Reviving old Firewire audio interfaces in 2021

I have a Digidesign 003 factory, it has motorised faders, Focusrite preamps, and is still a tasty bit of kit, even these days. It runs over firewire though, which is supported by exactly nothing in 2021.

This is a journey through getting it to work with my mac.

things needed:

  • usb flash drive (eg a 16 or 32 gb thumb drive) – for install media
  • usb drive (eg external 720rpm 500gb drive) – for installation
  • old firewire interface (I have a digidesign 003 factory, and an m-audio firewire 410)
  • an apple firewire to thunderbolt adaptor
  • a mac
  • patience!

Install OSX Sierra to external drive

(thats the newest I could find which was supported for 003 factory)

— download the installer from here:

once downloaded, extract it, it will add an ‘install osx sierra’ app to your applications folder – this app wont open as normal though

get this: and open it
connect a usb flash-drive (not the install drive though)

open the mac-daddy install disk creator
select the usb flash drive, select the osx installer image
click create installer

it will use all your cpu for a while :D

Boot your mac from usb installer,

reboot your mac, hold down the option key, you’ll see a menu appear and you can boot from the new installer.

Plug in the larger install dirve, and when asked, choose to ininstall to your other external drive (eg the 500gb one)

you can now boot from that external drive when its attached

5) install protools (the free version is totally fine for my needs just now, though I do have protools 8 and protools 10 licences, they are a decade old – I should be able to use my old plugins though)

6) your ilok for the licensing

At this point, I have a fully working 003 factory, A fully working osx Sierra and a fully working protools setup!

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