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Author Topic: MOTU AVB interfaces successfully working with AMP  (Read 3366 times)

gilnavarro

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MOTU AVB interfaces successfully working with AMP
« on: May 16, 2018, 08:19:44 AM »

Iíve had a rough ride getting the MOTU avb stuff stable with amp. I had pretty much abandoned it. I fired things back up, updated divers and firmware, and loaded the latest amp release. Iíve only checked it down to 0/64 buffers. Smooth sailing so far. None of the pops, clicks, and distorted sound that I used to get. MOTU also has a built-in zero latency mixer with dsp. Comp, gate, eq  on every channel. Up to 40 channels I think. They recently released a touch view control for tablets. Looks and works great. Multiple connections for personal monitor control. Iím considering using the built-in mixer for monitors and AMP for foh.
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admin

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Re: MOTU AVB interfaces successfully working with AMP
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2018, 09:21:00 AM »

HI Gil,

I'd be curious to hear what actual measurements show.  "0 latency" in digital isn't, because there is still conversion time..  But it can be quite low.  Do you have the technology to perform some measurements?  Would be interesting to see what the latency with AMP is also.

Bob
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RBIngraham

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Re: MOTU AVB interfaces successfully working with AMP
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2018, 10:10:11 AM »

This is great news.  Please do test as time allows and let us know.  As much as I would like to go the Dante TIO route, it leads to a lot of waste I/O for the way I often work.  In particular a lot of wasted outputs in an orchestra pit.  Being able to go with the MOTU AVB gear is a lot more mix and match and makes more sense for my work. 

Plus I suspect that the MOTU gear will just sound better.  Doubt I'll ever get a chance to do a side by side shootout but I would love to hear any anecdotal evidence.
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gilnavarro

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Re: MOTU AVB interfaces successfully working with AMP
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2018, 01:59:59 PM »

Dante is hands-down a better rig. Takes some of the load off the host and runs more stable at lower latencies. I have a Dante setup as well.
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RBIngraham

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Re: MOTU AVB interfaces successfully working with AMP
« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2018, 10:28:24 PM »

Dante is hands-down a better rig. Takes some of the load off the host and runs more stable at lower latencies. I have a Dante setup as well.

I don't doubt Dante as a protocol is a better, or more solid I would say solution.  But that has mostly to do with the Dante PCIe card.  Correct me if I'm wrong but you're also using a USB based MOTU AVB box correct?  It's not a Thunderbolt device.  Although the guys at RME have told me that they find Thunderbolt to not be as good as USB3 for low latency drivers.

Here is my thing.  It's not about Dante vs AVB for me.  It's about having audio interfaces that have the most useful layout of I/O in the correct format and size for my needs.  The "stagebox" type I/O device really isn't that useful for me.  And the options for low cost Dante I/O devices really are not all that plentiful.  Smaller channel count devices do exist, but they cost a heck of a lot for what you get.  High density devices exist, but again, most are fairly pricey.  The TIO stuff seems to be the only fairly competitive priced Dante I/O I know about and I check up on the Audinate web site about once a month or so to keep tabs on what's new. 

For my needs the MOTU AVB boxes have better I/O counts in a variety of types and in fairly small packages and they do have a stage box 16 x 8 type device as well.  That means for now I could just replace my 424 based systems with high density analog I/O units and continue to use my Aviom digital snake gear and when money allows I could then replace that with more MOTU boxes that I just use as AVB snakes to the primary interface. 

Getting the lowest possible latency on the planet is nice but at the end of the day it's not the most important thing to me.  I used to run SAC at 2x64 all the time and that meant about 6 or 7 ms of latency input to output or so and no one really seemed to care.   If I could make it lower, so much the better.  But it takes a back seat for me compared to stability, cost and ability to scale up and down. 

My main problem with the TIO stuff is that it's 16 x 8 analog and well that's it.  So if I need 24 in my orchestra pit then I need 2 of them there.  And then I have probably 12 or so outputs just wasted.  If I want to put my RF rack on stage, then again I might need 2 of them and I'm wasting the outputs.  But then I might need outputs at FOH that feed into the main system that belongs to the venue.  So I either use the outputs via XLR analog that are on stage all the way back to FOH or  get more Dante output devices for FOH.  Or I use my Aviom gear to just bring it all to FOH, in which case I might as well just stick with 424 MOTU gear until it all dies or won't work with the current windows OS. 

It's worth noting that I probably need a system with up to 64 inputs and at least 24, sometimes 30 or so outputs.  Granted if I was using Dante my playback computer could hook up directly via DVS.

The MOTU AVB gear allows me to put the Inputs where I need them, the outputs where I need them, etc.
 The only thing I think the current slate of Dante I/O does better is the 1 and two channel count stuff.  Those little XLR to an RJ45 devices are pretty cool and would allow you to drop I/O points all over a venue.  Very useful in theatre.  But as soon as you need more than 2 or 3 of those they get cost prohibitive pretty quickly.

Gil, just curious.  But when you say it's a better rig, are we talking about sound quality here?  Or are you just talking about the usefulness of the system for your needs.  It seems like you mean the latter.  But perhaps I'm misreading it. 

I really like the way my MOTU I/O from the 424 gear sounds.  I would also hate to take a step back.  I suspect the TIO might sound better than an M7 Preamps.  And the RIO boxes certainly do in my experience.  But they had to cut the costs on the TIO boxes somewhere and my gut says it's the preamps.  Of course right now my preamps are not MOTU that's just converters.   Most of my Preamps are Aviom with a few SE Electronics or Presonus (the latter is not great) for area mics or utility mics at FOH.
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gilnavarro

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Re: MOTU AVB interfaces successfully working with AMP
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2018, 02:03:40 AM »

I agree that the hardware options with Dante are expensive. My personal experience with different types of hardware for mixing ITB is that Dante just runs smoother at lower latency, on the same machine. And the latency settings go lower than any of the other things Iíve tried, while staying stable. Doesnít sound any different to me between protocols. I really like the flexibility of the MOTU gear, and the cost factor is better. I have two of the AVB pieces, the 112D and the 624. I love having the 624 at foh.
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RBIngraham

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Re: MOTU AVB interfaces successfully working with AMP
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2018, 08:38:30 AM »

I agree that the hardware options with Dante are expensive. My personal experience with different types of hardware for mixing ITB is that Dante just runs smoother at lower latency, on the same machine. And the latency settings go lower than any of the other things Iíve tried, while staying stable. Doesnít sound any different to me between protocols. I really like the flexibility of the MOTU gear, and the cost factor is better. I have two of the AVB pieces, the 112D and the 624. I love having the 624 at foh.

Right, you're basically paying the manufacturer's licensing fee for the use of Dante.  Or in reality, you're paying extra for that Audinate chip that is in every device.  And Audinate doesn't really have a mid sized chip, it's either 2 or 4 channels and then you jump up to 64 I/O.  This is at the chip level.

Don't get me wrong, I like Dante a lot better as a protocol.  But that is mostly because it is similar to buying an Apple product.  The part that makes Dante work all comes from a single manufacturer, Audinate.  And they have universal control software that will work with all the Dante products because they make the chips and write the software. 

Although I know some manufacturers that won't use Dante because they think AVB or other protocols maintain better audio quality.  It's all a bunch of golden ear crap to me, but who knows.  I think it's that they just don't want to pay Audinate for chips.  They would rather stick with an open protocol.  The main issue I find with AVB is that you then need special switches to make it work and you can never be certain if two manufacturer's pieces will work with each other until you try them out.  If they are part of the AVnu alliance and the gear has been tested, it will probably work.  But MOTU are not a member and I don't believe their gear has been tested.  So it's a crap shoot with AVB integration to non MOTU gear.

With regards to sound quality, it's not the really the protocol that's going to make the difference.  It's the converters and/or mic preamps of the manufacture's hardware.
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mattseymour

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Re: MOTU AVB interfaces successfully working with AMP
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2018, 12:42:11 PM »

Then you can get into a real mess as Presonus did where the company that made the AVB chips was bought up and the product discontinued, meant no support for Presonus and they ended up shipping products that couldn't do what it said on the spec sheet.
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RBIngraham

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Re: MOTU AVB interfaces successfully working with AMP
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2018, 02:05:12 PM »

Then you can get into a real mess as Presonus did where the company that made the AVB chips was bought up and the product discontinued, meant no support for Presonus and they ended up shipping products that couldn't do what it said on the spec sheet.

That seems to be a pattern with Presonus.  Remember their 1st Firewire interface?  I do.. got the FireStation, which used mLan from Yamaha.  As usual Yamajunk wrote crappy drivers and never finished it properly.  Presonus and all Firestation owners left holding the bag.  I like Yamaha gear but their drivers always seem to leave a lot to be desired.  Although my Steinberg UI series interfaces have been very solid.

That is a good point both for and against Dante really.  It's really solid because they make all the chips and parts.  But just like Cobra it could be bought up and the new owner could screw it up.  And then the entire industry gets screwed. 

I forgot that Presonus even did AVB to be honest.  But I am sure they did it to control costs as well.  I could come to eat my words but I trust MOTU more than Presonus.  MOTU has made some crap drivers, especially for PC over the years but at least they seem to get it right eventually. 

Ah technology... no matter what we do it's a crap shoot.  Seems like every manufacturer has put out at least some lemons over the years and you never know.  Even RME has once or twice.

If cost was no object I probably would just go all RME and MADI.  There shit just works most days.  But... money doesn't grow on trees.
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mattseymour

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Re: MOTU AVB interfaces successfully working with AMP
« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2018, 02:10:38 PM »

The older Presonus RM mixers (I have two) were useful for me because of Dante card availability. Interestingly Presonus have stuck with AVB and their latest range don't have the option of Dante at all. They've made a couple of AVB stageboxes that can be controlled with the UC control app, so I think the expectation is they can be used with other gear.... who knows.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2018, 02:22:33 PM by mattseymour »
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admin

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Re: MOTU AVB interfaces successfully working with AMP
« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2018, 01:35:02 AM »

From what I've heard, the Presonus AVB won't talk with MOTU AVB... And therein lies the rub.  Dante does solve this, in that *any* Dante can talk to *any* other Dante device.  I've not seen that with other protocols.
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Re: MOTU AVB interfaces successfully working with AMP
« Reply #11 on: May 19, 2018, 01:36:04 AM »

Richard: Audinate *does* now have a 16x16 chip, to bridge the gap between 2 and 64.
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RBIngraham

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Re: MOTU AVB interfaces successfully working with AMP
« Reply #12 on: May 19, 2018, 11:31:51 PM »

From what I've heard, the Presonus AVB won't talk with MOTU AVB... And therein lies the rub.  Dante does solve this, in that *any* Dante can talk to *any* other Dante device.  I've not seen that with other protocols.

Well that's because Audinate is the only one that makes the chips. 

There are certainly other protocols that allow for a variety of manufacturers products to talk to each other.  And I've seen AVB do that in demonstrations.  Dante is just a lot better at it, for the reason stated above and because it's a closed protocol Audinate wisely skipped over all the mess of trying to get a committee of industry folks to agree on things in order to make progress.  While AVB was screwing around with reaching consensus Audinate was making Dante work.  :)

It wouldn't surprise me if MOTU and Presonus don't talk to each other.  I suspect they are both likely adding their own stuff on top of the AVB protocol for control of their products.  And neither of them seems to be a member of the AVnu Alliance, so they are probably just working in their own little vacuums not caring about what others are doing. 

I do know that BiAmp says you can use the MOTU switch with their gear.  When I asked if you could use their audio interfaces as I/O to a Tesira.  I got a look of "we don't know what that is" and some taking of notes to look into it.  ;)

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RBIngraham

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Re: MOTU AVB interfaces successfully working with AMP
« Reply #13 on: May 19, 2018, 11:35:24 PM »

Richard: Audinate *does* now have a 16x16 chip, to bridge the gap between 2 and 64.

Good to know.  Thanks for the correction.  Hopefully this allows some progress in the cost per I/O of Dante.
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mattseymour

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Re: MOTU AVB interfaces successfully working with AMP
« Reply #14 on: May 20, 2018, 11:56:43 AM »

AVB on the older presonus gear is a crapshoot... it barely talks to their own stuff. The newer kit is supposedly different. I know they're keen on making it work with Macs for example. But yes, essentially they're using it as a way of having networked audio across their own range of devices.
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