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Audio Interface - Low Latency Performance Data Base :

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Re: Audio Interface - Low Latency Performance Data Base :

Postby Sam Inglis » Thu Jun 09, 2011 12:24 pm

Interesting tests there Vin.

Can anyone confirm for sure that the Focusrite Saffire Pro 40 definitely uses the Dice II chipset? I've never managed to get very low latency out of it on my Dell laptop, but at least it works -- by contrast, the same laptop won't recognise my M-Audio ProFire 2626 at all, and did not work properly with a Mackie interface that I know uses Dice II.
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Re: Audio Interface - Low Latency Performance Data Base :

Postby Pete Kaine » Thu Jun 09, 2011 1:11 pm

I might be wrong... and I should know better than using Google to back up a claim, but:

http://bit.ly/iBKi08

(used because the resultant link broke it's own formatting in the message board code)
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Re: Audio Interface - Low Latency Performance Data Base :

Postby TAFKAT » Thu Jun 09, 2011 3:24 pm

Sam Inglis wrote:Interesting tests there Vin.

Can anyone confirm for sure that the Focusrite Saffire Pro 40 definitely uses the Dice II chipset? I've never managed to get very low latency out of it on my Dell laptop, but at least it works -- by contrast, the same laptop won't recognise my M-Audio ProFire 2626 at all, and did not work properly with a Mackie interface that I know uses Dice II.

Hey Sam,

As someone noted earlier, the listing of the JetPLL™ in the spec is a give away that its Dice II.

Laptops are a moving target, especially if they are non TI, and even if they use a TI card in an Express slot. It can depend on what chipset/ controller the actual Express slot is , and even how the low level resources are assigned at the board/BIOS level.

Its interesting that you have mentioned having trouble with the Profire 2626 , you are the second person to mention that to me in recent weeks, interestingly the Profire 610 works perfectly on the same notebook , and they share the identical driver , so it has to be some variance at the controller level.

FWIW: The performance of the 2626 is identical to the Profire 610 on the desktop and miles ahead of any Dice II interface I have ever tested.

Re Mackie using Dice II, more than likely on their rack units, but I recently tested an Onyx Mixer with the onboard FW controller and it definitely wasn't Dice II. Available buffer settings all the way down to 032 samples , and it performed quite well across all buffer settings with DAWbench DSP , DAWbench VI was another story tho.. :-(

What was really odd with that unit was that it did not report latency values to Cubase past the theoretical values for the respective buffer settings, sp no AD/DA , no safety buffers, etc, so it could have been padded to the hilt with double buffers on playback and we would be none the wiser.

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Re: Audio Interface - Low Latency Performance Data Base :

Postby Martin Walker » Thu Jun 09, 2011 3:52 pm

Martin Walker wrote:It looks as if I ought to set up a thread/poll so SOS Forum users can tell us what buffer size they currently use, and for what purpose (live monitoring, playing softsynths, or mixing/mastering), so we can all get a better handle on who wants what ;)

OK - I've just created this and posted it on the Music & Recording Technology forum so we get both Mac and PC votes. Here you go - vote away and lets' see what we can deduce from the results!

www.soundonsound.com/forum/showflat.php ... ber=919293


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Re: Audio Interface - Low Latency Performance Data Base :

Postby James Perrett » Thu Jun 09, 2011 4:36 pm

As a user I'd offer a different perspective - I want stability more than absolute low latency. I remember certain Focusrite testers around here saying that early versions of the DiceII based Saffire Pro40 were much more stable than the Bridgeco based Saffire Pro26. I suspect that M-Audio have stuck with Bridgeco chips as have Prism. Apart from RME, are there any other manufacturers making firewire audio chipsets?

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Re: Audio Interface - Low Latency Performance Data Base :

Postby robinv » Thu Jun 09, 2011 4:43 pm

Pete Kaine wrote:

In that case stop wingeing about the windows implimentaion and do something about your code! The's a load of you surely you can pool your resources and do something about it rather than just shrug your shoulders and point the blame! If Maudio can get it right in their budget end of the market then what excuse do the rest of them have?
I don't disagree with that. My Edirol FA66 beats everything i've tried and it's on version 1.0 of the 64bit driver - it was right first time. Shame it's not a very inspiring box :)
I confess that since last year and my laptop testing i've tended to avoid Presonus and favour other interfaces when asked for an opinion - but at the same time these are companies you want to work with and have success with so, you know, depends, as you say......
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Re: Audio Interface - Low Latency Performance Data Base :

Postby robinv » Thu Jun 09, 2011 4:52 pm

TAFKAT wrote: so just because your working environment works for you, it doesn't mean it will for others. That doesn't make you any more or less an idiot or otherwise, than those that will not find 256 acceptable.
That, my friend, is exactly what i'm trying to say :)



While you place far less importance on efficient LLP , I have yet to see an audio interface manufacturer market their products in that manner, quite the opposite. Most if not all will try and sell the merits of low latency , whether they can actually deliver the efficiency is another matter. If it was of no importance to the end users, why would they bother emphasizing the low latency aspect.
Oddly i think they tend to emphasise the misleading "zero latency monitoring" angle rather than low latency as such.



Interestingly the new AVID MboxPro 3 is outperforming both the M-Audio and the RME's on some recent testing I have done, even on a non TI generic OHCI FW controller on my latest audio notebook , while a Focusrite unit would not even be detected at all, so I think Digi and Microsoft are in the clear, Focusrite/DiceII on the other hand.....
All very interesting.



I do plan to include more OSX comparative data if there is enough interest from that side of the pond.
Cool.

I think this is all fascinating. I'm still looking for an interface to replace my Delta 44/Omni which is, god, 10 years old or something so i'm always on the lookout. Disappointed that there were no interesting things at the shows this year and lots that seem to appear and disappear like Alesis and Lexicon boxes. Hey can we get together to design and produce our own box?
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Re: Audio Interface - Low Latency Performance Data Base :

Postby Pete Kaine » Thu Jun 09, 2011 4:58 pm

James Perrett wrote:I remember certain Focusrite testers around here saying that early versions of the DiceII based Saffire Pro40 were much more stable than the Bridgeco based Saffire Pro26. I suspect that M-Audio have stuck with Bridgeco chips as have Prism. Apart from RME, are there any other manufacturers making firewire audio chipsets?

Maybe that comes down to drivers again and kinda comes back to the fact they have got it right "now". I've got a Maudio 1814 I've been using as a test device since for about 5 years now. I probably wouldn't have trusted it on xp but on win 7 it's been flawless.

I've had it down trade shows at earls court and the NEC running 8 or 9 hours a day for weeks at a time and it's rock solid and we're pushing it in some pretty daft situations. Perhaps they got a new coder or two care of Avid after the take over, or perhaps Win 7 is just better to work with driver wise (I'm not a code monkey so I couldn't say). The DICE situation whilst stable and I'd never say otherwise (you've just got to get it working first...) hasn't really improved performance wise from one driver set to the next, so I have to question the hardware in that instance.

All very nice saying it's stable but then so is a ford focus. I don't want an engine from one of those in my Ferrari through ;)
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Re: Audio Interface - Low Latency Performance Data Base :

Postby Sam Inglis » Thu Jun 09, 2011 5:23 pm

TAFKAT wrote:

Re Mackie using Dice II, more than likely on their rack units, but I recently tested an Onyx Mixer with the onboard FW controller and it definitely wasn't Dice II. Available buffer settings all the way down to 032 samples , and it performed quite well across all buffer settings with DAWbench DSP , DAWbench VI was another story tho.. :-(

That's interesting. This was the Onyx Blackbird rackmount unit and I know it's a DICE chipset because Mackie told me so.

I wonder if this might make an interesting SOS feature -- PM me if you want to talk about it further!

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Re: Audio Interface - Low Latency Performance Data Base :

Postby Sam Inglis » Thu Jun 09, 2011 5:24 pm

James Perrett wrote: Apart from RME, are there any other manufacturers making firewire audio chipsets?

Yamaha perhaps?
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Re: Audio Interface - Low Latency Performance Data Base :

Postby Remeniz » Thu Jun 09, 2011 6:09 pm

Mmm...

Any results for the Steinberg MR816?

I was working at 32 sample buffer setting until I realized that I was running @ 96Khz sample rate and went into the MR editor to go back down to 44.1Khz.
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Re: Audio Interface - Low Latency Performance Data Base :

Postby TAFKAT » Thu Jun 09, 2011 10:35 pm

Remeniz wrote: Any results for the Steinberg MR816?

Hey R,

I have been wanting to put one thru its paces, but the pricing here in Oz is so ridiculously out of proportion to the US market for example , that no one wants to touch them locally. I have heard mixed reports, over at the Cubendo forum I had a few end users running some numbers on a near identical system to mine, but they couldn't get anywhere near my better FW numbers , on the other hand a trusted DAW colleague of mine in the US tells me they are neck and neck with the RME's for example.

I'll try and get in front of one for the new round of testing, I'd be really interested in getting a clear angle on them.

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Re: Audio Interface - Low Latency Performance Data Base :

Postby TAFKAT » Thu Jun 09, 2011 10:52 pm

robinv wrote:Oddly i think they tend to emphasise the misleading "zero latency monitoring" angle rather than low latency as such.


Hey Robin,

Sadly end users who do not understand the mechanics simply see the term low latency and think its all encompassing.. :-(

Re designing a box , or helping to design one, I would love to if given the opportunity , but seriously, I can't see it being different to some of the better ones already on offer, I just wish there was a wider spread at the lower budget ranges, but M-Audio and AVID are proving that can be done. Also I have a little interface that I tested a while back from a lesser know developer that sits firmly at the budget end that bested the best, more on that later... :-)

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Re: Audio Interface - Low Latency Performance Data Base :

Postby redleicester » Thu Jun 09, 2011 11:57 pm

TAFKAT wrote:Sadly end users who do not understand the mechanics simply see the term low latency and think its all encompassing.. :-(

It's one of the inherent dangers of Martin's latency survey thread - one man may be able to get away with 6ms buffers as they have highly efficient and well clocked MIDI, another may struggle at 6 simply because their MIDI is all over the place... one man's tiny buffer size is another man's.... oh dear, I think I'll stop there!
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Re: Audio Interface - Low Latency Performance Data Base :

Postby TAFKAT » Fri Jun 10, 2011 4:38 am

The plot thickens..,

I have been doing some research on the OEM chips being used by the manufacturers , and the more I discover the murkier it gets. First off there are different versions of the BridgeCo chip being used, also the chip being used by M-Audio on the Profire 610/2626 range is the Dice chip - not Dice II, buts its precursor , the rest of the FW range uses one of the BridgeCo chips. Focusrite uses the Dice II across the current range , while Presonus use both Dice II & BridgeCo , Apogee, Prism also use BridgeCo.

There is wide and varied performance on the range of interfaces using the BridgeCo chips , so obviously not all chips are equal and the base driver can be improved on , also , the original Dice Chip is probably the best of the bunch but from the information I could gather, it was not an available option to a developer/manufacturer that I spoke to this morning, so how M-Audio has managed to corner that chip is interesting in itself.

What was that about taking the red pill.. :-)

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Re: Audio Interface - Low Latency Performance Data Base :

Postby James Perrett » Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:09 am

TAFKAT wrote:so how M-Audio has managed to corner that chip is interesting in itself.

I'd guess that they bought all of Wavefront's remaining stock when they decided to discontinue it. I've been in a similar situation this week with a chip that I wanted to use - the manufacturer won't sell them to me unless I order 10,000 whereas I can't see us building more than 20 units.

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Re: Audio Interface - Low Latency Performance Data Base :

Postby TAFKAT » Fri Jun 10, 2011 2:02 pm

James Perrett wrote:I'd guess that they bought all of Wavefront's remaining stock when they decided to discontinue it. I've been in a similar situation this week with a chip that I wanted to use - the manufacturer won't sell them to me unless I order 10,000 whereas I can't see us building more than 20 units.


Hey James,

You are more than likely correct, much in the same way UAD bought up all of the remaining Mpact 2 chips for the UAD1's back in the late 90's when the company went south. I hope M-Audio/AVID have plenty in reserve... :-)

I'm wondering if its the same dev team, as the original Dice was credited to TC Applied Technologies in Canada. Wavefront are listed as being part of the TC Group ( info appears in Google Listing but not on website ), but they could simply have acquired the name.

Its also interesting that Dice II is no longer listed on their products page , the Google listing links to a product .pdf only.

Either way, the 2 chips are chalk and cheese in my experience.

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Re: Audio Interface - Low Latency Performance Data Base :

Postby alex s » Fri Jun 10, 2011 9:42 pm

Gosh this is the first thread Ive read every post.

From an audio pc specialist Im sure it helps to narrow down choices to the best.
Why waste money stocking faff. Give clients the best. Keep the reputaion for being a solid audio pc specialist.
You know the ole qual vs quant.
Not to mention helps the bottom line & saves on after sales tearing hair out.

From an audio manufacturer perspective they prolly have cheap (lite) version of the same controller chip, just with different names.
As in they make just one chip but the ones that pass their rigorous torture testing get given to say Prism.
The ones which pass say 75% given to say RME.
Anything below that given to the £100-£300 FW audio boxes.


Anyway they prolly will move away from FW boxes just aint worth the hassle for them any longer.
Not to mention trying to remove ground loops from FW boxes. Good luck on that one.
What's the news on audio boxes having USB3, Thunderbolt.
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Re: Audio Interface - Low Latency Performance Data Base :

Postby Kayvon » Sun Jun 12, 2011 12:59 pm

I never see Marian mentioned much. I'm looking into their PCIe solutions for my next desktop PC. Anyone care to venture any opinions on them?
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Re: Audio Interface - Low Latency Performance Data Base :

Postby TAFKAT » Sun Jun 12, 2011 9:27 pm

Kayvon wrote:I never see Marian mentioned much. I'm looking into their PCIe solutions for my next desktop PC. Anyone care to venture any opinions on them?


Marian unfortunately do not have any x64 drivers at present, which kind of leaves them off the radar for many if not most.

I have access to them, fingers crossed they get the x64 driver sorted.

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