#1
Hello. I bought a Fast Track Pro 2 years ago, and I honestly was disappointed with it. I underlooked the specs and quality of the product, not realizing that probably the Fast Track Ultra was when the line of products became useable for professional audio.

The problem with my Fast Track Pro is that the Noise Floor is poor (-70 to -75db) and the USB is 1.1, which makes me suffer latency problems. Their latest driver allowed me to get down to 2ms latency which was amazing, but that driver is incredibly buggy and even crashes my computer sometimes, so I had to rollback to one that goes down to about 6ms, but still gives me buffer issues until I turn it up to like 8-10 ms.


Anyways, I was wondering if using a POD HD500 would be a nice upgrade. Maybe not super amazing, but quality-wise: low latency and low noise floor.

Those are the 2 main things I need. Without those, it becomes kind of pointless, besides the great features and effects the POD HD comes with.

I had a Line 6 GX which had a better noise floor resolution than my Fast Track Pro. I was honestly surprised and disappointed when I learned that.

I figure since the POD HD is more recent than the Line6 POD Studio stuff, it should be equal to better in quality.
I heard that the POD Studio products weren't the best and avoided them when my GX died.


REAL QUESTIONS
So, can someone tell me if this is a good upgrade?

What's the lowest latency you can get with a POD HD 500?

Can you run POD HD 500 with Asio4All well?

What is the noise floor of a POD HD 500?
#2
I think the main question is why a HD500 and not say, a 2i4?

Though I've heard relatively good things about the HD500, people seem to act like it's a budget version of an AXEFX.


Also the latency issues aren't due to the usb. Really the only positive of USB 1 over 2 is the amount of simultaneous inputs you can have.
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Last edited by ChemicalFire at Nov 16, 2013,
#3
Quote by ChemicalFire
I think the main question is why a HD500 and not say, a 2i4?

Though I've heard relatively good things about the HD500, people seem to act like it's a budget version of an AXEFX.


Also the latency issues aren't due to the usb. Really the only positive of USB 1 over 2 is the amount of simultaneous inputs you can have.


I don't need a 2i4. I don't need so many outputs.
What I need right now is at least 2 inputs (guitar and mic) with good latency and a good noise floor.

About the latency thing, like I said, the latest driver for the Fast Track Pro gave me down to 2ms, which was amazing, BUT it suffered from bugs which ultimately rendered the driver upgrade useless.

The bugs including random times that completely froze my computer (everything is froze and the sound buffer keeps playing, like a machine gun sound)
As well as times where the output randomly mutes itself until I re-buffer the audio.


I'm not looking for an input/output upgrade, but rather a quality upgrade.
I want a POD HD500 for my Variax, amp modeling and effects as well, as well as a MIDI floor board.

I just need to know how it stacks up in comparison to my M-Audio Fast Track Pro.
#4
The issue you had there with the fast track, is because you turned the buffer down too low, or it was set too low. Normally interface latency is recommended to be about 10ms which is next to UNNOTICEABLE. If you make the buffer too small then you end up with problems and issues like you mentioned. It's like trying to run a program when you don't have enough RAM in your computer

FastTracks are also normally considered to be pretty awful anyway, so there's that.

Also the HD500 is £350 in the UK where as the 2i4 is only £150 here. Might be worth bearing that in mind.
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#5
Quote by ChemicalFire
The issue you had there with the fast track, is because you turned the buffer down too low, or it was set too low. Normally interface latency is recommended to be about 10ms which is next to UNNOTICEABLE. If you make the buffer too small then you end up with problems and issues like you mentioned. It's like trying to run a program when you don't have enough RAM in your computer

FastTracks are also normally considered to be pretty awful anyway, so there's that.

Also the HD500 is £350 in the UK where as the 2i4 is only £150 here. Might be worth bearing that in mind.


10ms is honestly all I need?

My RAM is 3gigs (not the best) and I have a Duo 2 Core processor.

I don't want to sound like some superior audio snob, but to me, 10 ms is noticeable at times. 6ms is bearable (and what I usually set it around). There's still times even then when it feels a little awkward.

There's times where it throws off timing when laying down tracks, and I can see the peaks of the rhythm being too late to the BPM marks on Reaper.

Sure that's editable in post, but I'd prefer to not have something that messes the rhythm of my playing, which is what latency does to a lot of people.


Anyways, When you say 2i4, do you mean physical inputs and outputs, or inputs and outputs that are available in a DAW?

It has many:

Input:
1/4" Guitar Input with Switchable Pad and Variable Impedance
1/8" MP3/CD Input
XLR Input + Microphone Preamp
1/4" Aux Input
Variax Digital Input (VDI) (I will use this with my Variax)

Outputs:
Unbalanced 1/4" Outputs
1/4" Stereo Headphone Output
Balanced XLR Outputs (Mic Level)
S/PDIF Output


That is plenty of inputs and outputs for me.

Remember, this will be very useful for me, because I also need a MIDI footboard (with expression pedals), Variax controller.


Like I've said, I don't need many inputs and outputs, I need something with low latency and a low noise floor (preferably -85db and lower)
#6
2 in 4 out. It's the physical plugs on the unit.

2 XLR/4inch hybrid inputs, Monitor outs and line outs (unbalanced.)

As well as midi in/outs, headphone outs, standard stuff.

An no offence... but most people in the past who have said "the 10ms puts my timing off"... just haven't been the best time keepers in general.
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Last edited by ChemicalFire at Nov 16, 2013,
#7
Quote by ChemicalFire

An no offence... but most people in the past who have said "the 10ms puts my timing off"... just haven't been the best time keepers in general.


No offense taken, as I'm willing to admit that I'm not the best time keeper, but latency still doesn't help.

I've been using my computer as my amp for a long time, and I do believe that latency doesn't help tighten my rhythm at all.

To give you a glimpse of the difference between 10ms and 0ms, the direct monitoring feature (dry signal, no processing, input basically goes straight to output without going to the computer) makes it REALLY obvious of the latency difference when mixing the 10ms signal to the 0ms signal.

I'm really trying not to sound pretentious as if I can tell a difference because "I have better hearing" or something, but I can start to feel latency at 6-8 (not saying that it's a major problem yet), and then more than that, it starts get unworkable for me.

Another thing that latency gives me a problem with is monitoring my voice with latency makes me stutter sometimes because it's awkward hearing myself slightly delayed after I speak.

To back up my previous statement, I've seen a video before in which they actually do just this to FIX people with actual stutter problems in their speech, so I wouldn't be surprised if it applied vice versa to someone without a stuttering problem, hearing theirselves delayed.


Do you get it, though? 10ms isn't BAD, but it's a little bit noticeable.


On the topic about I/O, I've just listened how many inputs and outputs the HD500 has, so that's not a problem at all.
Last edited by Clay-man at Nov 16, 2013,
#8
The HD probably WOULD sort your problem, because then the audio effects processing is done on the unit itself.

It's just quite an expensive fix.
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#10
Quote by ChemicalFire
The HD probably WOULD sort your problem, because then the audio effects processing is done on the unit itself.

It's just quite an expensive fix.



It's worth it though. Remember, I'm looking forward to this all in one:

1) New Audio Interface
2) MIDI footboard WITH expression pedal (must have for wahs and other stuff) to use with Amplitube, Guitar Rig, and other stuff.
3) Variax controller to allow me to have more presets for my Variax guitar, because I have to use 25% of the model banks just for alternate tunings, so I run out of spaces to put other custom guitar models I'd like to put on my Variax

4) Top notch amp modeling and effects. I can't promise I'll always use them, but I know for a fact that I am really impressed and love the amp modeling on the HD500. Minus the Axe-FX stuff and Kemper, this is obviously the best amp modeling hardware that doesn't cost over 1k.


If I did this all separately, I would be looking at having to spend over 100 dollars JUST for a midi floorboard with an expression pedal. I see no MIDI expression pedal solution that isn't overpriced already, costing around like $200. The only one I do see is a FBV which is 99, but that still offers a little for what you pay for.

There's nothing else that would allow me to customize my Variax patches either, besides a used POD X3, and I already have POD Farm which is the software version of that unit. I NEVER touch POD Farm because I find it very disappointing compared to Guitar Rig, Amplitube, or LePou stuff. It's old modeling technology. I don't want to buy that a second time.

Meanwhile, the POD HD500 would give me a new and possibly better audio interface which would rid me of the disappointments I've had with my Fast Track Pro. The FTP is great feature-wise, but the noise floor is a joke. I might as well just used line-in on my soundcard if it wasn't broken.

So, if I look on ebay for a POD HD500, I can get it for 300-400 USD. That's amazing imo. It'll kill so many birds with 1 stone.


The only thing I'm asking is if the noise floor and latency are good.


Quote by thusuntotyrants
spend the extra and pop for the HD500X. Does everything the 500 does plus some.

I don't think it is. It only adds a LITTLE bit of headroom for the DSP limit. It also takes away the ability to use old Variaxes with workbench through the POD, which is a bad decision by L6.

200 dollars is not worth for a very little upgrade and a huge downgrade on my Variax's part.
Last edited by Clay-man at Nov 16, 2013,
#11
Not for nothing but, i use the fast track pro 2 and have had no latency issues at all. You sure the rest of your computer is up to snuff? Available RAM, Hard drive speed and other things will matter as well. I can crank the latency on the unit down real low without problems. I record, do MIDI, multitrack, and have never had a problem.
#12
Quote by pushingthrough
Not for nothing but, i use the fast track pro 2 and have had no latency issues at all. You sure the rest of your computer is up to snuff? Available RAM, Hard drive speed and other things will matter as well. I can crank the latency on the unit down real low without problems. I record, do MIDI, multitrack, and have never had a problem.


When I used the latest driver, I could crank it all the way down to 64 samples at 48khz. It would run fine until it randomly mutes itself or crashes my computer.

I rolled back to the driver I used to always use, and it only allows me to go down to 144.

Even then, it buffers like crazy so I need to raise it to at least 192 samples. that'll bring me up to like 5-8ms.
#13
I just bought a PODHD500 and I'm very happy with the recording capabilities it offers. You can use ASIO4All with the POD and that pretty much cleans up any latency by itself. I don't have a great computer and I use Reaper as well so we're probably in the same boat. I say save up for, since you already have a variax, that's a plus. You can do a bit more with the variax than you can with a regular guitar. I say go for it, man. If you want even more wiggle room with effects go ahead and save another 100-150 for an HD500X. You're less likely to reach DSP limit with that since it has 20% more memory. The HD500 works well for me but it's all about how many effects you'd like to use to REALLY tweek your tone. The HD500 edit makes creating tones pretty easy with a simple GUI on your computer.
#14
I have a feeling your computer just isn't optimized / powerful enough to be recording while monitoring with plugins on your tracks. Until my newest setup, I've always recorded at a buffer of 256 to 512, and latency was never, ever an issue, for myself or the bands I recorded.
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#15
Quote by JacobCaine
I just bought a PODHD500 and I'm very happy with the recording capabilities it offers. You can use ASIO4All with the POD and that pretty much cleans up any latency by itself. I don't have a great computer and I use Reaper as well so we're probably in the same boat.


Thank you SO much for this information.
I use ASIO4All to route my Fast Track Pro's output to Virtual Audio Cable for live applications in Reaper,
so telling me you use ASIO4ALL with your HD500 with reaper and get good latency answers ALL my latency and Asio4All questions.

Thank you.


Quote by MatrixClaw
I have a feeling your computer just isn't optimized / powerful enough to be recording while monitoring with plugins on your tracks. Until my newest setup, I've always recorded at a buffer of 256 to 512, and latency was never, ever an issue, for myself or the bands I recorded.


Core 2 Duo E7300 running 2.66GHz
3 gigs of RAM

It runs fine on a previous driver for M-Audio's Fast Track Pro, but it can only go down to about 128 (or 144 in Asio4All without the buffer choking and showing a red icon).
Newest driver can go all the way down to 64 samples, but can crash my computer randomly once every few days of running it, as well as the output going completely silent until I refresh the buffer. (I assume that the output doesn't initiate all the time the buffer is refreshed)
Last edited by Clay-man at Nov 18, 2013,
#18
^^ The core 2 duo and 3G of ram should be sufficient.

There could be other things off course.

Harddrive speed or condition, Operating system (old/clogged up)

In reaper, there are both Project buffer settings AND Program buffer settings.

Might check both.

I believe it also helps if you match up reaper's bitrate/buffer to the interface's native bitrate.

Other then that, buy a new device I think.

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#19
Seems like you already made up your mind, and just want everyone to tell you the HD500 is the berries. If latency is such an issue to your playing why not just use the direct monitoring? Its dry and boring but at least it's the zero latency you're after. Makes it real easy to hear any ****ups.

I have the Saffire 6, which has since been replaced by the 2i4. It's a ****ing workhorse. Never have issues with latency unless I try to run a shitton of effects, but you can just freeze anything not being tracked to save cpu.
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