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M-Audio FireWire Solo Reviews
I've been using one of these units since 2002 and could not be more pleased with it.
Just plug the guitar in directly and a mic. Install protools m-powered and you are away. No messing around.....just recording. I've used it with guitar rig, amplitube, cubase...and it is great. The drivers for XP are perfect. The AISO drivers are very low latency (4ms on my average pc).
There are now vista drivers but nobody with half a brain would try to use vista to make music! The opperating system is a complete joke in the music industry. Stick with XP!
the 3 points iv given this is only that the built quality looks good, and the whole feel of it doesnt seem too tacky.
However, the 7 points its missing is to do with the customer support that is missing with it!! Being on Vista OS (not for much longer!) i brought this interface on the promise that drivers for vista will be out the next month - 2 monthes later a beta version came out wich did NOT work. No email replies from m-audio. its not about 4 monthes on and there are no drivers that actually work. completly useless to me now and wasted my time waiting around for this driver (and money!)
Also, looking at other reviews on m-audio interfaces I am now going to move onto a completely different make.
M-audio firewire solo.
Firewire based input/output device.
This audio solution provided by M-Audio was a god send for me.
I have spent many an hour fighting with a cheap soundblaster, and jack to mini jacks, mini jacks to coax, spdif outs,
spidf ins (oh but on a soundblaster there is no such thing unless you have a breakout plate!), surround sound amps.
Oh and the noise, the hiss when recording, preamps fit for a 6 year old science student making their first crystal radio.
I had enough. Stripped right back. and went hunting for something that i could plug a guitar and a mic into and just record!
Surely its not too much to ask.
(also something with a touch of REAL asio driver support would have been nice)
Enough background rambling.
os after some searching I found the firewire solo. I had initially looked at USB devices, but had been warned off them.
I have seen some windows lagging issues with another device we have in the studio, didnt realise I was USB related though.
The masses (various forums) seem to go for firewire. so, this was the cheapest solution that fitted all my needs. £120 all in i believe.
Ok so, The firewire box turns up. It is heavy, it is shiney, and it is quite small. It gives phaontom power, a line in (which has a potent preamp on it!)
and 2 unbalanced line ins on the back. Headphone socket. analog out ( L/R) and spdif in and out. I might actually get a little pair of edirol monitors to go with
this box, running an spdif out to them.
It comes with 2 firewire cables, one with standard size and one with small size connectors. this is handy. and of course its own power supply.
Installed the software, plugged it in. job done!
Plugged a guitar in, armed a track for record. viola. minimal background/ground noise (less than -80db, the soundblaster was -60/-50db on the meter, and dependant on the weather I think).
My next issue to attempt to solve. The nagging problem with asio drivers and SB cards. it doesnt seem to work ever (on cheapo cards) but then maybe it isnt supposed to,
and maybe I should have just bought a real interface to start with.
I had a wide array of installed asio drivers and for some reason the m-audio box didnt like it.
Well I found that if none of these were present (uninstalled), and the m-audio asio drivers were used suprise suprise no glitches of buzzes. all worked smoothly.
So to sum it all up.
Quick and easy installation
minimal ground noise
comes with everything you need
asio drivers work
easy switching form analog to spdif outputs (or both)
didnt arrive with bundled software as stated on the m-audio site (ableton live 5 I believe, not that its an issue)
guitar jack input could be a little sturdier, will report back if I manage to break it.
Headphone volume is directly linked to the overall volume. This I would like to change.
Windows seems to turn down and lock a vloume control, the output is not as potent as the soundblaster is (but maybe this is a good thing?)
And to top it all off, an m-powered version of pro tools will work with this device. Handy and cheap entry into the pro tools world (which I will be looking into)
I’ve recently bought M-Audio FireWire Solo sound card.
When opened the box I found –
1.well made chassis, you will feel the resistance while turning knobs is extremely comfortable. When you push the buttons on the front panel the card stays still (I mean it doesn't move backwards as I expected) so it seems that even that has been in M-Audio developer’s minds.. So overall build quality is very high..
2.I also found two firewire wires (one 6 to 4 pin, another 6 to 6 pin so whatever firewire port you have, you need not searching for additional wires)
Since I had 4-pin firewire port on my laptop I had to use power supply (also included)... I wish my laptop had a 6-pin port to make my FW Solo receive all the power it needs from my laptop...
INSTALLATION: since I had Windows XP SP1 I had to upgrade to SP2 this was painful process to understand what where and how, but when I understood it almost everything happened automatically..
I already had directX 9.0c that is higher than 9.0b so I started installation of the soundcard... some strange things happened here:
1. When I put installation CD in, I received some kind of an error message to which I pressed "OK" button.. Then the CD's window opened and everything went on until I almost completed installation when I received another error message: "software you are installing has not passed windows logo..." it took a while to find how to respond to this. At the end the right respond was pressing the button "continue anyway".. The only wonder why M-Audio didn't put in it's "Quick start guide" this issue, or at least they could have strongly recommended to use their web page installation guide (http://www.m-audio.com/index.php?do=support.faq&ID=485df5a71d1c49faeb8d332238ef7d4e) where this issue is described..
Anyway should you have any problems installing your device use M-Audio Knowledge Base on internet, you'll find the links on your installation CD
WOW, YOU WON'T BELIEVE THAT, its really great card it plays music so well, no latency while recording (at least I haven't noticed)... already tried Line in and it's good... I really haven't thought that you can get much better sound than that on your built-in card... but you can... when you put your headphones in while not playing music - you here nothing – no noise There is a little so called white-noise when you turn headphone’s knob to the maximum volume... so all these great sound experiences, at the same time it all looks very stylish - the chassis, the software is very beautiful and it (I mean software) is made in minimalist style - nothing needless...
Overall good looks and feels and also good working device, it is a great product for the superb price, you won't get better soundcard for that price at the moment of me writing this... :)
I’m really happy; thanks to "M-Audio" it’s just perfect :) :) :)
September 6, 2005
Just got the unit, and immediately my performance in Cubase SX 2 went through the roof. I now have 6.3ms input latency with the unit and 20ms output ( using 24 bit, 48khz ), all on a toshiba laptop no less.
The only down side is that I didn't know that the unit with the four pin firewire ports was not bus powered....you need to use the power supply. ( and I'm not sure that was very apparent in the ads ), However, I am giving the unit a 9/10, for its fantastic price point and features.
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