Is my latency good enough or should I try to get it lower?

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
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jmedendorp
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat May 18, 2019 1:48 pm

Is my latency good enough or should I try to get it lower?

Post by jmedendorp » Sun May 19, 2019 8:21 am

I am currently testing out a bunch of combinations for my buffer size and sample rate.

To make sure that I am getting a good gauge of whether I will hear breaks and crackles during a set, I am stacking midi clips in as many as four tracks and playing them simultaneously.

The lowest I have been able to set it at is Buffer Size of 64, a Sample rate of 48000. Overall latency is 7.88ms

Since I am very new to all of this, I am not sure if my overall latency is good or not.

fishmonkey
Posts: 4071
Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2007 4:50 am

Re: Is my latency good enough or should I try to get it lower?

Post by fishmonkey » Sun May 19, 2019 9:23 am

that's a very respectable round-trip latency.

the main impact of latency is felt/heard when monitoring through Live when recording or overdubbing. the maximum amount of workable latency depends on who is playing. some people can readily adjust their timing to account for significant amounts of latency, whilst others find even a small amount of latency unbearable.
badbrainz wrote: I'm a drummer, so I'm already at an intellectual disadvantage here

Tarekith
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Re: Is my latency good enough or should I try to get it lower?

Post by Tarekith » Sun May 19, 2019 2:51 pm

I've used a 256 buffer size for many years and it's been just fine, so if you can run at 64 I'd say that's more than good enough.

TLW
Posts: 143
Joined: Thu Aug 23, 2018 2:37 am

Re: Is my latency good enough or should I try to get it lower?

Post by TLW » Sun May 19, 2019 7:22 pm

There are three aspects to audio latency.

One is the outgoing latency, which affects how long the interval is between playing a note on a controller and a software synth/sampler outputting the relevant audio.

The second is the input latency. This is added to the output latency to give the round-trip latency, which is how long it takes fo the DAW to receive incoming audio, process it and send it put again if the track is being monitored by Live - i.e. the input monitoring is set to "on" or, if recording, "auto".

The third is latency caused by plugins which need more time than the buffer setting to do their processing. Any latency they cause basically gets added to the buffer setting. If you hover the nouse pointer over a device's title bar Live will tell you how much latency the plugin reports it needs. Some plugins can cause a big increase in latency. Compressors which have a "look ahead" function which means they read the audio stream off the disk ahead of the "now time" so they can process it correctly, linear-phase eqs and convolution reverbs are typical examples. This is why Live has a "low latency mode" setting - which basically switches plugins which cause a lot of latency off. A better way is to do the recording side of things using low-latency/low cpu plugins then if you want to use more heavy duty ones instead load them at the mixing stage.

Latency is "correct" if it isn't interfering enough with what you are doing to cause you a problem. Once you've got it set at that point the only effect reducing the audio buffer still further will have is to increase the load on the computer and so reduce the cpu/system resources available to the DAW.

Finally, sound travels about 1 foot per millisecond in air, so an eight ms latency is like playing guitar 8 feet away from your amp. On the other hand, the time the sound takes to get from your monitors to your ears also takes 1ms/second so how you have things physically set up can also affect perceived latency. Put the monitors 20 feet away from you and that's 20ms of latency added to the buffer setting.
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.

daek
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2012 12:20 pm

Re: Is my latency good enough or should I try to get it lower?

Post by daek » Tue Jun 04, 2019 11:09 am

jmedendorp wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 8:21 am
I am currently testing out a bunch of combinations for my buffer size and sample rate.

To make sure that I am getting a good gauge of whether I will hear breaks and crackles during a set, I am stacking midi clips in as many as four tracks and playing them simultaneously.

The lowest I have been able to set it at is Buffer Size of 64, a Sample rate of 48000. Overall latency is 7.88ms

Since I am very new to all of this, I am not sure if my overall latency is good or not.
Turn Delay Compensation option OFF.
This option is located in the main Menu>Options>Delay Compensation.
Don't mess with Sample rate like suggested by most people regarding latency issues.

fishmonkey
Posts: 4071
Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2007 4:50 am

Re: Is my latency good enough or should I try to get it lower?

Post by fishmonkey » Tue Jun 04, 2019 11:23 am

daek wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2019 11:09 am
jmedendorp wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 8:21 am
I am currently testing out a bunch of combinations for my buffer size and sample rate.

To make sure that I am getting a good gauge of whether I will hear breaks and crackles during a set, I am stacking midi clips in as many as four tracks and playing them simultaneously.

The lowest I have been able to set it at is Buffer Size of 64, a Sample rate of 48000. Overall latency is 7.88ms

Since I am very new to all of this, I am not sure if my overall latency is good or not.
Turn Delay Compensation option OFF.
This option is located in the main Menu>Options>Delay Compensation.
Don't mess with Sample rate like suggested by most people regarding latency issues.
please don't listen to the advice from this person. they have no idea what they are doing.

https://help.ableton.com/hc/en-us/artic ... on-in-Live
badbrainz wrote: I'm a drummer, so I'm already at an intellectual disadvantage here

jmedendorp
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat May 18, 2019 1:48 pm

Re: Is my latency good enough or should I try to get it lower?

Post by jmedendorp » Wed Jun 05, 2019 2:18 am

Thanks for the advice. I will try it out.

jmedendorp
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat May 18, 2019 1:48 pm

Re: Is my latency good enough or should I try to get it lower?

Post by jmedendorp » Wed Jun 05, 2019 2:19 am

TLW wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 7:22 pm
There are three aspects to audio latency.

One is the outgoing latency, which affects how long the interval is between playing a note on a controller and a software synth/sampler outputting the relevant audio.

The second is the input latency. This is added to the output latency to give the round-trip latency, which is how long it takes fo the DAW to receive incoming audio, process it and send it put again if the track is being monitored by Live - i.e. the input monitoring is set to "on" or, if recording, "auto".

The third is latency caused by plugins which need more time than the buffer setting to do their processing. Any latency they cause basically gets added to the buffer setting. If you hover the nouse pointer over a device's title bar Live will tell you how much latency the plugin reports it needs. Some plugins can cause a big increase in latency. Compressors which have a "look ahead" function which means they read the audio stream off the disk ahead of the "now time" so they can process it correctly, linear-phase eqs and convolution reverbs are typical examples. This is why Live has a "low latency mode" setting - which basically switches plugins which cause a lot of latency off. A better way is to do the recording side of things using low-latency/low cpu plugins then if you want to use more heavy duty ones instead load them at the mixing stage.

Latency is "correct" if it isn't interfering enough with what you are doing to cause you a problem. Once you've got it set at that point the only effect reducing the audio buffer still further will have is to increase the load on the computer and so reduce the cpu/system resources available to the DAW.

Finally, sound travels about 1 foot per millisecond in air, so an eight ms latency is like playing guitar 8 feet away from your amp. On the other hand, the time the sound takes to get from your monitors to your ears also takes 1ms/second so how you have things physically set up can also affect perceived latency. Put the monitors 20 feet away from you and that's 20ms of latency added to the buffer setting.
Thanks a lot for that detailed explanation. Much appreciated!

jmedendorp
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat May 18, 2019 1:48 pm

Re: Is my latency good enough or should I try to get it lower?

Post by jmedendorp » Wed Jun 05, 2019 2:20 am

Tarekith wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 2:51 pm
I've used a 256 buffer size for many years and it's been just fine, so if you can run at 64 I'd say that's more than good enough.
Alright, good to know. Thank you.

jlgrimes
Posts: 1223
Joined: Mon Jan 22, 2007 1:55 am
Location: Atlanta, Ga

Re: Is my latency good enough or should I try to get it lower?

Post by jlgrimes » Wed Jun 05, 2019 2:21 am

jmedendorp wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 8:21 am
I am currently testing out a bunch of combinations for my buffer size and sample rate.

To make sure that I am getting a good gauge of whether I will hear breaks and crackles during a set, I am stacking midi clips in as many as four tracks and playing them simultaneously.

The lowest I have been able to set it at is Buffer Size of 64, a Sample rate of 48000. Overall latency is 7.88ms

Since I am very new to all of this, I am not sure if my overall latency is good or not.

A roundtrip under 10ms is great.

For just playing softsynths, it is probably even overkill, but for live fx processing of audio it should still be good.

Only you will know though for sure.

For me,

Playing softsynths I only seem to sense the input latency. I try to get that under 3ms. 5ms is still workable but I can subtly feel it. Anything over that then it messes with my playing.

Playing live audio with effects monitoring, I do seem to notice if roundtrip latency is over 10 ms. The audio will sound late and can mess with timing.

My UAD Apollo though (whose roundtrip latency isn't that great) gets me about 11-12 ms which isnt too bad but anything over that it can be a bummer trying to play live audio.

TLW
Posts: 143
Joined: Thu Aug 23, 2018 2:37 am

Re: Is my latency good enough or should I try to get it lower?

Post by TLW » Wed Jun 05, 2019 6:01 pm

Yes, somewhere between 10 and 20ms latency seems to be where most people start to find problems.
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.

Dallon426
Posts: 28
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2018 2:08 pm

Re: Is my latency good enough or should I try to get it lower?

Post by Dallon426 » Wed Jun 05, 2019 10:57 pm

Two best USB interfaces for latency are Rme Babyface pro and apogee Duet. 64 buffers I've got my rtl at under 5ms.

TLW
Posts: 143
Joined: Thu Aug 23, 2018 2:37 am

Re: Is my latency good enough or should I try to get it lower?

Post by TLW » Thu Jun 06, 2019 1:56 am

I generally record with my RME UFX (using firewire and Apple TB2 adaptor) at 128 samples. I can get lower latency - 32 samples even - but I’m happy with that and any lower really pushes my MBPro hard. 128 gives me latency I can work with and I can run some more demanding plugins when monitoring through Live.

I usually crank the buffer up to 256 or even 512 for mixing so I can use whatever plugins I want to use - and some of them add quite a bit of latency themselves so there’s no point aiming for low latency while using them.
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.

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