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Distance to your amp plus wireless latency = unacceptable delay?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Downunderwonder, May 20, 2016.

  1. 10ft

    2 vote(s)
  2. 15ft

    3 vote(s)
  3. 20ft

    8 vote(s)
  4. 25ft

    9 vote(s)
  5. 30ft

    8 vote(s)
  6. I monitor through my feet and the stage rumble.

    6 vote(s)
  1. Opening Pandora's Box? - Support - Whirlwind

    I have nil experience with roaming large stages. Only a few times I have been positioned 15 to 20ft from my cab and I felt my timing was affected trying to lock in with drums. This tallies with what the author of the article experienced.

    Mathematically you can add distance in ft to latency in milliseconds for the total delay between playing and hearing as sound travels 1ft per ms.

    So what have you experienced with being remote from your monitor and or system latency?
  2. I've played very large festival and arena stages.

    Generally you are NOT hearing the latency in the wireless. Decent wireless tech has gotten to the point that this is imperceptible.

    What you are hearing is the time it takes the sound to travel from your amp to your ears. The further away the more of a delay you hear.

    On large stages with out in ears, it help to put bass in side fills if you got them or in other wedges.

    With ears this doesn't matter.

    I selected 25 feet in the survey because bass notes need about 15 - 20 feet to fully develop. Once I get to 30 feet I can start to feel the delay.
  3. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    I've heard a grand piano is like 40ms delay from fingering the key to hearing the note.
    Lower keys, heavier hammers, and even slower.
    It takes a pianist just a few notes to adjust to a piano.

    On a DB, it takes longer for the note to develop, especially if bowing.

    Human brain is amazing, it figures out how to adjust with a little bit of practice.
  4. This is a very good article. Thanks for providing the link.
    I don't deal with latency so much on stages or in monitor systems, but I do in broadcasting.
    If you own an HD radio you may have noticed these problems when a station does not have their signal delays and amplitudes matched between the analog broadcast and the digital (HD) counterpart that is broadcast "simultaneously."

    The digital signal takes about eight seconds to "calculate" it's way through the system. The analog does so nearly instantaneously. To be able to match both signals, the analog part is delayed by eight seconds, give or take actuall processing time, to match the digital's inherent delay.
    When you first tune in a HD radio station, you are initially getting the analog broadcast for the two or three seconds that it takes to acquire and lock on to the digital carriers.

    If the two signals are time mismatched by more than several ms then you hear an echo at the point when your radio locks to the digital signal and switches from the analog. If you are driving in your car, through a poor reception area, your radio may lose digital lock and revert back to analog. On the fringes of these areas, your radio may switch back and forth several times a minute. If the two signals are not time aligned it creates a real mess. There is nothing wrong with your brand new HD radio. Your complaint lies squarely with the station.
    The DJ's at HD radio stations can't even listen to themselves from an off air signal anymore. If they tried, they'd be hearing themselves eight seconds after they speak. Talk about latency! They have to monitor themselves at the mixer board output. They can be off the air and not even know it until a listener calls in.
    agedhorse likes this.
  5. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    Let's assume 1 millisecond per foot. Stand ten feet from your cab, the latency would be 10 ms. It can vary depending on temperature and humidity. Some people can deal with latency issues better than others.

    If you have a wireless system, it defines the latency.
  6. We need effects in and out jacks for our ears.
    spaz21387 likes this.
  7. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa, Product Support-Genz Benz
    It depends on a lot of factors, including reflections and other sources that might smear all sources simultaneously. For that reason, on large stages side fills and/or IEMs serve to localize the primary source and limit the ability to hear all other sources such as reflections from a balcony face, back wall, ceiling, etc. In an anechoic (or very dry) environment, the difference in arrival times might be more noticeable because of the lack of other distracting reflections. From experience, timing (or at least the feel of timing) becomes an issue starting around 25msec, but it can vary greatly from player to player (or singer)

    Regarding bass notes needing 15-20 feet to develop, this is an old wive's tale. The sound is a pressure wave, and it takes no distance to "develop", as the pressure at the ear drum increases then decreases with each full wave cycle. Otherwise, IEM elements would not be able to generate any bass being positioned mm from the ear drum.

    Total latency is the sum of all of the individual components of latency, including (digital) wireless mics, any digital processing, digital console (if using monitors driven from that source), and distance from the ear to the speaker.
  8. indeed. Those playing a larger room with no PA support and wandering the room with a low latency wireless. How far out do they get queasy?
  9. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    When you pluck that string, you distort it, then let it go, the string takes milliseconds to stabilize out to actually becoming the "note"
    Record yourself playing a note in audacity and zoom up on it. It's not instantly a "note". This can take 40 milliseconds from the first pluck to the actual note peaking up.

    Sample library makers know to leave this click in because it sounds natural.
    monsterthompson likes this.
  10. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    I think that what you can get out of a wireless system depends on the technology - digital vs analog, protocols; the room - reflections, line of sight; etc.

    At the same time, wandering around is more of a factor in pulling me out of time than anything else. Then again, who needs to play in time anyway. :laugh:
    Fat Freddy likes this.
  11. Spectral analysis waveforms, or it didn't happen!:laugh:
    Rich Fiscus likes this.
  12. Lonnybass


    Jul 19, 2000
    San Diego
    Endorsing Artist: Pedulla Basses
    If bass waves needed 20 feet to fully develop, we'd never hear bass from headphones.
  13. Yes! As we heard straight from the Agedhorse's mouth. (Uh keyboard).

    Isn't there a difference between a plucked string developing a tone vs the tone propagating through the air?
    The string is a mechanical device with natural attack and decay attributed to the string's particular physical properties?

    If a bass wave needed 20 feet to develope wouldn't our basses have to be really long scale?
    spaz21387 likes this.
  14. Fat Freddy

    Fat Freddy Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2016
    Albany NY
    Carrots! :)
  15. Fat Freddy

    Fat Freddy Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2016
    Albany NY
  16. much like the piano then. We get used to a level of latency. So far we agree that doubling that inbuilt instrument latency would be a very bad day at the office.

    Where all the wireless users at today?
  17. middy


    Mar 14, 2007
    There shouldn't be any latency difference between being 5 feet away from your receiver and being 50 feet away. Both analog and digital systems are transmitting in the electromagnetic spectrum at the speed of light.

    The only latency due to distance is the speed of sound between the speaker and your eardrum. Try it out with a couple of 20 foot cables sometime....
  18. Never said otherwise.
  19. Latency over distance due to relatively low speed of sound I could have termed 'delay' but that would have opened another door for confusionists.

    Again. Delay in signal reaching players ear due to seperation from the monitor cab added to latency from a digital wireless can be expresed as a combined number of feet.

    Sheesh. Why so difficult?
  20. Sid Fang

    Sid Fang Reformed Fusion Player Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2008
    I use a Line6 wireless rig, and there's no perceptible delay to the system, and of course the radio waves are moving at the speed of light. On the other hand, sound crawls along at about 1 foot per millisecond. My band practices in a huge space easily 50 feet square, and if I walk to the wall opposite my rig, there is a very noticible lag between my playing a note and hearing it. Inside 20 feet, I don't notice. On the rare occasions where I've been unteathered on a really large stage in performance, I noted that I naturally stay within 25 feet max of my rig. I'm guessing that's the point at which the delay becomes subconsciously irritating.
    Downunderwonder and Plectrum72 like this.

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