Firewire Audio interface... Maudio v Alesis

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I have a home recording studio based on Windows PCs and Steinberg Cubase 4 software. For a couple of years I used a Maudio Firewire 1814 interface which although discontinued is still widely available second hand.  I have now replaced it with an Alesis IO/26 which is very much current.

At first I considered the Maudio interface to be a good deal at around £350 but quickly found that there were issues with the stability of the drivers which even with updates was never resolved. There were also problems with earth loops and hum which I could only resolve by dropping the firewire power and using the external supply provided (which involves converting one end of the firewire to a 4 pin and using a 6 - 4 lead. Another matter which Maudio have never resolved with this unit is the inability to hot plug it. It must be connected and switched on before the PC is started as to do otherwise can seriously damage the PC's interface.

When the 1814 gave up the ghost recently I looked around around for a replacement and was surprised to find that Alesis do firewire interfaces which are considerably cheaper. I acquired an Alesis IO/26 for under £200 new (including VAT and delivery) and have discovered that this is a far more reliable piece of kit compared to the 1814. The driver has proved to be faster and totally stable and the 8 channel input and 8 channel output configuration plus 2 adat optical inputs, a sp/dif and 2 standard  5 pin midid in/out are easily adequate. All 8 inputs have switchable ghost power for microphones, standard jacks for line in and insert jacks. As a bonus, channels 1 and 2 can be switched to guitar impedance and channels 7 and 8 can be switched to the internal phono preamp making digitising and sampling material from vinyl simplicity itself. However the jack inputs cannot be trimmed to accept microphones and these must be fitted with 3 pin plugs, which is no real hardship.

In conclusion I would say that there is no real comparison between the Maudio  and the Alesis products. Alesis in my opinion are leagues ahead in what they provide and I would not consider going back to Maudio.

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