Audio Interface question for Cubase 9

Hi guys,

I’m going to use Cubase 9 for music creation but I’m only going to use virtual instruments and a usb midi keyboard so I don’t really need an audio interface with inputs. My PC onboard audio is really bad so I wonder if I can use an external DAC like Shiit Modi to bypass the internal audio. Will this work well with Cubase ? I want to avoid crackling sounds and latency issues. Or do I need an audio interface after all ?

For an audio interface try to avoid USB audio interfaces. They tend to have higher latency and get stuck on the USB ports. I have a Soundblaster ZxR in the slot of my comp. It works really well. I had an Focusrite USB Audio, it got tsuck all the time on the USB and had to be reset. I am happy now with my ZXR Sounblaster working at 5ms or lower latency, cubase 9 records without a hick or glitch… and i can insert a tonn of plugs and vsti…

I would think that the vast majority of external audio interfaces are connected by USB. Mine (at this time) included. Never had a a problem at all.

To the OP…

I am not familiar with the Schiit Modi but, Steinberg recommends to use ASIO compatable audio hardware.

Regards :sunglasses:

The thing about music creation is that it never goes in the direction we expect. To discount audio at this early stage is possibly to have regrets at a later stage. Even if you create music via midi you will eventually want to mix it down to audio. This means that a decent soundcard that handles audio properly is important.

I used to think like Denis van der Velde, but since using my RME Fireface UC USB soundcard I really have not had any issues with latency. I doubt very much that you will experience much, if any, latency using primarily midi. You might find the cheaper USB Audient cards like the iD4 will suit anything you throw at it. I have a friend who sings it’s praises.

Like Prock and Silhouette I have no problems using various USB Audio interfaces (including one of the Steinberg ones). Maybe an issue with Macs but I don’t know? This is not to say that the Soundblaster ZxR card won’t do the job…it looks like a good ASIO driven option if you want a card rather than a USB interface.

I also tend to agree with silhouette regards getting a card with audio inputs…at least a stereo input!

Sticking an USB 3.0 product into an UBS2.0 port… that works great.
All i say is USB can work, but i rather have a good soundcard into a slot.

As you are/have invested in a pro audio production software, sound blasters and other low end consumer devices need to be give a wide berth. You might get lucky but better you invest in a product for the job by a branded, well known audio interface company. They are likely to have properly coded drivers for low latency audio IO for a start.

I use slotted cards as I have had good experience with them for decades. However they are actually becoming increasingly rare at the budget end for a home musician. You do not have a huge number of budget options available and I suspect that this will increasingly become the case. The best 2 in / 2 out is probably the RME HDSP etc, then you have a company called Marian and ESI. Also consider PCI and whether your motherboard or future motherboard will have such a slot. (Usually you need to be careful choosing a motherboard for PC these days as the vast majority do not have a PCI slot present, only PCI-E)

I think it is a case of researching and finding out other peoples experiences when it comes to the USB2.0/3.0 side of things, it may be the case that results become a little more system specific with USB relative to what devices you have attached to the system (using USB hub bandwidth). I for example have an Access Virus under TI USB control and I would not wish to upset that as it seems to be working well at the moment. Again, having loads of dongles, hard drives, and other devices set up could interfere with the reliability of audio data streams in and out.

Do as much research as possible before hand.

The soundblaster ZXR is high quality and very very low latency, updated drivers really good.

My steinberg ur44 usb 2 interface served me well with excellent latency.

Hi Ftw,

I think the best way is to borrow an external DAC and give it a go. I use a Mytek Brooklyn as an external DAC on mac with no problem, but can’t speak for how it would work on PC.

If you are going to use an external DAC, rather than an ASIO sound-card or USB interface, then I would strongly suggest checking it works in person (as Richard suggests above).

The vast majority of users here are on ASIO interfaces or sound cards…which isn’t to say a DAC won’t work (again as Richard has one working on a MAC based system).

i your on budget;

  • komplete audio 6
  • focusrite scarlet 2i2

if $ isnt a problem;

  • RME Fireface UFX
  • Universal Audio Apollo 16 Thunderbolt 2 Audio Interface

In general the vast majority of audio interfaces sold these days are USB interfaces and there is no latency issues with them. Saying otherwise is just false information.
While Soundblaster cards are probably fine for everyday computer usage, it’s not exactly what anyone would refer to as a interface for Pro Audio. For Creative Labs who are the manufacture of Sounblaster cards, they have their Pro Audio line of cards called EMU. These I have seen several times having very poor driver updates when a new Windows version came out, and they simply never updated their drivers.