Mackie Spike?

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by Gerry, Aug 22, 2004.


  1. Gerry

    Gerry Guest

  2. jzucker

    jzucker Member

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    Not familiar with it in particular but I can tell you that the latency of USB interfaces is very poor when monitoring real-time effect plug-ins. It's basically useless for that. Most of the USB interfaces now support a "zero-latency" monitoring scheme which is a marketing buzzword for (basically) a signal that gos straight from the inputs to the outputs without going across the computer interface so you can hear your guitar through your monitors. However, you will also not hear any of your plugins this way.

    I'd look for a firewire interface if I were you.
     
  3. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    With all due respect, zero latency is not a "marketing buzzword," it's a monitoring mode. One that makes tracking easier.

    I (and most people I know) don't use effects plugs while tracking, because I want to hear what's being tracked. Plug-in effects come into play during mixing.

    I might use a little reverb once in a while when I'm just noodling to make it sound and feel nicer while I play, but who cares if the reverb has a few miliseconds of latency? It's a reverb! Think of it as "pre-delay" and it's a good thing.

    No disrespect, but I feel USB interfaces are fine if you're just recording yourself - get the one that suits your needs and budget and have a blast.
     
  4. Ed DeGenaro

    Ed DeGenaro Supporting Member

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    Industry standard???? I think not. Now I wouldn't use USB for audio, but I do use USB2 all the time for external 7200 rpm drives. Works as well as my external IEEE drives.
    I still have one of the Tascam US224 interfaces I use as a start/stop box And occassionally I take with a lap top as interface. That one is USB and works just fine.

    Personally I want my sound card to be PCI cards, and if I'd use a lap top I'd consider a Magma chassis.

    Zero latency is far from marketing plpy only.
    Zero latency on my machine is zero latency. And that's with a few instances of Guitar Rig running.
    But I have spend plenty of time streamlining my machine for recording geeetars and doing edits.
     
  5. Bassomatic

    Bassomatic Silver Supporting Member

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    My sex therapist says i'm zero latency.
     
  6. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    >> It's well known in the industry that USB's implementation under windows is problematic.

    Not everyone is on Windows.

    >> It's no coincidence that the pro tools made by digidesign didn't use firewire.

    ?? Digi 002 is firewire, but even so I don't know what you're getting at by "it's no coincidence."

    >> And of particular relevance is that for the dough you pay for a mackie spike you could get something with decent throughput.

    We're not talking about pro studio gear, we're talking about a very small rig for simple personal recording. Of course there are trade-offs. What do you recommend at that price, and how does it sound compared to the Mackie?

    On MBox - a USB system - latency is practically inaudible. Certainly inaudible enough to cut accurate overdubs, at least on Mac. I used it to cut some lead vocals for my album on my Powerbook over a couple of days when my desktop was down.

    Maybe the Mackie's terrible for many reasons; I don't know much about it. But I don't think the guy needs to throw the baby out with the washwater just because the thing uses USB.
     
  7. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    Mine says I'm SCSI.
     
  8. jzucker

    jzucker Member

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    A drive is a different story. The operating system buffers data. This is no problem for a disc drive. It doesn't care if the data comes in bursts or in intervals. Audio is not so forgiving. USB2 is fast enough that the data speed makes up for the inefficiencies of the protocol. The zero latency you're talking about is different. The zero latency of the mackie spike and many of the other USB devices is hardware monitoring that doesn't give you the effects generated by the computer. If you like a dry sound or have a set of outboard effects that mimic what you're using on the computer that's fine but otherwise, it's not very useful for me.
     
  9. Ed DeGenaro

    Ed DeGenaro Supporting Member

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    I understand. But this is a limitation that can be dealt with if you shell out for a decent sound card.
     
  10. jzucker

    jzucker Member

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    How so?

    If you're monitoring vst plug-ins in cubase or sonar with 10ms-20ms latency, you will probably notice a huge delay between the monitored guitar sound and the actual real-time performance.

    With the zero-latency hardware monitoring, you're hearing a line-level copy of your signal off the monitor ports but without effects. You then need to either duplicate the effects you're using as plug-ins or perform with a "dry" signal.

    In my case, I use a stereo preamp so I ignore the problem by just routing one side of my preamp into the mixer and monitoring off that. I can add reverb and effects to the monitored side of the mix (which isn't being recorded) but I'd rather be hearing the effects as I play.

    I play very differently depending on the sound. I has a tascam us122 (USB) audio device for a brief time. It worked fine but the delay was useless for monitoring real time effects. The m-audio interface works much better (about 5ms latency) but it's still noticeable.

    The other thing is that the hardware latency is not the only issue. The signal has to go into the audio device, converted to digital, packed into a usb/firewire serial stream, sent over usb or firewire, receieved by the computer, unpacked from usb/firewire to digital audio format, processed by your recording software, funnelled to the plug-ins, reprocessed by your recording software, packed back into usb/firewire stream, resent back out the usb or firewire, back to your audio device, unpacked, converted back to analog and then sent out to your monitors. That's a lot of stuff to happen and more than USB can manage typically though in theory USB2 should be fine.
     
  11. Ed DeGenaro

    Ed DeGenaro Supporting Member

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    But the bigger problem isn't the lateny on the signal but the latency cuased by the plug-in.
    As I said, I can monitor on my machine with recording 3 mics, a line signal and a DI with two instances of Guitar Rig, one instance of PSP PCM84, and a Waves convolution verb with NO latency. Given that isn't USB...but nevertheless no latency.
     
  12. jzucker

    jzucker Member

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    But I guarantee there would be latency if you used the same setup with a USB interface.
     
  13. Ed DeGenaro

    Ed DeGenaro Supporting Member

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    There would be latency with just about anything unless you get a powered card. But the point is that most plugs introduce a hella more latency than the USB transfer of the card.
    BTW, I just left a message at Demeter to find out what's the deal with your deal.
     
  14. jzucker

    jzucker Member

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    thx
     

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