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FireWire audio interface

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 02:30 PM


The headphone port on my mac has died, so I need a device for audio.
I have an iMic, but to be truthful its sound quality is poor.

So, I want something better and bigger.
An ideal unit for me, would be FireWire, have a jack or minijack headphone output, as well as a RCA type output for the speakers.

Are there any such, not too expensive units ?
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#2 teflon


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Posted 11 October 2011 - 03:13 PM

Firewire will really ramp up the cost, so I'd suggest going more with USB. What you need to be looking at is devices called DACs, Digital-Analogue-Converter.

Personally I use an Aune DAC bought from ebay for around 100 a couple years ago. It's got USB and Coaxial Digital audio in (rather than the more common optical, sadly), and works without the need to install drivers in both OSX and Windows, and with a flip of a switch, it changes to the coax for PS3 play. There's also RCA in, which I believe is straight forward through put. It skips the audio processing chips and heads straight out again. I'm not sure, though, as I've never tried it!

Headphones on the front from a 5mm jack (you get a 3.5mm adapter too) and a separate giant volume knob too, which only controls the headphones volume (System volume is overridden as it's digital output, but app based volume control isn't). On the back you've got the RCA outputs for amplified speakers.

All in all, it's solid enough and does what I want in this current set up. The only minor annoyance I have with it is that when OSX checks what hardware is available to it, say with VMWare or Disk Utility, and the DVD drive goes *KERCHUGGER!*, the audio cuts out, and I have to flip the power off and on again at the back of the unit. Only in OSX, and not in Windows!

Oh, and if you want to cut the audio outputs, you either turn those speakers off at the mains or reduce the on-speaker volume. It's not like when you plug headphones into your Mac, either, so you can have headphones in and volume will still be sent to the RCAs for your speakers too.

Still, it's a good bit of kit. I wouldn't change too much about it really.
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#3 pantherv



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Posted 13 November 2011 - 02:07 AM

I have a creative labs xmod from a few years ago and I love it. I think you would have to find it on e bay or craigslist now.
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#4 Thain Esh Kelch

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Posted 13 November 2011 - 02:37 AM

Why not buy a pair of headphones with USB? They work fine.
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#5 mindnoise



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Posted 13 November 2011 - 04:53 PM

A FireWire interface is a bit of overkill for your purposes, as teflon said.

I recommend a simple USB-Interface, too.
depending of how much you want to spent - not too much I guess -
for something `decent` I recommend the FOCUSRITE VRM BOX a bit over $100, I only checked Euro Prices

but also the Tascam and Roland Interfaces in that price range are nice.

also if you want to check the disconntiued M-Audio Transit on ebay or so, this is also a great versatile device.
It´s not Class compliant but still with active driver support by M-Audio.

cheers :)
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