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USB3 audio interfaces seem rare Most are still USB2


WheelHead

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Like many I run my DAW and pianos through my USB interface. I thought about updating my USB audio interface which is a Focusrite to USB3 but to my surprise there are hardly any USB3 interfaces even searching the RMI site. Did find one at 'ZZ' for 900 (one). I had a Fireface from RMI that was Firewire that I sold a while back that was very excellent. One would think that the audio interface companies would update the USB sound interfaces to USB3 to perhaps lower latencies.

 

Here is one reference::

USB 1.1 = 1.5 MB/s

Firefire 400 = 50 MB/s

USB 2.0 = 60 MB/s

FireWire 800 = 100 MB/s

USB 3.0 = 625 MB/s

USB 3.1 = 1.21 GB/s

eSATA = 750 MB/s

Thunderbolt = 1.25 GB/s × 2 (2 channels)

Thunderbolt 2 = 2.5 GB/s

Thunderbolt 3 = 5 GB/

 

How long has it been around?

 

"The first USB 3.0 consumer products were announced and shipped by Buffalo Technology in November 2009, while the first certified USB 3.0 consumer products were announced on 5 January 2010, at the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show (CES), including two motherboards by ASUS and Gigabyte Technology"

 

Seems like a long time for the audio interfaces not to be updated.

Even the 'new version' Focusrites are USB2. The RMIs (did not do a deep search) appear to be USB2.

 

Fascinating. I must be missing something. Perhaps it is just marketing. Have the interface work with the many older computers instead of a faster updated sound interface. Perhaps it may be a technical situation like, "USB2 audio interface should reach the capability of most CPUs in recent computers no need for USB3" (making that up)

 

WH

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The hardware manufacturers want the largest possible market, so they target the near-ubiquitous USB 2.0.

 

USB 3.0 and thunderbolt definitely allow for a fatter data pipe between computer and audio interface, but the real bottleneck is usually the ability of your CPU and audio interface driver to quickly bundle up and send audio to the interface.

 

Quality interface drivers from the manufacturer are the most important thing. In my case, I have an Apollo Twin thunderbolt audio interface and an RD-2000 with a built in USB 2.0 interface. Surprisingly, I get better results with the RD-2000, where I can turn my buffer size all the way down to 64 without glitches (running Keyscape even). I usually have to turn the Apollo up to 128.

 

I have heard that the Zoom UAC-2 is an excellent USB 3.0 audio interface.

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USB-3 has more bandwidth but is not any faster. That's why

there are TB interfaces coming out as opposed to USB-3.

Triton Extreme 76, Kawai ES3, GEM-RPX, HX3/Drawbar control, MSI Z97

MPower/4790K, Lynx Aurora 8/MADI/AES16e, OP-X PRO, Ptec, Komplete.

Ashley MX-206. future MOTU M64 RME Digiface Dante for Mon./net

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16-bit samples at 44.1khz comes out to 88.2KB/s, so less than .1 MB/s. No doubt there's overhead to account for, and you might use higher bitrates, but still 60MB/s should handle a *lot* of channels.

 

I don't know anything about USB latency. Googling, https://support.focusrite.com/hc/en-gb/articles/208095469-USB-2-0-vs-USB-3-0 claims there's no improvement.

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USB 2.0 is fast enough for most purposes and newer USB has fragmented enough that it isn't a slam dunk to update hardware to anything particularly recent. E.g. most interfaces can run their full complement of channels at max speed over USB 2 and it has widely deployed connector and protocol support. E.g. 24 in/ 24 out at 192 kHz 24-bit is the max MOTU quotes for their AVB interfaces over USB 2. (Goes up to 128 in / 128 out over Thunderbolt. Note getting that many channels requires cascading a bunch of boxes over AVB.)

 

Anyone running ~128 high-speed channels probably uses Thunderbolt or some sort of Ethernet based transport anyway. Though the huge advantage of class compliant in USB is it doesn't require an interface specific driver. Security concerns are making it difficult to install drivers on Mac OS X and likely elsewhere so there's a lot of win in having everything be plain vanilla USB.

 

At this point vendors will likely change to USB-C connectors, which should ease connection with a lot of systems but may or may not come with USB 3 speeds. (The matrix of hardware connections and protocol support in USB C is a bit mind boggling. On the flipside, it is trying to cover so much ground in terms of speed and max power over the cable that it's basically impossible to support the entire capability in a low-cost implementation. And then there's Thunderbolt 3, which is a different protocol using the same connector.)

 

-Z-

 

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If you want to stay up on the current state of interfaces you should read up on TAFKATs

thread at Gearslutz. You'll find out why USB generally sucks because the manufacturers,

with the exception of RME, outsource for crappy Dice USB drivers which screws the

performance of those interfaces. Really don't know why your sitting here talking and

wining about it, no one here has their sh!t together like Vin does, more data and

Dawbench reports you could ever find is over there.

Triton Extreme 76, Kawai ES3, GEM-RPX, HX3/Drawbar control, MSI Z97

MPower/4790K, Lynx Aurora 8/MADI/AES16e, OP-X PRO, Ptec, Komplete.

Ashley MX-206. future MOTU M64 RME Digiface Dante for Mon./net

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USB 3.0 interface from Tascam

 

With a Sound-on-Sound review. Note in the sidebar pros/cons that 3.0 currently only works for Windows, but this was written in August 2016 so Im sure thats been fixed. Well, one would think

The fact there's a Highway To Hell and only a Stairway To Heaven says a lot about anticipated traffic numbers

 

People only say "It's a free country" when they're doing something shitty-Demetri Martin

 

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If you want to stay up on the current state of interfaces you should read up on TAFKATs

thread at Gearslutz. You'll find out why USB generally sucks because the manufacturers,

with the exception of RME, outsource for crappy Dice USB drivers which screws the

performance of those interfaces. Really don't know why your sitting here talking and

wining about it, no one here has their sh!t together like Vin does, more data and

Dawbench reports you could ever find is over there.

 

Vin probably knows more about interfaces than anyone else.

 

But the relevance of his benchmarks are limited by the fact he uses a Win 7 benchmark machine, so not much help for those of us who are on OSX using Core Audio or current spec Win 10 machines.

A misguided plumber attempting to entertain | MainStage 3 | Axiom 61 2nd Gen | Pianoteq | B5 | XK3c | EV ZLX 12P

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Look for an interface that has good converters and regularly updated, well written, drivers. This is far more important than whether USB2 or 3 for the latency (together with the state of your computer, of course).

As others have noted, the difference in bandwidth is of no interest in this case. USB2 handles all "normal" use cases with ease.

Rock bottom bass

Fakebook Pro Sheet Music Reader - at every gig!

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The Oblique RTL Utility reports round-trip latencies of ~3ms/64 buffer/44.1KHz and ~6ms/128 buffer/44.1Khz using my RME UFX USB2 interface. This is right in line with the lowest latencies being reported. Will I reduce latency by any measurable amount by getting an RME PCIe interface? I have my doubts. At a 128 sample buffer, I have plenty of headroom for large projects. I never hear glitches in Cubase 10 or Pro Tools (Windows 10). Things are tight with no MIDI slop. There's UAD Apollo Twin USB3 interface in that benchmark database with roughly twice the latency of my RME UFX USB2.

 

Busch.

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My RME UFX USB2 interface is basically working for me, should I get a RME PCIe interface?

 

Audio interface setups are like romantic partners: None are perfect, but if you have one that is generally making you happy and not completely pissing you off on a regular basis, it's likely best to not go looking for a replacement.

 

-Z-

 

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Until your romantic partner decides your driver is no longer compatible with the partner's updated operating system.

A misguided plumber attempting to entertain | MainStage 3 | Axiom 61 2nd Gen | Pianoteq | B5 | XK3c | EV ZLX 12P

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If you want to stay up on the current state of interfaces you should read up on TAFKATs

thread at Gearslutz. You'll find out why USB generally sucks because the manufacturers,

with the exception of RME, outsource for crappy Dice USB drivers which screws the

performance of those interfaces. Really don't know why your sitting here talking and

wining about it, no one here has their sh!t together like Vin does, more data and

Dawbench reports you could ever find is over there.

 

Vin probably knows more about interfaces than anyone else.

 

But the relevance of his benchmarks are limited by the fact he uses a Win 7 benchmark machine, so not much help for those of us who are on OSX using Core Audio or current spec Win 10 machines.

If your looking at performance, the driver makes that dterminnation not the OS. there is an OSX dawbench utility currently in beta though.

Triton Extreme 76, Kawai ES3, GEM-RPX, HX3/Drawbar control, MSI Z97

MPower/4790K, Lynx Aurora 8/MADI/AES16e, OP-X PRO, Ptec, Komplete.

Ashley MX-206. future MOTU M64 RME Digiface Dante for Mon./net

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Numbers are meaningless really. We can barely saturate a SATA 2 Buss.

 

Im always hanging with guys that design drivers for S|C or RME at trade shows.

They say their best drivers are PCI-e then USB 2.0.

 

We arent gamers or video rendering/archiving types, our needs are basically a slow steady stream of 250MBs per second.

Low jitter means Steady too. Bursts of bandwidth dont do jack shit for us.

RME guys said USB 2.0 sacrifices a wee bit of latency, mostly unnoticeable since 6.0msec. means the time it take audio from a crash cymbal to reach your ear 10 feet away.

USB is perfect for RME Engineers.

 

Personally Im a PCI-e guy.

Its MIDI isnt mixed with audio and I like that better than everything in a single MLan style cable.

I also use 1394 FireWire on my Interface for extra I/0s, old out dated useless stuff right?

Ive got 3 Strymon Pedals that are more than happy using this slow old outdated protocol.

 

This is for live too, not recording where we can slide more.

 

I surely dont plan on adding more bandwidth or fixing something that works already.

I keep saying no to Windows 10 and any other Advancement that claims to be faster.

 

NVMe was suppose to be 4 times faster than SSD.

Bull puckey.

It loads samples faster for Omnisphere but no gain for Lontakt or any other VSTi.

Again, we get 250MBs per second.

Anything faster than that just doesnt help us really.

Sometimes its even worse as Inget PCI Overflow messages on consumer boards that dont tell you theyre overclocked at the manufactuering facility because their Scores look better for sales.

Butif that is a globally applied speed boost you better hope that doesnt apply to th PCI Buss.

Thats where these PCI Overflow messages come from.

Thats means a reboot during a gig,

 

USB 2.0 at least from RME are super stable and dont need more speed.

Its only a con, nonway more bandwidth helps. Its either 250 or nothing.

 

 

Magnus C350 + FMR RNP + Realistic Unisphere Mic
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Numbers are meaningless really. We can barely saturate a SATA 2 Buss.

 

Im always hanging with guys that design drivers for S|C or RME at trade shows.

They say their best drivers are PCI-e then USB 2.0.

 

We arent gamers or video rendering/archiving types, our needs are basically a slow steady stream of 250MBbs per second.

Low jitter means Steady too. Bursts of bandwidth dont do jack shit for us.

RME guys said USB 2.0 sacrifices a wee bit of latency, mostly unnoticeable since 6.0msec. means the time it take audio from a crash cymbal to reach your ear 10 feet away.

USB is perfect for RME Engineers.

 

Personally Im a PCI-e guy.

Its MIDI isnt mixed with audio and I like that better than everything in a single MLan style cable.

I also use 1394 FireWire on my Interface for extra I/0s, old out dated useless stuff right?

Ive got 3 Strymon Pedals that are more than happy using this slow old outdated protocol.

 

This is for live too, not recording where we can slide more.

 

I surely dont plan on adding more bandwidth or fixing something that works already.

I keep saying no to Windows 10 and any other Advancement that claims to be faster.

 

NVMe was suppose to be 4 times faster than SSD.

Bull puckey.

It loads samples faster for Omnisphere but no gain for Lontakt or any other VSTi.

Again, we get 250MBbs per second.

Anything faster than that just doesnt help us really.

Sometimes its even worse as Inget PCI Overflow messages on consumer boards that dont tell you theyre overclocked at the manufactuering facility because their Scores look better for sales.

Butif that is a globally applied speed boost you better hope that doesnt apply to th PCI Buss.

Thats where these PCI Overflow messages come from.

Thats means a reboot during a gig,

 

USB 2.0 at least from RME are super stable and dont need more speed.

Its only a con, nonway more bandwidth helps. Its either 250 or nothing.

 

fixed.

 

... sorry, I have to work today, so I'm feeling bitchy...

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

-Mark Twain

 

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It could be worse, you could be dressing up as Santa to lie to children so later on in life they can say you lied back then, and telling them an education will guarantee you a better chance at success might just be another lie.

 

Ho Ho Ho

Magnus C350 + FMR RNP + Realistic Unisphere Mic
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It could be worse, you could be dressing up as Santa to lie to children so later on in life they can say you lied back then, and telling them an education will guarantee you a better chance at success might just be another lie.

 

Ho Ho Ho

 

:laugh:

 

yeah ... it´s x-mas time again !

 

A.C.

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  • 2 weeks later...

...

Again, we get 250MBbs per second.

 

fixed.

 

... sorry, I have to work today, so I'm feeling bitchy...

 

Hmmm ... what does that FIX mean ?

 

250 mega B-flats ?

 

:crazy:

 

A.C.

It doesn't show up well, but there is a strike through the B (Bytes) replaced with the b (bits).

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

-Mark Twain

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

For those not following the NAMM thread, PreSonus have announced USB-C versions of their Studio audio interfaces. Will be getting one of these babies :thu:

 

LINK

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Arturia as well, and they look almost like they could be OEM'ed from Focusrite (or maybe even PreSonus) but I guess they're doing their own.

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The Presonus units are USB 2.0 over USB-C, not USB 3.0. All that has changed from the prior models is the connector & the paint job.

 

Absolutely - but I'm in the market for a rack mixer / interface and anything that removes an adapter is a win ;)

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Oh, the Arturia rack mount 8-channel audio interface model may have been USB-C as well. I wasn't interested as I'm covered by RME and Audient, so didn't save the link. It might be part of SonicState's NAMM coverage though.

Eugenio Upright, 60th Anniversary P-Bass, USA Geddy Lee J-Bass, Yamaha BBP35, D'angelico SS Bari, EXL1,

Select Strat, 70th Anniversary Esquire, LP 57, Eastman T486, T64, Ibanez PM2, Hammond XK4, Moog Voyager

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Oh, the Arturia rack mount 8-0channel audio interface model may have been USB-C as well. I wasn't interested as I'm covered by RME and Audient, so didn't save the link. It might be part of SonicState's NAMM coverage though.

 

Yes, those new Arturia, including the Rackmount 8 are USB-C

 

David

Gig Rig:Depends on the day :thu:

 

 

 

 

 

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Both the PreSonus and Arturia products are pretty much the same thing as previous interfaces but with USB-C. The Arturia ones have a few unique features, like effects sends on two of the channels for their 8 channel version, but I don't see anything on either that allows easier expansion or more versatile control from a computer or iPad. E.g. stuff like MOTU and iConnectivity are doing.

 

They're fine in the sense that if you're hooking them up to computers or devices with USB-C ports, the cable is plug-n-play. If they deliver power, it might even be really good for (new) iPad work. But there's definitely too little innovation in audio interfaces.

 

-Z-

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