What is the best (fastest, low latency) audio interface?

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Kaine
KVRAF
1829 posts since 4 Nov, 2004 from Manchester

Post Fri Dec 08, 2017 1:16 am

ataraxia89 wrote: Edit: Just done a DPC Latency check whilst running Cubase (with my biggest project open), Adobe Premiere Pro CC (the hungriest application I have, whilst loading 37 4K videos into memory), a media server and a full system scan with Norton antivirus and the highest reading I got was 1317ms, it averages around 200-300ms on normal running
Latency checker is designed as a driver response test and not a load test. You run it on a bare desktop, not with applications running to get a baseline.

If it works fine at desktop, but shit goes south when you open an application, you take it up with the application developer. Well, you delve into the application and disable anything that calls back, or is likely to hog the system resources... and then when that fails, you take it up with developer.

Either way, you don't thrash it like that!

T.B.H I'd expect any anti-virus that does in-depth heuristic scanning like Norton to error the result which is why I tend to no advise them on an audio box. If that's the only thing that's tipping the rig over the read, you can be pretty sure it's working as intended.

ataraxia89
KVRer
9 posts since 29 Mar, 2017

Re: What is the best (fastest, low latency) audio interface?

Post Fri Dec 08, 2017 1:46 am

yellowmix wrote:
ataraxia89 wrote:it averages around 200-300ms on normal running
That's kind of high, to be honest. Try shooting for 150, it's probably achievable with little effort. I have mine at 40ms idling.

You need to look at startup items, running services you don't really need. Crap like Java, Adobe, Chrome updater (better to ditch them all anyway). And if you ditch Norton it'll probably help a lot. Also check your power profile settings, make sure it's running at max when you're in your DAW.

Other sources are a little more difficult to address. Stuff like WiFi drivers eating cycles. I'm running a 10m ethernet cable to my workstation to address that. Firewire and video card drivers can also be bad citizens.
It's probably still too high as I have TeamViewer running, and I was running all that other stuff to stress it and see what worst case scenario is. There's no WiFi on the PC, Java not running, nor Chrome updater. Norton will be stopped whilst I'm working.

However, I have stopped everything running (TeamViewer, media server, Norton, etc) in the past apart from the DAW and I've still had problems. I've also had this on a different PC (although that wasn't as powerful as this one).

I'll be looking into the RME HDSPe I think, managed to find a new one for £470 (nobody's selling used ones!).

Edit: I've just switched off Adobe, Norton (disabled as I actually can't stop it), TeamViewer and everything else that isn't a core Windows process and the lowest possible reading I can get it 109ms, averaging 120-170, so how you've got 40ms is beyond me...

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Guenon
KVRAF
1506 posts since 17 Jun, 2005

Re: What is the best (fastest, low latency) audio interface?

Post Fri Dec 08, 2017 3:42 pm

If it's hovering at 120-170, don't sweat it :). As long as you know there aren't spikes, caused by misbehaving drivers etc, you will most probably never have to deal with it in any manner. To get an ultra low reading something like the 20-30 on the workstation I posted a screenshot from, you either need to be lucky or the whole system needs to be planned component by component for realtime operation, referencing other known successful builds and so on, like with that machine. But seriously, as long as it's predictably staying at any reasonable level and not spiking intermittently (the most common actually noticeable problem), and your audio interface has high quality drivers, you're sorted for low latency use.

Schmidi
KVRist
178 posts since 23 Apr, 2011 from Seattle WA

Re: What is the best (fastest, low latency) audio interface?

Post Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:03 pm

RME based on everything I've read online.

Personal experience: I've had very good performance with Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6 and it was a nice price too.

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Tj Shredder
KVRAF
1551 posts since 6 Jan, 2017 from Outer Space

Re: What is the best (fastest, low latency) audio interface?

Post Thu Jan 04, 2018 12:49 am

I have to chime in here, because there are coming up some missconceptions...
A latency of an audio interface is fixed. (Usually) A latency of 40 ms is high. Anything between 3 and 10 ms is low. If the latency is variable depending on software running or not running, something in the chain is causing that. I would clearly suspect the firewire card. A latency of 1370 ms is more than a second - unusable...
In a home recording studio even a high latency of 40 ms is usually not a problem. In this case, Cubase will compensate it perfectly.
Only issue is direct monitoring which most interfaces support as zero monitoring, that means, if you record, you can listen to your direct signal without having it running through the computer.
I still have two firewire interfaces (MotU and Esi) but today I would not recommend to invest in obsolete technique. Get any good USB and class compliant (does not need deicated drivers) Interface and it should just work out of the box. Try it if it doesn't work bring it back to the vendor...

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Guenon
KVRAF
1506 posts since 17 Jun, 2005

Re: What is the best (fastest, low latency) audio interface?

Post Thu Jan 04, 2018 9:15 am

Tj Shredder wrote:I have to chime in here, because there are coming up some missconceptions...
A latency of an audio interface is fixed. (Usually) A latency of 40 ms is high. Anything between 3 and 10 ms is low. If the latency is variable depending on software running or not running, something in the chain is causing that. I would clearly suspect the firewire card. A latency of 1370 ms is more than a second - unusable...
The latency that most of this thread has been dealing with is DPC latency, not audio buffer latency. That's why I earlier remarked that it's about microseconds (μs), not milliseconds (ms) :), and it isn't fixed but fluctuates based on how the system and its drivers work as a whole.

ataraxia
KVRist
75 posts since 27 Sep, 2010

Re: What is the best (fastest, low latency) audio interface?

Post Mon Mar 12, 2018 3:14 am

I realise this is an old thread, but thought I'd bring a conclusion to it. I saved up the pennies and bought an RME HDSPe AIO card (PCIe).

Holy s***.

With my biggest project (34 tracks, 16 of which are East West Symphonic Orchestra with multiple plugins) - with my old interface (M-Audio Profire 610) I used to have to set the sample buffer at 2048 samples, when playing the Cubase ASIO meter averaged around 95% load but more often than not would cut out and the playback would stutter and fail. Same project with the RME - I'm currently set at 256 sample buffer and I haven't even seen a reading at all on the ASIO meter (can normally see from about 5% upwards), playback is smooth with no hint of dropouts. Cubase is giving a ~14ms latency (combined input + output).

Thanks for the advice!

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Guenon
KVRAF
1506 posts since 17 Jun, 2005

Re: What is the best (fastest, low latency) audio interface?

Post Mon Mar 12, 2018 4:03 am

Great to hear! :tu:

That's exactly the kind of experience I had with RME back in the day, haha!

I transitioned from E-MU 0404 to my first RME interface those days. The impact a suitable interface can give a system is also why it's sort of my pet peeve when ever I see advice along the lines of, "it's the CPU that does the computing, so the audio interface doesn't effect the actual performance of your system; if it works and is stable, it's good" :D ... The truth is, if you need good realtime performance, it's the system as a whole that counts -- and the interface with its drivers is a very important part of that. Otherwise one is literally paying for resources they can't use (a fast high-end CPU and a bottlenecking interface is a common combination).

Here's a nice thread and benchmark, related to that: viewtopic.php?f=16&t=500721

Again, super that you now have such an efficient and stable audio experience on your system :), good luck with your music!

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Bombadil
KVRAF
2092 posts since 31 Aug, 2013 from The Schwarzwald of My Mind

Re: What is the best (fastest, low latency) audio interface?

Post Sat Mar 24, 2018 7:15 am

Hard to go wrong with RME. My FF802 was a great investment, and it is practically bullet-proof for OS updates for the next x years.
“Not all who wander are lost.”
J.R.R. Tolkien

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phreaque
KVRian
733 posts since 17 Jul, 2007 from Baghdad-Iq

Re: What is the best (fastest, low latency) audio interface?

Post Sat Mar 24, 2018 7:36 am

It could be unrelated, but after all it is about audio interface latency.
Just curious to know how much is the latency on nowadays h/w workstations & synths? like Kronos, Motif, Nord etc.? Does anybody delved into that before?
Phreaque Modi

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