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Why the USB 2.0 bashing?

The "right" audio intrerface for your studio depends on your CPU, OS, motherboard, and the robustness of its drivers. If we all put our heads together we might be able to deal with making a decision more intelligently. Use all advice given here at your own risk. This forum is only for Firewire and USB (1.1 and 2.0) interfaces.

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Why the USB 2.0 bashing?

Postby gvox on Tue Jan 09, 2007 11:20 am

Im curious why people think a USB 2.0 interface won't do for a home recording setup where the max a person is going to be inputting at once is 2-3 inputs?

I understand the theories behind all of the opinions that have been offered, but realistically if you are having a problem with your CPU sharing resources, you could simply just kill a few processes that are not needed while you are using your computer for recording. Doesn't most everyone do that anyways when they are using memory-hoggers (ie media manipulation software etc). I can't see why anyone would want to record and run their email, printer, or other devices/services that might 'ask' the computer to share usb resources. Or am I way off base?

Has anyone even really tried a USB 2.0 audio interface and/or reviewed it? Logic tells me that companies like EMU aren't going to spend time r&d a product like the 0404u and put it at a price point that competes with Firewire unless it's going to be reasonably stable. Why bother? You'll ship a few units and then people will take them back and switch to f/w. Logic also tells me that if Intel/others would rather people switch to USB 2.0 and are working with manufacturers such as EMU to make that happen over time, it behooves them to at least do some sort of diligence in making sure the [darn] thing can work.

Or am I considering this too simplistically?

EDIT: wow, ya can't even say the d word in here! :lol:
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Re: Why the USB 2.0 bashing?

Postby scadh on Tue Jan 09, 2007 5:03 pm

gvox wrote:Im curious why people think a USB 2.0 interface won't do for a home recording setup where the max a person is going to be inputting at once is 2-3 inputs?

I understand the theories behind all of the opinions that have been offered, but realistically if you are having a problem with your CPU sharing resources, you could simply just kill a few processes that are not needed while you are using your computer for recording. Doesn't most everyone do that anyways when they are using memory-hoggers (ie media manipulation software etc). I can't see why anyone would want to record and run their email, printer, or other devices/services that might 'ask' the computer to share usb resources. Or am I way off base?

Has anyone even really tried a USB 2.0 audio interface and/or reviewed it? Logic tells me that companies like EMU aren't going to spend time r&d a product like the 0404u and put it at a price point that competes with Firewire unless it's going to be reasonably stable. Why bother? You'll ship a few units and then people will take them back and switch to f/w. Logic also tells me that if Intel/others would rather people switch to USB 2.0 and are working with manufacturers such as EMU to make that happen over time, it behooves them to at least do some sort of diligence in making sure the [darn] thing can work.

Or am I considering this too simplistically?

EDIT: wow, ya can't even say the d word in here! :lol:


Well, in addition to USB stealing clock cycles from the CPU, there is the issue of USB devices not being daisy-chainable like Firewire. I would guess that's a concern for maybe 0.2% of home studio users, but hey -- you asked for any reasons people would prefer Firewire to USB.

For most people, USB 2.0 would probably work fine. That having been said, I chose Firewire for my interface...
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Postby gvox on Tue Jan 09, 2007 9:43 pm

Actually I think the daisy chain feature is amazing and definitely a real strong reason why I'm going to likely end up going with the konnekt
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Postby jes&music on Tue Jan 09, 2007 10:01 pm

I've used Creatives platinum Audigy, which is usb, to record one of my first recordings in 2004 called "He's Calling for You."
The main reason that you may hear alot of bashing to USB and firewire is well, lots of good things that start off get bashed.
I am currently using a PCI audiophile 2496 and I am happy with the results. So I think I will stick with PCI, since I've heard that with PCI you can get lower latency. But then again it's partly how top of the line your CPU is. And getting enough RAM like 1 gig & making sure you have enough hard drive space, etc.
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Postby jes&music on Tue Jan 09, 2007 10:06 pm

wrong thread post
Last edited by jes&music on Tue Feb 06, 2007 7:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby terry on Tue Jan 09, 2007 10:40 pm

gvox

I don't know about bashing usb 2.0. I think its more of a preference since you do get a little better performance with fire wire and added to that most or more people are using it with laptops which in it self requires you to get as much out of it as you can and since usually means having to buy a card to fit in the slot, cost Wise just may as well go with fire wire. Very little up grade possibilities with a laptop, Before any body gets on there band wagon you know the best hd speed is 7200, and you can add up to 2 gigs of ram. But just the same any major up grades require you to buy a whole new unit. Besides more and more manufacturers are pretty much sticking with fire wire. "just my opinion"
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Postby nanashiwanderer on Wed Jan 10, 2007 12:04 am

its an issue of performance. USB 2.0 allocates bandwidth differently from firewire. for 2 channel units there are soem stuff that works pretty good like hte Mbox 2 but larger interface, usb 2.0 is harder to keep in sync and more supcetable to jitter because of its design. the Design relys heavily on CPU for allocation of bandwidth, which the firewire protocol is not, meaning that there is many many more software interrupts and this increases jitter and latency. Firewire in general is more stable, because it does not rely nearly as much as the CPU to allocate bandwidth, and will achieve lower latency, and keep in sync easier because of fewer Interrup requests.

The reason USB 2.0 even exists more than anything, is intel has been pushing hte standard as a replacement for firewire, largeley due to the fact intel isn't happy with the way royalties worked out for Firewire. Firewire ports are quite costly to place on motherboards (hence the reason a lot of lower end motherboards don't happen), and the royalties didn't work in intels favour either. Most professional devices, and higher end semi pro devices that cater to a small elite market didn't even bother looking at the standard, because professionals are going to place a solid investment in to hardware when needed. Almost all the USB 2.0 interfaces are tergeted at the entry levels of the home studio market are targetted at people who are getting there feet wet with recording, and may not be making huge investment or stick with it to begin with. Manufactuers have incentive to design devices that will support the computers that most people will have, and not just the computers that people who are serious about recording are going to buy.
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Postby terry on Wed Jan 10, 2007 12:20 am

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Postby gvox on Wed Jan 10, 2007 1:13 pm

nanashiwanderer wrote:its an issue of performance. USB 2.0 allocates bandwidth differently from firewire.... The reason USB 2.0 even exists more than anything, is intel has been pushing hte standard as a replacement for firewire...etc etc...


Not trying to start anything but that is exactly what I was referencing in my original post...ie *it really seems* you basically cut and pasted that from another thread or are just rehashing it.

I'm not disputing that theoretically USB 2.0 is slower or for that matter faster than Firewire, even a simple search on the net will reveal that there are arguments either way. Everything everyone is saying here is based on the theory behind the two protocols and their knowledge of what they know happens when trying to record multiple sources to a computer thru an interface...but that's in general terms, its not a comparion done by someone experienced with both types of units. Probaby this is more an statement on the nature of technical reviews in general, not this forum! :lol:

Or are you basing these conclusions on benchmarks/comparisons you have done yourself, maybe there's a thread I can read about it?

Note: I have ended up deciding to go with a firewire device (Konnekt8), I just found it a bit frustrating when researching to be met with a myriad of opinions, granted theoretically sound opinions, yet very little in the way of actual user experience.
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Postby terry on Wed Jan 10, 2007 3:52 pm

gvox

I understand your position and not to defend nanashiwanderer not that it even needs to be. They both have there merits and down falls. In my current situation I use both. Usb for my midi key board and fire wire as a audio interface. With having to weed threw mediocre equipment to finally getting to where it works for me. Allot of times it is a up hill battle. allot has to do with experience, equipment short comings to the point where you are happy and comfortable with what you have. As far to my knowledge the usb 2.0 verses fire-wire has been beat to death. In my previous post, to make a long story short you make the best with what you can afford. no more no less. Now on to your choice of interface I give it two thumbs up. But if you had asked me that 2 months ago I would have told you to stay away from it not knowing that the problems I had with that unit was not caused by the unit it self but by my computer set up. It is better to learn from others mistakes than the costly ones on your own. Even if its just a general consensus. You asked for a opion you got it.
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Postby nanashiwanderer on Wed Jan 10, 2007 4:23 pm

Not trying to start anything but that is exactly what I was referencing in my original post...ie *it really seems* you basically cut and pasted that from another thread or are just rehashing it.


http://www.studio-central.com/forum_rul ... 9E561.html


Read the bottom sentance of page 1 of the rules. do a forum search. I've answered the firewire usb 2.0 in detail a fair number of times, and have no desire to repeat those explanations. I won't bother half explaining next time around.

If you want real world tests between bandwidth many many computing sites will have articles buried through. Also if you back document computer magazines from 2001-2003, they'll discuss the usb 2.0 standard in detail, and probably compare it to firewire.

I will say this firewire is documented to get up to 390megabits/400mega bits of bandwidth quite frequently USB is not. USB 2.0 rareley gets any where near its theoretical 480megabits of bandwidth. You can find this information, fairly easy if you do your own research.

As for has any one tried to record multiple signal sources with usb 2.0?
find an audio interface other than the Motu 828 can record more than 8 channels to 8 tracks using usb 2.0. (or even 8x8)
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Postby jes&music on Wed Jan 10, 2007 6:40 pm

I have ended up deciding to go with a firewire device (Konnekt8), I just found it a bit frustrating when researching to be met with a myriad of opinions, granted theoretically sound opinions, yet very little in the way of actual user experience


I know a Grand producer here who produces everything from educational interactive books for kids to alternative to R&B. And he uses a (MOTU) 828MKII 24/96 Audio Interface, which is firewire. And he has not complained once since I have been to his studio about firewire.

So I for one can pretty much soundly say I stand behind firewire. I am sure there are little details that need to be kept in mind before and after you buy it. But that's just my thoughts.
USB? Well I use a keyboard usb controller from Roland, and it has worked just fine since I had it.
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Postby haujobb on Thu Jan 11, 2007 1:05 am

gvox wrote:
nanashiwanderer wrote:its an issue of performance. USB 2.0 allocates bandwidth differently from firewire.... The reason USB 2.0 even exists more than anything, is intel has been pushing hte standard as a replacement for firewire...etc etc...


Not trying to start anything but that is exactly what I was referencing in my original post...ie *it really seems* you basically cut and pasted that from another thread or are just rehashing it.

I'm not disputing that theoretically USB 2.0 is slower or for that matter faster than Firewire, even a simple search on the net will reveal that there are arguments either way. Everything everyone is saying here is based on the theory behind the two protocols and their knowledge of what they know happens when trying to record multiple sources to a computer thru an interface...but that's in general terms, its not a comparion done by someone experienced with both types of units. Probaby this is more an statement on the nature of technical reviews in general, not this forum! :lol:

Or are you basing these conclusions on benchmarks/comparisons you have done yourself, maybe there's a thread I can read about it?

Note: I have ended up deciding to go with a firewire device (Konnekt8), I just found it a bit frustrating when researching to be met with a myriad of opinions, granted theoretically sound opinions, yet very little in the way of actual user experience.


I think the point that you are missing is that it's not just about speed, it about a device being able to communicate without waiting for other devices to say it's okay to send data down the bus. In the case of midi keyboards, if it has to wait a 1000th of a second to access the bus, it's not that big of a deal. On the other hand, sounds cards need to send data thousands of times in a second (48000 most often) and if at any point it can't pass that data down the line it could be dropped resulting in a glitch in the audio.
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Postby owel on Thu Jan 11, 2007 11:27 am

Just want to add, with Firewire, I can capture 30fps of video with audio (720x480px, 48Khz stereo audio) and save that digitized file into a FW hard drive at the rate of 13GB/Hour.... in REAL-TIME... on the SAME FIREWIRE CABLE... on devices daisy-chained.

and oh yeah... monitoring the audio on a Firewire Motu 828mk2.

No dropped frames, no corrupted file.
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Postby nanashiwanderer on Thu Jan 11, 2007 4:23 pm

that on usb 2.0 would likeley = Cyclic redundany check error.
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Postby gvox on Thu Jan 11, 2007 6:17 pm

nanashiwanderer wrote:

Read the bottom sentance of page 1 of the rules. do a forum search.


Well given that my initial post was a commentary on what I found after searching the web AND this forum, now you're either being deliberately ridiculous or a plain jackass.

I've answered the firewire usb 2.0 in detail a fair number of times,


Actually, no you haven't. You've theorized based on the technical specifications of both protocols. You've not done your own benchmark.

and have no desire to repeat those explanations. I won't bother half explaining next time around.


You didn't explain a single thing. You rehashed theoretical limitations and advantages that you and others have repeated. At the risk of repeating myself (->humour<-), you're repeating yourself.

If you want real world tests between bandwidth many many computing sites will have articles buried through. Also if you back document computer magazines from 2001-2003, they'll discuss the usb 2.0 standard in detail, and probably compare it to firewire.


Hmm. Basically exactly what I said, that there is plenty of documentation with respects to overall comparision between the protocols, notably NOT APPLICATION SPECIFIC. Oops, sorry for the caps, I'm just a bit tired of repeating myself.

As for has any one tried to record multiple signal sources with usb 2.0?
find an audio interface other than the Motu 828 can record more than 8 channels to 8 tracks using usb 2.0. (or even 8x8)


I'm really at a loss to believe if you even read my initial post. I was specifically talking about the home recording enthusiast who is definitely not recording 8 plus channels! 8+ channels is the domain of the professional, and what real professional is recording using a $200 unit ANYWAYS?

At any rate, what I did do is a search on various responses you have written to others and in the bit I could tolerate reading, I see a trend. So while I acknowledge that you are likely far more knowledgable than I on recording, your response to me here is unnecessarily churlish (thankfully the majority of people I've communicated with thus far have been quite the opposite). I suppose the difference with this newbie (that would be me) is that I have no need to play the forum brinksmanship game, and won't.

I will say this however, that given that my initial post discussed wishing I could find reviews from people who have actually done comparisons in a fairly lo-tech home recording situation using USB 2.0 vs FW in this application and this application ONLY, at this point I'm unclear as to why you even answered?

I mean, at the risk of repeating yourself. Oops, I already said that. :)
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Postby gvox on Thu Jan 11, 2007 6:18 pm

owel wrote:Just want to add, with Firewire, I can capture 30fps of video with audio (720x480px, 48Khz stereo audio) and save that digitized file into a FW hard drive at the rate of 13GB/Hour.... in REAL-TIME... on the SAME FIREWIRE CABLE... on devices daisy-chained.

and oh yeah... monitoring the audio on a Firewire Motu 828mk2.

No dropped frames, no corrupted file.


Thanks owel, I appreciate you sharing your personal results/experience here.
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Postby nanashiwanderer on Thu Jan 11, 2007 7:17 pm

I'm really at a loss to believe if you even read my initial post


I'm at a lost if you actually read my first reply.


Logic tells me that companies like EMU aren't going to spend time r&d a product like the 0404u and put it at a price point that competes with Firewire unless it's going to be reasonably stable. Why bother? You'll ship a few units and then people will take them back and switch to f/w.
Logic also tells me that if Intel/others would rather people switch to USB 2.0 and are working with manufacturers such as EMU to make that happen over time, it behooves them to at least do some sort of diligence in making sure the [darn] thing can work.

Or am I considering this too simplistically?



I believe in the first part of your question companies like EMU aren't going to spend tim product like the O404 at a price point that competes with firewire?

This was my answer

Most professional devices, and higher end semi pro devices that cater to a small elite market didn't even bother looking at the standard, because professionals are going to place a solid investment in to hardware when needed. Almost all the USB 2.0 interfaces are tergeted at the entry levels of the home studio market are targetted at people who are getting there feet wet with recording, and may not be making huge investment or stick with it to begin with. Manufactuers have incentive to design devices that will support the computers that most people will have, and not just the computers that people who are serious about recording are going to buy.


Take some basic economics, and memorize this concept the whole subject is based on this set of fundamental assumptions. People do whats in their self interest. Firms seek to maximize profits. My answer to your initial post is that a manufacturer, is going to put a product out even if its not as stable as firewire, because it opens their product to a larger audience. Most peoples computers that they already have sitting in their house do not have firewire. Almost every pc made since 2002 has USB 2.0. .



Actually, no you haven't. You've theorized based on the technical specifications of both protocols. You've not done your own benchmark.


No I have not, because I have no need to. It is pretty much established fact that firewire is more stable than USB 2.0. IF you have understanding of the function of how a CPU works, and IRQ lines work, and where latency comes from a hardware perspective, you wouldn't need any test, to understand why Fire wire would be a superior platform for serving an external sound card which has to perform an A/D and D/A conversion in real time. (and on majority of sound cards the CPU assists in this process). I know I have given this explanation of this process before on this forum, and i'm fairly sure more than once. I have no desire to type it out again it takes effort to explain it.


Also me or majority of people on this forum running a test doesn't prove any thing, or serve but to mislead people. If you understand how the scientific experiments are constructed, when studying animals or objects you have to have a representative sample of the population, if your results are to mean anything when trying to find out something about the whole population. I'd test it for my pc, using one firewire card and give you result. Which tells you how the two perform on my system and no one else's period.

(for those of you actually reading this is why I don't give the Behringer XMS8500 threads much merit. They are not representative since the tests tested on one preamp, in one room, on one source, and theres is no way to say which microphone is better).



Theres about 5 or 6 different manufactuers of firewire and USB chipsets, 100s of manufacturers of hardware, 9 or 10 major manufacturers of motherboards, and 3 or 4 major makers of motherboard chipsets, and a dozen or so major manufacturers of firewire sound cards, me doing any kind benchmark on 1 P.C comparing the stability would prove nothing about the inherent stability of either platform, or speed of either platform. However, their are magazines, websites who test hardware regularly and have tested enough devices on both platform to give an accurate real world information regarding the two platforms.


As for is USB 2.0 stable for 2channels audio? the answer is plenty of people use the M-Box 2 and not all of them are complaining.
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Postby terry on Thu Jan 11, 2007 7:44 pm

I think its time to bury the horse! :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Postby nanashiwanderer on Thu Jan 11, 2007 7:49 pm

when did the horse die?
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Postby adhesive on Thu Jan 11, 2007 9:05 pm

Right after it was beat to death? :P

Oh wait... is this a joke? I want the punchline!
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Postby terry on Thu Jan 11, 2007 10:21 pm

shot, stabbed, burn at the stake, buried then dug up and hung! :lol: :lol:
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Postby nanashiwanderer on Thu Jan 11, 2007 10:22 pm

shot, stabbed, burn at the stake, buried then dug up and hung!
How'd i miss this?!
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Postby gvox on Thu Jan 11, 2007 11:18 pm

nanashiwanderer wrote:
Take some basic economics, and memorize this concept the whole subject is based on this set of fundamental assumptions. People do whats in their self interest. Firms seek to maximize profits.


Sorry nana, not biting. LOL

As for the rest of your diatribe, you weren't offering me any new type of information at all, just the extrapolation of what you, and for that matter, I, know about the difference between the two protocols into an estimation of what you think might happen in the application being discussed, usb 2.0 vs firewire external soundcard devices.

Interesting word, that: extrapolation

To estimate (a value of a variable outside a known range) from values within a known range by assuming that the estimated value follows logically from the known values.

And since my original dismay was at the lack of anyone, notably NOT NECESSARILY ANYONE HERE, having actually done any sort of comparison on the average home user PC configuration. Of course there are a myriad of configurations, but I would go way out on a limb here and offer that if someone were to list their testing environment ie cpu speed, ram, hd, manufacturer, etc, before noting the differences between unit a. the USB 2.0 and unit b the firewire, that the majority of people like me seeking to evaluate the differences would appreciate it immensley. They would then take that person(s) experience, analyze it in the context of the other information such as that which you have exhaustively presented, and come up with a conclusion that lies somewhere around where they want to be. Logically they wouldn't rely solely on one person's experience, just as logically as they wouldn't rely on an extrapolation that has not really been tested out in a real-time application by anyone but the manufacturer (hence the need for decent reviews, not extrapolations)

In case the entire point is being lost in translation, if a person writes a comment wishing they had more to go on than just statement a, it's illogical to the point of absurdity for another person to vehemently argue for the exclusive consideration of only statement a with the fairly obvious inference that the other person's desire for more than statement a is rooted in lack of education of statement a.

Whew. I'm tired of this subject. At any rate I sense in you a need to 'school' individuals such as myself when prodded, when in reality all you end up looking like is that blowhard who puts way to much stock in his fancy university degree, or on the other hand someone who is still knee deep in school and needs to get out for a breath of fresh air.

(last word) (for me at least lol)
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Postby haujobb on Fri Jan 12, 2007 12:35 am

Me thinks if one wishes to post a question they must prepare to accept an answer... :wink:
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