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MacBook Air with Echo ExpressCard/34 Thunderbolt AdapterAdd ExpressCard/34 and SxS Memory Card Reader Support Through Thunderbolt

Thunderbolt technology is amazing—the speed and versatility (supporting high-resolution displays plus high-performance data devices through a single, compact port) make it clear that this is next generation I/O technology. But what about connecting legacy FireWire® and eSATA peripherals, as well as USB 3.0 devices and high speed memory cards such as SxS™ media? Sonnet's Echo ExpressCard Pro expands Thunderbolt connectivity to any computer with a Thunderbolt port, enabling you to use a wide variety of ExpressCard/34 cards to add a range of interfaces and capabilities to your system. Plus, it's the fastest, least expensive SxS memory card reader available!

Imagine adding more FireWire or USB 3.0 ports or a Gigabit Ethernet or eSATA interface through a single Thunderbolt adapter. Echo ExpressCard Pro allows you to choose your connections and add more to your setup. Because this adapter supports hot-swapping(1), you can select and change the ExpressCard to use as needed—it supports most Sonnet ExpressCard/34 cards, such as our FireWire interfaces and SDXC™ card readers, select Gigabit Ethernet adapters, USB 3.0 interfaces, eSATA controllers, and interface cards for our Qio™ E3 and Qio CF4 pro media readers. Echo ExpressCard Pro also supports specialty adapters like RME's HDSPe ExpressCard, plus interface cards for the AJA® io Express and the Matrox® MX02 family. Support for Sony® SxS memory cards simply requires the installation of Sony's latest SxS driver(2).

Set up for this Thunderbolt adapter is simple—just connect it directly to your computer or at the end of a Thunderbolt device chain with a Thunderbolt cable (not included, sold at the Sonnet Online Store). There's no software to install and no power supply to plug in. Plug the ExpressCard/34 card or SxS memory card into the adapter as you would into a notebook computer's ExpressCard slot, install software for the adapter if necessary, and you are ready to work.

Key Features

Expands Your Computer's Connectivity and Capabilities—Enables you to use ExpressCard/34 adapters with Thunderbolt technology-equipped computers

Reads SxS Memory Cards—Ingests footage from SxS memory cards at up to 400 MB/s

Fast Interface—High-performance 10 Gb/s Thunderbolt technology, 5.0 Gb/s ExpressCard 2.0

Supports Common ExpressCard/34 Adapters—Supports a wide range of interfaces from Gigabit Ethernet and eSATA controllers to FireWire and USB 3.0

Supports Qio Interface Adapters—Enables use of Qio, Qio E3, and Qio CF4 pro media readers via ExpressCard interface with Thunderbolt technology-enabled computers

Supports Specialty ExpressCard/34 Adapters— Supports ExpressCard adapters for specialty devices such as AJA® io Express and Prism Sound ADA-8XR and Orpheus


Ingest SxS Media via Thunderbolt Technology

Fastest and Least Expensive SxS Memory Card Reader with Thunderbolt Technology. High-performance SxS memory cards are used in Sony's popular XDCAM® EX™ line of professional HD camcorders and the ARRI® ALEXA line of digital cameras. With the added capability to read SxS, SxS-1™, SxS Pro™ and SxS Pro+ cards, the Echo ExpressCard Pro instantly becomes the least expensive high-speed SxS memory card reader available with the ingest of SxS cards at up to 150 MB/s.

Supports Ultimate Performance with PCIe 2.0 Interface for ExpressCard 2.0 Cards

MacBook Air with Echo ExpressCard/34 Thunderbolt AdapterEcho ExpressCard Pro supports ExpressCard 2.0 cards at full bandwidth for the ultimate performance (for example, Sonnet's newest super-fast pro eSATA cards yield read/write speeds as high as 375 MB/s). In addition, the adapter ingests footage from SxS memory cards at up to 400 MB/s. Echo ExpressCard Pro includes a 5-year warranty and gives you the additional connectivity you need, today.


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Echo ExpressCard/34 Thunderbolt Adapter Interface Options

Versatile Connectivity via Thunderbolt. Sonnet's Echo ExpressCard Pro opens a world of connectivity options to any Thunderbolt technology-enabled computer. ExpressCard/34 adapters, originally intended for use with notebook computers, offer users additional connectivity and functionality beyond what's available through their computers' stock configuration. With Echo ExpressCard Pro, you can have an eSATA Thunderbolt adapter, a Gigabit Ethernet adapter, a USB 3.0 adapter, a FireWire 800 Thunderbolt adapter, or an SDXC or CF Thunderbolt adapter.

See Tech Specs Tab for footnotes
Part No.  
ECHOPRO-E34 Echo ExpressCard Pro
Warranty 5-year
Form Factor Thunderbolt adapter
SxS Compatible Yes
Bus Interface PCI Express 2.0 x1
External Connectors
  • One Thunderbolt
  • One ExpressCard/34
Data Transfer Speeds Up to 5.0 Gb/s
Supported ExpressCard/34 Adapter Types PCIe-based with driver support for Thunderbolt Technology
Dimensions (WxDxH)

2.7" x 4.0" x 1.3" (6.7 x 10.0 x 3.4 cm)

RoHS Compliant Yes
Package Contents
  • Echo ExpressCard Pro Thunderbolt Adapter(3)
  • Documentation

Note: Thunderbolt cable sold separately (available at the Sonnet Online Store)

Echo ExpressCard/34 Thunderbolt Adapter Support


Specifications subject to change without notice.






Mac Compatibility

Mac® with a Thunderbolt or Thunderbolt 2 port

Mac with a Thunderbolt 3 port with an Apple Thunderbolt 3 (USB C) to Thunderbolt 2 Adapter

OS X® 10.6.8+

macOS High Sierra compatible

Windows Compatibility(1)

PC with a Thunderbolt 2 port

Windows® 10, 8, 7

SxS Media Compatibility

Mac and PC compatible

Technical Notes

  1. Under Windows, ExpressCard must be plugged in before plugging in Thunderbolt cable.
  2. Sony's Thunderbolt technology-compatible SxS driver for OS X is available at this Sonnet support link.
  3. Requires Thunderbolt cable, available at the Sonnet Online Store.

Mac LogoroHS Logo

Compatible Products

The following products have been tested and are compatible with Sonnet's Echo ExpressCard/34 Thunderbolt Adapter. Additional products will be added to the list as they add support for Thunderbolt technology. Under Windows, the ExpressCard must be inserted before plugging in Thunderbolt.

Tempo SATA Pro ExpressCard/34

Sonnet Products

Compatible ExpressCard/34 Cards

Sonnet Tempo SATA Pro 6Gb ExpressCard/34
Sonnet Tempo edge SATA Pro 6Gb ExpressCard/34
Sonnet Tempo SATA Pro ExpressCard/34
X Sonnet Presto Gigabit Ethernet Pro ExpressCard/34 (Revison B model only)
Sonnet FireWire 800 Pro ExpressCard/34
Sonnet FireWire/USB ExpressCard/34
(FireWire ports only)
    Memory Card Readers
Sonnet SDXC UHS-I Pro Reader/Writer ExpressCard/34
Sonnet Pro Dual CompactFlash Adapter ExpressCard/34
X Sonnet Qio Pro Universal Media Reader
X Sonnet Qio Pro E3 Pro SxS Media Reader
X Sonnet Qio CF4 Pro CompactFlash Media Reader

Compatible Devices

X Sonnet Qio E3 3-card/device expander


RME HDSPe ExpressCardThird-Party Products

Compatible ExpressCard/34 Cards

PC Mac  
CalDigit FASTA-2ex ExpressCard
CalDigit SuperSpeed ExpressCard
Lexar Professional ExpressCard CompactFlash (CF) Reader(1)
  Matrox ExpressCard/34 adapter
  RME HDSPe ExpressCard
  RME HDSPe MADIface ExpressCard
Sony SxS, SxS-1, SxS Pro, SxS Pro+, SxS Pro+ D Series, SxS Pro+ E Series
Sony QDA-EX1 XQD ExpressCard Adapter




AJA io ExpressThird-Party Products

Compatible Devices

PC Mac  
  AJA io Express(2)
  Magma ExpressBox 1(3)
  Matrox MXO2 Mini
  Matrox MXO2 Mini MAX
  Matrox MXO2 LE
  Matrox MXO2 LE MAX
  Matrox MXO2
  Matrox MXO2 MAX
  Matrox MXO2 Rack MAX
  RME Hammerfall DSP Multiface II(4)

Echo Express Thunderbolt Adapte with FireWire ExpressCard/34Third-Party Products

Compatible FireWire Devices

PC Mac  
  Metric Halo 2882
  Metric Halo LIO-8
  Metric Halo ULN-2
  Metric Halo ULN-8
  PreSonus FireStudio Mobile(5)
  PreSonus FireStudio Project(5)
  PreSonus Studio Live 16.0.2(5)
  PreSonus Studio Live 16.4.2(5)
  PreSonus Studio Live 24.4.2(5)
  Prism Sound ADA-8XR
  Prism Sound Orpheus
  RME Fireface 800
  RME Fireface 400
  RME Fireface UFX
  RME Fireface UCX


= Compatible   X = Not Compatible  Gray Block= Unknown

1. When used with this Sonnet driver.
2. Requires restart.

3. When used with PCIe card compatible with Thunderbolt technology.
4. Tested with RME HDSPe ExpressCard.

5. "We were able to run at our lowest latency settings and even run two 24 channel consoles together on a single 1394 connection all at 32 samples per buffer with no drop outs. We were seriously blown away by how well this worked." – PreSonus


Mac Observer Review

Benchmakring the Sonnet Echo ExpressCard Thunderbolt Adapter
"Due to [Thunderbolt's] limited adoption thus far — Macs and only a few PCs support it — and its significantly higher cost compared to legacy connection options such as USB and FireWire, one of the areas Thunderbolt has yet to penetrate is memory card readers, a niche market crucial to professional photographers and videographers.

Up until recently, most creative professionals were limited to FireWire and USB based card readers which, while once state of the art, have become a significant bottleneck in most workflows that utilize increasingly large photo and video files.

Now, even though there are no dedicated Thunderbolt memory card readers available, Sonnet Technologies has developed a partial solution in the form of its Echo ExpressCard Thunderbolt Adapter…it's by far the fastest option for importing video and images and, until prices come down and dedicated memory card readers arrive, it's the best option for professionals that need speed."

fxphd Review

Bring on the New Thunderbolt Devices
"I've been excited about the possibilities of Thunderbolt on the MacBook Pro since it was announced almost a year ago. The problem has been the wait to get these new small portable but fast peripherals. In a recent fxguide rc podcast, Jason and Mike commented about the delays in seeing products actually shipping. Due to various factors, including a lack of controller chips, Thunderbolt devices have taken a while to materialize. But we're starting to see some cool products come to market that are especially suited to production and post production.

…As far as the Echo Express Adapter, it allows us to plug in the Sonnet Tempo SATA Express 34 and then use the ESATA connection on the RED STATION. This allows us to take advantage of the vastly faster Thunderbolt pipeline as compared to FW800.

How fast? An almost 2.5x speed up from what we were using before…"

IT Enquirer Review

Review: Sonnet Echo Thunderbolt Adapter
"Have a new iMac with Thunderbolt. Have multiple RAID systems in perfect working order, with multiple interfaces on each of them, but lacking Thunderbolt. What should I do?" It's a problem that was looking for a solution: the Sonnet Echo ExpressCard/34 Thunderbolt Adapter…

To round up, I believe the Echo Thunderbolt Adapter is an elegant solution for those who want to use non-Thunderbolt devices on a Thunderbolt equipped iMac or Mac Mini. As long as you're not too rough with the device when a card is inserted, it's a fantastic piece of kit for a low price. Some consider the lack of a second Thunderbolt port to be a disadvantage. I disagree. Just hook up the device as last in the chain and you'll be fine."

Awards & Case Studies
MacDirectory 2011 iWards
MacDirectory 2011 iWards
Quote BubbleSee what reviewers and customers have to say about other Sonnet products in our News section under Product Reviews and Case Studies.


Echo ExpressCard Pro Product Overview (1:09 mins)

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