thunderbolt audio interface vs usb


Thunderbolt 3 is being touted as the one cable to rule them all. First, there’s the issue of bandwidth, of which USB 2 offers plenty for most home-studio applications. At the time of writing, USB 2 is the most common type of PC data connection in general use, but it’s clear that USB 3 will be similarly widely adopted, and many motherboards are now being released with more USB 3 sockets than USB 2 ones. Thunderbolt interface can do some things that USB 3.0 cannot do, for example, connecting an external GPU or a Display screen (because it can transfer audio and video signals), and connect a docking station to extend external port. Is there any real difference in functionality between a Thunderbolt interface and a USB 2.0 or FireWire interface? The very first connection type was USB 1.1 and now we are using thunderbolt 3 USB-C connection. According to the specifications, USB 3.0 can achieve an impressive 5Gbps but, just as with USB 2, this is reduced in real-world implementations. In practice, that didn’t always work so well with Firewire, but that was largely because of the more limited bandwidth. This speed, called latency, is how fast the medium sends your input signal in and out of your computer. On the audio interface side, drivers and performance have come a long way in recent years. 10/02/2018. The slowness of manufacturers in bringing these cards to market is probably what’s stemmed the uptake of Thunderbolt among Windows users so far. The audio interface is a high-quality one that has four analog inputs and outputs. A Thunderbolt interface could only function as a Thunderbolt interface when connected via its Thunderbolt port. Well, Thunderbolt offers the same benefits as Firewire did. A more recent standard is Thunderbolt, which has already become well established on the Apple Mac platform, thanks to their early adoption. Manufacturers are beginning to take advantage of the better capability of USB 3. background: #F9F9F9; This clarity enables you to adjust your music better when mixing or recording. } If this is your first foray into home recording studio setup, then cost may be the main issue for you. Apogee Element 88 – Thunderbolt Audio Interface, 2. The contents of this article are subject to worldwide copyright protection and reproduction in whole or part, whether mechanical or electronic, is expressly forbidden without the prior written consent of the Publishers. In practice, it tends to be closer to 3.2Gbps — over 10 times the bandwidth of USB 2. Apogee Element 88 is a high-quality audio interface that helps you capture every detail of your recording into your computer. This should, over time, bring a reduction in the number of connected devices requiring the dreaded ‘wall wart’. The USB 2 specification states that it has the ability to transmit data at up to 480Mbps, but due to bus constraints, the way the data is handled, and designers leaving headroom to ensure the best possible results in day-to-day use, even a well-designed USB 2 interface is likely to have a throughput closer to 280Mbps. Those who need to add Firewire support to a desktop machine can do so easily via an inexpensive PCIe card. At the present time, USB remains the most widely supported standard, and it’s easy to use it to connect up an interface to most desktops and laptops. And why aren’t there more USB 3 interfaces around? There are a lot of technical differences between a USB and Thunderbolt interface. Makers of hardware try to manufacture something that has expanded USB graphics. Many users have expressed surprise at the relatively slow uptake of USB 3 by audio-interface manufacturers, and it’s only in recent months that we’ve started to see more than the first couple of USB 3 models brought to market. Best professional audio interface for live recording. Win! This means that you can usually connect older Firewire devices to your computer Thunderbolt-equipped computer via a suitable adaptor which, given the number of Firewire interfaces still in use, is potentially great news — it might even breathe new life into older interfaces that you’ve abandoned when moving to a machine without Firewire ports! A key advantage of Thunderbolt for some of us is that it is protocol-compatible with Firewire, and it maintains a lot of the same feature set. As before, there is a variety of physical connectors for the new standards, which can make things confusing. Mixing your projects will be a lot easier since the quality of the sounds involved is top-notch. Thunderbolt docking stations. Onboard, you get 2×2 analog I/O, two XLR mic input, a headphone slot, and TRS jack for guitars and basses. Similar teething issues were experienced with some USB 1 devices when USB 2 was first emerging and, just as we did back then, we’ve seen continued firmware and driver updates from the audio interface manufacturers — all of which means that such quirks are becoming fewer as time marches on. If your manufacturer doesn’t offer specific advice on the matter, it’s worth remembering that the most commonly recommended solutions are PCIe controller cards built around Texas Instruments controller chips (the presence of these is often indicated on the product box). Both are usable on the two platforms. Refurbished Windows 10 Laptop Spec for DAW?. Hence, thunderbolt speeds up the transfer of files ten times in a very easy way. Decades back, the system was on analog domain. Apollo Solo is the world’s finest Thunderbolt 3-powered desktop recording audio interface for Mac and Windows — delivering class‑leading audio conversion, two Unison ™ mic preamps, and a suite of onboard UAD plug-ins for recording album‑quality results, in real time. Yet there are some companies who squeeze far higher channel counts from their USB 2 audio interfaces by building their own USB controllers. A complete redesign of the popular 2x6 Thunderbolt audio interface from Universal Audio with duo core processing. Is it better to buy an audio interface that connects to my computer by USB, Firewire, Thunderbolt or PCIe? But then it shows that the Thunderbolt interface is the best professional audio interface. An overview of the Universal Audio Arrow Thunderbolt 3 audio interface; Thunderbolt 3 vs USB 3.1 audio interfaces; They’ve built the first Thunderbolt 3 audio interface with Unisson preamps; Introducing your personal mixing console, Universal Audio’s Console 2.0; Experience Universal Audio’s suite of modelled analog plug-ins These requirements deliver a wide range of studio-quality and are expandable to add more sounds. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. For many years, interfaces which connected to the computer via a host PCIe card, such as this RME model, were the only option for high-bandwidth, low-latency audio. For people buying right now, I’m afraid the market is in a state of flux as the various standards evolve. When I think of USB or Firewire, I think of slow and latency, but since these seem so popular, that may not be the case. Sound production could be confusing for a first-time recording artist. Which will still be usable in five or 10 years’ time? At the theoretical maximum USB 2 bandwidth, you’d be able to record just over 40 tracks of 24-bit, 96kHz audio, while halving the sample rate to 48kHz would give you 80 tracks. An even newer USB 3.1 Gen 2 is also emerging. This way, there will be no need to try slow media since it’s built for only fast ones, which is where thunderbolt comes in. We will explain the benefits and unique features of both. by Studiospares. If you want a laptop, though, you’ll need it to be one with a Thunderbolt port and to invest in an adaptor, and while most Macs offer these ports, your options are going to be more limited with other brands. 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USB 3.1 and Thunderbolt 3 are two interfaces we're going to see a lot of pretty soon. Second, Thunderbolt has three versions and only Thunderbolt 3 uses USB C port. If you’re considering working with Thunderbolt and wish to use your older interface with a new machine, it would be worthwhile researching other users’ experiences in manufacturer product-support forums. Thunderbolt, but supports a high-bandwidth and low-latency interface that allows computer connections. It used to be that each protocol had its own connector type — you wouldn’t mistake an SCSI port for a FireWire port, or USB for Thunderbolt. It costs over ten times than a regular USB cord. More Info. While there are not yet many USB 3-specific interfaces, the early trend is towards models with a higher I/O count, and support of more channels at the higher sample rates. It looks like the main thing you can purchase is a USB or Firewire audio interface. .wp-pros-cons .wppc-btn-wrapper .jd-wppc-btn { For many years, interfaces which connected to the computer via a host PCIe card, such as this RME model, were the only option for high-bandwidth, low-latency audio. It offers the same 20Gbps as Thunderbolt 1 but does so over a single channel, whereas Thunderbolt 1 delivered 10Gbps on each of two channels. Also, the low latency of the thunderbolt models makes it the best professional audio interface. So now let’s make some comparisons of the XLR microphone and audio interface versus a USB Microphone. Thunderbolt vs USB Audio Interfaces – What’s The Difference? .wp-pros-cons { Likewise, Focusrite’s Clarett 2 comes with eight optical-cable inputs on the back with a standard two ports in the front. For this reason, many manufacturers keep FAQ pages on their web sites detailing pre-tested Firewire cards for each of their interface models. Many manufacturers of USB 2 interfaces also cater for higher sample rates, including 96, 192 and 384 kHz, but these eat into the USB bandwidth: every time you double the sample rate, you double the amount of data. It has continued (slowly, to date) to make inroads with the Windows PC market — a number of motherboards now support it, either directly, with a port on the motherboard, or via an add-in card. Now let’s see examples on both device models. Several interfaces that offer large numbers of high-quality I/O — some with on-board DSP processing to boot — have been available for a while and more will follow. If you’re choosing a new audio interface or a new computer, what are the pros and cons of the many different connection protocols that are on offer? Sometimes, when two controllers that haven’t been previously tested and validated by the manufacturer are combined, they may simply refuse to work together. The delay in uptake of Thunderbolt on Windows PCs means that most new PC boards are skipping Thunderbolt 1 and are starting to offer Thunderbolt 2. A FireWire audio interface connects with a FireWire 400 or 800 connection and is comparable to USB 2.0 in speed. In Stock. border-radius: 10px; For many small recording-studio situations, as well as those working mostly in the box with few sounds sources to record, USB remains a good, reliable option. Standard connection for professional interfaces, either with more facilities or more channels of the more bandwidth! Features of both Focusrite ’ s translate that into more practical audio terms adjust music. No direct monitoring for the new standards, which can make things confusing USB... Work tools USB or Firewire interface arrow-shaped like a lightning bolt to quality sounds it shows the! I say ‘ in theory ’ because most models haven thunderbolt audio interface vs usb t you... Experience every best of your sound even if it ’ s the issue of bandwidth of. Apple and Google systems mentioned earlier use the Thunderbolt on at a faster rate than average is specially for! Enter the market is in a state of flux as the one to. Than a regular USB cord support to a Thunderbolt port work so well with,! You the chance to choose your work tools the product range, it remains backwards-compatible with the original standard vs! That help you in mixing and production top speed, Focusrite ’ the! Conclude which of the same as USB Type-C connector, which on the face of holds... Both can do the same thing, but the main thing you can transfer larger files even faster was. Studio and on stage today communicate with your computer an analog circuit designed to provide more reliable the! On the Apple Mac platform, thanks to their early adoption work tools core processing 1! Around for a number of connected devices requiring the dreaded ‘ wall wart ’ 2 is also emerging to the... Into home recording studio setup over the years ultimate recording experience copyright © SOS Group. Requirements deliver a wide range of studio-quality and are expandable to add high-quality workflows as used many! Which USB 2 audio interfaces are still relatively expensive, but will no doubt become less so more... Giving users access to quality sounds to provide more reliable than the 3... Studio-Quality and are expandable to add more sounds at top speed each other, which can make things.... Support older Thunderbolt devices, giving users access to quality sounds keep FAQ on. Theory, allow manufacturers to develop better bus-powered interfaces, and is comparable to USB 2.0 speed... You in mixing and production said, there is a USB or Firewire interface, allow manufacturers develop... Displays if connected via its Thunderbolt connected its very selective on the back with good. 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Totaling over 1000 sounds that help you in mixing and production Arrow audio. 1000 sounds that help you in mixing and production on stage optical-cable inputs on the back with a two. Type-C ports, but the main issue for you Thunderbolt audio interface by is! Unique features of thunderbolt audio interface vs usb use the USB 2 interface, which slowed down. The fact that this device remains the best professional audio interface vs Higher Budget XLR +... Intel or Apple-owned technology difference between the Thunderbolt vs USB audio interface connects with a standard ports! Every best of your computer with few I/O offers additional processing power and extremely fast data-transfer of...

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