Performing live with minimal latency(real instruments)

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
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thepilgrimsdream
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Performing live with minimal latency(real instruments)

Post by thepilgrimsdream » Sat Feb 09, 2019 3:57 am

Hey guys,

I'm looking to integrate my Push 2 and Ableton into my performances.

My main ideas other than triggering loops is using Ableton is for vocal processing and virtual instruments (midi)

Basically I know that latency could be my killer.

I have a 2009 iMac running the latest version of Ableton with a Apogee duet FireWire.


How would I be able to measure latency? Would a newer faster computer with a thunderbolt interface help?

chapelier fou
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Re: Performing live with minimal latency(real instruments)

Post by chapelier fou » Sat Feb 09, 2019 12:12 pm

Measure with your ears !
MacBook Pro 13" Retina i7 2.8 GHz OS 10.13, L10.0.1, M4L.
iMac 27" Retina i5 3,2 GHz OS 10.11.3 L10.0.1 M4L.

jestermgee
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Re: Performing live with minimal latency(real instruments)

Post by jestermgee » Sat Feb 09, 2019 2:17 pm

^ Solid

No need to solve a problem before you even have one. You may find what you have when setup correctly will do everything you need. Test it out then approach any issues you find. Better to lose a bit of time than unnecessary money.

timday
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Re: Performing live with minimal latency(real instruments)

Post by timday » Sat Feb 09, 2019 6:26 pm

Use input monitoring on the vocal track, make sure reduced latency when monitoring is on in the options menu, don't use any high latency plugins to process your vocals (especially if using a pitch corrector use use the version optimised for live use, there will usually be one e.g. Autotune has a fair bit of latency, Autotune Live a lot less) and turn down the buffer size as far as it will go without glitching. Should be barely or not at all noticeable.

thepilgrimsdream
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Re: Performing live with minimal latency(real instruments)

Post by thepilgrimsdream » Sat Feb 09, 2019 11:45 pm

timday wrote:Use input monitoring on the vocal track, make sure reduced latency when monitoring is on in the options menu, don't use any high latency plugins to process your vocals (especially if using a pitch corrector use use the version optimised for live use, there will usually be one e.g. Autotune has a fair bit of latency, Autotune Live a lot less) and turn down the buffer size as far as it will go without glitching. Should be barely or not at all noticeable.
Thanks! Just tried it.

I have a 2009 iMac dual core 3.06ghz with 8gb Ram with a 1TB SATA drive. My interface is a Apogee Duet. I just realized that Ableton measure latency, I'm sitting at 9.73ms overall.

I'd like to get this down to sub 5ms.

I'm guessing a computer/interface upgrade is what I'm looking at?

jbodango
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Re: Performing live with minimal latency(real instruments)

Post by jbodango » Sun Feb 10, 2019 3:33 am

Try increasing to 96k 256ms or 512ms

you might be surprised

TLW
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Re: Performing live with minimal latency(real instruments)

Post by TLW » Sun Feb 10, 2019 4:15 am

The latency off software instruments is less than the round trip - the figure to look at for that is the “outgoing” latency. Though if any synths or effects plugins add latency of their own that might increase the minimum possible latency. If you don’t feel any “lag” while playing them you’re probably OK.

Getting a consistent and reliable sub-5ms round trip latency is not easy. I can get that kind of figure with my setup (2015 2.2GFHz i7 MBP, 16GB RAM, RME UFX interface) but as plugins start to build up the glitches can start. And I don’t use software synths much, mostly hardware but usually monitored via Live so I can put delays on them, plus guitar and bass (real amps, not sims). Personally I can handle 10ms of round trip latency with no problems, but how much latency we can cope with varies from person to person.

What I would suggest is using as few tracks as possible and making sure any plugins don’t increase latency and they use as little cpu as possible. Compressors which have “look ahead” functions and convolution reverbs are prone to need more time to do their thing than simpler equivalents.

Having said that, more cpu power never does any harm, nor do additional drives (though slow 5400rpm HDDs are probably best avoided).

Monitoring using an in-ear or headphone system can help as well. Sound travels at about 1 millisecond per foot, so every foot between you and your monitors adds 1ms of latency.
Live 10.1 Suite, M4L, 2014/15 MacBook Pro 15.3” Retina i7, OS Mojave 10.14.5. RME UFX, assorted synths, guitars and stuff.

McAnix
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Re: Performing live with minimal latency(real instruments)

Post by McAnix » Sun Feb 10, 2019 7:38 am

Try not to rely too much on what Ableton is saying your roundtrip latency is, your ears will be what you need to rely on. As other's have said, plugins can be the killer. A good way to check on individual plugins is to have both your soundcard's direct monitoring and ableton's monitoring sent to your headphones, then listen to the phase/delay created by individual plugins, you might be surprised to find certain plugins will add latency even when off, even on tracks that aren't being used. Another cool tip is to have someone change the buffer settings without you looking to see how much of a change in latency you can actually pickup. If you do decide to get a new computer make sure it has good real time performance. This can be hard to find out so ask other's that have experience with the same machine but if your setup works then keep it.

timday
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Re: Performing live with minimal latency(real instruments)

Post by timday » Sun Feb 10, 2019 8:41 am

jbodango wrote:Try increasing to 96k 256ms or 512ms

you might be surprised
Yeah this can work. Latency is created when samples are delayed going through the system but most processing is clocked to sample rate (i.e. latency is a processing delay of a number of samples) so increasing the sample rate will reduce latency, providing your computer can handle it. Seems strange because it's increasing the amount of data going to and from the interface but it's true.

Also +1 on what people are saying about your ears rather than measured latency. You're talking about spending £££ on a new machine - and I get you're on a 2009 iMac so might want to upgrade - sure, upgrade if you want to but you might be getting pretty decent results anyway.

On interfaces I've done a quick check and my Saffire (FW800 thorugh a TB port) is 0.5 ms faster than my MR18 (USB) in terms of round trip latency. FW800 is a lot faster than USB in terms of data transfer speed. So for a way faster connector I get a very marginal gain in latency and I imagine the same will be true with a pure TB interface. A Duet is a lovely interface so swapping it out for such a small gain seems to be not the way to go.

jlgrimes
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Re: Performing live with minimal latency(real instruments)

Post by jlgrimes » Sun Feb 10, 2019 7:01 pm

thepilgrimsdream wrote:Hey guys,

I'm looking to integrate my Push 2 and Ableton into my performances.

My main ideas other than triggering loops is using Ableton is for vocal processing and virtual instruments (midi)

Basically I know that latency could be my killer.

I have a 2009 iMac running the latest version of Ableton with a Apogee duet FireWire.


How would I be able to measure latency? Would a newer faster computer with a thunderbolt interface help?

Its mainly in the Soundcard.

Roundtrip latency is important.

Thunderbolt stuff is normally the fastest but might not be possible on 2009 imac.

That said some USB 2.0 interfaces (or even Firewire) can be fast enough as well.

Its all in the driver and chipset quality of interface.

TLW
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Re: Performing live with minimal latency(real instruments)

Post by TLW » Sun Feb 10, 2019 8:49 pm

jlgrimes wrote:Thunderbolt stuff is normally the fastest but might not be possible on 2009 imac.

That said some USB 2.0 interfaces (or even Firewire) can be fast enough as well.

Its all in the driver and chipset quality of interface.
I connect my UFX using a Thunderbolt2 -> Firewire adaptor and the results are the same as using USB. USB2 can deliver low latency figures, it has more than enough bandwidth for 12 channels in and 8 out at 44.1KHz.

As you say, much depends on the driver. Another factor is some interfaces have a built-in sort of “safety buffer”, which often isn’t reported by the driver so they can be adding extra latency without you knowing it. RME, Focusrite, MOTU, among others, all have reputations for making very good and stable low-latency drivers. It’s worth checking the interface manufacturer’s forums to see how other people are finding them before buying.
Live 10.1 Suite, M4L, 2014/15 MacBook Pro 15.3” Retina i7, OS Mojave 10.14.5. RME UFX, assorted synths, guitars and stuff.

fishmonkey
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Re: Performing live with minimal latency(real instruments)

Post by fishmonkey » Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:06 pm

this is the most comprehensive database of audio interface latency tests out there:

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/music-c ... -base.html

it's a helpful guide, but of course you can't assume that you will get identical results on a different computer system...
badbrainz wrote: I'm a drummer, so I'm already at an intellectual disadvantage here

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