USB vs. Thunderbolt

Rustynail

New Member
Hi Folks! New to the forum, so excuse my ignorance if this topic has been beaten to death already... I'm sure it has, but I would like opinions on USB vs. Thunderbolt recording interfaces. I currently am in the market for a new interface and think my best bet is thunderbolt - of course more expensive than USB and better latency, but my main issue is I have a 2012 Mac mini Intel Core i5 with 16 Gig Ram. Is this enough to take advantage of thunderbolt or does it matter? Is the latency factor even going to be noticeable in the final mix?
Part 2 of the question is the number of IN/OUTS for recording. In the future, I would like the ability to record multiple instruments in a live setting, but for now it's me and my guitar. Am I better to invest in a better quality interface with enough IN/OUTS or should I stick to a smaller device for now and invest in something larger when I need it. Thanks in advance for any insights.
 

Howard moon

New Member
I'm using a 2012 mini with same gb and run multiple tracks no problem. I've used a saffire Pro for last year with firewire and just moved to Thunderbolt which cut the latency down. If you can afford thunderbolt go for it I picked a clarett 4pre for cheap on ebay I'm using a kemper with spdif so seemed the best option for the price. I started off with mbox mini as I just needed guitar and 4 interfaces later...should have just got the thunderbolt first.
 

bayswater

Logician
There is a slew of new USB converters out these using a new set of chips that provide very low latency. A lot of them are 2 or 4 channel but others are around. Examples include the MOTU M2 or M4 and the SSL 2 or SSL 2+, but many manufacturers have introduced similar units. I don't know that the latency for these is as low as similarly priced Thundebolt, but you can check the latency figures on these and make the comparisons.

It's also worth considering how latency has to be before it just isn't an issue. There are load of USB converters out there that have the same delay you would get standing less than 5 feet from your guitar amp.
 

micdim

Logician
Using a USB device will most likely disable your audio driver for that device once your computer goes to sleep. Once you wake your computer up you'll most likely have to turn the USB interface off and on in order load the driver again. I'm using an Apogee Quartet on Mojave 10.14.6 on a MacPro 2012 and that's what happens every time.
 

bayswater

Logician
Using a USB device will most likely disable your audio driver for that device once your computer goes to sleep. Once you wake your computer up you'll most likely have to turn the USB interface off and on in order load the driver again. I'm using an Apogee Quartet on Mojave 10.14.6 on a MacPro 2012 and that's what happens every time.
This does seem to happen for some brands of USB devices and I've seen similar complaints about Apogee drivers. I have not had it happen on Focusrite, MOTU, or Lexicon
 

micdim

Logician
This does seem to happen for some brands of USB devices and I've seen similar complaints about Apogee drivers. I have not had it happen on Focusrite, MOTU, or Lexicon Apogee & other sources have told me that it’s an Apple hardware USB?
 

micdim

Logician
Very interesting? Apogee, Apple and other sources have told me that it’s an Apple hardware USB issue. Wondering if it’s only on the older Mac’s? Good to know & thx!
 

bayswater

Logician
There may well be an Apple hardware USB issue. They certainly had a load of Firewire issues. There are probably a million hardware issues, even worse if you venture into the world of PCs and Windows. There will probably be a load of Thunderbolt hardware issues too. But sometimes software deals with these problems.

It would be so nice if these guys could come up with a few standard protocols and then observe them. We know it can be done. MIDI is a clear example. We don't have all the synth makers reinventing MIDI once a year and screwing up compatibility. And telecom people have managed to set up a network with phones that can speak to other phones.
 
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