Audio Interface AND external HD on firewire?

If you’re reading a 16+ track mix from the HD, playing back 2 tracks to the interface for the artists to overdub to, sending maybe 4 track back through the interface for the overdubs, then writing those 4 tracks to the HD, you’re pushing a lot of bandwidth through the bus-26x44.1kx24bit.

Just wondering if anyone’s tried this and how many tracks they record/playback. I tried playing back a project with around 20 tracks and kept getting drops. I’m testing this setup with an old IDE HD and enclosure I had lying around, and I’m suspicious of the drive’s integrity, so I can’t tell if it’s a faulty hardware issue or bandwidth.

I’m on a GA x58a-ud3r which has 3 firewire ports, but as I understand it, most if not all mobo’s really only have one bus shared by all the ports unless you install a card. Can anyone confirm this?

So assuming one bus, how much real world bandwidth can you expect?

I have that board but I don’t have an answer for you. It only has one firewire chip in it where it seems to steer the 3 ports from it. There are 2 rear and one header on the MB.

Anyway, I have read posts around the net saying to use windows legacy driver for DAW firewire. If you tried that and you still get dropouts, it maybe a steering issue between the devices causing an interruption in the data streams?

You could get a second firewire card and plug it in.
You could also get a removable drive bay. (IMO a better option)

I use these in all my machines and have never had a problem:

I have stacks of bulk sata drives that just slide right in. Some hold clientele data and some are for backing up data.

The way my rigs are setup is internal OS drive, internal Sample Library drive and 2 of the icydock bays in each machine. I also have an external screwless firewire/usb enclosure in case the system is booted and need files off a different drive. One of these:

Hopefully that is some help. I would expect issues doing what you are doing over thinking there wouldn’t be an issue without having tried it because you are dealing with streams of data in realtime need.

I suppose you could also raise your sample buffer to see if you can eliminate dropouts, but that may affect monitoring latency

You could also try putting your external drive on a usb port instead if your enclosure supports it.

good luck


I would definitely be trying a different HD. What you are trying to do should be possible.
I’ve recorded 24 tracks onto an internal laptop drive, with monitoring (though handled by the metric halos) - on very very old hardware (I’m talking a 2004 G4 mac powerbook).

The bandwidth for Firewire 400 is 400mbps or 50 MB/s. Not enough to stream multiple tracks of audio and read/write to disk. I’d try a USB HDD or better yet a second internal SATA HDD.

An internal drive doesn’t use the IEEE1394 bus so it’s apples to oranges.

Hm - sorry - I only used the example of the internal HD of my laptop as it is slower in r/w than my external FW drives.

I had no doubt what he was asking for is no problems at all - at least for my system, so I set up a test.

Running off Lacie Rugged 7200RPM 500GB (2.5") FW400 hard drive.

13 x stereo stems from a recent project in nuendo. So, 26 mono equiv tracks, at 48/24.
Route them to 5 seperate stereo outputs in nuendo (all summed - so identical stereo mix on each buss, but at different levels) - so, 10 tracks going out through FW400 to the MH2882.

I then pick up 8 of those 10 tracks, and route them back through my inputs from the halo, into nuendo. So, another 8 tracks down F/W.

All 8 tracks recorded to the same FW drive.

So, coming off the disk = 26 x 48k24bit tracks
recorded to disk = 8 x 48k24bit tracks
Going to MH2882 = 10 tracks. (2 being monitored through my speakers)
Coming back, 8 mono tracks, PLUS another 6 tracks that happen to be routed back in for the monitoring setup I use in the nuendo control room. So, 14.

This was not a problem at all. If I get a chance, I might stress test it some more sometime. But, this exceeds what the OP was asking for - and it is not a problem. I would be looking at (a) the drive to start with, or (b) the FW implementation on his MB.

If you see any probs with my testing method, let me know.

Cheers, Brendan.
FW Recording Test 1.png
FW Recording Test 2.png