[LAU] Audio Interface for live Processing

Len Ovens len at ovenwerks.net
Sat Jan 26 15:08:21 UTC 2013

On Sat, January 26, 2013 1:06 am, Saul Rayson wrote:

> I need an audio interface to work with my thinkpad X60 running Ubuntu
> studio for live processing. At least 2 in 2 out.
> My main program is SuperCollider and the main issue I for see is latency.
> With the internal sound card the latency 11.6 ms, which of course is very
> noticeable.

Jack won't start lower? or too many xruns lower? If you are having xruns,
try unloading the kernel module for the wireless network. I was able to
get my netbook to half that in this way. Actually I had troubles much
higher without. Also check that your CPU governor is set to performance
and not ondemand.

> Would usb 2 be adequate for this or should I go firwire?

USB2 should be fine. The presonus boxes seem to work well with linux.
Quite honestly, with a portable computer like a laptop, take it to the
music store and try a few. Walk in with a list that are known to work with
Linux and try them. Thats what I do. If it doesn't work out of the box, I
try another.

For live work, Guitar effects, soft synths, etc. USB 1.1 at 16bit/48k may
work just fine. The ART USB Dual Pre - USB 1.1 for as low as $60 will take
instrument or mic and has better circuitry than your internal card for
sure. These just work, plug and go. For a bit more money they have a tube
pre (single or dual) for a warmer sound with a bit more control and a
limiter. These will still be good for recording too... but for serious
studio work USB2 or firewire will give 24bit digital for more head room.
SO look at your needs. Think about what you will want to try in the next
year or two... however long you think you will use your thinkpad :)

> I've also read that in order to use a firewire interface you need a
> real-time Kernel, where Ubuntu studio has a low latency Kernel?

A number of people on the UbuntuStudio dev team use firewire with the low
latency kernel. That should not be an issue. The real issue is do you have
a FireWire interface or would you have to buy one? If you have one, then
you have the choice of FW or USB2 at similar price. If not then FW will
cost the extra for an interface and you have two things to make sure you
get one that works well with the software.

Len Ovens

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