Equivalent of Protools HDX box for Cubase?

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Dracarys
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Equivalent of Protools HDX box for Cubase?

Post by Dracarys » Thu Jan 19, 2017 7:20 am

Hello,

My engineer has the Protools HDX setup and has almost no latency with massive sessions, he probably uses more or the same about of FX plugins as me on a 12 core mac from 2012. I've been using a Mbox mini 3 and Scarlet 2i2 for the longest time, but once sessions begin to grow I can't run sessions lower than 1024 buffer rate without pops. Asio gaurd is worse when engaged.

Specs:

Windows 7 Ultimate
DAW: Cubase 8 (newest update) and Vienna Ensemble Pro 5
CPU: 3930k
RAM: 64gb 1600mz
Motherboard: GA x79 UD5
HD: 10 SATA 3 SSDs for samples, 1 for OS and DAW. Mostly 840 Pros and 850 Evos.
PSU: 1500W

The most intense libraries were in my sata 3 ports, the rest sata 2. However I upgraded to a LSI adapter, now all my SSDs are sata 3 through my PCIe lane, and my OS drive remains in my motherboard SATA bay. That has only helped with load times or drop outs. I have also tried using multiple VE Pros with less instruments.

My question is - How do I get low latency with big sessions? Is there something like the HDX box for Cubase or do I just need an internal RME or UAD soundcard? Maybe I need a slave? I know theoretically a better sound card should only matter while recording, but this is kind of pathetic for my setup. I don't think upgrading to the newest Chipset will matter, since my Sandy Bridge Enthusiast rig is very good.

One thing I can point out that helped tremendously - I now mix exclusively in VE Pro, disabling all outputs to Cubase except like 10 outputs, so I can modulate certain synths and instruments.

Thanks! :)
Last edited by Dracarys on Tue Jan 24, 2017 11:28 am, edited 2 times in total.

vinark
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Re: Equivalent of Protools HDX box for Cubase?

Post by vinark » Thu Jan 19, 2017 7:51 am

Yes internal RME! Not UAD. UAD is great but not for low latency. I can run my larger sessions on 128 and asioguard even helps then. But my large sessions might be small for you or the other way round. What kind of CPU load (not asio) do you see in task manager when you run such a session? One of the big advantages of RME is that it allows higher cpu load at low buffer settings then the competition and that the buffer settings are true not triple buffers as with some other cards. So even 256 and 512 are playable, but 512 is on the edge. Piano, orchestral are etc fine drums and percussion a little difficult.
Mbox and scarlet are AFAIK very bad for low latency.

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Re: Equivalent of Protools HDX box for Cubase?

Post by Dracarys » Thu Jan 19, 2017 9:01 am

I'm around 30-40% in task manager, leaning more towards 30 most times. Ve-Pro is never higher than 70% cpu, switching from 4 to 1 buffer does not help much.

Can you recommend a good cost efficient RME? One that can compete or be better than the HDX. Something basic, I only need to record 1-2 instruments max, main priority here is latency.

Thanks!
vinark wrote:Yes internal RME! Not UAD. UAD is great but not for low latency. I can run my larger sessions on 128 and asioguard even helps then. But my large sessions might be small for you or the other way round. What kind of CPU load (not asio) do you see in task manager when you run such a session? One of the big advantages of RME is that it allows higher cpu load at low buffer settings then the competition and that the buffer settings are true not triple buffers as with some other cards. So even 256 and 512 are playable, but 512 is on the edge. Piano, orchestral are etc fine drums and percussion a little difficult.
Mbox and scarlet are AFAIK very bad for low latency.

vinark
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Re: Equivalent of Protools HDX box for Cubase?

Post by vinark » Thu Jan 19, 2017 9:25 am

If you have a PCI slot second hand hdsp9632 are really cheap. For PCIe it is the HDSPe AIO.
Also a multiface with a hdsp (PCI) or hdspe (PCIe) card will do. Also RME usb and firewire drivers are really good so any of those.
But... better then HDX? RME does not do any processing. Only asio is done in hardware hence the low load of the driver.
And again but,If you only see 30% on the cpu that gives good hope that RME will make a lot of difference. But what is your total CPU load cubase and VEpro included? If that is about 90% or even higher RME might give you somewhat lower latency like 256. But it is difficult to predict without testing it.
Also performance is worse on a mac the on windows with the same hardware. My good experience with RME is on windows not mac (no experience).
Cheers!

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Re: Equivalent of Protools HDX box for Cubase?

Post by Dracarys » Thu Jan 19, 2017 9:56 am

256 is good enough for me. Pretty sure I have one PCI port left, the HDSP 9632 should be good. Doesn't the multi face defeat the whole purpose of internal and no firewire? Here's one:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/2322076565 ... noapp=true

The problem buying second hand is some are hot and unregistered, just like LSI adapters. Is HDX the pro when it comes to latency there's nothing upper tier as good and expensive?

I'm supposed to include vepro as well? I thought task manager was an over all representation of cpu usage.
vinark wrote:If you have a PCI slot second hand hdsp9632 are really cheap. For PCIe it is the HDSPe AIO.
Also a multiface with a hdsp (PCI) or hdspe (PCIe) card will do. Also RME usb and firewire drivers are really good so any of those.
But... better then HDX? RME does not do any processing. Only asio is done in hardware hence the low load of the driver.
And again but,If you only see 30% on the cpu that gives good hope that RME will make a lot of difference. But what is your total CPU load cubase and VEpro included? If that is about 90% or even higher RME might give you somewhat lower latency like 256. But it is difficult to predict without testing it.
Also performance is worse on a mac the on windows with the same hardware. My good experience with RME is on windows not mac (no experience).
Cheers!

vinark
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Re: Equivalent of Protools HDX box for Cubase?

Post by vinark » Thu Jan 19, 2017 10:11 am

Yes it is overall! But you mentioned 30% and then 70% for VEpro or is that 70% what VEpro says?
If 30% is overall you can run even lower then 256
hot and unregistered???
Ah wait intel macs running OSX never had PCI slots (only powerpc did). So you either don't have PCI but PCIe or a hackingtosh. RME never made pci card drivers for OSX since they never existed. So you would if I am correct need a PCIe AIO.

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Re: Equivalent of Protools HDX box for Cubase?

Post by Dracarys » Thu Jan 19, 2017 10:42 am

VePro stays at 70% max. Task manager is always around 30%, while vepro is at 70%.

I have a macbook pro for travelling, my main rig is PC, I updated the specs in my OP. I'm going to test this RME and see how it goes! I should also update to Vienna Ensemble 6 eventually for performance boost.
vinark wrote:Yes it is overall! But you mentioned 30% and then 70% for VEpro or is that 70% what VEpro says?
If 30% is overall you can run even lower then 256
hot and unregistered???
Ah wait intel macs running OSX never had PCI slots (only powerpc did). So you either don't have PCI but PCIe or a hackingtosh. RME never made pci card drivers for OSX since they never existed. So you would if I am correct need a PCIe AIO.

vinark
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Re: Equivalent of Protools HDX box for Cubase?

Post by vinark » Thu Jan 19, 2017 2:47 pm

Let me know how it goes! If cpu is 30% I expect a big improvement!

Dracarys
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Re: Equivalent of Protools HDX box for Cubase?

Post by Dracarys » Thu Jan 19, 2017 9:02 pm

One more question before I buy, at the bottom left of my board near the PCI lanes, the last lane looks different and backwards, would this PCI RME fit? This is the only lane accessible, my GPU is a monster and is furthest from my PSU.

https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product. ... 6813128531

Thanks!

vinark
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Re: Equivalent of Protools HDX box for Cubase?

Post by vinark » Thu Jan 19, 2017 10:39 pm

AFAICS yes.It even says pci rigth next to it.

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Re: Equivalent of Protools HDX box for Cubase?

Post by Dracarys » Fri Jan 20, 2017 12:28 am

vinark wrote:AFAICS yes.It even says pci rigth next to it.

I thought so thanks! I'm reading that the drivers are going to be outdated soon, and that there's lower latency with PCIe vs PCI. HDSPe AIO is my next cheapest option?

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Re: Equivalent of Protools HDX box for Cubase?

Post by Dracarys » Fri Jan 20, 2017 2:59 am

Edit
Last edited by Dracarys on Fri Jan 20, 2017 3:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Equivalent of Protools HDX box for Cubase?

Post by Dracarys » Fri Jan 20, 2017 3:00 am

Meh I can always get a PCIe adapter for my next motherboard.

So here's the combo:

http://www.ebay.ca/itm/Breakout-Cable-f ... SwXeJYNNSw
http://www.ebay.ca/itm/RME-Hammerfall-D ... Sw5cNYJMgv

I already have a RCA to quarter inch cable.

I'll be paying around $350US for both items, with no warranty, or returns (like most these ebay ads). I can get it brand new at sweet water for $530US. Might be a good ieda to just fork over another $200 for security.

Also, pretty sure this PCI version on ebay is not carried anymore, here is a newer versions:

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/HDSP9652
https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/HDSPePCI

vinark
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Re: Equivalent of Protools HDX box for Cubase?

Post by vinark » Fri Jan 20, 2017 9:11 am

casalena wrote:
vinark wrote:AFAICS yes.It even says pci rigth next to it.

I thought so thanks! I'm reading that the drivers are going to be outdated soon, and that there's lower latency with PCIe vs PCI. HDSPe AIO is my next cheapest option?
Lower latency on PCIe is not true. Maybe with above 100 Channels. I have not seen anything about the drivers stopping development. HDSP and hdspe is one driver. I am pretty active on the rme forum.
Yeah the 200 extra might be worth it. I got my SH cards much cheaper, but in Holland from a site called marktplaats. Not international (though owned by ebay)

vinark
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Re: Equivalent of Protools HDX box for Cubase?

Post by vinark » Fri Jan 20, 2017 9:14 am

casalena wrote:Meh I can always get a PCIe adapter for my next motherboard.

So here's the combo:

http://www.ebay.ca/itm/Breakout-Cable-f ... SwXeJYNNSw
http://www.ebay.ca/itm/RME-Hammerfall-D ... Sw5cNYJMgv

I already have a RCA to quarter inch cable.

I'll be paying around $350US for both items, with no warranty, or returns (like most these ebay ads). I can get it brand new at sweet water for $530US. Might be a good ieda to just fork over another $200 for security.

Also, pretty sure this PCI version on ebay is not carried anymore, here is a newer versions:

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/HDSP9652
https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/HDSPePCI
The hdsp9652 is an adat card only. no audio outs. I have that one too. same generation as hdsp9632.
The second one is a digiface/multiface adapter card, so no audio card at all but for their break out cards.

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Re: Equivalent of Protools HDX box for Cubase?

Post by Dracarys » Sat Jan 21, 2017 9:33 pm

Ok thanks for clearing that up, still new to these cards.

I found one in canada, the only one WITH cables:

http://www.kijiji.ca/v-enregistrement-a ... 1222222817

$300 vs $700 band new at sweetwater. What you think, steal?

Thanks!

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Re: Equivalent of Protools HDX box for Cubase?

Post by vinark » Sun Jan 22, 2017 9:49 am

Price is OK. Here a little cheaper but not that much. Thing is PCI is dying and not on new motherboards any more. Therefore they should be cheap I think. They can be made to work on PCIe if needed with an adapter board but it is a DIY project and not pretty. Thing is I can only be sure that they work great here. So the cheaper the better. If it doesn't work out for you it would be nice if you can sell it without loss.
If possible ask the seller for the revision of the card, some older revisions don't start on the newer motherboards and need a modification.
To bad things are never easy in computer world.

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Re: Equivalent of Protools HDX box for Cubase?

Post by Dracarys » Tue Jan 24, 2017 11:02 am

Wow looks like Startek are the only ones making PCIe adapters. I was hoping for a company like Sonnet or OWC.

What do you mean by revision, firmware upgrade?

The unstable and unpredictable PCI adapters are kind of a deal breaker, I assumed there would be higher end ones available. I might try to talk them down to 200. This is kind of a bandage upgrade for now, I plan on a new chipset early next year. By then I may want thunderbolt over PCIe.

Any other internal soundcards you can recommend? 246buffer would be good enough.
vinark wrote:Price is OK. Here a little cheaper but not that much. Thing is PCI is dying and not on new motherboards any more. Therefore they should be cheap I think. They can be made to work on PCIe if needed with an adapter board but it is a DIY project and not pretty. Thing is I can only be sure that they work great here. So the cheaper the better. If it doesn't work out for you it would be nice if you can sell it without loss.
If possible ask the seller for the revision of the card, some older revisions don't start on the newer motherboards and need a modification.
To bad things are never easy in computer world.
Last edited by Dracarys on Tue Jan 24, 2017 11:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

vinark
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Re: Equivalent of Protools HDX box for Cubase?

Post by vinark » Tue Jan 24, 2017 11:10 am

Sorry I was wrong! That is for the HDSP card not the HDSP9632! So no worries.
The startek do work I heard. Maybe the cheap ebay ones too. As long as they have a power connector.

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Re: Equivalent of Protools HDX box for Cubase?

Post by Dracarys » Tue Jan 24, 2017 11:21 am

vinark wrote:Sorry I was wrong! That is for the HDSP card not the HDSP9632! So no worries.
The startek do work I heard. Maybe the cheap ebay ones too. As long as they have a power connector.

Wow looks like Startek are the only ones making PCIe adapters. I was hoping for a company like Sonnet or OWC.

What do you mean by revision, firmware upgrade?

The unstable and unpredictable PCI adapters are kind of a deal breaker, I assumed there would be higher end ones available. I might try to talk them down to 200. This is kind of a bandage upgrade for now, I plan on a new chipset early next year. By then I may want thunderbolt over PCIe.

Any other internal soundcards you can recommend? 246buffer would be good enough.

vinark
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Re: Equivalent of Protools HDX box for Cubase?

Post by vinark » Tue Jan 24, 2017 11:39 am

Internal sound cards are fading fast! Same with firewire. So no new drivers for most (except RME for now). An EMU 1212m might work but don't pay more then $80 for it.
If you can get the HDSP9632 for $200 that would be a good price. Easy to sell without to much loss later on. But there is a chance you won't need to upgrade for a few years if the RME works as expected. I have an even older machine, a Q9550, OC'ed to 3.6ghz, that still does the job. Unless you do video coding newer cpu's don't bring to much and your CPU is easy to over clock.
I have a feeling with USB3.1 and thunderbolt (also 3 versions) and USB C that buying an interface for a long and stable life will be more difficult. But since you don't need many ins and outs an RME babyface might be a solution! USB2 might be here to stay (not on apple though....)
What do you mean by revision, firmware upgrade? sorry wrong card not the hdsp9632

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Re: Equivalent of Protools HDX box for Cubase?

Post by Dracarys » Tue Jan 24, 2017 1:16 pm

vinark wrote:Internal sound cards are fading fast! Same with firewire. So no new drivers for most (except RME for now). An EMU 1212m might work but don't pay more then $80 for it.
If you can get the HDSP9632 for $200 that would be a good price. Easy to sell without to much loss later on. But there is a chance you won't need to upgrade for a few years if the RME works as expected. I have an even older machine, a Q9550, OC'ed to 3.6ghz, that still does the job. Unless you do video coding newer cpu's don't bring to much and your CPU is easy to over clock.
I have a feeling with USB3.1 and thunderbolt (also 3 versions) and USB C that buying an interface for a long and stable life will be more difficult. But since you don't need many ins and outs an RME babyface might be a solution! USB2 might be here to stay (not on apple though....)
What do you mean by revision, firmware upgrade? sorry wrong card not the hdsp9632
Literally none of those EMUS can be found anywhere, all the ones on ebay or craigslist are above 100, especially in Canada.

I thought the whole purpose was to avoid external soundcards and get better latency with PCI. I would imagine this obsolete now with USB C and thunderbolt? Also is my focusrite 2i2 that bad in comparison that I'm getting poor results? Mixing at 2048 is even annoying!

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Re: Equivalent of Protools HDX box for Cubase?

Post by vinark » Tue Jan 24, 2017 1:38 pm

Yes your focusrite is that bad. Not only bad generic driver, but also 128 is not really 128 but 128 plus a very big safety buffer. Latest Focusrite are better.
The hdspe AIO or raydat are futureproof in that regard. PCIe will be around for a while I think.
Thunderbolt already went from v2 to 3 and now a v2 device needs an adapter to 3, that isn't ready yet (or just now) and might give issues with audio or not. Standards change to fast to be called standards! USB2 and 3 seem to be saver bets!

And about usb vs PCI(e). USB does not have more latency per se. It is all about the certainty a buffer is delivered in time. Access to the PCI bus is more certain the the USB port, plus USB has some CPU overhead. But on faster machines this overhead becomes more and more insignificant. Most USB audio devices use a generic usb chip. RME builds their own hence the better low latency performance.
I think there are pro PCIe to PCI adapters but they are multi PCI slots and external boxes (which is not a bad thing). But they are expensive and you would still have to investigate.

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Re: Equivalent of Protools HDX box for Cubase?

Post by Dracarys » Tue Jan 24, 2017 9:23 pm

Thanks for the info. You said to ask the seller of that hammerfall if they can send me a revision version. What does this mean, how do they revise the board?

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Re: Equivalent of Protools HDX box for Cubase?

Post by Dracarys » Tue Jan 24, 2017 9:58 pm

vinark wrote: If possible ask the seller for the revision of the card, some older revisions don't start on the newer motherboards and need a modification.

I talked the owner of the store down to $250 including shipping, instead of the original $330 including shipping. Probably going to just do it once you elaborate on revision.
Last edited by Dracarys on Tue Jan 24, 2017 11:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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