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Presonus Quantum Thunderbolt


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#1 adamg67

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Posted 25 September 2017 - 08:04 AM

So, I have been struggling a bit with my old Presonus Firewire interfaces and Windows 10 on my new laptop, I'm pretty sure it's related to the driver somehow but there's not much you can do to fix that. It all works fine on my old Win 7 PC so I'll probably just keep that as a spare rig.

I always planned to go for a Thunderbolt interface at some point, and I want to get the latency low enough for live guitar, bass or keyboards so that all my amps, effects and key-based stuff can go 100% virtual. The new Presonus Quantum coming out just in time for my old one packing up seemed too good to be true, but I bought one anyway. :)

First impressions: It's the answer. They have ditched all the DSP and hardware zero latency stuff, which to me always meant another set of plugins and was why I didn't get a UAD Apollo Twin, and have just gone for low latency in and out of the DAW. It's easily good enough for live monitoring, I havn't properly tested how low I can go yet but low single figure millisecond round trip times will be easy, should be 3ms or better and completely stable. That's the same as standing 3 feet further away from your speakers when you're playing, in other words it is near enough to zero.

I think the time has finally come when even my MarkBass Multiamp - which is DSP anyway - will go, and I'll just have everything "in the box", for (home) studio or live.
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#2 Kevsy71

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Posted 28 September 2017 - 10:33 AM

Thanks for the hands-on review ! It got high praise in last month's Sound On Sound, but always nice to have that validated. Did you get a Thunderbolt PCIe card or are you running it through a Mac?
Basses: Wal MK I, Limelight P in Sonic Blue, Vintage Fretless Jazz, shocking beater P

Chain: Boss TU-3 -》Tech21 VT Deluxe -》Trace Elliot GP11-》Behringer iNuke 3000 - 》Greenboy Dually 2x15 from Tricky Audio

I sometimes tread on: MXR delay, MXR bass envelope filter

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#3 adamg67

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Posted 08 October 2017 - 12:33 PM

My laptop has Thunderbolt 3, so I run it through a Startech Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 adapter, as recommended by Presonus. It's a minor annoyance having the extra bit hanging off the laptop, but I'll dig out some sticky back velcro to keep things tidy.

I've got a little bit sidetracked redecorating the home studio room ready but everything will be going back in soon and then I'll be able to have a better play with it.
For Sale: Ibanez ATK 300: http://basschat.co.u...f-bass-for-l220
Between bands after supplying bass and more for Studio 13: http://studio13.rocks
Ibnaez BTB456 6 string / Ibanez SRC6 (x2) / Maruszczyk Jake 5A+ Custom in Blue Burst.
Ibanez RGIB6 Baritone / Paul Reed Smith S2 Custom 24 in Black Burst.
MarkBass Multiamp Mono (love it!) / Markbass Traveler 1x15 / Amplitube Max
Feedback: http://basschat.co.u...ck-for-adamg67/

#4 Sibob

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Posted 10 October 2017 - 07:37 PM

Purely out of professional curiosity, what sold you on the Presonus over a Focusrite Clarett?

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#5 adamg67

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Posted 13 October 2017 - 10:56 PM

My laptop is my (Linux) software dev environment as well as my audio machine, and other things. I could switch to Mac but it's just as propriety as Windows in the end, even if it is BSD underneath. So for now for me for audio it's Windows 10 + thunderbolt 3. That ruled Clarett out from the off as far as I could tell, no support for my setup.

I was hoping that TB3 would be the technology that made things work nicely on both platforms, but it's not looking that way just yet. So was always down to TB2 interfaces with Windows 10 support, which was pretty much UAD or the Quantum.

I liked the approach with the quantum of going for low latency and doing everything in the DAW, that's why I bought such a beefy laptop in the first place - best Macbook Pro is about half the speed, they seem to be going for thinner and lighter without updating the spec, and still charging crazy money.

It seems to work, I can run more virtual amps and effects than I'll ever need and still get stupidly low latency. Weighs a bit more than a Mac though :)

Edited by adamg67, 14 October 2017 - 08:32 AM.

For Sale: Ibanez ATK 300: http://basschat.co.u...f-bass-for-l220
Between bands after supplying bass and more for Studio 13: http://studio13.rocks
Ibnaez BTB456 6 string / Ibanez SRC6 (x2) / Maruszczyk Jake 5A+ Custom in Blue Burst.
Ibanez RGIB6 Baritone / Paul Reed Smith S2 Custom 24 in Black Burst.
MarkBass Multiamp Mono (love it!) / Markbass Traveler 1x15 / Amplitube Max
Feedback: http://basschat.co.u...ck-for-adamg67/

#6 Sibob

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Posted 14 October 2017 - 08:23 PM

 adamg67, on 13 October 2017 - 10:56 PM, said:

My laptop is my (Linux) software dev environment as well as my audio machine, and other things. I could switch to Mac but it's just as propriety as Windows in the end, even if it is BSD underneath. So for now for me for audio it's Windows 10 + thunderbolt 3. That ruled Clarett out from the off as far as I could tell, no support for my setup.

I was hoping that TB3 would be the technology that made things work nicely on both platforms, but it's not looking that way just yet. So was always down to TB2 interfaces with Windows 10 support, which was pretty much UAD or the Quantum.

I liked the approach with the quantum of going for low latency and doing everything in the DAW, that's why I bought such a beefy laptop in the first place - best Macbook Pro is about half the speed, they seem to be going for thinner and lighter without updating the spec, and still charging crazy money.

It seems to work, I can run more virtual amps and effects than I'll ever need and still get stupidly low latency. Weighs a bit more than a Mac though :)

Thanks very much, that's interesting to hear, only because Claretts are indeed supported on Windows 10, see here:

https://uk.focusrite.com/node/31789

There's some specific info on Windows & Thunderbolt here:

https://support.focu...s-Compatibility

Also interested to hear about the requirement of Thunderbolt 2 specifically, as not many people run the kind of recording setup that requires that kind of bandwidth (please do correct me if I'm wrong in your case), more info here:

https://support.focu...Interfaces-Use-

I don't think I'm aware of any TB3 interfaces yet, or any TB/TB2 devices supported (officially or otherwise) over TB3. Whilst TB3 is not a particularly new protocol, the roll-out of USB-C on PCs has been on the slow side I feel.

Please don't take this as some aggressive 'oh you should have bought this' technique, far from it, you're obviously more than happy with your interface, and that's all that matters of course. But if I can get the above info about Claretts out there a little more and seen by others who might be on a Google search, then that's a good thing :).

Cheers for replying though, happy recording!

Si // Focusrite Media Relations

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#7 adamg67

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 09:27 AM

View PostSibob, on 14 October 2017 - 08:23 PM, said:

Please don't take this as some aggressive 'oh you should have bought this' technique, far from it, you're obviously more than happy with your interface, and that's all that matters of course. But if I can get the above info about Claretts out there a little more and seen by others who might be on a Google search, then that's a good thing :).

No, not at all, it's interesting.

I think I'm a bit of an edge case (I think that's what they said...), the main thing I needed with my laptop was a developer workstation that would be a significant upgrade on my old desktop, which was creaking a bit. The machine I've got will do me for a good few years, but if you go for a top spec laptop now you won't get TB2, if it has Thunderbolt it will be TB3.

I wanted an audio workstation as well, but wasn't even 100% sure it would be the same machine. In the end it looked like a Win 10 laptop with Thunderbolt 3 would work, but I knew it would limit the options.

I actually wanted to try a Focusrite Thundebolt interface, but they really aren't supported with Thunderbolt 3, the links you posted above are pretty clear on that, on here: https://support.focu...s-Compatibility - "please note that we do not support Thunderbolt 3 connections at the time of writing", and I checked when I get the laptop. I was actually planning to make my current firewire setup do for a while, it was working initially but via 2 adapters, but then the Quantum came out and I had some issues with FW. I'm really happy with the end result, I plan to have another crack at learning to record properly next year and it works brilliantly for live use.

For the record, the Quantum is supported on Thunderbolt 3 via the Startech TB3 to TB2, and so is the UAD Apollo.
For Sale: Ibanez ATK 300: http://basschat.co.u...f-bass-for-l220
Between bands after supplying bass and more for Studio 13: http://studio13.rocks
Ibnaez BTB456 6 string / Ibanez SRC6 (x2) / Maruszczyk Jake 5A+ Custom in Blue Burst.
Ibanez RGIB6 Baritone / Paul Reed Smith S2 Custom 24 in Black Burst.
MarkBass Multiamp Mono (love it!) / Markbass Traveler 1x15 / Amplitube Max
Feedback: http://basschat.co.u...ck-for-adamg67/

#8 Sibob

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 03:20 PM

Yes, agreed, most high-end laptops now are very much TB3.
With our messaging, it's that TB3 is currently not 'officially' supported, meaning that on some systems we have certainly encountered problems (although interestingly, our testing on those systems with Quantum & Apollo interfaces has thrown up the same issues), however there may be some system hardware combinations where Claretts do work over TB3 off the bat. In any case we're currently working on releasing some very specific information about what systems and hardware configs Clarett will work over TB3 on, obviously as a result of thorough testing.

Whilst it may have been above the price point I believe you were looking at (and indeed not quite the I/O you need), it's perhaps also worth noting that our new Red 16Line is the first true Thunderbolt 3 interface in the market:
http://pro.focusrite...item/red-16line

Anyway, cheers for the feedback, it's obviously helpful to see what peoples perceptions are! :)

Cheers
Si

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#9 adamg67

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 02:18 PM

Ah yeah, I saw somewhere (SOS probably) that there was a TB3 Red, looks very nice as well, but even the Quantum was a bit of a stretch.

I could see myself with a Focsurite, they have a good reputation, but I'm hoping the Quantum will last a good long while now. Especially as I just bought an NI S88 Keyboard and a Faderport 8 as well. My new hobby is scouring the house looking for things to eBay to help pay for it all. :)
For Sale: Ibanez ATK 300: http://basschat.co.u...f-bass-for-l220
Between bands after supplying bass and more for Studio 13: http://studio13.rocks
Ibnaez BTB456 6 string / Ibanez SRC6 (x2) / Maruszczyk Jake 5A+ Custom in Blue Burst.
Ibanez RGIB6 Baritone / Paul Reed Smith S2 Custom 24 in Black Burst.
MarkBass Multiamp Mono (love it!) / Markbass Traveler 1x15 / Amplitube Max
Feedback: http://basschat.co.u...ck-for-adamg67/

#10 Kevsy71

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Posted 21 October 2017 - 12:20 PM

This is very useful info, thanks both for the details!

@Sibob, the Sound On Sound review was particularly enthusiastic about the fact that with the Quantum, you do not have to deal with an internal mixer as well as the main DAW. Is that also the case with the Claretts?(BTW I'm a Scarlett 2i2 owner and love it :))
Basses: Wal MK I, Limelight P in Sonic Blue, Vintage Fretless Jazz, shocking beater P

Chain: Boss TU-3 -》Tech21 VT Deluxe -》Trace Elliot GP11-》Behringer iNuke 3000 - 》Greenboy Dually 2x15 from Tricky Audio

I sometimes tread on: MXR delay, MXR bass envelope filter

My feedback thread: http://basschat.co.u...235157-kevsy71/

#11 Sibob

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Posted Yesterday, 10:33 AM

 Kevsy71, on 21 October 2017 - 12:20 PM, said:

This is very useful info, thanks both for the details!

@Sibob, the Sound On Sound review was particularly enthusiastic about the fact that with the Quantum, you do not have to deal with an internal mixer as well as the main DAW. Is that also the case with the Claretts?(BTW I'm a Scarlett 2i2 owner and love it :))

I think specifically it was enthusiasm about the fact that the latency is so low, that there's no need for 'direct monitoring', which you would usually setup using the manufacturers 'mixing' software, it can all be monitored via the DAW. As a result, Presonus have decided not to include any kind of control software.

All Thunderbolt interfaces have the potential for low latency, we've measured Claretts down to about 1.67m/s, 32samples @ 96kHz on a Mac (bear in mind you're highly unlikely to hear anything below 10m/s), and so direct monitoring is largely redundant in many situations.....unless you're running a MASSIVE session with a lot of plugins and are still recording parts (not really a use case).

We still include our 'Focusrite Control' software as there's more functionality that just setting direct monitor routing. But in any case, it is set and forget. If you only use one routing ever, set it, and you never have to open Focusrite Control again.

Cheers
Si // Focusrite Media Relations

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#12 adamg67

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Posted Yesterday, 11:57 AM

View PostSibob, on 22 October 2017 - 10:33 AM, said:

I think specifically it was enthusiasm about the fact that the latency is so low, that there's no need for 'direct monitoring', which you would usually setup using the manufacturers 'mixing' software, it can all be monitored via the DAW. As a result, Presonus have decided not to include any kind of control software.

From what I was reading, they've gone slightly further than that and removed everything from the hardware as well, so every input and output is as direct as possible. I'm not sure that makes any noticable difference, since as you say less than 10ms is going to be fine, but simplifying things is always good and it's not needed on thunderbolt interfaces anyway, and is just confusing. That also removes the need for any DSP to make direct monitoring sound better, which is another confusing dupliction gone.

I think I've got this right (my maths is shocking sometimes), if the speed of sound in air is 1,000 feet per second, then 1ms latency is like standing an extra foot away from your amp when you're playing.

I'm playing it safe with the Quantum with buffer sizes and dropout protection and still getting 3-4 ms round trip times according to the DAW.

I do like the fact that all the stuff on the Quantum like pre amp and headphone levels is controllable from software, the interface sits on a shelf to the side of my desk and I only have to touch it to switch it on.
For Sale: Ibanez ATK 300: http://basschat.co.u...f-bass-for-l220
Between bands after supplying bass and more for Studio 13: http://studio13.rocks
Ibnaez BTB456 6 string / Ibanez SRC6 (x2) / Maruszczyk Jake 5A+ Custom in Blue Burst.
Ibanez RGIB6 Baritone / Paul Reed Smith S2 Custom 24 in Black Burst.
MarkBass Multiamp Mono (love it!) / Markbass Traveler 1x15 / Amplitube Max
Feedback: http://basschat.co.u...ck-for-adamg67/





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