Audio Interface - Low Latency Performance Data Base :

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Re: Audio Interface - Low Latency Performance Data Base :

Post by TAFKAT »

Martin Walker wrote:You really are a glutton for punishment Vin! 8-)

Two interface manufacturers are currently cheering at your results, while the rest work out how they can take out a contract on you without getting rumbled :beamup:

Thanks for all your efforts on our collective behalf though ;)

Martin


Hey Martin,

All good, I have upped the monitored security system around the house , just in case :-)

Well one of the above two manufacturers will be cheering at one of the results and sneering at the other , my hope is that the prior motivates them to have a look at the later.

On that note.

Presonus Quantum : I have been doing some further testing, more so to test the unit on TB3 via a USB2 adapter , which I am pleased to say works fine , but in the process of testing I noticed Presonus had snuck out a new driver firmware since my initial tests.

Only changes noted are the 08 Sample Buffer has been removed, ( which was essentially Window dressing anyway ) , and that measured RTL is consistently 6-7 samples less across the remaining latencies. None of the above will change the Database listing.

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Re: Audio Interface - Low Latency Performance Data Base :

Post by TAFKAT »

Image
UA Apollo Twin MkII : The UA unit rounds off the round of testing for the current TB2 interfaces that I have had across the bench. The Apollo Twin USB3 unit I previously tested had high respective I/O and RTL and average performance across the benchmark sessions , so not high on the list of best performers.

The Apollo Mk II TB has definitely addressed not only the respective I/O and RTL but also the performance on the test session across both benchmarks. The comparative performance against the USB3 unit is in a completely different league.

Input latency ( with Input Delay Compensation OFF ), is a little higher than some of the other TB units comparatively, but output latency is very good and on par to the RME unit. Overall performance across the respective latencies was also very good for the the delivered output latency.

Whereas my conclusion for the Apollo USB3 unit was that it was fine for those that navigated to the unit for its expandable DSP FX , it was not particularly the best option for those requiring LLP. The MKII however delivers across the board, RTL is a little higher than the 2 other leading TB interfaces due to the input latency , but not in the realm of it being anything overly detrimental in real world application IMO, and has delivered great LLP while maintaining hardware direct monitoring as well as their expandable DSP FX.

Image
These are the 4 TB2 interface results back to back , RME, Presonus and UA are definitely in the mix against the established PCIe reference units , the Focusrite is not on the same playing field as yet.

Note* I have amended the Presonus Quatum results as I discovered some anomalies with the previous numbers/rating caused by some left over data from a previous template. I will amend the database with the new results and include the UA Apollo MkII as well.

I have a Focusrite REDNet unit with the PCIe Accelerator Card to play with when I get some clear air.

Stay Tuned.

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Re: Audio Interface - Low Latency Performance Data Base :

Post by TAFKAT »

* Additional Note* The Apollo TwIn MkII was tested on a TB 2 PCIe card on my x99 reference hardware , which is outside of UA's tested/supported Thunderbolt compatibility qualification. The unit is only official supported on a TB 3 adapter via USB -C connector through a qualified TB3-TB2 adapter, connection via a Native TB2 connector is not supported. This has most likely more to do with the unavailability of TB2 on Windows systems and UA's inability to test this configuration more so the unit is hobbled by connecting it directly to a TB2 controller. It is after all a TB2 interface connected to a native TB2 controller. It is also only supported on Windows 10 AE and above.

More details of UA's TB compatibility under Windows 10 :
https://help.uaudio.com/hc/en-us/articl ... patibility

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Re: Audio Interface - Low Latency Performance Data Base :

Post by Tim Keep »

TAFKAT wrote:The Apollo TwIn MkII was tested on a TB 2 PCIe card on my x99 reference hardware , which is outside of UA's tested/supported Thunderbolt compatibility qualification. The unit is only official supported on a TB 3 adapter via USB -C connector through a qualified TB3-TB2 adapter, connection via a Native TB2 connector is not supported.
V.C


I'm an old hand apple/logic techy. I'm not in the biz anymore but of course making music still. I'm on Presonus Studio One and planning to take advantage of the AMD/Intel war by building a new i5-8400 on an ASROCK Z370 board Pro4. The board is thunderbolt ready and ASROCK have a PCI card that also connects to a Thunderbolt header on the board.

I also want to use a Quantum 2 as it's I/O is a fairly neat solution and it's quick.

Presonus pre-sales support on the Quantums Thunderbolt 2/3 pci card compatibility has been half-hearted at best and very guarded at worst.

Do you know if the Quantum 2 will likely play nice with the PC I'm building . . . (I'm headed for Win10 also).

Best regards,

Tim
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Re: Audio Interface - Low Latency Performance Data Base :

Post by TAFKAT »

Tim Keep wrote:
I also want to use a Quantum 2 as it's I/O is a fairly neat solution and it's quick.

Presonus pre-sales support on the Quantums Thunderbolt 2/3 pci card compatibility has been half-hearted at best and very guarded at worst.


I have tested the Quantum with both TB2 and TB3 via a TB2 adapter and its working at my end, but I cant comment on the AsRock implementation. The TB spec is pretty stringent , so I can't see there being a problem.

Presonus are most likely playing cards close to their chest because that particular board/card combination hasn't been qualified.

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Re: Audio Interface - Low Latency Performance Data Base :

Post by Tim Keep »

I see in your testing you haven't looked at the Zoom USB 3.0 UAC-2, and actually there's I've found a new USB 3.0 device by Icon Pro Audio called the Ultra 4.
http://iconproaudio.com/product/ultra-4/

I don't know how you're fixed for availability but I'd love to know what sort of scores those manage.

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Re: Audio Interface - Low Latency Performance Data Base :

Post by ef37a »

Tim, I'd love to get a price for that Ultra 4?

Then, yet another claim for 'ultra low latency' for USB three! How are us old valve jockeys supposed to understand things when the AI makers tell us one thing and the experts another?

If the Ultra 4 is in the same price range as the 2i2/2i4/UR22s, it becomes a serious recommendation and alternative. The company seems a good one to me and I base that impression on the ease with which I was able to download an English user manual. No signing in for possible spambot, no personal detail requests (you reading this BBC iPlayer people!) just click and download.

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Re: Audio Interface - Low Latency Performance Data Base :

Post by Pete Kaine »

Tim Keep wrote:I see in your testing you haven't looked at the Zoom USB 3.0 UAC-2


RTL was the same on USB 2 & 3

32 = 4.026
64 = 5.478
128 = 8.38
256 = 14.85

I've DAWBench scores too, but as my test bench no longer matches Vins, it can't really be used for a fair comparison.

ef37a wrote:Then, yet another claim for 'ultra low latency' for USB three! How are us old valve jockeys supposed to understand things when the AI makers tell us one thing and the experts another?


We're not really saying anything different. All the interfaces I've seen so far that claim USB3 optimization, end up performing the same on USB 2 as well. The isn't really any widespread off the peg USB3 audio controller solutions out there currently, so what we're seeing here is firms forced to write a more modern set of drivers rather than rely upon the same off the shelf solutions found in large in throughout the rest of the market.

It's the magic of fully customized controller solutions raising the bar, and that's perhaps the one message that DAWBench was always trying to get across.

ef37a wrote:If the Ultra 4 is in the same price range as the 2i2/2i4/UR22s, it becomes a serious recommendation and alternative. The company seems a good one to me and I base that impression on the ease with which I was able to download an English user manual. No signing in for possible spambot, no personal detail requests (you reading this BBC iPlayer people!) just click and download.


Their controllers have been around for quite a while now and the first few generations were pretty cheaply built. Since they've taken on better representation in Europe and support levels have improved, the newer kit also seems to have become a lot better built too. The cheap plastic of the earlier devices seems to have been largely replaced now and some of their controllers of late have been pretty great.

Certainly interested to see what they have managed with this entry into the interface market as it looks pretty solid so hopefully recent form has continued, although it doesn't seem to be available anywhere in Europe yet that I can see.
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Re: Audio Interface - Low Latency Performance Data Base :

Post by Pete Kaine »

ef37a wrote:If the Ultra 4 is in the same price range as the 2i2/2i4/UR22s, it becomes a serious recommendation and alternative. The company seems a good one to me and I base that impression on the ease with which I was able to download an English user manual. No signing in for possible spambot, no personal detail requests (you reading this BBC iPlayer people!) just click and download.


So.... following on from the above chat about the Ultra 4 I borrowed one. Hats off to the distro for getting one on my desk in under 24hrs.

Build quality is good in general. The switches feel a little cheap in comparison to the body of the interface, although I reckon you could do some serious damage with the unit if you got your bowling arm in action. Honestly, I've seen far more expensive interfaces, with a lot more cheap plastic going on so a plus point there.

The sound delivered is clean and notably, the headphone amp itself is surprisingly both clean and punchy for a budget unit. It won't win awards, but I'd be happier using it than a fair few other inbuilt headphone amps around this price point, so it appears to have been well spec'd.

The best feature here may also be it's also its weak point. The inline VST hosting is awesome and I wasn't expecting it to be as flexible as it is. Full matrix routing and you can toss a standard VST effect plug anywhere between the ins and outs, which gives you some interesting monitoring and recording possibilities.

The downside of this looks to be some of the safety buffers, the best result I can pull is a 8ms round trip at a 64 buffer.... and a 128 buffer.... oh, and the 32 buffer. Once you go above 128 (this is testing at a 44.1 sample rate) the RTL score starts to creep upwards, but it does appear to be limited to that 8ms result on lower buffer settings.

I think this is working as intended. After all if you're going to be that flexible with inserting plug based effects then something has to be implemented for safety, and in this case, it looks like a hidden buffer or two.

Is 8ms too laggy? Probably not for a lot of people, but it'll depend on individual scenarios as even the most demanding of drummers would probably get away with that with headphone monitoring although maybe not from halfway across the stage coming out of the foldback monitors.

If your working purely in the box then the output is around 6ms and I can see some uses here for media playback solutions who might need various compression & limiting capabilities in a full A/V rig, but then it's only a stereo out. I think I'd quite like to see a 7.1 capable consumer version with all the VST support, decoding capabilities oh and some digital connections... but then I may possibly have gotten a little off track here.

I did confirm the one thing that I was interested in before opening the box, as in this appears to be another USB 3 interface that performs as well on USB 2 as it does on USB 3.

Is it a good unit? Well, I've not done the full round of tests yet, but I've certainly seen worse at this price point. I know I've not been overly positive about the RTL but it's no worse than the older Xmos based stuff that still clutters up this price bracket, so really it's a rather average interface performance wise, but it has one kick ass feature that will either have you reaching for your wallet, or just shrugging your shoulders.

Eitherway, at least it has a USP and in this segment of the market, that's a rather interesting prospect in itself. It does strike me upon thinking about it that this would make an awesome webcasting solution, thanks to that abiility to build your own effects chain.
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Re: Audio Interface - Low Latency Performance Data Base :

Post by ef37a »

Thank Pete. Some of that was above my pay grade but basically you liked it!

My basic question, is it a contender in the 'good but cheap' AI arena has been answered and that answer is no. AFAICT the Ultra 4 will retail at around £170, that is the wrong side of £149 IMHO to compete with the likes of the UR22, even the 2i4 is better VFM for a basic 2 in 2 out AI with MIDI.

I take the point about the fairly powerful headphone delivery (but, B should be with an extra 2watts to play with!) but the real nitty is, does the H/P circuit have enough GAIN to bring -20dBF signals to a useful level amid noise?

The S/N figures are very impressive, hope to see confirmation with Hugh's gizmos.

To me, the best use of USB 3.0 at this price range would be to provide more mic inputs with decent phantom power delivery and H/P outs with good drive power and gain. This would of course spoil compatibility with USB 2.0 but that is what wall rats are for.

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Re: Audio Interface - Low Latency Performance Data Base :

Post by Pete Kaine »

Yeah, it's just always interesting to see a firm doing something a bit different. I note this morning that they've got a few other options with the same functionality but different I/O options, so possibly worth checking through the rest of the range too.

In a world where it's easy to enter the market with just another generic "us too" type product and the market is already awash with 2/2 I/O solutions, fair play to anyone who decides to go a step beyond and try something a bit different.
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Re: Audio Interface - Low Latency Performance Data Base :

Post by Tim Keep »

Hey Guys,

I just wanted to say thank you for letting me know what you've discovered about the interfaces, and actually checking out the little Icon interface . . . .

I really wonder when manufacturers will realise, as soon as one releases a solid and cheap low latency interface for electronic producers who like to play in their notes, they'll have a large chunk of the market chomping at the bit. Adding the input VST FX seemed like a big miss with 8ms at lowest. I don't like much more than 3 if I can manage it.

So actually for me, I'm on the way to getting a Quantum 2 or perhaps an RME HDSP PCI-E card but that obviously requires a couple more boxes like the new Drawmer control room box if I do. I think if the Quantum 2s doing the business without tripping over itself, I'll be finger drumming along real soon.

My real dilemma now is. . . . i5-8400 vs one of the i7-8700 or k version. Will Studio One split the work properly? . and if I create large convoluted bus routings between FX, group busses and side chains if I'll be better with the 8700 or not . . .
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