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Audio Interface With Built-in Delay

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by doubleJ, Apr 10, 2014.

  1. doubleJ

    doubleJ Active Member

    Are there any audio interfaces (preferably firewire), that have built-in delay?
    I've yet to see one (although many have other built-in effects).
    It would need to have hardware routing (not much point in built-in delay, just for recording).
    I have a setup that requires sending a delayed signal and we've been doing it with Reaper (software routing and delay).
    It works well, but, if there is every a computer issue, that audio is missing.
    I would like to do something that doesn't rely on the computer.

    Apologies if this isn't considered "Pro Gear".
    I didn't see another category that fit, more appropriately.
  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    I would separate the functions of audio interface and delay by routing a standard signal out of the interface matrix into an effects unit such as a Lexicon MPX550 and then on to the system that needs delay. You dial up a simple delay on the FX unit. On some audio interfaces with programmable signal routing the link can be made via S/PDIF coax or optical, thus preserving audio quality by not having the signal go D-A-D.

    I've done this sort of thing when using slave speakers on PA+recording systems in long, thin, echoey spaces such as cathedrals.
  3. doubleJ

    doubleJ Active Member

    Thanks for the recommendation...
    While we probably have an extra delay unit, laying around, I was hoping to find something with the capability built-in.
    We're considering the purchase of a new interface (Motu Traveler just died after about nine years).
    We would highly consider a model, if it had that functionality.
  4. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    In that case I would look at the RME UFX interface with its TotalMix software. You can set up internally an echo with variable characteristics, and it could well be that something like that with feedback set to 0 and variable pre-delay would give you what you want. Once you have set it up from a PC you can get it to run stand-alone so you don't have to have an operational computer to make it work.

    The RME interfaces are at least a class above your MOTU box in audio quality.
  5. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    Rme is a very nice unit, also check for the Term DSP which indicates that some effects are included in the electronic part of the unit and not software
    an alternative to the RME could be the Saffire PRO 24 DSP which is firewire
  6. doubleJ

    doubleJ Active Member

    I didn't think about using a different effect to create a delay effect.
    I'll have to look and see if any other devices have echo.

    I agree with RME being tops.
    It's also tops in price.
  7. doubleJ

    doubleJ Active Member

    One of our other sites uses the Saffire Pro 40.
    I didn't think it had delay, but I'll double-check.
    To my knowledge, it has been a solid unit.
  8. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    I wrote the saffire pro24 which as DSP but you're right, it has EQ, compression and reverb but not delay.. My mistake !!
  9. doubleJ

    doubleJ Active Member

    Yeah, I was just pointing out that I had a similar model.
    I assumed that if the 24 had something, the 40 would as well.

    Built-in delay, certainly, isn't worth $2000.
    If there was something in the $500-$1000 range, though, it would be considered for purchase.
    My two main recommendations are the Focusrite Saffire Pro 40 (on the lower end) and the Motu 896-Mk3 Hybrid (on the higher end).
    Our original Traveler was a great deal, at $600, but the Traveler-Mk3, at $850, isn't as good of a deal.
    I'd rather do $1000, for the 896, than $850, for the Traveler.
  10. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    I have the Focusrite Liquid saffire 56 (999$) which is an honnest unit for the price. It has an SPDIF input and 2 adat inputs that let me connect my UA 4-710 in 96khz mode which gives me 8 more track/converter inputs(4x 710preamps + ISA Two + DBX576 + One input for the return of a multi-effect to send to the 4 headphones mixes I'm using.) I still have the place to add a few external preamps... :)
  11. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    This is like talking about how it hurts when you urinate and you don't know why?

    First, you need delay as an effect? You need it real-time, during the recording process? You don't want to drop a bundle. So you get the Presonus Audio Box, USB 2.0, for $250 US. It includes their superduper Studio One version 2 software and VST I, virtual instruments, with like a 4 or 8 GB library. And it runs all of your effects, in real time, thanks to its high-speed, USB 2.0, 480 Mb per second, bidirectional capabilities. And the sound of their internal microphone preamp and the line level inputs are quite smooth Class A, transistor. Like a poor man's Neve 1073. RME costs way more than 250 smackers. The differences in audio quality shouldn't get your panties into a bunch. It's 100% professional, usable, enjoyable. And I really love the rugged build quality of Presonus products. As I've had to work on a couple, over the years. Very impressive build quality. Not flimsy. Extremely rugged.

    Now if you have a computer that still has FireWire connectivity? Ya might want to opt for the Presonus Fire Studio? That'll set ya back a whopping 500 bucks, US. While providing for you the same microphone inputs, the same software, FireWire instead of USB 2.0 and 8 simultaneous microphone inputs to 8 simultaneous tracks. But it might not do the real-time effects as indicated by the Audio Box USB 2.0? In which you'll have to be happy with only 2 inputs, including your real-time effects.

    And that's the name of that tune.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  12. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Re-read the OP's first post, Remy. He can do the delay already using a DAW, but wants a stand-alone version, not using a computer.
  13. Josh Conley

    Josh Conley Active Member

    plenty of pedals for that
    or those boss r5 or r50 half space units are like 50$ used and do alot more than just delays
  14. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    I've already suggested a separate box, but he wants in all in the one audio interface.

    I'm sure there are other interfaces besides the RME units that would do the delay job, but there are very few that are up to the sonic quality of the RMEs.
  15. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    No, he is asking if any of the computer audio interfaces have delay built into them. The answer to that is yes, through the software that was provided for, to work with the computer as part of its driver. But ya have to have their external hardware box in which to do that with. So that's not " Exactly " using the computer. That's using the external audio interface which features a full roster of real-time effects that utilizes the CPU of the computer.

    So the answer actually is no. But even that is incorrect. Here's why:

    Companies like Beringer had the foresight to think about exactly what you're asking for. They offer a line of small, affordable, simple to operate, mixers. These mixers have USB connectivity with the computer. Allowing one to make recordings from the mixer. The caveat is... the mixer has a built-in digital effects generator, that provides for reverb, flanging, phasing, time delay effects, filters, of the available presets, built in to their USB enabled mixers.

    Today, mixers such as that and others, are the computer audio interfaces. And who have supplied on board, hardware oriented, effects processors that does not rely upon the computer CPU. But then there is the issue of cost.

    These mixers are very nice and do what you want, sound good, very versatile. And the time delay effect is therefore ya. The mixer can be used with or without, the computer. So it really serves double duty for both live performance and recording applications. Simultaneously or separately.

    So if you are doing the best fine arts recording, you've dropped a bundle on an audio interface like an RME and you want the time delay, no problem. If you want to keep things within a very reasonable cost for something less exacting than something by Mozart? The Beringer line of USB mixers with built-in digital effects is just a mouse click away.

    If I want OUT board time delay, I want a Lexicon. I mean a Yamaha. I mean my Delta Labs. I mean my ALESIS. Then I can plug that into a mixer and route it where it needs to be routed. It's called audio engineering. But then ya have to plug it into a mixer or something like that.

    You could go the route of a guitar effect pedal? Then you can plug a 1/4 inch, Radio Shaft microphone, directly into it.

    And you'll be good to go... down the tubes. No not like the Atwater Kent your grandmother had.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  16. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    Speaking of effect pedals, many have built-in audio interface now.. (line6 has many units with USB connections)
    But I guess the OP was looking for an audio interface with DSP effects like Universal audio Appollo which includes a DSP accelerator... But UA, is over the budget. I can't pinpoint any complete solution with delay around 1000$
  17. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    "...The Beringer line of USB mixers with built-in digital effects is just a mouse click away...."

    Yup. And so is the phone number for local authorized repair centers. ;)
  18. doubleJ

    doubleJ Active Member

    Wow, I guess I didn't get the notification e-mail.
    I didn't realize there were another 5-10 replies, since my last post.
    I do appreciate all the response.
    It is correct that I wasn't looking for computer-generated, or outboard, delay.
    I wanted it within a, rack-mountable, audio interface (thus, mixer options don't work).
    Maybe what I wanted was pointless, stupid, and nowhere near worth it.
    But, it's what I wanted (and still want).
    The nice thing, though, is someone else must want it, too, as I just found the perfect (albeit a bit expensive) option.

    RME Fireface 802
    At $2000, it's twice what I was looking for.
    But, had it been available, I would have recommended the price.
    This has FireWire and USB.
    It also has AES/EBU (which a lot of interfaces, including RME, don't have).
  19. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    JJ -

    RME is a highly respected manufacturer of great preamp I/O's, and have become one of the "cream of the crop" manufacturers for ultra-hi fidelity audio capture. But... they ain't cheap. ;)
    Because they offer such nice conversion and sound, they are pricey, but... people who use them feel that they're worth it because they sound so nice.

    So, on top of the cost of an already great-sounding I/O, when you start adding options like built-in DSP FX, The DSP Remote, along with both USB and FW connectivity - then it certainly won't be a cheap choice, but, by all rights, you'd have a model that would give you virtually all the things that you said you would like to have...as well as having the great sound that RME is known for on even their most basic models.

    I'm very intrigued by the DSP on the model you mentioned, mainly because it would relieve so much taxation of the processor(s) in the computer. And, because RME is known for great fidelity to begin with, I'd assume that they wouldn't be adding cheap-sounding DSP FX like those you'd find on a Behringer or Yamaha all-in-one digital desk/I-O.

    I'm a bit puzzled by the inclusion of FW, though. The audio capture manufacturers have made me question them in the past... for example, I found it a bit odd that companies like Allen and Heath (Zen) and Presonus (StudioLive) released their various I/O-desks with FW, when it appeared to me at the time as if FW was being phased out of many newer model PC's and Macs. While the USB 3.0 connection is to be expected, I'm puzzled as to why RME didn't use the more current Thunderbolt instead of FW as their main connection format.

    This is perhaps the only thing that is making me a bit leery right now of upgrading my I/O. Whenever a new format pops up, I get a little cautious. I know that TB is already available on many newer Macs... I'm interested to see how long it will take PC's to catch on and offer it as a "standard" as well.... and, how long it will take the audio equipment manufacturers en mass to jump into the game and start adding it to their various models as the main connection protocol...or if they even ever will.

    I think we may be at one of "those" crossroads right now - in a phase where the manufacturers aren't quite sure about which way to go. One has to work with the other in order for the format to be widely accepted.
    It doesn't really do Mac any good to push the format on the audio engineering community, if the OB audio I/O manufacturers aren't also offering and supporting the format as well.

    IMHO of course.

  20. doubleJ

    doubleJ Active Member

    I like the speed of USB 3.0 (well, I can't really say that - I don't have a single USB 3.0 device), but I still think of USB as being for mice and printers (not low-latency audio/video connections).
    I'd still take FireWire over USB, for those tasks.

    Interestingly enough, I read an article about the lack of Thunderbolt implementation (http://vr-zone.com/articles/thunderbolts-great-pcie-hope/50677.html) a couple days ago.
    It said...
    I did a search on http://www.sweetwater.com and http://www.newegg.com and didn't find a single Thunderbolt controller card.

    As far as I know, Focusrite FireWire interfaces all support Thunderbolt (with an adapter).
    At the current stage, I think it's a lot more useful for interfaces to support FireWire and USB than Thunderbolt.
    I like the idea of Thunderbolt, but it could be five years (or never) before any real penetration occurs (basically, when Dell starts using it).

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