Well, Perhaps I've been lucky with my firewire audio interfaces... or I just treat mine with kid gloves (not suggesting anything about Bill here of course! ;-) ... but I've been fine.
Having said that, Bill's advice is stellar and I'm one for being cautious in favor of risk taking when it comes to matters of digital data or equipment for a gig.
Definitely when Bill Bugess' gives advice, I'd listen and take note!
... hmmmm... the Apogee Duet is a Lovely device... with a capital "L". It is pretty small and compact and the preamps are better than anything else in it's class. Some people don't like the hanging connections of wires for the inputs and output cables... which doesn't bother me. It is only 2-in and 2-out and does not have MIDI connections. So if you need more than 2 inputs or 2 outputs you'll need something else.
The MIDI side of things would be fine if you're connecting MIDI to USB via any kind of small converter... I think M-Audio might make something.
The Duet also has integrated control panels within Logic, STP, etc... very cool.
OK. Enough Apogee promotion for now ;-)