Old 08-26-2016, 07:28 AM   #1
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Default Cheap USB interfaces and latency

I've been looking at cheap USB interfaces (from M-Audio, PreSonus, Alesis etc) to buy for my laptop and I've noticed that they don't come with native ASIO drivers (actually no drivers at all, they're plug'n'play). How to they handle latency and working with virtual instruments?
Have the ASIO4ALL/WDM drivers gotten better, or are the newer CPUs more capable of handling the processing?
Also, is it true that professional interfaces have built in DSPs that can do some of the audio processing and take some load off of the CPU?
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Old 08-26-2016, 09:08 AM   #2
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that's weird that they wouldn't have ASIO drivers. Are you sure? Is this for mac?
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Old 08-26-2016, 10:11 AM   #3
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Alesis indeed points the user to ASIO4ALL drivers, but this feels like an exception not the rule, usually there are native drivers from most manufacturers.

Here's some (real life, measured) lantency data collected by one of forum members:

http://www.kailuamusicschool.com/tec...tency-roundup/
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Old 08-26-2016, 10:50 AM   #4
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Alesis Core 1: http://www.alesis.com/products/legacy/core-1
Presonus Audio Box USB: http://www.presonus.com/products/AudioBox-USB
M-Audio M-Track series: http://www.m-audio.com/products/view/m-track-hub
http://m-audio.com/m-tracks/2x2
Behringer UM2: https://www.music-group.com/Categori...es/UM2/p/P0AVV
This one actually has a link to ASIO4ALL.

These are some of them. There is some official software in the "support" section, but no mention of ASIO, not even in the specs.

Also, another thing that's bugging me is what happens when they drop driver support for them. I have an E-MU PCI audio card on the desktop which works perfectly fine and is still very decent, but only works with Windows 7 due to the drivers. Am I supposed to just throw it away?
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Old 08-26-2016, 11:27 AM   #5
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Audiobox refers to ASIO setting in the manual, so its most likely included in the control panel app. I see the driver M-track 2x2 in their support section, gonna guess it includes ASIO. M-track hub is odd, doesn't really look like a proper interface (no ins). Alesis and Behringer are just damn lazy

Driver obsolescence sucks, yeah.
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Old 08-26-2016, 11:55 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moonfiremusic View Post
I've been looking at cheap USB interfaces (from M-Audio, PreSonus, Alesis etc) to buy for my laptop and I've noticed that they don't come with native ASIO drivers (actually no drivers at all, they're plug'n'play). How to they handle latency and working with virtual instruments?
Have the ASIO4ALL/WDM drivers gotten better, or are the newer CPUs more capable of handling the processing?
Also, is it true that professional interfaces have built in DSPs that can do some of the audio processing and take some load off of the CPU?
They probably use the "class compliant" drivers built into ASIO (Windows) or Core Audio (Mac).

If you are aiming to do live performance or live sound where you need to monitor your output from Reaper with low latency (below the threshold of perception) and including using MIDI instrument plugins, you should really consider a firewire or thunderbolt interface. The money you save with the cheap USB unit will make up for itself in frustration. Especially if you discover the bottom line for the "cheap" system is not possible to use in a live setting no matter what you tweak!
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Old 08-26-2016, 11:58 AM   #7
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They probably use the "class compliant" drivers built into ASIO (Windows) or Core Audio (Mac).

If you are aiming to do live performance or live sound where you need to monitor your output from Reaper with low latency (below the threshold of perception) and including using MIDI instrument plugins, you should really consider a firewire or thunderbolt interface. The money you save with the cheap USB unit will make up for itself in frustration. Especially if you discover the bottom line for the "cheap" system is not possible to use in a live setting no matter what you tweak!
I don't think I've seen a (Windows) laptop with Firewire or Thunderbolt. Aren't they Mac-specific?
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Old 08-26-2016, 12:29 PM   #8
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I don't think I've seen a (Windows) laptop with Firewire or Thunderbolt. Aren't they Mac-specific?
Nope. Standard stuff. There are a whole crop of those watered down "netbooks" with the Windows platform that don't include any ports beyond USB. So you'll see a lot of Windows machines with no ports.

The advice of not going cheap for a live performance system extends to the computer too (Mac or Windows).

Buying a brand new computer with thunderbolt along with a TB interface is a bit pricey. But there's older pro equipment out there that will do the job. Just as good of a job too but easier on the wallet.
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Old 08-26-2016, 05:28 PM   #9
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Hello.

Not sure this is going to help, but, last month I was on a similar quest as you; "cheap USB interfaces (from M-Audio, PreSonus, Alesis etc) to buy for my laptop".

I did a lot of shopping around and finally got this product from Sam Ash:

http://www.samsontech.com/samson/pro...o-gt/studiogt/



Dual active studio monitors
USB audio interface with 16-bit, 44.1kHz/48kHz resolution
4.25-inch magnetically shielded, inverted cone, copolymer woofers
1-inch silk dome high frequency drivers
40 watts (2 x 20) of stereo power
Two XLR-1/4-inch combo inputs with gain control and clip LED
Stereo RCA and 1/8-inch aux inputs
Two 1/8-inch stereo headphone outputs with level controls
2-position switch for no-latency direct stereo and mono monitoring
Mix control to balance computer and audio sources
Includes USB cable and speaker cable




Why did I end up buying this product?

Well... it does the same thing as a USB interface (i.e. lets you plug in instruments, headphones, volume recording and playback nobs, etc), BUT it's all bundled up inside studio monitors!

Ok, the monitor may not be pro-level, but let me tell you this: they sound fantastic and real help with mixing my songs. Yeah, before I was doing it mostly with headphones and really really cheap speakers.

I don't work for Samson, or Sam Ash, but I'm totally satisfied with the product and the online purchasing. I has a quick look at Sam Ash and it seems they don't have that exact same model in stock, but they have the same monitor in a package that offers a microphone (heck maybe you need a mic?):

http://www.samash.com/studio-monitor...e--ssgt4prox-p

As you see the price is not too steep.

Many other types of brands have this USB mixer/monitor bundle.

Anyway, as far as the ASIO and latency, well... on my side of things, I simply plug the monitor into the USB and BINGO - Asio recognizes the device in Reaper, Pod Farm, Kontakt, and all other playback software.

Latency, none. I have a very cheap laptop 2009 (3 gig RAM window 7) and when I plug my guitar and record along a track playing in Reaper they are perfectly in sink. I could be because the headphones and guitar are both plugged in the monitors?! I don't know, but I'm happy it works so well seeing that I'm setup with cheap gear and all...

Here is what the guitars sounded like when recorded through the USB/monitor system: https://soundcloud.com/rdbois/the-ca...john-trudell-1

I wish you well!

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Old 08-27-2016, 07:17 AM   #10
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Win XP/7/8 no problem with USB audio class interfaces. True plug-and-play.

Win10: only USB 1.1 audio class driver is still included. A USB 2.0 audio class device won't work, unless you buy one of the 3rd party drivers.
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Old 08-27-2016, 08:22 AM   #11
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I have a Creative X-Fi (using Creative ASIO when on its own) and I also have Alesis Core 1.
I can use the Core 1 with very low latency indeed from WASAPI input using Windows 10.
It seems as reliable as ASIO too.
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Old 08-27-2016, 08:27 AM   #12
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I don't think I've seen a (Windows) laptop with Firewire or Thunderbolt. Aren't they Mac-specific?
Firewire is much more difficult to find these days for PC (especially laptops) unless things have changed and it's typically important to get at FW adapter that uses the TI chipset. Then you need a FW sound card. I have a 1700.00 FireFace 800 that is useless without a legacy FW interface. That's why my FireFace UFX has both FW and USB.

Re USB: In many cases it is just fine. USB3 is much better. USB2 won't usually have issues unless the simultaneous record track count gets too high (depending on the interface). However, what many don't realize is USB bandwidth issues are often in conjunction with other non-audio devices that eat that bandwidth unless you can truly get it separated from all other USB devices which is many times easier said than done. This becomes especially true with a laptop hence the issues. However, if you are only doing a few incoming tracks live at a time, USB should be fine, even moreso if you use something like RME babyface etc. where they write their own USB implementation.

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Old 08-27-2016, 08:56 AM   #13
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Firewire has been obsolete as a port now since 2013. The thunderbolt port is intended to be used with an adapter. This gives you full firewire performance and is more or less analogous to using an express card (pci connected) adapter in the past. Express34 slots disappeared when thunderbolt came along too for the same reason.

The point however, is that there is pro quality older tech available out there. You can often get deals on things that give you more bang for the buck that a budget offering of a new product.

An older pro interface and a circa 2010 laptop will do magnitudes more than a brand new budget netbook and a cheap USB interface. And it's a lot easier to justify than retooling with a top end thunderbolt machine and new thunderbolt audio interface!

Options.
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Old 08-28-2016, 08:09 AM   #14
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Not that anybody needs a thunderbolt port or interface for a laptop when there are USB3 (and 2) interfaces that perform exceptionally well too. Thunderbolt is 'just' a kind of PCIe interface, but on a nice wire, so for desktop it's kind of irrelevant.

The RME MADface XT does 400 channels of I/O on USB3 for example. I've never met anybody that does that, but I'm sure there are a handful of people out there running laptops and more than 400 channels of IO so Thunderbolt would be great for them.
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Old 08-28-2016, 10:54 PM   #15
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Thunderbolt is actually capable of lower systemic latencies than USB (Firewire bus being the slowest here).

If you happen to have a laptop with the correct FW chip for the interface you're planning to get, then 2nd hand FW could make sense, lots of bang for buck. If you don't, it's most likely USB unless you're on a Mac (which is not a bad choice for a laptop.)

Get a Steinberg or Native Instruments interface and pass on the budget alternatives. These aren't that expensive but have great drivers and build quality for the price.
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Old 08-29-2016, 12:05 AM   #16
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Ummm SCARLETT

cheap


USB

has very good drivers delivering low latency
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Old 08-29-2016, 07:28 AM   #17
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the cheap tascam 16 input interface records 16 tracks without a hiccup on a 2007 laptop's internal drive. It's USB

I use an external drive just in case, and wouldn't trust it for anything that involved fx or monitoring. Just a great little recorder along with just about any laptop.
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Old 08-29-2016, 07:29 AM   #18
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the cheap tascam 16 input interface records 16 tracks without a hiccup on a 2007 laptop's internal drive. It's USB

I use an external drive just in case, and wouldn't trust it for anything that involved fx or monitoring. Just a great little recorder along with just about any laptop.
Sounds about right, I have a laptop from circa 2001 with a single core proc I use for similar purposes.
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Old 08-29-2016, 07:45 AM   #19
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Not that anybody needs a thunderbolt port or interface for a laptop when there are USB3 (and 2) interfaces that perform exceptionally well too. Thunderbolt is 'just' a kind of PCIe interface, but on a nice wire, so for desktop it's kind of irrelevant.

The RME MADface XT does 400 channels of I/O on USB3 for example. I've never met anybody that does that, but I'm sure there are a handful of people out there running laptops and more than 400 channels of IO so Thunderbolt would be great for them.
As noise_construct pointed out, it's not about track count, but latency.
TB would get you the lowest latency right out of the box. The CPU will never be bothered to have to help manage the I/O system. You'll have headroom to increase buffers and still hit the required latency. That means more plugins.
This is EXACTLY what you want for a live performance or live sound system.

If the newer high falootin thunderbolt laptops and interfaces are too expensive, a good 2nd choice is older firewire systems. The cheap USB interface on a cheap USB only laptop might only barely be able to achieve the required latency and have no headroom left before you even insert the first plugin.
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Old 08-29-2016, 08:23 AM   #20
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I have an E-MU PCI audio card on the desktop which works perfectly fine and is still very decent, but only works with Windows 7 due to the drivers. Am I supposed to just throw it away?
You can always try it. On a local forum, someone installed an old Terratec EWS88 MT PCI card on Windows 7 with drivers for XP. With some help from other forum members, he succeeded to get it running. He promptly upgraded to Win10 and that old card is still running fine.
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Old 08-29-2016, 08:27 AM   #21
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As noise_construct pointed out, it's not about track count, but latency.
When comparing FW to TB to USB, we can't omit simultaneous record armed track count because that is the bottleneck with USB. Granted the subject question is about latency, but the moment we start comparing the usability of these protocols (as in choosing one) track count becomes part of the conversation. Meaning, I have great low latency with USB because my device wrote their own stack.
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Old 08-29-2016, 08:41 AM   #22
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As noise_construct pointed out, it's not about track count, but latency.
TB would get you the lowest latency right out of the box.
On a laptop, on desktop PCIe is slightly less involved and probably shaves a few clock cycles off round trip latency.
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The CPU will never be bothered to have to help manage the I/O system. You'll have headroom to increase buffers and still hit the required latency. That means more plugins.
This is EXACTLY what you want for a live performance or live sound system.
But if you run a Mac then the inherently bad (compared to PC) low latency performance may well wipe out any performance increase. But I do agree that PCIe (and by that token, Thunderbolt) has less system overhead than USB on the same system and is capable of slightly lower latency.

And anything that allows you move that Mac closer to PC low latency performance is a great thing, it's no wonder you guys are stoked about this.
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If the newer high falootin thunderbolt laptops and interfaces are too expensive, a good 2nd choice is older firewire systems. The cheap USB interface on a cheap USB only laptop might only barely be able to achieve the required latency and have no headroom left before you even insert the first plugin.
It's pointless choosing Firewire over USB - it's just not better for the vast majority of audio users, if any. When your 2nd computer gets fried/flooded/stolen, at least you can use USB on a new one.
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Old 08-29-2016, 12:25 PM   #23
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But if you run a Mac then the inherently bad (compared to PC) low latency performance may well wipe out any performance increase.
Not sure where you heard that but it's actually usually the opposite.
Interfaces on Macs tend to have the lowest latency. And the new breed of TB interfaces come in the lowest.

There's no rarity of firewire (and now thunderbolt) computers either. Just that the inexpensive netbooks with only USB are popular and abundant.

Again, if you're putting together a system for live performance, don't be stubborn or aloof and dismiss the higher end machines. (Mac or Windows) Monitoring live audio through a computer still isn't just trivial. That's why just about every audio interface made is designed with an integrated low latency mixer for monitoring. SOP is to monitor live inputs with that and let the computer run latent.
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Old 08-29-2016, 03:10 PM   #24
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Not sure where you heard that but it's actually usually the opposite.
Interfaces on Macs tend to have the lowest latency. And the new breed of TB interfaces come in the lowest.
Maybe in an alternate reality.

All of the actual shootouts on the web show an advantage to PC. Even with RTL with the same interface on PC and Mac the PC edges out the Mac the majority of the time. This is just RTL, when you get down to how much stuff you can run at a certain actual (armed or otherwise not buffered) low latency on the equivalent hardware, PC wins every time. I haven't seen a single thing showing otherwise but am all ears.

Also the new breed of Thunderbolt interfaces can just about match RTL on PCIe interfaces that have been around for years now. It's a good development though, don't get me wrong.
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Old 08-29-2016, 11:17 PM   #25
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Maybe in an alternate reality.

All of the actual shootouts on the web show an advantage to PC. Even with RTL with the same interface on PC and Mac the PC edges out the Mac the majority of the time. This is just RTL, when you get down to how much stuff you can run at a certain actual (armed or otherwise not buffered) low latency on the equivalent hardware, PC wins every time. I haven't seen a single thing showing otherwise but am all ears.
All off the "actual shootouts" have nothing to do with real setups. You should read the RME forum once in a while.

If you need a complex setup with many channels (>150), low latency and you are willing to assemble your own hardware, do the necessary testing and tuning, some PC hardware will win. It's not unusual these guys test four, five mainboards before finding one that will work for them. Yoour off-the-shelf Dell won't cut it.

If you want to run an average number of channels, let's say 48 or so, do no setup and just have reasonably low latency, Macs are preferred. No tuning necessary, even no tuning possible.

And then you still run into arbitrary limits, like Protools still not allowing >32 channels with other than Avid hardware.

Firewire is becoming a big problem on the PC side. Not because the PC is bad, but because of limited availability of Firewire cards. Most mainboards no longer have PCI slots and the number of PCIe FW cards is limited. Combo (USB + FW) cards don't work. The same goes for Thunderbolt. There's a number of mainboards that have onboard TB, but it doesn't always work for audio, because the drivers suck. Network, harddisk, no problem. Audio: no go. Microsoft doesn't care about these drivers and the hardware makers don't seem to care much either. Audio is a tiny market...

So the choice isn't between good and bad latency. It's about time.
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Old 08-30-2016, 06:28 AM   #26
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All off the "actual shootouts" have nothing to do with real setups. You should read the RME forum once in a while.
I'm going by a lot more than just shootouts, but the shootouts and benchmarks are measurements so do actually count for something. The general consensus is that you can run around half the number of plugins (if that) at very low latencies on a Mac (assuming no buffering magic going on) as ou can on an equivalent PC. Not a budget Dell, but an equivalent (but much cheaper) PC with roughly the same hardware. Not Hackintosh either, because it's apparently firmware and OS (Bootcamp Windows performs poorly too).
Quote:
If you need a complex setup with many channels (>150), low latency and you are willing to assemble your own hardware, do the necessary testing and tuning, some PC hardware will win. It's not unusual these guys test four, five mainboards before finding one that will work for them. Yoour off-the-shelf Dell won't cut it.

If you want to run an average number of channels, let's say 48 or so, do no setup and just have reasonably low latency, Macs are preferred. No tuning necessary, even no tuning possible.

And then you still run into arbitrary limits, like Protools still not allowing >32 channels with other than Avid hardware.

Firewire is becoming a big problem on the PC side. Not because the PC is bad, but because of limited availability of Firewire cards. Most mainboards no longer have PCI slots and the number of PCIe FW cards is limited. Combo (USB + FW) cards don't work. The same goes for Thunderbolt. There's a number of mainboards that have onboard TB, but it doesn't always work for audio, because the drivers suck. Network, harddisk, no problem. Audio: no go. Microsoft doesn't care about these drivers and the hardware makers don't seem to care much either. Audio is a tiny market...
Audio PC sellers provide tested Thunderbolt options for laptops. And desktop, but there's always PCIe there.
Quote:
So the choice isn't between good and bad latency. It's about time.
You and serr always pretend that the option is between Mac and ferreting around forums, testing stuff and building a PC (which is a very enjoyable pursuit for lots of people).

You never seem to talk about the aforementioned audio PC specialists. Infinitely better knowledge and support than the Apples and Dells of the world, cheaper than the equivalent Macs and come with zero audio issues. Some of them will even install some of your (existing) audio software. That's what "no setup" is, that's a big time saving compared to buying a Mac and you end up with a more suitable product.

The good news is that I'm getting a Mac soon for developing and testing my plugins on so I'll be able to do some experiments.
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Old 08-30-2016, 06:49 AM   #27
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I have used studiocat - and after 4 different builds I've been involved in, in various ways, I have to say, I have never received better support - all PC.
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Old 08-30-2016, 06:51 AM   #28
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I have used studiocat - and after 4 different builds I've been involved in, in various ways, I have to say, I have never received better support - all PC.
Jim Rocks, my current DAW came from him (yes I could certainly build my own box if I chose to). If one lives a reality where they can't appreciate someone else's time and expertise - AKA all they care about is how much the parts cost then they won't like Jim's pricing - If they do appreciate someone else's time and expertise, especially how much them spending theirs saves you loads and loads of troubleshooting time down the road. Call Jim.

I haven't seen anyone thus far who does the proper testing he does while guaranteeing the machine is 100% stable.
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Old 08-30-2016, 07:07 AM   #29
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ADK (Scan are resellers in the UK) too, they've been at the bleeding edge of testing for at least a decade.
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Old 08-30-2016, 07:08 AM   #30
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Jim Rocks, my current DAW came from him (yes I could certainly build my own box if I chose to). If one lives a reality where they can't appreciate someone else's time and expertise - AKA all they care about is how much the parts cost then they won't like Jim's pricing - If they do appreciate someone else's time and expertise, especially how much them spending theirs saves you loads and loads of troubleshooting time down the road. Call Jim.

I haven't seen anyone thus far who does the proper testing he does while guaranteeing the machine is 100% stable.
one of them i built on his recommendation. Still great, he goes above and beyond.
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Old 08-30-2016, 09:08 AM   #31
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You never seem to talk about the aforementioned audio PC specialists. Infinitely better knowledge and support than the Apples and Dells of the world, cheaper than the equivalent Macs and come with zero audio issues. Some of them will even install some of your (existing) audio software. That's what "no setup" is, that's a big time saving compared to buying a Mac and you end up with a more suitable product.

The good news is that I'm getting a Mac soon for developing and testing my plugins on so I'll be able to do some experiments.
Again, have a look at reality and visit RME's fora. There are several customers of aforementioned audio specialists there and they turn to RME for support. Why? Cause the so-called specialists haven't a clue.

Case in specific: a certain card where the old version was tested and advised by RME. The new "Pro" version didn't work. The computer supplier kept insisting it should work. RME promptly ordered one of these cards, tested, found the problem and changed their advice. After being informed by RME, the card manufacturer issued a warning on yheir site. Meanwhile, the "specialist" computer supplier did nothing.

And for VST's: Yes, a lot are less performant as they have been developed with Windows as first platform. You could easily find Mac specific plugins that perform way better. There are very few applications out there that allow a fair performance estimation, as most have a primary target platform. So, fair comparisons are really impossible.

And then, yes, OSX can make developers jump through hoops some times. That's also because there's a lot less corner cutting for the sake of performance at the cost of security.
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Old 08-30-2016, 09:15 AM   #32
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Again, have a look at reality and visit RME's fora. There are several customers of aforementioned audio specialists there and they turn to RME for support. Why? Cause the so-called specialists haven't a clue.
Anyone can call themselves a specialist but that by no means everyone who does, doesn't know their stuff. The cat (pun intended) that Jason and I mention does know his stuff so he wouldn't fall into that category. He also used to be a regular poster here but doesn't post as often as he used to. He tends to build DAWs for more famous clientele if that is the right term.

Re RME: the only beef I have with them is their often holier than thou attitude concerning their own bugs - they are very quick to blame everything but themselves even when the fault is themselves. Witnessed this a few times with BSODs that were clearly under their control to fix but they insisted it wasn't them until the last minute when it became undeniable. That attitude (as much as I like and use their products) is a little annoying to say the least.

Then there was the 1/4" connector debacle where they chose a Neutrik connector that if you simply plug the incorrect type of guitar plug (amazingly there is rounded and diagonal) it gets permanently stuck in the $2000.00 unit of theirs and you have to break the PC connected connector to get it out - they infer the users stupidity for the fact they used a connector that is guaranteed to break if you don't visually inspect every 1/4" cable you use before plugging into their gear. That attitude has caused me to question buying from them again tbh.

Last edited by karbomusic; 08-30-2016 at 09:23 AM.
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Old 08-30-2016, 10:44 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by cyrano View Post
Again, have a look at reality and visit RME's fora. There are several customers of aforementioned audio specialists there and they turn to RME for support. Why? Cause the so-called specialists haven't a clue.

Case in specific: a certain card where the old version was tested and advised by RME. The new "Pro" version didn't work. The computer supplier kept insisting it should work. RME promptly ordered one of these cards, tested, found the problem and changed their advice. After being informed by RME, the card manufacturer issued a warning on yheir site. Meanwhile, the "specialist" computer supplier did nothing.
There are lots of stories of Apple providing defective hardware themselves and refusing to change it. We live in an imperfect world and good luck getting help from the Apple Store with pro audio stuff that requires contacting RME with.
Quote:
And for VST's: Yes, a lot are less performant as they have been developed with Windows as first platform. You could easily find Mac specific plugins that perform way better. There are very few applications out there that allow a fair performance estimation, as most have a primary target platform. So, fair comparisons are really impossible.
Logic X craps out (pops and crackles) with Retina screens when scrolling and tracks are armed (actual low latency, not buffered) at low latencies. Is that platform specific enough? Apparently Apple's answer to that is that it's a thing because pixels.

I said in the past when somebody mentioned the buttery smooth scrolling in Logic that prioritizing buttery cursors is good for marketing/image but bad for audio. Looks like I was on the money with Apple's priorities.

Also re VST in general, there's nothing wrappery for OSX in the two files you need to include in your code to build a VST. Some plugins will be Windows (or OSX) first with wrappers for the platform specific stuff, but others will be all cross platform with no wrapping. But I love the "only True Performance can be seen with AU (even if that AU is made by (cross-platform, but mainly developed on Mac) JUCE too)" Applebot excuse.
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And then, yes, OSX can make developers jump through hoops some times. That's also because there's a lot less corner cutting for the sake of performance at the cost of security.
Pure horseradish; related to this thread, the reason why Microsoft hadn't supported Thunderbolt is because it was a massive security risk. Apple roll out a new OS with shiny features every year and they break stuff every year, hence why experienced OSX users like yourself wait until the dust settles before upgrading whilst new purchasers are stuck with whatever they bought.
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Old 08-30-2016, 01:43 PM   #34
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I'd pick a self or specialist built Windows 10 desktop these days for anything serious or professional, and a Mac laptop simply because it seems that PC laptop manufacturers still can't get their chassis design shit together.

The days of OSX being superior are long gone, since iPhones took over at Apple as their flagship.
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Old 08-30-2016, 10:17 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by karbomusic View Post
Anyone can call themselves a specialist but that by no means everyone who does, doesn't know their stuff. The cat (pun intended) that Jason and I mention does know his stuff so he wouldn't fall into that category. He also used to be a regular poster here but doesn't post as often as he used to. He tends to build DAWs for more famous clientele if that is the right term.
And as you wrote, they're no longer cheap machines...

Quote:
Re RME: the only beef I have with them is their often holier than thou attitude concerning their own bugs - they are very quick to blame everything but themselves even when the fault is themselves. Witnessed this a few times with BSODs that were clearly under their control to fix but they insisted it wasn't them until the last minute when it became undeniable. That attitude (as much as I like and use their products) is a little annoying to say the least.
They're German. Correct, but not overly polite. To the point and not liable to repeat answers. You get RTFM a lot, because they have put a lot of work into that manual and you are supposed to study it. Of course, the trend nowadays is not to read the manual and to expect everything to be intuitive. And that doesn't work with a complex piece of gear like an RME interface.

What was more of a beef for me, was the attitude to put down Mac users. That lasted 'till I wrote a reply that it wasn't commercially intelligent to keep putting down a fair percentage of their customers. Hasn't happened since.

They also have very few bugs lately.

Quote:
Then there was the 1/4" connector debacle where they chose a Neutrik connector that if you simply plug the incorrect type of guitar plug (amazingly there is rounded and diagonal) it gets permanently stuck in the $2000.00 unit of theirs and you have to break the PC connected connector to get it out - they infer the users stupidity for the fact they used a connector that is guaranteed to break if you don't visually inspect every 1/4" cable you use before plugging into their gear. That attitude has caused me to question buying from them again tbh.
Not their fault, really. The company that puts out these wrong Jacks should be crucified. The same goes for the cheaper plastic combo connectors and Switchcraft XLR's (the older green ones). If you use these a lot, the combo's will break apart and/or will break the solder joints.

These Switchcrafts are a little bigger and harder to plug in. They also don't drop out if the XLR they're being plugged into has a little wear. An advantage in live use, but a killer for devices like the Zoom R16. As I have a bunch of these cables, I've measured them and they are just a tiny bit bigger...

A similar problem exists with the Babyface Pro. It doesn't have XLR locks, but the alu case has been designed as to act as a lock. Doesn't seem to work for everyone, tho.

Still, even problems with SSL gear seem to get diagnosed by RME these days, as there is digicheck...
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Old 08-30-2016, 10:29 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by snooks View Post
There are lots of stories of Apple providing defective hardware themselves and refusing to change it. We live in an imperfect world and good luck getting help from the Apple Store with pro audio stuff that requires contacting RME with.
Logic X craps out (pops and crackles) with Retina screens when scrolling and tracks are armed (actual low latency, not buffered) at low latencies. Is that platform specific enough? Apparently Apple's answer to that is that it's a thing because pixels.
This wasn't an Apple card...

It was a problem with a big Windows setup.

I've also never known Apple to put out defective cards to the public, knowingly. When you're talking about repair, that's a different story. But the tech at hand is supposed to test everything when reassembled, no?

Quote:
I said in the past when somebody mentioned the buttery smooth scrolling in Logic that prioritizing buttery cursors is good for marketing/image but bad for audio. Looks like I was on the money with Apple's priorities.
I have no idea what you're goin' on about here. But then I didn't use Logic in ten years or so...

Quote:
Also re VST in general, there's nothing wrappery for OSX in the two files you need to include in your code to build a VST. Some plugins will be Windows (or OSX) first with wrappers for the platform specific stuff, but others will be all cross platform with no wrapping. But I love the "only True Performance can be seen with AU (even if that AU is made by (cross-platform, but mainly developed on Mac) JUCE too)" Applebot excuse.
I have no idea what you're goin' on about here. My comment was about code in general. And if you say MySQL performs badly on OSX, compared to Debian, I'll agree.

With audio, it just isn't that simple, as there is hardware involved.

Quote:
Pure horseradish; related to this thread, the reason why Microsoft hadn't supported Thunderbolt is because it was a massive security risk. Apple roll out a new OS with shiny features every year and they break stuff every year, hence why experienced OSX users like yourself wait until the dust settles before upgrading whilst new purchasers are stuck with whatever they bought.
TB, just like FW is a big security risk, once you get physical access to the machine. That hasn't ever stopped MS from adding anything. Besides, it's not really relevant, as the problem in both cases is inherited from PCI and opening the case will provide the same point of entry...
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Old 09-30-2016, 02:02 AM   #37
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Default Cheap USB interfaces

Hello, guys!
I have almost the same question - I need a cheap USB audio interface for my home studio.
Purposes:
1. Recording sound of guitar cab 1x12" with one or two mics.
2. Recording bass guitar with the instrument input (maximum input level is important).
3. Recording vocals with condenser mic (phantom power needs).
4. Monitoring by headphones with zero latency.

I have a notebook with Core i5, 4Gb RAM, Windows 10 x64.

I have 5 options for my budget:
1. Focusrite Scarlett Solo 2nd gen
2. Behringer UMC 204HD
3. PreSonus AudioBox USB 2x2
4. M-Audio M-Track MKII
5. Steinberg UR12

Please, give me advice - what kind of interface is more preferred in this case in your opinion, and, probably, you used some of it - how your impression about them?
Thanks, in advance.
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Old 09-30-2016, 06:35 AM   #38
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Not their fault, really.
They designed, built the machine and sourced the parts, so I'll stop with it isn't the user's fault which is the exact excuse they used to try to not accept responsibility. ~40 years of using guitar plugs without an issue, not customer's fault they f'd that up in ~2014.
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Old 11-08-2016, 03:59 AM   #39
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This is really a great stuff for sharing. Thanks guys.
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Old 11-20-2016, 01:23 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by moonfiremusic View Post
Also, another thing that's bugging me is what happens when they drop driver support for them. I have an E-MU PCI audio card on the desktop which works perfectly fine and is still very decent, but only works with Windows 7 due to the drivers. Am I supposed to just throw it away?
Yup. I have the same interface, 1616PCI running on Win 7 Pro (32 bit).

I called EMU and asked them. They very bluntly and unceremoniously told me no new drivers for my existing interface beyond what they have already "gone out of their way to provide" for 32 bit Windows 7. IF i want to go beyond Windows 7 32 bit then I have to buy a brand new 1616PCI.

And now I'm not cinvinced that will be any different. If you look at their web site the specs on the 1616PCI say nothing about Win7, they only say XP. Windows XP has been dead support wise for almost 5 years now.

I think they want to steer people to the UR series.
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