Time to move on from firewire to...where?

My M-Audio ProFire 2626 started to turn itself off every 15-30 minutes. Got myself a Clarett 8 Pre USB only to realize I can’t run my existing +100 track projects. CPU maxes out, perhaps due to the interface being USB 2.0, with max buffer size limited to 1024. I’m still in the middle of double checking that the issue is not actually bad RAM or similar.

Questions, questions…

  • Which interface has 8 XLR in and FW800 speeds in the <$1500 range?

  • USB 3 or Thunderbolt?

  • If my current RAM and SSDs turn out to be good, is there any way to keep using my current computer with the new interface?

  • Should/can I upgrade to Win 10?

I’ve found potential and partial answers to some of the questions, but it would be interesting to hear if you’ve gone through a similar transitions/issues and how you sorted them out.

Have you tried to change the PSU? It sounds like some dried out components.

Otherwise in the budget range the Roland Octa Capture might be a good choice? I had the quad capture and it was decent.
Or a PreSonus-Studio-192-USB-Audio-Interface-26x32? Haven’t tested that one ever, but it is usb 3.0
Though I cannot give you any garantees that it will have FW800 speed.
You can keep your rig if you like - replacing the soundcard is something common to do.

Been moving from FW to USB2 years ago, from a Fireface 800 FW to a Fireface UFX USB 2. USB 2 isn’t a problem at all with track count, it does all UFX in/outputs (30/30) simultaneously, though I never need it. Real life is more like max. 30 inputs recording, main out + up to 6 stereo phone mixes.

As long as you mix ITB a high track count may stress your cpu and ram but surely not the comparatively low number of outputs used. For projects with 300+ tracks and a lot of processing the UFX allows for a maximum of 2048 samples buffer which I sometimes need.

Got some of the cheap stuff too, X32 rack/XR18 which both make all channels available via USB 2. Also those just work without any hiccups.

Any current interface should usually do, be it USB 2/3 or Thunderbolt.

Thank you so much for the input!

I’ll definitely look into the PSU - it would be an amazing fault/solution to get me out of this pickle.

Thanks, marQs!

You’re saying to get the inputs I should consider a “cheap” USB mixer to expand whatever the IO is on the interface, correct? The X32 & X18 might be something to consider in order to keep the budget.

Also thanks for pointing me to RME. I’m shipping Clarett back to Sweetwater. There might be something there; without me prompting, they said they will look up some RME USB interfaces as an alternative/better option (are you Matt from Sweetwater?!). Wow… not sure if I’m ready for the price tag on the UFX II, though.

Thanks, Vital Few!

I had such bad experience with an early, “cheap” Firebox that I’ve kept away from Presonus. Main issue with FireBox was inputs leaking into one another. However, Fireface UFX would have the IO and price tag I’m looking for. Hopefully the quality has improved.

I have no experience with Roland Octa Capture, but the IO and price point definitely look right. Coaxial allows me to continue using my Art DPS II via SPDIF, correct? I wonder how you control input gain on Octa Capture (or RME)… My interface is currently on the desk near the computer keyboard, with the gain knobs are handily available.

One thing I didn’t mention that speaks to returning Clarett is that I can’t play a sampled piano without latency or stutter/crackle. Profire 2626 has no issues with a 64 sample buffer playing Ravenscroft vst or standalone, seemingly regardless of the amount of polyphony.

Thanks once again. Not that anyone asked, but I’ll report back once there’s progress.


Switched back to ProFire. I’m able to run the 100+ track projects again. However, the original power-off issue persists, on the first try after around 30 mins of use. Off to replace the PSU. It is really heating up. Moved it away from other cables and PSUs nearby.

An additional problem now is when I load Ravenscroft I get a steady, even audio gate pattern on the output regardless of the polyphony. At the same time, the sync source and sample rate drop downs in the M-Audio driver interface flicker with roughly the same tempo as the audio cuts in&out, at around 0.7s pulses.

Some context about IO and track count, FW and USB2. With recording, the 8 mic/instrument and 2 line ins are due to time resource/laziness. I don’t record drums or live sessions, but neither want to spend a second to set up. I want the inputs to be ready to go at any moment.

The material can get quite proggy with mixing which I tend to handle by creating copies and more copies of tracks to make the different song segments work (TBH they never do). This puts the track count near/over 100. Like I mentioned Clarett can’t run these projects with the max 1024 buffer, M-Audio ProFire 2626 with 4096 buffer can, same old CPU and RAM. At the moment I only use 1 single stereo output. No control room, monitoring, nothing extra at the outputs.

Vital Few - a heartfelt Thank You.

It was the PSU. You saved me $726. I didn’t even need to purchase a new PSU since I realized I had another unit sitting in storage.

The old interface is back in business but also, based on your input, I feel like I’m better prepared to swap the interface in the future, most likely when the new Cubase version stops running on my Win 7 computer.

I guess it will take quite some time untill Windows 7 is not supported anymore from Steinberg. As long as there still are quite an amount of issues with W10, I doubt Steinberg will stop support. It took many years before they stopped support on XP.

I’m glad my advice helped you. It is very rare that soundcards are dying. The weak link is very often the PSU’s. They cost the manufactures cents to produce and it is an easy component to replace. But remember you can always buy a firewire PCIE card and use that as interface to your soundcard when moving to another platform.

From 10.5 on, anything below W10 will be unsupported: Compatibility with previous Windows versions no longer maintained - Cubase - Steinberg Forums

" PreSonus-Studio-192-USB-Audio-Interface-26x32? Haven’t tested that one ever, but it is usb 3.0" some where on thier website , i read that , that though it used a USB C type cable ?? it still was USB 2.0 protocol, i could be wrong , but i clearly read that , though else where it mentioned… 3.0 but isnt the C Type connector USB 3.1 n not even 3.0 ?? best to double verify , am narrowing down to Steinberg 3.0 or presonous sound card soon … looking forward to user reviews here thankx …