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RE: Firewire interface

I did some research on Firewire interfaces recently and for me it came
down to the FA-101 and the MOTU Ultralite.  Although it is around $170
more I ended up with the Ultralite.  This is $50 over your price limit
but I would consider it if you like the mixing features.

My requirements:
    - 2 mic inputs
    - as many line inputs as possible
    - at least 4 outputs
    - MIDI
    - software mixer
    - small

One difference is that Ultralite has S/PDIF while the FA has Toslink.
For me S/PDIF was preferable as I have no Toslink devices.

Ultralite has an extra 2 outputs (10 vs. 8) which I didn't really care

The thing that really sold me on the Ultralite though is that it can
function as a standalone mixer and comes with a software control panel
called Cuemix.  Any input can be routed to any output for zero latency
monitoring, you can setup a quad of channels as a stereo effects
send/return, setup different monitor and recording mixes, etc.  This
works great for use with and without a computer.

You can do zero latency monitoring with the FA too but you have less
control over what is being monitored and there is no software mixer.

If this sounds interesting, download the Ultralite manual and read the
section on Cuemix.  If this looks like something you don't need and
S/PDIF doesn't matter then the FA is a good value for an interface
with this number of IO channels.

I didn't like the M-Audio 1814 because I need a MIDI interface
and you have to use a breakout cable to get MIDI connectors.
The Ultralite was only $50 more with better software.

The AudioFire8 looks very nice and would have met my needs but it was
larger than both the Ultralite and FA (14 1/2 inches wide).

The Alesis io 26 was too large for me, I didn't need that many mic
pres.  Same with the Firestudio, it looked nice but I didn't want a
rack device.