I've got an M-Audio FireWire Solo and just bought a new Macbook Air so I could run Pro Tools. Didn't think to notice whether the Air would have a Firewire port (it does not). So now I've got a brand new interface and a brand new computer and can't do anything....

What is the best option here? Should I get a FireWire -> USB hub? Or will I be overrun with latency issues? Should I simply return the FireWire Solo and get an interface with USB?

Any help would be much appreciated.

Thanks, Paul

3 Answers 3


I suggest returning the Macbook Air and getting a Macbook with Firewire. USB interfaces will give you latency when monitoring the recording signal, unless you have one that allows for hardware monitoring. (Perhaps someone else can speak about this. My interface is supposed to have this, but I've never used the feature. I also don't know what will work with Protools, I use Logic.)

Getting a Firewire to USB adapter will almost certainly give you latency issues, and could also introduce compatibility issues. If you can live with a little latency and can't return the Macbook Air, I suggest a plain USB interface. It's a simpler option than using the existing one with an adapter.

You also have another option, if your budget allows: Get a dual USB/Firewire interface with hardware monitoring. That'll not only let you monitor the signal being recorded in real time, it'll let you use it with pretty much any computer. (But there will still be latency when using it with USB, even USB2.)

  • +1 Agree: The MacBook Air is not meant to be a mobile audio workstation.
    – NReilingh
    Feb 28, 2012 at 23:05
  • Darn it. Question: Do I even need Firewire in the interface given that the Air has no Firewire? The Macbook Air is so perfect for all of my other business / computing needs. The Eleven guitar interface seems pretty rad from a functionality standpoint, but given that it looks like it connects via USB it would also accomplish what you were talking about. Here is the brochure, which shows the connections on the back link Does this thing look like it would accomplish a latency-free connection with Pro Tools?
    – Paul Grieselhuber
    Feb 29, 2012 at 6:06
  • If you're never gonna have a machine with firewire, then there's no reason to get it. But I've never heard of a latency-free USB audio interface. Feb 29, 2012 at 6:44
  • Guess I've got some more research ahead of me. Thanks for the tips!
    – Paul Grieselhuber
    Feb 29, 2012 at 18:38

I have heard that UA was demonstrating the new Apollo interface using a Macbook Air with Thunderbolt, and an external Thunderbolt audio drive. This would be an amazing setup if it works like they say, however you'd have to wait for the Apollo to be officially released.

If not that route, I'd suggest the same as the above--take the Air back and get a laptop more suited to PT and audio.

  • I really have a hard time believing the Macbook Air can't handle PT - it's fast as all get out, faster than a MBP IMO (solid state FTW). Is the reason people dog the MBA lack of firewire? If so, if you don't mind I'd like to get your opinion on the Avid Eleven guitar interface [link] (avid.com/US/products/eleven-rack_2). I've found one on eBay for $700 (with PT 10), new. It's USB, but I guess I'm just hoping that somehow it will work. I'm a guitarist, and I just need to be able to record, then play back - so is latency really an issue? I'll look in to the Apollo.
    – Paul Grieselhuber
    Mar 21, 2012 at 17:29

are you sure that it's not the new firewire port, because I thought the same thing with my mac book pro but just found out that they upgraded firewire to a new type of chord/input.

I agree that macbook airs are not meant to be pro tools workstations. If not for any other reason, then because they use flash instead of an optical drive. I'd never trust that.

You're better off trading it in either way, but make absolutely sure that the Mac you buy has an operating system that is compatible with your pro tools software.

Too many people never mention that and it can end up costing you a fortune to upgrade your interface on top of buying a new mac.

If you're going to do this, do it soon because I've just heard word that they are discontinuing the mac book pro all together and only selling airs from now on.

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