Interfaces Thunderbolt Vs USB 3.0 – Which is better?


There has never been a better time to buy an audio interface with converters and fairly precise and portable circuits at incredible prices.

The new generation of connections to computers promise to have better faster than the industry standard 2 USB and Firewire.

Meanwhile, people are very surprised with the lack of USB 3 interfaces, compared to the increasing number of interfaces with Thunderbolt connection.

There are good reasons for this, so if you are looking for the difference between the Thunderbolt vs USB 3.0 interfaces have come to the right place.

USB 3.0

The USB 3.0 has already been on the market for some years but, to date, have only made a couple of interfaces that use the protocol natively.

The most successful are:

Universal Audio Apollo Twin Duo, which includes DSP processing and modeling of pre-amplification.

Presonus Studio 192, which currently runs on most of the specifications of USB 2.0

The most important reason for this is that even though the USB 3.0 is much faster than USB 2.0, referring to the fact that you can load more information within a certain time, such information does not reach its destination faster.

The latency (the delay between the input and output signal) that is inherent in the USB 3.0 is almost the same to which you can get through the USB 2.0

For this reason is that audio is not in their interest to make the USB 3.0 standard as the latency is very similar to the USB 2.0



The external connection Thunderbolt is currently the fastest available, being able to load the internal connection of PCI Express in a cable.

This is almost as if you’ll be able to connect directly to the motherboard of the computer.


If the amount of tracks that you can create in USB 3.0 are already in the hundreds, theoretically the broadband of Thunderbolt technology allows you to have thousands of channels of high quality audio, but that is not really your stellar point of sale.


It is more costly to implement and has licensing costs (the reason why still very few computers have the support of this connection) but there are many benefits that make this connection the ideal for high end interfaces.


The Benefits:

  • Reduces latency time of 4.5ms via USB to less than 1ms in Thunderbolt
  • enables manufacturers to add DSP without having any type of latency problem
  • there are no integration problems with computers
  • offers 10 Watts of power through the connection

for these reasons is that large companies such as MOTU, Apogee, Universal Audio, Avid among others have adopted the standard as a Thunderbolt connection, as it allows for a much better quality on its interfaces.

The future of connections

If you are not convinced of the future of the audio in the computers and the role that will take different types of connections, here I share excellent news:

The USB and Thunderbolt are not merging, but are becoming compatible in a certain way, and better than ever.

This is through its recent launches of (USB 3.1 and Thunderbolt 3, respectively), which use the same connector called USB-C.

This is a new development which only a few models of computers, none of which have the connection of Thunderbolt Enabled, but will begin to become available at the beginning of next year.

What this means?

The future seems to be in this way: The economic PCs will have USB ports C can run USB 3.1, to which any USB Interface 1, 2, or 3 can be connected.

The Macs and PC’s high end only have Thunderbolt ports USB-C, to which any interface will be connected with the best execution.

Thunderbolt will continue taking advantage in latency and power over the USB, but any sound card of any type will have evidence of consistency in the future.

In short

the differences between the interfaces Thunderbolt vs USB 3.0 are now perhaps a little more remarkable than what will be in the near future.

In either case, the sound quality and performance level of all current models is so high that it is difficult to choose incorrectly now.

So go and acquire the model that best fits your needs and starts producing good music.

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