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Old 01-26-2013, 05:00 PM   #1
The.new.guy
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Low-Latency Computer Recording

Hey guys. I'm looking for the lowest latency USB interface that I can get my hands on for less than $1000. Preferably less than $600. Both prices are USD.

I was looking around Musician'sFriend and I found several that are within my budget, but I'm not sure which one to go for. At the moment, I'm using a Fast Track MKII and getting around 10ms of latency with it. I was hoping to get less than 5ms. I would also prefer it to be rack-mounted.

My DAW is Ableton Live 8 and I run it with few to no plugins. Basically, I record with a dry signal and add plug-ins afterwards. There still seems to be a huge gap, though, and it's annoying. Any ideas?

The interfaces I was looking at are:
M-Audio Fast Track Ultra 8R
Tascam US-2000
Steinberg UR824

I know that the Steinberg is over my $600 budget, but I'm hopeful that more money will equal less latency. That is probably not always the case, which is why I've come to you guys. Thanks in advanced!

EDIT: I should mention that I do not need effects built into the unit. Hopefully, this will narrow it down a bit. Latency is the BIGGEST issue at the moment.
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Old 01-26-2013, 05:15 PM   #2
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Wait till the new Focusrite Scarlett 18/20 comes out. The pres and conversion aren't going to be an upgrade to what you already have if you got the MAudio or Tascam units and the Steinberg has all kinds of driver issues.

Or if you only need 1-2 inputs, the Focusrite Forte is the best sounding interface under a grand.
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Old 01-26-2013, 05:15 PM   #3
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I can recommend the tascam. I use it's previous version and everythings is okay.
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Old 01-26-2013, 05:30 PM   #4
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You're using ASIO, right?
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Old 01-26-2013, 06:21 PM   #5
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I'm using ASIO and plug my bass straight into the computer without any interfaces, and still have unnoticeable latency :\
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Old 01-26-2013, 06:49 PM   #6
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I don't think your DAW is set up correctly. There should be no latency when recording.
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Old 01-26-2013, 07:11 PM   #7
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It sounds like your device buffer rate is set too high. You should try bringing it down to 128 or lower this in turn should kill all your latency problems.
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Old 01-26-2013, 07:36 PM   #8
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10ms shouldnt even be noticeable, to me at least its fine. I get 7ms with my 1st generation fast track and its great.
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Old 01-26-2013, 09:17 PM   #9
The.new.guy
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I've got it down to 7.33ms with a 48khz sample rate and a 128 buffer rate.

@JoePerry: For some reason, I do notice it. Especially if I tap on a mic or something of that nature. I can hear my finger hit the mic before the sound comes out of the speaker.

Yes, I am using ASIO. Maybe my computer is just being a bitch or something? Maybe I should get an Eleven Rack or something similar with this money and just record from it using direct monitoring?

The reason I need as low of latency as possible is because I don't have a guitar cab at the moment and without one, distorted sounds are just horrid. Like I said, though, I think something like an Eleven Rack would be a better investment.
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Old 01-27-2013, 02:44 AM   #10
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If you plan to use it in a live situation as well as in the studio, go with the Eleven Rack. Also, 7.33ms is REALLY GOOD!

Heres a breakdown of Latency based off the style of interface. Its done by Avid (the guys who make Pro Tools & the Eleven Rack) but if its anything to go off of, you aren't going to gain much more by going Firewire:

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Old 01-27-2013, 11:21 AM   #11
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I have the predecessor to the UR824. (the MR816) I LOVE IT! It has direct monitoring which gives actual zero latency for recording. For midi and virtual instruments, the latency is such that it is imperceptible. (though that can vary with whatever processing power is required by the plugins, which will result in further latency).

The integration between the interface and Cubase is fantastic.

Most importantly, the pres are excellent. They put the same pres into the MR816 that they put into Yamaha's $40K mixers. All the reviews on that product rave about the pres and the converters. The built-in effects (mine only has the Rev-X reverb) is really excellent, and helps take a load off the computer by not having to use VST reverbs, which tend to be processor hungry. (the downside of that, though, is that it IS an external effect, which means that mixes need to be exported in real time.... really not that big a downside....)

Like you, when I bought mine, I was looking for the best interface for under a grand, and I think I found it.

Now the one difficulty I had with it was getting it set up. It was *really* picky. (especially about a firewire card that had Texas Instruments chipset). Once set up, though, it is rock solid.

Of course, everything I told you is about the MR816.

I *believe* the UR series uses the same pres and the same converters, only without the pickiness of the firewire issues.

If you really want to know some of the specifics about it, check the Steinberg hardware forum here:

http://www.steinberg.net/forum/viewforum.php?f=157

A quick scan there doesn't show too many people griping about driver stability or anything.

CT
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Old 01-27-2013, 01:44 PM   #12
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^I was planning on buying the UR824 at one point as apposed to the MR816, because I could get one dirt cheap, but after research, nearly everyone was having nothing but issues with that thing and driver stability. Maybe they've fixed them by now, but investing in any Steinberg hardware at this point just scares me. Not that it matters now anyway, I won't be upgrading from what I have now for a very long time
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Old 01-27-2013, 05:07 PM   #13
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It seems they must have sorted them out pretty much. Otherwise, there would be lots of questions in the first couple of pages of the forum asking why they're getting dropouts, crashes, etc., and there just doesn't seem to be.

CT
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Old 01-27-2013, 05:42 PM   #14
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^There's several threads on the first page with issues on drivers crashing Windows Explorer, crackling audio, dropouts after rendering, intermittent audio drop outs during playback, and lots of hiss on the monitor outs. The first thread in the forum even states that the UR and MR series don't work properly in Cubase 7 as far as their DSP and ASIO driver are concerned, which in itself would be a red flag for me - They didn't even bother to get their hardware to work correctly with their own software before it was released
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Old 01-27-2013, 06:44 PM   #15
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I caught that one about Cubase 7 and Windows Explorer. They seem to be mostly sorted now, though, with the release of the new Tools for UR version.

CT
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