Low latency, Vista and ASIO

Is it worth reverting to XP for Ange?

Hello chaps!

I’m after a bit of technical advice.

The delay when listening to Ange recording through the live output was about 4 seconds so I thought I’d better do some research on the subject. We’re running Vista Home Premium as the main OS on this box, and I’m currently installing Service Pack 2.

I realised that Ange has been recording from the Tascam US-144 using MME. So I’ve switched to the Tascam’s ASIO drivers and by setting the Tascam’s drivers to low latency I’ve got the delay down to about 1.5 m/s.

As a result there’s a number of clicks and pops but these appear to not be recorded, I presume this is just a side effect of me trying to get the latency a bit to low as I can remove them on playback by setting the Tascam to “normal latency”. The drivers seem very flaky, regularly seems to need restarting and after an hour or so the latency seems to build back up to nearly a second (although that’s evidently not reported by the drivers).

The rest of the buffering settings are the defaults from n-Track 5 for hyper low buffering…

I have a number of questions, and I thought you kind gents could probably help! If I’m going to “faff” with things I need to justify to Ange that I’m not messing with things for no reason :wink: Fidelity through the MME drivers seemed good enough after all!

1) Is there any real benefit to using Low Latency settings aside from listening to the recording on live? The main reason I wanted Ange to be able to use the live mode was simply to help her get the levels right without recording, playing back, adjusting, recording, playing back.

2) If I install XP on a separate partition will it either reduce the latency or remove these clicks? Like I said, we’re down to about 1.5 m/s which is “almost” unnoticeable, but the stability and popping is a real issue…

3) Is slightly sub-par performance an inevitable consequence of using a USB 2.0 soundcard? Should I just bite the bullet and buy Ange a new PCI soundcard with better supported drivers? (probably something from http://www.thomann.de/gb/cat.html?gf=pci_audio_interfaces&oa=pra) [not that the current soundcard isn’t GREATLY appreciated Tom!!!]

Personally I’d rather switch Ange to Ubuntu with a low latency kernel but the Tascam just doesn’t have the drivers. Not to mention it would also mean ditching n-Track, I can’t imagine the benefits of a low latency kernel would be gained if I then ran all the audio through wine!

Thanks for the help,

Rob Swan

Hi robswan:

You’re opening a Touchy Subject here…
There’s some nice audio cards on that page…
I happen to have that m-Audio 192 Card…
I haven’t used it to do any tracking or editing with it yet…
I’m still working (building) this new studio…
I can say, I’m expecting some nice performance from this m-Audio stuff…
I think it’s good to have the capability to be able to open up at least four mics at one time…
That means having enough Electronics-and-Front-end for Four I/O chains…
That would be so nice…


Hi Rob, what is the entire hook up for recording and monitoring?

Are you monitoring back thru the headphones on the Tascam?

Also check driver and firmware installed for the Tascam, latest I found on their site was V1.12

Looking at the unit is says zero latency hardware monitoring, not familiar with this unit.

You shouldn’t have to use live button if monitoring thru the Tascam unit.

yep - you’re complicating a very simple plug in and play situation… If you are monitoring the Tascam’s outs - not an actual sound card out - you will hear “zero latency”…

If I am reading this right, there may be some confusion about the
Live" button.
Try recording with the LIVE button turned off and see if that fixes things.

You can get almost Zero latency by using the sound cards out. When the “Live” button is on (the word Live turns green) the playback is routed through N-track’s effect channel. This will almost always create latency and in some setups will even cause a “slap back” echo because you can hear both the feed from the sound card (very little latency) and the program’s effects channel (much more latency). Your sound card should be able to playback recorded tracks and add new (live) tracks Without the LIVE button being engaged.
If the ASIO settings are giving you problems, (N-Track sets then automatically so they are not really adjustable) try the WDM drivers.
With a 7200 speed hard drive there should be so little difference in what is played and what is already recorded even with higher buffer settings.
Separating the Boot drive from the Data drive may help some in that the hard drive is not working to access information from two different places - with two drives the Boot drive is “playing” operating system, the Data Drive is playing and recording sound.
But to overstate: When the LIVE button is not active the sound is read from the hard drive with very little processing, and new sound is recorded to the Hard drive with very little processing - the sound card is doing the work. USB can send/receive information faster than most hard drive need in order to work properly.
PS I have posted a skin that shows “LIVE ON” when the LIVE button is active because I had problems with just this situation.


1) Is there any real benefit to using Low Latency settings aside from listening to the recording on live?

Short answer. NO!

Monitor through the Tascam and use whatever device sounds the best and gives the least trouble, including sync issues during playback.


2) If I install XP on a separate partition will it either reduce the latency or remove these clicks?

It may, but it depends on the drivers. While Vista cause trouble for a lot of folks, it really depends on what the underlying cause is.


3) Is slightly sub-par performance an inevitable consequence of using a USB 2.0 soundcard?

Not really. This kind of thing can be very hardware specific, and that means any other hardware in the complete system. The chipset on the motherboard is a huge variable. It controls all the IO of the buses.

Thanks for all the input!

You’re all entirely correct of course, there was really no need to use the ‘live’ button - I just assumed that because it was there we should be using it :wink:

As a result of that we’re now still using the ASIO drivers but I’ve slackened off the latency settings on the Tascam control panel and that seems to have resolved all the popping and clicking that was sneaking in ocasionally (even when using WDM / MME) - so the main Gremlin has been well and truly put down :)

The reasoning for not just using the ‘phones’ socket on the Tascam was primarily because of the volume on it seems to be very low (even when turned up as high as it can go on the unit, which because it’s a slider between ‘computer output’ and ‘monitoring’ isn’t always possible).

I suppose we could always run the phones back through another amp to boost the volume…

Anyway, thanks for the tips. I won’t bother reinstalling another OS; Vista with Service Pack 2 seems to be running just fine for the job at hand.

turn the tascam control all the way to computer when listening and use the blend feature on when recording to include track recorded and new track monitoring. Get jiggy wit it!