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Old 12-02-2014, 12:47 PM   #3
Human being with feelings
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 8,805

First, there's no need to guess at the various components performance in your computer. Activity Monitor (the OSX utility) will tell you CPU use, RAM use, etc.

Live Sound with 11ms or less TOTAL round trip system latency (ie. 1st analog input > converters > computer > converters > last analog output) is the mission.

These days I use my i7 Mac Pro for live sound. But just for the sake of a benchmark my old 2008 C2D MBP (see signature) will let me mix 36 inputs, another 6 verb and delay fx tracks (in the box) and simultaneously record the inputs (and fx tracks outputs) to multitrack. Waves SSL channel strips on every input, a few Waves deessers, TruVerbs, H-Delays, and an L2 on the master stereo out. It's my backup machine for live gigs at this point and my personal machine. I treat the i7 like my 'work computer'.

RAM use for all that? Under 2GB. The SSD is required however if you want to record that multitrack while you mix. Even studio post projects with 100's of tracks and plugins uses under 2GB RAM.

I use the MOTU's in the signature fed from the Apogee for the 1st 16 channels. Then the MOTU analog inputs when I run out of the 'good' channels.

Not sure about the internal latency of the Presunus units but you can pick up a Firebox (2 mic/DI inputs, 2 line inputs, 6 line outputs) for $50 on ebay.

Reaper is amazingly stable for this. Zero issues ever for the modest live track counts. I only have to pay attention to preference tweaks for studio post projects that go well over 100's of tracks and plugins.

Oh, and I use the live board setup with some amp sim tracks and looper tracks for my guitar rig as well. I can patch in the drum mics and other instruments and record the whole group multitrack doing this too. I typically use the old laptop for this as well for convenience.

You should have plenty of computer power to spare with that newer machine is what I'm trying to say!

For a budget of only $100 for an interface it will probably be Presonus that hits that.

Haha. So Protools still doesn't have their Core Audio support working (the ability to use 3rd party firewire interfaces)?! This was the big new feature in v9 that didn't work and why I dropped them after 15 years.

PS. I've only ever used firewire interfaces (not including the older proprietary Digi interfaces in the past). Not sure I'd want to go cheap with USB. Firewire units are plenty frugal as it is.

Some of the newer thunderbolt interfaces have even lower self latency now so you could really load up on the plugins and still come in under 11ms. Almost certainly out of budget though.
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