MOTU Track16...Thunderbolt or USB...difference?

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by randombastage, Mar 9, 2015.

  1. randombastage

    randombastage Member

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    Are there any advantages to getting a Thunderbolt-To-Firewire adapter so I can use Thunderbolt instead of a USB port on my Mac Mini? (1.4 GHz i5, 4 GB memory)
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2015
  2. zastruga

    zastruga Member

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    As far as I'm aware, the only difference between Thunderbolt and USB2 as far as the Motu is concerned is the number of simultaneous I/O tracks. I want to say USB2 tops out around 48 simultaneous tracks, whereas the Thunderbolt is something ridiculous like 1000 (numbers could be off, going by memory, but the point remains. Thunderbolt = a whole lot more).

    Once you add in an adapter though, you're going to lose that advantage because you're now at Firewire speeds instead of Thunderbolt speeds. And that's assuming it even works, it might not. MOTU definitely doesn't support it. A quick search shows it works for some but not others, so it's a toss up.

    So no, unless you are running into issues with too many simultaneous I/O tracks you won't see any performance advantage. If it's already working as you need it to, don't change anything.
     
  3. Motterpaul

    Motterpaul Tone is in the Ears

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    Lowest common denominator effect....

    Thunderbolt IS cool, though. If I were starting a new DAW that is how I would go (pure thunderbolt - not a firewire adapter)
     
  4. randombastage

    randombastage Member

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    Thanks, I'm never going to have more than a dozen tracks playing back at a time and a maximum of only two or three recording at a time so that is a non issue. I just record myself for songwriting purposes...pretty simple stuff.

    I was wondering if the Thunderbolt connection was going lighten the cpu load any (since it is the slowest late 2014 Mac Mini) as well as open up a USB port at the same time...

    I guess a USB hub would be the way to do it since there doesn't seem to be any real problems with the slow cpu so far.
     
  5. Devnor

    Devnor Member

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    This is a common misconception. The interface connection does not limit the number of tracks played by the DAW but instead it can have an effect on the number of audio streams coming to & from the interface. For 98.9% of home gamer studios, USB is plenty fast.
     
  6. zastruga

    zastruga Member

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    Correct. Which is why I was trying to emphasize I/O instead of track count. If you're only recording 2 or 3 tracks at a time, you'll never really see a benefit of Thunderbolt over USB (even pure Thunderbolt).

    The one exception could be if you have a ton of USB devices on the same bus and are experiencing lag as a result. But it doesn't sound like that's the case.

    Either way, it will never lighten the CPU load. The amount of data streaming in is the same in both cases. Dumb analogy, but think of it in pipe diameter size terms. Pouring a glass of water down a 6 inch pipe is the same as 6 foot pipe, both are plenty big enough to handle the load and neither change how the water is handled once it's out of the pipe.

    As they say, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
     

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