PC users - What mixer/sound card works?

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
sizzler
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PC users - What mixer/sound card works?

Post by sizzler » Fri Mar 12, 2010 8:00 pm

Hi, I wanted to get an idea of what brand/model of mixer/sound card do PC users use with Ableton.

I currently use an M-Audio Fast Track Pro that's not working out for me too well. I have to run it a 512 on the buffer resulting in a total latency of 25-28ms. I have noticed this being an issue when recording guitar and keeping in time with my drum track. If I run the sound card any lower I get noise or crackles. Same for Guitar Rig. And I have gone through all painstaking troubleshooting: Drivers, different inputs, different cable, different computer, uninstall-reinstall, etc.

So, are there any PC users that could recommend a stable and low latency mixer/sound card? Something with at least 2 mic/inst inputs is what I would be looking for. I just want a couple models that I can start researching.

OS: Window 7 64
Ableton 8.1.1

AceLuby
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Re: PC users - What mixer/sound card works?

Post by AceLuby » Fri Mar 12, 2010 8:08 pm

I use the M Audio fire wire solo. I have to keep it around 512, but the latency is not audible to the audience. We loop guitar, bass, hand drums, and other instruments at live shows w/ no problems.
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Donnie
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Re: PC users - What mixer/sound card works?

Post by Donnie » Fri Mar 12, 2010 8:12 pm

emu 1820m on my desktop and PreSonus Firestudio Mobile on my laptop

leedsquietman
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Re: PC users - What mixer/sound card works?

Post by leedsquietman » Fri Mar 12, 2010 8:14 pm

What are the specs on the computer you are running ?

Have you tried using direct monitoring to record ?

What is the VST buffer set at - if it as defaulting to 'same as audio buffer' this means an extra 512 samples of latency are being added ON TOP of the 512 samples for audio, i.e. 1024 samples. Try turning this buffer down (this should help vst effects such as Guitar Rig or softsynths etc).

Have you disabled your network card, wifi, CD/DVD rom driver and updated your graphic card to the latest driver (and try taking the hardware acceleration down a notch). I need to do these fixes to get acceptable latency on my Vista laptop, where I can run Live at 128 samples using asio4all on the onboard card, or 192 samples on my Alesis firewire card (on smaller projects at least, stepping up to 256 or more samples and beyond when loading more tracks and FX on).
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HeadrickProductions
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Re: PC users - What mixer/sound card works?

Post by HeadrickProductions » Tue Mar 16, 2010 12:56 am

sizzler wrote:Hi, I wanted to get an idea of what brand/model of mixer/sound card do PC users use with Ableton.

I currently use an M-Audio Fast Track Pro that's not working out for me too well. I have to run it a 512 on the buffer resulting in a total latency of 25-28ms. I have noticed this being an issue when recording guitar and keeping in time with my drum track. If I run the sound card any lower I get noise or crackles. Same for Guitar Rig. And I have gone through all painstaking troubleshooting: Drivers, different inputs, different cable, different computer, uninstall-reinstall, etc.

So, are there any PC users that could recommend a stable and low latency mixer/sound card? Something with at least 2 mic/inst inputs is what I would be looking for. I just want a couple models that I can start researching.

OS: Window 7 64
Ableton 8.1.1

I had to have the same latency with that little mbox 2 mini. It makes it very hard for me to record with accuracy (I guess I'll have to learn). What I want to do is rewire record into ableton and play that way but the new beta 64 bit drivers they released are still a little sketchy, soon enough....

Please post if you can get that latency down....

Thanks
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mr.ergonomics
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Re: PC users - What mixer/sound card works?

Post by mr.ergonomics » Tue Mar 16, 2010 2:29 am

if you have the money get an RME interface.

UncleAge
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Re: PC users - What mixer/sound card works?

Post by UncleAge » Tue Mar 16, 2010 12:49 pm

mr.ergonomics wrote:if you have the money get an RME interface.
Agreed. But if you don't have the funds to get an RME take heed to leedsquietman's post. And if you choose a firewire interface remember the chipset in your computer matters. I have had success with Echo, Focusrite and M-Audio. But I had to iron out the system tweaks first.

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Re: PC users - What mixer/sound card works?

Post by rikhyray » Tue Mar 16, 2010 1:02 pm

Donnie wrote:emu 1820m on my desktop and PreSonus Firestudio Mobile on my laptop
Finally someone who got the new Presonus, there are many people interested in it here but so far no any reviews anywhere. Could you share some details, what latency (your computer specs plz), how it compares to 1820 soundwise and just some general impression. It looks like the most interesting card for live use, compact size, lots of ins... Thanks in advance

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Re: PC users - What mixer/sound card works?

Post by Donnie » Tue Mar 16, 2010 2:34 pm

Still putting it through its paces so I dont feel I could give a in-depth review at the moment. So far no issues though, havent had any problems with it on live 8.1.1 running Win 7. Ill have to check latency when I get home, I want to say right now its at 256 / 18 ms or so but not positive. Im running it on a lenovo i7 and my firewire expresscard doesnt have a TI chipset (still no problems though) so we will see how it holds up once I start filling those inputs (will also be getting a card with a better chipset shortly.)

Only annoyance is the firewire indicator led flashes constantly when the computer is off/unplugged. On the bright side, if you play live with it there is no disputing when the device has become unplugged lol.

leedsquietman
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Re: PC users - What mixer/sound card works?

Post by leedsquietman » Tue Mar 16, 2010 9:47 pm

The firewire indicator will go off when the computer is turned off, or even if you put it into sleep. That's normal as typically the firewire link is dropped when the computer is not running off a power source, or vastly reduced (as in sleep) mode.

What I find more annoying is that my laptop firewire cable seems to like to slide loose, and that also breaks the connection and sometimes requires a reboot to redetect the link, or if you knock into the cable, even gently, near where it connects with the laptop or audio interface, it can drop the link.
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Re: PC users - What mixer/sound card works?

Post by SubFunk » Tue Mar 16, 2010 9:56 pm

rikhyray wrote:
Donnie wrote:emu 1820m on my desktop and PreSonus Firestudio Mobile on my laptop
Finally someone who got the new Presonus, there are many people interested in it here but so far no any reviews anywhere. Could you share some details, what latency (your computer specs plz), how it compares to 1820 soundwise and just some general impression. It looks like the most interesting card for live use, compact size, lots of ins... Thanks in advance
i am totally interested in a review as well.
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Re: PC users - What mixer/sound card works?

Post by lysdexic » Wed Mar 24, 2010 1:19 pm

what latency (your computer specs plz)
i just got a firestudio mobile.

i'm running a vista 32 bit on a core2duo p9300 2.4ghz asus laptop with 4g ram. i disabled my onboard RICOH 1394 host controller, running it through a TI chipset firewire expresscard.

i get dropouts running less than a 2048 sample buffer size with the cpu sim running at 80%.

overall latency 55.2ms :|

seems large for the specs i'm running.. shouldn't i be getting much lower latency?

sizzler
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Re: PC users - What mixer/sound card works?

Post by sizzler » Thu Mar 25, 2010 6:02 pm

My computer specs for my Dell Studio 14z are:

Intel Core 2 Dou P8600, 2.4GHz, 1066Mhz, 3M L2 Cache
3GB, DDR3, 1066MHZ, 1SoDIMM
NVIDIA MCP79MX
250 GB HARD DRIVE, 7200 RPM
Window 7 64
M-Audio Fast Track PRO USB

I have tried using direct monitoring but with no success below 512 samples.

I never knew about the VST buffer option, that was set to ’same as audio buffer’. I changed it to 32 and it seems better. I might be able to work with 512 samples now, I’ll experiment some more next time I record.

As for wifi, network card, graphics, and DVD drive drivers… I have tried disabling them and updating the graphics drivers while lowing the video hardware performance… I still get unwanted noise and pops below 512 samples.

I guess 512 sample is the absolute lowest for my computer, but I might be able to work with this after learning about the VST buffer option.

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Re: PC users - What mixer/sound card works?

Post by SubFunk » Thu Mar 25, 2010 7:06 pm

lysdexic wrote:
what latency (your computer specs plz)
i just got a firestudio mobile.

i'm running a vista 32 bit on a core2duo p9300 2.4ghz asus laptop with 4g ram. i disabled my onboard RICOH 1394 host controller, running it through a TI chipset firewire expresscard.

i get dropouts running less than a 2048 sample buffer size with the cpu sim running at 80%.

overall latency 55.2ms :|

seems large for the specs i'm running.. shouldn't i be getting much lower latency?
i think yes,

i run a firebox (i am not sure about how much different the drivers for that card compared to the mobile is, though) under OSX 10.6.2

and run 256 and have no problems with 128 samples either.... no matter what software i use...

the main reason i like the card (apart from good value for money) even it is surely not the best sounding card on earth is the fact of a rock solid performance... it is a real workhorse...

but even under windows 2048 and over 50ms latency sounds like something is not right.

did you tried asio4all?
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lysdexic
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Re: PC users - What mixer/sound card works?

Post by lysdexic » Fri Mar 26, 2010 7:33 am

i run a firebox (i am not sure about how much different the drivers for that card compared to the mobile is, though) under OSX 10.6.2

and run 256 and have no problems with 128 samples either.... no matter what software i use...

the main reason i like the card (apart from good value for money) even it is surely not the best sounding card on earth is the fact of a rock solid performance... it is a real workhorse...
i agree. i've gone back to using my firebox. i get no dropouts running 80% cpu sim with 704 samples

overall latency: 24ms - less than half the firestudio mobile.

might be a driver issue, didn't try asio4all. i'm giving it back and sticking with the firebox for now till i upgrade - sidestepping wasn't worth it.
I never knew about the VST buffer option, that was set to ’same as audio buffer’. I changed it to 32 and it seems better. I might be able to work with 512 samples now, I’ll experiment some more next time I record.
right. i've always left mine as "same as audio buffer" seeing as the manual said this would optimize performance with most cards. might try it at different settings and see if i can get my latency down. would be nice to play my triggerfinger more. at the moment it feels too "out"

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