Topic: Best sound card model for the best latency ?

Hi everyone,


Using lot of VSTIs, I need to work at very low latency (I’m a pianist and record every thing with my keyboard).

What’s the best sound card technology to get the lowest latency ?

USB, Firewire, Thunderbolt, Ethernet, PCI, PCI express ?

Cable connections can’t be as fast as PCI, isn’t it ? So I would say PCI express, but I’m not sure.



Regards

Gabriel Plalame

2 (edited by ramses 2018-10-20 17:16:10)

Re: Best sound card model for the best latency ?

Hi Gabriel,

welcome to the RME user forum.

Whats your budget ? What other equipment do you have (Monitors, Phones) ?

You didn't tell which kind of system you have, I assume PC, but it doesn't matter anyway much,
as you will get Windows and Apple drivers for the components that I propose to you below.

Although all RME driver are very performant and have a very low RTT I would recommend you
to take a PCIe card for best performance and least protocol overhead which will save a few CPU cycles.
PCI I wouldn't take anymore, as the majority of modern mainboards have no PCI slots anymore.
This would only limit you in terms of the selection of mainboards/systems.

You could i.e. take an AIO (PCIe), as you do not need too many channels ...
The AIO has the advantage that it can be expanded with additional analog I/O channels.

This gives you a very reliable and performant PCIe card with
1 x Stereo Analog I/O (192 kHz) (expandable by boards)
1 x ADAT I/O (bis 192 kHz über S/MUX4)
1 x SPDIF I/O (192 kHz)
1 x AES/EBU I/O (192 kHz)
1 x MIDI I/O
1 x Phones Output (separate DAC, 192 kHz)

Additionally you could integrate an ADI-2 Pro to get reference grade D/A conversion for near field monitors and phones.
The ADI-2 Pro could be connected via AES to the AIO.
Then you have on your AIO still ADAT and SPDIF I/O free, maybe to even integrate an additional 8-port ADDA converter
or mic preamp or to use SPDIF towards your HiFi to use it as 2nd pair of monitors.

This is an overview about blog articles about RME devices and other stuff:
https://www.tonstudio-forum.de/blog/ind … Cbersicht/

With integration of the ADI-2 Pro into your setup (AIO) I mean this article: https://www.tonstudio-forum.de/blog/ind … our-Setup/

BR Ramses
Win7, CubPro9.5, UFX+, Octamic XTC, ADI-2 Pro/DAC, RayDAT, ARC USB, Sonnet USB3-PRO-4PM-E

Re: Best sound card model for the best latency ?

To have a recording interface with TotalMix FX I regard as important, because this way you can very comfortably created submixes for monitors and phones without noticeably latency.

Digicheck Analyzer tools bring you additional benefits by very good analyzer tools,
but on Windows also Global Record which you can use to record quickly without having to start the DAW.
Or to use it as backup recording, which is very practical, shall the DAW should hang for some reason.
This is the advantage of a small application with low CPU and Memory footprint.

BR Ramses
Win7, CubPro9.5, UFX+, Octamic XTC, ADI-2 Pro/DAC, RayDAT, ARC USB, Sonnet USB3-PRO-4PM-E

4 (edited by JRT 2018-10-22 14:42:44)

Re: Best sound card model for the best latency ?

Gabriel Plalame wrote:

Using lot of VSTIs, I need to work at very low latency (I’m a pianist and record every thing with my keyboard).

What’s the best sound card technology to get the lowest latency ?

There is a long thread on that subject at the following link.
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/music-c … -base.html

Lowest latency among tested units was the RME HDSPe AES  (a PCIe card with AES3 I/O) in combination with RME ADI-8 QS (an 8 channel AD/DA converter).

I also suggest assembling a new computer using the (new) i9 9900K processor with all cores overclocked to 5_GHz.
http://www.scanproaudio.info/tag/i9/ 

For details on that larger subject, I suggest reading the thread at the following link.  It is a very lengthy thread (as I write this it has now reached 6695 posts going back to December 2010), and I would suggest taking the time to read at least the most recent half of it, skipping the unimportant fluff.
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/music-c … ad-67.html

Re: Best sound card model for the best latency ?

ramses wrote:

Hi Gabriel,

welcome to the RME user forum.

Whats your budget ? What other equipment do you have (Monitors, Phones) ?

You didn't tell which kind of system you have, I assume PC, but it doesn't matter anyway much,
as you will get Windows and Apple drivers for the components that I propose to you below.

Hi, Andreas

Thanks for all those details.

Here is my actual DAW : Asus Prime Z270-K | Intel I5-7600 3,5GHz | Gskill DDR4 | Samsung SSD 960 EVO 500Go M2 2280 NVME x2 | Roland Octacapture | Windows 10 pro x64 | Samplitude Pro X3 Suite x64 14.2.1.298 (DC2)| SprectraLayers Pro 4 | Sound Forge Pro 4 | Native Instrument Komplete | Vienna Synphonic Library

I work in stereo, but need to upgrade to surround monitoring if needed. The budget is not really in question. I never record live instruments, I’m an ‘all in the box’ composer with large VSTIs libraries (symphonic or others) and synth templates. Very low latency sound card to run everything in real time (ideally without freezing tracks or objects, to save time and productivity) is the first criteria.

So the HDSPe AIO (+ an extension for surround monitoring) is maybe the best solution.

I don’t know yet Total mix and Digicheck for now and will have to explore those tools.


Gabriel Plalame

Re: Best sound card model for the best latency ?

JRT wrote:

There is a long thread on that subject at the following link.
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/music-c … -base.html

Hi, JRT

Thanks for those interesting links.

I don’t know Gearslutz yet, and will dive into it !

Lot of things to learn around here.

Thanks again.


Gabriel Plalame

Re: Best sound card model for the best latency ?

What do you mean with surround monitoring ?
How many analog outputs do you require ? 8 ?

BR Ramses
Win7, CubPro9.5, UFX+, Octamic XTC, ADI-2 Pro/DAC, RayDAT, ARC USB, Sonnet USB3-PRO-4PM-E

Re: Best sound card model for the best latency ?

Oh, yes, I have to face all situations, so 8 outputs. I realize that AIO won’t do it (only 6 outputs with the extension right ?). No PCIe solution with 8 output I guess...


Gabriel Plalame

9 (edited by ramses 2018-11-02 18:04:48)

Re: Best sound card model for the best latency ?

I have another idea, but after discussing this with Vinark, I am not sure whether I overshoot in terms of price,
please look also at his proposal, which gives you a solution that fulfills your primary goal to get very low latency
and without having to spend much money for it.

Otherwise here a (much) more expensive solution based on RME latest converter design to get high-end
D/A conversion to each of your 7.1 speakers:

Take a RayDAT which is an excellent PCIe card, purely digital.
http://www.rme-audio.de/en/products/hds … e=deutsche
By this you have 4x ADAT I/O.

Connect 4 (four!) ADI-2 FS to it via ADAT, the ADI-2 FS supports ADAT format and only listens to the first two ADAT channels. ADAT cables can be up to 15, eventually even 20m.

By this you can bring the fours D/A converters (ADI-2 FS) very close to your 7.1 speakers. Another advantage is, that you have the excellent conversion quality of the ADI-2 FS which is on par with the proven ADI-2 Pro FS/DAC.

From the ADI-2 FS you connect then either
- directly to your 7.1 speakers if they are active speakers with its own built-in power amplifier (which IMHO would be the best solution to avoid a cabling hell of speaker cable) or
- to the power amplifier in front of your 7.1 speakers

TOTAL: €3405
1x https://www.thomann.de/de/rme_hdspe_raydat.htm €649
4x https://www.thomann.de/de/rme_adi_2_fs.htm €689

As TOSLINK cable I propose to take these from Mutec, here the 15m cable which I use, they offer different cable length:
https://www.thomann.de/de/mutec_optisch … _10_10_n_0 €17,80.
Its thin but stable enough so that its very easy to put it into small cable conduits that you can lay or glue to the base of walls so that the cables are invisible. You could even lay it under the floor I would say, depending whether you still have this option.

Additionally the RayDAT has still some more ports free: AES I/O, SPDIF I/O, 2x MIDI.

You could connect an additional ADI-2 Pro FS via AES and connect Phones and Near field monitors to it at your workplace.
On top you would have the possibility to connect even up to two external Microphone preamps to the Analog inputs of the ADI-2 Pro FS to record your voice, instruments etc with high-quality A/D conversion.

TOTAL: €4968
1x https://www.thomann.de/de/rme_hdspe_raydat.htm €649
4x https://www.thomann.de/de/rme_adi_2_fs.htm €689
1x https://www.thomann.de/de/rme_adi_2_pro_fs.htm €1563

BR Ramses
Win7, CubPro9.5, UFX+, Octamic XTC, ADI-2 Pro/DAC, RayDAT, ARC USB, Sonnet USB3-PRO-4PM-E

Re: Best sound card model for the best latency ?

The raydat with any ADI-8 will do too. The AIO with an extra DA like a ADI-8 also of course. You could start with the AIO and expand later for surround of course.

If I am not mistaken your motherboard has PCI slots too so even a cheap second hand hdsp9632 or 9652 will work great. There is no drawback for PCI over PCIe latency wise.

Vincent, Amsterdam
https://soundcloud.com/thesecretworld
HDSP9652 ADI-8AE HDSP9632
Cubase pro 9