Audio interface for performance

Discussion in 'Soundgear' started by aCouch, Aug 26, 2018.

  1. aCouch

    aCouch Noisemaker

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    Super noob question,

    Will a audio interface make my computer faster when working with a DAW? I understand an audio interface is used to record stuff, but I don't quite get how it's supposed to make my computer faster?

    Should I get one? My computer is just a slower than I'd like.
     
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  3. No Avenger

    No Avenger Audiosexual

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    An audio interface with in- and output is for analogue-digital (AD) and digital-analogue (DA) converting. Your PC already has an AI, without one you'd hear nothing.
    Different interfaces, onboard, PCI, PCIe, USB, Firewire... have different AD-DA convterters and different drivers and thus sound and perform differently. You may have a look at this:

    https://www.dawbench.com/audio-int-lowlatency2.htm
     
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  4. Baxter

    Baxter Audiosexual

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    An audio interface takes care of the audio conversion data, instead of your CPU (if you have a MoBo audio interface). So yeah, it runs faster and smoother with a dedicated audio interface. A result of this is usually lower latency, depending on the brand/model of your audio interface (RME here, yay).

    Edit: MoBo/built-in soundcards uses your CPU to process the sound. It's not using much CPU power these days, but back in the days it was a huge difference. By using a dedicated audio interface you offload this processing from your CPU (even if it's a tiny bit with today's fast technology).
    Look it up or google it, all who disagrees.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2018
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  5. aCouch

    aCouch Noisemaker

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  6. mercurysoto

    mercurysoto Audiosexual

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    Yesterday, I worked on laptop a 6th gen i5 processor and 8 Gb of RAM and an SSD. It was linked to a Behringer Uphoria UMC404 and I got an amazing 32 samples of round latency on Pro Tools 12 AudioUtopia.
     
  7. superliquidsunshine

    superliquidsunshine Audiosexual

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    Sure, it should be ok. For $88 you can't go wrong. It will most definately be better by a lot compared with just using whatever AD/DA resides now inside your computer, though the Scarlett will start to choke up if you start using too many vst instruments and plugins or even singles if they suck up lots of processing power. If you don't need to play your keyboard controller as you record (or especially when you are mixing) you can change the latency so that the Solo doesn't need to calculate, crunch ones and zeros in almost real time. That will have the effect of letting you pile on the real time effects and use more or higher power sucking plugins.

    And like Baxter says, RME is great because they have fantastic drivers. A used Babyface of the 1st generation has come down in price and can be had for probably a little over $300, probably. I was lucky (as usual) and bought mine three or so years ago used for $200. Keep your eyes open for a deal.
     
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  8. SineWave

    SineWave Audiosexual

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    Unfortunately, if you're looking for low latency [for vocal+guitar recordings?] any Focusrite USB interface is not the best choice, I'm afraid. I'm not a Behringer lover, but @mercurysoto has a point, and I've heard their audio interfaces have decent low latency performance. Excellent price/performance ratio, I'd say. :wink:

    Otherwise, if you can afford it, any RME interface will be an excellent choice for great low latency and great stable drivers.
     
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  9. No Avenger

    No Avenger Audiosexual

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    I still have the older test and there the Focusrite Scarlett 6i6-G2 is listet. It has the same hard- and software like the one you linked, apart from the amount of I/Os. You can see it's pretty fast.

    Audio Interface Performance Rating imgext.php.jpg
     
  10. aCouch

    aCouch Noisemaker

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    Actually I'm not recording anything. Just using samples and synths.
     
  11. aCouch

    aCouch Noisemaker

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    @superliquidsunshine a RME Babyface pro goes for about 700€! at Amazon. A bit out of my budjet
     
  12. aCouch

    aCouch Noisemaker

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    I'm pretty good with computers, but I never had to think about these things, lol. Looks like I'm goin to have to do a little studying before I buy anything haha
     
  13. Mynock

    Mynock Rock Star

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  14. superliquidsunshine

    superliquidsunshine Audiosexual

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    Never said anything about the the 700€ Babyface Pro...
     
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  15. superliquidsunshine

    superliquidsunshine Audiosexual

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  16. Mynock

    Mynock Rock Star

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    Thanks for the info!
     
  17. fiction

    fiction Platinum Record

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    It's the driver, not the interface. RME is famous for its great drivers that are very efficient and work with low CPU load.
    That's why ASIO4all works better than the original ASIO drivers in so many cases.

    My personal RME alternative: Zoom UAC-8.
    Efficient, low-latency drivers (after the driver fix in 2017) and a hassle-free audio and MIDI interface that also works with iOS.
     
  18. relexted

    relexted Kapellmeister

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    What do you mean exactly with performance?
    An audio interface handles the conversion of sound. It converts digital audio to analog or vice versa. It won't give any noticeable performance increase, other than less latency and lower buffer rates. But a onboard card will most likely work in 16bit, where an interface will operate at 24bit. Which is a huge step towards better quality.
    When your computer became slower over time, maybe try cleaning the cpu fan first, then get yourself an interface.
     
  19. Daskeladden

    Daskeladden Kapellmeister

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    then you are lucky cause my Zoom UAC-8 windows drivers has been a nightmare
     
  20. Popotan

    Popotan Guest

    If you have an older PC that still has PCI slots I recommend a grabbing a PCI card off ebay. You can get an Echo Mia, Emu 1212m, M-Audio Audiophile 192, Echo Gina/Layla 3G, RME DIGI96/8, ESI MAYA44, or other similar cards for under $100 and you will get better latency than USB, Firewire, and Thunderbolt. Of course if you use windows 10 or plan to update your computer motherboard/CPU in the future you may find yourself with an suddenly obsolete card.

    That aside, updating a audio card will not all the sudden make your old celeron pc with 4 gb of ram any faster. Maybe it is time to consider upgrading your PC if you are having latency issues.
     
  21. aCouch

    aCouch Noisemaker

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    I have a laptop that can't be modified. It's bought just last year from the little money I was able to scrape up. It does the job and I can get things done by freezing stuff and avoiding CPU heavy plugins, but I'd like if I'd have some more breathing space if you know what I mean. Trying to figure out will a audio interface do that for me
     
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