Questions & Answers

Quantum 2 useing Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2, large samples on external HD

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asked May 2, 2019 in Thunderbolt - Quantum by patrickgoron (150 points)
edited May 4, 2019 by patrickgoron
My laptop is 8th Gen i7. One native Thunderbolt  port. Cubase 10 Pro. Native Instruments S61 MK2 keyboard and a huge Komplete sample library on an external SSD Thunderbolt 3 drive. I'll mostly use samples rather than recording live instruments and voices.

I'm considering purchasing the Quantum 2 interface. Low Latency is important to me, as I'll be using many vst tracks in Cubase.  Midi capability as well. I've read here that I can connect my PC to the Quantum via a Startech TB 3 to TB 2 adapter.  I'll use the second TB 2 port on the Quantum to connect the external ssd drive.
I know that Thunderbolt is generally bidirectional, so I assume that my NI keyboard should be able to talk to or access the samples on the external TB 3 hard drive? Am I correct, and does anyone have more specific info on how this works. I'd hate to put money into a Quantum, several TB adapters, and an external SSD Hard drive, and then have them not work with each other. I guess my fear is how I'd be going TB 3 to TB 2 and vice versa constantly.

 Any information would be greatly appreciated.


2 Answers

0 votes
answered Jun 12, 2019 by connorguiberteau (26,970 points)
Best answer

In short, yes this will work in certain ways. Thunderbolt is bidirectional and the Quantum family is completely Intel Thunderbolt Certified. All of the protocols that are contained in the Thunderbolt chip can be used via the second port. 

But keep note that not all Thunderbolt adapters are bidirectional and it does matter where they are placed in your signal chain. 
The Startech adapter and the ones that look like the Startech adapter are not considered bidirectional adapters and they have certain limitations. *This limits these adapters to be forever connected to directly to the computer

For example, the limitations of a non-bidirectional adapter would not give the user the ability to have Quantum use the second Thunderbolt port to connect to a self-powered Thunderbolt 3 device such as your TB3 Hard drive

You would need a true bidirectional adapter, such as the Apple adapter, to access a Thunderbolt 3 product after a Thunderbolt 1 / 2 product.   

**If the hard drive is a bus-powered Thunderbolt 3 device, it will not be able to daisy chain through Quantum due to the power limitations carried by the Thunderbolt protocol. 


0 votes
answered Dec 21, 2019 by brunodzogovic (330 points)

I think I can  best answer this question since I am using Quantum 2 for my studio. I don't need the bigger Quantum 1 (yet), so I am just supplementing the Quantum 2 with an ADAT (the PreSonus Digimax DP88). Recently we have recorded a small classical tango quintet with few room mics and I managed to take my laptop to the orchestral hall (because it would be a hell to carry a contrabass and a piano to a studio) with my Quantum 2 and the ADAT. The laptop is a proprietary HP Omen with i7, 16 gigs of RAM and a Thunderbolt 3 port. With a Thunderbolt 3 converter (from 2 to 3), the Quantum 2 connects flawlessly and works perfectly. FYI, I am using a Startech TB2-to-TB3 converter.

At home, the PC I have is a i9 9900K CPU with 64GB of RAM.. etc. etc. However, the motherboard is an ASUS Prime, which has thunderbolt headers, and for which I had to buy separately the ASUS ThunderboltEX expansion PCIe card. It's a bit problematic because of the Thunderbolt drivers and to make it work it may take some time, so I suggest you go with a AMD Threadripper with available Thunderbolt-3 on the motherboard, just to avoid problematic connections using the PCIe expansion cards. Intel has released the Thunderbolt recently as an open standard, which will merge in future with USB 4.0, which means that many architectures will be able to support it.

Hope this helps,