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Thunderbolt feeding FireWire - any potential problems?

Buying or building computers for Hauptwerk, recommendations, troubleshooting computer hardware issues.

Thunderbolt feeding FireWire - any potential problems?

Postby organsRgreat » Mon Oct 01, 2018 5:46 pm

I am currently specifying a Windows PC, primarily to work with Hauptwerk. At the moment I have a FireWire card with two outputs, each of which feeds a MOTU 828 hybrid Mark 3 sound card, so that Windows sees them as one unit. I am advised that a thunderbolt connector would be a good idea for the new PC, and that this can easily provide two FireWire ports via an adaptor. Any thoughts? I know that some sound cards will only work with Texas Instruments (TI) sound cards – is this a problem with a thunderbolt adaptor?

MOTU's handbook states that 828s can be daisy-chained via FireWire, but I could not get this to work. Windows (10 Professional) would only see one 828 whatever I did; the only configuration that works reliably is a separate lead from each to a FireWire card port. I don't want to make an expensive mistake with the new PC, hence this question!
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Re: Thunderbolt feeding FireWire - any potential problems?

Postby Romanos » Fri Oct 19, 2018 2:42 pm

Mind you I'm on a Mac, but I currently use a thunderbolt to Firewire adaptor to drive my SaffirePro40 without issue. It's been solid as a rock for over 5 years.
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Re: Thunderbolt feeding FireWire - any potential problems?

Postby organsRgreat » Fri Oct 19, 2018 3:01 pm

Thanks Romanos – it's very helpful to have this reassurance. As both Thunderbolt and FireWire have standards to which all manufacturers conform, what works on a Mac is very likely to work on Windows. If I do encounter serious problems I have the option to swap the Thunderbolt card on the motherboard for a Firewire one, but the expert friends who are advising me say Thunderbolt is the way to go.
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Re: Thunderbolt feeding FireWire - any potential problems?

Postby Romanos » Sat Oct 20, 2018 8:04 am

Sure thing.

I agree thunderbolt is the way to go. It is so much more powerful and will be useful much further into the future. It was literally plug-&-play for me. The device showed up, I configured it, and I was off to the races. That, even with about 20’ of FireWire cabling too! I have no doubt that’s pushing the limits as far as cabling is concerned... usb and FireWire can only go so far (unlike cat5 cabling) so that should be extra reassuring.
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