Currently, I use an Apogee Duet 2 as my audio interface. This is plugged directly into my MacBook Pro via the USB adaptor.
Does anyone have any experience using an audio interface through a dock? Is there a simple way I could test Dorico’s performance with this setup (via Caldigit TB3 Plus) vs being plugged directly to my Mac?
I suggest reducing the buffer size as far as it will go and still run smoothly without any audio sputters - seeing how close you can get to the published minimum latency of your interface.
Latency = buffer size / sample rate
That would let you pragmatically measure any latency differences between going direct and not with your rig. Make sure it’s apples to apples and you don’t have anything slowing your system down that would make a false test.
I have my UR-22C connected to my MacBook Pro via an Anker dock, and I’ve never had any kind of performance problem with it. Being able to connect everything to my MacBook Pro via a single cable has been hugely convenient.
While it seems counterintuitive, audio streams are actually pretty small in the grand scheme of things, which is why you can have even large interfaces with 24channels of simultaneous I/O that are [still] only rated as USB 2.0. So the issue will not be the load/pressure of data, so much as the data controller on your usb hub. As long as you have a high quality hub, you shouldn’t have any issues, especially if you’re only doing 2 channel audio. The only thing that might cause issues is if it is a slow hub (usb 2) and you also have some other hugely taxing task going on, like writing a backup of your hard drive to an SSD at the same time. But if you have a modern port and hub (usb 3.0+) you aren’t likely to max it out even then.
What he said. USB 2 has enough streaming bandwidth (it was designed for hard disks!) for many channels, but audio latency (e.g. round trip ping time in mS) is more important to avoid crackles. For a small punky (sorry!) interface like the Duet do whatever you want - but if you’re curious check the latency delta with a hub interposed if you can (Nuendo/Cubase tell you this as do other DAW’s).
The Big Boy truly professional interfaces - like the Focusrite RED line I use - are Thunderbolt, because my RED4PRE for example has 58 in/64 out. With it I get latency down under 10mS IIRC. I also have a Focusrite Clarett which is 18in/20out and is USB 2, with IIRC latency in the teens.
I have a Motu interface, and they are renown for their optimized drivers; my latency is only about 4-5ms. Absolutely imperceptible. Heck—even my cheap Presonus audiobox96 running at 48k and 128sample block size is only 5.9ms into Studio One and 5.6 out, so only 11.5ms round trip.