The quality & low latency you get with firewire, usb &am

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Agnishvatta
Posts: 101
Joined: Sat Mar 08, 2003 3:50 pm
Location: Mie, Japan

The quality & low latency you get with firewire, usb & pci?

Post by Agnishvatta » Sat Mar 29, 2003 8:18 am

I'm especially interested in people's experiences with M-Audio drivers in Live (lowest usable latency and at what cpu usage audio begins to break when using the lowest latency). Because I have never used USB or Firewire devices, I also need to know about the quality to expect.

I am interested in your experiences with any of the following:
  • 1. All USB devices from M-Audio, ESI, Edirol and Emagic.
    2. All Firewire devices from MOTU and eventually M-Audio and ESI.
    3. All PCMCIA and PCI audio devices with ASIO support.
Thanks a lot to anyone who replies, I really will appreciate it.

Agnishvatta
Last edited by Agnishvatta on Sat Mar 29, 2003 2:40 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Agnishvatta
Posts: 101
Joined: Sat Mar 08, 2003 3:50 pm
Location: Mie, Japan

Post by Agnishvatta » Sat Mar 29, 2003 2:25 pm

I figured that the first post was too long and scared people away, I'll post some stuff as a reply.

I'll be the first to share my latency/audio quality experience:

OS, Chipset, CPU & RAM:
Windows XP SP1, SiS740, Athlon XP 1700+ and 512MB PC2700.

Device:
CMEDIA 9738 2ins/4outs

Drivers:
WDM, MME and DirectX (DX)

Quality:
Bad, but good enough for a live performance.

Lowest selectable latency:
10ms for WDM and 5ms for DX (5ms doesn't include any kmixer latency)

Lowest usable latency:
10ms with DX or WDM at any cpu usage. (DX latency doesn't include kmixer)

Tested latency in:
Sonar (WDM), Reason (DX) and Live (DX)

quandry
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Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2003 2:31 am
Location: San Francisco
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Re: The quality & low latency you get with firewire, usb & pci?

Post by quandry » Sat Mar 29, 2003 2:44 pm

"My first preference is a usb or firewire powered external device with at least four outputs, two inputs and latency lower than 10ms. Because I've my eye on the M-Audio firewire 410 (which is not out yet), I'm especially interested in people's experiences with M-Audio drivers in Live (lowest usable latency and at what cpu usage audio begins to break when using the lowest latency). Because I have never used USB or Firewire devices, I also need to know about the quality to expect."

Even though usb 2.0 is faster on paper than firewire (480 MBps vs. 400 MBps) by EVERY account I've heard, the experts say don't even try to do high quality, low latency audio on usb. If you have firewire or pmc-cia or pci capablities, go ahead and forget about usb audio.

"1. All USB devices from M-Audio, ESI, Edirol and Emagic."

DOnt bother

"2. All Firewire devices from MOTU and eventually M-Audio and ESI."

I recently went trough the same process as you on a smoking new toshiba satelite 2430, P4 2.4 desktop processor (better than mobile as mobile processors are designed to optimize battery power no audio), 1 gig RAM, external 120 gig 7,200 8 MB cache FW drive, RME multiface with pcm cia cardbus. My research into firewire options on pc led me to decide not to use firewire for a few reasons: the firewire devices availible: MOTU, FIrestation...are, by many account of users online, a bit of a pain to get solid predictible results on a pc. IE setup is sometimes a nightmare, or the firewire chips manufacturer used in your computer might not be compatible...lots of reports of problems out there with pcs. Not only that, but definitely on the firestation (and somewhat on the MOTU), there are some latency issues because the devices use some of your computers processing power--thus creating more latency. In the end, pci is the fastest way to get audio in on a desktop, and the pcm cia cardbus is the best on a laptop--this is simply based on the data tranfer rates possible with these connections vs. usb, firewire... A soundcard like the RME Mulitface--which i couldn't be happier with--acutally does all the processing itself, creating a "zero CPU load" situation--i.e the RME doesn't tax your computer to do it's thang. I just recorded 8 tracks live with 2 ms latency into live and 4 ms out at 24 bit 44.1--no glitches, just quality audio. If you are getting/using live to preform live, the lower the latency the better, can't go much lower than 2/4 ms!

That's my experience and 2 cents for you..

Ryan]

Agnishvatta
Posts: 101
Joined: Sat Mar 08, 2003 3:50 pm
Location: Mie, Japan

Post by Agnishvatta » Sun Mar 30, 2003 2:53 am

Thanks for the lengthy reply quandry. My initial thoughts and finding tend to agree with what you said. I know that even usb midi has a jitter of up to about 7ms, so I can imagine that using an audio device would have a similar effect. How about the signal of a firewire device, is there a lot of jitter like usb? I was hoping that older issues like these had been resolved by now, because I'm really reluctant to spend more than $500 and want to be able to switch from desktop tp laptop when I travel. Right now even if I got the desktop version of the Multiface, it would cost as much as a Quattro just to get the PCMCIA adapter.

I know a bunch of people here have the M-Audio Quattro and MOTU 828. Can any of you share your experiences with these (latency and audio quality)?

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