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Audio interface options for samples: USB 2.0 or PCIE

Sampler and Sampling discussion (techniques, tips and tricks, etc.)

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22 posts since 17 Apr, 2007

Postby gregoryc; Sat Mar 03, 2012 10:49 am

I'm looking at upgrading to a desktop system with only PCIE slots, so I can't just move my PCI card over.

I'm hoping to get an audio interface for under $250 (CAN), with USB 2.0 and PCIE as my only options.

I use mainly Kontakt (some Omni) in Reaper, so latency is a big concern.

What do you use (or recommend), and what kind of latency are you getting?

Also, is anyone using the PCIE EMU 0404 card in Win7 64-bit?


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6343 posts since 2 Aug, 2005, from Katie Couric blasters

Postby RunBeerRun; Sat Mar 03, 2012 3:05 pm

I use an M-Audio Fast Track Pro with the lowest setting, 128 samples, 5 ms latency. I don't know how it compares to similar priced, but I've owned it for 5-6 years now.
Free MIDI arpeggiators, clearest amp sims on the net: http://runbeerrun.blogspot.com
22 posts since 17 Apr, 2007

Postby gregoryc; Sun Mar 04, 2012 9:40 am

Thanks RunBeerRun. Is that round trip latency? (i.e. from Midi keyboard hit, to audio back to you)? 5 ms would be fine for me (hobby level home studio).

However, according to this comparison ( http://forum.dawbench.com/showthread.php?1548-Audio-Interface-Low-Latency-Performance-Data-Base ), if I'm reading the chart correctly, he's claiming that the M-Audio Fast Track Pro (not sure if he means "Ultra" instead of "Pro") gets gets round trip latency of 10.8 ms (buffer at 128).

I'm finding it difficult to get comparisons, as things seem to have changed a lot in the last 3-4 years (i.e. some people in 2009 hate an interface that people in 2011 generally are okay with...).

Anyway, if more people could let me know their experiences that would help a lot. Thanks.[/url][/quote]
149 posts since 20 Jan, 2006

Postby gemada; Sun Mar 04, 2012 10:42 am

I believe the fast track pro asio performance is similar to my fast track mkii:

48khz: In=5,306ms Out=5,306ms (128 samples)
44.1khz: In=4,875ms Out=4,875ms (128 samples)

So 5ms would be just the input or output latency...

I also believe that with fast track ultra you could go down to 64 samples with high performance mode enabled, but now with the latest drivers the minimum setting is 128 samples (high performance mode was removed).
1497 posts since 14 Sep, 2007, from www.koeln.de/en/

Postby darsho; Tue Mar 06, 2012 12:44 am

When I got my Audio Interface, I made sure to buy at a shop that allows returning the product without questions asked. Like Amazon, Thomann, Musicstore and the likes.

I tried several ones, the third product I had them send me was good enough for my purpose, the other ones I tried and sent them back and had the shop refund me.
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22 posts since 17 Apr, 2007

Postby gregoryc; Tue Mar 06, 2012 3:25 pm

Hi Darsho,

Which ones did you return, and which one did you keep?

1294 posts since 5 May, 2007, from Finland

Postby mkdr; Tue Mar 06, 2012 4:55 pm

gemada wrote:I believe the fast track pro asio performance is similar to my fast track mkii:

48khz: In=5,306ms Out=5,306ms (128 samples)
44.1khz: In=4,875ms Out=4,875ms (128 samples)

How do you measure those? Aren't there any additional usb-buffering in between?

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457 posts since 25 Sep, 2010

Postby bbaggins; Wed Mar 07, 2012 2:11 pm

If you are using samples exclusively, the choice of audio interface is almost irrelevant in terms of latency. Even when recording external audio sources, latency introduced by the interface itself doesn't differ much from one prosumer product to the next, and only represents a fraction of the overall latency anyway.

Choose your interface based on needed features. If you're using software samplers and synthesizers exclusively you don't need 10 input channels, S/PDIF, ADAT, zero-latency monitoring, DSP - just a MIDI port (unless your controller is USB), a stereo output and a headphone jack. Any decent PCIe card (yes, the EMU 0404 qualifies) should suit your needs.
22 posts since 17 Apr, 2007

Postby gregoryc; Fri Mar 09, 2012 3:58 pm

Yes, Bbaggins, I would only need 1 or 2 inputs.

Is anyone currently using one of the budget EMU PCIe cards? (0404, 1212)
Is the Patchmix software that comes with it useful, or does it get in the way?


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