Report on Firewire 410 and others
- Some here have reported that they experienced no luck using the
m-audio Firewire 410 box with winrad, linrad or other software for use
with the SDR radios. I bought one of these a few yers ago just for
this purpose and am finally trying it with several computers and with
linrad and winrad in particular.
The firmware or basic operating system within this box and also within
most firewire sound boxes is loaded at boot time. It is not actually
resident in the product! This is the big show stopper when trying to
use them under linux. Since m-audio has no interest in providing a
linux driver, you would need to make a bootloader that can load the
firmware even though the driver was written for windows.
Under windows 2000, the newer driver on the m-audio website did not
work for me. I had to dig out the original CDROM that came with the
product and scroll down to the folder labelled firewire410. This
driver is annoying difficult to load, at least under 2000. You need to
begin with the soundbox disconnected. Then after loading once you need
to reboot with the box connected to your firewire port. You then need
to reboot no less than three more times to get it to work.
I tested the firewire on two very different computers. First I
installed in on an old 800MHz notebook that does not have a firewire
port. I used an Adaptec Duo Connect pcmcia card which I had to install
first. Once I got the 410 driver working, I was able to test it with
several audio programs as well as with winrad. It worked in every
case, but was found to be a bit unstable owing to the extra interface
layer of the pcmcia card and its driver. Whether in winrad or in
Audition, occasionally it would disconnect itself. I had to unplug the
firewire cable and rec-connect it. I know that hot plugging a firewire
cable is not a great idea. It worked with both input and output on the
410 and also worked with the notebook's ESS Allegro as the output device.
I then installed the driver on a desktop computer with a Gigabyte
motherboard that has a firewire port on-board. Again, I did this under
win2K. The driver was just as annoying to install as it had been on
the notebook. When done, the 410 worked well with winrad. I tried it
as the input and with the delta44 as the output, and then with the
delta44 as input and the 410 as the output. It worked well both ways.
While I am on the subject of audio interfaces, I want to report that I
also tested two others. I tested the m-audio Mobile Pre which is a low
cost USB interface. My notebook and most of them have stereo out but
only mono input. So by using the Mobile Pre I can operate portable and
have decent two channel audio sampling. It also works fine with winrad
as the input device and with the ESS Allegro chip as the output.
I did some extensive testing and found that similar to reports of the
creative usb products, there is a sample delay between the channels
which means that you will need to compensate for this in winrad using
the I&Q phase and amplitude balance. The phase difference is actually
a little beyond what winrad can fully compensate for at this time.
Finally, I tested a new highend 192KHz sound system made by Emu called
the 1820m. It is quite good and works well with winrad in both wmme
and in asio modes. I tested it under win2K and also XP. The mixer
application they provide is far too complicated for our needs and the
documentation is incomplete. But the hardware is excellent and soon
winrad will have a 192KHz sampling selection. The 1820m will provide a
flat 160KHz of display in I & Q mode.
Jeffrey Pawlan WA6KBL