Firewire Audio Interfaces: Best 5 Picks + Buyers Guide!

Firewire Audio Interfaces


Firewire devices shouldn’t be as generally used as different sorts of audio interface connections, so it simply appears like an intimidating name, doesn’t it? Regardless, Firewire connectivity backs up that intimidation with super quick bandwidth, quicker than USB interfaces (below USB 3.0).

This implies it sends data at a faster rate, reducing back the latency and delivering higher performance, consistency, and stability in your audio.

So in the event, you’re seeking to record a bunch of tracks at once without shedding audio quality, Firewire audio interfaces ought to be part of your recording studio setup. Let’s dive into the main points of what is a firewire card.

firewire connectors

What Is A Firewire Audio Interface?

The perfect firewire audio interface connections work in another way to USB models. They’re a lot faster at streaming data, which results in a lot lower latency.

The largest challenge with firewire interfaces nonetheless is that almost all standard computers do not have this kind of port. This suggests you could want to alter some of your hardware to accommodate a firewire interface.

Selecting a firewire device is nice nonetheless not all firewire connections are constructed the same way. Firewire 400 & firewire 800 codecs exist. If your laptop has firewire 800 ports then you may have double the bandwidth than those with firewire 400 ports.

So firewire 800 appears like a no-brainer, right? Not exactly, it’s totally uncommon that you’d want this monumental improvement in bandwidth. For those who’re utilizing your audio interfaces in a house studio with 2-10 inputs/outputs then the fact is that any and all firewire formats can be adequate for your needs.

For those who’re utilizing 56 channels of 24-bit/192Khz audio concurrently then we do suggest you push for a firewire 800 suitable model.

Liquid 56  by Focusrite

We just want to let you know that we’ll list these firewire audio interface reviews in no particular order. They’ll be randomized as we don’t wish to sort them from best to worst.

Listed below are our Top 5 Firewire Audio Interfaces available on the market for 2023!

1. MOTU 4 Pre Hybrid

Because of MOTU’s Hybrid interface technology, the 4pre connects to any Mac or PC through FireWire or high-speed USB 2.0. Connect your mic, guitar, keyboard, and digital input, and you’re able to make pro-quality recordings.

The 4pre has been engineered with MOTU’s famed, award-winning audio interface technology, which delivers the pristine audio high quality and rock-solid efficiency that MOTU interfaces are recognized for worldwide. You may at all times record and mix with confidence, knowing that many years of engineering experience are behind you, each step of the way.

The 4pre combo mic/guitar inputs are geared up with pristine, clear mic preamps and supply individually adjustable 48V phantom power and -20 dB pad. All settings can be adjusted straight on the front panel, or from the 4pre’s CueMix software program working on your computer. Mic inputs can be operated individually or in stereo pairs, as wanted.

The 4pre mic preamps deliver clear sound, 60 dB of gain, and changes in roughly 1 dB increments utilizing the front-panel trims or the on-screen CueMix software. The gain adjustment itself is clean because it’s analog, however, the digital management provides you both precision and the power to save and recall trim settings.

So you get the most effective of each world: analog trim with digital precision and management. Trim is adjusted on the input, before the mixer, so it applies to all mixes. Mix ranges are managed individually from trim, so you by no means sacrifice sound quality for a balanced mix. The S/PDIF digital inputs can be trimmed, too.

MOTU 4 Pre Hybrid

  • S / PDIF input and output coaxial
  • Firewire 400 + USB 2.0 connector
  • SMPTE Syn In / Out
  • 48V Phantom power

MOTU 4 Pre Hybrid
  • 6×8 With four microphone preamplifiers
  • 24-bit / 96 kHz
  • Inputs: 4x XLR / Jack Combo (Line / Mic)

2. Black Lion Audio Premium Mod for MOTU 828mk3 Hybrid

Make the MOTU 828Mk3 Hybrid FireWire/USB audio interface the centerpiece of your recording studio! With each FireWire and USB2 connectivity, virtually too much I/O, mic preamps, and built-in DSP effects and mixing, the 828Mk3 Hybrid is greater than able to process and routing your audio signals wherever they should go.

The 828Mk3 Hybrid enables you to interface with each instrument, microphone, monitor, pair of headphones, you name it. With any laptop, in your studio, or elsewhere. Do all of your monitoring, live mixing, recording, and processing from the 828Mk3 Hybrid.

The 828Mk3 Hybrid enables you to record at as much as 192 kHz resolution with 28 audio inputs and 30 outputs to cover all of your gear: you get 2 mic/guitar combo-style inputs with preamps, eight balanced analog ins/outs, XLR main outputs, 16 channels of ADAT optical (eight channels at 96 kHz), plus S/PDIF, word clock, and MIDI.

The 828’s XLR primary outputs, encompass output, and two front-panel phone jacks with independent volume management make monitoring a snap, whereas the 2 front-panel mic/guitar inputs enable you to plug and play with all of your controls right in front of you.

Whenever you plug into MOTU’s 828Mk3 Hybrid, you additionally tap into the awesomeness of V-Limit, a hardware limiter that helps stop digital clipping from overloaded input signals as high as +12 dB above zero, without any distortion.

Audio Premium Mod for MOTU 828mk3 Hybrid - firewire audio interfaces

  • Modded Version
  • Modded by the manufacturer
  • Improved quality

IMAGE PRODUCT Amazon Store For US Customers
Black Lion Audio Premium Mod for MOTU 828mk3 Hybrid

3. RME Fireface 802 Audio Interface

With the Fireface 802, you get a totally built-in professional audio answer that doubles as a full-fledged studio, all in a 19″ enclosure.

An interface created for customers who don’t wish to make any concessions relating to sound quality, stability, or ultra-low latency operation and who need an unsurpassed skilled function set at an affordable price. Once again, RME has delivered a landmark interface that features the best of the best and even a bit more.

The Fireface 802 has 60 audio channels, 30 of that are input channels and 30 output channels. It’s possible to make use of all the inputs and outputs at the same time. It’s possible to record as many as 12 analogs and 18 digital channels on a complete of 30 tracks, each independently of the other.

Set up and configuration of the Fireface 802 can be completed instantly through the use of an iPad, MIDI remote, or ARC. Moreover, there are six memory slots out there, every of which can store the current configuration indefinitely. In this manner, the 802 can perform independently without a computer. When used as a stand-alone gadget, it might transform into varied units with the easy push of a button.

The Fireface 802 is just like different RME products in that it blends excellent analog circuit design with essentially the most up-to-date digital conversion technology. All balanced TRS and XLR inputs and outputs and the 2 phone outputs have exceptionally low noise and distortion traits.

A converter or preamp does not make “sound” in the perfect RME custom and product philosophy; they don’t add or subtract from the unique signal; they catch it precisely as received.

RME Fireface 802 Audio Interface

  • Number of Preamps: 4
  • 24-Bit/192kHz
  • 1 x FireWire 400, 1 x FireWire 800, 1 x USB Type B
  • Phantom Power: Yes

RME Fireface 802 Audio Interface

4. Focusrite Saffire Pro 40

The spotlight of this interface is the variety of inputs and outputs. With eight XLR/quarter-inch inputs (two within the front, six on the back) and eight preamps to match, you could have a lot of freedom to record various things.

You possibly can mic every piece of full drum equipment, you could record an enormous choir, or you could record a track live along with your band. Plus, having two headphone jacks will make things tremendous simple for recording with one other musician (or multiple, in the event you use the monitor outputs on the back).

On the back of the interface, you’ll additionally see in and outs for MIDI, SPDIF, and optical. It’s additionally suitable with each Firewire and Thunderbolt, but not USB, which some could also be turned off by, however, Firewire and Thunderbolt work completely wonderful.

Getting a software program bundle with an interface is at all times nice, but it surely’s Saffire MixControl, which is not one of many more dependable names, like ProTools or Ableton Live. Saffire MixControl is straightforward and doesn’t offer as many choices as other DAWs.

It seems cool and it does some neat things, and when it really works, users like it, particularly the standard of the preamps. However, some engineers have complained the sound delivered by the preamps is bland never distinctive, and generally too quiet when recording acoustic instruments.

However, you’ll get an honest deal with the Saffire Pro 40. It has just about all of the options you’ll have to record from home at a really inexpensive price and can let you get professional-level audio quality. The clear sound of the preamps is basically the high-point of this system, making it worth a try.

Focusrite Saffire Pro 40

  • FireWire 400
  • 8 Microphone Preamps
  • 20 Input/20 Output
  • Phantom Power: Yes

Focusrite Saffire Pro 40

5. MOTU Audio Express

This Firewire/USB interface works properly as a mixer, for live exhibits, in-studio, or as a monitor mixer. The technical side goes like this: The Audio Express mixes the signals from the inputs all the way down to an output pair (i.e. the main outputs) whereas still with the ability to manage the individual input volumes.

That is good for, say, mixing live music via a PA system, you would set your total mix however then mix the vocals going to the stage monitors in a different way.

One characteristic that makes this system distinctive is the pedal input, which permits you to connect just about any footswitch. This lets you punch in when recording and preserve your hand free for performing.

One other fairly cool option is the power to expand if wanted. Merely add one other Audio Express via Firewire or USB. And it consists of driver-level support so the signals going out and in of each device keep in sync throughout recording and playback.

A key to whether an interface is successful in this market is if it’s simple to use. Looking for a balance between easy design and providing as many options as potential is like utilizing a seesaw.

Despite the fact that the Audio Express presents a good variety of options in comparison with different interfaces in its class, the setup, and design of the actual system are confusing and really inconvenient.

But when you may get past the odd setup of the inputs and knobs, this can be a dependable interface. The features it has and the standard it delivers match the prices.

MOTU Audio Express

  • Stereo Line In: 2x stereo jack balanced
  • 2x Stereo Out: 4x stereo jack balanced
  • S / PDIF I / O
  • Phantom Power: Yes

IMAGE PRODUCT Amazon Store For EU Customers For US Customers
MOTU Audio Express


If you have open firewire ports and you are at the point to pick a new interface that is not USB or Thunderbolt, you can try out any firewire interface from this list.

There are many other brands that produce such interfaces for home studio or professional use that provide support and will suit your needs. Any customer can benefit from the performance of such a device and this list should help you narrow down the difference between the systems.

The firewire devices are dependent and usually with many outputs and inputs. You might get some compatibility issues, but you will need to look out for the right firewire card that will handle the job. Look into the Texas Instruments PCI or PCIe cards and you’ll be good.

The low latency that a firewire device provides is better than USB but slower compared to Thunderbolt – meaning that the packets data will travel with the speed of around 800 megabits per second. The mic preamps are of great quality which varies from brand to brand. You will need to decide on your own what you will go after.

In case you are having any questions, please let us know in the comment section and we will try to answer as soon as possible.


Nikoloski is the founder and main content writer and editor of Mixing Tips. With his experience in audio engineering, mixing, and mastering for over 15 years, will provide hands-on experience and expertise in all the matters covered on this website.

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