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Newbie Question - How does latency effect playback?

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Newbie Question - How does latency effect playback?

Postby Li-rocchi » Tue Oct 29, 2013 8:24 am

Hi all

I have some limited recording experience and am familiar with the effect of latency on monitoring, and when using things like a MIDI keyboard. However, I thought when playing back songs in a sequencer the buffer could be set pretty much as high as you like with no problems....

I am working on a song in Cubase SX3, with drums from Drumkit from Hell Superior (and S2.0) as a Virtual Instrument. My soundcard is an EMU 1820M. The song has a few seconds of silence at the start. Then the bass (audio) and drums (MIDI - DFH) kick in. With the buffer set to 100ms, the first drum hit is way off the mark and completely out of time. It then seems to catch up with itself and from what I can tell, does fall into time after that initial "hiccup".

I know I can lower the buffer setting to avoid this. However, I'm interested and curious to know why and how this happens....

If anyone can help explain I'd really appreciate it.

Cheers

Max
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Re: Newbie Question - How does latency effect playback?

Postby BJG145 » Tue Oct 29, 2013 9:25 am

I may be wrong, but I suspect this is a quirk of your particular setup rather than a general and predictable effect. Shouldn't really happen. Are you using the latest drivers...? SX3 is also getting on a bit.
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Re: Newbie Question - How does latency effect playback?

Postby Li-rocchi » Tue Oct 29, 2013 9:55 am

Hi

Yes, I believe all drivers are up to date. Who knows then what the quirk might be!

Incidentally, I see you are in Norwich. I'm in North Norfolk. I'm thinking of looking for a tutor for a few one to one sessions to get me going properly with Cubase and DFHS. If you happen to know of any or can help in any way, please could you PM me (I tried PM you but it would not let me).

Many thanks, and sorry for the quick off topic.
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Re: Newbie Question - How does latency effect playback?

Postby The Elf » Tue Oct 29, 2013 11:15 am

Synchronisation back in early versions of Cubase was not always the best. I recall hours of trying to pull drums, bass and sequences into line - only to find that the next time I loaded the song I would be back to square one.

I do provide 1-2-1 tuition/mentoring - PM me if you want details.
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Re: Newbie Question - How does latency effect playback?

Postby Li-rocchi » Tue Oct 29, 2013 11:51 am

The strange thing is this... The song starts at around 2.5 seconds. If I start the song right from the very start (so that there is 2.5 seconds silence at the start), with the buffer set to 100ms, the problem occurs. The first drum beat is either very late or missed entirely, and the second beat is off too.

However, if I start the song from the 2 second mark, all syncs up fine.

I would have expected it to be the other way round if anything.
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Re: Newbie Question - How does latency effect playback?

Postby Exalted Wombat » Tue Oct 29, 2013 12:22 pm

It's not unknown for too HIGH a latency setting to cause as many problems as too low a one. I'm rather surprised that an ASIO driver offers so high a figure - but then your EMU 1820M is quite an old model, classed as "end of life" by the maker.

Were you setting "as high as it goes" to solve a problem, or just to see what happened? How does it behave at (say) 25ms?
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Re: Newbie Question - How does latency effect playback?

Postby Li-rocchi » Tue Oct 29, 2013 12:32 pm

I was just fooling around and experimenting to be honest, no other reason for doing it. And would I be right in saying that the problem would not be there in mixdown; just in playback within Cubase?

At 20ms (no option for 25ms), the problem is almost gone, but to my ears the alignment of the bass and drums at the start does not sound as tight as when the buffer is set to its lowest setting of 2ms.
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Re: Newbie Question - How does latency effect playback?

Postby Daniel Davis » Tue Oct 29, 2013 12:33 pm

Sorry I was a little late replying *cough*. 25ms? 25ms? can anyone play against that? I certainly can't which is why I never monitor through software.
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Re: Newbie Question - How does latency effect playback?

Postby Exalted Wombat » Tue Oct 29, 2013 12:40 pm

Daniel Davis wrote:Sorry I was a little late replying *cough*. 25ms? 25ms? can anyone play against that? I certainly can't which is why I never monitor through software.

You should have been a little later, which would have left time to read the question :-)
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Re: Newbie Question - How does latency effect playback?

Postby Li-rocchi » Tue Oct 29, 2013 12:49 pm

Exalted Wombat wrote:
Daniel Davis wrote:Sorry I was a little late replying *cough*. 25ms? 25ms? can anyone play against that? I certainly can't which is why I never monitor through software.

You should have been a little later, which would have left time to read the question :-)

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Re: Newbie Question - How does latency effect playback?

Postby Exalted Wombat » Tue Oct 29, 2013 12:49 pm

Li-rocchi wrote:I was just fooling around and experimenting to be honest, no other reason for doing it. And would I be right in saying that the problem would not be there in mixdown; just in playback within Cubase?

At 20ms (no option for 25ms), the problem is almost gone, but to my ears the alignment of the bass and drums at the start does not sound as tight as when the buffer is set to its lowest setting of 2ms.

The problem SHOULDN'T be there at all, at any latency setting. But when things go wrong, it's hard to predict where the problems will show up.

Things like "Plugin delay compensation" have been greatly improved in later versions of Cubase. Sometimes, inexplicably, we still have to slide a track a few ms one way or the other to make things line up perfectly. You'd have a bigger cause for complaint if this didn't work consistently (for, maybe, a fixed latency setting) or if tracks drifted out of synch with each other. Enjoy learning the quirks of your particular system! And yes, you should definitely check whether "live" playback behaves any differently to Exported Audio.
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Re: Newbie Question - How does latency effect playback?

Postby Li-rocchi » Tue Oct 29, 2013 1:11 pm

Exalted Wombat wrote: you should definitely check whether "live" playback behaves any differently to Exported Audio.


OK, I've done that now. I exported one with latency set to 100ms and another with it set to 2ms. Both exported wavs seem identical to me.

Exalted Wombat wrote: Enjoy learning the quirks of your particular system!


Crickey - that sounds difficult... But I'll try!


Many thanks for the help. Although I was not having a problem, it has all helped dispel the mystery a bit....

Cheers!
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Re: Newbie Question - How does latency effect playback?

Postby Exalted Wombat » Tue Oct 29, 2013 1:30 pm

Li-rocchi wrote:
Exalted Wombat wrote: Enjoy learning the quirks of your particular system!

Crickey - that sounds difficult... But I'll try!

Just look on it as "learning to play your instrument". A computer sequencer requires precious little technique, as instruments go. But it does need SOME :-)
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Re: Newbie Question - How does latency effect playback?

Postby damoore » Tue Oct 29, 2013 2:53 pm

As you are using a VST for drums and not an external synth, buffer size should not matter.

Are you doing a patch change on the drums just before the first note? If so try moving it earlier. It may need time to load samples, or somesuch.
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