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How to make latency compensation work? OR - suggestions for a small interface that DOES work?

Nov 29, 2011 3:12 AM

Tags: #latency #compensation

I'm using a Roland UA-3FX interface with Audition 5.5 on windows 7.

 

If I load in a drum loop on one track and then record some bass on another track (monitoring direct though my interface), the recorded bass is slightly but noticably delayed from the drums.

 

As I understand it, the ASIO driver and Audition, between them, should be working out any latency and compensating for it.Any settings I can fiddle with? Can't find anything.

 

I did try using the ASIO4All driver which does have adjustable latency compensation in its settings, but this either wasn't enough or didn't do anything at all (not sure which!)

 

If it's an issue with the driver for the UA-3FX, can anyone else recommend a good small interface which can record in time?it's a shame 'cos the UA-3FX actually sounds great.

 

Ivan

 
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 29, 2011 8:09 AM   in reply to topomorto

    I use a UA-3FX with Windows 7 64-bit, but am still using Audition 3.01 since the trial of CS5.5 expired. Unfortunately, I didn't really test for latency during the trial period, but all I can say is that I have no problems in 3.0 here. I did some tests quite recently by playing back audio on one track through phono cables between the UA-3FX's output and input and recording on another track. I couldn't detect any latency at all, which surprised me, so I, too, would be interested in learning more about latency compensation. All the effects were switched off for the test, of course.

     

    You must be using the Advanced driver setting on the UA-3FX to be using asio, and the only other thing I can think of is maybe some usb problem. That Roland is a usb 1.1 device, and I had huge problems with the machine with an ATI chipset until I found the correct ATI "usb filter" driver. There seem to be different versions of this driver for different generations of chipset.

     
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  • SteveG(AudioMasters)
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    Nov 30, 2011 1:37 AM   in reply to topomorto

    topomorto wrote:

     

    As I understand it, the ASIO driver and Audition, between them, should be working out any latency and compensating for it.Any settings I can fiddle with? Can't find anything.

     

    Perhaps you can tell me exactly what the mechanism might be for this to be worked out? I can see that it could be compensated for, but how, without a setup procedure, could you measure it? What is compensated for is VST delay, but I'm not aware that Audition makes any attempt to run tracks early to compensate for direct monitoring - which is why there are so many complaints about it.

     

    I'm not saying it's impossible, because clearly it isn't. But without Audition having some sort of means of measuring round-trip latency (which would be quite complex, because you would need to time a known-start signal though the interface and operating system), I don't think that compensation can be any more than a guess.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 30, 2011 8:28 AM   in reply to topomorto

    aaLatency1.jpg

    What we have here is a screenshot showing that the audio (a square wave) passing through Audition 3.01 via my UA-3FX using asio has negative latency.

     

    The top track is the original The UA-3FX is plugged analog output to input. Track 2 is the recording of this signal using asio.

     

    Track 3 doesn't show the signal recorded through the same hardware loop using the WDM drivers. The latency in that case is approximately 70 ms so the square wave is way off to the right.

     

    There obviously is some sort of compenstion occurring somewhere when asio drivers are in use.

     
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  • SteveG(AudioMasters)
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    Nov 30, 2011 12:36 PM   in reply to topomorto

    I can find no evidence that ASIO inherently reports anything to do with latency at all. What I did find though was a utility that will let you measure it: Latency Test Utility. This appears to work in the manner I suggested, replacing in this case Audition with its own software.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 30, 2011 12:48 PM   in reply to topomorto

    As far as I could tell, your original file was mono, and all the subsequent files stereo. So just to check, I generated a mono square wave and ran the test again, recording to stereo with exactly the same result - the sound returns approximately one sample before it plays.

     

    If no-one else comes along, I could try the demo CS5.5 on another machine, but I'm reluctant to waste the trial instance before I really need it.

     

    PS Steve's suggested utility says "any computer running XP". We are fighting Windows 7!

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 30, 2011 1:11 PM   in reply to topomorto

    I have run the Centrance latency tester on the 64-bit Windows 7 machine, and it reports the latency as 24.17 ms.  I remain confused, but the fact is that I can play guitar happily along to other tracks in Audition 3, and I don't have a latency problem.

     

    Just for the record, I did correspond some time ago with someone who also played guitar and used Audition 3 with an Edirol UA-4FX. He was also happy.

     
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  • SteveG(AudioMasters)
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    Nov 30, 2011 2:42 PM   in reply to topomorto

    topomorto wrote:

     

    From native instruments:

     

    "Note that the values shown in this dialog window are based on what the driver reports to the software. There are some drivers which do not report the correct information, hence you might find unexpected values shown with some drivers."

     

    That's reported, not measured... and only applies to the device itself.

     

     

    From asio4all:

     

    "The values displayed there are the values ASIO4ALL reports for the purpose of latency compensation. This means that recorded audio can be aligned perfectly with the rest and if that does not work out of the box, you can use the "Latency Compensation" sliders in the advanced section of the control panel to make it perfect!"

     

    ASIO4ALL isn't a driver. It's a conversion utility that interfaces ASIO software with native Windows drivers on sound devices - not the same thing at all. If it reports values, it is only because it's been given them by a hardware device, which it passes on.

     

    Yes I have 5.5 (and every other version of Cool Edit/Audition there's ever been...) and if I get a chance over the next day or so I'll check it with the MOTU 8pre that's currently connected to the DAW.

     

    Yes I know that the Centrance latency checker said XP on it, but doesn't most XP software run in emulation mode on that pile of cr..  W7?

     

    I spent some time yesterday 'persuading' W7 to let me do some rather basic things with file sharing - and managed easily to provoke a BSD out of it - twice. It really isn't very good, and won't be going near any DAW I own any time soon.

     
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  • SteveG(AudioMasters)
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    Dec 2, 2011 6:48 AM   in reply to topomorto

    Okay, CS5.5 latency tests with MOTU ASIO driver, and also ASIO4ALL drive converter: Most importantly, this is using XP though, not that pox-ridden W7!

     

    One 5-second file, with a 0.02s square tone burst in the middle of it - easy to measure the edges accurately from. Play it out of track 1, and re-record it on track two with a loop-through on the back of the 8Pre.

     

    With the ASIO driver, the ASIO buffer size works best at 512 samples - this goes for using ASIO4ALL as well. Using the MOTU driver, latency is consistent, at 57 samples. Checked this on AA3.0.1, and it's exactly the same.

     

    Installed ASIO4ALL driver (don't need it on the DAW, but don't mind it being there). With no latency compensation at all, the round-trip latency is 1194 samples - about 27ms. If you whack the input slider over to 1024 samples, then the latency improves to 200 samples - about 4.5ms. This doesn't necessarily mean that there's an error - it just means that not all of the latency is on the input. If you then set the output slider to 1024 as well, you get overcompensation - the resultant file is recorded early - about -18ms. What you'd have to do in this situation is to juggle both of the faders so that the input and output compensation values were similar - after all, it's a round trip you are considering. It would be relatively easy to get it down to a value that would be completely insignificant.

     

    But, as I mentioned earlier, this is with XP - an OS far better suited to audio than W7, whatever its apologists say. And also this is using a known-good MOTU external audio device. I don't have the means to run the same checks using W7 here on the premises, and even if I used the machine that's potentially available, it wouldn't be the same because it's a different set of PC hardware.

     
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  • SteveG(AudioMasters)
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    Dec 2, 2011 3:22 PM   in reply to topomorto

    If you look at the ASIO4ALL FAQ, it gives you some information about how to feed info back to them, and also a link to a diagnostic tool. Maybe the way to go, and I'm sure that they'd appreciate the information anyway.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 2, 2011 6:55 PM   in reply to SteveG(AudioMasters)

    SteveG(AudioMasters) wrote:

     

     

    Yes I have 5.5 (and every other version of Cool Edit/Audition there's ever been...) and if I get a chance over the next day or so I'll check it with the MOTU 8pre that's currently connected to the DAW.

     

    I spent some time yesterday 'persuading' W7 to let me do some rather basic things with file sharing - and managed easily to provoke a BSD out of it - twice. It really isn't very good, and won't be going near any DAW I own any time soon.

    Well, the fact that you're not going near W7 would explain, then, why you're running every version of SCEPAA (Syntrillium Cool Edit Pro Adobe Audition) - XP can run all of them, right?

     
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  • SteveG(AudioMasters)
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    Dec 3, 2011 2:25 AM   in reply to therealdobro

    therealdobro wrote:

     

    Well, the fact that you're not going near W7 would explain, then, why you're running every version of SCEPAA (Syntrillium Cool Edit Pro Adobe Audition) - XP can run all of them, right?

     

    Nearly right. I don't have all of them on one machine,  but XP will run more of them properly than any other OS, yes.

     

    And it's not that I haven't gone near W7 - far from it. Only the other day I got a BSD from it, just from altering some of their ridiculous file permissions... any so-called 'OS' that does that doesn't deserve houseroom.

     
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  • SteveG(AudioMasters)
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    Dec 3, 2011 4:21 AM   in reply to topomorto

    Well, the problem was on a laptop that came pre-installed with it. And if the Rottweiler bit you, then you're quite entitled to be anti-Rotweiller, for just the same reason!

     

    If W7 is a Rotweiller, then in comparison, XP is an Old English Sheepdog, I think. Altogether more pleasant and useful.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 3, 2011 4:39 AM   in reply to SteveG(AudioMasters)

    Yes, W7 is in some ways a dog, but back to business.......

     

    Before getting too much into workarounds, the thing I would try is going into the Windows Control Panel audio section and disabling the UA-3FX in both record and playback tabs. This, to a great extent, removes W7's audio from the equation. You will then have to use only the Edirol asio drivers.

     

    Some of this suggests to me that it might be a usb problem rather than a driver problem. I'm a great believer in xperf and logman as ways of seeing usb problems, if not actually resolving anything.

     

    I've done a quick test here with Reaper and have no problems with latency with that either.

     

    There was a similar thread on the Audiomasters forum from someone in Helsinki. He doesn't seem to have posted since going off to try XP.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 3, 2011 11:46 AM   in reply to topomorto

    Topomorto, just to check - you did disable the UA-3FX, not just make it not the default device? If you did and it makes no difference, it probably eliminates any weird effects from the Windows audio side of things.

     

    Once set up to run from batch files, xperf is easy to use and does provide a useful insight into what is going on with usb.The zoomable graphs with a timeline do give a picture of usb events and let you see whether they coincide with many other events in the machine. One definitive Microsoft document can be found by googling USB Event Tracing for Windows, which brings up a rather heavy Microsoft paper on the subject. Alternatively, if you PM me, I can send some instructions.

     

    I understnd the concept of getting on and using workarounds, but I like to be sure what the bug is that I'm working around and whether it's consistent or likely to bite me in future. It took me ages and much posting of questions to get my Win 7 laptop working well, but now I use it without thinking and it "just works"..

     

    The asio code tht you posted about a few days ago looked really useful, so thnks for that. I need more time (I have other non-audio problems at the moment caused by recent high winds).

     


     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 3, 2011 12:52 PM   in reply to topomorto

    topomorto wrote:

     

     

              Are you in Western USA? 

     

    No. in the UK, but don't let that put you off!

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 3, 2011 3:46 PM   in reply to topomorto

    Our boat is near Anglesey, where there was a tornado, and high winds. You might have seen the reports on the news about the ship breaking up off the coast and the helicopter pilot being rather famous. It's about a 2 hour drive from here to the boat and trailer and to jack the 2.5 tons upright again, plus all the loading and unloading of jacks, acros etc etc. It was calm here yesterday, but there we had to rope the ladders on to stop them blowing away.

     

    Not relevant, but it keeps audio latency in prespective. Do PM me when you are ready and if you want. There must be a reason why some people are having problems and others not. It would be good to be sure the usb link was not the culprit.

     
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  • SteveG(AudioMasters)
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    Dec 4, 2011 2:33 AM   in reply to Wild_Duck

    Wild_Duck wrote:

     

    Some of this suggests to me that it might be a usb problem rather than a driver problem. I'm a great believer in xperf and logman as ways of seeing usb problems, if not actually resolving anything.

     

    Ah, yes - there's one thing I didn't mention about the tests I did with the 8Pre - no USB involved at all. The 8Pre is a FireWire device. That of course brings its own problems, but as long as you use a Texas chipset device for it, it behaves fine. Whether that would remain true under W7 is another matter, of course...

     

    Looks like WildDuck might be going to have to add snow into his boat problem equation now! Being in London, we're sort-of immune to this for the moment.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 4, 2011 5:53 AM   in reply to topomorto

    Yes, Reaper is very good, and very good value. I use it a little and it's my son's main audio application. It has the advantage that, if you have bought Audition, you can import that as an editor when you need its features.

     

    Here, as I said, both Reaper and Audition have no latency problem. If Reaper works well for you, that probably rules out a usb problem, but it does leave the question of what is causing the Audition latency issue.

     

    If the Edirol asio drivers are working well, there is no point in trying to use asio4all unless you want to try using multiple audio interfaces (which probably won't be satisfactory anyway because of sync issues between the clocks).

     
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  • SteveG(AudioMasters)
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    Dec 4, 2011 10:28 AM   in reply to topomorto

    topomorto wrote:

     

              I was considering grabbing a firewire interface from ebay but I have a dreaded Ricoh chipset so not sure if that's just going to be a different kind of pain.

          

    Did try one PCMCIA card with a Ricoh chipset just as an experiment, and that actually worked fine with the MOTU. It's not what they recommend though, and I have no idea at all as to how this would work out with W7. I only use the MOTU with the laptop - the desktop DAW uses an E-Mu 1820m which has it's own PCI card.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 4, 2011 8:01 PM   in reply to SteveG(AudioMasters)

    SteveG(AudioMasters) wrote:

     

    therealdobro wrote:

     

    Well, the fact that you're not going near W7 would explain, then, why you're running every version of SCEPAA (Syntrillium Cool Edit Pro Adobe Audition) - XP can run all of them, right?

     

    Nearly right. I don't have all of them on one machine,  but XP will run more of them properly than any other OS, yes.

     

    And it's not that I haven't gone near W7 - far from it. Only the other day I got a BSD from it, just from altering some of their ridiculous file permissions... any so-called 'OS' that does that doesn't deserve houseroom.

    In that case, by lagging a step behind me, you're now a step ahead of me.  See, I can't run CEP 1.2 on Win 7.  Some plugins ditto.

     

    (Sorry for the detour, Topomorto)

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 5, 2011 1:33 AM   in reply to topomorto

    I am not sure what doesn't work for therealdobro, but I cn run CEP 1.0 nd CE2000 here reasonbly well on this Windows 7 64-bit laptop. I haven't done ny heavy work with them, but certainly they record and play back and allow simple editing. I haven't tried CEP 1.2 simply because I can't find the installation files or disks.

    I do always run Win 7 in basic video mode because I hate all those fuzzy shadow effects and the video switching on older programs

     

    The XP Mode in Win7 is not very satisfactory for audio because of the basic Soundblaster emulation it provides. You can get around this with usb devices by "Tunnelling" the usb functions through from the host Win7, but.it seems better to run these old progrm natively.

     

    On the subject of firewire, my main desktop machine runs XP , has a basic M-Audio 2496 pci card hooked up to a Soundcraft mixer plus a Tascam FW-1884 firewire control surface/interface. This copes with everything I normally do here. I hve run the Tascam on various laptops with various firewire pcmcia cards and various on-board firewire. I have to say that, once you switch off all the power related timers in the machines, most fw chipsets seem to work OK. I did have one with a Ricoh chipset that I couldn't mke work, but I also have a Chinese sourced PC Expresscard with a TI chipset that wouldn't work in a Vista laptop. I have only recently got a laptop with Win 7 and an Expresscard slot, so I haven't had time to try it on Win7 yet.

     
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