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Latency, July 2016

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  • Latency, July 2016

    I know there's been previous discussion, but wish to go on a fishing trip to see where people are currently. I'm an aged, recent convert to DAWs and digital recording. Like many, my gateway was iPad, where I am using an iRig Pro Duo into Auria with various plugins. I use the iRig Pro's monitor outs, and have had literally no issues with latency or connectivity. As in none, whatsoever.

    Storage is an issue, and I have a bunch of Windows desktop machines around, so I thought: "OK, let's use the iRig to get working on PC's. I have storage galore."

    Latency issues abound, and cruising around the web has me wishing to know the answer to what seems a simple question: is anyone able to easily record no/ultra-low latency projects in Windows without connectivity/driver setting acrobatics? I will put the details of my current status below, but if you don't feel like reading that, I'm glad to have a plain-jane answer to the previous question.

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    Currently, I'm using the iRig Pro Duo interface into a USB port on a six year old Acer that has a nice quad processor and 4GB of RAM. The Acer has handled significant processing load before without complaint (gaming while listening to audio in the b/g, etc.). My outbound sounds go from the Acer's soundcard to a large soundsystem, and for a variety of reasons I'd really prefer to not have to deattach/reattach that connection. WIndows 7 running; updated. May go to Windows 10 the next few days.

    First experience was trying WDM direct as the driver straight into Audacity. OK, that won't work. Implemented various internet tips for resource use-reduction; not a solution.

    Installed Ableton Live Lite (LOL @ the dreadful interface), Amplitube, some other stuff.
    Installed ASIO4All. Dismayed to see that it requires (?) the outbound sound signal to be through the same USB connecting. My interpretation of this is that if I wish to monitor via the iRig's monitors, it 'should work,' .....
    Oddly, the one thing that has worked without latency is Amplitube -- with the strange provision that I direct sound out through a secondary audio out that runs to my TV set. In other words, Amplitube won't, under any circumstance, go out through my 'regular' speakers, but goes out to my TV speakers with no latency. Hmmm.

    All else is silliness - adjusting buffer rates in Ableton gets me down near 5-10 ms, but that's not bearable for me as a guitarist.
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    Any thoughts / input gratefully received.

  • #2
    Dump the IRig and get yourself a quality interface with Zero Latency Monitoring. For solo stuff a 4 Channel interface will let you record guitar in stereo and the extra two challels will let you track an electric drum machine in stereo at the same time.

    The key here is zero monitoring. The actual latency doesn't matter at all. You can set it up so there's 1.5 seconds delay between the time you'd pluck a note and by the time it fees into the computer and back out again. Reason being is you Never listen to the signal when you're tracking.

    An interface is essentially a mixer that splits signals. The guitar going into it splits. Half the signal gets sent through the converters and gets digitized and recorded to the hard drive. There no reason in the world you need to hear that (except for one instance which I'll come back to)
    What you do hear is the other split that never gets digitized and gets fed directly to your monitors or headphones. There's no delay because its purely analog and you're simply plugged into an amp and speaker.

    Again, I said the interface acts like a mixer. You can play back tracks at the same time your recording new ones. The previously recorded tracks mix with your analog signal and you simply play along to those tracks. at the same time what you're playing is being recorded in the background and synced to those tracks you're playing back. You hear no latency because you aren't listening to the Processed guitar.

    Back to the exception. If you has a hot rodded Quad processor computer running 64 bit, 3G on board memory, solid state drives and Thunderbolt interfaces, you could definitely get that communication speed down so the rou8nd trip of your guitar signal, into the interface> conversion to digital>through the computer buss> through onboard DAW Plugins> Through the Buss> Back to your interface> Converted Digital to analog> To your headphones or monitors may be low enough where that latency is minimal and hardly notice. You could route your signal A/A D/A through DAW plugins and amp emulators instead of using hardware to do that tracking.

    Problem is few people can afford $3K for a good computer and interface to do that, plus each plugin requires different amounts of CPU recourses.
    Some fat plugins require all kinds of time to process so the delay is not consistent.

    By far using an interface with zero latency monitoring is the way to go. I been doing that since 1995 running old 1/3 gig processors right up until the current dats with the latest computers and software. I've always used hardware devices to get me my sounds, the same way as I did back in my analog tape days.

    The fact is allot of software manufacturers are hyping all these software amps but they simply don't tell you what I just have here and that ius the technology comes up short for most people. You can use their plugins mixing which is fine. Recording a dry guitar straight through the interface is highly limited however, especially playing lead parts where you want that instrument gained up.

    In recent years they've come a long way from Sans Amp type DI boxes for recording. They worked OK for giving you some amp cab and drive emulation but even they are old school these days. I picked myself up one of those Vox Stomplab pedals which can be set for recording at line level and I can make that bos sound like any amp I want plus have the entire array of effects. it feels like you're playing through an amp when you pick the strings too.

    There are many others too. I bought a Digitec RP150 for $40 and its got a USB interface and drum machine built into the unit.
    Ive also got 6 or 7 full sized rack Prreamp effects units I've been using for many decades and can nail any sound I want.

    I of course have all the options recording with miced amps too. I usually run dual amps and separate effects on those too. Saves me time. I can blend the two or choose one or the other.

    All this again begins with having a real interface with zero / near zero latency. Those IRig jobs are just toys that cant come close to doing a decent job. Thay can let you record a single track but there's no way to sync the old track to new using them. An interface will come with special ASIO drivers that move dats at high speed, Buffer overflow and sync the timing of the new tracks to the Old


    • #3
      The iRig has zero latency monitoring.

      However, you seem to not understand at all why I want what I want. I don't want to live-monitor. I have a very decent home studio where I could do that. I want to track, and then play along to the tracks without having to do a lot of in-between.

      As for "iRig are just toys," perhaps you need to review product specs from more recent iterations of product.


      • #4
        Believe me I am more then aware of what an IRig is and what it is not.
        I'm trying to help you here by making you aware of what it can and cannot do. I been recording for over 50 years and recording digitally since 1995. I'm also a professional electronic tech who works in the industry professionally so I'm fairly up to speed on the devices out there.

        First off, If this is the IRig 1 or 2 isn't even a recording interface. All it is, is an external cable adaptor that lest your headphones and guitar connect to a cell phone or tablets built in sound card. That's it. It contains no converters or digital logic. At most it may contain some resistors for impedance matching. What you spend that $39 on is a plastic box with a few connectors.

        If you try and use it with a standard windows card, you're in essence using the windows sound card as an interface.

        Conversion from analog to digital is done by the cell phone or tablets sound card.

        As for plugging into a PC's windows sound card, Its also well known windows cards use windows drivers, not high speed ASIO drivers.
        Because of this you're latency will be horrendous for any kind of multitracking. .
        The software you run on a portable devices does things to help you sync tracks for multi tracking.
        That software may not run on a typically computer using typical sound card because the hardware architecture and busss communication is different.

        Again, an iRig is not a this is not a professional recording device by any stretch of the imagination and the name is in fact quite accurate. Its a rig to geta guitar to plug into a cell phone or tablet. It contains no converters. The analog jack itself should tell you that. I call it a toy because its not even a recording device, its simply a cable adaptor for the guitar and headphones and its being marketed to individuals who are unawake of what it is and what it isn't.

        IK does make a pro version which is a mac only single channel interface for $129. It is an actual interface that samples up to 24/96. It takes the place of a macs sound card and only works on computers, not cell phones so I'm guessing its probably not what you're using.

        $129 is way over priced for a PC interface by the way. Mac interfaces tend to be double the price of PC devices because apple is a private company and regulates what third party device licenses. PC interfaces tend to be much lower in cost because its an market open to competition.

        If you want low multitrack on a PC you must have a pro interface running ASIO drivers, not a windows sound card running windows drivers. In fact most DAW programs like Cubase, Sonar, and Pro tools wont even recognize a standard windows sound card and wont even install properly.

        The ONLY advice I have for you using your current setup is to try installing ASIO 4 ALL.

        Its a substitute driver designed to allow windows cards to run at high speed. It claims to be able to run a Windows card with latency as low as 18ms and some people have success and others don't.

        I tried using it on several computers running windows sound cards. The ONLY success I had with it even working was with an HP running a Realtec windows sound card. The Realtech cards can record and play back at professional sample rates up to 24/96 using the standard windows sound card but DAW programs wont recognize them because they don't run pro drivers the DAW programs look for.

        I was able to get Cubase to load using the driver but I couldn't record or playback wave files without stuttering or freezing however. Drivers don't change the cards hardware. If the clock and converters on the card are slow there isn't a darn thing you can do about it besides get a high speed sound card/interface.

        Again, I hope this helps solve the issue you're having. Its not anything many others have dealt with before. This stuff is all common knowledge and if there were other work round's I'd tell you.

        This site is pretty good on the basics and even though the information is older it's all solid stuff solidly written.
        If anything, you can do a little reading and what I've posted will make a lot more sense.


        • #5
          iRig Pro Duo 2. Let me know if you're familiar.

          Trying to be practical here, I have difficulty with your posts. Not only are they terribly long, but it seems you did not respond to the context in which I asked the question.
          * I am happy with the iRig Duo for the purpose I intend to use it. With due respect, I'm not at all interested in what you think I ought to have. I have a studio with nice(r) gear that can provide nice-enough signal processing.
          * I made clear that I installed ASIO4All and attempted to use it with both Audacity and Ableton LE.
          * I have, know how to use, and prefer not to use direct monitoring with the Pro Duo 2.

          If I felt that you read and responded to what I wrote, rather than discussing what you know (which is often quite a bit), it would be of interest. But it seems the only direct response you have for me is to investigate ASIO drivers, which is several-year old advice (sort of like asserting that iRigs are cable adapters, which is now out-of-date information).

          Should any of the forumites still left be reading, it's a basic question: why is setting up a 'sketch pad' recording situation so much easier on IOS than Windows, or am I missing out on some feature of Windows / another MS/Linux based DAW I don't know about?