Helpful ReplyBest ASIO driver / USB Audio Interface

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2016/02/05 03:24:50 (permalink)

Best ASIO driver / USB Audio Interface

I poked a bit around in the internet to find me a decent Audiointerface. Without one, I can get reasonably speedy reactiontimes using ASIO4ALL, but I thought there might be something better. Sadly, many reiews only deal with Audioquality and Features, rarely one does any tests of the ASIO drive (if there even is any). Reviews I saw of the Focusright Products gave them extremely bad marks in ASIO quality .... very slow drivers. Now ESI has a few USB products with ASIO, where I don't know about the driver quality. Apparently it's fast. For Presonus etc I have not yet found anything, and RME is just too expensive.
Does anyone have a bit of insight here on available, current devices and the ASIO quality?
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Re: Best ASIO driver / USB Audio Interface 2016/02/05 03:55:28 (permalink)
i used an esi waveterminal-192 for years, the drivers were rock solid and great latency, but that was a pci card...  i have it sitting in the cupboard, waiting for a new desktop, as i'm laptop only at the mo

just a sec

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Re: Best ASIO driver / USB Audio Interface 2016/02/05 03:59:28 (permalink)
Thanks for the feedback. Yes, PCI(e) cards are usually faster, bypassing any issues with USB Clock etc. But with the right USB drivers, it's a viable solution from what I hear ... but you need solid and fast ASIO drivers to at least minimize that delay (within the chain of many more delays). I want it to be usb, so I can use it as my holiday solution when bringing the laptop with me. But from what I hear (and also from you now) is that ESI produces a good ASIO driver.
Also looking at Presonus now ... I guess their product should be ok, given that they also make a DAW software.
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Re: Best ASIO driver / USB Audio Interface 2016/02/05 08:25:32 (permalink)
Focusrite and the latest TASCAM products have been reported to have very good drivers.  I don't have either product, so I can't confirm, but I have seen a lot of comments praising their performance.

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Re: Best ASIO driver / USB Audio Interface 2016/02/05 08:42:11 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby musicroom 2016/02/08 13:01:17
MOTU USB audio interfaces are excellent.
The Ultralite AVB offers a lot of bang-for-the-buck.
  • 4.9ms total round-trip latency at a 64-samples ASIO buffer size/44.1k
  • Noise-floor ~-110dB (which is very good at that price-point)
  • Enough I/O to record a band or full drum-kit
  • Onboard mixing/routing (very similar to RME's Total Mix)
  • Solid drivers

Best Regards,

Jim Roseberry
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Re: Best ASIO driver / USB Audio Interface 2016/02/05 09:13:51 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby musicroom 2016/02/08 13:01:14
I like my RME UFX. Very solid drivers, good preamps, route anything to anything, and direct to USB recording which is great in a live setting. But agree with Jim too.
Over the years it seems the RME and MOTU interfaces always rise to the top in these discussions. Apogee and a few others get a lot of love in the higher price range and Focusrite, Tascam, and Presonus being solid in bit lower price group. 
I'm sure there are other solid products as well but these always get talked about in the forum when people ask about interfaces.
Budget is the biggest question, the RME interfaces start at ~$750 and go up. MOTU about the same although they have a few at lower price points. The Focusrite/Tascam/Presonus/Other products go all the way down to ~$150 or sometimes even less. If you're looking at Apogee, Antelope, Lynx then you're probably already an expert at these things and I want to come record in your studio :)

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Re: Best ASIO driver / USB Audio Interface 2016/02/05 09:21:29 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby musicroom 2016/02/08 13:01:10
your requirements and your budget are the most important variables which need to be addressed before anyone can really recommend anything for you.  even the low end soundcards like the Presonus USB and Focusrite 2i2 have decent ASIO drivers which will be better than any soundcard which needs ASIO4ALL to operate.  (ASIO4ALL is just a WDM wrapper which makes windows apps thinks it's using ASIO when in reality it's using WDM).
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Re: Best ASIO driver / USB Audio Interface 2016/02/05 10:03:13 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby Starise 2016/02/05 13:01:45
Most interfaces will work fine w/ most music computer systems.  Most of the problem comes from latency, which is how long it takes for sound to come into the computer (for recording) and then back out (so you can hear what you recorded).  If you have over 10 ms of delay, it can really be a problem.  However, most interfaces today have the ability to send the track to be recorded directly out of the interface, too (thereby skipping the latency).  So all is well.
All modern music interfaces cards will perform as above (or every one I've heard about), so you are good to go.  When you read user reviews on a manufacture's site etc. you usually get comments from people that have had problems, so the unit looks like trouble.  Fewer people write in to say it works great and "I didn't' have to think about it."  Since different PCs are stuffed w/ any number of choices for components, nobody can test all the variations until the public gets ahold of it.  You might be the unlucky 1 out of a 100 whose computer just won't work w/ a specific unit and driver.  The solution is to buy from a retailer who lets you return your buy for another, similarly-priced unit which should work - 99 out of a hundred times.
At this point, using SONAR, I'd check out the TASCAM units (Gibson owns Cake and TASCAM so everyone uses those at the office).  TASCAM is as cheap as anyone on the lower end, and has the best bang for buck in a couple of categories.  One good thing is that TASCAM (never known for great drivers) hired their own driver writers and their drivers work across the range of their newer products.   Updates seem to be coming out regular-like and each iteration seems to have less latency.  And since TAScAM is coming out w/ new units, it looks to be a good bet.  See the latest Tape Op
for a review of their 20x20 unit.  
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Re: Best ASIO driver / USB Audio Interface 2016/02/05 11:23:00 (permalink)
I have the 16x08 TASCAM.  Works great.  Not the lowest latency, but sub 9ms RTL @44.1 with 64 sample buffer is good enough for me.

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Cactus Music
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Re: Best ASIO driver / USB Audio Interface 2016/02/05 23:16:10 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby musicroom 2016/02/08 13:00:54
Never look on the internet and customer reviews for this sort of info. Reading posts on actual music forums will give you a much better idea of what's being used by experienced people. Reviews on sites like Amazon and such are full of posts by total idiots who don't have a clue about setting up the equipment. 
Right now there has never been more choices for good interfaces. Most are USB. Seems internal cards died with PCIe.  Firewire is fading fast and thunderbolt is still wait and see and Mac drivers. 
Tascam is really taking off as they are finally writing good solid drivers.  
Nothing wrong with Focusrite. Very good stuff. Both are my recommendation in the lower price points. I will buy RME next upgrade as it is over and over the most talked about in a good way. 
Here's a little blurb I put together with a shopping list that include all the details you need to think about. 
Make sure you get all the features you require.
post edited by Cactus Music - 2016/02/09 11:36:25

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Re: Best ASIO driver / USB Audio Interface 2016/02/06 11:43:46 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby musicroom 2016/02/08 13:00:45
If the budget runs to it, RME.

Stable round trip latency of under 6ms via USB (PC) and firewire (Logic Pro+Mac) while recording 8 simultaneous inputs and monitoring up to 16 using Sonar's track echo function, dependong on effects added in the DAW. Under 4ms achievable, which competes with PCIe cards, but uses a bit to a lot more cpu for high track counts and the 2ms difference is neither here nor there in the real world.

Excellent mixer application for the cards, and probably the most rock-solid drivers in the business. Built in reverb/delay, eq and compression for monitoring purposes. RME, so far anyway, don't suddenly abandon products when a new version of Windows or OS X comes out either.

For less money, Focusrite, MOTU and the newer Tascam stuff seems well regarded.
post edited by tlw - 2016/02/06 12:00:42

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Re: Best ASIO driver / USB Audio Interface 2016/02/08 12:59:56 (permalink)
Lots of highly respected people giving experienced advice in this thread!
FWIW, I went through this same type of search a couple of months ago and landed with a RME.
Key elements that separate the RME interface from the pack of others I've owned: latency is now a forgotten issue, driver development/release is second to none, great sound quality (noticeable). It's a pleasure to use with no buyer remorse.
Happy Hunting!

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Re: Best ASIO driver / USB Audio Interface 2016/02/08 14:34:00 (permalink)
I'm in the market for a new interface, myself and have some of the same struggles you do when it comes to making decisions. I want something that is professional quality and will continue to have good support for many years to come.
I've been looking at the new UAD Apollo Twin as a temporary unit while we wait to see if they will start making drivers for their Thunderbolt Apollos but there is no Windows 10 support for it yet which is disturbing. Also looking at MOTU, RME and Antelope Audio (which is looking more and more like what I will end up with for the long run but is a bit over my budget for a temp fix).
The biggest issue I have right now is obviously long term support. Roland burned us all pretty bad in this respect and I won't take part in that again.
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Re: Best ASIO driver / USB Audio Interface 2016/02/08 15:18:33 (permalink)
The UAD Apollo Twin is nice, but in that price range I would go with the new RME babyface pro. Great drivers on any platform including win 10. It might even swing you towards a UFX for your larger needs. The ability on the UFX to do direct recording is very nice if you do any live recording. Basically you can record all tracks directly to a USB drive or stick without the need for a computer.
Once you get to the larger interfaces, you'll also probably be in need of ADAT connectivity to get the port counts you need. If you do that, you're bypassing the PREs and the A/D converters in the interface and using the ones in the outboard gear. Something like the Universal Audio 4-710d would give you the nice UA PREs and A/D for the critical tracks while using either the internal or lower cost ADAT devices for less critical tracks.
It's nice to have a small interface and a larger one by the same company. In the case of RME, you learn how to use totalmix and it's the same for the babyface and the larger interfaces. Makes it easy to go back and forth without having to think too much.

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Re: Best ASIO driver / USB Audio Interface 2016/02/08 16:51:05 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby TerraSin 2016/02/08 19:42:51
You mentioned that RME was very expensive. I had 2 x RME FF 800s new in 2002 and sold them last year. Still working and exceptional drivers but I wanted to upgrade to a newer RME UFX device.

The reliability and longevity that products give you because they are built on the bleeding edge of available technology is worth a premium. The best audio devices are supported forever (I seems) and newer drivers developed year after year fine tuning performance and providing new features through firmware updates as was the case with the FF800s. That's what you pay for. THose devices are worth buying even second hand as I did with one of my FF800s.

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Re: Best ASIO driver / USB Audio Interface 2016/02/18 12:16:10 (permalink)
I've had my Roland SPS-25 (Edirol rebadge) for about 6 years, and as I consider moving up to W10 it seems that the driver issues, which have needed workarounds for a while, have finally led me to consider an update.  Latency on the SPS-25 has never been too bad for me under proper ASIO but I do switch into Tracking and Mixing modes where necessary. And with nothing to compare it with, sound quality is more than good enough.
I also decided that if I was going to put some cash out there, I may as well put it somewhere I won't regret so have ordered the RME Babyface Pro.  Should be with me tomorrow and in time for a weekend of upgrades.  Hopefully the only thing I won't like is the name of the interface, and I may get a few quid on the 'bay for my old interface.


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