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It is not zeroLatency :( Audio Interfaces
Old 8th December 2008
  #1
Gear Nut
 

It is not zeroLatency :(

Hi does anyone know of a cheapish true zero latency solution that has automation?

The motu company say direct 0 latency mixing , So I bought one yeahh!!...nope its not , they lie.!

RME = ZLM zero !! woo hooo.........erm...nope :(

both are not zero latency they just don't go through the sequencer software stage ( they both convert to digital and back to analogue.

Some SSL consoles are analogue desks with motorised automation ....mmm nice ...but cost allot.

Any analogue rack mixers/ matrix's out there with automation perhaps?

peace fweqy
Old 8th December 2008
  #2
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Personally Ive never been able to distiguish the latency of the RME converters also I like to hear whats being recorded through the conveters.

Maybe a Mackie Oynx will serve your monitoring needs
Old 8th December 2008
  #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by fweqy View Post
Hi does anyone know of a cheapish true zero latency solution that has automation?

The motu company say direct 0 latency mixing , So I bought one yeahh!!...nope its not , they lie.!

RME = ZLM zero !! woo hooo.........erm...nope :(

both are not zero latency they just don't go through the sequencer software stage ( they both convert to digital and back to analogue.

Some SSL consoles are analogue desks with motorised automation ....mmm nice ...but cost allot.

Any analogue rack mixers/ matrix's out there with automation perhaps?

peace fweqy
Do they say zero latency -- or do they claim, instead, near zero latency?


Obviously, the digital cue mix in something like the MOTU interfaces (I have an 828mkII, myself) is going to be near zero -- even if it doesn't make the round trip to the computer and back. Most AD/DA is going to take a couple ms, roughly. So any digital mixer (whether an onboard cue mix or a standalone digital board) is going to have some latency. As you suggest, the only way around that is an analog monitoring system of some kind. (I use an analog board for all my cue monitoring.)

Six or seven years ago, I was seeing some companies make that mistaken claim about 'direct' digital cue mixes but -- maybe it's just because I stopped reading ads for new gear for the most part -- but I don't think I've seen that mistake in a while.

FWIW, I didn't really notice the cue mix's minimal latency (around 2 ms, I figure, though I've never actually tested it) on [my own] vocals but it bugs me when I'm playing guitar DI into the MOTU and out the cue mix. Unfortunately, the MOTU 828mkII's mic pre's (at least on mine) totally sucked -- though the instrument loading was better -- but now they've started making a nasty ticking noise that makes them unusable, so, you know. (The guitar latency thing wasn't a complete deal breaker -- I could do it, it just felt uncomfortable. And, yes, I do realize that 2 ms is about how long it takes sound to go 2 feet.)

By contrast the 'round-trip' monitoring via FW through the computer and back (as one would need to do to use an amp sim plug) is completely unusable for me. (The basic round trip on my rig is about 8 ms [tested] but you have to add some for amp sim processing time, too, but I haven't tested that.)
Old 8th December 2008
  #4
Gear Nut
 

MOTU.com - What is the latency of my MOTU audio interface?

I quote motu = above link :

"All currently shipping MOTU audio interfaces have ZERO LATENCY MONITORING, which is accessed thru the CueMix software that ships with these interfaces"tutt

I've been searching all day and not found much, there are ways to control VCA circuitry in analogue desks via midi. so that's an option.

mackie ultramix may be what I'm after? but its discontinued.

i need just need an analogue desk/matrix rack with motorised pots/faders controled by midi. just need to keep searching the net , in a few weeks i'll look like this > haha im half way there already.

peace
Old 8th December 2008
  #5
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GZsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by fweqy View Post
MOTU.com - What is the latency of my MOTU audio interface?

I quote motu = above link :

"All currently shipping MOTU audio interfaces have ZERO LATENCY MONITORING, which is accessed thru the CueMix software that ships with these interfaces"tutt

I've been searching all day and not found much, there are ways to control VCA circuitry in analogue desks via midi. so that's an option.

mackie ultramix may be what I'm after? but its discontinued.

i need just need an analogue desk/matrix rack with motorised pots/faders controled by midi. just need to keep searching the net , in a few weeks i'll look like this > haha im half way there already.

peace
I just bought a Soundcraft 328 digital mixer that does pretty much what you are describing.
Old 8th December 2008
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by fweqy View Post
MOTU.com - What is the latency of my MOTU audio interface?

I quote motu = above link :

"All currently shipping MOTU audio interfaces have ZERO LATENCY MONITORING, which is accessed thru the CueMix software that ships with these interfaces"tutt

I've been searching all day and not found much, there are ways to control VCA circuitry in analogue desks via midi. so that's an option.

mackie ultramix may be what I'm after? but its discontinued.

i need just need an analogue desk/matrix rack with motorised pots/faders controled by midi. just need to keep searching the net , in a few weeks i'll look like this > haha im half way there already.

peace
Holy crap!

Well -- it's a freakin' lie.
It is NOT 'zero latency' -- someone ought to sue them for false adversiting because that is simply BULL****. (And this is not an old tech note -- it's from June of this year!)

I'd already decided to never buy any MOTU gear again -- even though, aside from the mic pres that went from sounding like mud to sounding like mud with irregular but frequent ticking noises, the device has been (touch wood) otherwise decent enough. (But if you can't put a pair of decent, clean pres in your interface box, what does that say about you?)


Wow... that's just weird.

How can, say, 8 ms be latency and 2 ms not be latency? I guess MOTU is just full of crap.

Still, it's hard to believe a company like RME with a generally better reputation would engage in the same fraudulent claim.
Old 8th December 2008
  #7
Gear Nut
 

yeah its a competition , one lies the other has to follow suit otherwise the other sells more from lying which isnt right either.

RME is the better by far, my motu 2408 mk2 cuemix is certainly not 0 latency i didnt even finish my tests, i could hear it wasn't with my ears. i was very disapointed.

aswell the MOTU MTP AV is not phase accurate either. they say it is, because 90 percent of the people that buy these units are not to fussed as long as they work.


peace
Old 8th December 2008
  #8
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Alex Specht's Avatar
 

The RME will do 0.7ms record latency, and 1.2 playback, at minimum on Cubase 4.

I run thins with 24 tracks and no plugs on a Intel E8500 with no problem.

Also the direct monitoring refers to ASIO 2.0 feature in which your DAW app basically controls the hardware interface's analog routing section. So direct monitoring is just as close to Zero Latency as you will get. That said, with only .7ms latency, I have no problem running it through Cubase to monitor.

Motu has a good clock, but I dont like the Cue mix
Old 8th December 2008
  #9
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travisbrown's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by fweqy View Post
"All currently shipping MOTU audio interfaces have ZERO LATENCY MONITORING, which is accessed thru the CueMix software that ships with these interfaces"
I thought their Cue setup was zero latency (at least nominally), that the cuemix software just controlled VCAs or something. I never checked into it because I couldn't hear any latency at all.
Old 8th December 2008
  #10
That would be a pretty expensive proposition, seems to me.

I feel a ping test coming on...

Unfortunately, I have to go into the 3DW to run some errands and touch bases with my other carbon-based life forms. But maybe someone else will run a latency test. (Remember, watch out for feedback!!!)

If not, I've been meaning to for years, just for curiosity's sake.
Old 8th December 2008
  #11
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cjogo's Avatar
We use the automated > -almost no latency -< Roland VS 2480....24 recording channels and 24 inputs & 8 channels of plugins locking tight. 48 channels of automated mixdown That's the benefit of a all-in-one-DAW
Old 8th December 2008
  #12
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The easiest way to achieve some kind of zero latency is with some kind of console that lets the players listen before the workstation.

Take somethig simple. like an Allen and Heath MixWizard. Feed the direct outs to the DAW, but use the faders to make the mix that goes to the headphones. No latency...what they hear is BEFORE the DAW.

If you are overdubbing vocals....you have the DAW on two faders and the vocal on one. AS soon as you punch in mute the DAW track for the duration of the punch, then turn it back on when you punch out. Before the punch you hear repro, when in record you hear input. No Latency.

Its a bit of a pain, but I did it with Motu for several years before going PTHD.

BTW...what I just described is essentially what CueMix is supposed to do. Are you sure you are using it correctly?
Old 8th December 2008
  #13
That's what I do (using my analog mixing board). When I switched to DAW from ADATs in '97, I pretty much just plugged the 8 channel DAW in, in place of the ADATs. (To oversimplify only a little. And, actually, for the first few years, my two ADATs acted as AD and DA.) And, of course, I had been using a board (analog) then, so I just continued.

The only 'problem' with MOTU CueMix aside from (possibly) limited mix channel capacity is the near-zero latency thing. If a couple ms is cool for your monitoring, then no biggie, I guess. (As I think I said above, I didn't notice it, really, when tracking my own vocals, but it was uncomfortable playing guitar DI.)

FWIW, I did a project at a buddy's studio a few weeks back and he's got a Panasonic DA7 digital board and I had no problems with my own vocals, there, either, although I have read of some singers complaining of an unnatural feel to monitoring through a digital board or something like the virtual mixer of CueMix.
Old 8th December 2008
  #14
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drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by fweqy View Post
i need just need an analogue desk/matrix rack with motorised pots/faders controled by midi. just need to keep searching the net , in a few weeks i'll look like this > haha im half way there already.

peace
That's no problem. just get out your credit cards.....

http:D&R Broadcast Mixing Consoles

PowerVCA on a Cinemix or other D&R. Exactly what you want.
Old 8th December 2008
  #15
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rashman's Avatar
 

"Near Zero Latency" refers to software monitoring with drivers (ASIO) with very lo latency (Under 3ms). Wheres "Zero Latency" Refers to methods in wich signal is not sent to the Daw, but setting monitoring levels is possible via a dsp mixer in the inerface.
In any case there's no way to escape from Converter latency and that exists in any digital system, be it a sound card or a digital mixer or a portable all in one digital recorder. No convertion=No Digital and Convertion=at least around 1ms latency.
FW cards always have around 1ms extra latency compared to PCI.
Old 8th December 2008
  #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by rashman View Post
"Near Zero Latency" refers to software monitoring with drivers (ASIO) with very lo latency (Under 3ms). Wheres "Zero Latency" Refers to methods in wich signal is not sent to the Daw, but setting monitoring levels is possible via a dsp mixer in the inerface.
In any case there's no way to escape from Converter latency and that exists in any digital system, be it a sound card or a digital mixer or a portable all in one digital recorder. No convertion=No Digital and Convertion=at least around 1ms latency.
FW cards always have around 1ms extra latency compared to PCI.
I would say that those definitions are decidedly revisionist.

I've been using a computer based DAW sine 1997 and I have to say that I was among those who bitched back at the end of the 90s when a couple of manufacturers first mis-used the term zero latency to apply to the DSP-based cue mixes on their devices. For much of the intervening years, it seems to me -- manufacturers had been more cautious about using the term "near zero latency" for digital monitoring rather than "zero latency." To my thinking zero latency is only delivered by analog. (And, yes, I recognize that even analog circuits have [typically] extremely tiny latencies. But that really is getting a little too close to the screen. heh )

UPDATE:

Maybe you're right...

I just found this backgrounder at Sweetwater -- not normally an institution that I would consider a source of reliable technical information but this actually seems to involve RME's supposed coinnage of the term "zero latency monitoring" in 1998 to apply to one of their products (that apparently had a digital AD/DA turnaround in that "zero latency" monitoring signal circuit):
Quote:
Zero Latency Latency is the time a message takes to traverse a system. For music recorded via computer, latency is major concern. A human playing an instrument, for example, needs nearly instantaneous feedback from that instrument in order to play it correctly. While this is generally not a problem with non-digital instruments, audio routed through a computer always has some delay in the signal path. Latencies higher than 100 ms make working with real-time music programs or instruments impossible, and many musicians find much lower latencies objectionable. While virtually every digital process involves some latency (just converting a signal to digital and back to analog takes some small amount of time) there are some systems where it is much more of an issue than others. Historically host based computer recording systems (ones that don't rely on dedicated audio processing hardware, but use the computer's CPU for instead) have been the worst offenders. A TDM based Pro Tools DAW, for example, has virtually no latency because the computer is merely acting as a host while most of the audio processing is done on the DSP cards residing in the computer. Out of the need for low-latency interconnects, Steinberg created ASIO, a protocol designed for low-latency transmission (on the order of a few ms) of digital instrument and other music data. The term 'Zero Latency Monitoring' was introduced in 1998 by RME with the DIGI96 series of audio interfaces and refers to the technique of routing the input signal directly to the output on the audio card. This has become one of the most important features of modern, host based hard disk recording. Progress is continually being made in lowering the latency of these systems. With ASIO Direct Monitoring (ADM, since ASIO 2.0), Steinberg has not only introduced Zero Latency Monitoring to ASIO, but also extended it substantially. ADM also allows for monitoring the input signal via the hardware in real-time. Over and above that, ADM supports panorama, volume and routing, which requires a mixer (i.e. DSP functionality) in the hardware though. Thus it is possible to copy a routing through a software mixer into the hardware in real-time, so that the sound difference between playback and monitoring is very small. In total, ADM renders a substantial step towards 'mixer and tape recorder inside the computer'. There are similar advancements being achieved with other brands. On the whole zero latency monitoring is a reality now, but there are still some compromises to be made in terms of workflow to achieve it. The only easy way around this is still to go with more costly solutions until processing speeds allow the power and flexibility of dedicated systems to be truly replicated with host based systems.
Someone should tell Sweetwater about another new invention, the paragraph...


Anyhow, if RME has actually been using the term since 1998 to refer to a digital monitoring process, I guess I'd have to revise my own history and say that the term has become or perhaps always been a meaningless distortion of what actually should be a very clear and unambiguous term.
Old 9th December 2008
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
That's what I do (using my analog mixing board). When I switched to DAW from ADATs in '97, I pretty much just plugged the 8 channel DAW in, in place of the ADATs. (To oversimplify only a little. And, actually, for the first few years, my two ADATs acted as AD and DA.) And, of course, I had been using a board (analog) then, so I just continued.

The only 'problem' with MOTU CueMix aside from (possibly) limited mix channel capacity is the near-zero latency thing. If a couple ms is cool for your monitoring, then no biggie, I guess. (As I think I said above, I didn't notice it, really, when tracking my own vocals, but it was uncomfortable playing guitar DI.)

FWIW, I did a project at a buddy's studio a few weeks back and he's got a Panasonic DA7 digital board and I had no problems with my own vocals, there, either, although I have read of some singers complaining of an unnatural feel to monitoring through a digital board or something like the virtual mixer of CueMix.
The point that I'm trying to make is that any signals being recorded you want to send the the headphone BEFORE they get to the computer. Anything you want the band the LISTEN to while recording that is already recorded should come from the outputs of the soundcard..either the individual tracks or the 2 mix of the computer. Mute the tracks being recorded so that the band only heres the PRE signal from the console.

Once the record pass is done, turn on all the tracks and listen to the recorded output.

As long as you are listening THROUGH the computer, there is latency.

Am I being clear???
Old 9th December 2008
  #18
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a million dollar digital SSL console has SOME latency do to the converters, it is impossible not to have some if it's digital.
Old 9th December 2008
  #19
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cjogo's Avatar
We connect our Trap Kat via MIDI/ Kurzweil & 8 analog outputs and that's the only slight latency we experience...otherwise acceptable latency with Roland DAW .
Old 9th December 2008
  #20
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adisc's Avatar
 

If u have laptop , u can use a cardbuss like Echo Indigo , in this case is 0 latency for sure . But quality is not the best of course .

If not , try a desktop soundcard , all u need is not to use usb or firewire connection .
Old 9th December 2008
  #21
minimum latency for any convertersystem is 64 buffer in, 64 buffer out (AD-stage, DA-stage). that is 1ms in, 1ms out.. protools.
Old 9th December 2008
  #22
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d_fu's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by George Necola View Post
minimum latency for any convertersystem is 64 buffer in, 64 buffer out
I guess you mean samples, not buffers. Most current converters will require 40-50 samples, but some newer (Crystal) chips require only about 8-12 samples or so.


Daniel
Old 9th December 2008
  #23
Gear Guru
 
John Willett's Avatar
 

There is no such thing as zero latency with digits.

As soon as you convert analogue to digital there is latency - it may be very small, but it's there.

If it says "zero latency monitoring" than the only way it would be strictly true is if you were monitoring the analogue signal before it was converted to digital.

Having said this, a very good system could have an extremely low latency so that you could not actually hear the difference - normally described as near zero latency.
Old 9th December 2008
  #24
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FeatheredSerpent's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by GZsound View Post
I just bought a Soundcraft 328 digital mixer that does pretty much what you are describing.
Welcome to the club! Only had mine a couple of weeks and loving it.

More to the point, if the OP is finding that sub 1 millisecond latencies involved in direct monitoring are not quick enough, then I expect that he is not actually using the direct monitoring feature at all, and has made a mistake in his setup somewhere.
Old 9th December 2008
  #25
Gear Nut
 

As I understand it zero latency monitoring (as proposed by the a/d manufacturers) refers to the ability of the interface to route incoming analog signals directly to an assigned output (no conversion)...I haven't seen one claim of zero latency using the converters and software..which as stated would be impossible. If you have ever done a live track in the control room using the monitors then you are introducing latency as well...controlled by the distance the preformer is from the speaker. There are latencies all over the natural world (reverb anybody?) based on time and space. Monitor with hardware and stop obsessing about miniature imperfections..some really suberb recordings have been done in situations that would make a perfectionist croak


Ray
Old 9th December 2008
  #26
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Right. If direct monitoring (analogue input bounced straight back to analogue output with no conversion stage) is implemented properly it should be no different from the latency that you would get from routing an input on a desk to the control room outs or to a headphone feed.

So I think that maybe his monitoring options are not set correctly.
Old 9th December 2008
  #27
Quote:
Originally Posted by d_fu View Post
I guess you mean samples, not buffers. Most current converters will require 40-50 samples, but some newer (Crystal) chips require only about 8-12 samples or so.


Daniel
my fault.. I mean samples.

really? how is this "modification" possible?
Old 9th December 2008
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Willett View Post
Having said this, a very good system could have an extremely low latency so that you could not actually hear the difference - normally described as near zero latency.
There's a reason why I still use my 10-year-old Soundscape Mixtreme card, and 100% is not that I'm a cheap bastard!
Old 9th December 2008
  #29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steffmo View Post
The point that I'm trying to make is that any signals being recorded you want to send the the headphone BEFORE they get to the computer. Anything you want the band the LISTEN to while recording that is already recorded should come from the outputs of the soundcard..either the individual tracks or the 2 mix of the computer. Mute the tracks being recorded so that the band only heres the PRE signal from the console.

Once the record pass is done, turn on all the tracks and listen to the recorded output.

As long as you are listening THROUGH the computer, there is latency.

Am I being clear???
Absolutely.

If it sounded like I didn't understand you, I probably wasn't being clear. Anyhow, that's precisely what I do and have always done (except for a brief period experimenting with the CueMix system in my MOTU). All my live monitoring goes strictly through the analog mixing board, with playback from the computer folded in.
Old 9th December 2008
  #30
Quote:
Originally Posted by FeatheredSerpent View Post
Right. If direct monitoring (analogue input bounced straight back to analogue output with no conversion stage) is implemented properly it should be no different from the latency that you would get from routing an input on a desk to the control room outs or to a headphone feed.

So I think that maybe his monitoring options are not set correctly.
An issue appears to be that there is some confusion as to whether some of these devices use an analog cue monitoring or had an AD/DA cycle.

The backgrounder at Sweetwater on "zero latency" I linked to and quoted above (and partially below) certainly seems to indicate that the manufacturers are, in many cases, applying that term to systems which use digitally processed cue mixing -- even though us sticklers would insist that true zero latency mixing would only be delivered by an analog signal circuit.

And certainly MOTU's DSPCueMix (note name) is digitally based. The RME devices, apparently, ditto.

At this point, I suspect that most devices that don't explicitly state that they use an analog cue mix circuit are probably using DSP cue systems -- because it is so much cheaper, particularly for multi channel devices.



Unfortunately, those who use the (supposedly RME-coined term) "zero latency monitoring" to refer to a digital process, it seems to me, are guilty of misleading customers and debasing the technical language. Honest to gosh, I think they ought to be ashamed of themselves.

Whether the monitoring latency of such a digital system is 1.5 ms or 20 ms -- it's not truly zero latency.

RME's claim to have 'invented' the term notwithstanding.

Quote:
The term 'Zero Latency Monitoring' was introduced in 1998 by RME with the DIGI96 series of audio interfaces and refers to the technique of routing the input signal directly to the output on the audio card. This has become one of the most important features of modern, host based hard disk recording. Progress is continually being made in lowering the latency of these systems. With ASIO Direct Monitoring (ADM, since ASIO 2.0), Steinberg has not only introduced Zero Latency Monitoring to ASIO, but also extended it substantially.
-- excerpt, Sweetwater glossary on "Zero Latency Monitoring."

I think it's clear from that bolding that -- and from the RME quotes below -- that "Zero Latency" as used by these folks does not mean zero latency via analog monitoring. Which is why they say 'progress is continually being made' in 'lower the latency' of such systems (already a contradiction in terms, eh?) and go on to talk about ASIO in terms of "Zero Latency Monitoring."

Now -- I would have hoped that RME's ZLM was true analog monitoring, and hence truly zero latency -- but that doesn't appear to be the case. According to RME, they apparently consider the 1.5 ms latency they claim to achieve as "zero latency."

But with regard to the term "Zero Latency Monitoring" -- this is how RME describes it on their website -- which seems more than a little ambiguous -- thouth the talk about ASIO seems to indicated a digital process:
Quote:

Zero Latency Monitoring (ZLM®)
ZLM brings real tape machine feeling to the PC. Each cassette recorder and tape machine passes the input signal of the track in record to the output when record starts. On the PC such a kind of track dependent pass through wasn't available. Often all channels are put in monitoring or pass through mode all together. Or the monitoring is handled by the software, resulting in a big delay (latency) between the signal at the input and the output. After all the pass through mode is activated at record, not at Punch-in. ZLM now solves all these problems with a simple technique. At Punch-in the corresponding track is switched into bypass directly in the hardware, at Punch-out it switches back to playback. Thus the PC behaves exactly like a 'normal' tape machine. ZLM is already available with SEKD's Samplitude and Sequoia, and SAWStudio. It is included as ASIO Direct Monitoring in ASIO 2.0.


Enhanced ZLM®
The direct pass through of digital data requires the input and output to carry the same AND synchronous sample frequency. In most cases a monitoring is only possible in clock mode slave (AutoSync.) Enhanced ZLM® removes those restrictions and allows a monitoring of the input signal completely independent from the clock mode.
RME Intelligent Audio Solutions - Unique Technologies of the Hammerfall series

So, it appears that when RME talks about ZLM they are talking about a mode switching interface between their DSP based onboard monitoring and certain DAWs. But -- I have to say -- it's really rather ambiguous. If we refer back to the Sweetwater backgrounder or to RME's description of how ZLM works with ASIO, it does seem to indicate they are talking about a digital process.

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