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Which drive?

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Re: Which drive?

Postby ef37a » Tue Mar 30, 2021 11:54 pm

saltybrian wrote:Come to think, I've omitted a crucial piece of info in that last post:

the Soundcraft interface is untested with anything more than 6 channels of audio. Up until a few weeks ago I've been recording with an old MOTU 8pre, both the interface and HDD connected via Firewire.

I take it then, that USB could be a significant backwards step compared to that setup?

There have been 8 channel USB 2.0 interfaces around for well over a decade, most notably the Tascam US16-08 and I never read a negative report about one?

Firewire might have the edge over USB 2.0 for a high track count AND very low latency (but then RME seem to do that ok!) but you are just tracking?

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Re: Which drive?

Postby James Perrett » Wed Mar 31, 2021 12:27 am

USB is not the limiting factor here but give yourself the best chance of success by keeping buffer sizes high. I would have to say that my ancient Acer laptop based rig used a Firewire interface but I've also had good success recording 32 channels from an X32 mixer on my newer (2012) laptop. What you are trying to do has been pretty trivial for 15 years or more. In fact my late 90's 233MHz Pentium II PC could just about manage 16 track recording although it was easily overloaded if you put any processing on any of the tracks.

It would be worth doing a test session recording all channels for an hour or two before doing the real session - just to make sure you don't have something that crops up. Using a sinewave test tone will make it easier to see any glitches if you activate Reaper's spectral view on playback (use the waveform view on record as spectral view may take up quite a bit of processing power).
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Re: Which drive?

Postby flozzi001 » Wed Mar 31, 2021 2:31 am

Yes, I hope my post wasn’t misleading.
Today you never would consider a USB audio interface as unreliable or not cable of 32 tracks or more. I definitely can’t see that there will be issues on the Soundcraft side. Although Dave already pointed out what is the difference between the manufacturers, it’s the driver they use and therefore they can get the USB protocol fitted better for audio recording needs.

This is exactly what is missing with an USB-drive - a driver, or at least a driver which takes care of real time operations.

To give a really quick example, think about you are recording to your USB drive, at some random time, your Antivirus decides it have to scan all connected devices. There is no driver which would over the other priority.

You still should be fine cause even USB 2 have lots of Headroom for your application. So there need a lot to happen that your bandwidth for the audio stream is not available anymore. But like pointed out from a few people USB 3 would be a lot better.

Making the buffer size of interface larger is a good idea in general, although would not help you if you run into issue with your USB-drive. Before your DAW writes the audio out to the drive it will between get buffered in the RAM, cause the blocks you can write to a drive a larger than those who you receive from the interface.

The only way you will get your answer is to try it out. It can work fine with a USB2 drive, but it is also possible that it will not work.
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Re: Which drive?

Postby Funkyflash5 » Wed Mar 31, 2021 4:04 am

I've done 26 tracks of 24/48 simultaneous on usb without trouble. Just don't monitor ITB
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Re: Which drive?

Postby James Perrett » Wed Mar 31, 2021 1:27 pm

So much strange advice on this thread...

How many people contributing to this thread actually do 16+ track recordings regularly?
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Re: Which drive?

Postby Luke W » Wed Mar 31, 2021 1:45 pm

James Perrett wrote:How many people contributing to this thread actually do 16+ track recordings regularly?

The chance would be a fine thing at the moment. :(
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Re: Which drive?

Postby blinddrew » Wed Mar 31, 2021 1:57 pm

What Luke said! :D

We were just gearing up for another band recording session when lockdown hit last year. That would have been 16 tracks via USB (Tascam US16x08) into my ageing laptop. Crank the buffer up and don't apply any effects and it works absolutely fine.
Since then I've not used more than 3 track simultaneously. :thumbdown:
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Re: Which drive?

Postby James Perrett » Wed Mar 31, 2021 2:03 pm

Luke W wrote:
James Perrett wrote:How many people contributing to this thread actually do 16+ track recordings regularly?

The chance would be a fine thing at the moment. :(

I guess that's where the restoration business is a bit different. I'm still transferring quite a few multitrack tapes here with possibly another big batch arriving in the next few hours. Haven't done any music recording for over a year though. :(
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Re: Which drive?

Postby jjlonbass » Wed Mar 31, 2021 2:26 pm

flozzi001 wrote:The issue with USB though, it is not intended for anything time critical.
Because of this reason Firewire and now Thunderbolt is actually much more preferred for audio interface and gives you a much lower latency than USB.

Strange advice indeed. USB 2.0 has always supported an isochronous mode specifically designed to support constant bandwidth streaming data such as audio in and out.

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Re: Which drive?

Postby Luke W » Wed Mar 31, 2021 2:40 pm

James Perrett wrote:I guess that's where the restoration business is a bit different. I'm still transferring quite a few multitrack tapes here with possibly another big batch arriving in the next few hours. Haven't done any music recording for over a year though. :(

I'm also fortunate enough to still be at work, and looking on the bright side, with everything being focused on pre-recording and/or streaming I'm doing lots of stuff I probably wouldn't have been doing and learning along the way which is never a bad thing. But no full on live shows with people actually there in the room is starting to get a bit old now.

We'll get there, I'm sure. :)
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Re: Which drive?

Postby flozzi001 » Wed Mar 31, 2021 10:33 pm

jjlonbass wrote:
flozzi001 wrote:The issue with USB though, it is not intended for anything time critical.
Because of this reason Firewire and now Thunderbolt is actually much more preferred for audio interface and gives you a much lower latency than USB.

Strange advice indeed. USB 2.0 has always supported an isochronous mode specifically designed to support constant bandwidth streaming data such as audio in and out.

John

Using a “fire and forget protocol” to write to your drive is actually not the greatest idea, but yes I get your point. Also, for interfaces, I guess they are not using the isochronous transfer but much more likely an interrupt based transfer. I don’t know for sure though I never had insides into an audio interface driver.

I have a question though, maybe you know it. For USB-Drives, can your DAW control which protocol it prefers or is it controlled by the OS/USB driver?
Because like I said before, you will never run into issues with the USB connection of your audio interface. The device and driver are made for this exact use case.
Where problems could occur is with the external USB-drive.
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Re: Which drive?

Postby ef37a » Thu Apr 01, 2021 8:17 am

flozzi001 wrote:
jjlonbass wrote:
flozzi001 wrote:The issue with USB though, it is not intended for anything time critical.
Because of this reason Firewire and now Thunderbolt is actually much more preferred for audio interface and gives you a much lower latency than USB.

Strange advice indeed. USB 2.0 has always supported an isochronous mode specifically designed to support constant bandwidth streaming data such as audio in and out.

John

Using a “fire and forget protocol” to write to your drive is actually not the greatest idea, but yes I get your point. Also, for interfaces, I guess they are not using the isochronous transfer but much more likely an interrupt based transfer. I don’t know for sure though I never had insides into an audio interface driver.

I have a question though, maybe you know it. For USB-Drives, can your DAW control which protocol it prefers or is it controlled by the OS/USB driver?
Because like I said before, you will never run into issues with the USB connection of your audio interface. The device and driver are made for this exact use case.
Where problems could occur is with the external USB-drive.

I am not sure I follow all that but then I am just a retired old valve jockey. I have followed the "USB v Fussywire" debate for as long as I have been infesting this forum and the conclusion from the top blokes was always that IF the interface has well written ASIO drivers there is usually no problem, at least for 16 or so tracks although the likes of RME seem to do wonders!

I had an M-Audio Fast track Pro years back and even though just USB 1.1 that would play a soft synth with no noticeable latency but then M-A were always noted for their excellent drivers.

AT LEAST! You cannot get a USB A plug in the wrong way around AND the system stands "Hot Swapping"!


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Re: Which drive?

Postby saltybrian » Fri Apr 09, 2021 11:15 pm

Hi all,

Thanks for all suggestions. Here's an update:

I've taken delivery of 2 x Samsung 500gb T5 SSDs this week.

I've got one hooked up directly to the Soundcraft. It works fine.

The other is connected to the USB2 connection of the (2011) Macbook, recording out of Logic Pro. I'm doing 24 bit/48k (this is being filmed too) with a buffer size of 128.
This too seems to work just fine.

Before the second SSD arrived home, I also tested recording from Logic directly to the Macbook's internal drive, also with buffer at 128. That too worked.

So, as long as everything works exactly the same on location and not a single thing changes or goes wrong, it's going to work perfectly! Just need the musicians, most of whom won't have played properly together for over a year, to collectively nail it now :)

I actually hadn't seen all the talk of buffer sizes before trying this. Would I gain anything by raising that buffer size now?
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Re: Which drive?

Postby BJG145 » Sat Apr 10, 2021 9:16 am

saltybrian wrote:The other is connected to the USB2 connection of the (2011) Macbook, recording out of Logic Pro. I'm doing 24 bit/48k (this is being filmed too) with a buffer size of 128. This too seems to work just fine...I actually hadn't seen all the talk of buffer sizes before trying this. Would I gain anything by raising that buffer size now?

Although I generally take an "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" approach, I would say, yes, increase the buffer size. That's pretty low, it doesn't need to be that low for recording, and it will increase the risk of a glitch.
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Re: Which drive?

Postby James Perrett » Sat Apr 10, 2021 2:28 pm

I'd agree with BJG145 - I'd typically use a buffer size of 1024 or more when doing live recordings just for safety.
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