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Old 6th February 2007
Well, we're all different, aren't we?

Ask around and I think you'll find plenty of people who have problems with that level of latency under some circumstances.

I feel distinctly uncomfortable when I go D.I. with my Strat into my MOTU box's internal cuemix, which is NZL -- probably around 2 ms. It can be done but it definitely feels funny. (Yes, I definitely know that's the equivalent of an amp sitting about two feet away, in a sense; what can I tell you, it feels weird and I was totally NOT expecting it to be any kind of problem at all.)

And -- for me -- the 8 ms round trip running through the computer (to try to make use of, say, an amp sim plug) is simply undoable.

Different folks are different. If your clients don't bug out over that latency kind of latency, I think you're lucky. (I was thinking the monitoring latency on an 002 was less than that, closer to 5 ms but that's just a number that was salted away in my head. Still at 64 samples, I would think that's about the monitoring latency you'd have to expect -- barring the use of plugs that might unavoidably delay the audio further, anyhow.)

You say people don't notice something like an 8 ms delay -- but I discovered that my DAW was not compensating for conversion and tranport latency (as it relates to overdubs) when I cut a bongo part and thought, within my abilities, that I had nailed it -- but on playback it all sounded off. Not just a few notes, as a clumsy percussionist (me) might expect... the whole thing.

At that point I decided that maybe I didn't have "full hardware" compensation (it was added in the subsequent, most recent version of my DAW) and peformed a loopback ping which revealed my overdubs were being layed in 356 samples "late" -- behind previously recorded tracks. I nudged the track toward the beginning of the song by that many samples and then and only then did it sound like the part I'd recorded.

Admittedly, I've been analyzing very short delays for over a decade as I record, so I might be a trifle more attuned to these variations but I am hardly a rhythm robot... I think people may not KNOW where the problem is coming from, even that it's a timing issue -- but I think these "minor" timing misalignments and latencies really do contribute to a lack of precision in today's DAWs unless it's compensated for at the track alignment level (as Cubase, Tracktion, and now Sonar do; I think Logic might have such a "track alignment" compensation but I keep getting conflicting answers from Logic users.)

Anyhow, it's an interesting topic and it highlights some interesting facets of sound.

Maybe I'm just especially aware of it, being a subscriber to my local symphony orchestra and seeing seven completely unamplified orchestral concerts a year.

As many of you probably know or understand, the time it takes for the sound to go from front to back or side to side of a typical symphony layout can be as much as 40 or 50 ms or even more.

And it is for that reason that a large orchestra needs a conductor standing on a podium waving a visual rhythmic cue in the air. (Same thing for a drum major and marching band. Of course, there, the spread is probably far greater. I remember discussing this VERY issue in a class at my old school taught by a former HS marching band director. It suddenly made quite clear why so many marching bands get so out of time from front to back. If they don't watch the drum major's baton, they'll tend to play to what they hear, instead. And THAT can be a problem in a big band in a long, narrow formation.)