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 Post subject: recording audio, latency vs stability
PostPosted: Sun Sep 05, 2010 12:25 am 

Joined: Thu May 26, 2005 8:57 pm
Posts: 167
I've been recording more audio with Ableton Live, doing more projects fully in it than in Pro Tools. The problem I've been running into though is latency while recording. When my buffer is at 128 my system is pretty stable, yet the latency is unbearable when recording vocals. If I switch to 64 then my audio crackles!! It's a catch 22! Until now I've only ben recording guitar into Live, but now that I've been using it for some vocal recording as well this just doesn't cut it. To bad there isn't a low latency mode like in Pro Tools.

What buffer setting have you guys had luck with on your system without audio cracks and general slow-ness?


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 Post subject: Re: recording audio, latency vs stability
PostPosted: Sun Sep 05, 2010 2:47 am 

Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2006 5:19 pm
Posts: 23576
Location: SF, CA
don't monitor through Live, monitor through your sound card. RTFM 'Direct Monitoring' for your sound card.

in Live look up the tutorial on Delay Compensation.

this setup is only good if you're not depending on Live's effects while recording. remember that Monitor has to be off for Delay Compensation to be applied.

buffer size won't matter.

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 Post subject: Re: recording audio, latency vs stability
PostPosted: Sun Sep 05, 2010 5:23 am 

Joined: Sat Aug 08, 2009 3:36 am
Posts: 791
Location: Beijing
This depends enormously on the particular audio interface you are using. When I use Live with an RME RayDAT that is installed on the PCIe bus of my mac pro, I can record at 32 samples reliably. When I use Live with a Firewire interface, I generally use 64 or 128 samples of buffer depth. Even there, 32 is ok provided I don't have a lot of plug-ins inserted, but 64 or 128 is a lot more comfortable, I can work with much bigger projects.

Direct monitoring as mentioned above is certainly a good solution if you don't need to monitor the audio being recorded through any plug-ins.

-Luddy

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 Post subject: Re: recording audio, latency vs stability
PostPosted: Sun Sep 05, 2010 2:29 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 14, 2010 12:37 am
Posts: 52
ive had bad luck with my firewire device too, i have to use 128 instead of 64, or i get snap,crackle,pops, funny that i can record/playback audio/midi in reaper at 64 with no problems.


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 Post subject: Re: recording audio, latency vs stability
PostPosted: Sun Sep 05, 2010 2:39 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 05, 2005 11:51 pm
Posts: 1499
fedexnman wrote:
ive had bad luck with my firewire device too, i have to use 128 instead of 64, or i get snap,crackle,pops, funny that i can record/playback audio/midi in reaper at 64 with no problems.


That's not funny. That's shocking.

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 Post subject: Re: recording audio, latency vs stability
PostPosted: Mon Sep 06, 2010 8:48 am 

Joined: Thu Nov 29, 2007 7:50 pm
Posts: 684
I direct monitor as suggested above. And to get a little fx on the voice for the singer I use a V-Verb Pro (discontinued I think). But just about any inexpensive multi-fx will get you a little verb in the cans though. However if you are doing some more exotic stuff ITB and hearing the fx is a must then you will have to find a soundcard that will give you that 32 sample (or less) buffer. I don't think most USB or FW cards will get this low reliably though.


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 Post subject: Re: recording audio, latency vs stability
PostPosted: Sun Sep 12, 2010 4:51 pm 

Joined: Thu May 26, 2005 8:57 pm
Posts: 167
I have a Digi 002R so unfortunately no direct monitoring for me in non-pro tools apps.

Other folks with 002R... what type of buffer setting can you get in Live with a general amount of tracks? Is 128 really the lowest without having this crackles and pops?


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 Post subject: Re: recording audio, latency vs stability
PostPosted: Sun Sep 12, 2010 6:45 pm 

Joined: Sun Nov 19, 2006 1:56 am
Posts: 6674
Location: greater toronto area
If you can run a Digidesign interface at 128 samples (especially for anything non PT) then you need to walk away and count your lucky stars. Most people with M-Boxes can't run anything more than a dozen tracks at less than 256 samples and often need 512 or higher. (yes, I know an 002/003 are better)

Why do you need to run at 32 samples latency anyway ? Tracking drums is the only scenario I can think of which would benefit from that, 128 samples is low enough for 99% of applications. Why overly stress your processor. After you've got your tracks recorded and done some automation, stick the latency up to 1024 or more etc for smoother mixing anyway.

The general consensus of most audio recording professionals is that anything 256 samples or less (around 12-15ms) is sufficient for most recording tasks. It doesn't help that there is no hardware direct monitoring though, which is usually a way around the problem if you DO notice latency issues.

I don't know why you find 128 samples unbearable for latency for vocals (I find anything under 256 a tad noticeable, but it's not unbearable)? But here's an idea for you. If you have the backing music in Live, record that as a stereo mix, export it, bring it into Protools (if you can get 64 or better samples latency there), sing the vocal in Protools to the backing track and then (if you need to) export the vocal track back to Live.

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 Post subject: Re: recording audio, latency vs stability
PostPosted: Sun Sep 12, 2010 7:06 pm 

Joined: Thu May 26, 2005 8:57 pm
Posts: 167
leedsquietman,

I'm pretty sure the mbox was limited in it's buffer size, not sure so don't quote me on that. But I use 64 samples with the 002rack in Logic no problem. I've been demoing reason/record and it also works great with 64, even 32 sample rates no problem. Years ago I used it with Digital Performer also with these types of sample rates. None of them would crackle, and if I had to any tracks and plugins running I'd just start to get errors and bump up the buffer. I'm really surprised that 128 is the lowest I can go with Live.

At 128 with Live I feel the delay with vocals. Also I should add, this is with zero plugins on the track. I don't feel it with guitar, or anything else really, just vocals. It's workable but distracting. I often end up doing my tracking in pro tools, as you suggest, but I've been trying to keep it all in Live.

Also, to throw this into the mix... i have a mac pro 2 dual 2.66 with 7gigs of ram. I also record on a separate internal hard drive than my system drive.


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 Post subject: Re: recording audio, latency vs stability
PostPosted: Sun Sep 12, 2010 7:30 pm 

Joined: Sun Nov 19, 2006 1:56 am
Posts: 6674
Location: greater toronto area
I could get Reason to run at 32 samples on an old Pentium 4 laptop with an Echo Indigo IO. Don't need no 12 core Mac Pro to run it at low latency.

Live is a different animal. I can get all my other DAWS (Cubase, Renoise, Reaper) to run at 64 samples, even on a PC laptop (a modest Core2Duo with 4GB ram and Vista SP2)with a bad firewire chipset and a firewire card (Alesis IO14) which doesn't have the best rep in low latency drivers, but Live has to be 128 samples and above, anything with more than a dozen audio tracks, or say 8 audio tracks and 2 VSTS (unfrozen) and it has to be stepped up again to 256 samples.

Live is built as a Live performance tool, with an audio engine that does things you cannot in Protools, Logic, Reason, etc, it allows you to drop and drag sample in without breaking playback and audition them, or drop in MIDI or audio loops on the fly without breaking playback. Do this on protools, logic, cubase and it will cause a drop out. The trade off is that you cannot get latency quite as low. Reason is a totally proprietary system, closed to 3rd party plugins and hence stable and able to perform at low latency.

I'm trying to be constructive - I provided one positive suggestion already, maybe if you get an RME interface you might get Live to run at 64 samples with a smallish Live set and no (or just one or two zero latency) plugins, otherwise you will have to work around it. Most people can live with 128 sample latency.

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 Post subject: Re: recording audio, latency vs stability
PostPosted: Sun Sep 12, 2010 7:47 pm 

Joined: Thu May 26, 2005 8:57 pm
Posts: 167
That is a really good point. I can't even add an instrument or effect to other daws during playback without having a glitch, and often a crash. I see the give and take with with Live on this. Though, it almost needs a "tracking" mode or something, that would ease up on the processing it takes to do all it does realtime, to work better with a lower buffer. I don't know, just a random thought to throw out there.

Here's to hoping the next round of Avid interfaces have direct monitoring capabilities...


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