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Reducing latency questions (older gear).

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Flux Jetson, Aug 17, 2012.

  1. Hi, I have several older computer systems that I use for music production. They all work well, I see no reason to upgrade for the sake of upgrading if things are still working. Specs:

    ** Pentium 4.
    ** 2.87ghz.
    ** RAM = (some have 2gb, one has 4gb thanks to TB member UncleFluffy).
    ** Storage = 80 to 100+gb onboard plus a few 2TB+ external HDs.
    ** OS = Win XP Home Edition v2002 SP3
    ** Audio Interfaces = several M-Audio "Audiophile USB" w/ their latest ASIO drivers.
    ** DAW = Sonar 6.3 Producer's Edition --AND-- Project 5 v2 (for midi sequencing, it's way easy to use for that).

    What I would like to know is how do I go about reducing I/O latency. (I may have used the wrong term). What I am speaking of is better response (shorter/faster) when I use VST/Soft synths. I am nearly ready to buy the downloadable Arturia SEM softy, and I already have MANY Arturia and Native Instruments soft synths as it is. My only hesitation is due to that latency issue. I plan on dedicating one of the laptops to just P5 and the softsynths, and using that laptop as if it were a midi-multisynth and running it's audio out one of the AIs and then into anothert computer that's running SONAR for audio recording.

    I was hoping to learn how I can have reliable latency times sub-5mS. I think I'm getting about 8mS now (I'd have to check) with my favorite ones (MinimoogV and CS80V).

    Is that the best I can hope for?

    Y'know, it just struck me --- aren't most ADSR envelopes equipped with "ATTACK" times of no shorter than about 4 or 5mS anyhow? I mean on the real hardware versions?

    (shakes head quickly - comes back to reality and the here/now)

    Anyway am I at about the best I'm going to get at 6 to 8 or so mS latency from the time I press a key on my controller keyboard until signal leaves the AI? I guess there's other factors involved - midi-latency (time from key-press until it gets inside the system) added to audio latency. Ugh ... the horror! :)

    Thanks ... always learning.
  2. UncleFluffy


    Mar 8, 2009
    Head Tinkerer, The Flufflab
    That's about as good as we're getting on a newer (Sandy Bridge/Win7-64) system with Sonar.
  3. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    I don't think it's latency that is your problem.

    Consider sound in the air travels about 1ft per 1ms

    So 5 ms is like standing 5 ft from the sound source. 8ms, 8ft from it.

    That's no problem. Between, hitting a midi note, and the sound coming out of a soft-synth, it has to be something else. Try dpclatency checker,

    And there are many sites on optimizing XP for DAW

    Note also there was a study on latency using earbuds versus monitors. The earbuds caused more concern with musicians for the same latency. Nothing that couldn't be ignored after a little practice but it was interesting. In other words, ignore the latency, under 20ms you'll easily get use to it.

    SEM V is a great choice.

    There's youtube video's on the Sem V. One includes comparison against the hardware. With youtube sound, it's impossible to tell the difference. There is also a multipart tutorial and using it inside and out.

    It's incredible! You can't go wrong. Make sure you log into your Arturia account as they seem to have some special buys going on. I upgraded to Arturia V-Collection 3 for less than the street price for SEM V
  4. But if I'm already 15 feet from the monitors .... :confused:

    But you're most likely right, synths may not be a problem. But I know bass guitar, I am sensitive to 8ms. I tried using VST FX realtime before and I just couldn't adapt. I need my bass ~tighter~ than that I guess. I'm not much of an accomplished bassist. "Rock hack" is the term I prefer. :)

    .. bitchen, will do. :cool:

    Hmmm .. those might be tough to work with considering my bass and guitar amplification setups...




  5. So is it Sonar that slows things down?

    Hmmm ... wonder if I put the SEMv on one of my other computers and run it stand-alone? I was planning on trying Project 5 v2 as a midi-sequencer anyhow. (I own it, bought it new a few years ago. Never really tried it, a bunch of ~life~ got in my way. I'm only just recently coming back to the party).

    Or if that's stinks, how about running the SEM-V on it's own computer and then just using that computer as if it were a hardware midi synth? I'd have to use one of the M-Audio Audiophile USB AIs that I have (I have three) for audio output, it has ASIO drivers.

    Given my gear, what is the best way to go about doing this?

    Thanks! (again!)
  6. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    Yep - Arturia Sem V - it's good. As are all their synths.
    And it has presets - instead of having to take a picture of all the patch cords, and knob settings to remember a patch.

    Here is the paper on latency

    "The Effects of Latency on Live Sound Monitoring"
    Lester and Boley
    AES 2007

    Summary: Latency bothers musicians more with IEMs.
    But don't let your brain fool you.
    My theory is IEM's have bone conduction and this throws off the latency adjustment in the brain. I pretty comfortable practicing this out.

    When you're stomping around in Project 5 look for Synchron 32
    It is one of those hidden gems. It's just what most would want in sequencing analog style synths. You can pull it into sonar after you install it from Project 5.
  7. Yea, the presets do make things a lot easier. I've been playing synths since 1978 so it's not so had for me to remember patches, you get to where you use certain "families" of patches that make it easier to re-patch from song to song.

    With this modular stuff I also do it like this ...


    You teach yourself little shorthand codes to record patches as well.

    Synchron 32: Yea, I seem to remember that one. I haven't monkeyed with it yet though. Soon. I'm like ~up-to-here~ with so many projects it's getting ridiculous.

    Thanks for the latency help! Seems I have some studying to get done. :)

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