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Best Audio Interface Port for USB-C computer ports?
Old 19th April 2019
  #1
Best Audio Interface Port for USB-C computer ports?

Hi guys!

So: there's some great resources for specific trouble-shooting/info about USB types and Audio Interface out-ports but I wanted to see if I could start a conversation on the connectivity maybe more in theory?

Seems like the best types of connectivity is high speed, large bandwidth, and of these a few types stand out, Thunderbolt 3/USB-C, Firewire, and even Thunderbolt 2's seem way better than a regular USB.

For USB-C's, do they make ports that would run purely USB-C from the AI to the computer no adapter needed?
For this port and in general, you can always step speed down (running USB 2.0 into a USB-C port) but should you? Is it worth it to invest in a pricier AI for the sake of making it directly compatible with your computer port?

For Thunderbolt 2's: would an adapter to USB-C cause any big issues?

USB 2.0/general: for 2019 and the future will investing in USB 2.0 dependent ports be extremely limiting? Hard to say, but if there's an easy way to avoid it and the slower speeds will become less popular I would feel confident moving away from those ports for live audio.

Firewire: what the heck is it really? Is it better or worse than thunderbolt, more comparable/convertible or is it one cable just for old macs with that port? Seems odd

Finally: PCI/PCIe. This sounds like its out of the real of my home studio setup but I'm curious.

My understanding is that one of the older ways and still maybe useful ways to get sound into your computer by just buying an external sound card that connects to the analog breakout box via some cable.

If I want a plug-n-play ~8I/O MIDI port equipped can plug into my USB-C's some how kind of audio interface, do you have recommendations?

My top pick so far is the Behringer UMC1820, any additional advice, comments, corrections, or elaborations would be greatly appreciated!
Old 20th April 2019
  #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Juicy_scooby View Post
Seems like the best types of connectivity is high speed, large bandwidth, and of these a few types stand out, Thunderbolt 3/USB-C, Firewire, and even Thunderbolt 2's seem way better than a regular USB.
What does "better" mean here? Faster, higher bandwidth?

Quote:
For USB-C's, do they make ports that would run purely USB-C from the AI to the computer no adapter needed?
Are you asking about the computer ports or the peripheral ports?
What "adapter" do you mean? USB-C (and USB3) are backwards compatible. Meaning that you need only a cable with USB-C on one end, and USB2 (or USB3) on the other end.

Quote:
For this port and in general, you can always step speed down (running USB 2.0 into a USB-C port) but should you? Is it worth it to invest in a pricier AI for the sake of making it directly compatible with your computer port?
Can you give us some examples of AI that use USB-C? Or USB-3?

Quote:
USB 2.0/general: for 2019 and the future will investing in USB 2.0 dependent ports be extremely limiting?
What does "investing in USB 2.0 dependent ports" mean? Do you mean computers with USB2 ports? Or do you mean periherals (including AI) that use USB2? Do you anticipate that USB2 ports will be completely useless? You won't need any keyboards, mice, printers, etc. etc. that use USB2?

Quote:
Hard to say, but if there's an easy way to avoid it and the slower speeds will become less popular I would feel confident moving away from those ports for live audio.
If 16-channel (and even 24-channel) AI use USB2, what advantage do you anticipate from using a faster interface than what the UI needs?
Old 22nd April 2019
  #3
Hi! Thanks for your response.

As far as I know "better" refers to speed mostly because sample rate and bit depth seems standardized enough to not matter. Driving question here is how much will a different type of computer port will impact latency (live and otherwise).

My computer is one of the new Macbook pro's which only has what they call USB-C ports, nothing else. It's the little invertable one with rounded edges.

Here's an example of a Thunderbolt output on an AI (listed as USB 3.0)

And Here's the ports on my computer (also listed as 3.0 or USB-C)

By investing in USB 2.0's I mean if I buy an AI that can only transmit at 2.0 speeds, but I have ports on my computer that are capable of the newer, faster USB 3.0 speeds, won't the AI's ports be limited? USB 2.0 will always be an option for other devices I mean for music specifically.

My main questions are:

1. What's the lowest latency connection between an AI and a computer?
2. If the computer has a USB-C port and nothing else, what CAN'T it connect to through adapters?
3. If an AI has a USB 2.0 output, is it true that there's NO WAY to improve the speed that the AI will transmit data (and reduce latency), even if the computer is capable of receiving data faster?
4. Does any of this matter, really? Or can I just buy an affordable Audio Interface that's compatible with my OS and just be half smart with my parameters?
Old 23rd April 2019
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Juicy_scooby View Post
how much will a different type of computer port will impact latency (live and otherwise).
Seems unlikely to have much (if any) effect. USB is already fast enough to handle minimal latency. It is the audio hardware, the
computer hardware, the operating system, device drivers, and the recording software that seems to be the limiting factor for minimal latency.

The lines are blurring between USB3, USBC and Thunderbolt as speeds for all of them increase. FireWire is essentially dying, superseded by Thunderbolt, USB-C, et.al.

Quote:
By investing in USB 2.0's I mean if I buy an AI that can only transmit at 2.0 speeds, but I have ports on my computer that are capable of the newer, faster USB 3.0 speeds, won't the AI's ports be limited?
Any peripheral that uses USB2 will never go faster than 480 Mbit/s.

Note, however that 96 channels of 24-bit depth, 192K samples/sec audio data adds up to only 442 Mbit/s So USB2 may not be such a "bottleneck" as you seem to be making it out to be. And USB3.1 Gen2 is 10 Gbit/s and Thunderbolt is 20 Gbit/s See: List of interface bit rates - Wikipedia


Quote:
My main questions are:
1. What's the lowest latency connection between an AI and a computer?
Trick question. Latency is not limited by the connection (even USB2)

Quote:
2. If the computer has a USB-C port and nothing else, what CAN'T it connect to through adapters?
Faster interconnections like Thunderbolt

Quote:
3. If an AI has a USB 2.0 output, is it true that there's NO WAY to improve the speed that the AI will transmit data (and reduce latency), even if the computer is capable of receiving data faster?
See Question/Answer number 1 above.

Quote:
4. Does any of this matter, really? Or can I just buy an affordable Audio Interface that's compatible with my OS and just be half smart with my parameters?
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