Thunderbolt...worth the upgrade?

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
sana48
Posts: 417
Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2015 12:16 am

Thunderbolt...worth the upgrade?

Post by sana48 » Tue Dec 29, 2015 1:28 am

Share some knowledge, those of you that have Thunderbolt Interfaces..

I am looking to upgrade my interface for better performance and I was curious about about the quality of Thunderbolt.
I can add a Thunderbolt PCIE card to my PC for relatively cheap..

I do not plan on any daisy-chaining or other adding peripherals to the card- so I am curious how much I will benefit from thunderbolt.

I was looking at possibly getting a mid/low range thunderbolt interface with the thoughts that it will provide better performance than my Presonus audiobox i2..

Maybe I just have g.a.s. but lower latency would be nice! Is Thunderbolt a game-changer?


Any thoughts?


edit: the more I look around the more it seems that a PCIe Audio Interface may be the best option....hm...


thanks

frankswift
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Jan 27, 2014 7:48 pm

Re: Thunderbolt...worth the upgrade?

Post by frankswift » Wed Dec 30, 2015 7:02 pm

I too am looking into Thunderbolt Audio Interfaces, more specifically the Focusrite Clarett range.

I currently have a Focusrite Scarlett 6i6, which does everything i want it to and the sound is good, however the latency times aren't the greatest.

Thats why i'm looking into Thunderbolt devices hoping they will have less latency.


Anyone one got any opinions on this Audio Interface?

fishmonkey
Posts: 4151
Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2007 4:50 am

Re: Thunderbolt...worth the upgrade?

Post by fishmonkey » Thu Dec 31, 2015 2:36 am

the Claretts have good reviews so far, and i'm considering getting one to replace my old Firewire interface. the only thing holding me back is that i've heard that Focusrite doesn't have a great reliability record, and i need a rock solid unit...
badbrainz wrote: I'm a drummer, so I'm already at an intellectual disadvantage here

PHY6
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Re: Thunderbolt...worth the upgrade?

Post by PHY6 » Thu Dec 31, 2015 3:46 am

If you need rock solid, go for RME.

fishmonkey
Posts: 4151
Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2007 4:50 am

Re: Thunderbolt...worth the upgrade?

Post by fishmonkey » Thu Dec 31, 2015 6:40 am

PHY6 wrote:If you need rock solid, go for RME.
i know RME is rock solid. the UC or UCX are options but i would prefer to use a Thunderbolt port if possible so that i can avoid using a USB hub in my setup. also the UC/UCX use breakout cables for MIDI. breakout cables suck.

being able to bus power if necessary would be a plus too, but this is getting harder to find (none of the Clarett range nor the UC/UCX will bus power).

i'm hoping the Clarett range is built to higher standards than the Scarletts, however only time will tell...
badbrainz wrote: I'm a drummer, so I'm already at an intellectual disadvantage here

Da hand
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Location: Montreal, Canada

Re: Thunderbolt...worth the upgrade?

Post by Da hand » Thu Dec 31, 2015 8:21 am

sana48 wrote:...I am looking to upgrade my interface for better performance and I was curious about about the quality of Thunderbolt.
I can add a Thunderbolt PCIE card to my PC for relatively cheap....
sana48 wrote:edit: the more I look around the more it seems that a PCIe Audio Interface may be the best option....hm...
I was about to suggest that - especially for your scenario. I always go PCI/PCIE for my production towers - the cards really give an excellent performance.

ifPthenQ
Posts: 13
Joined: Thu Dec 31, 2015 1:31 pm

Re: Thunderbolt...worth the upgrade?

Post by ifPthenQ » Thu Dec 31, 2015 2:24 pm

what about the RME babyface pro? it doesn't have breakout cables, it's bus powered, it has optimized USB drivers, and it has latency figures that are competitive with TB interfaces.

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/ ... aQod3FwJiw

just so you know, I don't have any RME products, but I know how reliable and stable they are -- even with USB :lol:

PHY6
Posts: 286
Joined: Wed Apr 22, 2009 2:42 pm

Re: Thunderbolt...worth the upgrade?

Post by PHY6 » Thu Dec 31, 2015 3:10 pm

Da hand wrote:
sana48 wrote:...I am looking to upgrade my interface for better performance and I was curious about about the quality of Thunderbolt.
I can add a Thunderbolt PCIE card to my PC for relatively cheap....
sana48 wrote:edit: the more I look around the more it seems that a PCIe Audio Interface may be the best option....hm...
I was about to suggest that - especially for your scenario. I always go PCI/PCIE for my production towers - the cards really give an excellent performance.
It's a breeze... If you have a spare slot...spend it on a PCIe HDSP card from RME wit a breakoutbox of your choice.

sana48
Posts: 417
Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2015 12:16 am

Re: Thunderbolt...worth the upgrade?

Post by sana48 » Thu Dec 31, 2015 6:18 pm

PHY6 wrote:
Da hand wrote:
sana48 wrote:...I am looking to upgrade my interface for better performance and I was curious about about the quality of Thunderbolt.
I can add a Thunderbolt PCIE card to my PC for relatively cheap....
sana48 wrote:edit: the more I look around the more it seems that a PCIe Audio Interface may be the best option....hm...
I was about to suggest that - especially for your scenario. I always go PCI/PCIE for my production towers - the cards really give an excellent performance.
It's a breeze... If you have a spare slot...spend it on a PCIe HDSP card from RME wit a breakoutbox of your choice.

This appears the obvious choice.... maybe I can find a used one :\

kitekrazy
Posts: 740
Joined: Sat Jan 16, 2010 7:16 pm

Re: Thunderbolt...worth the upgrade?

Post by kitekrazy » Thu Dec 31, 2015 8:05 pm

It may appear Thunderbolt may be out the door in favor of USB 3.1
I saw that some TB interfaces from Resident Audio drop 50%. That is a red flag to me.
There are no Windows drivers for the Clarett.

Audio interfaces are always late when new platforms are out. Case in point is how many manufacturers for lower end pro audio cards ever came out with a PCIE interface? I would have thought M-Audio or Echo would have despite the Audiophile series were top sellers.

Whatever happened to FW800?

I would think a RME Babyface is a good investment. RME is not in the habit of creating doorstops. They even support legacy devices.

doghouse
Posts: 1413
Joined: Fri Aug 29, 2008 5:30 pm

Re: Thunderbolt...worth the upgrade?

Post by doghouse » Thu Dec 31, 2015 9:15 pm

For an audio interface, Thunderbolt is not going to matter unless you are going to aggregate dozens (hundreds?) of audio channels.

Thunderbolt and USB C are going to converge soon so expect even more turmoil in the interface world.

Image

https://thunderbolttechnology.net/blog/ ... oes-it-all
http://www.wired.com/2015/06/thunderbolt-3-usb-c/
http://www.macrumors.com/2015/06/02/int ... yport-1-2/

dsu
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Contact:

Re: Thunderbolt...worth the upgrade?

Post by dsu » Thu Dec 31, 2015 10:47 pm

fishmonkey wrote:
PHY6 wrote:If you need rock solid, go for RME.
i know RME is rock solid. the UC or UCX are options but i would prefer to use a Thunderbolt port if possible so that i can avoid using a USB hub in my setup. also the UC/UCX use breakout cables for MIDI. breakout cables suck.

being able to bus power if necessary would be a plus too, but this is getting harder to find (none of the Clarett range nor the UC/UCX will bus power).

i'm hoping the Clarett range is built to higher standards than the Scarletts, however only time will tell...

I went with a RME UC and got a PCIe UB card. The UC is on its own USB controller separated from the USB keyboards and controllers. Much cheaper and much better supported than Thunderbolt in Windows at the time I purchased.

Don't remember which one of these I got.
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/ProductLis ... isNodeId=1

fishmonkey
Posts: 4151
Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2007 4:50 am

Re: Thunderbolt...worth the upgrade?

Post by fishmonkey » Thu Dec 31, 2015 10:57 pm

ifPthenQ wrote:what about the RME babyface pro? it doesn't have breakout cables
almost all the Babyface connections are on a breakout cable...
badbrainz wrote: I'm a drummer, so I'm already at an intellectual disadvantage here

ifPthenQ
Posts: 13
Joined: Thu Dec 31, 2015 1:31 pm

Re: Thunderbolt...worth the upgrade?

Post by ifPthenQ » Fri Jan 01, 2016 6:11 am

fishmonkey wrote: almost all the Babyface connections are on a breakout cable...
Yes, almost all. the one I mentioned, the babyface pro, does not.

fishmonkey
Posts: 4151
Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2007 4:50 am

Re: Thunderbolt...worth the upgrade?

Post by fishmonkey » Fri Jan 01, 2016 7:27 am

ifPthenQ wrote:
fishmonkey wrote: almost all the Babyface connections are on a breakout cable...
Yes, almost all. the one I mentioned, the babyface pro, does not.
right, the Pro. the MIDI I/O is still on a breakout cable though. and i need at least 4 analog outputs (not interested in running unbalanced Y-cables from a headphone out)...
badbrainz wrote: I'm a drummer, so I'm already at an intellectual disadvantage here

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