delay in live sound????


I just got this and I am trying to figure out how to start. The first problem I am having is when I play I get a huge delay in what I hear. I have messed with the Buffering settings but when I set them lower I just get static. What am I doing wrong?

I’m a newbie at this so explain in simple basic terms please.

Rock on!!


Welcome to the forum!

The effect you are describing is called latency and is a fact of life.

It happens because your soundcard drivers take time to process the audio going in, and coming out.
I suspect you are playing an instrument and using NTrack in “Live” mode. This is where any latency will show up at it’s worst, especially if you are using any plugins, which of course add their own latency to the signal.

Most of us get round this by monitoring before the soundcard (i.e. using an external mixer with a headphone output in addition to it’s line output)

Latency can be reduced by changing the soundcard drivers to ASIO, if available (look in preferences)
Note that buffer settings will do NOTHING to alter the amount of latency.

Much has been said about latency on this and every other music forum, if you do a search you will find plenty of reading :)


what soundcard are you using ?

Dr J

I believe I have a SigmaTel integrated soundcard in my Dell Inspiron E1505 laptop.


the chances are that you are using the SigmaTel version of the standard AC97 sound drivers - this should give you MME (very slow) and WDM (faster) but NOT ASIO (the fastest) - if you have WDM in audio devices, then select them - no matter what DAW you use you are going to get latency - when you set buffer size, always use the presets rather than turning the dials -

in prefs make sure that audio multithreadibg is ticked - you say when you play - play what ? guitar or KBD ? - My PC is much slower than your Dell but i can play KBD on low buffering using WDM drivers OK -

Dr J

I tried that and still getting a lot of static. I am playing an electric acuoustic guitar and I also tried an electric. The delay is not as bad though.

you say you are suffering from ststic - i presume this is some sort of noise and not audio breakup (where the sound cuts in and out which gives pops and clicks), Dell laptops are famous for noisy power supplies which radiate interferance for a few meters in all directions from it, so much interferance is generated that it is often impossible to record with it plugged in - UNPLUG the PSU and try recording on battery power only -

Dr J

Hi, if you can monitor your input signal direct with the windows mixer you should avoid any delay issues and don’t use Live monitoring in n-track.

See screenshot;…fig.htm

"Line in" should give you your new incoming sound and “Wave” should give you your previously recorded tracks.

For this purpose mme drivers should be fine.


Yeah. What Nick said.

Too many people get worked up over latency/drivers etc, when it all means more or less diddly squat unless you are trying to monitor via software or use a VSTi “live”.

Righto, what Nick and ^Q^S said. Latency is an issue, and can be reduced, but usually doesn’t matter – you usually don’t need to use “live” mode. You only need that if you’re using plugin synthesizers (which you’re not), or if you’re using effects that you need to hear while recording.

The last case is what you’d bump into if you plug your electric directly into the computer and use software to emulate the guitar amp and cabinet. That’s way cool, but it’s a lot easier to use a POD, V-Amp, or J-Station or something like that. Or for best results, mike your amp, but that’s a whole 'nuther ball of wax, and you can’t do it when they baby’s sleeping!