Latency test of 23 amp modelers

Bigjay

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Messages
67
The human brain is weird. If your eyes see that your playback system is 20 meters away and everything sounds like it's 20 meters away, your brain will compensate. But if your eyes see your playback system is, say, 3 meters away, but what you hear makes it appear as if it's 20 meters away, that can totally mess with your head. And your timing.

Same thing for bands who play huge festival stages, where it takes a while for the drums to hit your ears. Good guitarists and bassists learn to compensate and when necessary, follow what they see the drummer play.

Yep, one path on Helix should have the same latency as HX Stomp.

I suspect it has very much to do with the type of instrument played. As someone mentioned earlier, musicians playing instruments with slow attacks (like brass instruments) don't suffer throughput latency nearly as much as, say, drummers. But singers seem to be the most sensitive. I was a vocal producer/editor for my first 5 years in LA and have worked with session singers and rappers who can absolutely, positively hear 5ms latency—it can totally affect their performance, and they're never shy about telling me as much. Once we set up a special monitor mix for them via analog (0ms) or control panel (sub-2.5ms), the problems instantly disappear.

If Steve Vai says he says he can hear 5ms, I totally believe him.
That's interesting, i assumed most of the latency came from converting the signal, and that using 1 or 2 path wouldn't change much.
do you happen to have the data about which% is due to a/d-d/a convertor and which% each "path" is causing?

I used to have a setup that required to use the 4 effects loops (+2 additional digital units: a zoom b3 and a looper). I probably had quite some latency:bonk
 

Bach1970

Gold Supporting Member
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696
Tell me if what I do makes sense: For gigging, I go from my Fractal FM3 to our DSP mixer, then active DSP PA speakers, but I take another output from FM3 going to my active monitor, which does not have dsp and this is the only stage monitor for me and my band - the guitar sound has a better feel, but I also have the monitor on a small speaker stand very close to me
 

JiveTurkey

Trumpets and Tants
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6l4pn8.jpg
 

stratzrus

Philadelphia Jazz, Funk, and R&B
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23,875
I haven't read this whole thread because I thought it would have died a long time ago.

Has no one mentioned that the latency between the first 15 is inaudible?

This is only an issue if other things in your signal chain have substantial latency that the modeler is adding to and if that's the case your problem is with the other gear, not the modeler.
 

12TameMen

Member
Messages
342
Has no one mentioned that the latency between the first 15 is inaudible?

You just reminded me of a decent (I think) analogy. One contest on the show "Guy's Grocery Games" is where contestants have to cook a gourmet meal for less than say $30. They run through the store grabbing lots of individual items and then head to the checkout.

That's digital. If 20ms total is your breaking point you need to account for every item in your cart.
Modeler, interface, wireless system, external fx, DAW, etc.

In the 21st century it will never come down to just the modeler. Regardless the price point or brand.
So as mentioned earlier, the test is meaningless in an by itself.

But if your 20ms shopping cart is already almost full you may need to consider the differences between them so you don't go over.
 
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batsbrew

Member
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6,478
If you’re interested in using amps beyond those from the ‘60’s you’d love how natural the Amp Academy feels as well.
i'm really not interested in those things.

if i need a more modern sound, i have that covered, with a REVV G3 pedal, into the iridium using a slightly crunchy marshall superlead amp as the base tone, into a Friedman 4x12.

covered.
and no latency that i can feel,
which is what sold me on the Iridium to begin with.
it's the way the Iridium initially handles that incoming signal from the guitar, that is so amazing.
 

jrockbridge

Member
Messages
5,309
I recall reading that some people are able to detect the latency at just past 2ms. But, most people are unable to notice until the latency is past 5ms.

Personally, for me, I start to really notice latency at about 8-10ms. In the past, I was doing home recording with round trip latency close to 20ms. For me, I did not like the feel of 20ms latency yet I seemed to be able to compensate and get used to it. 20ms reminded me of moving far away from an amp on stage. I think most players are still able to play in the pocket with 20ms of latency. But, it does feel different. It’s not ideal.

I think for most of us, the latency of the majority of modelers alone is not a bother. But, latency adds up. So, if you are playing a modeler on stage, you have to add distance latency from your position to the monitors on stage. In ear monitors can be helpful because their latency (added to the modeler) stays more consistent vs moving around with stage monitors. As a player, if you cannot adjust to 10ms of latency, I think you are going to be somewhat handicapped as a musician, particularly when playing in a band.
 

4b454e

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,124
Given that musicians have shown they can compensate for latency in some forms (the delay between striking a piano key and hearing the sound, tubas, etc.) as well as guitar players being able to deal with being various distances from amps and/or band mates, I wonder if predictability is a factor in the ability to manage the effects of latency. (Though past a certain amount of delay, it gets very difficult to play in time)

It’s been pointed out here that adding devices, or adding processing blocks within a modeler, adds latency.
Could it be that this type of variation makes things harder to manage?

Piano keys may have inherent delay, but it’s consistent, so a player only has to adjust to the instrument they’re playing. Also, I think it’s possible to learn the different feel based on how close you are to your amp. But maybe there’s some variance in modeling that makes this less predictable and therefore more difficult?

(It seems unlikely to be significant, given the short times in play with current modelers, but hey)
 

FPFL

Member
Messages
3,276
I recall reading that some people are able to detect the latency at just past 2ms. But, most people are unable to notice until the latency is past 5ms.

Personally, for me, I start to really notice latency at about 8-10ms. In the past, I was doing home recording with round trip latency close to 20ms. For me, I did not like the feel of 20ms latency yet I seemed to be able to compensate and get used to it. 20ms reminded me of moving far away from an amp on stage. I think most players are still able to play in the pocket with 20ms of latency. But, it does feel different. It’s not ideal.

I think for most of us, the latency of the majority of modelers alone is not a bother. But, latency adds up. So, if you are playing a modeler on stage, you have to add distance latency from your position to the monitors on stage. In ear monitors can be helpful because their latency (added to the modeler) stays more consistent vs moving around with stage monitors. As a player, if you cannot adjust to 10ms of latency, I think you are going to be somewhat handicapped as a musician, particularly when playing in a band.
Somehow most touring acts playing arenas fight thru these terrible handicaps! : )

If the latency of a modeler is a problem for someone, they are too fragile to play out live and will never survive the other problems that are orders of magnitude worse...

like a bad PA mix, or blinding lights occasionally hitting your face, or the singer being late, or the drummer being half a beat early on the chorus change...
 

Gojira1954

Member
Messages
210
Finally we've passed the point of which modeler sounds "realer" than real amps and now we're concerned about which has the lesser latency so we can all try to break the Guiness World Record of most NPS.

Thank God I play some Drone Doom, so by the time I'd get to play the next note, modelers will have much better AD/DA converters, whew!!!! :knitting
 

ejecta

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,422
~4.5ms, which basically what soundwaves take to reach your ears.
Is this accurate? So roughly under a ~1ms per foot away from a cab with a guitar plugged straight into a tube head? If so would that mean the latency of a digital unit that has a latency of say 3ms just having to process the signal and run through the software and hardware, which is what I’m assuming the chart in the OP reflects, and that’s run through a real cab or FRFR at 5ft away…. it over all would overall have a latency to the player of ~7.5ms?
 
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PLysander

Member
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767
Is this accurate? So roughly under a ms per foot if you’re standing 5ft away from a cab?

Well, as accurate as i can make it here :) The speed of sound varies with heat, humidity, altitude, atmospheric pressure, and the works - but it is roughly 1100 ft/s, in standard weather conditions.

So yeah, sound takes roughly 4.5ms to travel 5ft ( 5 ft / 1100 ft/s = ~0.0045s). Most modelers on Leo's list introduce significantly less latency than you'd experience by physically moving a bit away from the speaker.
 

Shiny_Beast

Gold Supporting Member
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11,513
In defence of poor Vai who's taken a lot of **** over this, in the few live clips I've seen of him he has his rig setup right behind him on stage. Given his fast and precise playing style I can see how a bit of added latency could nudge him out of his comfort zone, or at least possibly get his attention.
 

jrockbridge

Member
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5,309
In defence of poor Vai who's taken a lot of **** over this, in the few live clips I've seen of him he has his rig setup right behind him on stage. Given his fast and precise playing style I can see how a bit of added latency could nudge him out of his comfort zone, or at least possibly get his attention.
Do you happen to know how much latency his on-stage fans add to his signal chain? ;)

In all seriousness, I would not doubt that Vai is one of the rare people who can pick up on very small amounts of latency. Anyway, 2-4ms of modeler latency, on top of the latency already in his signal chain, would probably be noticeable. I’m sure he can compensate. But, if he’s used to less lag time, he has a right to be picky about it, I suppose. Still, he’s a pro and should be capable of making the adjustment and rising above it. He probably enjoys being prissy about the subtle nuances of his signal chain. After all, he is capable of doing things with a guitar that sound unpossible.
 

PLysander

Member
Messages
767
In all seriousness, I would not doubt that Vai is one of the rare people who can pick up on very small amounts of latency.

I know it doesn't seem like it, but Vai is not Superman. He claims he can perceive latencies of 1ms... and he can't. No one can.



But he thing is, it doesn't really matter. If he believes he can, and shaving latency by the millisecond helps him connect with his instrument and be the artist he is - well, **** it, more power to him.
 
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