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Re: Lowest latency? Scarlett 2i2 mk2 vs Rubix 22 vs UR22 mk2 [Re: newer player] #2691916
11/25/17 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by newer player
Sorry my text was not clear. I was not comparing USB1 and USB2.

I was trying to note that running one vs. two USB cables might provide different performance.


I'm not sure how the data flows through a USB sound interface, but maybe someone can help correct/confirm:

1. DP ---> USB ---> PC ---> USB ---> USB audio interface ---> analog audio out

The MIDI signal has nothing to do with audio, and needs to be processed by the CPU first before it hits any audio interface. So why not route directly to the PC first?

2. DP ---> USB (or MIDI) ---> USB audio interface ---> USB ---> PC ---> USB ---> USB audio interface ---> analog audio out

You may have an option to first route your DP into the USB audio interface. But since the MIDI data needs to be processed and mixed by the CPU first, this sounds like it's just a passthrough step, the audio interface isn't adding any value here and it can ONLY be slower, though probably just by a few ms.

Is this what is going on?


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Re: Lowest latency? Scarlett 2i2 mk2 vs Rubix 22 vs UR22 mk2 [Re: Gombessa] #2691920
11/25/17 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Gombessa
Originally Posted by newer player
Sorry my text was not clear. I was not comparing USB1 and USB2.

I was trying to note that running one vs. two USB cables might provide different performance.


I'm not sure how the data flows through a USB sound interface, but maybe someone can help correct/confirm:

1. DP ---> USB ---> PC ---> USB ---> USB audio interface ---> analog audio out

The MIDI signal has nothing to do with audio, and needs to be processed by the CPU first before it hits any audio interface. So why not route directly to the PC first?

2. DP ---> USB (or MIDI) ---> USB audio interface ---> USB ---> PC ---> USB ---> USB audio interface ---> analog audio out

You may have an option to first route your DP into the USB audio interface. But since the MIDI data needs to be processed and mixed by the CPU first, this sounds like it's just a passthrough step, the audio interface isn't adding any value here and it can ONLY be slower, though probably just by a few ms.

Is this what is going on?


My interface and the handful I have used before only have ONE USB port and traditional MIDI ports. With some modern digital pianos I suppose one could run either USB cable out or traditional MIDI cable out:

1. DP ---> USB#1 ---> PC ---> USB#2 ---> USB audio interface ---> analog audio out

2. DP ---> MIDI cable ---> USB audio interface ---> USB#1---> PC ---> USB#1 ---> USB audio interface ---> analog audio out

For scenario 1 above, if you run USB cable from the digital piano, then I think you need to run both USB cables via the computer as the interface only has one USB jack.

This is related to portable interfaces similar to what the original poster is looking at.

Re: Lowest latency? Scarlett 2i2 mk2 vs Rubix 22 vs UR22 mk2 [Re: wouter79] #2691929
11/25/17 12:03 PM
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That chart/image showing step-by-step delays from the piano and through the signal chain ... dates back about a decade.

http://www.presonus.com/uploads/news/media/images/LatencyChain_12-30-13_RR02.jpg

The post is from last year, but the poster references an image that is very old. Things have changed a lot since then.
Originally Posted by wouter79
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
I think the information is broadly useful, but the specific numbers quoted are out of date. Newer computers will give lower numbers.
Originally Posted by newer player
I thought this was a good primer on latency for virtual instruments (Presonus - The Truth About Digital Audio Latency).
It is a bit of a sales pitch but an interesting read nonetheless:
https://forums.presonus.com/viewtopic.php?f=151&t=17453&sid=4c04714ae9691a0b6dead0a0568a75fe

That post is from 2016. By "newer" you are suggesting major developments in the last year. I think you better come with the concrete "lower numbers" instead of waving with general statements.


Re: Lowest latency? Scarlett 2i2 mk2 vs Rubix 22 vs UR22 mk2 [Re: wouter79] #2691930
11/25/17 12:12 PM
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You're misappropriating the facts ...
Originally Posted by wouter79
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
Puzzling ...
Originally Posted by wouter79
Don't focus too much on number of samples in the driver: It is only a tiny part of the latency.

The sample size is the primary factor. ... The other contributors to latency are usually not relevant. It's been years since USB interface latency was a major contributor.

If you were right, all these devices would have latencies in the order of 32/44100=0.7ms even at the lowest 44kHz and around 0.2ms at 192kHz. This entire discussion the is futile, as 0.7ms is not audible at all.

Other factors clearly more important, especially with small buffer sizes that you will be using if you want a low latency.

Buffer size has traditionally been the dominant factor because the PC host could not keep up with the demand of low buffer sizes.

You can't just reduce latency by reducing the buffer size because you'll reach a limit. You'll get dropouts (crackles).

Sure, buffer size 32 will give very low latency (0.7 msec) ... but only if the host can respond with fresh data every 0.7 msec. Older PCs could not and people were stuck with 512 as best case (around 11 msec latency).

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Re: Lowest latency? Scarlett 2i2 mk2 vs Rubix 22 vs UR22 mk2 [Re: MacMacMac] #2691932
11/25/17 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
That chart/image showing step-by-step delays from the piano and through the signal chain ... dates back about a decade.


Seems like MIDI-In would skip the initial ADC step. So on one hand, it would be faster to route from DP straight into your computer. But on the other hand, it's only about 0.5ms (give or take) faster if you do it that way.

And no idea how much slower or faster a pure MIDI from DP -> interface would be.


Yamaha P-85, P-105, CP50 || Kawai NV-10, MP11
Re: Lowest latency? Scarlett 2i2 mk2 vs Rubix 22 vs UR22 mk2 [Re: toddy] #2691936
11/25/17 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by toddy
Originally Posted by newer player
Sending the data from your keyboard via USB directly to your computer SHOULD be faster and better for playing lots of notes simultaneously.


Is this because of the extra stage of midi transmission, keyboard>interface? If so, this is only a matter of a 1 or 2 ms, as far as I can remember. Negligible.


Not sure as everyone's system varies. Ideally the difference should be negligible as you note; transfer of key sensor data either happens inside the keyboard or inside the interface.

Running two USB cables on some computers may create some additional headaches.

Only way to know is to try and measure.

Originally Posted by toddy
However, from practical experience, I've found midi out to converter (in-line or interface) to be better that straight midi over USB. Perhaps this is just anecdotal but

1. Midi cable lines are isolated against noise and ground loops. USB is not.
2. I've found straight usb simply doesn't work (in the case of my Graphite controller....luckily it also has a midi out). This may be solvable, but the easiest thing to do was midi out>interface>usb>computer. There doesn't seem to be any appreciable latency because of this.


My experience with portable interfaces also.

Re: Lowest latency? Scarlett 2i2 mk2 vs Rubix 22 vs UR22 mk2 [Re: mcoll] #2694249
12/04/17 03:07 PM
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I'm back with some impressions and questions on/about the Roland Rubix22. I went ahead and bought it. I still don't know if I wouldn't have been better off with a 2nd gen Scarlett. I'm going to post some impressions as there's scarcely any info on how the Rubix behaves and I also don't have

My previous interface - Alva Nanoface - allowed me to select a 64 buffer with 1.5ms latency in PTeq, no pops and clicks in PTeq or CFX. Alas, it had no balanced outputs which were needed for the new monitors.

The Roland Rubix22 has a very basic control panel which shows you the current sample rate (which you have to select from windows) and another panel with "Buffer Settings". Here, I can select the "USB Streaming Mode" from a dropdown list from 1 to 7. I have to see the actual buffer size and latency in CFX / Pianoteq, because the interface's control panel doesn't display it.

Option "1" gives an 80 buffer size?! - 1.8 latency, pops and clicks in PTeq, less so in CFX. To be fair, this was achieved through going through all the notes with the pedal down to push the poliphony to the max. Under normal playing, I've had no pops and clicks.

This buffer size is the same on an i3-4130, as well as a significantly better i7-3630QM.
Pianoteq displays a warning - "Suboptimal buffer size!" and warns me that if I use this buffer size (not a multiple of 32, 64) my CPU will be underused (to be precise I will not use 38% of my CPU). If I switch the card's sample rate to 48kHz and the internal one to 32kHz in PT, I will only underuse 17% of the CPU. Not sure how the internal rate affects the sound quality though. But at 48kHz, after using ASIO other programs don't play sounds anymore until I disable and re-enable the soundcard.

The other options in the Rubix Control panel allow me to choose a "USB streaming mode" from 1 to 7, 1 being 80 samples, 2 - 144, 3 - 288 and so on. I find this weird (especially the warning and pops and clicks that I wasn't getting at 64 samples with the other card) and I'm not sure what to do next.
Return the card? Am I to expect better results from the Scarlett 2i2 mk2? Write to Roland? This wasn't exactly what I was expecting. I wonder if the performance is the same for the Rubix24.

Re: Lowest latency? Scarlett 2i2 mk2 vs Rubix 22 vs UR22 mk2 [Re: mcoll] #2694265
12/04/17 04:23 PM
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Given all the problems you're having ... send it back. Buy one of the many other interfaces available.
I spent half what you did for a Presonus box and it's completely trouble free. (Even when I used it with a slow Dell laptop from 2005.)
Perhaps someone else can comment ont the Scarlett box.

Re: Lowest latency? Scarlett 2i2 mk2 vs Rubix 22 vs UR22 mk2 [Re: mcoll] #2694283
12/04/17 05:52 PM
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That sounds painful.

Originally Posted by mcoll
My previous interface - Alva Nanoface - allowed me to select a 64 buffer with 1.5ms latency in PTeq, no pops and clicks in PTeq or CFX. Alas, it had no balanced outputs which were needed for the new monitors.


Forgot to ask - why can't you connect your Alva Nanoface to balanced monitors? Not "ideal" but maybe better than what you are facing now. Cost just a few Euro and only takes a few minutes. You might not notice any difference playing.

https://www.presonus.com/learn/technical-articles/balanced-unbalanced

Originally Posted by mcoll
This buffer size is the same on an i3-4130, as well as a significantly better i7-3630QM.
Pianoteq displays a warning - "Suboptimal buffer size!" and warns me that if I use this buffer size (not a multiple of 32, 64) my CPU will be underused (to be precise I will not use 38% of my CPU). If I switch the card's sample rate to 48kHz and the internal one to 32kHz in PT, I will only underuse 17% of the CPU. Not sure how the internal rate affects the sound quality though. But at 48kHz, after using ASIO other programs don't play sounds anymore until I disable and re-enable the soundcard.


Disable the PianoTeq warning and run most aggressive combo of sample rate & buffer size you can. Takes some trial and error (Options>>Perf>>uncheck "CPU overload detection")

Re: Lowest latency? Scarlett 2i2 mk2 vs Rubix 22 vs UR22 mk2 [Re: mcoll] #2694444
12/05/17 09:45 AM
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UR22 lets you use 64 sample buffer and has balanced outputs. Plus you get a free copy of Cubase!


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In the loft: Roland FP3 / Tannoy Reveal Active / K&M 18810
Re: Lowest latency? Scarlett 2i2 mk2 vs Rubix 22 vs UR22 mk2 [Re: mcoll] #2694536
12/05/17 03:49 PM
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Yes, I really wasn't expecting the unusual buffer size. I was hoping 64 was a given. Anyhow, in theory that only puts me 0.3ms higher than what I previously had, and during playing I didn't encounter any pops or clicks, even with two open browsers and tens of open tabs (maybe over a hundred). I don't know what the end to end latency is and if it would be significantly better with a different card, but it appears pretty stable at the moment. There may be a slight latency difference or it may just be my impression. The initial pops and clicks from the "stress testing" never appeared in actual playing.

I can connect the Nanoface to the monitors, but the Nanoface doesn't have balanced outputs and the monitors don't have the sensitivity adjusted on the RCA inputs (it should be -10dB) so they amplify a lot of noise, while I have to keep the volume on the DAC to a very low lever if I don't want ear damage. That's why I thought it may be time to get a DAC with balanced outputs (and not spend 50 euros upwards DI boxes).

All in all, the Rubix seems to do the job and I still have a week or so of testing it, so I would still like to know what to expect from other interfaces in this budget. The Scarlett mk2 touts very low latency for instance. I took note of the UR22, thank you! smile

Re: Lowest latency? Scarlett 2i2 mk2 vs Rubix 22 vs UR22 mk2 [Re: mcoll] #2694999
12/07/17 06:10 AM
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And thank you very much, newer_player for that article! I finally got around to reading it all. It certainly would've been an useful read before purchasing a new interface and cables. I shall experiment one of these days with the Nanoface and unbalanced to balanced connections. I wish I had a solder gun to play around, but for the time being I'll just use the cables that I currently own and see what the result is (RCA -> Mono TS jack achieves one of the setups recommended in the article), just out of curiosity.
I still have time to test the Rubix for a bit. For the time being it appears to handle itself as it should, despite the weird buffer size.

Re: Lowest latency? Scarlett 2i2 mk2 vs Rubix 22 vs UR22 mk2 [Re: mcoll] #2696485
12/12/17 02:54 PM
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Aaaand, back with an update.
Despite the reported latency of 1.8ms (vs 1.5ms on the old interface) in Pianoteq, I could feel a difference in latency, so other elements in the total latency were probably higher. Also, last evening when I tried connecting the Rubix with a longer USB cable, to place it close to the piano and be able to connect my headphones to it, it simply wouldn't work. It would work for a couple of moments with pops and clicks and then crash, or it would crash from the start. I tried with two different cables of 3 and 4 meters, of good quality, both of which worked without problem on the old interface.
So today I sent the interface back. I've had enough. I found a reasonable deal on a UR22 mkII, and while it's not a bargain, I hope it will work as it should this time. I'll be back with impressions.

PS. Now I understand why thomann doesn't stock the rubix anymore. I'm sure they had their fair share of returns given my experience with it.

Last edited by mcoll; 12/12/17 02:55 PM.
Re: Lowest latency? Scarlett 2i2 mk2 vs Rubix 22 vs UR22 mk2 [Re: mcoll] #2696676
12/13/17 09:58 AM
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I was going to suggest the Presonus Audiobox. It used to be $150, but these days it sells for $100.
But I see your UR22 is only $120 from some online dealers.
Good stuff doesn't cost much anymore.

There is one other possibility. Are you amenable to used equipment on Ebay? When the Presonus box retailed for $150 I got mine on Ebay for $72. Cheap!
That was six years ago and it still works fine. Originally on Windows XP. Then Win 7. Now Win 10.

Re: Lowest latency? Scarlett 2i2 mk2 vs Rubix 22 vs UR22 mk2 [Re: mcoll] #2696693
12/13/17 11:07 AM
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Wow, Presonus really supported that interface for a long time. Impressive!

Thank you for the suggestion. Yes, I'm fine with ebay (or the local equivalent of craig's list). The UR22 mkII that I'm getting is used, but with over a year of warranty left on it and I'm paying ~85$ on it. So I hope I'll find it works well enough, or I can sell it without taking a significant hit.

Re: Lowest latency? Scarlett 2i2 mk2 vs Rubix 22 vs UR22 mk2 [Re: mcoll] #2696716
12/13/17 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by mcoll
Also, last evening when I tried connecting the Rubix with a longer USB cable, to place it close to the piano and be able to connect my headphones to it, it simply wouldn't work. It would work for a couple of moments with pops and clicks and then crash, or it would crash from the start. I tried with two different cables of 3 and 4 meters, of good quality, both of which worked without problem on the old interface.


Sorry to hear you had such problems with the gear. USB cables have been causing me way more trouble than they should as well. I had an external HDD that was misbehaving (frequent disconnects/reconnects) that turned out to be an issue with a (brand new) 3m cable I was using. Replacing it with a 1m cable completely solved the problem. I bought a new 3m cable and the problem came back, but with less frequency.

As speed/throughput increases, I think electronics just become more sensitive to variations in signal/timing in components like interconnects.


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Re: Lowest latency? Scarlett 2i2 mk2 vs Rubix 22 vs UR22 mk2 [Re: mcoll] #2696734
12/13/17 01:30 PM
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Well, I wasn't completely pleased with the interface even when it did (partially) work, as it behaved worse than my previous one and had compatibility issues due to the unusual buffer size. I was going to keep it till this last drop with the USB cable that didn't allow me to place it close enough for headphone usage.
As it is, tomorrow I get to see if the Steinberg will also work with the long cables, as my old interface did, or if I should just get a headphone extension cord, though I'd rather avoid that because the first one I tried affected the sound way more than I expected.
At least, if I have to look for an expensive USB cable, I'll know that it's for an interface worth keeping, hopefully.

Last edited by mcoll; 12/13/17 01:31 PM.
Re: Lowest latency? Scarlett 2i2 mk2 vs Rubix 22 vs UR22 mk2 [Re: mcoll] #2696888
12/14/17 06:15 AM
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Can you tell if you have any problem using headphones with the steinberg ? (low volume seems to be an issue around the net)
Thanks !

Re: Lowest latency? Scarlett 2i2 mk2 vs Rubix 22 vs UR22 mk2 [Re: UpalS] #2697824
12/18/17 05:35 AM
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I'm back with an update. The Steinberg UR22 mkII finally arrived, with some delays due to shipping. It works as expected, with both the 3 and 4m USB cables with which my Nanoface worked, but the Rubix crashed.
I set it at 44kHz, 64 samples buffer and PT reports a latency of 1.5ms (same as the Nanoface), and Steinberg's control panel reports an output latency of 5.3ms. I've had no pops or clicks, everything appears to be working well.

Originally Posted by UpalS
Can you tell if you have any problem using headphones with the steinberg ? (low volume seems to be an issue around the net)
Thanks !


The headphones sound great, but I do have some easy-to-drive 32ohms headphones (Samson SR850). They can be driven loud enough by the on-board sound card. When connected to a Samsung S7, they are moderately loud, but definitely no too loud.
On the Steinberg, with Garritan CFX (-3db in the VST) I have the headphone volume knob set at roughly 4 o'clock, the maximum being ~5 and it's pretty loud. In Pianoteq it's too loud on the D4 and Bluethner so I have to decrease the volume in the program. For listening to other sources, it's also very loud. The specs of the manufacturer rate the headphone amplifier at 6mW at 40 ohms. For high impedance headphones this may be low and an external amplifier might be needed. The Alva Nanoface had a significantly more powerful headphone amp.

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