(ah...it's my topic, so i don't mind)
Just thinking about others that might be looking for the same info, but then again, that's what the search function is for, right?
OK, so it sounds like you have a use for multi-track enough that two tracks are a hindrance, but you don't need high-end stuff, and latency is the chief consideration.
In that case then, I'd stay away from MOTU anyways, mostly because it would be overkill for what you're trying to do (although I agree nice gear is nice gear no matter what you're doing).
I totally agree, latency is the #1 concern in any audio setup, and I've never had gear good enough to go below about 5-8msecs (theoretically possible), which I hear is just below the threshold of audibility for most people.http://kb2.adobe.com...ply_to_latency_times
Which brings us back to USB.
From what I've been able to gather, USB suffers more from jitter
than straight latency, that is, varying latencies within one stream.
USB audio has always used the isochronous
data transfer type, (audio stream, no error-checking, no handshaking) which works out OK in ideal situations, but curiously, USB MIDI uses the bulk
transfer type, which means it's just data; it gets through when it's asked for.
Not awful if your overall latency is good because you've got solid ASIO drivers, but bad when your computer needs to hit the hard drive for something and your MIDI request gets bumped to the back of the line.
That said, I've heard that RME's USB stuff works well, check them out:http://www.rme-audio...verview_firewire.php
If you're still set on external, FireWire is probably your best choice, especially for MIDI, although most FW devices include a little extra buffering to smooth playback, which can increase latency a bit.
Along with RME's FireWire options, Echo's Audiofire line should do you good there.http://www.echoaudio...interfaces_index.php
If you're not absolutely sold on external stuff, then yes, PCI-e wins hands down over anything else; that is it SHOULD, but hardly anybody is making consumer-level PCI-e soundgear yet (oh, but it's going to be FUN when they do...), and I could only find two PCI-express product lines that had a MIDI interface.http://www.rme-audio..._express_list#internhttp://www.esi-audio...om/products/maya44e/
^replaced by the Maya44Xte, which doesn't have a midi interface
Haven't checked on prices yet for those, but I imagine they ain't cheap.
Whew, haven't done that much research in a long while...