Latest post Fri, Jul 25 2014 8:14 PM by jakeheat. 6 replies.
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  • Wed, Jul 23 2014 3:51 AM

    • schnitt
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    • Joined on Sat, Jan 27 2007
    • Posts 184
    • Points 2,365

    Best Third Party I/O right now?

    Have a new MBP Retina and MC/Symphony v8.0, and am ready to move on from a Nitris Symphony which has been fantastic for 5 years.

    I'm worried about all the stuff I'm reading about the i/o s out there.  I'd like something with more outputs than

    an AJA T-Tap or BM Intensity Mini.  So I'm looking primarily at BM Intensity Express, but don't want a bunch of headaches..

    monitoring delays, compatibility issues, crashes, trimming/scrubbing issues, etc.


    Is there any consensus on what's currently the best performing/least hassle Thunder bolt I/O currently with a MBP Retina?


    Thanks in advance for any info.

  • Wed, Jul 23 2014 4:36 AM In reply to

    • Bluefish444
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    • Joined on Tue, Sep 27 2011
    • Australia
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    • Avid Partner

    Re: Best Third Party I/O right now?

    Hello Schnitt,

    Obviously we would be a little bias toward our own solutions here but we would hope that you consider Open IO the options from Bluefish444.

    While we do not offer a dedicated Thunderbolt device we do certify our PCIe cards inside many Thunderbolt expansion chassis and have many happy customers using thunderbolt in this way with a few advantages. Firstly you are able to use Bluefish444 12-bit SDI IO devices, you may also like to install additional PCIe cards for other aspects of your system. If size is a factor for you then also check out the Sonnet SEL which is a great little compact Thunderbolt Expander and if you are not quite ready to go yet we might have something to fit this form factor in the coming weeks.

    If you are interested in any of the Bluefish444 products or would like to know what Thunderbolt expansions chassis are certified and what the benefits are over a dedicated Thunderbolt solution, just let me know.

    For more details:


    Tom Lithgow

    Bluefish444 Product Specialist



  • Wed, Jul 23 2014 4:56 AM In reply to

    Re: Best Third Party I/O right now?

    Hi there,


    At AJA we offer a few Thunderbolt options and if the the AJA T-Tap is too limited for your connectivity needs, I would encourage you to look at the Io 4K. Despite its name, it of course offers support for SD and HD workflows while securing your ability to deal with UltraHD and 4K when the need arises. Its also a Thunderbolt 2 device, supporting a wide range of workflows with the added bandwidth that offers and an ideal companion for your MBP Retina.

    The Io 4K, likes it's slightly older sibiling, the Io XT, are unique in their support of Thunderbolt with two TB ports, allowing pass through as necessary. You will also find that AJA's drivers and plug-ins for both Open IO on Avid and many other platforms are the most compatible on the market, rarely requiring reboots and the like as you move between applications.

    I would encourage you to visit: to learn more.

    For our Open IO plug-ins for use with Avid NLE products, you can download plugins and learn more at:

    Note also that our KONA PCIe cards like the KONA 3G will work fine in a TB expansion chassis as well, whether you choose a Sonnet or Magma option, although the downside of course would be the necessary added bulk when it comes to travel.

    All the best and a final reminder that we are here to help you with your workflows, feel free to reach out to AJA support at anytime!



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  • Wed, Jul 23 2014 6:49 PM In reply to

    Re: Best Third Party I/O right now?

    I am using MC 7.0.3 with a HP Z820 and a AJA Kona LHi card. I like AJA as a company. They have great support. But I am still experiencing trimming lag with this setup. It's not a show stopper as others have indicated but it's annoying.


    Daytime Gig Gear Hardware: HP Z820 32gb ram • AJA Kona LHi • Xtore 5tb RAID • NVidia Quadro 5000 • JVC 24" HD-SDI monitor • Avid Artist Color &... [view my complete system specs]
  • Fri, Jul 25 2014 9:32 AM In reply to

    • Jojo Likar
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    • Austria
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    Re: Best Third Party I/O right now?


    From my own experience I can not recommend Blackmagic cards, had too many issues with different models.

    I'm working now with an Matrox MXO 2 LE. I like the ability to carry it around and connect it to my workstation at home. 

    I think they also have a thunderbolt adapter. And audio punch in is actually working.

    AJA cards I can also recommend performance wise. One thing that annoys me though with the IO Express is the rather loud fan.

    Had no experience yet with other manufacturers. 

    Media Composer 2018.2 | Win 7 64-bit | BMD Decklink Mini Monitor 4K | Intel i7-6800K | X99-EWS | 64 GB RAM | GTX 970 | Artist Control & Transport ... [view my complete system specs]
  • Fri, Jul 25 2014 5:58 PM In reply to

    Re: Best Third Party I/O right now?

    Hi Jojo and thanks for your feedback.


    Just to let you know from the AJA side that the fan noise that you are referring to on Io Express was indeed corrected with later models and in fact its almost silent now. Current users can always contact if assistance is needed on this front at all.

    The Io 4K also moved to an aluminium form factor, further mitigating any heat issues.

    Thanks for your time!




  • Fri, Jul 25 2014 8:14 PM In reply to

    • jakeheat
    • Top 500 Contributor
    • Joined on Sun, Sep 3 2006
    • London
    • Posts 512
    • Points 6,230

    Re: Best Third Party I/O right now?

    I have unfortunately just had to send back a BM UltraStudio. Their tech support have conceeded that it doesn't function properly with the current version of Media Composer and Mavericks. You can't press CapsLock, or you crash.

    Have ordered an AJA T-Tap as everything I do is file based, so don't need the input output options. 

    Media Composer 2021.2.0 Dell Precision 5820, 64GB, i9-9920x, Quadro P2000, W10 2004 [view my complete system specs]


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