Big Ben

X-Firewire FAQ’s

The X-Firewire card is an option card that can be installed in supported Apogee converters. It turns the Apogee converter into an audio interface.

Q: What devices can use the X-Firewire option card?
A: The X-Firewire option card can be installed in the AD-16x, DA-16x, Rosetta-800, or Rosetta-200.

Note: Though mentioned in the Big Ben User’s Guide, X-Firewire is not supported in that product.


Q: What computer and operating systems can I connect to an X-Firewire equipped device?
A: You can connect an X-Firewire equipped device to any Mac computer from OSX version 10.3.9 and up, or a PC computer running 32-bit versions of Windows XP SP1 & SP2 (SP3 and later versions of Windows are not supported).


Q: How do I update the firmware?
A: Installation instructions are included with the firmware download file on our website (X-Firewire).

NOTE: There are different firmware versions depending in which product the X-Firewire card is installed. Make sure you download the correct one from our website.

-Special Note for AD-16x & DA-16x: Since these units can operate in a Standard or Advanced routing mode (Users Guide pg 8), each mode requires a different firmware version. See [this KB article] for more information on the Advanced Routing mode firmware.

The update is performed through the standard firewire connection to the computer.

    • On a mac, the firmware can only be updated via OSX 10.6.7 or earlier. If you are running OSX 10.6.8 or higher you will not be able to run the firmware updater application.
    • On a PC, you must have Windows XP SP2-32bit or earlier (SP3, 64-bit, and later versions of Windows are not supported).

Q: Will there be new software at some point that works with the newest version of OSX and Windows?
A: The X-Firewire option cards are discontinued & there is no further Apogee software development for it. That said: although there are some graphical (GUI) anomalies Maestro 1.9.13 appears to still be functional on newer versions of OSX.

NOTE: Currently, you can connect an X-Firewire equipped device to a mac computer and have it automatically work as an audio interface. This is because the X-Firewire card is class-compliant and doesn’t require the installation of additional software or drivers. This will continue to work as long as Apple maintains the Firewire CoreAudio Driver in their OS releases.

Do I need the X-Video Big Ben option to lock to Video?

No you do not.

The standard Big Ben can lock to analog video. NTSC or PAL and all the usual sample rates and pull up/downs.

The X-Video option gives the following extra functionality.

  • Ability to act as a video clock generator.
  • Ability to act as video slave (like a standard Big Ben) but whereby the video outputs are genlocked (cleaned up/regenerated) versions. The X-Video card will maintain the color-phase and field information through “Genlocking”, while simultaneously stripping the original signal from its pixel information.

What is the purpose of the WC OUT/TERMINATION LEDs on the front panel of Big Ben?

When connecting word clock cables, it is essential that the receiving device be terminated at the word clock input. If word clock connections are chained (not recommended but possible with un-terminated inputs), a termination plug should be connected to the word clock input of the last device in the chain. The WCOUT/TERMINATION LEDs indicate whether each word clock output is under-terminated, over-terminated or properly terminated. For more information on the subject of word clock termination, please see the document Big Ben Termination: How and Why