Further audio dickery

Things I learned from reading the Firebox and UA-1EX manuals:

  • you only need to use the power adapter for the firebox if you're connecting it to a 4-pin firewire port. if it's a 6 pin, it powers itself off that. the firewire card i installed has 6-pin. nice.
  • my laptop only has a 4-pin firewire input. i'll have to use the power adapter when using it with the laptop AND i'll need to get some sort of 6 to 4 pin firewire adapter as the included firewire cable is 6 pin. i was not aware of this different firewire port size situation. weak.
  • the mysterious driver switch on the edirol ua-1ex switches you between normal windows drivers and ASIO drivers. neat i guess, though i've never had a problem with regular windows stuff working on ASIO drivers.
  • i still don't understand what "plug-in powered" on the mic input means even though i read the description, for now i remain afraid to plug anything into there.
  • the ua-1ex actually has dipswitches on the bottom i hadn't noticed for selecting the recording source, input monitor, kHz and sample rate. dipswitches are hardcore.

Then I tried recording with the Firebox. Here's how that went:

  • plug my microphone into it
  • flip the phantom power on
  • check the input levels
  • looks like i have to crank the level up to the max (+30) to get a decent signal when singing into my condenser mic (MXL v67.) guh?
  • switch the XLR cable just in case this one's flaky
  • still need to crank the input to +30 to get a decent signal
  • even cranked at +30 the preamp's nice and quiet though. no hiss or buzz.
  • notice that if the input exceeds -6db the preamp clips. so i can't record anything over -6db? should i even care about that? christ i hate audio, why do i bother with this
  • grab the mixer software off the cd-rom to make sure nothing's set real low but everything's at the max.
  • flip back over to record a test with my presonus bluetube + delta 66. doesn't clip when i go over -6db. but does this matter, hmm.
  • test out the direct monitoring on the firebox. there's a bit of noticeable latency when singing. i try lowering the 10ms latency in the control panel to 3ms, fixes it up nicely.
  • recording vocals at a clipping max of -6db alongside my loud projects makes it hard to monitor. input signal keeps getting lost in the mix. will i have to lower the volume of my projects to deal with the input volume? bleah.

Current Edirol UA-1EX mood: :) pleased

Current Presonus Firebox mood: :? confused and unsatisfied

The low Firebox signal is bothering me but I'm not 100% sure if it should or not. Clipping at -6db seems goofy as I always try to record with the hottest signal I possibly can so I have as much data to work with as possible. (You can always lower the volume later without audio consequences but you can't boost what isn't there.)

I don't have another condenser to test it with. Maybe my mic sucks. I'll go read some Firebox reviews and see if actual professionals have the same issues as I do.

Brad Turcottegear, review, tech