MR816 latency performance

Could MR816 users please post the kind of low latency performance they’ve been able to squeeze out of this audio interface.

I’ve never used firewire interface, always been pci based and am wondering how it fairs to other interfaces, both firewire and pci/e.

I’m a heavy soft-synth/fx user using LOTS of cpu power, so ASIO performance is paramount. Can the MR816 really stack up to the low latency lower cpu of good pci cards?. I wouldn’t expect RME performance, but hopefully at least matching say an Emu1820m?.

In terms of latency, it doesn’t compare to best-of-class PCI performance from RME or Lynx, but nothing much does. You just still can’t beat the best PCI interfaces. But we’re talking miniscule performance gains on a modern computer with PCI vs firewire… and honestly, we’ve passed the point of it being an issue if you have a current computer. CPU headroom being what it is now, in practice, this difference is not very noticeable. Ergonomics, workflow, features, sound quality, integration, stability, etc… those carry as much or more weight with me now. That’s why I’ve now felt totally comfortable using the MR for heavy VSTi work… the performance issue is no longer the driving force for my decision.

In the realm of firewire interfaces, the MR holds its own, in the upper class for low-latency firewire performance on Win 7, in my experience compared to many other interfaces, including RME. But it’s not the best there is… frankly, I had a MOTU unit in here with some very nice low-latency performance… yes, even on Windows. RME might use fewer resources from some tests I ran last year, but the last time I checked, RME’s firewire driver didn’t go down to 32 sample latency, which the MR does. That might have changed by now, it’s been a while since I used RME firewire stuff. And BTW, I can’t vouch for performance on OSX.

On an i7 class machine I can easily run the MR at 32 sample latency with Cubase with a TI-based firewire card, although I don’t use that setting in production. Like most other firewire interfaces, the MR series appears to have an added safety buffer, but again, that’s not an issue in practice.

I comfortably run the MR at 128 sample latency for fairly large projects all day long on a machine also configured with VE Pro, which streams to another machine over the network and back, and it is still very playable (to me… a drummer might disagree :slight_smile: ). I’d probably feel comfortable at 64 sample latency on this machine, but 128 seems to be the magic sweet spot for my personal needs for most projects with enough headroom for lots of plugins, and I’m used to the latency for VSTi work. Your mileage may vary. I used to be sensitive to any delay around 128 samples and up, but I’m either getting older (and slower) or have just adapted. :wink:

I know all that’s not scientific, but my suggestion is to try one out on your system and see what happens. :slight_smile: If you buy one, make sure you buy it from a place that will take it back if you don’t get the latency/performance you want.

For me, there is only one other unit in this class, and that’s RME (I utterly dislike the MOTU preamps, so MOTU is out, unfortunately), and whatever advantage I get out of RME (Totalmix and possibly slightly less system resource usage from the driver), is made up for in what I consider superior sound from the MR (I’ve never been an RME preamp fan either) and integration into Cubase… not to mention cost savings so I can buy other tools. Frankly, I feel the MR is the best bang for the buck on the market right now. I do love RME’s Totalmix, but in the end, I decided on the MR for my Cubase rig and I’ve been really satisfied.

Hope that helps a little! Again, your experience may be totally different than mine. Good luck!

I would agree 100% with the post above. My experience has been exactly the same with my 816’s. I have an RME 9652 card in my machine as well and despite it being lower latency for the same buffer size I use my 816 's via FW all the time as the integration with cubase means no total mix to deal with.

I too run all my projects at 128 as it is a sweet spot for performance and that includes working to picture too which can be quite intensive on your performance. I can run at 64 for a lot of things if I want but there seems no point as I use direct monitoring from the 816 so it’s latency free anyway. At 128 V.I.'s respond well and I can add/track V.I.'s even at the end of a large plugin filled project at 128 samples, so all good :smiley:


Norburry I noticed your motherboard. I’m also using a core i7 on a Gigabyte EX58-UD5 (rev1). Are you using the Gigabytes internal TI firewire to hook up the MR816 or a seperate card?

Also just how much actual total cpu% (not what the ASIO meter is saying) are you able to squeeze out of it before it starts spiking and crackling whilst using the MR816?

Depends entirely on the project and what plugins are being used, but I’ve tested past 85%+ on my own projects with no worries. With DAWbench ( I’ve been able to push the machine even higher, well over 90%. The driver remains stable and responsive even under high load with Cubase. But an errant or demanding plugin could easily cause a spike at very low latencies, especially the way VST3 works with smart CPU utilization. You could get to a passage in your production where a bunch of plugins kick in, etc…

Again, this isn’t the primary limiting factor. If you’re pushing your machine passed 70-80%, you’re in the market for another CPU or alternate solution like VE Pro and networked computers (which is what I do). :slight_smile: The big questions are if the features and sound are what you want/need in your studio. It passes the performance test pretty well. It’s only one of a couple of firewire devices I’ve ever heard recommended by a certain DAW builder for performance. You can guess that RME is one of the other ones mentioned.

BTW, for the record, I’m using all ADS or SIIG firewire cards (some PCI, some PCI Express) with TI chips. They all seem to perform about the same. One of the models is an ADS card from a certified Avid/Digi list which works with Pro Tools, and it turns out to work beautifully with the MR. Those seem to be hard to find nowadays, but the SIIG models seem to work well too. I do not bother with onboard firewire anymore, even if it’s TI-based. I had one Gigabyte-based DAW just a couple of years ago give me a few troubles, and when I switched to ADS, it immediately worked better. Your mileage, as usual, may vary! :slight_smile: