USB vs Firewire vs USB/Firewire Audio Interfaces

Hi, TEK!

I'm searching for a good audio interface which could handle a s**tload of VSTs at the same time with a very low latency for live performances and studio work. 

What is your experience with firewire audio interfaces? Is there a big difference between USB and firewire interfaces nowdays? What interface would you recommend?


Old post but I will reply now anyway. First, your audio interface does not do any computations. The "shitload of VST's" will be handled by your CPU and sometimes utilizing your RAM for sample storage. An audio interface is a ADC/DAC with some pretty make-up on it, nothing more. If you're having problems with VST's and such, it's time to upgrade your system.

Pretty much any modern interface (no matter what cost) will have acceptable latency's, so I would not worry too much about that. And you can always do driver correction in your DAW if you encounter any problems.

Now, as far as USB vs. Firewire goes, I can't really tell you. What interface one should buy is highly subjective. I assume you're making music so my first question is will you be doing any external processing? Analog compressors etc. How many inputs do you need? Are you mixing on a board or "in the box"? What type of connectors do your computer have?

The problem of USB vs. Firewire will sort itself out once you find an interface that suites your needs. If you are like me and have racks full of external equipment and mix on a console, you'll probably need an interface with 20+ in/outs. If you're DJ-ing you might only need 4 out/2 in. If you're a singer-songwriter you will probably be fine with 2 in/2 out. Once you've found an interface that matches your needs, flip it around and there's your answer.

You will find that bigger interfaces with more in's and out's will often be rack mounted and will most likely be Firewire. I've heard that Firewire is often faster for streams (like audio and video) but USB is more than enough for smaller to moderate sized studios. I will suggest you to buy from a reputable brand because driver issues for an interface is hell, trust me.

I hope you're not even more confused after reading this. Cheers.