Topic: Should I get the HDSP or the Digiface?

Running Windows 7 64 here.

RME HDSP 9632 PCI card vs the Digiface USB, considering which to purchase.

Just considering latency and driver performance, forgetting about inputs/outputs, is one better than the other?

2 (edited by ramses 2018-05-15 16:24:47)

Re: Should I get the HDSP or the Digiface?

Do you have a special reason why you compare the Digiface USB with a PCI card ?
Is it only because of the price to stay around €400 and not to go slightly higher for an AIO at €619?

I think it would be better to consider a PCIe card like the AIO, as otherwise you will be limited when looking for PCs/mainboards, because only a few boards support the old PCI slots.

Digiface USB is interesting for these reasons:

  • each of the 4 ports can be switched to optical SPDIF, which makes this interface very flexible and unique

  • it uses the new DIGIface driver, by this one driver you would have also direct access to other recording interfaces connected to your PC, you only need to look that they are clock synched (UFX+/UFX II, MADIface XT/Pro/USB, OctaMic XTC, ADI-2 Pro/AE/FS/DAC, Digiface USB/Dante)

  • for mobile use, needs no power supply

  • no breakout cable required

The AIO has these advantages:

  • connected to PCIe bus, under a loaded system maybe a little less likeliness of audio drops compared to USB, although my experience with the UFX and UFX+ is, that the USB drivers are very very good, at least with my system I see no big difference when running a load test with an insane number of recorded channels: https://www.tonstudio-forum.de/blog/ind … cks-de-en/

  • expandable and also cabable of supporting AES and MIDI

  • the AIO phones outputs look slightly better in terms of SNR / THD

  • it has dedicated outputs for analog out and phones

  • the analog output is servosymmetric, supports balanced and non-balanced connections

In terms of audio quality of the phones output I would make a side by side comparison with your equipment, if this is of interest to you.

It needs to be mentioned that the Digiface USB has only one analog output, TRS unbalanced.
So you can only connect speakers OR phones and you can't connect near field monitors with a balanced cable.
Shall you have such a requirement, then you need to take the AIO (or the PCI card).

BR
Andreas
Win7, CubPro 9.5, HDSPe MADI FX/OPTO-X, UFX+, Octamic XTC, ADI-2 Pro/DAC, RayDAT, ARC USB

Re: Should I get the HDSP or the Digiface?

I'd forgotten about PCI being on the way out. I wonder how hard it will be to find motherboards with it in a couple years, I'll have to consider that on the future proofing side. Thanks for the information and reminder.

I would prefer to save $250+ or so. I'm looking at the used market to save money already. That could go towards a nice sample library or camera lens.

First time I ever had to fill out a captcha just to visit the website itself! Is this the future? O.o

Good to read the test results! Thanks!

I keep wondering whether there'll be a USB 3 digiface someday. I run everything through to my receiver, preferably digitally, which then takes care of the analog side of things for me. The only change I should ever have there is upgrading it to a better amp if I get some Magnepans.

Tried a Focusrite, wasn't happy with it, getting an RME is all about getting the best and something reliable to last.

Re: Should I get the HDSP or the Digiface?

The Digiface USB does not need USB 3, from a bandwidth perspective....

I would also suggest considering the AIO, for the variety of I/Os it offers.


Regards
Daniel Fuchs
RME

Re: Should I get the HDSP or the Digiface?

RME Support wrote:

The Digiface USB does not need USB 3, from a bandwidth perspective....

I would also suggest considering the AIO, for the variety of I/Os it offers.


Regards
Daniel Fuchs
RME

That's good to know!

Ordered a used HDSP 9632, should come in the mail in about 2 weeks. Hoping for the best!

6 (edited by ramses 2018-05-16 06:18:51)

Re: Should I get the HDSP or the Digiface?

whiteletter wrote:

I'd forgotten about PCI being on the way out. I wonder how hard it will be to find motherboards with it in a couple years, I'll have to consider that on the future proofing side.

Its easy to answer if you search in the typical available search portals for any HW among that mainboards.

For the current Intel Socket 2066 there is no board available anymore with a PCI Slot.
https://geizhals.de/?cat=mbp4_2066#gh_filterbox

Same for current AMD socket TR4
https://geizhals.de/?cat=mbtr4#gh_filterbox

So if you want to get a CPU / System in the future with newer CPU design which is resistant against
Spectre, Meltdown and Spectre_NG attacks, then you can't make any use of this card anymore.

Makes not much sense to invest into older mainboards, as all these CPUs are vulnerable and
the Intel firmware patches slow down systems. The more the older the CPUs are and esp under Win7 and older.

I would have chosen a more future proof AIO, but its your choice.

BR
Andreas
Win7, CubPro 9.5, HDSPe MADI FX/OPTO-X, UFX+, Octamic XTC, ADI-2 Pro/DAC, RayDAT, ARC USB

Re: Should I get the HDSP or the Digiface?

Well, considering it was only $234 shipped... smile

Checking online, regarding PCI in the future, you can still find it for the latest LGA 1151 boards.

I do want to upgrade eventually but thinking twice, I also don't want to lose Windows 7 until I have to, a contradiction there with the new hardware. In any case my current system has an i4470k, so should last me a couple years at least.

Re: Should I get the HDSP or the Digiface?

Yes you are right, but tbh LGA 1151 and alike are not viable platforms anymore for me considering Spectre and Meltdown.
CPUs are being slowed down too much for my taste, under Win7 more, under Win10 less.

To put an example, a Cubase downmix lasts double the time now under Win7 with Spectre and Meltdown fixes.
See here my tests: https://www.tonstudio-forum.de/blog/ind … tre-EN-DE/

BR
Andreas
Win7, CubPro 9.5, HDSPe MADI FX/OPTO-X, UFX+, Octamic XTC, ADI-2 Pro/DAC, RayDAT, ARC USB

Re: Should I get the HDSP or the Digiface?

I nearly went for Cubase due to the expression maps. I'm using Studio, the next version may be out soon -- perhaps we'll get it though of course there's no telling despite all the requests.

Thankfully any slowdown issues for me have not been so much that I'm bothered, but then I'm not a professional, just a hobbyist.

Are there any CPUs out with a hardware based fix for those two yet?

Re: Should I get the HDSP or the Digiface?

whiteletter wrote:

Are there any CPUs out with a hardware based fix for those two yet?

They just discovered new spectre vulnerabilities and Intel seems to be very busy with further fixes.
It has been said in the press that Intel releases further CPU microcode upgrades perhaps in Q3/2018.

The latest Windows 10 update 1803 doesnt contain Spectre / Meltdown microcode updates anymore
- absolutely surprisingly as they release them in the former version 1709 -
this means you fully depend again on BIOS containing microcode upgrades.

I hope that Supermicro again releases microcode upgrades for many of their boards like before.

You need to look how important this is for you ... if you get the PCI card for a good price then this may be
enough for a hobbyist ... you can be already happy to own a RME product.

My comments are simply pragmatic, more thinking about sustainability of purchase.

BR
Andreas
Win7, CubPro 9.5, HDSPe MADI FX/OPTO-X, UFX+, Octamic XTC, ADI-2 Pro/DAC, RayDAT, ARC USB

Re: Should I get the HDSP or the Digiface?

HDSP 9632 arrived in the mail today, all the way from Poland, in a box looking like someone sat on it.

It survived, looks like new, my latency is now at the minimal 32 samples setting and running beautifully. Signal is pure and clean out to my receiver via optical cable, and I am loving the immediate response from my keyboard.

Why did I wait so long is all I can think, I never should've fiddled with the the lower quality brands. This is the kind of latency I was looking for, it's splendid!

Took me longer to figure out the Total Mixer than it took to install the card in the PC. Then I just had to figure out a quirk with Studio One that grayed out the ability to change the Sample Rate, fixed that, and everything ran like I wanted smoothly.

Might not ever even need a breakout cable in future.

I am used to at least one blue screen installing sound drivers, none here. Haha!