Buffer and Latency for LIVE processing

I am a new user and have been having problems with be able to use LIVE processing. I am currently running the trial version of N_track Studio with a Delta 1010LT sound card. I tried different settings with no success. I get repeating echo of the initial sound or a nasty clip. Any guidance with settings is greatly appreciated. :cool:

What buffer settings have you currently got set?
Also what driver are you using for the Delta?
ASIO or WDM should allow you to have lower buffer settings.

are you trying to use live monitoring for audio or midi?

Rich

First, just try using the ASIO driver (“Preferences -> Audio Devices”). If you can’t tell which are the ASIO drivers, go to the Advanced tab and select ASIO only. That alone will reduce latency dramatically, and usually makes controlling latency easier as well (but soundcard-dependent, since it’s done in the driver control panel).

What are you using LIVE mode for? Recording guitar direct, using plugin synths, or what?

Thanks for the response. I have been using the WDM driver for recording and playback. Currently buffer is set as “normal buffering (Default)” 8192 for Live input, Playback and Recording. How does my soundcard’s DMA Buffer Size latency setting affect? I have been trying to use the LIVE monitoring for audio. My thought is that it might be nice to hear vocal including any fx such as reverb or compression. I’ll try setting to ASIO drivers as Learjeff suggested. Wal weradit, is there a way to monitor a mono input such as a (1) condensor mic in stereo through the headphones? Thanks again for all the insight! :cool:

I’m not sure about the soundcard’s DMA buffer size latency setting, when used with WDM. My understanding is that for WDM, the application (n-Track) sets up the buffering. For ASIO, it’s the other way around, and you use the soundcard’s ASIO driver control panel to adjust latency. The default is pretty low latency, way good enough for using reverb.

Personally, I recommend against using FX when monitoring for recording. For one thing, reverb can dilute intonation problems, like singing in the shower sounds good in the shower but not outside it. However, it’s still a good idea to play with it and know how to do it. Some vocalists insist on it and if you get someone like that to record it’s good to be able to accommodate them. So let’s set my recommendation against it aside for now and you make up your own mind later. (Oh – another reason to avoid it is it can be a hassle so why bother!)

There are two ways to monitor. One is via n-Track’s LIVE mode, and the other is using the soundcard’s monitor mixer (an internal component in pretty much all soundcards, even built-ins). The Delta should come with a control panel for controlling this mixer. It probably has a feature to monitor a single input in mono (same thing in both sides, not “stereo” as you asked but what I assume you meant). In general, it’s best to monitor directly from the soundcard, since it’s nearly zero latency and once you get it set up, hassle free.

If you monitor BOTH ways, both LIVE and direct from the soundcard, you’ll see two problems. First, the direct monitor and the unaffected (dry) send from n-Track won’t be in perfect sync, and so you’ll get phase cancellation effects (coloration – just in the monitor, though, not recorded). The second problem is that you’ll have to turn the effect up twice as loud to hear it. So it’s generally a good idea to do one or the other and not both.

There’s a third option, which is to monitor the dry signal direct from the soundcard and just the effect from n-Track LIVE mode. Well, this is kinda hard to set up, and only works for “additive” effects – things you slap on top of the dry signal, like reverb or echo. Compression, distortion, and other “mutative” effects that completely replace the dry signal won’t sound right because the dry signal is still coming from the soundcard.

So, unless you’re trying the tricky 3rd option, be sure to turn off soundcard monitoring for an input channel whenever you use LIVE monitoring in n-Track on that input channel.

If your soundcard doesn’t provide the option to monitor a single channel in mono mode, well, I’d be surprised. But in that case you can use n-Track’s LIVE mode instead. Make sure you’ve set up so it records “one mono channel” or “split stereo to two mono tracks” or however it’s worded. (To adjust that, click on the little hammer icon under the recording meters.)

Cheers
Jeff