XLR to USB or Firewire Audio Interface?


New Member
I'm a complete novice when it comes to computer recording. Just wondering if anyone can tell me where I can find the basics on connecting my bass to my macbook pro to use with Logic Express. Can I get a decent signal from USB or is Firewire way better? I'm using a boss gt-6b effects processor, which has an xlr output and a digital output. Any chance of going direct out of the gt-6b (using the xlr out or digital out) into the macbook pro OR should I just keep it simple and use a 1/4 inch to usb cable directly from my bass into the macbook OR must I fork out the $200+ for a Firewire Interface? If Firewire, any recommendations on which one is best for recording bass guitar? Any and all responses are greatly appreciated!! My apologies if this has already been discussed.


I think most would agree that getting a dedicated audio interface (usb or firewire) would be the way to go - you get increased performance and better quality. Fortunately, there are plenty of options out there. I've been using M-Audio products (lots of them) for over 10 years and have had good luck w/ them, so when I bought my MacBook, I opted for one of their USB interfaces.

Their most basic Fast Track USB sells for $119 on Musician's Friend. It has XLR and regular 1/4 input. The built-in preamp sucks, but then again, w/ the Gt-6b, you shouldn't need to use that feature. The outputs are RCA, but depending on your use, this could be sufficient.

I'm not actually specifically recommending that unit, or M- Audio products - just giving you an idea of one of the options. There are countless, including Firewire interfaces, and hopefully, more people will chime in w/ suggestion that could fit your need even better.


New Member
Thanks, Rain! USB seems less expensive than firewire. Do you think it's worth paying a little extra for Firewire, or will a USB interface give me good enough quality?

Peter Ostry

Staff member
... will a USB interface give me good enough quality?
This is not a matter of sound quality. USB and Firewire both transport digital data and at this stage it would be too late to deal with the sound itself. The quality comes from the performers through instruments, microphones, preamps, probably additional hardware, and finally to a certain degree from the A/D conversion. Afterwards, talking about USB and Firewire, we talk about transporting data using network technology.

Manufacturers of top gear tend to use Firewire to transmit their converted data because they think that people who buy such an interface may have a lot of data, where Firewire is an advantage. Another point may be that we have many USB devices today, people are forced to use USB hubs and those boxes are not always reliable as we know.

USB is a rather "loose" connection technique, actually the most flexible networking technique we ever had for our computers. As a downside, we can easily construct little networks which work only accidently. Most of the time? Sometimes? Only with "this" plug in "this" hub? We all have our experiences.

If you think that you have your USB network under control and don't want to transport many channels of audio simultaneously, maybe in both directions, there is nothing to say against USB. And some manufacturers known for the good quality of their devices already offer USB audio interfaces.

In other words: A crappy USB interface would not sound better with Firewire and a state-of-the-art Firewire interface would not sound different over USB. It is a matter of data traffic and integration into your setup.


New Member
Re recommending USB interfaces. I have had the M-Audio Fast Track Ultra 8R. On paper it is great. But midi has never worked and it does not now work at all with Mac OS 10.6.6. Avoid.