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Audio Interface - Low Latency Performance Data Base
Old 18th January 2020
  #3781
TNM
Lives for gear
great topic.. so much amazing info, read it every day. Just wanted to say that.
Old 18th January 2020
  #3782
Gear Guru
 
monkeyxx's Avatar
same here, learning a lot.

I just overclocked my i7 4790K to 4.4 GHz. Cubase doesn't really push into high core temperatures. So I just got a big free upgrade for audio.

For video rendering though, the CPU will go very quickly to "TJ Max" that is thermal throttling at 100 degrees celcius. Whether or not I am overclocking or running at stock 4.0 GHz speeds.

I think I need to buy a new CPU cooler to try to keep a handle on this situation.

I love video editing. You need a fast CPU for that almost more than you need it for audio production. Although in both cases, it helps a lot. Along with a great interface and software of course.
Old 18th January 2020
  #3783
Gear Head
 

Hello forum.

I'm in the market for a sound card. I intend to play electronic drums triggering superior drummer in real time so the latency is obviously important to get the correct feel. When you play acoustic drums you get maybe 3-5 ms of latency from your ear to the drums and I'd like to get as close to that as possible. The module probably needs 3 ms or so to trigger a sound so the sound card needs to be very fast.

This thread is really huge and I'm wondering if someone who's been reading the thread can say if there is a good low latency solution that doesn't cost too much?

I've been looking at the Zoom UAC-2 and before I pull the plug I was wondering if there is something even better for the money or maybe even less.

Only important thing is the latency and I'd like two audio inputs, headphone output and midi I/O.

Back in the day I had a PCI express sound card called ESI ju[email protected] which had really low latency but it's no longer in production.

I have USB 3.1 and PCI express on my PC, no thunderbolt I'm afraid.
Old 18th January 2020
  #3784
Lives for gear
 
daskeladden's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by frankzappa View Post

This thread is really huge and I'm wondering if someone who's been reading the thread can say if there is a good low latency solution that doesn't cost too much?

I've been looking at the Zoom UAC-2 and before I pull the plug I was wondering if there is something even better for the money or maybe even less.

Only important thing is the latency and I'd like two audio inputs, headphone output and midi I/O.
My advice save your money for a motherboard with Thunderbolt. You will not get the stability and speed with a the USB Zoom UAC-2
Old 18th January 2020
  #3785
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by daskeladden View Post
My advice save your money for a motherboard with Thunderbolt. You will not get the stability and speed with a the USB Zoom UAC-2
Ok, so are there known issues with it?

I saw a thread here where someone measured their RTL on the zoom and it was really low.

Note that I will only be getting the output latency with electronic drums since the input is MIDI.
Old 18th January 2020
  #3786
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by daskeladden View Post
My advice save your money for a motherboard with Thunderbolt. You will not get the stability and speed with a the USB Zoom UAC-2
I wouldn't be so steep with it. I've seen quite a few setups, where UAC-2 worked pretty well. It has its woes (like infamous periodic SYSEX issue), it's not a high-end interface.
But among affordable ones (say < $400), you won't find better USB performer regarding latency on Windows IME. BF Pro is certainly great professional interface, where no corners were cut at its form factor, but it's $750.

TB offers of course potential for even better performance, but it's not automatic (re Focusrite). For some meaningful improvement like Quantum 2 or UAD Twin Duo, we're talking about $600-800.
Of course he will need to include also cost of his computer upgrade. If he's lucky to have motherboard with TB header, it's at least another $200 for AIC, adapter, cable.
Otherwise it's basically a new computer. So it's about some consideration.

So my advice (YMMV of course) is to try UAC-2 with some option for possible 30-day return.
Additional hint for possible troubleshooting is, that at some setups, it won't work well in USB 3.0 mode. No worries, latency impact of going to USB 2.0 is absolutely negligible, despite marketing. Cure for that is to connect it to legacy USB 2.0 port and when it's not available at particular board, then use standard $5 USB 2.0 A-B "printer" cable, this will force UAC to operate at 2.0 protocol even when plugged to 3.0 port.

Michal
Old 18th January 2020
  #3787
Lives for gear
 
daskeladden's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by frankzappa View Post
Ok, so are there known issues with it?

I saw a thread here where someone measured their RTL on the zoom and it was really low.

Note that I will only be getting the output latency with electronic drums since the input is MIDI.
I had a lot of issue with the ZOOM UAC-8, but I think ZOOM UAC-2 don't have the same issues. That being said it's night and day after I got the Presonus Quantum. USB has or will never be ideal for audio. Either PCI or thunderbolt.
If you have an old USB device keep it until you either go PCI or thunderbolt
Old 18th January 2020
  #3788
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by frankzappa View Post
Ok, so are there known issues with it?

I saw a thread here where someone measured their RTL on the zoom and it was really low.

Note that I will only be getting the output latency with electronic drums since the input is MIDI.
As I've mentioned, I found it pretty fine for being affordable USB interface.
I've mentioned one issue with MIDI SYSEX messages. Interface use MIDI for communication between Control software and its internal DSP mixer (with some basic effects). This produce one message every 50 ms, which is bit annoying, as it interferes with real SYSEX messages from input, plus in some cases it might occupy low bandwidth MIDI interface.

Many other similar interfaces use USB-HID protocol (like keyboard or mouse) to communication between control software and interface, so this Zoom thing is rather unwelcome rarity. Unfortunately it's not really easy to fix (say via some sw upgrade) for them without redesigning of fundamentals of the interface.

If that become problem, it's solvable by some other additional MIDI interface.

Michal
Old 19th January 2020
  #3789
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by msmucr View Post
As I've mentioned, I found it pretty fine for being affordable USB interface.
I've mentioned one issue with MIDI SYSEX messages. Interface use MIDI for communication between Control software and its internal DSP mixer (with some basic effects). This produce one message every 50 ms, which is bit annoying, as it interferes with real SYSEX messages from input, plus in some cases it might occupy low bandwidth MIDI interface.

Many other similar interfaces use USB-HID protocol (like keyboard or mouse) to communication between control software and interface, so this Zoom thing is rather unwelcome rarity. Unfortunately it's not really easy to fix (say via some sw upgrade) for them without redesigning of fundamentals of the interface.

If that become problem, it's solvable by some other additional MIDI interface.

Michal
I don’t know what sysec is.

I plan to play electronic drums through midi so that doesn’t sound good. Is the midi unusable then?
Old 19th January 2020
  #3790
Tui
Gear Guru
 
Tui's Avatar
The UAC-2 is great for the money. Extremely low latencies - I say this as an owner of three RME interfaces.

The only issue I've had with it is the continuous string of Sysex messages that are sent by the unit to the computer. These messages control the Zoom mixer software but can interfere with other audio apps like Novation Automap, for example.

If you're using the UAC-2 on its own, there shouldn't be any issues.
Old 19th January 2020
  #3791
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tui View Post
The UAC-2 is great for the money. Extremely low latencies - I say this as an owner of three RME interfaces.

The only issue I've had with it is the continuous string of Sysex messages that are sent by the unit to the computer. These messages control the Zoom mixer software but can interfere with other audio apps like Novation Automap, for example.

If you're using the UAC-2 on its own, there shouldn't be any issues.
Well I will be playing superior drummer with an electronic drum kit. It sends midi. Notes, Velocity, cc messages etc.

Is zoom aware of this problem? Maybe they will make an update?
Old 19th January 2020
  #3792
I had many issues with the UAC. Just go RME. Buy a second hand babyface pro and you'll have no issues.
However if you are in Europe I am selling my interface and PC.
UAD Arrow with neve plugin and thunderbolt cable.
PC i7 8700, 1TB NVME SSD, 16GB DDR, Asrock Fataility Gaming ITX Z370, in a Small form factor case (inwin chopin) Feel free to send a message 1200,00 shipped within the EU.
Old 19th January 2020
  #3793
Gear Head
 

Ok I’ve read a bit about the sysec messages. Seems like this is pretty useless if you want to do automation through midi. Which I might do.

That sucks.

I think I’ll try to find a used PCI express sound card. Pci express seems to have disappeared which sucks.
Old 19th January 2020
  #3794
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by frankzappa View Post
I don’t know what sysec is.

I plan to play electronic drums through midi so that doesn’t sound good. Is the midi unusable then?
SYSEX is special kind of MIDI message. Basically it was introduced to carry binary data, which doesn't fit into among common types of MIDI messages.. (notes, CCs).
In most cases, it's being used for kind of setup communication (like dumping presets from and to elaborate MIDI device), firmware updates over MIDI etc.

It's def. not completely unusable there, but in certain situation, that can be problem. As I've said, two situations came to my mind.
The first is, when you need to receive SYSEX data from MIDI connected device, there will be mess, because you'd also also receive periodic bogus messages, which are intended for Zoom mixer app.
The other is, MIDI serial interface (bus), so it can transmit or receive just one event at time.. On top of that, it's relatively slow. Imagine kind of narrow pipe.
So when periodic messages for mixer are being transferred, all other messages are waiting in queue, until the transfer is finished.
For some use cases, where one want tightest delivery of MIDI messages, with least amount of jitter and latency, those SYSEXEs can be also issue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by frankzappa View Post
Well I will be playing superior drummer with an electronic drum kit. It sends midi. Notes, Velocity, cc messages etc.
I've tried to explain some technical details about what's going on. It's not unusable, people, I know a who has UAC-2, use also those MIDI ports with master keyboards etc., but you might find issues I've touched before.
Ultimately it's for some practical test with your gear and use case. Hence I've previously recommended to try it under some return period.
If this will be problem, then you can get additional interface just for MIDI (say for $40) and connect it to another USB port. In sum, it will be still cheaper than the next step.

If you want compact USB interface, which will be safe bet with all of its features and reliable.. (eg. solid low latency audio, MIDI, feature set, expandability), then it is RME Babyface Pro.
And yes, in a sense, you will get what you pay for. In this case with refined product with great engineering, where you can fully use all of its features and ongoing software support.

Quote:
Is zoom aware of this problem? Maybe they will make an update?
I think, they are aware. It applies to whole lineup of UAC and TAC (for Thunderbolt) devices. Hard to predict, they didn't make any updated models (say some Mk. II) from its launch at 2014, so I definitely won't be on it and wait with purchase for possible update.

Michal
Old 19th January 2020
  #3795
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by frankzappa View Post
Ok I’ve read a bit about the sysec messages. Seems like this is pretty useless if you want to do automation through midi. Which I might do.
It depends on particular automation implementation, in most cases, it uses CCs.

Quote:
I think I’ll try to find a used PCI express sound card. Pci express seems to have disappeared which sucks.
That's of course another option. Just hint there.. PCIe interface similarly like TB one doesn't automatically mean you'll get low latency. Say Some gaming Soundblaster or ASUS are PCIe, but doesn't give you low latency, because their driver and firmware wasn't designed for low latency operation.

But something like used RME HDSPe AIO (I use this at home) might be fine of course and sometimes you can find them used for very good money.
In comparison to some external integrated interface like BF Pro, you just need to count with some possible additional expense for external mic preamp, if you're recording mic sources, and also likely some monitor controller, unless you already have it. Also you can lose some variability for some possible portable use.

Michal
Old 19th January 2020
  #3796
Lives for gear
 
spectacular g's Avatar
Hi all. I am wondering if anyone has tested the IK Multimedia AXE I/O?

The features make it tempting for my brothers rig.

G
Old 19th January 2020
  #3797
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by msmucr View Post
It depends on particular automation implementation, in most cases, it uses CCs.



That's of course another option. Just hint there.. PCIe interface similarly like TB one doesn't automatically mean you'll get low latency. Say Some gaming Soundblaster or ASUS are PCIe, but doesn't give you low latency, because their driver and firmware wasn't designed for low latency operation.

But something like used RME HDSPe AIO (I use this at home) might be fine of course and sometimes you can find them used for very good money.
In comparison to some external integrated interface like BF Pro, you just need to count with some possible additional expense for external mic preamp, if you're recording mic sources, and also likely some monitor controller, unless you already have it. Also you can lose some variability for some possible portable use.

Michal
Thank you very much for the elaborate answers.

Electronic drums send out position information about where you hit the drum, if it's close to the center or more towards the edge. I think it's by CC messages if I'm not mistaken.

Thing is, I'm designing my own electronic drum and I plan to have some features that are usually not found on electronic drums. I haven't figured out the technical stuff but I was thinking to be able to do some kind of automation to tune the drum with a knob, adjust snare strainer tension and that kind of stuff. I'm thinking it would interfere with those kind of messages.

I had an ESI [email protected] 5-6 years ago which was PCI express, the latency was like 1ms. I'm thinking I'll try to find one of those. If not I'll get the zoom and buy a second midi interface as you suggested.
Old 21st January 2020
  #3798
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by msmucr View Post
It depends on particular automation implementation, in most cases, it uses CCs.



That's of course another option. Just hint there.. PCIe interface similarly like TB one doesn't automatically mean you'll get low latency. Say Some gaming Soundblaster or ASUS are PCIe, but doesn't give you low latency, because their driver and firmware wasn't designed for low latency operation.

But something like used RME HDSPe AIO (I use this at home) might be fine of course and sometimes you can find them used for very good money.
In comparison to some external integrated interface like BF Pro, you just need to count with some possible additional expense for external mic preamp, if you're recording mic sources, and also likely some monitor controller, unless you already have it. Also you can lose some variability for some possible portable use.

Michal
Will it work if I have the MIDI coming in through Another USB Connection in the computer?
Old 21st January 2020
  #3799
Gear Head
 

What about getting a Firewire expansion PCI express? There are a lot of Firewire cards used in my area. Not many PCI express in the used market over here.
Old 21st January 2020
  #3800
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by frankzappa View Post
Will it work if I have the MIDI coming in through Another USB Connection in the computer?
Yes it will work, that's why I've mentioned, workaround can be in use of another MIDI interface.
In general it shouldn't be problem with that. Quite a few people use standalone MIDI interfaces for whatever reasons (a need for more ports for example), independently their on main interface for audio.

Michal
Old 4 weeks ago
  #3801
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by msmucr View Post
Yes it will work, that's why I've mentioned, workaround can be in use of another MIDI interface.
In general it shouldn't be problem with that. Quite a few people use standalone MIDI interfaces for whatever reasons (a need for more ports for example), independently their on main interface for audio.

Michal
Then it shouldn’t be a problem.

Really there are no other options in this price category if latency is critical.

I was hoping to score a decent PCI express card but they seem to have dissapeared feom the market. I’ve found a few used PCI cards dirt cheap but I don’t have PCi.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #3802
Gear Nut
 

Quite old post for the UAC an TAC describing a workaround for the sysex flood messages under MacOS (it's for an UAC-8 but it should adapt for the UAC-2): ZOOM UAC-2 (USB 3.0) vs TASCAM US-2x2 – user comparison

Maybe there is a similar MIDI filtering software for Windows...?

I tried an UAC-2 but returned it after one day: useable latency was comparable to my Quad-Capture and Scarlett 2i2. I mean, yes I was able to go lower in RTL but it was snap, crackles and pops. Useless but I forgot to try it on an USB2 port as I've heard after that there could be some problems on USB3 (mine was Intel USB3 but on an Hackintosh so not really a standard config).
Old 4 weeks ago
  #3803
Lives for gear
 
spectacular g's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by spectacular g View Post
Hi all. I am wondering if anyone has tested the IK Multimedia AXE I/O?

The features make it tempting for my brothers rig.

G
Got it. after a quick half hour initial thoughts on this unit are really good..

More soon.

G
Old 4 weeks ago
  #3804
Lives for gear
 
spectacular g's Avatar
Interesting. I am not well versed on doing these measurements, but I guess these confirm my initial positive impressions?

I will say that in real world usage on my system things all felt rock solid. The guitar specific features all worked, sounded and felt great. I was able to open an existing 96k project in Studio One that was at the mix phase and pretty loaded up with instruments and 2 instances of Amplitube + plugins. I was able to add a third guitar part using a third instance of Amplitube on the 16 sample buffer setting without a problem. I actually got it to play though without dropouts using the 8 sample buffer which I have never even seen before

My system is a new i5 9600k with 16 gig's of ram. I built it a coupe of weeks ago using the latest Studio One Pro and Windows 10 pro.

G
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Audio Interface - Low Latency Performance Data Base-capture.jpg  
Old 4 weeks ago
  #3805
Lives for gear
 
daskeladden's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by spectacular g View Post
Interesting. I am not well versed on doing these measurements, but I guess these confirm my initial positive impressions?

I will say that in real world usage on my system things all felt rock solid. The guitar specific features all worked, sounded and felt great. I was able to open an existing 96k project in Studio One that was at the mix phase and pretty loaded up with instruments and 2 instances of Amplitube + plugins. I was able to add a third guitar part using a third instance of Amplitube on the 16 sample buffer setting without a problem. I actually got it to play though without dropouts using the 8 sample buffer which I have never even seen before

My system is a new i5 9600k with 16 gig's of ram. I built it a coupe of weeks ago using the latest Studio One Pro and Windows 10 pro.

G
lantency rountrip over 8ms on 48 KHz on 32 buffer size is pretty bad, strange that the roundtrip is lower on 64 buffer size
Old 4 weeks ago
  #3806
Lives for gear
 
spectacular g's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by daskeladden View Post
lantency rountrip over 8ms on 48 KHz on 32 buffer size is pretty bad, strange that the roundtrip is lower on 64 buffer size
Yes and that is why I started with interesting. At 48 I was able to get a "feel" that was great and makes me think those #'s are a bit goofy? Anyway I am in no way saying it is some game changing interface. By the numbers My Quantum rig has a raw speed advantage for sure. But under load it can get a bit temperamental.

In a real world scenario for someone looking for a really nice guitar and bass friendly interface for a nice price this thing is pretty cool. The instrument input in particular is pretty amazing, subtle but really effective for amp sim users.

G
Old 4 weeks ago
  #3807
Quote:
Originally Posted by spectacular g View Post
Yes and that is why I started with interesting. At 48 I was able to get a "feel" that was great and makes me think those #'s are a bit goofy? Anyway I am in no way saying it is some game changing interface. By the numbers My Quantum rig has a raw speed advantage for sure. But under load it can get a bit temperamental.

In a real world scenario for someone looking for a really nice guitar and bass friendly interface for a nice price this thing is pretty cool. The instrument input in particular is pretty amazing, subtle but really effective for amp sim users.

G
The unit seems very nice, cool feature set, but my first impression is that it uses the mediocre Thesycon chip which means higher latency and poor performance.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #3808
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by msmucr View Post
It depends on particular automation implementation, in most cases, it uses CCs.



That's of course another option. Just hint there.. PCIe interface similarly like TB one doesn't automatically mean you'll get low latency. Say Some gaming Soundblaster or ASUS are PCIe, but doesn't give you low latency, because their driver and firmware wasn't designed for low latency operation.

But something like used RME HDSPe AIO (I use this at home) might be fine of course and sometimes you can find them used for very good money.
In comparison to some external integrated interface like BF Pro, you just need to count with some possible additional expense for external mic preamp, if you're recording mic sources, and also likely some monitor controller, unless you already have it. Also you can lose some variability for some possible portable use.

Michal
I scored an apogee ensemble for 200 dollars. It’s thunderbolt but the guy I bought it from says he’s using it with a firewire converter.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #3809
Lives for gear
 
Gomjab's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by frankzappa View Post
I scored an apogee ensemble for 200 dollars. It’s thunderbolt but the guy I bought it from says he’s using it with a firewire converter.
I thought you could only do that the other way around.

Have you tried it yet? I hope it works out for you.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #3810
Lives for gear
 
daskeladden's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by frankzappa View Post
I scored an apogee ensemble for 200 dollars. It’s thunderbolt but the guy I bought it from says he’s using it with a firewire converter.
Are you sure? Cause I think it's either the thunderbolt version (which is way more expensive than $200), or the "old" firewire version which is not worth more than maximum $100. Firewire is not something you buy in 2020.
No person in the world would sell a Apogee Ensemble thunderbolt for $200, more like $2000
https://apogeedigital.com/products/ensemble

if it's too good to be true......

This is the Apogee Ensemble Firewire version
https://www.musiciansfriend.com/pro-...ital-interface


Quote:
Originally Posted by Gomjab View Post
I thought you could only do that the other way around.

Have you tried it yet? I hope it works out for you.
Yes not possible to run a thunderbolt interface through a firewire port or regular usb-c port for that sake. A thunderbolt device can only run through thunderbolt port. However the other way around; I think a thunderbolt port can handle a firewire signal and "all" other USB signals if you have the right adapters/cables.
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