContol. Popup instructs to update firmware. Update firmware, restart, open Mixcontrol, open Pt 11, old session, new session-no go. Pt 10, old/new, no go.

Watch a few youtube tutorials, read the manual. No luck. If I put a mic in channel 6, the meters light up in MixControl, sound comes out, but when I assign mic 6 (or any other for that matter) to a track in Pt 10 or 11, the sound never comes through. The track meters never lit up. It was quite frustrating.

Scream, kick, beg. Then my wife calls down, dinner time! Ice cold beer and delicious chili with the family. My wife makes some mean chili!! Then "Aha!" Maybe a reinstall will do it. Perfect!! Works exactly as you would expect it. I tracked drums in both PT 10 and 11, 4 mics plus a midi channel and vocal channel simultaneously at a buffer setting of 32. :) Each time recording at least 5 to 15 minutes. No plugins, but still nice to go down to 32!!

I'll see how many plugins I can add before the buffer setting of 32 chokes out. I'll also try the zero latency routing soon.

One last thing to anyone installing the drivers. On registration, the instructions say that the registration # to be entered is not case sensitive. It is. After a few failed tries, I put the caps on, and it registered.

Tim
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  #12  
Old 08-29-2013, 07:01 PM
ron_from_RIFAS ron_from_RIFAS is offline
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Default Re: Focusrite: Saffire Pro 40 Firewire, or Scarlett 18-20 usb2 on Mac?

I've got two Scarlett units (18i20 & 18i8) and use them together via ADAT. Works really well.



Be careful with the 18i20 and USB 3.0. The drivers changlog is full of fixes for audio issues when run on a USB 3.0 port. I use a powered USB hub for everything other than the 18i20 and my hhd (Rig Kontrol, keyboard, ilok, lighting interface).



One last thought. FireWire is on the outs. Almost all the new interface series introduced in the last couple years are USB.



One more last thing. Most of the Scarlett series interfaces can be used as standalone units. My 18i20 is mostly used as an 8 channel preamp right now.





Sent from my HTC 8X using Tapatalk
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  #13  
Old 09-06-2013, 10:15 AM
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Katherine_Focusrite Katherine_Focusrite is offline
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Default Re: Focusrite: Saffire Pro 40 Firewire, or Scarlett 18-20 usb2 on Mac?

Quote:
One last thought. FireWire is on the outs. Almost all the new interface series introduced in the last couple years are USB.
This not the case.

Most of the interfaces you have seen introduced have been USB because of improvements to the USB functionality.

However firewire is still better at bidirectional audio transfer and has a higher bandwidth.

Many PCs are lacking Firewire ports and slow to pick up Thunderbolt, but it is arriving on PCs now.

Thunderbolt is a powerful technology as it is a port that taps directly into the PCI bus. It is a PCI-e slot. So adding a Thunderbolt to Firewire adapter is exactly the same as adding a Firewire PCI-e card. Thus Apple's decision to not add any PCI-e slots on the new Mac Pro, but all Thunderbolt ports, they are one and the same.

Many companies are starting to come out with hubs that connect to computers via Thunderbolt and offer a host of ports such as ethernet, thunderbolt, VGA, HDMI, even Audio. See the Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock or Sonnet Technologies Echo 15 Thunderbolt Dock.

Firewire 400 fully supports the bandwidth of our Saffire line of Interfaces. Upgrading the chipsets in that line would offer no additional functionality and increase cost to the user.

We are continuing to fully support and make this line of products as they work great and the port is still available and becoming more accessible as new thunderbolt enabled PCs enter the market to join the Macs.
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  #14  
Old 11-23-2013, 06:20 AM
acmost acmost is offline
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Default Re: Focusrite: Saffire Pro 40 Firewire, or Scarlett 18-20 usb2 on Mac?

Apples & Oranges and just a discussion...not really trying to slam any product.

With a Mac Pro 10.6.8 I used a MOTU 8Pre(Firewire) with PT HD9 and it worked pretty flawlessly...I could track with low buffer settings(with not too many plugs) and I could mix plug loaded sessions. I was pretty impressed how solid it performed & I thought it sounded decent even though I know there's not much love for their pres and conversion etc, but really no issues here.

Then I tried a Focusrite 2i2(USB) and it sounded okay also but man, their is a clock/sample rate lock up bug that does not go away. The work around is to change the Playback Engine buffer setting. That works but I mean that's kind of a PITA and their is no magic beta buffer that's the fix

My concern here is strictly USB vs. Firewire even though their different companies and way different units. I dunno...I want to try a Firewire Saffire but I'm concerned about the drivers with PT HD9 and 10.6.8.

Anybody? Like I say, a MOTU 8Pre was really solid but I want to love some Focusrite Firewire. Again I'm not discussing which company blows away the other in the perceived quality of their AD/DA & or Mic pres. I just want something that works with my rig.

Thankin ya!
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  #15  
Old 11-23-2013, 09:03 AM
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Default Re: Focusrite: Saffire Pro 40 Firewire, or Scarlett 18-20 usb2 on Mac?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Katherine_Focusrite View Post
This not the case.

Most of the interfaces you have seen introduced have been USB because of improvements to the USB functionality.

However firewire is still better at bidirectional audio transfer and has a higher bandwidth.

Many PCs are lacking Firewire ports and slow to pick up Thunderbolt, but it is arriving on PCs now.

Thunderbolt is a powerful technology as it is a port that taps directly into the PCI bus. It is a PCI-e slot. So adding a Thunderbolt to Firewire adapter is exactly the same as adding a Firewire PCI-e card. Thus Apple's decision to not add any PCI-e slots on the new Mac Pro, but all Thunderbolt ports, they are one and the same.

Many companies are starting to come out with hubs that connect to computers via Thunderbolt and offer a host of ports such as ethernet, thunderbolt, VGA, HDMI, even Audio. See the Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock or Sonnet Technologies Echo 15 Thunderbolt Dock.

Firewire 400 fully supports the bandwidth of our Saffire line of Interfaces. Upgrading the chipsets in that line would offer no additional functionality and increase cost to the user.

We are continuing to fully support and make this line of products as they work great and the port is still available and becoming more accessible as new thunderbolt enabled PCs enter the market to join the Macs.
Great info, Katherine. Can you explain further your statement "However firewire is still better ( ... than USB2 ...) at bidirectional audio transfer and has a higher bandwidth."? Also, moving forward - what about USB3 or Thunderbolt or ESATA or ??? for audio I/O devices? Thanks - just trying to learn here !!!
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  #16  
Old 02-14-2014, 06:20 AM
acmost acmost is offline
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Default Re: Focusrite: Saffire Pro 40 Firewire, or Scarlett 18-20 usb2 on Mac?

Well I tried a 2i2 and had not too much success with it and PT HD9, unstable at best with my rig(Mac Pro 1,1 10.6.8) for whatever reason & troubleshooted it as best as I could so I was pretty skeptical about another Focusrite interface but other MOTU Firewire stuff has worked well with my rig so I still wanted to try Focusrite's offering…

anyway, really this Pro 40 thing is decent. Honeymoon period obviously but it sounds good & at a 32 sample buffer I can arm/record 8 channels with a couple of plugs on them and let it rip for 5 minutes and it feels good and does not stutter. Headphone Outs sound good, clear. Inputs 1 & 2 sound really nice with my acoustic plugged straight in which is what it is I understand, but I've done a bunch with my acoustic guitar rig direct and I think I'll be as happy using these two channels like that if it's a situation where I can't mic it up. I'm not going to be using the Mix Software, faders are down on that.

I'm coming from a Lynx Aurora & I know those are higher up the food chain & really a different animal since it's just AD/DA & it's not here to A/B but ya know when you stop A/Bing stuff you just get on with things and use what you have & I think this is pretty nice so far. Since the advent of PT9 and 3rd Party Hardware & after losing the PCIe cards, I just want something that is stable & sounds good. So far so good.
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  #17  
Old 02-20-2014, 03:31 PM
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Default Re: Focusrite: Saffire Pro 40 Firewire, or Scarlett 18-20 usb2 on Mac?

Quote:
Great info, Katherine. Can you explain further your statement "However firewire is still better ( ... than USB2 ...) at bidirectional audio transfer and has a higher bandwidth."? Also, moving forward - what about USB3 or Thunderbolt or ESATA or ??? for audio I/O devices? Thanks - just trying to learn here !!!
Hi EGS,

Thank you for your comment.

On a very theoretical level the Firewire Protocol can run bidirectional transfer better. This comes down to how the packets are sent. While USB 2 has a higher max speed, 480Mbit/s this is not as easily sustained at all times, especially if going in two directions, ie many channels in and out, as compared to firewire.

See this Wiki on USB: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usb#USB_2.0

Quote:
There are two types of pipes: stream and message pipes. A message pipe is bi-directional and is used for control transfers. Message pipes are typically used for short, simple commands to the device, and a status response, used, for example, by the bus control pipe number 0. A stream pipe is a uni-directional pipe connected to a uni-directional endpoint that transfers data using an isochronous, interrupt, or bulk transfer:
isochronous transfers: at some guaranteed data rate (often, but not necessarily, as fast as possible) but with possible data loss (e.g., realtime audio or video).
interrupt transfers: devices that need guaranteed quick responses (bounded latency) (e.g., pointing devices and keyboards).
bulk transfers: large sporadic transfers using all remaining available bandwidth, but with no guarantees on bandwidth or latency (e.g., file transfers).
versus: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firewire

Quote:
FireWire is capable of safely operating critical systems due to the way multiple devices interact with the bus and how the bus allocates bandwidth to the devices. FireWire is capable of both asynchronous and isochronous transfer methods at once. Isochronous data transfers are transfers for devices that require continuous, guaranteed bandwidth.[5] In an aircraft, for instance, Isochronous devices include control of the rudder, mouse operations and data from pressure sensors outside the aircraft. All these elements require constant, uninterrupted bandwidth. To support both elements, FireWire dedicates a certain percentage to isochronous data and the rest to asynchronous data. In IEEE 1394 80% of the bus is reserved for isochronous cycles, leaving asynchronous data with a minimum of 20% of the bus.[22]
Remember though that this is all very theoretical. If you calculate out the theoretical maximum bandwidth of Firewire it will tell you you can send something crazy like 176 channels. This does not actually happen in practice.

Still you will see that we will not make a unit that cannot support it's own Channel Count fully.

Note that the Saffire Interfaces have a Dual Unit Mode, where the USB devices do not. So while the 18i20 and Pro 40 have the same Channel Count you can connect two Pro 40s together with a firewire cable and use their full channel counts, 40in 40 out.

However you cannot connect two LS56s or an LS56 and Pro 40 with official support.

Also Dual Unit Mode is only supported up to 48k.

Note that "not supported" doesn't mean I have not tried this and had minimal success. I have a Pro 40 and LS56 hooked up right now on my desk in 88.2 and they are passing audio. However as things reach the bandwidth maximum I will likely notice crackles, pops, or drop outs on the firewire bus. This will probably be a lot worse if I am also sending Outputs, rather than just using inputs, due to the bi-directional transfer, and use of much more bandwidth. Remember also that high Sample Rates are doubling your bandwidth, so going from 48k to 88.2 is HUGE difference in transfer.

This is why there is a "Supported up to two Pro 40s at 48k." We will make sure the units can actually 100% perform whatever max channel count we say they have. Above that we cannot support it or say it will actually function properly.

So rest assured, if you see it on the box it works for sure!
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  #18  
Old 03-07-2014, 07:28 AM
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Default Re: Focusrite: Saffire Pro 40 Firewire, or Scarlett 18-20 usb2 on Mac?

Hi Katherine: are the preamps on both the Sapphire 40 and the Scarlett 18i20 the same?, can you daisy chain via ADAT 2 Scarletts?

I'm looking to add 8 preamps to my setup and both options looks very attractive so I want to know if they will sound different, because the price is the same for both units.
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  #19  
Old 03-13-2014, 01:46 PM
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Default Re: Focusrite: Saffire Pro 40 Firewire, or Scarlett 18-20 usb2 on Mac?

Quote:
Hi Katherine: are the preamps on both the Sapphire 40 and the Scarlett 18i20 the same?
Yes! On the Scarletts and Saffires all the pre-amps are the same. As you go down in price point you will go down in features, such as I/O count or Monitoring, etc, but not quality of sound.

The Scarlett Series is beneficial for those PC users who do not have access to a Firewire port, but made to be very identical to the Saffire line other than connection.

Quote:
can you daisy chain via ADAT 2 Scarletts?
Yes! We have a guide for you here: http://us.focusrite.com/answerbase/h...tandalone-mode

Please let me know if I can assist you further.

Kat
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  #20  
Old 03-13-2014, 02:02 PM
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Default Re: Focusrite: Saffire Pro 40 Firewire, or Scarlett 18-20 usb2 on Mac?

Thanks Kat!
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