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View Full Version : When can we expect a Thunderbolt Audio Interface?




petrucci666
Aug 24, 2011, 03:10 PM
Just got a MBA and since Apple is really pushing the Thunderbolt technology onto the new notebooks and since Apple has one of the leading (if not THE leading) DAW in the marketplace at the moment, I'm assuming the accessories manufacturers will eventually follow suit in the transition to Thunderbolt.

When can we expect e.g. M-Audio to come up with a TB interface?

p.s. I know none of you know anything precise, but just figured it would make a good topic of discussion.



ChrisA
Aug 24, 2011, 03:46 PM
Just got a MBA and since Apple is really pushing the Thunderbolt technology onto the new notebooks and since Apple has one of the leading (if not THE leading) DAW in the marketplace at the moment, I'm assuming the accessories manufacturers will eventually follow suit in the transition to Thunderbolt.

When can we expect e.g. M-Audio to come up with a TB interface?

p.s. I know none of you know anything precise, but just figured it would make a good topic of discussion.

I doubt we will see TB audio. Thet way it will work is you buy a TB-Firewire converter or a TB to optical converter or TB-USB3 or whatever

Icaras
Aug 24, 2011, 04:54 PM
I doubt we will see TB audio. Thet way it will work is you buy a TB-Firewire converter or a TB to optical converter or TB-USB3 or whatever

Yes, we will.

http://news.apogeedigital.com/index.php/press-releases/43-press-releases/190-apogee-electronics-announces-audio-interface-development-based-upon-intels-thunderbolt-technology-for-connection-to-thunderbolt-equipped-apple-computers

jmacnash
Aug 24, 2011, 06:43 PM
Several companies are currently working on TB audio interfaces. Expect lots of announcements in January at Winter NAMM and in April at Musikmesse.

Big Boss Man
Aug 26, 2011, 10:18 AM
Yes, we will.

http://news.apogeedigital.com/index.php/press-releases/43-press-releases/190-apogee-electronics-announces-audio-interface-development-based-upon-intels-thunderbolt-technology-for-connection-to-thunderbolt-equipped-apple-computers

It sounds like Apogee is going to update the Symphony I/O first. The Duet 2 just came out a little while ago. It might be a couple years before we see a small TB interface from them.

Icaras
Aug 26, 2011, 05:36 PM
It sounds like Apogee is going to update the Symphony I/O first. The Duet 2 just came out a little while ago. It might be a couple years before we see a small TB interface from them.

Yea, I agree. Starting at the top of the food chain, then going down to the prosumer/consumer devices makes sense, given the high prices.

I can definitely see a Thunderbolt Duet 3 in a couple of years :D I can't imagine how tiny the latency must be once we get there.

dented42ford
Aug 26, 2011, 11:20 PM
Yea, I agree. Starting at the top of the food chain, then going down to the prosumer/consumer devices makes sense, given the high prices.

I can definitely see a Thunderbolt Duet 3 in a couple of years :D I can't imagine how tiny the latency must be once we get there.

Um, Latency is more an issue with the way the drivers are written and the way the computer handles the information than with the connection standard itself - Thunderbolt is limited to the capabilities of the PCIe bus on whatever computer it is connected to.

As it stands, 20 Gb/s isn't quite enough to handle HIGH END audio stuff - though it is more than enough for something like a Duet, or even an Ensemble - 8 channels of 24/192 is only 32 kbit/s, after all, or 64 duplex. The issue is not with bandwidth but with the control interface and drivers, and the bottlenecks introduced in the hardware BEYOND the actual PCIe bus - and from what I understand, the current limitations are actually pretty heavy (hence the issues Apogee had with Symphony Mobile)...

KeithPratt
Aug 27, 2011, 09:49 AM
As it stands, 20 Gb/s isn't quite enough to handle HIGH END audio stuff

Say what?

TheRdungeon
Aug 27, 2011, 09:54 PM
Hmm the MBA has a slower TB port, hope that doesn't trip you up but it seems like they're preparing some sort of dock type thing to plug into the MBPs and keeping the MBA at consumer level with its slower TB port

dented42ford
Aug 28, 2011, 01:10 PM
Say what?

Look into actual data rates for 32 and 64 track systems - as in, the ones that right now require PCIe to work. The Apogee Symphony (64) system and Pro Tools HD come to mind - the Symphony 64 can support 128 tracks of I/O, theoretically, on a single 4x PCIe card, but in order to do so it is straining the specs to the max, and there is a reason Avid limits the number of I/O's you can link to a single card.

I don't know what the architecture of Thunderbolt is really like, but I do know that the current implementation can't be a replacement for existing PRO LEVEL PCIe solutions. 20Gb/s is just under what the 4x PCIe spec is - that is all I meant. For prosumer level stuff it is fine, I'm sure - and for mobile solutions (see symphony mobile) it is already vastly superior to FireWire or USB (both of which have pretty severe limitations). But I can't see it replacing PCI-based systems in installation audio (ie studios) for a while.

KeithPratt
Aug 29, 2011, 06:21 AM
Look into actual data rates for 32 and 64 track systems - as in, the ones that right now require PCIe to work.

20Gb/s is bandwidth enough for over 4000 channels of 24/192.

drunkenrobot
Sep 2, 2011, 01:30 PM
Look into actual data rates for 32 and 64 track systems - as in, the ones that right now require PCIe to work. The Apogee Symphony (64) system and Pro Tools HD come to mind - the Symphony 64 can support 128 tracks of I/O, theoretically, on a single 4x PCIe card, but in order to do so it is straining the specs to the max, and there is a reason Avid limits the number of I/O's you can link to a single card.

I don't know what the architecture of Thunderbolt is really like, but I do know that the current implementation can't be a replacement for existing PRO LEVEL PCIe solutions. 20Gb/s is just under what the 4x PCIe spec is - that is all I meant. For prosumer level stuff it is fine, I'm sure - and for mobile solutions (see symphony mobile) it is already vastly superior to FireWire or USB (both of which have pretty severe limitations). But I can't see it replacing PCI-based systems in installation audio (ie studios) for a while.

Thunderbolt is PCIe. It's a protocol-less interface based on PCIe. A single PCIe lane is only 8Gbps in v3, making Thunderbolt 12Gbps faster. BlackMagic's Thunderbolt Ultrastudio 3D can do 4:4:4 12K uncompressed 3D video... Audio will be no problem whatsoever for Thunderbolt. You could easily do 128 channels of 24/192 on Thunderbolt without even stressing the bus.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thunderbolt_(interface)

http://www.blackmagic-design.com/products/ultrastudio3d/

http://news.apogeedigital.com/index.php/press-releases/43-press-releases/190-apogee-electronics-announces-audio-interface-development-based-upon-intels-thunderbolt-technology-for-connection-to-thunderbolt-equipped-apple-computers

SoundByter
Sep 8, 2011, 06:41 PM
If and when they do start using thunderbolt it will be a HUGE upgrade considering most audio interfaces don't even use fw800...

mlong547
Sep 21, 2011, 09:47 PM
Hmm the MBA has a slower TB port, hope that doesn't trip you up but it seems like they're preparing some sort of dock type thing to plug into the MBPs and keeping the MBA at consumer level with its slower TB port

It isn't slower, it just can't handle two displays like the MacBook Pro. It is still 10 Gbps.