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Thread: Cannot fix latency

  1. #1
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    Cannot fix latency

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    This is not a rant or list of complaints. Just a plea for help. I'll try to summarize. I've been using Cakewalk since 1990 (DOS version) and have upgraded pretty much every other release. I had some success with computer based recording with Cakewalk Pro Audio-9 many years ago but was never able to get Sonar to overcome the latency issues. Using Scott's book I was able setup and try some recording but have never been able successfully record. I use a stand-alone 24 track recorder so Sonar is basically just my sequencer and soft-synth player for now. I have tried several times in the past to get computer based recording working but the only control over latency seems to be buffer size. Adjusting that does eliminate latency, however it also introduces clicks and stutters. There doesn't seem to be a middle ground. So with my configuration as below, what can I do to eliminate the latency problem? Thanks, Bill.

    Dell Optiplex 9020 - Intel i7-4790 3.6ghz - 2 1tb HD - 16gb mem Win 7 Pro SvcPk 1.
    Sonar X2 Producer (X2A build 351 - x64)
    Interface: Scarlett 8i6 - Mixctl 1.8.128.0 - Driver 2.5.1 API 3.0
    1) Is there anything besides buffer size that I can adjust?
    2) Are the newer version Scarletts better performers?
    3) Would upgrading to X3 help? I hate to keep spending money on upgrades that do not seem to help.

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    I assume you mean input monitoring latency. If you're talking about record latency, alignment of the tracks after they've been recorded, that's different.

    Are you using MixControl? That should make input latency practically nothing.

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    Yes. Input latency is my problem. Playing a soft-synth via the Cakewalk A-100 keyboard results in a slight delay before I hear the tone from a keypress. I am not skilled enough to be able to play that way. I am using MixControl but admit I don't know what I'm doing. I am lucky if I even get things routed correctly to get them to work. Is there a tutorial somewhere for MixControl? Also wondering if I should get the newer generation of Scarlett now being advertised? I purchased the 8i6 based on a recommendation via phone call to Cakewalk tech support. Thanks - Bill

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    I bought the Scarlett 8i6 because Cakewalk Tech Support said it was the only interface that they recommend. I like the sound quality but not the need for an external power supply. So I'll probably replace it anyway. The new Scarlett 2i2 (2nd Gen) has good reviews on Guitar Center website so obviously some people are getting it to work. At $150 it's worth the gamble to me if it allows me to switch to computer based recording. I used to be happy with a Tascam 2488 as it had the ability to MIDI-sync with Sonar so I could lay down MIDI tracks one at a time. Unfortunately lost that unit in a flood and the replacement DP-24 no longer has the MIDI-sync function. So now I have to prepare all my MIDI backing at once and dump it to the recorder. Unfortunately that leaves no room for tweaking. If I could get up on computer based recording I would have individual control over all the tracks. Thanks again for listening. Bill

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    Hi Bill,

    There are two main things which introduce latency.

    The first is your audio hardware buffer size settings.
    I'm oversimplifying but imagine something is bringing your audio in via one bucket. Small buckets quickly = steadier flow. Large bucket = big breaks in between.

    Buffer size settings are usually controlled in your DAW settings/preferences. It might be labelled latency control or something similar.
    It's usually adjustable between 32/64 and 1024/2048 in binary increments. Set it to something like 128 or 256 and see if it helps.

    Anything higher is usually audible.

    The flipside, and main reason for having this control, is that you can crank it up once you're finished recording.
    If your mix has a lot of intensive plugins and your computer is struggling to playback without glitches, doing this will help and the latency is no longer an issue because you're no longer recording.

    The other thing is that some plugins introduce their own latency for processing time.
    A lot of intensive plugins like vocal pitch shift tools etc can introduce a lot of latency.
    For testing, just set up a blank session with no plugins and work from there.

    Hope that's useful.
    Quote Originally Posted by Grawlf View Post
    That's a tad too much terminology. What do you mean by 'mix'?
    Quote Originally Posted by Steenamaroo View Post
    No VST can emulate that smell.

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    Thanks for the reply Steenamaroo,
    Actually I do not use any effects at all. Reverb and delay are external boxes between mic and Scarlett or guitar. I also have spent much time tweaking buffer size and cannot find middle ground. When the buffer size is set for acceptable latency, I get static, clicks and drop-outs. It certainly can't be PC horsepower as I've read about users with far smaller systems than mine working fine. At this point I'm hoping that investing in a 2nd generation Scarlett will give me the edge I need for near-zero latency. I really don't know what else to try. Although I plan to run it by Focusrite tech support first. (I'm sure they will suggest buying a new unit)

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    Oh, ok. That doesn't sound great.
    Also, apologies...I didn't see you'd mentioned buffer sizes in your first post.

    I also just realised you're talking about midi latency so buffer sizes may not even be relevant.

    It might be useful to prove that with an audio source.
    If you don't get latency with a plugged in analog signal (mic, keyboard, guitar) then this is strictly a midi related issue. Please try that.
    Could even be something as silly as auto quantize being turned on!

    Regardless, a PC like yours you really shouldn't have to look for a middle ground. It should be more than happy tracking at 128 or perhaps less.
    If you're getting clicks/pops dropouts on a light session at, say, 128, that's telling us there's a problem somewhere.

    Is your PC bogged down at all? Lots of things going on in the background?
    What is the soft synth? Is it something heavy-duty with huge sample libraries? If so, try moving those libraries to an external hard drive.
    Quote Originally Posted by Grawlf View Post
    That's a tad too much terminology. What do you mean by 'mix'?
    Quote Originally Posted by Steenamaroo View Post
    No VST can emulate that smell.

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    Steenamaroo - Thanks again for your reply and your interest. The latency is definitely audio as it happens with anything plugged into the Scarlett. Guitar, mic, etc. I do probably have background stuff going as this is a stock PC from Dell with Norton Security added. I hate to disable Norton but suppose it's worth a try. In the meantime I've decided to try a couple things. I ordered more memory from Dell to upgrade from 16gb to 32gb. Also getting ready to visit my Guitar Center to pick up a 2nd Generation Scarlett. The ads claim better latency so it can't hurt. Also I hate having the external power with the 8i6 as the new units are USB powered and that's one less cord on my setup to trip over.
    Regards - Bill

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    Yes. Tear out, delete, uninstall, and deactivate everything that is not directly related to audio production and never let it connect to the internet except maybe for software authorization.

    You are using the ASIO drivers for your interface? It sounds like it, but just to be sure...

    Does your version of Sonar have a way to send and receive SMPTE timecode via the audio inputs and outputs? This could help you overcome the lack of sync on your recorder. Course, if your computer worked properly, you wouldn't need that thing anymore.

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    Following up on ashcat_IT's post. Are you sure that you are using the actual ASIO driver for your Scarlett?

    Have you ever installed ASIO4ALL? I have encountered problems where just having it installed interferes (significantly) when a real ASIO device/driver is installed. If you think you are using your device's driver you may actually be using the ASIO4ALL program. If you have ever installed it you MUST completely uninstall it from your conputer to get it out of the way of your real driver ((Control Panel - Programs and Features - ASIO4ALL - Uninstall).

    Glen
    THPPft!!

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