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  • Another latency question (Pro Tools)

    I see there are two topics about latency on these boards currently, inspiring me to add a third. Hopefully I can ask this in a way that makes sense.

    Currently, I have Pro Tools 10.0.1 and a quad tower Mac that's about five years old, and I'm using a Presonus Firestudio as an audio interface. I also have a Mackie Big Knob.

    Currently, I am running the headphones for musicians out of the Mackie Big Knob. If I have a drummer or percussionist, they are often thrown off unless I set the latency in Pro Tools at 64ms or lower. This is okay when initially tracking, but occasionally, my computer chokes when I am overdubbing a percussion part, and I often have to stop using a few plugins to enable Pro Tools to run at such a low latency. I didn't have this issue as much when I had a more powerful computer in days past, but I've run into this issue once or twice.
    What can I do decrease latency? Would it be better if I ran headphones out the Presonus instead of the Big Knob? Is there something else I can do? Thanks!!!!!
    Ken Lee on 500px / Ken's Photo Store / Ken Lee Photography Facebook Website / Blueberry Buddha Studios / Ajanta Palace Houseboat - Kashmir / Hotel Green View - Kashmir / Eleven Shadows website / Ken Lee Photography Blog / Akai 12-track tape transfers / MY NEW ALBUM! The Mercury Seven

  • #2
    I'm not really sure that the Mackie would add any appreciable latency on the headphones. How are you running the headphone feed? Are you taking an aux send from Pro Tools out of the Firestudio and feeding that into the Big Knob or...?

    If you're hitting the CPU limits of the system when you set it to a low latency value, you might have no other choice but to disable some plugins when you need to do a late-in-the session / unexpected late overdub.
    **********

    "Look at it this way: think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of 'em are stupider than that."

    - George Carlin

    "It shouldn't be expected that people are necessarily doing what they appear to be doing on records."

    - Sir George Martin, All You Need Is Ears

    "The music business will be revitalized by musicians, not the labels or Live Nation. When the musicians decide to put music first, instead of money, the public will flock to the fruits and the scene will be healthy again."

    - Bob Lefsetz, The Lefsetz Letter

    Comment


    • #3
      Also, make sure you don't have any plugs on your master. I've done that a few times. Slap a Phase Linear Waves, high latency plug across your master to do a quick check, forget it's there then... wtf?!?!? Where's all the latency coming from?
      Thomas Jefferson said... "The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as His father, in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter." hmmm...

      Comment


      • #4
        Hum. My cards have direct monitoring and I have zero latency.
        I can set the latency and buffers at 64 or 2054 and it makes no difference
        in whats being monitored. The only thing it does is make the buttons and
        meters slow to respond. I leave my latency set high so I dont have to worry about
        running allot of plugins. When I play back some tracks, I'll see the meters jump before
        I hear an opening note of a track.

        I dont use plugins tracking nor listen to the processed sound recording. When tracking with direct monitoring on, I hear
        the live sound and the card simply passes the sound straight through the cards preamp to the monitors.
        The DAW mixer has no affect on the tracking sound. The sliders are disabled. Only the playback tracks are affected
        by mixer changes, plugins, mains etc. You basically set your tracking volume and adjust the playback levels up to match.

        The Driver has a mixer with a set of input/output and pan levels. The inputs attenuate and pan the levels off the card through
        DSP, but doing a ping test aligns perfectly with all the tracks. I have no shifting of any kind.

        I can however change a button in Sonars mixer view where I can hear the processed signal or feed the processed signal
        through an effect. That delay would be as long as I have the latency settings set for. I dont have a real good computer for tracking.
        Its an older single core box. It would be nice to have a fast quad core. It would save time processing when mixing down to stereo but
        it would make zero difference tracking because direct monitoring eliminates all audiable latency.

        If I had to deal with what your'e dealing with Ustad, I'd run my ins and outs throug a separate hardware mixer.
        Have the playback channels come into separate channels and track through the rest, then connect my
        monitors/headphones to the mixing board instead of the interface out. This should eliminate all latency.
        I'd think the Big knob would do that same job which makes me think the firewire latency isnt compensated
        for like it is with a PCI card. I can add all the plugins I want to playback tracks and I have no audiable latency tracking.

        I've always used PCI cards so I dont see the issues Firewire and USB devices create with their latency.
        The trick with PCI cards is they used the cards preamp section as a mixer. Levels and panning are handled
        virtually with the DSP mixer, but the sound is mixed before its ever digitized so theres no latency.

        You play along to the tracks being converted back to analog, and the incoming signals are split.
        Half goes to your monitors and half gets digitized and written to disk. Whats written to disk is syncronized to
        the playback tracks in the background so you hear no latency nor is there any track shifting.
        You dont hear the digitized incoming signal with its latency unless you reroute it and shut off the direct signal and only hear
        the processed signal. Then you would hear the incoming signal after its been converted to digital, processed by the CPU then converted
        back to analog. You'd of course also hear the sound quality loss involving the converters routing the signal that way.

        I guess Firewire devices must use different routing that involves the round trip through the converters twice like that.
        Even if the Interface has a simular driver for direct monitoring, there must be some kind of delay involving the
        communication protocol involving the Interface, firewire card, and whatever drivers are used.

        Comment


        • #5
          The Presonus might have direct monitoring options that would basically eliminate latency. The Big Knob does not.

          Comment


          • #6
            I'll check into the direct monitoring options on the Presonus, thanks.

            And Lee, yes, I think I may be sometimes leaving some plugs on the Master Buss. .
            Ken Lee on 500px / Ken's Photo Store / Ken Lee Photography Facebook Website / Blueberry Buddha Studios / Ajanta Palace Houseboat - Kashmir / Hotel Green View - Kashmir / Eleven Shadows website / Ken Lee Photography Blog / Akai 12-track tape transfers / MY NEW ALBUM! The Mercury Seven

            Comment


            • #7

              I dont use plugins tracking nor listen to the processed sound recording. When tracking with direct monitoring on, I hear
              the live sound and the card simply passes the sound straight through the cards preamp to the monitors.
              The DAW mixer has no affect on the tracking sound. The sliders are disabled. Only the playback tracks are affected
              by mixer changes, plugins, mains etc. You basically set your tracking volume and adjust the playback levels up to match.


              Thanks. I don't have plugins when tracking except that I think I might occasionally have a compressor or L2007 on the Master Buss to bring the level up in the headphones and not get overs. Why I didn't think of this in terms of latency, I have no idea.......so many times it's the obvious stuff that scoots by me!!
              Ken Lee on 500px / Ken's Photo Store / Ken Lee Photography Facebook Website / Blueberry Buddha Studios / Ajanta Palace Houseboat - Kashmir / Hotel Green View - Kashmir / Eleven Shadows website / Ken Lee Photography Blog / Akai 12-track tape transfers / MY NEW ALBUM! The Mercury Seven

              Comment


              • #8
                I'm not really sure that the Mackie would add any appreciable latency on the headphones. How are you running the headphone feed? Are you taking an aux send from Pro Tools out of the Firestudio and feeding that into the Big Knob or...?


                I usually just take the regular mix and not use any aux sends. I can usually adjust the initial mix well enough that the band is happy.


                If you're hitting the CPU limits of the system when you set it to a low latency value, you might have no other choice but to disable some plugins when you need to do a late-in-the session / unexpected late overdub.


                Looks like I'm gonna hafta do that then for overdubs.
                Ken Lee on 500px / Ken's Photo Store / Ken Lee Photography Facebook Website / Blueberry Buddha Studios / Ajanta Palace Houseboat - Kashmir / Hotel Green View - Kashmir / Eleven Shadows website / Ken Lee Photography Blog / Akai 12-track tape transfers / MY NEW ALBUM! The Mercury Seven

                Comment


                • #9
                  If you have an audio track with a plug-in on it that you cannot live without during overdubs, save the settings of the plug-in as a preset and render the effect using Audiosuite. That will only work for track-based effects, not aux based effects or VIs.

                  Also, use Digiverb as your tracking "confidence" reverb. It sounds OK and has low latency and processing overhead.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Thanks, Zooey. I use a hardware reverb, so my reverb is actually pretty easy on processing!

                    This is an instance of where I believe the track freezing capability that other DAWs have could come in really handy, but yes, I can render the tracks viav AudioSuite.

                    Another thing I've done is if I'm doing a lot of overdubs - say, vocals or percussion - where I really really need the latency to be low, I'll make a stereo mix of the whole song and then overdub with that as a new session, comp the vocals or percussion there, and then bring the finished track(s) back to the session. That's worked really well in the past.

                    I was largely looking for different routing capabilities, if possible, and to see if I overlooked something simple (I had!!! ! No plugins on the Master Buss!!! Duh!). But this other sort of advice is always good to hear! Thanks!
                    Ken Lee on 500px / Ken's Photo Store / Ken Lee Photography Facebook Website / Blueberry Buddha Studios / Ajanta Palace Houseboat - Kashmir / Hotel Green View - Kashmir / Eleven Shadows website / Ken Lee Photography Blog / Akai 12-track tape transfers / MY NEW ALBUM! The Mercury Seven

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I would think the Presonus would have some sort of monitoring software. If so you should be able to route what you're recording "straight" back to the headphone send instead of through pro tools. Then as long as you don't have any plugs on the master fader all should be good. If you're punching in, things can get trickier. But it's still doable.
                      ∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆ Metric Halo 2882 Expanded +DSP, Event 20/20 bas, Etymotic ER4-PT and HF3, MacBook Pro 15" (early 2011 w/2.2 ghz i7 quad, 8GB Ram, 480 GB SSD), Pro Tools 11, Harrison Mixbus, and Reaper. Godin Progression, Godin LGSP-90 (NAMM ed.), Godin LGX-SA into an 11 Rack controlled by a FCB1010 with an Eureka Prom. A bunch of other stuff lying around.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        If you have an audio track with a plug-in on it that you cannot live without during overdubs, save the settings of the plug-in as a preset and render the effect using Audiosuite. That will only work for track-based effects, not aux based effects or VIs.

                        Also, use Digiverb as your tracking "confidence" reverb. It sounds OK and has low latency and processing overhead.


                        Good tips. Digiverb is a good choice for reverb since it is such a low CPU-use reverb. I actually use an external verb (one in my digital console) for monitoring while tracking - I avoid the extra plugin entirely that way... not that it's as much of an issue with an HD system, but I like the sound of the board's verb, so I still use it for that. Plus, when I save the snapshot, their preferred headphone mix (via the board's aux sends) and reverb type / level is all saved too. But even a small external mixer can be helpful for getting around latency issues since it will allow you to monitor the incoming mic signal pre-computer, and the computer's output post-computer (obviously).

                        You can also "print" your virtual instruments to a track, then disable (Mac: hold down both Command [the "Apple" key] and Control, then click on the plugin's box on the mixer window) the VI. If you change your mid and want to re-print the VI, just repeat those steps and reactivate it - all the settings will remain unchanged when you do.
                        **********

                        "Look at it this way: think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of 'em are stupider than that."

                        - George Carlin

                        "It shouldn't be expected that people are necessarily doing what they appear to be doing on records."

                        - Sir George Martin, All You Need Is Ears

                        "The music business will be revitalized by musicians, not the labels or Live Nation. When the musicians decide to put music first, instead of money, the public will flock to the fruits and the scene will be healthy again."

                        - Bob Lefsetz, The Lefsetz Letter

                        Comment

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