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Author Topic: Multichannel Hardware  (Read 13578 times)

Clayton Ganzer

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Re: Multichannel Hardware
« Reply #10 on: February 13, 2012, 12:44:42 pm »

This is what I do. Belkin card, Presonus interfaces for now.

I have a Firebox and a Firestudio project.

For Presonus, the 1394 chip in the card should be TI. It matters.

Yes the firewire chip matters, but there are more than the TI that work.
http://www.presonus.com/media/pdf/hardware_compatibility.pdf
Here is a link the Presonus chart that lists all test and compatible & non-compatible chips. They also have a small executable file that you can download and run on your computer and it will test your firewire chip and tell you if it is compatible or not. I put that on my flash drive and went to the computer store and tested different laptops and firewire cards before I even bought one.
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Mac Kerr

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Re: Multichannel Hardware
« Reply #11 on: February 13, 2012, 04:54:22 pm »

Yes the firewire chip matters, but there are more than the TI that work.
http://www.presonus.com/media/pdf/hardware_compatibility.pdf
Here is a link the Presonus chart that lists all test and compatible & non-compatible chips. They also have a small executable file that you can download and run on your computer and it will test your firewire chip and tell you if it is compatible or not. I put that on my flash drive and went to the computer store and tested different laptops and firewire cards before I even bought one.

That all seems like a lot of bother and expense when there are USB devices that work great and only require USB2. The Roland is 8 mic in, 8 line out, stereo SPDIF in and stereo SPDIF out, 10x10 all routable with built in mixer as well for $600. No worries about which firewire chip you have.

Mac
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Tim Weaver

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Re: Multichannel Hardware
« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2012, 07:03:45 pm »

That all seems like a lot of bother and expense when there are USB devices that work great and only require USB2. The Roland is 8 mic in, 8 line out, stereo SPDIF in and stereo SPDIF out, 10x10 all routable with built in mixer as well for $600. No worries about which firewire chip you have.

Mac

Agreed.

One thing for everyone to note; USB2 is technically as fast, or faster than FW400. Unlike Firewire though, the USB shares it's bandwidth with everything else on the bus. If you have anything plugged in to your USB port it will affect the performance of the soundcard.

Also, USB is not full duplex. It has to break up incoming and outgoing messages into smaller chunks and send them in turn. Firewire can send and receive at the same time. This means that you may have troubles using 8 mics receiving while playing pink noise over a USB soundcard.

Using fewer mics, or putting the reference noise source on a CD may be needed.
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Bullwinkle: This is the amplifier, which amplifies the sound. This is the Preamplifier which, of course, amplifies the pree's.

Clayton Ganzer

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Re: Multichannel Hardware
« Reply #13 on: February 13, 2012, 07:35:33 pm »

Agreed.

One thing for everyone to note; USB2 is technically as fast, or faster than FW400. Unlike Firewire though, the USB shares it's bandwidth with everything else on the bus. If you have anything plugged in to your USB port it will affect the performance of the soundcard.

Also, USB is not full duplex. It has to break up incoming and outgoing messages into smaller chunks and send them in turn. Firewire can send and receive at the same time. This means that you may have troubles using 8 mics receiving while playing pink noise over a USB soundcard.

Using fewer mics, or putting the reference noise source on a CD may be needed.

On paper USB2 is as fast but I have seen time and time again benchmark test have never been able to even crack 300mb on USB2. And USB has all of those other problems that you mentioned, USB is just not pro grade.

The problem with the firewire chips and the Presonus interfaces is a new problem with their new gear. They are in the process of fixing it via firmware and software upgrades. The older Presonus firebox never had that issue and is what I usually recommend to people that don't want to go threw much trouble to make it work.
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Tim Weaver

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Re: Multichannel Hardware
« Reply #14 on: February 13, 2012, 08:22:50 pm »

On paper USB2 is as fast but I have seen time and time again benchmark test have never been able to even crack 300mb on USB2. And USB has all of those other problems that you mentioned, USB is just not pro grade.

The problem with the firewire chips and the Presonus interfaces is a new problem with their new gear. They are in the process of fixing it via firmware and software upgrades. The older Presonus firebox never had that issue and is what I usually recommend to people that don't want to go threw much trouble to make it work.


In looking back at my post I said "technically" when what I really meant was "theoretically". We all know that usb is not as fast, but it is fast enough for measurement work, and it comes with a LOT less hassles.
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Bullwinkle: This is the amplifier, which amplifies the sound. This is the Preamplifier which, of course, amplifies the pree's.

Clayton Ganzer

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Re: Multichannel Hardware
« Reply #15 on: February 13, 2012, 08:48:47 pm »


In looking back at my post I said "technically" when what I really meant was "theoretically". We all know that usb is not as fast, but it is fast enough for measurement work, and it comes with a LOT less hassles.

A lot less hassle? You just listed why USB is more hassle.
"USB shares it's bandwidth with everything else on the bus"
"If you have anything plugged in to your USB port it will affect the performance of the soundcard"
"USB is not full duplex"
"you may have troubles using 8 mics receiving while playing pink noise over a USB soundcard"
Plus, "putting the reference noise source on a CD may be needed"
What a hassle a USB interface sounds!

I bet every USB interface has worked perfectly every time, no problems, right?
There has to be a reason that Firewire interfaces are the industry standard, probably because they are more hassle, right?
USB is lower end, period. However, sometimes that is all you have so it is what you have to use.
There are many Firewire interfaces on the market from reputable companies and the new Presonus Firestudio is the only one I have heard any problems with regarding conflicts with Firewire chips. I am sure there are more as there are conflicts will all types of hardware on all types of systems, but it is not very common.
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Mac Kerr

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Re: Multichannel Hardware
« Reply #16 on: February 13, 2012, 10:17:34 pm »

A lot less hassle? You just listed why USB is more hassle.
"USB shares it's bandwidth with everything else on the bus"
"If you have anything plugged in to your USB port it will affect the performance of the soundcard"
"USB is not full duplex"
"you may have troubles using 8 mics receiving while playing pink noise over a USB soundcard"
Plus, "putting the reference noise source on a CD may be needed"
What a hassle a USB interface sounds!

I bet every USB interface has worked perfectly every time, no problems, right?
There has to be a reason that Firewire interfaces are the industry standard, probably because they are more hassle, right?
USB is lower end, period. However, sometimes that is all you have so it is what you have to use.
There are many Firewire interfaces on the market from reputable companies and the new Presonus Firestudio is the only one I have heard any problems with regarding conflicts with Firewire chips. I am sure there are more as there are conflicts will all types of hardware on all types of systems, but it is not very common.

Mine has worked perfectly every time. And as far as I can see there are no hassles at all. You plug in a cable to a port that is far more universally available, and you're done. I admit I have only used 5 in and 4 out simultaneously, with the 4 outs being fed by 2 different pieces of software, but I have no doubt it will work at 10x10 at a time.

This all works while the USB bus is also talking to the console. No glitches so far.

Firewire became the audio standard when there was only USB type 1 which could not support this many channels. I have other audio interfaces that are FW, but the Roland has the type of I/O I need and it is reasonably priced.

Do you have some actual evidence of USB failing to handle this many channels?

Mac
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Clayton Ganzer

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Re: Multichannel Hardware
« Reply #17 on: February 13, 2012, 10:49:29 pm »

Mine has worked perfectly every time. And as far as I can see there are no hassles at all. You plug in a cable to a port that is far more universally available, and you're done. I admit I have only used 5 in and 4 out simultaneously, with the 4 outs being fed by 2 different pieces of software, but I have no doubt it will work at 10x10 at a time.

This all works while the USB bus is also talking to the console. No glitches so far.

Firewire became the audio standard when there was only USB type 1 which could not support this many channels. I have other audio interfaces that are FW, but the Roland has the type of I/O I need and it is reasonably priced.

Do you have some actual evidence of USB failing to handle this many channels?

Mac

I have had several people come to me complaining about how their USB interface drops signal. They say it works fine if you not doing much on it but when you start running more programs or plugins it cuts out and then will come back online after about 30 second.
Here is the reason it does that, USB is controlled by the computers CPU. So it might work great when you’re playing your favorite song out of itunes, but when you start to run a large, processor and CPU heavy application it will drop the signal because USB connected devices have a lower priority on the computer hierarchy and it is one of the first things to suffer. If your interface is going to suffer then why is the point of trying to get better quality hardware? Firewire uses dedicated chips with dedicated hardware that does not have to fight or compete for system recourses. I don't understand why there is a debate really, there are 10 times more firewire interfaces sold, all of the high end equipment is all firewire, anyone could figure out it is better.
Example: I know this is an audio conversation but I will give an example about video to back up what I have said to show cross platform performance. Canon has in the last 2 years completely revamped their pro camera line. One would think that if USB were better and less susceptible to failure then they would use USB to interface a camera with a computer. However, they are using Firewire on their most high end cameras. If you try and dump your camera video onto a computer using USB you will drop frames constantly, making your video useless. I just imported 1 hour and 48 minutes of HD video from a Canon camera onto my computer. 0 dropped frames. Once upon a time I was importing SD video with a USB converter, I would get dropped frames quite frequently, and that was on SD video.
USB interfraces also have far more latency then firewire interfaces. Try setting a delay on a system with an interface that gives you 48ms of latency, I hope the people listening are deaf.
Firewire is superior, but as I said before, sometimes firewire isn't an option so USB will have to do. Regardless, just about any interface will yield better results than the built in sound card on a computer.
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Mac Kerr

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Re: Multichannel Hardware
« Reply #18 on: February 14, 2012, 01:11:33 am »

So it might work great when you’re playing your favorite song out of itunes, but when you start to run a large, processor and CPU heavy application it will drop the signal because USB connected devices have a lower priority on the computer hierarchy and it is one of the first things to suffer. If your interface is going to suffer then why is the point of trying to get better quality hardware? Firewire uses dedicated chips with dedicated hardware that does not have to fight or compete for system recourses. I don't understand why there is a debate really, there are 10 times more firewire interfaces sold, all of the high end equipment is all firewire, anyone could figure out it is better.
Example: I know this is an audio conversation but I will give an example about video to back up what I have said to show cross platform performance. Canon has in the last 2 years completely revamped their pro camera line. One would think that if USB were better and less susceptible to failure then they would use USB to interface a camera with a computer. However, they are using Firewire on their most high end cameras. If you try and dump your camera video onto a computer using USB you will drop frames constantly, making your video useless. I just imported 1 hour and 48 minutes of HD video from a Canon camera onto my computer. 0 dropped frames. Once upon a time I was importing SD video with a USB converter, I would get dropped frames quite frequently, and that was on SD video.
USB interfraces also have far more latency then firewire interfaces. Try setting a delay on a system with an interface that gives you 48ms of latency, I hope the people listening are deaf.
Firewire is superior, but as I said before, sometimes firewire isn't an option so USB will have to do. Regardless, just about any interface will yield better results than the built in sound card on a computer.

Even SD video has way higher bandwidth needs than 16 channels of audio, so it is irrelevant in a discussion of audio devices. If CPU load is such a hazard to my USB interface I'm amazed it works, since what I am always running while using 5 inputs and 4 outputs is Smaart, Yamaha Studio Manager, iTunes, Vectorworks, Safari, and Mail. Smaart and Vectorworks are pretty CPU intensive and have no effect.

The latency in my system is less than a couple of milliseconds, I don't know how you arrive at 48ms of latency, but even if the interface did have 48 ms of latency, it would not effect the measurement result because the latency is applied to both the reference and measurement channels.

The main reason this is still worth discussing is because there are fewer and fewer Firewire equipped laptops around, making USB more viable.

Mac
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Clayton Ganzer

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Re: Multichannel Hardware
« Reply #19 on: February 14, 2012, 01:51:27 am »

Even SD video has way higher bandwidth needs than 16 channels of audio, so it is irrelevant in a discussion of audio devices. If CPU load is such a hazard to my USB interface I'm amazed it works, since what I am always running while using 5 inputs and 4 outputs is Smaart, Yamaha Studio Manager, iTunes, Vectorworks, Safari, and Mail. Smaart and Vectorworks are pretty CPU intensive and have no effect.

The latency in my system is less than a couple of milliseconds, I don't know how you arrive at 48ms of latency, but even if the interface did have 48 ms of latency, it would not effect the measurement result because the latency is applied to both the reference and measurement channels.

The main reason this is still worth discussing is because there are fewer and fewer Firewire equipped laptops around, making USB more viable.

Mac

We are having about the same conversation on two different sections it seems.
I wasn't saying your interface or any interface had 48ms, it was just a random number I threw out there. Most USB interfaces are described as a "Low-Latency" device. Most Firewire interfaces are described as "Zero-Latency". Yes they are not true zero-latency but they get so close it is hard to tell a difference. Firewire devices tend to have lower latency than USB devices. You are 100% correct that the latency is applied to both channels.
Yes even SD video is more data intense than audio but it was a mere comparison as to the lower bandwidth capability and reliability of USB connections. USB data is processed via the CPU so you can not discount the fact that a heavily taxed CPU could cause problems with USB connected devices. Firewire has dedicated chips that process the firewire connection give higher reliability.
I agree, firewire is becoming more and more rare to find on new laptops and it is hard, if not impossible, to add firewire expansion cards to laptops now days so a LOT of the time USB is the ONLY way to go. I would never buy a laptop that couldn't do what I wanted it to do and stand up the challenging demands I put on my equipment.
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ProSoundWeb Community

Re: Multichannel Hardware
« Reply #19 on: February 14, 2012, 01:51:27 am »


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