Input and output latency and its relation to my CPU etc

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
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tedlogan
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Input and output latency and its relation to my CPU etc

Post by tedlogan » Sat Sep 06, 2014 11:44 pm

Hey guys

Currently using a POD HD desktop as an audio interface/guitar FX unit via USB, mainly because it can really drive Sennheiser HD600 headphones LOUD if needed.

I can't really go below 512 buffer, with small buffer size selected or it starts to crackle, even with only a handful of channels - say 3 instances of Zebra 2 (which is not heavy on CPU), a drumrack or two, two audio tracks. recording,playback at 48khz 24 bit.

My input latency is about 10 or so, output the same, for a total of 20!

My PC is a first gen 5 year old i7 2.7 Ghz
GTX295 graphics card
6GIG RAM
Live 9.1.4 32 bit
Windows 7 64 bit

I used to use an Edirol UA25 interface, but its headphone output is quite low, and I don't really wanna buy a headphone amp. Its latency was only a bit better. It does have zero-latency monitoring, but this is only good for audio inputs, and not MIDI instruments, which these days is the bulk of my tracks.

Everyone around here seems to have 64buffer settings, 4 ms latency etc..I'd love to have that.

?SO - should I upgrade my PC or my audio interface. If I was gonna upgrade it would be to at least a 4th gen i7 4790k. Would this enable me to have real low latency? I would much rather prefer to upgrade my whole PC than audio interface, as I need to for 3D animations etc anyways.

Cheers for any insight.

Stromkraft
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Joined: Wed Jun 25, 2014 11:34 am

Re: Input and output latency and its relation to my CPU etc

Post by Stromkraft » Sun Sep 07, 2014 5:31 am

tedlogan wrote: My PC is a first gen 5 year old i7 2.7 Ghz
Not specific enough. The i7 is a big family and was introduced in 2008. It's relevant, but performance also depends heavily on how you use Live even though I'd assume any i7 would be fast enough to not cause the issues you describe on its own. A computer is a whole system of course and system bus, memory and HD is also a part of it.

Do you have access to another Audio Interface you can borrow for doing a test with? Or the opposite, test your audio interface by taking it to another machine?

I did have similar issues before and my solution was to get a new much better, more expensive audio interface with good drivers (very important). I have much less issues now, but I don't have an i7, so it doesn't have to be the same in your case.
Last edited by Stromkraft on Sun Sep 07, 2014 7:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
Make some music!

eyeknow
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Re: Input and output latency and its relation to my CPU etc

Post by eyeknow » Sun Sep 07, 2014 6:27 am

Just for shits and giggles, try asio for all and see if you can't get better performance. My suspicion is that the drivers for the pod are not up to snuff.

TomViolenz
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Re: Input and output latency and its relation to my CPU etc

Post by TomViolenz » Sun Sep 07, 2014 8:22 am

If your CPU meter in Live is not high (let's say below 50%) and it crackles (possibly without showing any CPU spikes in Lives meter) it must be the interface. (I think)

tedlogan
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Re: Input and output latency and its relation to my CPU etc

Post by tedlogan » Wed Sep 10, 2014 1:25 pm

Thanks guys.

If I set everything to the lowest it can go, in the Pod's case:

Changed the default buffer size from 512 to 128 (can't go lower)
Extra small buffer size (the slider)

Input latency: 4.81
output: 9.63
Overall: 14.4ms

Playback/recording at 48khz, 24bit.

much better than 44ms, and weirdly no crackles. Well, not all the time. I obviously have no idea how buffers work, and dunno why I didn't try the lowest with the two buffer settings before. I tried various combinations and would always get crackles at bigger buffer sizes etc, so just assumed going even smaller would be no dice.

Well, wood is being knocked.

Stromkraft
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Re: Input and output latency and its relation to my CPU etc

Post by Stromkraft » Wed Sep 10, 2014 1:40 pm

tedlogan wrote:
Input latency: 4.81
output: 9.63
Overall: 14.4ms

Playback/recording at 48khz, 24bit.

much better than 44ms, and weirdly no crackles. Well, not all the time. I obviously have no idea how buffers work, and dunno why I didn't try the lowest with the two buffer settings before. I tried various combinations and would always get crackles at bigger buffer sizes etc, so just assumed going even smaller would be no dice.

Well, wood is being knocked.
That's very interesting information. Thank you.
Make some music!

Dragonbreath
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Re: Input and output latency and its relation to my CPU etc

Post by Dragonbreath » Wed Sep 10, 2014 4:13 pm

Glad you made some progress with spending alot of money!

If you are considering spending some buying a better interface will make alot more difference then a newer computer.

I have a macbook pro (late 2008 2,53ghz core duo) and saffire pro 40 interface. Im getting 7ms-8ms (roundtrip) at 24bit 48khz 128 buffer.

My friend has RME UFX and I tried plugging it in via USB and at the same settings got like 3ms roundtrip delay

I have also tried a cheap audio interface and was getting larger numbers.

If you are really concerned about your latency, a RME sound card is the best way to go, but they are really expensive. They start at like 800$ and up.

Another thing you can do for your Softsynths is enable the "reduced latency when monitoring"

kitekrazy
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Re: Input and output latency and its relation to my CPU etc

Post by kitekrazy » Wed Sep 10, 2014 6:19 pm

Dragonbreath wrote:Glad you made some progress with spending alot of money!

If you are considering spending some buying a better interface will make alot more difference then a newer computer.

I have a macbook pro (late 2008 2,53ghz core duo) and saffire pro 40 interface. Im getting 7ms-8ms (roundtrip) at 24bit 48khz 128 buffer.

My friend has RME UFX and I tried plugging it in via USB and at the same settings got like 3ms roundtrip delay

I have also tried a cheap audio interface and was getting larger numbers.

If you are really concerned about your latency, a RME sound card is the best way to go, but they are really expensive. They start at like 800$ and up.

Another thing you can do for your Softsynths is enable the "reduced latency when monitoring"
They have a tradition of offering support for legacy devices. I imagine some have already went through spending $800 on various audio interfaces and can't use them anymore because of driver support. (M-Audio, Tascam)

ark
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Re: Input and output latency and its relation to my CPU etc

Post by ark » Wed Sep 10, 2014 6:40 pm

From everything I've heard, RME has an excellent reputation. However, as far as latency is concerned, Roland and Native Instruments are also excellent, and both are substantially less expensive than RME. Moreover, like RME, they have a history of maintaining driver support for a long time.

I'm thinking you might want to consider this if you need two stereo in/out pairs, or this if you can get by with one stereo input and output.

tedlogan
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Re: Input and output latency and its relation to my CPU etc

Post by tedlogan » Wed Sep 10, 2014 6:59 pm

Thank for the insights. I will most likely buy a newer PC anyway as soon as this one falls apart though, but not for audio reasons, mainly for 3D animation and rendering etc (Photoshop, Maya, Zbrush).

14ms overall latency is fine for the time being though, I'm not prepared to spend a large sum of money on any gear atm. I really like having the PodHD as both an audio interface and guitar FX unit, and it drives my Sennheiser HD600s excellently (My Edirol UA25 interface's headphone output is not enough to drive these) I guess the expensive audio interfaces go quite loud as well?

Quite happy overall now with my current setup, and really diving into combining different instances of Zebra into the same Instrument Racks. Satin on each channel as well, no crackling. I don't tend to use too many channels, usually around 8 for the electronic/guitar stuff I do, but a bit more for the orchestral soundtracks I'm composing for future animations, anything from 12 - 20 or so. Then again, orchestral multisampled instruments don't really tax the CPU.

I should also mention that whenever I start my PC the first time, as soon as the GPU is engaged for a little while (VLC media player, YouTube etc), audio starts to crackle. A reboot fixes this always until you turn the PC off again and leave it off for the night. I guess it is heat related. This has been happening since my GPU came back from repairs 2 years or so ago. It's a GTX295, which is 2 GPUs in one. I've turned the one GPU off as it's screwed.

Anyway, I'm sure you're all bowled over by this exciting post, so I'll give you guys a breather.

EDIT - in the original post, I used to have 44 ms overall, not 20 as I stated.

EDIT 2 - thanks ark, that NI one looks perfect, and only £199. I will consider that one if I run into problems again. The Roland one is too similar to my Edirol UA25, which is owned by Roland I think? They both have more than enough inputs.

Dragonbreath
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Joined: Fri Sep 14, 2007 2:34 am

Re: Input and output latency and its relation to my CPU etc

Post by Dragonbreath » Wed Sep 10, 2014 8:23 pm

kitekrazy wrote:
Dragonbreath wrote:Glad you made some progress with spending alot of money!

If you are considering spending some buying a better interface will make alot more difference then a newer computer.

I have a macbook pro (late 2008 2,53ghz core duo) and saffire pro 40 interface. Im getting 7ms-8ms (roundtrip) at 24bit 48khz 128 buffer.

My friend has RME UFX and I tried plugging it in via USB and at the same settings got like 3ms roundtrip delay

I have also tried a cheap audio interface and was getting larger numbers.

If you are really concerned about your latency, a RME sound card is the best way to go, but they are really expensive. They start at like 800$ and up.

Another thing you can do for your Softsynths is enable the "reduced latency when monitoring"
They have a tradition of offering support for legacy devices. I imagine some have already went through spending $800 on various audio interfaces and can't use them anymore because of driver support. (M-Audio, Tascam)
Oh they are absolutly worth every penny. Nothing I have seen comes close in terms of latency and reliability, but one needs to cought up the cash iniatially.

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