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Lighting up Dark Fire


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Why has Gibson restricted Dark Fire to only one connectivity option through FireWire alone? FireWire 400 that Dark Fire uses has a maximum cable length of only around 4.5 meters. There were some talks of Wireless FireWire, but that technology has not taken hold.


There's the work in progress IEEE 802.11n, with raw throughputs of 300Mbps and way more range than just 4.5 meters. When this draft is finally approved by IEEE, a firmware upgrade by Gibson can make sure that Dark Fire adheres to the final standard.




Is this too much to ask for?



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The Dark Fire RIP is an Audio Card Developed by Echo Audio- and complies with existing standards for Audio Interfaces.


Its important to be compatible with OSX Core Audio and WIN ASIO DAW Applications - Firewire 400 remains the most desireable interface for multichannel Audio on multiple Platforms (Win / OSX).



802.11n is a Wireless Network protocol with typically asynchronous packets = high latency and overhead.


And there are Zero 802.11n Audio Recording interfaces with Core Audio and ASIO Input drivers.

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If the RIP is an audio card, why not use HDMI? With fiber optic cabling, HDMI can be extended to 100 meters. And HDMI supports 24-bit sampling depth for audio, so there would be no problem with loss of audio resolution, etc:



HDMI is well supported in Windows and OS X.


There still remains the issue that Dark Fire has to support wireless connectivity. With a tried and tested IP stack available in Windows CE that can be embedded in the RIP, I'm sure that Dark Fire can work with IEEE 802.11n:


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HDMI is supported as a Video Output Device - rarely as an Audio Device Output , and extremely rare as an Audio Input device.

There are very few HDMI capture devices - and most do not support Audio over HDMI



Here's the BlackMagic Intensity HDMI Capture card - note only 2Channels of Audio support and due to bandwidth - it must be an internal PCI-Express card.



Here's an HDMI Output card - Output yes - Input No



For most musicians, Its important to have an interface compatible with today's Laptops. Only extremely expensive HDMI Capture devices today work with laptops.


Aja I/O $2700





The fastest Notebook interface is Expresscard 34/54 - and many Notebooks lack one of those.


Firewire remains the best interface for external Audio I/O capture devices - today!


This article explains why Firewire is better than USB 2.0





More about HDMI here:



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HDMI is capable of 8 channel audio. The "HD" in HDMI implies HD audio in addition to HD video, and its actually 24-bit sampling depth for capture. You can have Dark Fire's six strings being output per channel and still have two audio channels left. Software on the PC can do the mixing. Please see: http://www.hdmi.org/


Blu-ray titles touting the venerable DTS-HD Master Audio depend on HDMI output on Blu-ray readers. There's also DisplayPort, though it currently doesn't offer enough cable length. DisplayPort supports 32-bit sampling depth:



Ideally, I still think Dark Fire must use an InfiniBand/IPv6 solution for connectivity to the PC or even the Mac. There's currently a movement to get HDMI routed over IPv6, or possibly over HTTP over IPv6, and InfiniBand/IPv6 will soon become the backbone technology in connectivity for all audio/video/data needs in the home.


So, its my understanding that the Dark Fire team decided to look at the market for technologies needed to connect Dark Fire to the PC or the Mac. I would've thought that Gibson would develop something home grown instead of relying on the broad market alone. If you can develop a digital pickup, connectivity to the PC and the Mac must be child's play.


The PC industry is heading towards InfiniBand running IPv6 for all connectivity, and Gibson would do well to conform.

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