When can we expect a Thunderbolt Audio Interface?

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by petrucci666, Aug 24, 2011.

  1. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2009
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #1
    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.
     
  2. macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #2
    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
     
  3. macrumors 601

    Icaras

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2008
    Location:
    California, United States
    #3
  4. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2011
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    #4
    Several companies are currently working on TB audio interfaces. Expect lots of announcements in January at Winter NAMM and in April at Musikmesse.
     
  5. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2006
    #5
  6. macrumors 601

    Icaras

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2008
    Location:
    California, United States
    #6
    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.
     
  7. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2010
    #7
    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)...
     
  8. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2007
    #8
    Say what?
     
  9. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2011
    #9
    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
     
  10. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2010
    #10
    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.
     
  11. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2007
    #11
    20Gb/s is bandwidth enough for over 4000 channels of 24/192.
     
  12. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2011
    #12
    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
     
  13. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2010
    #13
    If and when they do start using thunderbolt it will be a HUGE upgrade considering most audio interfaces don't even use fw800...
     
  14. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2011
    #14
    It isn't slower, it just can't handle two displays like the MacBook Pro. It is still 10 Gbps.
     

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