sound card?

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
amillionwinters
Posts: 24
Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2013 6:48 am

sound card?

Post by amillionwinters » Sun Jul 12, 2015 3:13 pm

i just built a new windows machine for music production. previously, i have always used a mac tower, but the last two towers i have purchased i have felt they were more like throw away machines. to replace any parts in them costs much more than a pc desktop.

anyway, the point is that i have never had to purchase a PCIe sound card before to maintain a low latency.

my motherboard is an ASUS x99 Deluxe Intel with built-in audio i/o. i have a presonus fire studio pro (8 i/o firewire 400).

i don't normally monitor audio output through the presonus. i have speakers that plug directly into the line out built into the motherboard.

i have to set my audio buffer in Live much higher than on my mac to avoid artifacts during playback, which then increases my latency.

do i need to purchase a separate sound card to resolve this? and if so, which sound cards should i look at? or should i be monitoring the audio output from my presonus?

thank you for any help in advance!

-alan

lapieuvre
Posts: 717
Joined: Wed Sep 26, 2007 9:29 pm

Re: sound card?

Post by lapieuvre » Sun Jul 12, 2015 4:15 pm

I guess your computer does not have a Firewire port?

In this case you would need to get a PCIe card to Firewire.

Then you should only use your Presonus soundcard. Forget about the inboard i/o

then you will be able to bring down the latency in Live. You should be good with 256 samples for whatever you do.
MBP 2015, 16 GB Ram, OSX 10.14.6
Live 9.7.6 Suite
Live 10.1.14 Suite
Soundcards : FF800, Apollo Twin duo

amillionwinters
Posts: 24
Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2013 6:48 am

Re: sound card?

Post by amillionwinters » Sun Jul 12, 2015 4:48 pm

i don't have a firewire port only because my local micro center happened to be out of stock. i intended to get one the day i bought all the components. i will be back up there in this week to check their stock.

but thank you for your reply. i figured that is what i needed to do, but i am glad to know for sure.

thank you very much, i really appreciate you taking the time to reply!

-alan

savyurrecords
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Location: Fredericksburg, VA
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Re: sound card?

Post by savyurrecords » Mon Jul 13, 2015 5:43 pm

PCIe Firewire cards are very inexpensive. I like SIIG cards cause they always use TI chipsets. TI chipsets in Firewire cards are the most stable.

H20nly
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Location: The Wild West

Re: sound card?

Post by H20nly » Mon Jul 13, 2015 7:24 pm

savyurrecords wrote:PCIe Firewire cards are very inexpensive. I like SIIG cards cause they always use TI chipsets. TI chipsets in Firewire cards are the most stable.
agreed.

akm
Posts: 134
Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2005 9:47 pm

Re: sound card?

Post by akm » Tue Jul 14, 2015 7:36 am

Hi, I'd like to ask for some information also. I use the M-Audio Audiophile 2496 PCI card for ages, zero complaints about it. I currently run it on a more or less up to date computer with 64 samples latency. May I know the current situation about the latency issues with inexpensive USB audio interfaces such as M-Audio M-Track II? Since I'm a keyboard player the latency is the most crucial parameter for me. Because of the PCI becoming an outdated interface I start thinking about the update solutions for the near future. The best audio card I can think about for myself is the RME HDSPe AIO which have some of the best latency specifications on the market. The downside is that it is a bit out of my price range and the lack of the onboard mic preamps. What's about the RME Babyface Pro latency, can it be better than my current Audiophile 2496?

Just tested my Audiophile with the RTL UTILITY http://www.oblique-audio.com/free/rtlutility and it shows 4.5 ms for the whole loop for 44.1 gHz / 64 samples which is quite well compared to this table: http://dawbench.com/audio-int-lowlatency2.htm

mhult
Posts: 15
Joined: Thu Jul 17, 2014 8:54 pm

Re: sound card?

Post by mhult » Tue Jul 14, 2015 3:11 pm

akm wrote:Hi, I'd like to ask for some information also. I use the M-Audio Audiophile 2496 PCI card for ages, zero complaints about it. I currently run it on a more or less up to date computer with 64 samples latency. May I know the current situation about the latency issues with inexpensive USB audio interfaces such as M-Audio M-Track II? Since I'm a keyboard player the latency is the most crucial parameter for me. Because of the PCI becoming an outdated interface I start thinking about the update solutions for the near future. The best audio card I can think about for myself is the RME HDSPe AIO which have some of the best latency specifications on the market. The downside is that it is a bit out of my price range and the lack of the onboard mic preamps. What's about the RME Babyface Pro latency, can it be better than my current Audiophile 2496?

Just tested my Audiophile with the RTL UTILITY http://www.oblique-audio.com/free/rtlutility and it shows 4.5 ms for the whole loop for 44.1 gHz / 64 samples which is quite well compared to this table: http://dawbench.com/audio-int-lowlatency2.htm
I was also an Audiofile 2496 user for several years, but switched to RME a couple of years ago in order to minimise latency and for lack of PCI connections. I now use a HDSPe AIO in my desktop computer and a Babyface with my laptop. I am a drummer, so latency is very important for me as well, and I am very happy with the HDSPe when drumming. I have never used the Babyface when drumming, only with Push and keyboard controllers, but I am very happy with latency with the Babyface as well. I do however find it difficult to use the smallest buffer size when my projects include a number of cpu heavy plugins, but this is hardly because of the audio interface.

Your latency is already very low, and I am not sure you are going to notice any difference if you reduce it further. Keep in mind that three milliseconds is the time it takes for sound to travel the distance of one meter through air.

Anyway, I went ahead and measured the round trip latency for both my interfaces with RTL utility. Both interfaces were connected to the same PC, which has an i7-3820 cpu. I did the tests with all possible sample rates, and the smallest possible buffer for each sample rate.

Here are my results (sorry about the ugly table layout, pasted from OneNote):

Babyface
Buffer size (samples) Sample rate (Hz) RTL (ms)
48 44100 4.872
48 48000 4.477
48 88200 3.980
96 96000 3.656
192 176400 3.491
192 192000 3.206

HDSPe
Buffer size (samples) Sample rate (Hz) RTL (ms)
32 44100 3.852
32 48000 3.538
64 88200 3.014
64 96000 2.770
128 176400 2.059
128 192000 1.909


The Babyface Pro isn't out yet, so nobody has tested it, but it shouldn't be worse than the original Babyface.
Live 10 Suite, Push 2, Roland V-drums, lots of plugins, hardware synths and drum machines...

akm
Posts: 134
Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2005 9:47 pm

Re: sound card?

Post by akm » Tue Jul 14, 2015 3:25 pm

Thank you for the information.

akm
Posts: 134
Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2005 9:47 pm

Re: sound card?

Post by akm » Tue Jul 14, 2015 4:02 pm

Here is my table for M-Audio Audiophile 2496 PCI soundcard, i3 3220 CPU.

buffer, sample rate, measured RTL:

64 44100 4.467
64 48000 4.124
64 88200 2.248
64 96000 2.045
Last edited by akm on Sat Sep 05, 2015 10:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

granted
Posts: 158
Joined: Sun Oct 01, 2006 6:18 pm

Re: sound card?

Post by granted » Wed Jul 15, 2015 5:59 pm

RME - Never have failed to amaze me with Driver Updates, Firmware updates, etc.
RME HDSPe PCI Card - PCIe Card for HDSP System with a Multiface II or Digiface
or a
RME HDSPe AIO - PCIe Digital Audio Card

OH: - You should disable the audio system that is built in to the motherboard. It's in the BIOS. Disable and don't use.
All of your audio should be through your "sound card".

login
Posts: 1821
Joined: Sat Jul 16, 2011 12:41 am

Re: sound card?

Post by login » Wed Jul 15, 2015 9:39 pm

Another vote for RME, if out of your budget then Steinberg is a great option.

jlgrimes
Posts: 1499
Joined: Mon Jan 22, 2007 1:55 am
Location: Atlanta, Ga

Re: sound card?

Post by jlgrimes » Fri Jul 17, 2015 1:59 am

You don't necessarily need an ASIO sound card for low latency for Windows.

It's been awhile since I've been on Windows but there is a free program called ASIO4ALL that will get you low latency on most built-in sound cards.

I would only invest in a sound card if you need to do some recording especially microphone recording.

Also USB sound interfaces are pretty mature now and start at about $100 probably cheaper. They are probably more future proof as well as PCIE might get phased out eventually. USB is backwards compatible so would be a safer bet for non obsolescence.

Try to go USB 2.0 if you can though. Some USB 1.1 drivers latency isn't as low as you can get with 2.0.

login
Posts: 1821
Joined: Sat Jul 16, 2011 12:41 am

Re: sound card?

Post by login » Fri Jul 17, 2015 3:02 am

ASIO4ALL is simply a shell of the WDM driver, it improves performance a little bit but it is still behind a dedicated ASIO driver.

akm
Posts: 134
Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2005 9:47 pm

Re: sound card?

Post by akm » Fri Jul 17, 2015 12:14 pm

login wrote:ASIO4ALL is simply a shell of the WDM driver, it improves performance a little bit but it is still behind a dedicated ASIO driver.
Sorry, but "a little bit" is a little bit incorrect. I use the built-in motherboard audio output sometimes when I need to play on the keyboard in the headphones, and while I did not measured the loopback delay exactly, from what I feel the response is just instant. I mean Asio4All, 64 samples buffer.

kitekrazy
Posts: 742
Joined: Sat Jan 16, 2010 7:16 pm

Re: sound card?

Post by kitekrazy » Fri Jul 17, 2015 3:04 pm

amillionwinters wrote:i just built a new windows machine for music production. previously, i have always used a mac tower, but the last two towers i have purchased i have felt they were more like throw away machines. to replace any parts in them costs much more than a pc desktop.

anyway, the point is that i have never had to purchase a PCIe sound card before to maintain a low latency.

my motherboard is an ASUS x99 Deluxe Intel with built-in audio i/o. i have a presonus fire studio pro (8 i/o firewire 400).

i don't normally monitor audio output through the presonus. i have speakers that plug directly into the line out built into the motherboard.

i have to set my audio buffer in Live much higher than on my mac to avoid artifacts during playback, which then increases my latency.

do i need to purchase a separate sound card to resolve this? and if so, which sound cards should i look at? or should i be monitoring the audio output from my presonus?

thank you for any help in advance!

-alan
You left out 2 things. One is what is your OS? The other is what is your budget for audio card?
Onboard sound latencies for Mac are far superior to Windows.
Simple solution is buy a PCIe firewire port and continue to use that unit. Even on modern Macs firewire ports are gone.

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