Re: Computer Setups
I saw "Reaper" and assumed Linux (I've read about a lot people using Reaper on Linux and didn't realize it was available on other platforms as well), my mistake.
Don't know about ASIO for Linux, but I seem to recall reading that many devices were supported either through third party drivers or JACK or something. But, yes, checking for compatibility of your particular interface is absolutely critical.
Regarding battery life, it has never been a big issue for me, because I am a big poweruser (power pig?), so 99% of the time, I just insist that I'm plugged in anyway.
I'm currently using a Presonus Audiobox 1818VSL.
1. Good preamps/converters and lots of them for the price.
2. Line, mic AND instrument inputs, i.e. no need for DI.
3. Presonus's included Studio One Artist is a serious useable DAW with good support. Other companies' (e.g. Cubase, ProTools, etc.) "LE" editions are usually fairly crippled and nagging and offer crappy, if any, support. They want you to pay for "real" versions.
1. No Linux support of any kind. Presonus does not and will not (I've conversed with them about this) provide Linux drivers, nor will they publish any kind of API or specs to allow anyone else to write such drivers. As much as I like my current setup, when I buy my next interface, I will have to give this some serious contemplation.
Yes, "direct monitoring" pretty much eliminates most issues. In the case of the Presonus Audiobox series, they have a kind of 'semi-direct' monitoring. It's lower latency than a regular USB to DAW and back round trip, but it is not exactly direct either.
My issue with latency is that I would like to use some DAW plugins as real-time effects, and that is pretty much impossible, with any USB or firewire system. Perhaps my expectations were too high, but I'm still disappointed. Modern computers can easily handle the processing load, but USB and firewire just weren't designed to deliver real-time audio. I hope that changes with thunderbolt.