[LAU] Audio Interface for live Processing

Saul Rayson saul at atonic.com
Sun Jan 27 16:05:12 UTC 2013

Thanks Len some great information here.

>Jack won't start lower?

Yes, Jack just won't start on lower buffer sizes with internal sound. Not
really a problem. just for testing.

>For live work, Guitar effects, soft synths, etc. USB 1.1 at 16bit/48k may
>work just fine

My experience with USB audio is limited, but USB 1 on mac, for live
processing, I have found to have unusable latency.

I will probably update this computer at some point and convert all my
personal recordings to a Linux based system. My main reason for the
thinkpad was for gigs and live processing, so I am thinking a USB 2 audio
interface is what I'll go for.

I was not aware that Firewire interfaces would be software specific, I
assumed that if it connected with jack then any jack compliant software
would work?

Thanks again,


On 26 January 2013 15:08, Len Ovens <len at ovenwerks.net> wrote:

> 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
> www.OvenWerks.net
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