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PCI sound card vs USB 2 Audio Interface.
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distro
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#1
20th February 2012
Old 20th February 2012
  #1
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PCI sound card vs USB 2 Audio Interface.

Hey guys I just registered on here (although I've been a longtime lurker) to see if I could get some advice on PCI sound cards vs USB 2 Audio Interfaces.
I mainly do Electronic Dance Music production and I currently have a Fast Track Pro, which is USB 1 and I'm running into latency issues when I get a project going with a lot of tracks. I think this is caused by the speed of the USB interface rather than my computer's processor (i7), so I feel like I should upgrade.
Now, I've got 1 condenser mic, which I very rarely use and I'm not sure weather its better to upgrade to a USB 2 interface (preferably something rackmountable like the Fast Track 8r), or just get an ASIO supported PCI sound card. It would seem to me that a PCI card would be more stable, because I have had some issues with my Fast Track Pro going dead randomly and requiring a restart. BUT I haven't seen a PCI sound card with a condenser mic input, so I'd have to get some sort of pre-amp or something.
Does anyone have any experience with PCI vs USB? Are the D/A converters on PCI card decent?

Thanks for your input!
#2
20th February 2012
Old 20th February 2012
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TimOBrienFlorida is offline
Doesn't matter. USB, PCI and Firewire are just pipes going into the PC.

Only difference is PCI is a bigger pipe and could support many more channels,
usb2 tops off at about 16 (Firewire400 about 100, PCI several hundred).

You can get ones with high-end preamps on either or you can get high-quality outboard preams.
#3
21st February 2012
Old 21st February 2012
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First its strange that if you work with ASIO via Fast Track there is error accour. USB 1 should handle 2 stereo wav 44khz outs with no isssue.

I agree with TimOBrienFlorida
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Andrey Bobrov
#4
21st February 2012
Old 21st February 2012
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soundpalace is online now
Quote:
Originally Posted by distro View Post
Hey guys I just registered on here (although I've been a longtime lurker) to see if I could get some advice on PCI sound cards vs USB 2 Audio Interfaces.
I mainly do Electronic Dance Music production and I currently have a Fast Track Pro, which is USB 1 and I'm running into latency issues when I get a project going with a lot of tracks. I think this is caused by the speed of the USB interface rather than my computer's processor (i7), so I feel like I should upgrade.
Now, I've got 1 condenser mic, which I very rarely use and I'm not sure weather its better to upgrade to a USB 2 interface (preferably something rackmountable like the Fast Track 8r), or just get an ASIO supported PCI sound card. It would seem to me that a PCI card would be more stable, because I have had some issues with my Fast Track Pro going dead randomly and requiring a restart. BUT I haven't seen a PCI sound card with a condenser mic input, so I'd have to get some sort of pre-amp or something.
Does anyone have any experience with PCI vs USB? Are the D/A converters on PCI card decent?

Thanks for your input!
Hey there,

To answer a few questions, I have found USB1 devices to be extremely poor in terms of audio latency.

In terms of USB2 vs PCI, if you go with an RME USB interface, you will get very similar performance to many PCI interfaces, though RME PCI / PCIe cards will likely outperform them.

PCI interfaces are available with external breakout boxes that have A/Ds, D/As and pres. Many inbuilt cards also have such converters and sometimes even pres. The converters are equally as decent on both types of interface as long as the box is external and not prone to interference or noise from internal components of a computer.

These days, I recommend going USB or PCIe if you want to future proof your system. I highly recommend anything that RME makes, the Fireface UC that I use is flawless at 4ms (128 samples) latency on monster projects (70+ tracks). Apparently the current M-Audio Fasttrack Pro USB2 series is also great for low latency performance, but I don't know much about them myself.

Even more important is your PC though, a USB2 interface will outperform a PCIe interface if the USB2 interface is being used on a faster PC.

All the best
soundpalace
#5
21st June 2012
Old 21st June 2012
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Mleebs530 is offline
I have been looking for ways to increase the performance of my CPU as of late. At first, I had an interest in the MOTU 896 and the UA Apollo, but then I realized neither of these will really take the entire load of my projects off my CPU. Thats when I had a new interest in PCI cards. Of course the 2009 Macbook Pro did away with the PCIe express slot that the older models had. I've been trying to figure out if there are interfaces with built in PCI cards, but I haven't found any clear indication that any exist. Does anyone have a clear answer to that question?
#6
21st June 2012
Old 21st June 2012
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TimOBrienFlorida is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mleebs530 View Post
...but then I realized neither of these will really take the entire load of my projects off my CPU....
Soundcards don't do that.

Some with DSP like the Apollo will move certain plugins to their dsp chips.

Are you sure you're not confusing a hard drive bottleneck?
Do your samples and projects have their own drives separate from the OS drive?
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