Old 12-02-2014, 10:03 AM   #1
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Default USB / Firewire - Audio-interface under 100$


(3rd Party) USB Audio-Interface, that totally outperforms the rest

Okay ... ;

Here's the case ...

I've used about five brands / models of USB or Firewire audio-interfaces,
none of which seemed to work to the max .

I've had RME's, M-Audio, Focusrite, Avid, Tascam, Zoom, etc .

Now ... all I want is just a interface with 1 x Mic In + 1 x Guitar / Line In ...

What I don't need is MIDI-in / out and Samplerates higher, than 44100Khz .

The most crucial point is "near" ZLM-through RTAS / AAX - Insert FX / Plugins .

My main DAW is a Rhino I know ...
(a 2009 Macbook though it's been upgraded with 2 extra GBs of RAM and a dedicated Samsung SSD Pro 128GB Audio-Drive .) .

I play my guitar through software amp simulators (IK Multimedia AmpliTube) and I also tend to monitor my vocals through a software compressor and a reverb .


AM I OUT OF CPU / PROCESSING POWER when I have clitching 'n' crackling audio even with only a few simultaenous VST or AU - Plugins ... I can cope with 3ms of latency, but higher than that ...
it starts to affect my performance .

Could it be any of a increase in performance, if I'd DOUBLE the 4GBs of RAM on my Macbook to 8GBs ?

just sent a TASCAM US-122mkii back to the retailer, because it was not working at all with
Avid Pro Tools 11 (obviously which is the other DAW, I am making music with ... ) .

now ... ;
is there any reasonable alternatives at all under 100$

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Old 12-02-2014, 12:13 PM   #2
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Doubling your RAM could certainly help, but I'm not sure if it's going to be able to fully make up for the latency you're experiencing. If you were to either upgrade your OS drive to SSD, or even just install a brand new OS drive, you may see better speeds/latency right away.

Under $100, I'm not sure, most interfaces are just over that threshold a little bit. I would honestly look at nearly anything....

Which 2009 Macbook do you have? Just a dual core? On the bottom, there's an "Axxxx" number, can you post that? I can look up the general details of your machine with that number.

Ultimately, what it comes down to is how resource heaving the plugins are. Most machines can handle a two channels with processing, but the closer you want to get to realtime, the faster the machine has to be. I'd be hard pressed to say a dual core machine with 4gb could do this without an SSD, and even then, it's a tall order.

Which interface you use specifically is almost irrelevant for what you're looking to do, it's really looking to me like the computer is your bottleneck.
Pro Tools 9/10/11, Reaper x64, Adobe Audition, SoundTrack Pro, Mixxx
Dual Xeon 2620, 32gb, 240GB Intel SSD & Apple MacBook Pro, 16gb, 750gb HDD
M-Audio ProFire 2626 + Art TubeOpto 8 with Ei 12AX7 Smooth Plate tube swap
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Old 12-02-2014, 12:47 PM   #3
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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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