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Please help understanding latency Audio Interfaces
Old 4th October 2015
  #1
Gear Head
 

Question Please help understanding latency

Dear friends,
as some of you know, I've been assembling a PC for my musician son with very little knowledge of music and of musical hw/sw.

With help from some of you I have assembled a PC with Win10 Pro 64bit, an RME Babyface interface and a Roland PCR800 midi keyboard (to get that working was tricky) and for now Presonus Studio One 3 trial and a few VSTs and virtual instruments and effects (Guitar Rig).

When I play on the keyboard I feel there's a slight delay and also some rare instruments/effects seem to introduce some slight "popping/crackling".

Could this be due to device drivers or other settings I should tweak/fix ?

Thank you for any help.

PS Not sure this is relevant: the PC is built on an Asus Z170 deluxe mobo with an i5-6600k CPU, 16 GB RAM, Samsung 850Pro as system's SSD and a 3TB HDD for libraries and crap.
Old 4th October 2015
  #2
Gear Maniac
 

You have an ultra modern PC and RME are well known for very well written drivers which can give very low latency performance. You shouldn't have any issues with crackles.
Is your PC online? The internet takes up a lot of resources that aren't relevant toaudio recording.
Old 4th October 2015
  #3
Lives for gear
 

First, I would recommend to get some overview about it..

I would recommend to check this clip...
https://youtu.be/GUsLLEkswzE
It has almost half hour, but it is one of best done tutor/clip about the topic.

Also this is very well written article by NI
https://www.native-instruments.com/e...io-processing/

EDIT:
there is also great accompanying clip to the NI tutorial
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BnbfVFqkKOA

Michal

Last edited by msmucr; 4th October 2015 at 04:44 PM.. Reason: added NI clip
Old 4th October 2015
  #4
Lives for gear
 
ilan's Avatar
As for the latency, you can set up how much in the audio drivers preferences/settings.

The shorter the latency the more CPU load.

The crackling or similar will appear when you set the latency too short and your system is maxed out.
But in your case I'd like to ask if you have the propper chipset/usb driver installed!? Is the interface connected directly or via a USB hub?

Best

Ilan
Old 4th October 2015
  #5
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ilan's Avatar
On this system he can use all the Internet he wants.... But windows 10 might not be the best choice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by doughnuts View Post
You have an ultra modern PC and RME are well known for very well written drivers which can give very low latency performance. You shouldn't have any issues with crackles.
Is your PC online? The internet takes up a lot of resources that aren't relevant toaudio recording.
Old 4th October 2015
  #6
Yeah, with clicks N' pops, the 1st thing I'd check is my ASIO buffer latency settings....this has been my experience with clicks/pops, when I get to a point where I have a lot going on into a project, which I then have to raise my latency to a higher setting. This will be something that every system & user will have to experiment for themselves what's best. I keep mine as low as I can go before it clicks, pops, or even crashes.

After several YEARS, I'm just now trying to learn about the 'hardware buffer' settings (different than ASIO buffers) within my audio interfaces control panel... it apparently has something to do with latency also, but oddly I can't tell any difference in my set up with a very low nor very high hardware buffer setting...unlike ASIO buffer settings which have a drastic response. I read that, with the hardware buffer setting within your sound cards control panel, it has to do with the interfaces internal memory...helping with latency. I'm still trying to understand this.
Old 5th October 2015
  #7
Gear Head
 

Thank you all very much for your insight and help. Right now at work but I'll try to do the checks you suggest when I go back home and will report.
Old 5th October 2015
  #8
Lives for gear
Rjalex, what are your current ASIO settings in Studio One? You can find this on Configure Audio Device... on the Studio One startup screen.
Old 5th October 2015
  #9
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by ilan View Post
On this system he can use all the Internet he wants.... But windows 10 might not be the best choice.
Why would anyone be surfing the web while recording? I could see watching YouTube video tutorials for learning, but it really is best practice to be offline while recording.
Old 5th October 2015
  #10
Gear Head
 

Ok so first of all a WARMFELT THANK YOU to all helping. I would be lost without you guys (and gals) :-) Any of you coming to Rome will get free insider's tips and if we meet a beer :-)

After the good tutorials I think I getting NEAR what I need. First of all I started by really making a ton of errors including using the motherboard drivers for Audio :-) I was horrified by the latency of the Midi keyboard :-) :-)

So now I have got most things right. Here is my setup:

Win 10 with RME latest drivers and firmware for my babyface. The latter connected via USB and using my headphones to monitor attached to it.

When I start S1V3 I can click on setup audio device and change my buffer size. When I do so the USB device driver from RME pops up and I can tweak.

I started experimenting with buffers going from 1024 down to 64 and apparently they all work well.

My workflow is to start S1V3, set the buffers, start a new empty song with the Techno preset and then add a MaiTai instrument to add my MIDI beats.

Very surprising result for which some of you might have an explanation/suggestion:

Even with VERY small buffers (64 bit with 2 ms delays) IF I mute the Chord track, I can beat as many keys on my PCR-800 keyboard and get a smooth uncrackled audio.
Even with LARGE buffers such as 1024 if I unmute the Chord track it crackles (even without any MIDI activity).

See images: Win10 Studio1v3 Babyface cracle debug - Album on Imgur

Ideas ?

Also another question if I may. Is there a quick / comprehensive way of configuring the system from "General Purpose" (with Antivirus running, Wifi, Bluetooth connection etc etc) to "Studio mode" with all of those services which could interfere with real time turned off ?
Old 5th October 2015
  #11
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rjalex View Post
Ideas ?

Also another question if I may. Is there a quick / comprehensive way of configuring the system from "General Purpose" (with Antivirus running, Wifi, Bluetooth connection etc etc) to "Studio mode" with all of those services which could interfere with real time turned off ?
As I wrote in my previous post, really read everything in NI document, possibly also watch the YT clip.
There is quite thorough description, how to debug other system drivers and processes using LatencyMon..
IME in most cases, problem isn't caused by driver from audio interface itself, but by drivers from other devices and other processes in system.
By mechanism, how Windows scheduling works (DPC queue), it can influence latency performance of your DAW and audio driver.
Check also PDF with basic driver description, which is linked at YT clip.

There isn't any quick reliable guide, which can be applied to all Windows computers, it needs to be analyzed and found using step-by-step procedure of turning off suspicious devices and processes.. Of course, you can apply some generic procedure.. but IME, it could be just blind shooting, which can lead just to unnecessary stopping some functionality, which has minimal impact on your particular issue.

Michal
Old 5th October 2015
  #12
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ilan's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alrod View Post
Why would anyone be surfing the web while recording? I could see watching YouTube video tutorials for learning, but it really is best practice to be offline while recording.
well....
i wouldnt. but then again i never go offline with my machine as well.

anyway, here's one reason to be online while recording:

VST Connect Performer*:**|*http://www.steinberg.net/
Old 5th October 2015
  #13
TNM
Lives for gear
first thing i always recommend on windows to check when one has pops and crackles - is to make sure machine is in high power mode setting and throttling is disabled.

Then if the problem persists, to check the dpc (deferred procedure call) latency.

I have a cheap as chips 2012 ivy bridge quad 2.3ghz windows laptop i bought for travelling, and it has ultra low dpc latency as well as high performance mode enabled.. that's it.. no other tweaks.. and with a 64 buffer in studio one or cubase, i can take the cpu use all the way to the max without any crackles or pops, just using inbuilt audio and asio4all driver! I tried it with a usb mbox 3 and it also works flawlessly. Point being, rme hardware on a more powerful desktop cpu should absolutely be able to take a high load at 64 buffer and no more than 128.

So yeah, check the power mode in power settings, check the dpc using the latency monitor free tool, and see if there were any culprits there.
Old 6th October 2015
  #14
Lives for gear
There's a lot of reports of similar issues in S1v3. Try disabling "Enable Midi Timecode" in your settings, this has worked for other people. Seems to be a software bug.
Old 6th October 2015
  #15
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by GregR View Post
There's a lot of reports of similar issues in S1v3. Try disabling "Enable Midi Timecode" in your settings, this has worked for other people. Seems to be a software bug.
This is interesting information, I've never thought about possible issue at S1 as culprit is usually somewhere at computer setup. Thanks.

Michal
Old 6th October 2015
  #16
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by ilan View Post
well....
i wouldnt. but then again i never go offline with my machine as well.

anyway, here's one reason to be online while recording:

VST Connect Performer*:**|*http://www.steinberg.net/
Ok, sure for collaborating, I am with you there. But for a recording session, why have the extra software, processes and services running unnecessarily? I don't understand the need for having a dedicated DAW online all the time. Unless of course you only have one PC and you do everything else on it. Still, not the best scenario for recording.

The ideal DAW will comprise of only DAW software with related drivers, processes, and services. Streamlining a PC like this will give you the best latency, best performance. I guess it all boils down to how serious a person is about it.
Old 6th October 2015
  #17
Gear Head
 

Hey guys ! Again thanks to all of you I now understand a lot more (even though possibly still not enough :-) ) than before I started!

Hi there everyone,
after a lot of playing I've reached the following conclusion.

First and foremost I should clarify that generally speaking I was NOT usually affected by crackles/pop/gaps but only occasionally.

With Studio 1 ver 3 you setup the audio interface from the first main screen, very straightforward.

There you will prominently see the buffer size and expected latency.

When you change those values for the RME Babyface (Fireface interface) its ASIO driver window will open and you change the values there and have the new setting reflected back inside S1V3.

With my platform, loading Presonus's sample songs and playing them back while at the same time adding a new track which I played with my PCR-800 keyboard I have reached buffer values as low as 64 bit (around 2 milliseconds latency) without any artifacts (didn't attempt to go even lower).

At the same time on one of those sample songs there's one track which consistently yields a crackle every time its sound is played, this being true at whatever buffer size I tried (up to 1024). Not sure why this is happening.

By playing with Resplendence Software - LatencyMon: suitability checker for real-time audio and other tasks I have understood the very obvious: as the PC is installed/configured for general usage there's a lot of programs (such as the Antivirus) and drivers (such as Bluetooth) which could potentially interrupt the CPU causing problems.

I now have to understand if there's an easy way of switching between a "general purpose" and a "music production" setup on the same PC with Win10 (including BIOS settings when necessary) as I do not have enough resources (money and living space) to have a dedicated rig :-) (so I don't qualify as being SERIOUS :-) :-) ).

Thank you everyone.
Old 9th October 2015
  #18
Lives for gear
 
loopy's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by GregR View Post
There's a lot of reports of similar issues in S1v3. Try disabling "Enable Midi Timecode" in your settings, this has worked for other people. Seems to be a software bug.
Where is this setting located? I can't seem to find it in S1 V3.1 (Windows).
Old 13th October 2015
  #19
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by loopy View Post
Where is this setting located? I can't seem to find it in S1 V3.1 (Windows).
I'm not sure in V3. Also, the label might have been reworded over time. In some versions, on the "Options > External Devices > Add Device" screen, there is a checkbox for "Send Midi Timecode", which will be the equivalent. It's also possible that the checkbox will only be displayed if the instrument being added supports MTC. But you'd have to take this up with Presonus.
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