Best USB Audio Interface for PBG4/800, 10.2, and Live?

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
Geraldo
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Location: San Francisco, CA USA

Post by Geraldo » Wed Oct 02, 2002 12:50 am

Well, I am sorry to hear that the EMI 2/6 is still not working for some people. It sounded like some of you were saying it is ok now. So anyway, why is Live Blindspot only interested in USB audio? You have a firewire port on the Powerbook so what's wrong with the 828? That is a product I can recomend. Has Blindspot considered the 828?

jazze

Post by jazze » Wed Oct 02, 2002 12:57 am

hmmmmm, as the French say - that's live......
Testing testing, paying for it, waiting for more beta testing... but live goes on

The Kooky Scientist
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Post by The Kooky Scientist » Wed Oct 02, 2002 1:38 am

Well Geraldo, this has nothing to do with the performance of the emi 2/6. There are no issues with audio out in OS X 10.2.1

The issue is with either OS X or Ableton Live and what is happening visually. This screen redraw latency is apparent even if I don't use the emi 2/6.

Geraldo
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Location: San Francisco, CA USA

Post by Geraldo » Wed Oct 02, 2002 3:50 am

Ok, I am a little confused about which issue. The screen redraw sounds like a Jaguar thing, maybe? I have heard others complain about the Aqua interface taking a lot of CPU that could be used for audio. I thought Quartz Extreme was supposed to solve that but apparently not. But I digress!
I was talking about whether or not the EMI 2/6 drivers had improved audio performance because when they 1st came out there were complaints about latency and pops and dropouts. If you are saying the screen redraw is the problem then I am really confused because I thought this thread was about audio interface performance. Maybe I stumbled into the wrong thread. Is this what Alzheimers feels like?

Alex Reynolds
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Post by Alex Reynolds » Wed Oct 02, 2002 5:52 am

If you have a supported AGP graphics card in your Mac, then you can take advantage of Quartz Extreme.

This offloads screen composition load to the GPU (graphics CPU) on the graphics card.

If you don't have a suppported GPU + AGP bus, then your G3 or G4 CPU gets used for all the cool OS X features, like anti-aliasing and transparency.

A high CPU load (40%+) from running Live on a non-QE machine will cause your mouse or keyboard event (click-and-drag or keypress) to be in the "list of things to do" once the Mac gets done processing your sound.

Even with a QE-machine, you get past 80% and the CPU has to add your interface event to change the program parameters. This has nothing to do with screen refresh per se, but the simple fact that you are running out of CPU juice to alter internal program parameters, and the microkernel in OS X has to juggle your request with everything else going on.

The lag you see is not the graphics card being slow but that the CPU is taking awhile to adjust the internal parameter being changed.

Once the CPU does its thing, the GPU will take over and redraw what it should.

This becomes clear if you understand the MVC, or model-view-control paradigm of object-oriented GUI programming.

The controller is being changed ("C") -- you drag a slider, for example -- which changes the internal data stored in the data model ("M"), which in turn triggers the view ("V") to redraw the GUI.

Very roughly speaking, in a QE-capable machine, the CPU handles C and M, and the GPU on the graphics card handles most of V.

Otherwise, in a non-QE machine, the CPU has to do all three.

Though there is a trick to set it up, QE does not work well on PCI bus machines because the graphics card shares bandwidth with all the other components that are connected to the internal PCI bus, like the network adapter and storage devices. AGP bypasses this potential traffic jam, talking directly with the CPU.

A solution to poor performance is to be found in one of several options:

-- go back to OS 9 to scrape out a few extra CPU points
-- buy an AGP-capable Mac if you want to run OS X comfortably
-- e-mail/politely nag Steve Jobs to get him to buy out Ableton and screw over the Wintel lusers (hey, if we can't get Fruity Loops and decent Cubase support then screw 'em right back)
-- e-mail/politely nag Ableton to improve the overall performance of the application, to optimize its plug-ins with the API that Apple provides for enhancing code to gain Altivec improvements, and to fix the VST+Live plug-in bug; or,
-- give in, buy a Wintel, and help make Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer a few dollars richer

-Alex

Blindspot
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Joined: Mon Sep 30, 2002 5:27 pm
Location: El Cerrito, CA

Post by Blindspot » Wed Oct 02, 2002 7:28 am

Geraldo wrote:Well, I am sorry to hear that the EMI 2/6 is still not working for some people. It sounded like some of you were saying it is ok now. So anyway, why is Live Blindspot only interested in USB audio? You have a firewire port on the Powerbook so what's wrong with the 828? That is a product I can recomend. Has Blindspot considered the 828?
I can only speak for myself and my system (PBG4/800) Geraldo, but thanks to some rather rudimentary (but crucial) help from Kooky, I was able to get the EMI 2|6 working well on my setup. Emagic wasn't exactly completely clear about mentioning the Audio/Midi Setup utility which was the key to fixing my problem. But that's prolly cuz the driver was released before Jaguar, which introduced the Aud/Mid utility.

I just got the EMI 2/6 last week and the Powerbook itself 2 weeks before that. If the EMI didn't work I was gonna take it back and go for something else. But it looks like it's gonna work out fine. Of course I'm interested in the 828 and it sounds great but as a hobbyist musician price points are very important to me. For the price of the 828 I can have the EMI, Oxygen, and MPD-16 (or perhaps that airport base station :wink: ). I like the portability of the EMI 2|6 as well. So far it is being everything I need it to be.

Kooky's problem is not with the EMI but with his screen redraw which makes Live near unusable. I think the 550 has 16MB VRAM. Don't know what else might be causing the prob. I got fed up with my PBG4/400 and sold it to get the 800. Perhaps he might consider doing the same.
PBG4/800, OSX10.2, EMI2|6, Oxy8, MPD16, Reason2, Live15

Blindspot
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Location: El Cerrito, CA

Post by Blindspot » Wed Oct 02, 2002 7:35 am

Well put Alex! :D
PBG4/800, OSX10.2, EMI2|6, Oxy8, MPD16, Reason2, Live15

Geraldo
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Location: San Francisco, CA USA

Post by Geraldo » Wed Oct 02, 2002 5:00 pm

Wow Alex, you rock. So, I have no idea if my Tibook/800 is QE capable or not. How do I tell?

Blindspot, I got my 828 for $599., which is only $100. more than the EMI 2/6. But your unit is more portable. I find the 828 to be "crackle-free" in Jaguar. Are you getting any clicks or glitches with the EMI 2/6?

Alex Reynolds
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Post by Alex Reynolds » Wed Oct 02, 2002 5:06 pm

The TiBook 800 is QE-enabled (I know because that's what I use).

But to confirm, you can use the QE Check tool:

-- http://www.entropy.ch/software/macosx/# ... tremecheck

-Alex

Blindspot
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Sep 30, 2002 5:27 pm
Location: El Cerrito, CA

Post by Blindspot » Wed Oct 02, 2002 5:34 pm

Geraldo wrote:Wow Alex, you rock. So, I have no idea if my Tibook/800 is QE capable or not. How do I tell?

Blindspot, I got my 828 for $599., which is only $100. more than the EMI 2/6. But your unit is more portable. I find the 828 to be "crackle-free" in Jaguar. Are you getting any clicks or glitches with the EMI 2/6?
Actually I picked it up for $249.00 plus tax at Guitar Center. The difference would be almost $400 after tax. Lotta dosh for me bro.

Gotta love livin' next to Guitar Center, it's the gear whore's crackhouse.
PBG4/800, OSX10.2, EMI2|6, Oxy8, MPD16, Reason2, Live15

Praveen

Screen Draw's ok

Post by Praveen » Wed Oct 02, 2002 7:07 pm

Im on a Tibook 667 g4 and my emi 2/6 works fantastic. The screendraw during live performance only affects the graphical front end, but the effect of my turning the knobs on my oxygen 8 is heard instantly. I'll deal with a little graphical slow down as long as the actual sound outputted isnt effected :)

praveen

Bill Gates

Post by Bill Gates » Wed Oct 02, 2002 11:34 pm

Alex Reynolds wrote:If you have a supported AGP graphics card in your Mac, then you can take advantage of Quartz Extreme.

This offloads screen composition load to the GPU (graphics CPU) on the graphics card.

If you don't have a suppported GPU + AGP bus, then your G3 or G4 CPU gets used for all the cool OS X features, like anti-aliasing and transparency.

A high CPU load (40%+) from running Live on a non-QE machine will cause your mouse or keyboard event (click-and-drag or keypress) to be in the "list of things to do" once the Mac gets done processing your sound.

Even with a QE-machine, you get past 80% and the CPU has to add your interface event to change the program parameters. This has nothing to do with screen refresh per se, but the simple fact that you are running out of CPU juice to alter internal program parameters, and the microkernel in OS X has to juggle your request with everything else going on.

The lag you see is not the graphics card being slow but that the CPU is taking awhile to adjust the internal parameter being changed.

Once the CPU does its thing, the GPU will take over and redraw what it should.

This becomes clear if you understand the MVC, or model-view-control paradigm of object-oriented GUI programming.

The controller is being changed ("C") -- you drag a slider, for example -- which changes the internal data stored in the data model ("M"), which in turn triggers the view ("V") to redraw the GUI.

Very roughly speaking, in a QE-capable machine, the CPU handles C and M, and the GPU on the graphics card handles most of V.

Otherwise, in a non-QE machine, the CPU has to do all three.

Though there is a trick to set it up, QE does not work well on PCI bus machines because the graphics card shares bandwidth with all the other components that are connected to the internal PCI bus, like the network adapter and storage devices. AGP bypasses this potential traffic jam, talking directly with the CPU.



-Alex
ROTFLMAO- so is this what mac users mean when they say macs are easier than pc's?? I hope not. Geraldo your a smart lad man don't be a victom of apple pride. Why would you go through all of the above just to have a machine that pales in comparison to lesser spec machines even after you finally get it working right.
I used to use a mac, and when people saw my mac i felt good, but when they stopped looking i felt bad cause not enough power.
this is objectivity

pc's-more programs
pc's- better programs (except logic now, but then again if apple does to
logic what it does to macs, then i don't want it
anyway)
pc's- cheaper
pc's- more variety (always good for music)
pc's- more power (always good for music)
pc's- less problems- think about it, all you ever hear people say is IRQ!
IRQ!!, BUT I know that you know what an irq problem
is, it's the easiest problem to fix, just disable another irq that your'e not using, or upgrade your bios to be able to use more than
15.- A piece of cake compared to mac problems.

Dude for what you paid for that G$4, and for what you could still sell it for used you could get a laptop that smokes it, and a emi 2/6, and an ext. firewire drive plus an mpd16/oxygen 8. that way you could leave the 828 at home or in the studio and go out with the emi.

Just say no to apple pride. when apple makes a laptop and os that can acutally compare to pc's and xp, then i will get one of those also, but my kids will be grown by then, and I don't even have any yet.

Alex Reynolds
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Post by Alex Reynolds » Wed Oct 02, 2002 11:41 pm

Hey, it's another Windows troller! What rock did you climb out from under?

-Alex

Bill Gates

Post by Bill Gates » Thu Oct 03, 2002 1:58 am

Troller?...more nonsense and apple pride... umm maybe you didn't know this but, this is not a mac site, if you'd wipe the apples out of your eyes you would have known that already. never the less, welcome to ableton.com, a site that serves mac and windows users. my post was directed at Geraldo, he is a mac user, but not a mac cultist and if you've read any of his post you'd know that what he is looking for he won't find in the current macs. Don't get mad, it's nothing personal I like macs too, but everybody is different and some people need more than what the G4 800 powerbook can offer, and my post was directed at that objective notion.

Alex Reynolds
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Post by Alex Reynolds » Thu Oct 03, 2002 3:34 am

Replying only encourages these nuts. I should have realized that.

-Alex

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