Lessons learned from researching Audio Interfaces

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
h3rtz
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Re: Lessons learned from researching Audio Interfaces

Post by h3rtz » Wed Jun 25, 2014 8:21 am

patrickstinson wrote:Also you have to dig deep, but you will find that the RME Fireface UCX has newer AD/DA converters that are about 1ms faster than the Fireface UC, which is a big deal
where can I find this? i am deciding between UC and UCX atm, leaning towards UC because of pricing (dont need the FX). 1ms better latency on the UCX could change my mind as i am also doing live looping (without band though). I got the last MBP model with FW port which i intend to link the interface to to save USB ports for other stuff. the latency decrease is for USB?

i also got an ipad 2 but i dont see myself hooking it up to the UCX for recording.

any advice welcome, thx!

patrickstinson
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Re: Lessons learned from researching Audio Interfaces

Post by patrickstinson » Wed Jun 25, 2014 8:48 am

h3rtz wrote:
patrickstinson wrote:Also you have to dig deep, but you will find that the RME Fireface UCX has newer AD/DA converters that are about 1ms faster than the Fireface UC, which is a big deal
where can I find this? i am deciding between UC and UCX atm, leaning towards UC because of pricing (dont need the FX). 1ms better latency on the UCX could change my mind as i am also doing live looping (without band though). I got the last MBP model with FW port which i intend to link the interface to to save USB ports for other stuff. the latency decrease is for USB?

i also got an ipad 2 but i dont see myself hooking it up to the UCX for recording.

any advice welcome, thx!
I can't remember exactly where it was, but I was originally tipped off by some gearslutz forum I think. At this point I can't remember if it was only for USB, but I believe it was the DAC that is used by both USB and FW. I also barely remember finding a subtle line item in the FireFace UCX tech specs as provided on the RME product sheet, but can't remember for sure. I think the best bet would be to contact RME's sales department directly, I'm sure they would be happy to answer that question.

Good luck! If you find the answer to your question please post it here!
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fishmonkey
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Re: Lessons learned from researching Audio Interfaces

Post by fishmonkey » Wed Jun 25, 2014 9:00 am

it's mentioned on the main UCX page:

http://www.rme-audio.de/en_products_fireface_ucx.php

Low Latency Converters . All analog I/Os use a low latency converter design with impressive 14 samples for the ADC, and 7 samples for the DAC, independent of the used sample rate. These values are about a quarter of the Fireface UC/400 (43/28), and even outperform much more expensive devices. A technical breakthrough that reduces the overall latency of timing critical applications, in live situations, and in computer-based recording studios. The converter latency is so low (0.4 ms at 48 kHz) that it can be ignored, turning analog digital monitoring into real analog-style monitoring!
badbrainz wrote: I'm a drummer, so I'm already at an intellectual disadvantage here

h3rtz
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Location: Beijing

Re: Lessons learned from researching Audio Interfaces

Post by h3rtz » Wed Jun 25, 2014 7:15 pm

thanks guys, you just saved me a lot of research time. gonna go UCX. cheers!

cmprvndncr
Posts: 123
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Re: Lessons learned from researching Audio Interfaces

Post by cmprvndncr » Tue Dec 05, 2017 3:25 pm

patrickstinson wrote: I was really blown away with the speed and stability of the FireFace UCX over USB. I can now use Looper and play perfectly in sync with Ping-Pong delay. At a buffer size of 32 samples @ 44100, Live is reporting < 2ms round trip, and I believe it. The latency is low enough that I can’t tell the amplification apart from the instrument's natural sound until it is taken away. The TotalMix software is really incredible.
Hey pals!

At the risk of being reprimanded for resurrecting a zombie thread, this info is crucial to me...

As it stands, I'm use a Scarlett 2i4 (bought it in a hurry to suit my needs at the time)... I was looking at getting the KMI K-Mix, but live looping is the most crucial aspect of the rig I'm building. Looking at the K-mix website, "The internal latency of K-Mix is about 2.3 ms (passing the input through the DSP to the output). You can expect about 8.5ms total latency when sending an input up USB to your computer, and then back to the K-Mix outputs (at 96 kHz, with a buffer of 64 samples)." so that seems totally unnaceptable... With my 2i4 I'm looking at just under 8ms round-trip latency (reported in live at least)...

After reading this thread, it looks like I need to spend $1,500 (best case scenario) on an RME fireface UCX... Unless anyone can chime in with similarly tiny latency with a cheaper card?

PS... I was so hyped for the K-Mix, bit of a shame that it looks like it won't work out...

PPS. I'm considering going to my local music/DJ store, and begging them to let me plug in all their smaller interfaces, to see what latency I can get... But moreso than just a low latency, I need rock-solid performance, cause this system will be used for a perform-everyday corporate gig on a ship in a few months.

Any advice or comments are welcome.

Cheers <3

jlgrimes
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Re: Lessons learned from researching Audio Interfaces

Post by jlgrimes » Tue Dec 05, 2017 4:12 pm

I have a UAD Apollo. Even with Thunderbolt enabled my roundtrip latency is about 10 ms.

To be honest though when using the UAD effects in the Apollo mixer, I can't sense the latency, so the UAD seems good for that.

For playing softsynths, the latency seems fine as well.

I think the main thing where the latency comes into play is when adding an effect in a DAW for Live input monitoring, as its the only time I really notice latency is when trying to input monitor plugins via the DAW with the Apollo.


It would be nice if there was a website that kind of rated interfaces by latency/performance but I guess it would be tricky.



I guess since you get good latency with USB2.0 with RME, its more the drivers that matter over the interface type (although it probably would be easier to create a more robust Thunderbolt interface, and I would imagine that most Thunderbolt interfaces have very low latency with the exception of the UAD which is also designed to be an effects processor which probably steals the latency performance).


I kind of heard that anything under 5 ms, is basically undetectable. I had an Echo Layla 3G for the longest of time I think it got down to about 2.9 ms (input latency) and I never remember having latency issues with that (unless I increased the buffer size).


A lesson I did learn though was to not get a USB1.1 interface, the one I got (Yamaha Audiogram 3) had high latency (about 7 ms input at like 128 buffer setting), and it was only 16 bit. The latter took me a long time to figure out as I was recording audio letting it peak somewhere between -20 to -10 dbfs but kept on wondering why I was hearing what sounded like tape hiss in my recording, I didn't realize it was the 16 bit noisefloor, which you need to record at a hotter level (more closer to almost clipping) with 16 bit to avoid the noisefloor.

login
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Re: Lessons learned from researching Audio Interfaces

Post by login » Tue Dec 05, 2017 6:37 pm

cmprvndncr wrote:
patrickstinson wrote: I was really blown away with the speed and stability of the FireFace UCX over USB. I can now use Looper and play perfectly in sync with Ping-Pong delay. At a buffer size of 32 samples @ 44100, Live is reporting < 2ms round trip, and I believe it. The latency is low enough that I can’t tell the amplification apart from the instrument's natural sound until it is taken away. The TotalMix software is really incredible.
Hey pals!

At the risk of being reprimanded for resurrecting a zombie thread, this info is crucial to me...

As it stands, I'm use a Scarlett 2i4 (bought it in a hurry to suit my needs at the time)... I was looking at getting the KMI K-Mix, but live looping is the most crucial aspect of the rig I'm building. Looking at the K-mix website, "The internal latency of K-Mix is about 2.3 ms (passing the input through the DSP to the output). You can expect about 8.5ms total latency when sending an input up USB to your computer, and then back to the K-Mix outputs (at 96 kHz, with a buffer of 64 samples)." so that seems totally unnaceptable... With my 2i4 I'm looking at just under 8ms round-trip latency (reported in live at least)...

After reading this thread, it looks like I need to spend $1,500 (best case scenario) on an RME fireface UCX... Unless anyone can chime in with similarly tiny latency with a cheaper card?

PS... I was so hyped for the K-Mix, bit of a shame that it looks like it won't work out...

PPS. I'm considering going to my local music/DJ store, and begging them to let me plug in all their smaller interfaces, to see what latency I can get... But moreso than just a low latency, I need rock-solid performance, cause this system will be used for a perform-everyday corporate gig on a ship in a few months.

Any advice or comments are welcome.

Cheers <3

If you are using a desktop computer you could use a PCIe interface, RME has some. If you ar eon mac you can get a thunderbolt one.

RME is indeed one of the best when it comes to driver stability and performance, if not the best around. But you can look at their other offerings such as the babyface pro, all RME devices use the same drivers. RME is really a brand you can trust for professional work.

It also helps if your computer can hanlde a 32 samples buffer for the size of your project.

Stromkraft
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Re: Lessons learned from researching Audio Interfaces

Post by Stromkraft » Tue Dec 05, 2017 6:48 pm

login wrote: It also helps if your computer can hanlde a 32 samples buffer for the size of your project.
Interestingly, the latency of my Babyface is the same at 64 and 32 samples buffer. So it would seem there is no gain going lower than 64 with it.
Make some music!

Stromkraft
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Re: Lessons learned from researching Audio Interfaces

Post by Stromkraft » Tue Dec 05, 2017 7:01 pm

cmprvndncr wrote:
After reading this thread, it looks like I need to spend $1,500 (best case scenario) on an RME fireface UCX... Unless anyone can chime in with similarly tiny latency with a cheaper card?
Have you looked over the resource that was posted recently in another thread:
ceounicom wrote: Maybe interesting to some people as a resource: i came across this Gearslutz contributor who maintains a benchmark database of audio-interface latency. I don't think its intended as an example of absolute #s (everyone's rigs are obviously diff), but just for comparison purposes.
>>Improving Push 2 Latency w/o an audio-interface
Make some music!

cmprvndncr
Posts: 123
Joined: Wed Mar 01, 2017 2:44 pm

Re: Lessons learned from researching Audio Interfaces

Post by cmprvndncr » Wed Dec 06, 2017 12:15 am

login wrote:
cmprvndncr wrote:
patrickstinson wrote: I was really blown away with the speed and stability of the FireFace UCX over USB. I can now use Looper and play perfectly in sync with Ping-Pong delay. At a buffer size of 32 samples @ 44100, Live is reporting < 2ms round trip, and I believe it. The latency is low enough that I can’t tell the amplification apart from the instrument's natural sound until it is taken away. The TotalMix software is really incredible.
Hey pals!

At the risk of being reprimanded for resurrecting a zombie thread, this info is crucial to me...

As it stands, I'm use a Scarlett 2i4 (bought it in a hurry to suit my needs at the time)... I was looking at getting the KMI K-Mix, but live looping is the most crucial aspect of the rig I'm building. Looking at the K-mix website, "The internal latency of K-Mix is about 2.3 ms (passing the input through the DSP to the output). You can expect about 8.5ms total latency when sending an input up USB to your computer, and then back to the K-Mix outputs (at 96 kHz, with a buffer of 64 samples)." so that seems totally unnaceptable... With my 2i4 I'm looking at just under 8ms round-trip latency (reported in live at least)...

After reading this thread, it looks like I need to spend $1,500 (best case scenario) on an RME fireface UCX... Unless anyone can chime in with similarly tiny latency with a cheaper card?

PS... I was so hyped for the K-Mix, bit of a shame that it looks like it won't work out...

PPS. I'm considering going to my local music/DJ store, and begging them to let me plug in all their smaller interfaces, to see what latency I can get... But moreso than just a low latency, I need rock-solid performance, cause this system will be used for a perform-everyday corporate gig on a ship in a few months.

Any advice or comments are welcome.

Cheers <3

If you are using a desktop computer you could use a PCIe interface, RME has some. If you ar eon mac you can get a thunderbolt one.

RME is indeed one of the best when it comes to driver stability and performance, if not the best around. But you can look at their other offerings such as the babyface pro, all RME devices use the same drivers. RME is really a brand you can trust for professional work.

It also helps if your computer can hanlde a 32 samples buffer for the size of your project.
Thanks for your reply. I'm sorry, I can't believe it, but I managed to neglect to mention that I'm using a 2014 MacBook Pro

cmprvndncr
Posts: 123
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Re: Lessons learned from researching Audio Interfaces

Post by cmprvndncr » Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:07 am

Stromkraft wrote:
cmprvndncr wrote:
After reading this thread, it looks like I need to spend $1,500 (best case scenario) on an RME fireface UCX... Unless anyone can chime in with similarly tiny latency with a cheaper card?
Have you looked over the resource that was posted recently in another thread:
ceounicom wrote: Maybe interesting to some people as a resource: i came across this Gearslutz contributor who maintains a benchmark database of audio-interface latency. I don't think its intended as an example of absolute #s (everyone's rigs are obviously diff), but just for comparison purposes.
>>Improving Push 2 Latency w/o an audio-interface
Looking at this more today, and the presonus quantum is looking pretty promising. Anyway reading this, have one? What's your latency like? It's nearly half the price of the RME... For me, it's all about that latency, and it seems to sport almost the same latency specs... I could put that extra money towards something else, liiiike artwork for my new EP...

Stromkraft
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Joined: Wed Jun 25, 2014 11:34 am

Re: Lessons learned from researching Audio Interfaces

Post by Stromkraft » Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:57 pm

cmprvndncr wrote:
Looking at this more today, and the presonus quantum is looking pretty promising.
Always look at the track record for updating drivers. Currently it looks good on their site with a driver updated this November.

I'd like to point out there is a second hand market also for RME products. If people are selling. I'm not.
Make some music!

cmprvndncr
Posts: 123
Joined: Wed Mar 01, 2017 2:44 pm

Re: Lessons learned from researching Audio Interfaces

Post by cmprvndncr » Fri Dec 08, 2017 2:17 am

Stromkraft wrote:
cmprvndncr wrote:
Looking at this more today, and the presonus quantum is looking pretty promising.
Always look at the track record for updating drivers. Currently it looks good on their site with a driver updated this November.

I'd like to point out there is a second hand market also for RME products. If people are selling. I'm not.
Thanks for all your advice, mate! So am I correct in saying you use an rme Babyface pro? Can you please let me know what your lowest workable latency is? This could be the right choice for me, if the latency can get to PreSonus quantum / fireface ucx levels, then the smaller footprint and lower price are way more suitable.

Stromkraft
Posts: 7033
Joined: Wed Jun 25, 2014 11:34 am

Re: Lessons learned from researching Audio Interfaces

Post by Stromkraft » Fri Dec 08, 2017 1:52 pm

cmprvndncr wrote: am I correct in saying you use an rme Babyface pro? Can you please let me know what your lowest workable latency is? This could be the right choice for me, if the latency can get to PreSonus quantum / fireface ucx levels, then the smaller footprint and lower price are way more suitable.
Original Babyface. "lowest workable latency" really depends on the machine, but I'm tracking as low as 64 samples — I posted the ms for this somewhere** — going up until mixdown to 512-1024 samples on really old machines, the fastest being a 2.2hJz quadcore MBP from 2011.

I think the Babyface latency is close to Fireface Ucx, but I haven't tried the latter. The link above is great for comparisons. Didn't you look there?

** Here in Improving Push 2 Latency w/o an audio-interface
Stromkraft wrote:So with the native audio in a quite old MBP vs my RME Babyface:
1024 samples> 34.7 ms vs 24.6 ms
512 samples > 23.1 ms vs 13 ms
256 samples > 17.3 ms vs 7.23 ms
128 samples > 14.4 ms vs 4.33 ms
64 samples > 13 ms vs 2.88 ms
32 samples > 13 ms vs 2.88 ms
Make some music!

login
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Re: Lessons learned from researching Audio Interfaces

Post by login » Fri Dec 08, 2017 6:04 pm

I can get my fireface UC in my i7 desktop down to 32 samples, I can load a couple of instruments and effects before getting CPU overload.

I think at the end all RME USB interfaces use the same drivers, so same performance. Sample rate, bit depth, channel count and your own CPU and project size is what makes the difference. But RME can go as low as 32.

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