musings on low latency audio for on board laptop
Just thought I'd post some recent developments in on board sound for PC laptop audio.
Like a lot of users here I have used various laptops over the years as either a mobile recording device or as a VI host for live gigs/TV etc.
Now for live recording low latency is a non issue,all that's required is that you can get the amount of channels you need into your software of choice cleanly and reliably and most interfaces will do that.
The more challenging task is as a virtual instrument host/player as low latency here is the be all and end all,along with overall stability naturally.
Vin, or TAFKAT as he's know, has done a great deal of work testing interfaces recently and over at DAW bench you can see his results on both desktop and laptops.
I would like to mention my current solution to low latency VI laptop performance as it's quite specific and not widely used or tested and that is;
Reaper with the 'experimental' WASAPI driver
I've just done my 6 th gig using this set up and it's been flawless,here's the specs:
HP 14 inch eliteBook
i7 Sandybridge 2860QM
16 gigs DDR3 1600
320 gig 7200 rpm
Keyboard: Roland RD 700sx via USB
controller: Korg Nano Control
Reaper x86 v.4.2x
Garritan Steinway Pro
GSI mr Ray
I've used the on board audio with the WASAPI driver in exclusive mode at 48k and 128 sample buffer which gives a real time in out latency of 3 ms
Also the signal is clean as a whistle from the head phone outputs. I set up for my gig on saturday and took my M Audio fast track ultra as it was a festival gig and thought the M Audio would be better sound wise even if the latency was higher, but I had all kinds of noise issues/interference through the PA.
I quickly restarted my Reaper template using the WASAPI and on board audio into 2 DI boxes from the Head phone outs and was met with clear,clean audio.
So for anyone who uses a PC laptop as a VI host I recommend trying Reaper and the WASAPI driver.The only caveats are it works best at 48k, as a portable solution though it's very good.