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Sweetwater Forums [Archived]

After 15 years of great discussions, the Sweetwater Forums are now closed and preserved as a "read-only" resource. For discussions about current gear, check us out on Facebook, YouTube, inSync, and our Knowledge Base.

Firewire and USB connections MBOX Pro's


So I understand there are a new line of Mbox's coming out. The pro model requires Firewire 400. My computer does not have that. Could I use a cable that converts USB to Firewire and have an Mbox Pro work on my computer like that? Thank you.
October 5, 2010 @04:49pm

No, there really isn't a way to do that (as of right now). You can however use Firewire 800 if your computer has that.
October 5, 2010 @05:01pm

October 5, 2010 @06:17pm

These are simply different formats, however there may be some devices that can utilize one connector to do both functions. Proceed at your own risk.
If it is a desktop or a laptop with a PCMCIA or Express card, you can always add a firewire port this way.
October 5, 2010 @06:28pm

Unfortunately I do not have an express card slot. I was kind of banking on that cable!!
This is what I just bought.. the i7/720...
October 5, 2010 @06:47pm

You are going to have to wait until they start putting USB3 interfaces out there. Until then, the Mbox standard with USB 2.0 will work just fine, but not have the IO count.
October 5, 2010 @06:50pm

I have read the manual, and I cannot figure out why the Avid Mbox Pro has two firewire connections. One goes to the computer and the other one...???
October 16, 2010 @05:40am

The other one is to go to your Firewire hard drive.
October 18, 2010 @01:34pm

Surely not an external Pro Tools recording drive? I would have thought that the computer's processor and drive controller would have to be involved with that activity.
October 18, 2010 @07:00pm

The majority of Pro Tools guys are using external FW hard drives. Realistically, you would want to connect to your drive and then to your M Box.
October 18, 2010 @07:11pm

Unlike usb, firewire was DESIGNED to be daisy-chained. You can have up to 63 devices on a chain and they will intelligently shove data from one to the other without going through the computer.
For example, I have a Motu828mkII and run a Glyph firewire drive for audio projects.
I could also add two more Motu interfaces on the chain that would all run transparently from the same asio driver (and give me over 60 simultaneous i/os!)
All of this is possible because firewire has a huge amount of bandwidth (amount of data it can carry) whereas usb strains to carry more than a dozen or so channels and that is why you can't get a firewire-to-usb cable....
October 19, 2010 @12:59pm

they will intelligently shove data from one to the other without going through the computer.

Just for clarity, it does all go through the computer. Only dedicated recorders can stream audio right from the converters to the disk!
October 19, 2010 @08:44pm

Yes, The device chain connects to the Firewire Host Controller in the computer. (or standalone recorder)
Many devices have extra Firewire ports for daisy chaining. Just think of this as a hub or pass-thru. The devices down the chain still are still connected to the computer, and ignore the devices in the middle.
October 20, 2010 @01:06pm

Ahem... once the connection is established, the data goes from firewire device to firewire device directly in a peer-to-peer relationship...
FireWire can connect up to 63 peripherals in a tree chain topology (as opposed to Parallel SCSI's electrical bus topology). It allows peer-to-peer device communication — such as communication between a scanner and a printer — to take place without using system memory or the CPU. FireWire also supports multiple hosts per bus
October 21, 2010 @12:43pm

Yes, Tim is right. What I meant is that you can string a long chain of FW devices. The devices need a Firewire Controller at the top. This is usually in a dedicated recorder or computer.
Firewire uses a dedicated controller chip to handle moving all the bits.
USB is different, the IO is built into the motherboard, but all the data is handled by the CPU. So USB has a bigger impact on CPU performance than Firewire.
October 21, 2010 @03:07pm