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Apogee Electronics Corporation is joining the move toward native systems and open standards with the introduction of a new interface card that supports the IEEE1394, or "FireWire", high-speed interface.

The new FireWire AMBus card plugs into any AMBus-equipped system, such as the popular AD-8000 and the acclaimed Trak2, to provide a direct, high-speed digital link to a host computer without special PCI or other computer-based I/O cards, while ASIO drivers, coupled with Core Audio support in the upcoming Macintosh OS X update, 10.2, allow a system equipped with the card to work with almost any audio software.

"We call our IEEE1394 implementation 'TruWire', said Apogee's CEO, Betty Bennett, "because we have taken care to implement the latest open standards for this format." She went on, "Our customers have indicated that they would like the ability to hook up our hardware without the complications of a proprietary system: they want everything to talk to everything else -- any computer, any software, any hardware -- and we agree. We want open systems and open standards."

Two ports on the card enable multiple FireWire-equipped systems to talk to each other and create an audio network. "If all the equipment has implemented the international standards," said Bennett, "everything will work together, whoever the manufacturer. Now you can put an Apogee system almost anywhere."

As the technology develops, Apogee will insure that its FireWire implementation keeps up with emerging standards, says Bennett. "There are still some issues to be ironed out, especially at high sample rates," she said, "but we have a carefully-planned development strategy to make sure we stay current," she concluded.

The new FireWire AMBus card will be available by the end of April, and will be priced in line with existing AMBus cards.

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