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Audio Interface - Low Latency Performance Data Base :

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Re: Audio Interface - Low Latency Performance Data Base :

Postby ef37a » Sun Nov 05, 2017 8:29 am

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 :

Postby Pete Kaine » Tue Nov 07, 2017 10:45 am

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 :

Postby Pete Kaine » Thu Nov 09, 2017 4:29 pm

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 :

Postby ef37a » Fri Nov 10, 2017 7:32 am

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 :

Postby Pete Kaine » Fri Nov 10, 2017 12:49 pm

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 :

Postby Tim Keep » Tue Nov 14, 2017 11:19 am

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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Re: Audio Interface - Low Latency Performance Data Base :

Postby Pete Kaine » Tue Nov 14, 2017 3:29 pm

Just for clarity, I should have put 8μs not 8ms.

I'm guessing you're aware of this by the figure you returned with. If you want 3μs then yes, you need a Quantum as round trip + processing I doubt you could hit it on anything USB due to the buffers, this is normally the realm of internal hardware.
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Re: Audio Interface - Low Latency Performance Data Base :

Postby Johnsy » Wed Nov 15, 2017 9:32 am

Pete Kaine wrote:Just for clarity, I should have put 8μs not 8ms.

8 microseconds?!
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Re: Audio Interface - Low Latency Performance Data Base :

Postby ef37a » Wed Nov 15, 2017 10:19 am

Johnsy wrote:
Pete Kaine wrote:Just for clarity, I should have put 8μs not 8ms.

8 microseconds?!

Ah! Glad someone else has jumped in! Isn't 8 muSecs about the rise time of a good valve PA?

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Re: Audio Interface - Low Latency Performance Data Base :

Postby Pete Kaine » Wed Nov 15, 2017 10:21 am

Yeah, sorry, don't know what I was thinking yesterday. Tired and contradicting myself, having one of those weeks.
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