You are here

Low latency ?

All about the tools and techniques involved in capturing sound, in the studio or on location.

Low latency ?

Postby Dicko » Wed Jan 29, 2020 1:25 pm

I'm thinking of replacing my M- Audio 2496 soundcard . (latency about 6 msec).
Which type of device is there to go for that has the powest latency ?
There seems to be soundcards, firewaire, thunderbolt, usb and there maybe others.
Some even advertise "0 latency" which basic physics tells us is impossible.
So can anyone help as for which i should be looking at for a pc ?
Dicko
Regular
Posts: 281
Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2008 11:00 pm
Location: Allesley

Re: Low latency ?

Postby CS70 » Wed Jan 29, 2020 1:48 pm

About latency, have a look at my post in the forum here (and the other replies as well of course, which suggest specific bits of kit).
User avatar
CS70
Jedi Poster
Posts: 4776
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2012 12:00 am
Location: Oslo, Norway
Silver Spoon - Check out our latest video and the FB page

Re: Low latency ?

Postby ef37a » Wed Jan 29, 2020 2:28 pm

Hi Dicko,
I have for several years been an advocate for the Native Instruments KA6 especially when folks ask for low latency. I have used the 2496, still got one and the KA6 beats it as it will run at 32 samples. The old card only goes down to 64 samples IIRC ?

The KA6 has better connectivity than the M-A. Two very clean mic/line/instru inputs plus two more balanced line ins, S/PDIF and MIDI. All for less than £200.

When it came out there was nothing to touch the KA6 for low latency at anything close to the price. Things are rather better now but Pete K can probably advise on that.

Of course! IF the bank will stand it you could just get anything from RME and you would be set for at least the next decade!

Oh! And the KA6 has a better noise floor by some 6dB but that is academic really.

Dave.
ef37a
Jedi Poster
Posts: 11163
Joined: Sun May 28, 2006 11:00 pm
Location: northampton uk

Re: Low latency ?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Jan 29, 2020 2:31 pm

Dicko wrote:Some even advertise "0 latency" which basic physics tells us is impossible.

Well true... we will always be limited by the finite speed of electronics in conductors at normal room temperatures...

The 'zero latency' term normally refers to the use of an analogue monitoring mixer built into the interface, so that there is effectively zero latency when monitoring the source you're recording through the interface. It avoids having to listen to a foldback signal from the DAW, which would involve digital converter delays as well as interface buffer latency.
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 25813
Joined: Thu Jul 24, 2003 11:00 pm
Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound

Re: Low latency ?

Postby Dicko » Thu Jan 30, 2020 8:14 am

Is Firewire or Thunderbolt faster ?
Everyone seems to be using usb,
Dicko
Regular
Posts: 281
Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2008 11:00 pm
Location: Allesley

Re: Low latency ?

Postby Dicko » Thu Jan 30, 2020 8:45 am

How about a cheap presonus audiobox ?
Dicko
Regular
Posts: 281
Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2008 11:00 pm
Location: Allesley

Re: Low latency ?

Postby ef37a » Thu Jan 30, 2020 9:16 am

Dicko wrote:Is Firewire or Thunderbolt faster ?
Everyone seems to be using usb,

Firewire is pretty much obsolete but used to have a bigger 'throughput' than USB but the likes of RME changed that and now other AI makers have generally caught up.

Thunderbolt can be fastest of all but do remember, USB is 'universal' TB is rare outside macs and probably an overkill unless you want a vast channel count. Cables are pricey (rip off?) as well.

No doubt a 'proper' PC person will expand further.

Dave.
ef37a
Jedi Poster
Posts: 11163
Joined: Sun May 28, 2006 11:00 pm
Location: northampton uk

Re: Low latency ?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Jan 30, 2020 9:21 am

The reason USB is so popular is because it is 'universal', as well as being cheap, convenient, and more than fast enough for the job unless you're'wanting to run hundreds of tracks in and out of the computer all at the same time.
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 25813
Joined: Thu Jul 24, 2003 11:00 pm
Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound

Re: Low latency ?

Postby The Elf » Thu Jan 30, 2020 9:34 am

Latency is only truly a problem if you are monitoring through your DAW, or using virtual instruments. Otherwise it's a non-issue. Yet over and over I see people monitoring through their DAW and suffering latency that is completely unnecessary!

Most AIs have mixer panels and most will enable you to monitor incoming audio with zero, or near-zero latency.
User avatar
The Elf
Jedi Poster
Posts: 13454
Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2001 11:00 pm
Location: Sheffield, UK
An Eagle for an Emperor, A Kestrel for a Knave.

Re: Low latency ?

Postby Dicko » Thu Jan 30, 2020 10:46 am

Thank Guys
I do use virtual instruments and use a M-Audio Axiom 25 and a roland GI-10.
The hard bit is buying something you'd think reasonable and then finding that Cubase is telling you it has a terrible latency
Dicko
Regular
Posts: 281
Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2008 11:00 pm
Location: Allesley

Re: Low latency ?

Postby ef37a » Thu Jan 30, 2020 11:00 am

Dicko wrote:Thank Guys
I do use virtual instruments and use a M-Audio Axiom 25 and a roland GI-10.
The hard bit is buying something you'd think reasonable and then finding that Cubase is telling you it has a terrible latency

My son found that driving Cubase (Ess 6) with a dumb keyboard using an M-A 2496 soundcard gave him easily low enough latency and that was with a very modest desktop, 3G Pentium single core and 1G ram!

I think the rot set in with the first flurry of external AIs? The early USB AIs were pretty terrible and have only fairly recently become much better.

You are in UK? I suggest you get as much info on your chosen AI as you can, ask VERY prenetrating questions of the vendor and if they are not forthcoming with the right answers, move on. Then, get your system in trim, clean and lean and when the AI arrives immediately put it through its paces. If it does not perform as promised take advantage of the Distance Trading Regulations..What they are for!

Dave.
ef37a
Jedi Poster
Posts: 11163
Joined: Sun May 28, 2006 11:00 pm
Location: northampton uk

Re: Low latency ?

Postby Dicko » Thu Jan 30, 2020 11:22 am

I'm in the UK .
Another thing i've noticed are people selling old versions of what i'm thinking are meant to be up to date stuff, (That's why it's cheap)
I'll have a hunt round, it does seem a minefield though. :headbang:
Dicko
Regular
Posts: 281
Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2008 11:00 pm
Location: Allesley

Re: Low latency ?

Postby The Elf » Thu Jan 30, 2020 11:23 am

I also use very humble AIs when playing live, for instance (ancient) MBox2, NI KA6 and Behringer XR18 - none of these give me any problematical latency for live playing - so latency really shouldn't be a problem with anything relatively new.

Double and triple check that you are using an ASIO driver (not ASIO4ALL!), and that you have the lowest reliable buffer settings.
User avatar
The Elf
Jedi Poster
Posts: 13454
Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2001 11:00 pm
Location: Sheffield, UK
An Eagle for an Emperor, A Kestrel for a Knave.

Re: Low latency ?

Postby ef37a » Thu Jan 30, 2020 11:28 am

Dicko wrote:I'm in the UK .
Another thing i've noticed are people selling old versions of what i'm thinking are meant to be up to date stuff, (That's why it's cheap)
I'll have a hunt round, it does seem a minefield though. :headbang:

The 'mine' might come up with some Gold though! If you can find a Mk1 NI KA6 for around a ton you will have a super low latency bargain.

Dave.
ef37a
Jedi Poster
Posts: 11163
Joined: Sun May 28, 2006 11:00 pm
Location: northampton uk

Re: Low latency ?

Postby Dicko » Thu Jan 30, 2020 12:03 pm

Ok Thanks.
I have Win 10 64 bit. Asus Q170M-C Motherboard with i5 6 Gen' 3.2Ghz. Ram ddr4 32 GB
M-Audio 2496 Soundcard.
I'm using Cubase 10.5 and SSD5
Dicko
Regular
Posts: 281
Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2008 11:00 pm
Location: Allesley

Re: Low latency ?

Postby The Elf » Thu Jan 30, 2020 12:24 pm

ef37a wrote:If you can find a Mk1 NI KA6 for around a ton you will have a super low latency bargain.
+1

That's now my tip for a bargain. I think these things will hold their money for some time if people realise their worth.
User avatar
The Elf
Jedi Poster
Posts: 13454
Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2001 11:00 pm
Location: Sheffield, UK
An Eagle for an Emperor, A Kestrel for a Knave.

Re: Low latency ?

Postby ef37a » Thu Jan 30, 2020 2:33 pm

Apart from the KA6 there will be no 'bargain' AIs about that can hold a match leave alone a candle to the 2496 for latency. Why the change?

To go a bit "left field" as our colonial cousins say, you could buy a small mixer to drive the 2495 if you wanted mic inputs? Son did that for some time with a Behringer Xenyx 802. We moved up to an A&H ZED 10. Better and much more comprehensive but the mic pres were not startlingly better than the X802. That is to say both were very good.

You might even find a pre amp with S/PDIF out and get 4 channels?

Dave.
ef37a
Jedi Poster
Posts: 11163
Joined: Sun May 28, 2006 11:00 pm
Location: northampton uk

Re: Low latency ?

Postby Dicko » Thu Jan 30, 2020 4:14 pm

Hi
The change is because sometimes Cubase will not open properly because of the soundcard software. I then have to close everything down and start again. (This usally does it and evrything is then OK). Having said that because of your last comment i may just leave it alone, many thanks for the info'.
AD
Dicko
Regular
Posts: 281
Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2008 11:00 pm
Location: Allesley

Re: Low latency ?

Postby ef37a » Thu Jan 30, 2020 5:17 pm

Now then, the KA6 originally came with a light version of Cubase and so it would be reasonable to assume the AI is happy with that? Therefore if you did go for a USB interface, maybe put KA6 top of list?

I recall we had a few niggles with the 2496, nothing major and I knew even less about computer sound than I do now! What I did was put the 2495 drivers on the desktop. Not big, about 3.5M iirc and I would run the drivers at startup. Took maybe a minute or so and after that eveything was stable.

Dave.
ef37a
Jedi Poster
Posts: 11163
Joined: Sun May 28, 2006 11:00 pm
Location: northampton uk

Re: Low latency ?

Postby Dicko » Fri Jan 31, 2020 8:27 am

Thanks for your help.
Dicko
Regular
Posts: 281
Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2008 11:00 pm
Location: Allesley