About Firewire Audio Interfaces
Firewire specifically is a term for a product coined by the Apple Company in the 1980s and is otherwise known as the IEEE 1394 interface. This piece of equipment allows high-speed data transfer and communication between numerous electrical devices simultaneously. The general name given to such devices in the music industry is a professional soundcard. They are popular for recording and playing back high-quality sound recordings, such as at live music performances, and offer additional functionalities that enable mixing and compression of the recorded sounds. Due to varying numbers of input and output channels, Firewire audio interfaces can be supplemented with various pieces of equipment to change the functionality of the device for different purposes.
Choosing a Used Firewire Audio Interface
One of the initial concerns when considering which interface to purchase may be budget. Firewire audio interfaces can cost anywhere from a relatively low double-figure sum up to several hundred pounds. Of course, purchasing a used unit means that this cost is lower than it would be if it were purchased in new condition. Aside from the intended budget, the intended use of the device will also dictate which the best model to purchase is to get the best value for money.
Purpose of Use
One of the most common uses of Firewire audio interfaces is for recording, mixing, and playing back live music performances. The intended use of the equipment will ultimately dictate how many simultaneous outputs and inputs are needed on the unit; this can affect price, so it is worth ensuring that only the required amount are present on the unit purchased. These are generally split into line-level inputs, microphone inputs and instrument inputs, which provide a connection to other electronic devices, increase microphone signal levels to line-level and provide a connection to instruments, respectively.
Generally, less outputs are required than inputs; despite this, a lot of models are manufactured with an equal ratio of the two. Surplus outputs could be used for a number of functions, such as surround setup, or for mixing compositions using a mixer. Having unused outputs is not problematic.
In addition to the supplied input and output channels, some Firewire audio interfaces also have headphone jacks, which allow musicians to either listen to recorded samples, or listen to recordings in progress. The latter is useful when a speaker is not available. However, the former use can suffer problems with latency in some models. This means that the recording may be playing back with a delay, so it is often better to listen to the sample at a later date. These latency issues can be resolved with further equipment.
The aforementioned latency issue can be resolved somewhat with supplementary equipment that connects to the Firewire audio interface. There are a range of other pieces of equipment that can also be connected in order to perform functions such as compressing, so it is worth conducting some research into all of the options available.
Further Purchases to Consider
The intended use of a Firewire audio interface may dictate the necessary purchase of additional accessories and electrical units. A number of the accessories most commonly used with these interfaces are listed below, along with their functions.
Cables are simply required to bridge a connection between numerous electrical items. For example, if recording a live music event, at the most basic level, cables will be needed to connect the instruments' and vocalist's microphones to the audio interface. Many audio interfaces are sold with accompanying cables; however, in the event that they are not included, these are relatively inexpensive to purchase.
Mixers are used to combine and compress numerous sources of sound on one device, to be converted to another external device such as a computer for later playback. They are useful for modifying and enhancing the sound of a pre-recorded band after the recording has ceased.
There is a huge range of computer software available for mixing and modifying music tracks. After a song has been recorded, from a live performance, for example, and has been converted into an electrical signal, it can then be transferred to a computer. From here a musician can add a wide range of effects to the music to change it extensively. This is a practice used by many bands.
Buying Used as Opposed to Buying New
Buying used products has its obvious drawbacks and advantages. One of the biggest concerns with buying used stock is the condition that the item is in. However, in this case it is very different to buying a product where aesthetics are important, such as with a television or musical instrument. Firewire audio interfaces are important in their function, and are thus designed as basic electronic pieces of equipment inside a metal shell, with inputs, outputs, and tuning knobs. Thus, the aesthetic concerns of buying used can generally be overlooked, instead giving consideration towards ensuring that the item is in good working order. Despite this, the advantages of buying a used Firewire audio interface can still be enjoyed; the costs associated with such a purchase are generally a good deal lower than purchasing a new model. Regardless of the length of time that an item has been owned and used, being second-hand instantly reduces the sale value of the product. Furthermore, sellers will often bundle their unneeded cables and accessories with the item, saving further money.
Finding Used Firewire Audio Interfaces on eBay
When listing an item for sale on eBay, sellers may stipulate which category their item should appear under in the search results. The eBay marketplace uses these categories to make items easily locatable to potential buyers. When seeking used Firewire audio interfaces, one should locate the Musical Instruments category and click into Pro Audio Equipment, before then choosing the subcategory of this group labeled Audio/Midi Interfaces. Finally, clicking on the condition filter of Used to the left-hand side of the webpage will filter all of the sale listings into items that are in used condition. By beginning to type in the name of a product into the eBay search bar, buyers can see that there is a specific search term for "Firewire audio interfaces" already present in the search bar memory. Clicking on this term will produce a list of used units for sale at any one time, which can then be further narrowed down by the use of the filters at the side of the page.
Firewire audio interfaces are professional soundcards used to bridge numerous electrical devices together to facilitate communication and high-speed data transfer. There are numerous models with increasing numbers of input and output channels, and functionalities. The price often scales with the extent of a unit's functionality. Identifying the number required for an intended use is a good means of reducing cost when purchasing a unit.
One of the best places to find used Firewire audio interfaces is on the eBay marketplace, which easily processes all item sales into convenient and coherent categories. These facilitate the easy location of items by locating the correct category and applying item filters to narrow down results.