Buffers question

I use N-Tracks for mixing 98% of the time.

What would be the best buffering settings for quick response for meters and volume changes.

I’m using Win XP sp3, thru an M-Audio 2496. The MME drivers seem to work best for me. I do have the m-audio AISO and the WMD(?) drivers.

Any advice would be appreciated, at least as a starting point :)

Right now, I have N-Track using ‘normal’ buffering. There are occassional ‘pauses’ in the visual playback - but not the audio playback.

The WDM drivers should be better - it your card support it properly. Some will say the ASIO is best. The speed of the editing (stop and start for instance is a product of the buffer settings.
In general:
ASIO - fasterest and uses lower buffers. Can be querky on some machines and you cannot have more than one program using it at a time ( I mix with Ntrack but do some editing with Sound Forge, so ASIO is not my choice.
WDM - almost as fast as ASIO, the buffers can be progrtamed to match the machine and you can move between audio programs freely.
MME - the oldest and slowest, but sometimes the most stable. Requires a larger buffer setting.

I use ASIO exclusively. Lower latencies and faster GUI response.

Bax’s point about ASIO = “only one program at a time” is correct… sort of…

A well behaved driver and host (assuming the host is programmed to do it) will release the ASIO driver when sent to the background. This never worked right for me with n-Track. It does work well with Reaper BUT I cannot say if the problem is n’s or the drivers. ?? I’m guessing n-Track because it works with other hosts but weirder things happen eh?

My work around was set my DAW be it n-Track, Reaper or Samp to use ASIO and I have Adobe Audition set to use WDM. My EMU interface allows this and it works beautifully.

I haven’t even thought about MME in years. Too slow and in-efficient… shrug


PS I use ASIO4ALL on my laptop when I dink around with the onboard sound. Most of the time though, it’s hooked to a Tascam US-122L running Tascam’s ASIO driver. The onboard sound SUX! :laugh:

Thanks for the replies.

I have used the WDM drivers, and they work pretty good.

The AISO drivers give me some pretty funky results, like lotsa clicks and pops.

But what I need to know is buffer sizes and number to maximize quick response in the audio and display.

Would that be high buffering or low buffering?

Oh, and I often have Sony Sound Forge 8 open for editing. Would that make a difference?

more detail: my wave files are 48/24 files.

Low buffers mean just that. There is little buffering going on. That means the response should quicker but it also means that if your machine and/or n-Track can’t keep up, you’ll get drop outs, clicks, pops and stutters.

Higher buffers mean you have more of a safety net to prevent under runs (clicks, pops etc…) but the GUI and audio response will be slower.

Make sense? Nobody can tell you exactly what to set your buffering to. You’ll have to experiment to see what works best for you and your machine. :agree:


High buffering means you can open lots of plug-ins, very good for mixing and mastering. But when you hit start or stop, it takes a moment to respond, no matter which DAW or driver you are using. Low buffering means fast response to stops and starts, very good for recording and overdubbing, and for playing back un-effected tracks or mix-downs. But as you add more plug-ins or tracks, you begin to get the dreaded pops and clicks in your playback. Fortunately, at least in my experience, you have to seriously tax your machine before they become part of the files!

As to the meters, they pretty much have the same response pattern to changes in buffering. My experience with N, R, Cubase, and ProTools is that meter response is generally pretty fast, unless you really, really push things.

But, like Dio said above, try all the settings, and see which work best with your system, and your style of working. It only takes a moment to change them, and it is well worth the extra tinkering.

'til next time!
Tony W