filed in Modifications on Nov.29, 2008
I used to own a Tascam FW-1082 but after a little while I realised I almost never used it’s motorised faders and that, despite being a really good audio interface, it was using too much real estate on my desk.
Here are the Audiofire 4′s main features:
- 24 bit 96kHz
- Hardware monitoring
- 4 analog inputs (2 XLR/jack combos at the front, 2 balanced line in at the back)
- 4 balanced outputs at the back
- SPDIF I/O (effectively making the Audiofire 4 a 6 in / 6 out device!)
- MIDI I/O
- Headphone socket at the front + volume knob
- Mac OS: Core Audio + Core Midi native
- Windows XP + Vista: Asio 2.0, WDM, GSIF 2.0
- Firewire 400 (bus powered, optional 12VDC adaptor socket at the back)
The Audiofire 4 is built like a tank (thick aluminium enclosure) and is about as large as a ball point pen, making it very transportable.
It works straight out of the box without any drivers on Mac OS X (haven’t tried on a Windows computer but echo’s website lists Windows XP and Vista (32 + 64 bit) compatible drivers).
If you want to use the Audiofire 4 to it’s full capabilities you’ll just have to download “Audiofire console” which is a stand alone piece of software that lets to configure the Audiofire 4: The first three tabs show the same mixing virtual console. Each tab is dedicated to a stereo output. First tab for ouput 1-2, second for 3-4 and third for the 5-6 (SPDIF out). There is also a settings tab that let you choose the sample rate, select clock source, enable/disable phantom power and also flash the firmware to the latest available version.
This software is very straightforward to use. It will also let you flash the device to the latest available firmware. Well done Echo!
Dismantling the Audiofire 4 is pretty easy. There are only 4 screws you need to remove (two at the back and two on the bottom of the device). You then have to gently slide out the main-board from the back. There is only one board inside the audio interface. It perfectly slides inside two rails that are part of aluminium frame. Simple but very clever and reliable design.
The Audiofire 4′s main-board looks well engineered and the quality of the assembly is very good. I identified the following integrated components:
- Three sharp regulators
- One Texas Instruments Firewire 1394a-2000 iceLynx controller
- One Xilink Spartan FPGA
- Two AKM 4620A CODECs (DAC and ADC converters)
- Two Analog Device SSM2019 op-amps (one for each microphone input)
- Ten JRC 2068 op-amps
Bellow are pictures of the most of the integrated components inside the Audiofire:
I would definitely recommend the Echo Audiofire 4. It’s a the best good sound interface I got so far. It is well designed, sounds great (very transparent sound) and is dead easy to use! Did I mention the are reasonably priced as well (and you can them for peanuts on ebay!).