Firewire is almost completely extinct on new computers. I've been trying to adapt myself as all my gear was Firewire, but my new laptop only has USB. Combine that with device manufacturers still mostly building USB2 gear, and it can leave many of us in the lurch.
If you're on a Mac, Thunderbolt boasts ALL KINDS of flexibility, and while it can mimic Firewire, there hasn't been a lot of word on official support for Audio I/O. Audio interfaces are a touch more complicated than a Firewire hard drive for example.
Well, Focusrite is now ahead of the curve, announcing compatibility with their Saffire interfaces for those of you using a Mac with a Thunderbolt port. Very good news for those of you looking to upgrade a computer, but not wanting to have to replace your interface as well.
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Full press release after the jump!
Saffire Works With Thunderbolt
Focusrite’s popular Saffire Firewire interfaces are fully compatible with Thunderbolt ports on Mac computers.
Since the introduction of the first Focusrite Saffire interface in 2005, FireWire (Apple’s trade name for IEEE 1394) has been a firm favourite among Focusrite interface users with its high speed and reliability. In particular, FireWire and USB represent a great partnership – by having your audio interface on one type of bus and your hard drives on the other, you get the highest possible performance from your computer audio system, and the fewest problems.
Now, on the latest Apple computers, FireWire 400 and 800 ports have been superseded by Thunderbolt – a new, high-speed serial interface developed by Intel and Apple. Happily, it’s easy to connect your Saffire interface to a Thunderbolt-equipped computer.
All you need to connect the two is a FireWire 400-800 cable (included with all new Saffire interfaces later this year) and the Thunderbolt to FireWire 800 adapter, available inexpensively from Apple and third parties. Simply plug this into the Thunderbolt port on your computer and connect the FireWire interface – it’s as simple as that. Saffire interfaces are 100% compatible with Thunderbolt using this adaptor.
The adaptor provides up to 7W of DC bus power as well as full signal connectivity: this should be sufficient for most interfaces but Focusrite always recommends using the included power supply with your interface for best results.
Focusrite will continue to fully support the Saffire range for the foreseeable future, and will fully support the use of Thunderbolt/FireWire adaptors. If you upgrade your computer to one with Thunderbolt, you can continue to use your Saffire interface as before, and if you buy a new Saffire interface it will work perfectly with your Thunderbolt-equipped computer, whichever model of Saffire you choose.
Focusrite Saffire interfaces, with their precision digital conversion and acclaimed clean, transparent mic preamps, deliver excellent performance and functionality for all kinds of recording applications in the studio and on the road.