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Interface latency and other stuff

All about the tools and techniques involved in capturing sound, in the studio or on location.

Interface latency and other stuff

Postby AndyN » Mon Jun 17, 2013 7:57 pm

I am still agonizing about the next audio interface I should buy after my previous one stopped working.

Ideally I would like all my inputs (5 line inputs and 2 mic inputs) to go into the interface and to have one set of outputs going to my main monitors and a single mono out going to my Avantone Mixcube.

Firstly, is the latency from most interfaces going to be low enough to play my keyboards through, or should I be looking for something with direct monitoring?

Secondly, conventional wisdom seems to suggest that a monitor controller should come between the interface and speakers as it gives an analogue control that should reduce any damage if the system crashes. All the interfaces I have looked at have analog control over the main outs but not any of the others, except possibly the MOTU Ultralite.

The MOTU Ultralite seems to do all of these things in the one box and has the advantage of operating in standalone mode. Is this the case and are there any other similar interfaces that I should be looking at? It is a little more expensive than I would like to pay but if it does exactly what I want then I will have to think seriously about finding the cash.

Thanks in advance


Forgot to say - I am on a iMac so am looking at firewire or USB interfaces.
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Re: Interface latency and other stuff

Postby rACed2 » Mon Jun 17, 2013 9:37 pm

Considered the RME UFX?
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Re: Interface latency and other stuff

Postby UltimateOutsider » Mon Jun 17, 2013 9:42 pm

As long as you get an interface with some kind of "direct monitoring" capability, you'll be fine. Pretty much all high-end interfaces have this, and an increasing number of entry-level interfaces do as well. With the MOTU UltraLite, you use the CueMix program it comes with as a zero-latency monitor.

The UltraLite is a fine interface and probably has more features-per-dollar than anything else in its class. When I had one my latency was 7.098ms input, 12.018ms output at 256 samples, which was fine for playing keyboards live, even without direct monitoring. I mostly only use direct monitoring when recording vocals. (Also note that interface latency is also tied to your computer, so your own numbers may differ from mine.)

Also note that each DAW has its own way of dealing with interface latency. Be sure you understand how your DAW handles things to get the best results.

Tascam and Roland make fine USB interfaces with around the same number of I/O as the UltraLite (I have experience with Rolands and they're quite good), but I believe the UltraLite wins for total number features.
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Re: Interface latency and other stuff

Postby RitchieM » Tue Jun 18, 2013 6:27 am

Can't say enough good things about the Roland Octa- Capture. Great piece of kit and heartily recommended.
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