View Single Post
Old 05-11-2013, 08:10 AM
nst7 nst7 is offline
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Cincinnati OH
Posts: 9,775
Default Re: What's the difference between HD Native and HDX?


If you are just running native plugins using HDX, it will be just your computer processing them. HDX will still take some load off the computer in that case, because I believe it handles the mixing as well, and obviously the tracking and I/O. But I'm not sure how tracking through plugins would work in that situation, because I thought I heard that HDX actually has slightly more latency tracking through native plugins than purely native systems. Maybe someone could elaborate on that.

As for the HD Native card, I have learned a bit more since my previous posts in this thread (which were a while ago), since I now am actually using the system.

Basically, there is very little processing on the native card. In practical terms, it may be more stable at very high track counts than typical consumer interfaces. Some people coming from older interfaces like the Mbox 2 or 002/003 have reported somewhat lower CPU usage running the exact same sessions. I compared it to a much newer interface, the Komplete Audio 6, and found no improvement that I could tell. This is not a negative thing, as both systems were very efficient.

When it comes to latency, you will notice lower latency at any given buffer size vs. typical firewire/usb interfaces. This is from a combination of the efficiently designed Avid HD interfaces (which literally convert the analog to digital faster), and that fact that it's PCIe based, along with whatever little processing is done on the card. 64 is more like 32, 128 is more like 64, etc.

Note that my experience even on usb/firewire interfaces has been very good in terms of latency. A 64 buffer on typical usb/firewire interfaces sounds like real time/no latency to me, whether singing or using amp sims, etc. So much so that I never bothered with 32 because 64 was perfect. With HD Native, that is improved even more.

One other improvement in latency that seems to be unique to HD Native is the use of VI's. It seems much faster. Sometimes I'll be messing around with a VI and then realize I was on a buffer of 1024, thinking I was on more like 128 or 256. Previously, this would be very obvious, but not so much now. Keep in mind that VI's are only using D to A conversion, not the round trip of both A/D and D/A. And it may be that the D/A portion of the Avid interfaces is even faster than the (already improved) A/D portion.

Also note that I'm just using a 2010 Quad core 2.8 Mac Pro. No fancy 12 core, etc.

Also, if for some reason you're having problems with latency, the Omni has a low latency process that can be switched on for inputs 1-2, which is similar to how it worked on a 003, in that plugins on that track are bypassed, and it's a direct analog path. This feature is only on the Omni, not the HD IO's.

When HD11 comes out, based on early reports, all of this will be dramatically improved, making HD Native a more viable option than ever.

Hopefully some of this will aid your decision. If most of your plugins are native anyway, it may be overkill to go to HDX.
Reply With Quote