External Interface compatibility

The subject seems to be kinda scattered all over the place, do we have a “master list” anyplace of what’s compatible and what isn’t?

My main purpose is to be able to ship digital audio back and forth between my computer/Audacity and both my TASCAM 2488neo and my Philips standalone CD recorder/player. My PC has pretty crappy built-in audio connections, prone to acting like big antennas for every hum and electrical noise you can think of. Aside from that, with the other items being digital why keep an unneccessary analog in the sound chain?

I was looking at a TASCAM US144 but talking to some serious pros they are all telling me that Firewire is the way to go. This was looking too pricey BUT I have spotted the M-Audio Firewire Solo and the PreSonus FireBox interfaces. From what I can piece together here so far, the M-Audio may be dead in the water because of the ASIO issue but I think some of those posts had some age to them so I’d rather ask anyhow and get a fresh perspective. Sounded like the PreSonus may have also had some issues.

FYI, the PC is running XP Home SP3 and my Audacity is 1.2.4

I might be inclined to upgrade my version of Audacity, but before I do I need to find out if I can just download a newer version and keep them side-by-side. Reason is, sometimes associated files (like all the .aup project files) can get completely removed and/or corrupted by just deleting the old version and installing the new in its place. Learned this lesson the hard way. So some input on this aspect would also be appreciated.


Firstly 1.2.4 is absolutely ancient now - 1.2.6 is the latest “stable” version (which itself is ancient). The 1.3.9 available beta is now pretty stable (and later 1.3s are approaching a 2.0 release)

You should have no problem with Audacity in this respect. However I would still be making back-up copies of all critical recordings.

The only thing to note is that 1.2.x projects can be opened in 1.3.x - BUT 1.2 cannot open 1.3 projects - and note that once you have opened a 1.2 project in 1.3 and saved it in 1.3 it become a 1.3. project no longer openable in 1.2.


“waxcylinder” - I got a big kick out of that. :laughing: How “Edison” of you !!! :laughing: “BeatleWho” is something I use in a whole bunch of places and as you might expect, describes my two fave rock bands of all time. That being said, I have some involvement with a Chicago based band called “Lovehammers” who I think are really top-notch. They just put out a new CD called “Heavy Crown” that you might want to check out.

I have been to the “Strawberry Fields” area in NYC’s Central Park where Lennon used to hang out; this was quite a moving experience. Always wished I could take that walk across the street ALA the front cover of the album “Abbey Road”…

Ah, back to business…

It sounds like the .aup’s are pretty safe although it does sound like it would be good to back them up onto a CD or DVD anyhow so just in case anything would happen in an upconversion to a 1.3.x I’d still have a good copy to fall back on. (I think I recall that my 1.2.4 goes back to around October of 2006 or thereabouts…)

Now I hope that someone will come along on the recording interfaces issue… That’s a sticky wicket and one I’d like to get bought and in place soon, as it is holding up several projects. I really don’t want to do them digitally everywhere else only to have to shove them through a crappy analog interface to get tracks into Audacity and back out again…

Hey, I appreciate you stopping by to give your input… and nice to meet ya!


Duane - also a reference to my grey beard and advancing years … :frowning:

Yup I too think you can’t go wrong with the Beatles. Last Christmas my wife gave the CDs from the Anthology series - good to hear all these alternate takes after all these years. And I amused myself earlier this year by using Audacity to make "alternative CDs of the Beatles standard ones with the alternate takes dropped in (when available).


Well, I’m no spring chicken either :laughing: BUT I don’t let that stop me from enjoying music, making music, etc. If anything, I think that helps keep me feeling younger than I am although how the heck does anyone know how they’re supposed to “feel” ???

I’m the product of the “analog on magnetic tape with razor blades on the splice block” era. So all this digital stuff is a learning curve for me but I don’t mind that so much…just hope I can get some help on this interface question in the near future. I think I’d still be “jurassic” but the first time I listened to a CD, I think it was something by The Police waaaay back, just the lack of noise between tracks was startling…after having been used to either tape noise or vinyl noise. NO noise really reaches out and grabs you the first few times.

On the recording side of it, the editing of stuff in software - in this case Audacity - really got my attention. After so many cuts in mag tape having to be right the FIRST time, being able to try one and then UNDO if it isn’t right was also very cool; and then there’s the very “tightness” of the edit. You don’t have garbage artifacts like mis-aligned tape splices do, etc.

A big thing in my book is that you can also “bounce” stuff around from one digital place to another and not have it trashed by noise after just a couple of bounces. I was reminded of this recently when I picked up the Beatles “Past Masters” re-master set and was praying for something miraculous for “She Loves You”…and didn’t really get that something. A little research in Lewisohn’s book “The Beatles Recording Sessions” seems to be pretty clear that the original two-track recording tapes were probably discarded (barring anyone grabbing them out of the dumpster etc) once the mono mix had been done as this was standard practice up into some time in 1963, after which they were apparently saved more frequently. Still, a number of the re-masters state that they were made from “original stereo masters” as opposed to being from the multi-track session tapes. Heck, they might ALL say that - I don’t know what all was saved in a vault and what wasn’t. I’d think if they had the stuff AND it wasn’t badly deteriorated, going as far back to the most original material you can would yield the best product.

Anyhow, “She Loves You” apparently could only be re-done from a mono master and so the level of clarity and definition isn’t quite as good as other songs. Interesting point to me, and how I stumbled onto the comment from Lewisohn about the original 2-track probably having been discarded, is that when the Beatles did the two German versions they had a copy of the instrumental track(s) from “I Want to Hold Your Hand” made and take to Paris, France where they recorded these two songs at the Pathe Marconi studios (so he says) and so you hear effectively the same music behind the German singing. OTOH, with “Sie Liebt Dich” (She Loves You) they made a whole new recording, and I think Lewisohn’s point was that they HAD to because there was no original left to work with. In the several months between they clearly had time to improve their performance as I think “Sie Liebt Dich” sounds like a more “tight” performance and seems better to the ears for me - instruments seem better defined and easier to pick out. Too bad they didn’t do an English version as well while they were at it…

In general, most of these “re-master” discs to me are “headphone” CD’s - I doubt that most people would get that much more out of them through the average speaker setup than they would the previous CD releases. BUT, through the headphones most of what I have heard so far really has that WOW factor. Paul’s bass lines got a definite lift, as they used to just be a bunch of “mud”. Many of them on remaster are quite clear, and on early records there is somebody with a fret buzz that might be off Paul’s bass. I can hear stuff like picks hitting strings, drum sticks striking…which granted most listeners might not care so much about. Those of us who record, however, can appreciate stuff like that.

I had heard about what is alleged to be a “piano bench squeak” as that huge piano chord at the end of “A Day In The Life” fades out, and I think that’s exactly what it is. It’s weak in the right channel (if I don’t have my 'phones on backwards, anyway :laughing: ) but sure sounds like it to me.

Other than funny little stuff like that, there is a certain added clarity on many songs and in the very finest ones, putting the headphones on is a virtual “drop in” to Abbey Road studios (or wherever) while the recordings were being done. It really does sound that “alive” - one of the best I have heard so far is “Hey Jude”. George gets a good showing on “Abbey Road”, both “Something” and “Here Comes the Sun” are just wonderful.

Since I said I’m also a WHO fan (the wife turned me on to them some years ago moreso than I already was) I noted that there are variations on WHO CD’s - I think with “Tommy” and “Who’s Next” and probably others where one disc is OK but I think there were some “imports” (to us stateside anyway) which may have come off a Japanese label that are clearly superior, with “clearly” being a major point. Someone obviously went to some effort to get out a really good, clear and crisp product.

Anyhow taking that all back to the “bouncing” thing - there’s plenty of evidence from these two great bands that how recording, mixing and mastering are done makes a HUGE difference in the quality of the final product in the consumer’s hands…



sorry I overlooked the main purpose of your post earlier.

At least one other user has got the Tascam device to work(ish) - see this thread: https://forum.audacityteam.org/t/missing-words-in-recording/8341/1

We have a sticky thread with reviews of external soundcards which we know play well with Audacity: see here: https://forum.audacityteam.org/t/sound-card-reviews/8375/1

I do seem to recall several posters having problems with the Presonus devices - try using the Search at the top right of the forum page.

Update: I’d also consider looking at the ARTcessories device: http://www.artproaudio.com/products.asp?type=86&cat=9&id=124 I bought an ARTcessories preamp when my old amp failed and feed this through my Edirol sound card. The build quality and performance of the ART pre-amp is impressive - so I would expect the soundcard to perform well. (If you happen to need a phono preamp too - then ART make a bundled device : http://www.artproaudio.com/products.asp?type=86&cat=9&id=128

Whichever you buy it is worth trying to find a retailer who has a returns policy if you cannot make the device work properly.


Thanks, I’ll check into some of this and GOOD point about the return policy…


BTW, is that ASIO licensing issue still an issue?


I get the feeling that it was the MAC users who seemed to be having the worst time with the PreSonus…


And I have posed the question about the ASIO licensing thing elsewhere to see if that’s still a problem, hoping I might pick up some additional info. from others…

It’s odd, but the posts seem to have largely dried up around mid 2007… ???


<<<It sounds like the .aup’s are pretty safe although it does sound like it would be good to back them up onto a CD or DVD anyhow so just in case anything would happen in an upconversion to a 1.3.x I’d still have a good copy to fall back on.>>>

Did anybody else notice that BW is planning on backing up all his AUP sound files to an external drive? Anybody 'splain on BW that those aren’t sound files and you can’t move Audacity Projects?


You CAN move Audacity Projects, but you need understand what is involved to be able to do so reliably. It is explained here: http://wiki.audacityteam.org/index.php?title=File_Management_Tips

Attempting to move projects without understanding the issues is a very quick and easy way of loosing all of your work.

On my desktop I have a folder called Audacity Projects, and it has sub-folders for each different project - these sub-folders contain all of the stuff generated for that project. My hope was to simply duplicate the folder onto optical disc be that CD or DVD or whatever works…that would serve as a backup copy in the off chance that installing a new(er) version of Audacity somehow scrozzled those project files or even deleted them. I’ve had other software do something similar to that before that lost a LOT of important data…


That will work so long as the projects are self contained - the thing that can mess it up is if the project depends on audio files that are external to the project.
In recent versions of Audacity 1.3.x you should test to see if your projects are self contained. To do this, click on “File menu > Check Dependencies…”

Thanks for the good heads up for 1.3.x… If I understand what you’re saying I doubt if I have a problem - so far as I am aware, none of them require anything from “outside” … However it is also possible that there is something that I don’t know about - “it’s not a bug, it’s an undocumented feature!” :laughing: :laughing: :laughing: …and that would be something I would want to know about.

So if Steve is a fiddle, is he a Stradivarius? :laughing: (if he is a six-string fiddle with pickups that says Fender on it, perhaps that would make him a “Strativarius”… :laughing:


“Check dependencies” is documented here: http://manual.audacityteam.org/index.php?title=File_Menu
The issue of external files, and general file management for Audacity projects is covered in this Audacity wiki article: http://wiki.audacityteam.org/index.php?title=File_Management_Tips
(trouble is, no one RTFM :wink: )

My name refers to me being a fiddle player. I play both electric violin (with custom transducers that I make myself) and an acoustic violin that is a German copy of a Gobetti (http://www.dmmphoto.com/violin-03.htm)

Hmmm…so then am I reading correctly that the external files, etc., is only an issue if you have NOT saved the project? I think I saved all my stuff in that folder I believe I mentioned earlier…


I think that’s missing the real issue.

Audacity has 2 methods of importing audio files.

  1. To copy the file into the project - this is the safe option and importing compressed (for example MP3 files) is always done this way.
  2. To read the audio data directly from the file without copying the whole file. This is faster and uses less disk space (no copying is done during the import) but there is a risk that if you save the project and delete the audio file that you “imported”, then there may be data missing from your project (because it was not copied into the project data folder). Recent versions of Audacity give several warning about this and (by default) asks if you want to copy these files (if there are any). Older versions of Audacity were not so helpful.

OK, I think I see what you are driving at. FYI if I didn’t mention it I’m running 1.2.4 currently.

Pretty much everything was saved in each project folder. To excess, I suspect some might say. :laughing: I have a somewhat “pack rat” mentality and my computer habits tend to be no different. And particularly when it comes to stuff that I record, it’s like each step is valuable so it gets saved and given a name; I guess my gut tells me that if I ever want to re-mix or re-do something the more original material I have the better job of it I can do. Does it eat disk space, eeeyup - sure does !!! We’re looking at options including a second mongo HD internal as well as an external HD for storage like one of these 1 terabyte jobbies. So THAT doesn’t really need to be fast per se; just needs to hold a lot.

For me it’s a mix of things including a bunch of stuff from Audacity. The wife does digital photography and this too eats a lot of HD space. Lots of “stuff” could be “held” in an external drive and gotten OFF the c: drive where windows and the active programs do their work. There is no doubt that as we have gotten more and more on c: things have slowed down
noticeably. Spreading stuff out would also give some flexibility in the backup process…by having less on each drive, it means that whenever you back up THAT drive you have less to back up…which means less time, fewer DVD’s. etc.

I noticed recently that the backup software also (apparently) supports Blu-Ray single layer and I think it said one of these discs can hold 25 GB??? That’s like around 6 regular DVD’s if my numbers are correct…not sure about the write speed, will have to look that up but I could see some advantages there.

(In the meantime, still trying to find folks who have used PreSonus Firebox which seems to be the #1 candidate right now and get their reviews…which was the whole point of the exercise :laughing: )



a good plan - but I would recomend not just one of the 1TB jobbies - but two.

This is what I do, maintaining two identical copies of my Audacity created WAV files (and iTunes libraries backups) on two separate USB 1TB discs. And just as well - as one of my 1TB discs failed last year at just under 3 months old (replaced under warranty - but with data loss!). Was I glad I had the second copy …

If I was being really cautious I would also be maintaining an offsite copy too - actually, my son does have a copy of my iTunes libraries (he thinks he is getting my music - but really he is my last-line-of-defence in case of total loss :wink: ).