I use the same laptop to run my VSTs with cantabile at home and on the road. At home I have no problem with audio glitches. My VSTs route through my Roland RD88 keyboard which acts as my ASIO audio interface. When traveling, I use my Focusrite 2i4 gen2 and during the last two perforamces I have noticed these audio glitches which I would describe as shuttering. I am using the exact same Cantabile saved song (same VSTs).
My somewhat naive view of VSTs is that they are mostly processed by the computer so I didn’t really think that the audio interface mattered as long as it was ASIO but this doesn’t seem to be the case. So, do some audio interfaces run VSTs better than other interfaces? If so, what audio interfaces woudl you recommend if I have around $500 to spend?
I often have about 6 instances of Kontact running within Cantabile. With the RD88, I have the beffer set to 192 and that is what I was running the focusrite at. I moved the focusrite buffer up to 256 but that didn’t seem to change anything.
Same PC, different audio interface… seems like the problem is the Focusrite driver. It’s self explanatory.
One of the best audio interface is the RME Babyface Pro FS. It’s currently unavailable (at least in Europe), and the price is a bit higher than your budget ($750). Try to look for a second hand one, if you are interested in. RME supports their interfaces for many years, as opposed to most mainstream brands.
I’ve never been a fan of the 1st and 2nd generation Focusrite interfaces in terms of low-latency performance. Besides the (pretty expensive but great!) RME range, you could look at the Zoom UAC-2 - definitely within your price range and very good low-latency performance. If you want more outputs, look at the Audient iD14 MKII - also solid and good quality.
Just a health check: when you are on the road, you ARE running your laptop on mains power - correct? No matter what optimizations you make (“Glitch Free” ebook etc), running a laptop on batteries is inviting audio disaster - it will keep trying to optimize its battery life and wreck audio performance…
Thanks, I am running the laptop off AC power. I did make a mistake for one live event and notice that I was getting a lot of audio glitches and after the fact learned the AC plug wasn’t quite in all the way and it was running off battery power.
Also thanks for the recommendations on the audio interfaces. I do “need” one with a 5 pin midi…I guess I could always do an external 5 pin midi box but when traveling it is nice to keep the pieces of equipment to a minimum. The Zoom interface is interesting since it has 5 pin midi. I will look at some other RME interfaces and see if there are any with 5 pin midi. I’m not opposed to spending more than $500 if I am sure the performance improvements are worth it.
When I purchased my Roland RD88, I didn’t realize how nice it is to have a keyboard with a built in ASIO interface. Just plug one USB cable into the computer and all your VSTs can run through your keyboard. I’m not sure how many keyboards have this feature a my last keyboard purchase was in the early 2000s, but this is somethign I would be sure and look for in future keyboards.