THUNDERBOLT Audio Interface Win 10 Compatability (Resident Audio T4)

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Jeff Newton, Jan 7, 2017.

  1. Jeff Newton

    Jeff Newton

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    Hi -

    I'm a Detroit Jazz musician (saxophone and piano).

    I purchased:

    1. ASUS Transformer 3 Pro tablop. It's a Microsoft Surface Pro 4 clone with a Thunderbolt 3 port; and

    2. Resident Audio T4 Thunderbolt audio interface.

    I can't get the ASUS to recognize the RA.....

    According to RA customer support, the T4 works on Mac and on ONLY Win 8 - NOT on Win 10.

    I have to use a Startech TB 3 to TB2 adapter as well, but other audio interface companies report its success with other computers.

    The RA T4 is the ONLY TB bus powered interface on the market, and only $250. It's light and small. It's next competitor is the Focusrite Clarett 4 Pre at $600, 3.5 pounds, and NOT bus powered. I want to busk (street musician) with this set up, as well as play "normal" gigs in bars, etc. Everything else is battery powered.

    There is an advanced tech person/musician on the GearSlutz Forum (he makes music computers) who asserts that he has succeeded in using the RA T4 with Win 10 and the Startech TB2 to TB3 adapter.

    I've tried everything, including trying to "fool" the ASUS into thinking it's a Win 8 machine by loading Win 8 TB drivers into it.... NOTHING works.

    The ASUS has a 512 SSD hard drive, 16 gigs of RAM, and a i7 6500 OU CPU. The Chipset is listed as "Integrated Intel CPU."

    Its Thunderbolt port is stated as being USB-C 3.1 - Thunderbolt.

    There is a Win 10 compatibility checker, but it's only available to those upgrading from 8, etc. My machine came with Win 10.

    I can't believe that the RA T4 won't work with Win 10 when it will with Win 8. Of course, RA says it has no plans to make it work, a stance that I fail to comprehend, especially since this product is "one of a kind."

    Any help in running a compatibility check or a tweak to make it work would be most appreciated!

    Thanks,

    - Jeff Newton (Detroit Jazz Saxophonist and Pianist)
     
    Jeff Newton, Jan 7, 2017
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  2. Jeff Newton

    Digerati

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    Then shame on them for not being current! There is no excuse, IMO, for a current production piece of hardware that is marketed as Windows device too, to not support the latest version of Windows.

    Their webpage says the same thing (Windows 8).

    Do note that Thunderbolt is an Apple protocol, developed with Intel. If you really are set on using a Windows based computer, you probably should look at using an audio interface designed for Windows 10. Otherwise, you should probably look at a Mac.
     
    Digerati, Jan 7, 2017
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  3. Jeff Newton

    Jeff Newton

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    There are only a limited number of Thunderbolt audio interfaces, and almost all of them are crazy expensive and for Mac. That said, TB is the wave of the future for music production, and TB3 ports are popping up in Windows 10 machines. I expect TB3, Win 10 interfaces to appear in the near future, with some at reasonable prices. Obviously, RA is no supporting this product and may be replacing it for all I know - they won't say.

    Does anybody know how to run the compatibility checker AFTER Win 10 has been installed?
     
    Jeff Newton, Jan 7, 2017
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  4. Jeff Newton

    Digerati

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    You are right, but that IN NOW WAY means legacy products will automatically be supported. It is up to the hardware maker to provide and ensure their products support the latest protocols with updated Windows drivers and/or updated firmware.

    As far as I know, the compatibility checker does not run on W10. It is designed to run on W7/W8.

    When I look at the official Thunderbolt List of Compatible Products, no Resident Audio devices are listed.

    Again, Thunderbolt is an Apple interface. While more and more Windows based systems are supporting TB, there is guarantee it will become an industry standard - especially when USB is still very much alive, and cheaper to implement. History has shown us many times over the years that the better technology does not always become the standard.
     
    Digerati, Jan 7, 2017
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  5. Jeff Newton

    Jeff Newton

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    Thanks for that list! I just checked it - it's a TB list. RA isn't on it, but neither is Focusrite, a big audio interface manufacturer that makes TB interfaces.

    There are VERY few USB 3 audio interfaces, and the reason is that USB 3 will not be the future of audio interfaces, TB will, due to its superior speed and methodology (that's no my opinion; it's what those in the industry say). RA is a "niche" manufacturer. Their T4 interface is unique to the market, being bus powered. USB sends info in "packets" and TB in "streams" = better for audio. In any event, it looks like I'll just have to wait!
     
    Jeff Newton, Jan 7, 2017
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  6. Jeff Newton

    Digerati

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    I agree, but there's USB 3.1, USB-C, and no doubt USB 4.0 is just 3 years out and supposedly will be 10 times faster than Thunderbird - and of course backwards compatible with the 100s of millions of existing USB devices.
     
    Digerati, Jan 7, 2017
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  7. Jeff Newton

    Jeff Newton

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    That may be so, but quite frankly, Firewire worked perfectly fine, and Apple f-ed that up royally. So today, the audio interface industry is a total mess. Unless one is using 100s of plug ins, all that speed isn't really needed. In my case, all I'm trying to do is to lower the latency to a level that it doesn't f-up my be bop piano playing. And, thanks to Apple and its BS business practices, I can't do that. No Apple fan here, at all! I would NEVER buy any of their products, ever!
     
    Jeff Newton, Jan 7, 2017
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  8. Jeff Newton

    Jeff Newton

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    FWIW, I just got off an interactive chat with Microsoft, where the tech took over my ASUS. He said the RA interface did not "show up" at all. What really p-s me off is that it's probably one puny line of code that is all that's needed to make my system work!
     
    Jeff Newton, Jan 7, 2017
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  9. Jeff Newton

    Digerati

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    Well then you probably should have stayed away from Thunderbolt in the first place. It is not the only way to go. You might check out M-Audio products.
     
    Digerati, Jan 7, 2017
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  10. Jeff Newton

    Jeff Newton

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    I'm also not an M-Audio fan. There are hundreds of USB 2.0 audio interfaces on the market. I already have a USB 2.0 interface that is too high in the latency department, as they all are. I need the lower latency that TB provides. That said, there are several USB devices that I am considering, as well as FW ones. There is one TB unit, the Focusrite 4 Pre, that (according to them) will work, but it's not bus powered. As far as I can tell, the interface industry is simply a step behind the computer industry in this area, and will catch up. As to TB itself, it's clearly no longer just an Apple thing, just as Firewire wasn't.
     
    Jeff Newton, Jan 7, 2017
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  11. Jeff Newton

    Digerati

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    I did not say it is "just" an Apple thing. But it is not the industry standard and you seem to want it to be.
    :( Did you even look at the M-Audio products? I think not or you would have seen that many support USB-C.

    That said, even USB 2.0 supports 480Mbps bandwidth so if you are having legacy issues, it is not because of USB 2.0.

    http://www.edn.com/design/consumer/4376143/1/Fundamentals-of-USB-Audio

    I think you are continuing this debate because you are not hearing what you WANT to hear. Can't help you there. Your device does not support W10. What can I say other than replace it with one that does.

    Have a good day.
     
    Digerati, Jan 8, 2017
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  12. Jeff Newton

    Jeff Newton

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    I don't see any M-Audio TB interfaces offered. The only one I found has been discontinued. Guitar Center, etc. do offer some entry level M-Audio USB 2 units.

    I already have a USB 2 interface (Presonus Audiobox). I'm hoping for lower latency with a TB interface. I can't verify if this will actually occur, for the reasons apparent. Allegedly, USB 3 offers lower latency, and the ZOOM UAC 2 is available in this regard. However, it's only 2 inputs, and I want 4. I don't see any other USB 3 interfaces currently being offered (at least not in my price range. I didn't check the 2K+ units...).

    I'm a musician, not a computer geek. However, my understanding is that USB transmits data "in packets" while TB and FW use continuous streams of data. I would think the latter is superior for music applications. I do have a Presonus Firepod Project, which I may be able to use at home (it requires a PSU, and is therefore not suitable for outside performances; it's also a full rack mount size). I achieved better latency with that unit and an HP 4 gig laptop than with either my current 8 gig Lenovo laptop or my new ASUS 16 gig tablop with 512 gig SSD, so there must be something better for my purposes about FW or TB, hence my interest in these subjects.

    What I'm trying to achieve is the marriage of keyboard and sound, as in an acoustic piano. This is a "big deal" for pianists, and digital pianos are judged by their success in this area. Sampled virtual pianos are often superior to slab encased ones, but their latency sucks when one is trying to play like McCoy, Chick, Keith, Herbie, etc.

    From what I've read, TB will be the industry standard, and I expect TB3 interfaces to appear shortly. I'm hoping that my friends at Resident Audio have stopped supporting the T4 (a unique product) only because they are coming out with a 4 mic input, TB3, bus powered interface. Wishful thinking? Perhaps.... Otherwise, their decision to drop support for the T4 is nonsensical. Who uses Win 8, anyway? Isn't Win 10 merely the finished product, just as Win 7 was to the dreaded Vista?

    My reason for posting here is the hope that an advanced computer person will offer a solution or workaround. My understanding is that Win 10 isn't all that different "under the hood" than Win 8, so a slight tweak to the drivers, etc. might do the trick.

    Then again, I've not received any solution based responses as of yet.

    As of this writing, the RA T4 is the only bus powered TB interface, so there are no "replacements." If I have to throw in the towel on this thing, I'll buy an inexpensive USB 2 device and wait.

    Have a great day!
     
    Jeff Newton, Jan 8, 2017
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  13. Jeff Newton

    Digerati

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    :rolleyes: Which just illustrates my point. You are only hearing what you want to hear.
    In many cases W8 or even W7 drivers work just fine in W10. But not in all cases. But once again, it is up the hardware maker to do any driver "tweaking" to make the device compatible with W10. Not a forum poster.

    Sorry, but if you want to use your TB device, you are going to have buy a TB compatible tablet to support it. And your best bet there is an Apple tablet.
     
    Digerati, Jan 8, 2017
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  14. Jeff Newton

    Saltgrass

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    You have checked for updates with ASUS. I see there is a Thunderbolt firmware update from 12/29 2016 but I do not know if it is relevant.

    The RT folks seem to imply they are a new company.. maybe the way Win 10 is doing continuing updates is causing them problems.

    Have you used the Thunderbolt for any other devices, such as a video output?
     
    Saltgrass, Jan 10, 2017
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  15. Jeff Newton

    Jeff Newton

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    Hi - that TB update is for a gaming application, so not relevant. I downloaded all of the updates from the ASUS Transformer 3 Pro site, including the 8-11-16 TB firmware update.

    Those pesky Win 10 auto updates are causing ME problems! I don't want that! I want control over updates. My guess is that RA is developing a TB3 native unit, but you could be correct as well (or in addition to).

    Good point about the integrity of the TB port itself. No, I don't have any other TB devices! There is HDMI port on the ASUS.

    The TB port is also the charging port, and it works fine for that. Unfortunately, the battery sucks, and I can foresee running out of juice with no way of charging if the TB port is in use for music stuff.
     
    Jeff Newton, Jan 10, 2017
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  16. Jeff Newton

    Digerati

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    Except the way W10 does updates it not really any different than the default settings of W7 or W8. The "default" distribution method may be a bit different, but Windows Update itself is pretty much the same.

    While the company seems to have started in 2014, they claim to have "an extraordinary team of audio professionals who have a long history in creating cutting-edge hardware and software for musicians. In fact, Resident Audio engineers have developed many well-known products that you or someone you know are probably already using." So they are not total newbies here.

    Plus, it is important to note that Microsoft released to developers, the necessary hardware protocols at least a full year before W10 was released to the public - and that was in July 2015. So RT has had over 2 years to work with W10 - plenty of time to push out a W10 driver if they wanted, or a new model of this device that natively supports W10.
     
    Digerati, Jan 10, 2017
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  17. Jeff Newton

    Jeff Newton

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    Thanks for the info regarding the protocol release. That makes RA's intransigence all the more puzzling. I don't consider Win 8 to be "cutting edge"! The fact is, they COULD be "cutting edge" with this device if they made it Win 10 compatible - there's no competition.

    I took the RA T4 to the Microsoft store yesterday, (in hopes of trying it out on a different Win 10 machine), but the display models are rigged to prevent the installation of software, which I understanding (hacking, etc.).

    My programmer nephew said the .inf file contains no restrictions re: Win 10. I'm trying to get him to morph the driver from 8 to 10, if that's possible. He's really busy printing money, however, so I doubt he'll be able to do it unless RA is interesting in compensating him.
     
    Jeff Newton, Jan 10, 2017
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  18. Jeff Newton

    Digerati

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    That's my point. It is not. It was released to the public in 2012. While the developers did a great job and made a great OS, W8 failed miserably because the Microsoft marketing weenies forced that horrible Metro UI on users. It was their misguided and futile attempt to make everyone like the Windows Phone. The idea was everyone would immediately accept and fall in love with the W8 desktop UI, then when they went shopping for their next smart phone, they would naturally pick a Windows phone over an android or Apple.

    Note too that comment was about "cutting edge hardware".

    That may not be as easy as it sounds. If it was, I suspect it would be done already via a driver and/or firmware update - assuming they have resources ($$$ and qualified people) to invest in it. The fact they have not made it compatible suggest they have no interest in doing so, or the company itself is struggling and they don't have the resources to make the investment, or it uses components that just are not and cannot be made compatible with W10.

    Since that device is still being sold by them, I can only guess they pre-ordered more than they should have expecting sales to be better than it was. They may still have too many still in inventory, but they are not selling fast enough (perhaps because of compatibility issues) to turn enough profits.

    My concern is since W10 has been out since July of 2015, and W10 use is still growing (though not as fast as MS had hoped) now exceeding XP, why haven't they come out with a patch for this device, or a replacement device? My suspicion is the company is floundering. :(
     
    Digerati, Jan 10, 2017
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  19. Jeff Newton

    Jeff Newton

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    You could be right about the company. Either that, or they are making a truly native TB3, Win 10 device (none exist so far, bus powered or not). A between the two possibilities, I'd side with you if I were a betting man.
     
    Jeff Newton, Jan 10, 2017
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  20. Jeff Newton

    Digerati

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    But then where is it? As you noted, none exist. While W7 is still the most popular version of Windows, W10 is not going away and will eventually supplant W7 too.

    I'm not betting man either - I think I could get hooked to easily. A couple PowerBall tickets every week is about it for me.
     
    Digerati, Jan 10, 2017
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