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bus speeds, hard drives, and audio interfaces

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A friend just showed me this forum. It's awesome. Glad to be here...


And I was hoping someone could lend some advice. Here's the deal: I have a 13" Unibody Macbook Pro, which comes with 2 USB ports and a Firewire 800. I just got Logic 9 (f*cking cool) and I'm in the market for a budget audio interface ($300 or below) that has XLR and MIDI i/o. I also plan to get a 7200 rpm external HD to store sample libraries and large session data (I may be running up to 16-20 tracks).


So, my question is should I be looking for a USB or Firewire interface? There are no Firewire 800 interfaces in my price range (that I know of), so initially I thouhgt I'd go with USB. That way, at least the HD can utilize the 800 speed. But now I've found some good interfaces that are only Firewire (i.e., TC Electronic Konnekt 8), in addition to hearing that USB eats up more resources and may be noisy. If I get a 9-pin to 6-pin Firewire cord for the interface, it would mean running the HD on USB.


What should I prioritize? Is Firewire interface superior to USB? Am I overestimating the importance of a fast HD, making it OK to run it on USB? Or is there a great USB interface I should be looking at? Generally, what would you do? Any thoughts appreciated. Thanks!

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It all comes down to this:

How many simultaneous tracks are you gonna record?

1? 4?

Firewire is better than USB, period.

But if your recording needs are simple, check out the USB interface from Apogee.

If you want 2 mic pres and MIDI like in the TC Konnekt, you can still daisy-chain the HD to the interface, something that is impossible with USB.

If you're gonna stream samples from an external hard drive, USB is weaker than Firewire.

I would always go with Firewire, regardless.

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My recording needs are simple in that 95% of the time I'll only be recording one track. The Apogee One (I think that's what you're referring to) looks nice, but I also definitely need a MIDI i/o.


I didn't know you could daisy-chain a HD off the TC Konnekt, but I see that it has two FW ports. Good to know, but I imagine that would slow HD speed?


And yes, I'll definitely be running sample instrument libraries (Synthogy Ivory, SampleMoog) from the HD, which is why I thought it might be good to take advatage of FW 800 speed. Since I'll rarely be doing multi-track recording, maybe a USB interface is the way to go, with the HD pluged into the FW 800 port...

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