Avid Pro Audio Community

Avid Pro Audio Community

How to Join & Post  •  Community Terms of Use  •  Help Us Help You

Knowledge Base Search  •  Community Search  •  Learn & Support

Avid Home Page

Go Back   Avid Pro Audio Community > Other Products > Storage Subsystems

Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 01-05-2009, 11:36 PM
DJMike DJMike is offline
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 2
Default Firewire -- to chain or not to chain

So I have a shiny new Digi 003, a newish laptop (Lenovo T61p), and a couple of hard drives (LaCie d2 Quadra for music only, WD MyBook Dual for backups). The Digi003 and the hard drives are all Firewire. My Lenovo laptop only comes with a single Firewire 400/800 port. Not even the spendy dock I bought for it has an extra firewire port. Height of lameness (yeah, perhaps I should have bought a Mac).

I'm new to Firewire, so my question is -- what is the best way to put all this together? The 003 is FW400, the two drives are FW800. Does one chain Firewire ala old school SCSI stuff? Does that degrade devices downstream somehow? The 003 manual says that ProTools can't use the maximum # of tracks when it is not the first member of a chain, but they give no explanation, and say to go to www.digidesign.com for more details (here I am?). I mostly use the 003 via ASIO with Live and other tools, and I wouldn't want throughput to be affected in those apps. I will probably start using ProTools more now that I have the 003, so I don't want to be limited here.

Digi also says the 003 doesn't pass on Firewire data when the Digi is turned off, so that doesn't make it a very nice first member of the chain. Also the 003 is only Firewire 400, so that also doesn't seem like it's a good thing to put first. I've read in some posts here that if a single device is at 400 in a chain all of it has to run at 400. Is that true? Does order in the chain matter/help?

I looked for Firewire hubs as an alternate to chaining, but couldn't find any that supported 800. In fact, I only found 3-4 hubs that did Firewire at all. Seems a bit odd there aren't more... perhaps hubs just aren't the way to go, though I don't know why. Perhaps I should just invest in a PCMCIA Firewire 800 card to add a completely separate Firewire chain. One for storage, and one for the 003. But am I overthinking this?

My ideal is to be running the 003 at 400 (wouldn't it be nice if they had released it with 800?) and the two drives at 800 with no signal degradation anywhere. I also could easily run the backup drive via USB and hopefully simplify things.

I've done searches about all this on sites that discuss Firewire, but none of them have a music production angle. I've also spent some time on the forums here, but I'm even more confused now.

I'm hoping that some of you might have some advice/thoughts. I'm pretty hardware saavy, but I have to admit Firewire (and Digi!) excel in obfuscated info on this topic.


Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2009, 12:26 AM
DJMike DJMike is offline
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 2
Default Re: Firewire -- to chain or not to chain

Another possiblity I thought of tonight -- the LaCie drive supports eSATA. I could buy a PC Card eSATA like this one:


And do this:

1) LaCie music drive via PC Card eSATA
2) Digi 003 using built-in Lenovo Firewire port at 400 (port supports 800, but the 003 does not)
3) Chain the backup drive off the LaCie if possible using firewire or usb, OR just hook the backup drive directly to USB (2.0).

Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2009, 12:52 PM
WishingDigiJosh WishingDigiJosh is offline
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 7
Default Re: Firewire -- to chain or not to chain

Hey Mike,

Chaining multiple FireWire devices is fine. I think the official spec says you can link up to 64 or 128 devices? I forget, but that's more than any of us would ever need. That being said, I probably wouldn't daisy chain more than 4 or 5 to be safe.

As for "degradation" of the connection as you put it, you can mix and match FW400 and 800 devices on a single bus/connection, but they will work at the lowest common denominator. In this case, your FW800 capable drives will operate at 400 speeds because the 003 is 400 only. Does that make sense?

eSATA is certainly an option if you want to take advantage of the extra speed. I'd recommend SIIG or Sonnet cards for your laptop.

Good luck.
Owner, www.wishingdigital.com
External Hard Drive & Content Creation Application Experts
Reply With Quote
Old 02-23-2009, 09:40 AM
fooloof fooloof is offline
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 164
Default Re: Firewire -- to chain or not to chain

On a different topic: I've seen (and heard from people) a lot of bad stuff about LaCie hard drives.
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
firewire daisy chain? guitarbiker Pro Tools 10 16 03-16-2012 01:57 PM
Firewire Daisy Chain? soundsurfr Pro Tools M-Powered (Mac) 0 08-06-2011 09:07 AM
Daisy Chain Firewire or go with USB? Chief Pronto 003, Mbox 2, Digi 002, original Mbox, Digi 001 (Win) 7 01-17-2010 11:41 AM
daisy chain firewire thatwasfantastic 003, Mbox 2, Digi 002, original Mbox, Digi 001 (Mac) 4 05-16-2008 07:33 PM
Firewire chain lozzi 003, Mbox 2, Digi 002, original Mbox, Digi 001 (Mac) 0 09-14-2005 12:06 AM

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 11:12 AM.

Powered by: vBulletin, Copyright ©2000 - 2008, Jelsoft Enterprises Limited. Forum Hosted By: URLJet.com