Latency issues? Any way to fix?

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by atomheartmother, Mar 16, 2006.


  1. atomheartmother

    atomheartmother Senior Member

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    I've been using both a POD (original; line outs into line in of soundcard)) and a Guitaport (USB), and I notice latency issues with both. I've also noticed similar results when running my Microcube into the Line In of the soundcard as well as when mic'ing cabs into various preamps in the past. Recently however, o test this, I record something really simple and then play over that playing the exact same thing; I play it synced up, but when I listen to it afterwards, the 2nd recording is slightly behind the first. Is there anyway to correct this?

    I'd say that maybe a better sound card is in order, but with the Guitarport, it is my understanding that it takes the place of the soundcard. So is there no way to fix latency with the GP? What about the POD?
     
  2. GuitslingerTim

    GuitslingerTim Member

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    If your soundcard is one of the built-in variety (a chip actually) then the likely problem is drivers. If MME drivers are all you have try Googling for the ASIO4ALL drivers--they're free and universal, and will probably improve the latency issues.

    Most decent DAW software includes features that make it possible to move recorded data around within the time frame of the recording. What are you using?
     
  3. elambo

    elambo Member

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    Latency is a part of life, at least until CPUs get quick enough to handle all the workload fast enough so that than your brain isn't able to notice. There are a couple of recording systems that get around this by processing all the audio on hefty external processors, but they're also much more expensive. The fix is to move the audio, after you record it,
    just a little sooner so that it sounds correct.

    In your case, you were recording one part in correct time as you play it, but the computer was recording it late because of latency. Then you were adding a 2nd part to it, but using the 1st part as your rhythmic reference. But since the 1st part was late, and the 2nd part was going to be later still because of latency, you're compounding the affects of latency. The fix would have been to record to a metronome, which would never sway out of time, then move each track after you record it so that it lines up correctly with the metronome again.
     
  4. gtrnstuff

    gtrnstuff Member

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    Well, IME, the original POD has its own latency issues. Especially the black panel model. POD XT much better. Newer DAW software, such as Pro Tools LE, Digital Performer, has direct monitoring so you can hear yourself with very low latency, just the 1.5ms or so for the A/D D/Aconverters. Essentially a parallel moniter path without going thru the CPU. You could set this up with a small mixer, listening to your computer thru two channels, your guitar thru one (or two, if stereo) more, and using an aux send from your guitar channels to the input of your computer audio interface. Your software/interface is the only iffy part--I'm not familiar with GP.
    Hope that helps.
     
  5. amper

    amper Member

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    Latency comes from three places...

    1. Your CPU.
    2. Your interface
    3. Your disk and memory subsystems.

    With the system I'm running now, I'm not getting any latency at all doing overdubs over anywhere from 16 to 24 tracks with multiple channel inserts on most channels, using software monitoring so I can hear how it really sounds with the rest of the band. Here's what I'm running:

    Apple Power Mac G5 Dual 2GHz (from late 2004, so it has the PCI-X bus)
    1GB RAM
    2x160GB SATA HDDs (one for the system, one for the deck)
    M-Audio Delta 1010 PCI interface
    Apple Logic Pro 7

    I'm not anywhere near maxing out the CPU's. Even on our more complex songs, I'm maybe hitting 30-40% on one CPU, with negligible usage on the second CPU. Everything is recorded at 24 bits/96 KHz, and we're not freezing any tracks (yet).

    The two things you want to look at first are under #3, above. Make sure you have as much memory as you can fit into the machine. 1GB is working well for me, but I have the ability to go to up to 8GB if need be. Get at least a second disk drive that you can dedicate to recording. For really fast disk needs, get four disks and two hardware RAID controllers (much easier to do on a PC, not so much hardware RAID gear out there for Macs--software RAID will do in a pinch, but you should use a separate controller for each drive in this instance). Oh, and make sure the drives are the fastest you can afford.

    Set up a RAID 0 with two disks for your system and application, and set up a second RAID 0 with the other two disks for your recording deck. It would probably be a good idea to also get an external drive to back up your work at this point, because RAID 0 is going to halve the reliability of your drives.

    I was actually going to go for the last model of G4 (which fits four drives internally) to do this, but I waited too long and the G4's went away. Fortunately, the SATA controllers in the G5 are fast enough to keep up with our needs so far, and of course, the CPU's and memory are much faster. Logic's "System Performance" window shows the disk not being hit too hard (though I can't remember percentages off-hand). In order to fit four drives in the G5, you have to go for an expensive mod, or resort to external drives.

    If you've done all this and you're still experiencing latency, look at your interface(s) and CPU's next. A multiprocessor system is going to work better for DAW applications, so get one if you can.

    If you're using a USB interface, get rid of it. If you're using a Firewire/IEEE-1394 interface and still experiencing unacceptable latency, get a PCI interface. Firewire has plenty of bandwidth, but you're going through multiple bridge chips when you use Firewire. PCI gives you a more direct path to the CPU and memory, and has even more bandwidth.

    One last thing...always make sure you use your system in as stripped down a config as you can to avoid loading unnecessary drivers, etc. Use a separate system partition just for recording. Keep all your partitions as clean as possible and defrag them regularly.
     
  6. atomheartmother

    atomheartmother Senior Member

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    Ummm...which of these two would likely give me more latency issues:

    Guitarport - Connects through USB and supposedly runs off of the computers processor.

    POD - Connects via a Y cable to the Line in of the soundcard.


    Anyway, I suppose it's no big deal to shift tracks up a few milliseconds as I'm not doing anything professional...just for fun. I'll try turning off all other programs running on the computer and maybe add some more memory down the road.

    Thanks.
     
  7. tonefreak

    tonefreak Member

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    I use two Mackie 1202 VLZ Pro mixers... one for monitoring and one as a patchbay.

    The patchbay has signals coming from my mic preamps and PODxt. The patchbay sends a signal to the Mbox and my monitoring mixer. The Mbox output is also sent to my monitoring mixer.

    When I record in ProTools LE 7.0, I mute the strip of the PODxt track I'm recording on after I've attained my levels. The playback being sent to my monitoring mixer has a delay, but I don't detect it because I have the track muted in ProTools. The PODxt's signal going into the ProTools is muted, but since I also have that same signal going from the patchbay into the monitoring mixer, I never hear the latency from the PODxt when I record over the playback.

    This eliminates any latency with any system out there. And it's a whole lot easier than moving your audio around to sync up to real time.
     
  8. atomheartmother

    atomheartmother Senior Member

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    I suppose it's easier, but a heck of a lot more expensive.

    I'm just looking for ways to change configurations or other free methods of reducing latency. If there aren't any, I'm sure sliding tracks will be fine enough.
     
  9. tonefreak

    tonefreak Member

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    I hear ya.

    I made the investment because when you're dealing with 12 tracks of guitar, 8 tracks of vocals, a bass track, and a drum track... things get hairly really fast.

    Just keep it filed away as a great solution for totally eliminated latency.

    BTW, I got both my Mackie 1202 VLZ Pros off of ebaY!
     
  10. atomheartmother

    atomheartmother Senior Member

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    I'll keep it in mind. But I really only plan to have maybe a few guitar tracks together via a Guitarport or POD. Nothing complicated.
     
  11. ZenFly06

    ZenFly06 Member

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    Best thing to do is get a mixer both for tracking and ...mixing. No latency and more flexibiliity in routing back and forth.
    I too use lots of tracks; sometimes 8 at a time (drums) 6 at a time if I'm doing some stuff with synths/vg8.
    On mix down I return up to 24 tracks to my mixer. Much more flexible than using a sound card.

    You are correct, it is more pricey..but for the price of a LP custom you get closer to the "real" environment of a studio.
     
  12. DualRectifier

    DualRectifier Silver Supporting Member

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    I hated using my PodXT or GuitarPort as a guitar input, so I got a MobilePreUSB audio interface. No latency, no issues at all. Plug n Play. It was like $149. Works great with Guitar Rig 2, Cubase SX, Fruity Loops, Ableton, Amplitube...everything. And this is on my 7-year old POS PC. You sometimes have to fiddle with the latency in Cubase, or whatever native program you're running.
     

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