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#2189341 - 11/27/13 06:37 PM ASIO vs. ASIO4ALL
Peter Sivak Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/03/13
Posts: 48
Loc: Slovakia
Hello,
I have "Realtek high definition audio" soundcard and I use ASIO4ALL driver.

I googled, that if my soundcard supported ASIO driver natively, I could get lower latencies when playing on my stage piano through computer (VST program).

So if I want lower latencies during playing, should I buy external sound card (which I connect through the USB port to my computer) which supports ASIO driver? Do I understand it well (sorry, I am novice in this area)?

If so, which external soundcards do you recommend me to buy?
_________________________
Peter Sivák

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#2189405 - 11/27/13 09:26 PM Re: ASIO vs. ASIO4ALL [Re: Peter Sivak]
Psychonaut Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/21/13
Posts: 234
Depends on your needs and your budget. RME makes a superb USB audio interface called the Babyface, but it's expensive. You might want to look at M-Audio, and check out their audio cards. I have read that USB interfaces on the low end can have latency issues, and you might not end up with much better than you have now. There are also PCI, PCIe and firewire options, if your rig supports this.

What is your latency now?
_________________________
Yamaha P120, MO6, Steinberg MR816, Galaxy Vintage D, Komplete 8 & various other VIs, Reaper

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#2189485 - 11/28/13 02:14 AM Re: ASIO vs. ASIO4ALL [Re: Peter Sivak]
dire tonic Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/17/11
Posts: 1366
Loc: uk south
I found ASIO4all gave me better latency with Realtek than both an M-audio and an Alesis card that I tried. In fact, ASIO4all gets me down to 64 samples latency on Galaxy D piano - that's the lowest setting for the driver and it's perfectly clean. I was getting unreliable popping (usually ok but touch and go) at around 128-192 using the interfaces. YMMV.

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#2189564 - 11/28/13 09:38 AM Re: ASIO vs. ASIO4ALL [Re: dire tonic]
Peter Sivak Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/03/13
Posts: 48
Loc: Slovakia
Originally Posted By: dire tonic
I found ASIO4all gave me better latency with Realtek than both an M-audio and an Alesis card that I tried. In fact, ASIO4all gets me down to 64 samples latency on Galaxy D piano - that's the lowest setting for the driver and it's perfectly clean. I was getting unreliable popping (usually ok but touch and go) at around 128-192 using the interfaces. YMMV.


Hmm, interesting, I thought that whatever external sound card will have lower latency.
_________________________
Peter Sivák

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#2189565 - 11/28/13 09:47 AM Re: ASIO vs. ASIO4ALL [Re: Psychonaut]
Peter Sivak Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/03/13
Posts: 48
Loc: Slovakia
Originally Posted By: Psychonaut
What is your latency now?



Now I have latency of 14.7 ms (Processing: 2.7 ms, Output: 12.0 ms), but its so small because I increased sample rate from 44100 to 192000 Hz (in ASIO settings I set 512 samples). I tried to play superfast with this settings, as many notes simultaneously as I can (max 256), and I was watching processor usage, it went maximally to 40%. So sample rate of 192000 Hz decreased latency drastically and it helped me to put latency to "real-time" level.

So maybe I should stay at this level with my integrated sound card.

P.S.: Lets say I am now satisfied with the latency, but can external sound card improve sound quality?
_________________________
Peter Sivák

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#2189570 - 11/28/13 09:59 AM Re: ASIO vs. ASIO4ALL [Re: Peter Sivak]
dire tonic Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/17/11
Posts: 1366
Loc: uk south
Originally Posted By: Peter Sivak
Originally Posted By: dire tonic
I found ASIO4all gave me better latency with Realtek than both an M-audio and an Alesis card that I tried. In fact, ASIO4all gets me down to 64 samples latency on Galaxy D piano - that's the lowest setting for the driver and it's perfectly clean. I was getting unreliable popping (usually ok but touch and go) at around 128-192 using the interfaces. YMMV.


Hmm, interesting, I thought that whatever external sound card will have lower latency.


how many samples is your ASIO4all buffer size set to?

edit; sorry, I've just noticed above you've set it to 512 samples. Have you tried reducing this, in stages, all the way down to 64?


Edited by dire tonic (11/28/13 10:12 AM)

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#2189578 - 11/28/13 10:28 AM Re: ASIO vs. ASIO4ALL [Re: Peter Sivak]
Psychonaut Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/21/13
Posts: 234
Originally Posted By: Peter Sivak
Originally Posted By: Psychonaut
What is your latency now?



Now I have latency of 14.7 ms (Processing: 2.7 ms, Output: 12.0 ms), but its so small because I increased sample rate from 44100 to 192000 Hz (in ASIO settings I set 512 samples). I tried to play superfast with this settings, as many notes simultaneously as I can (max 256), and I was watching processor usage, it went maximally to 40%. So sample rate of 192000 Hz decreased latency drastically and it helped me to put latency to "real-time" level.

So maybe I should stay at this level with my integrated sound card.

P.S.: Lets say I am now satisfied with the latency, but can external sound card improve sound quality?


You might get a better signal-to-noise ratio with an external card. For playing a DP, I have no way of knowing whether you would notice this or not in your computer environment. Integrated sound chips generally sound good enough, IMO, if you have decent speakers, are not worried about latency (as when listening to a CD), and have no background processes running that interfere with the audio output.

Choosing an audio interface is always a hot topic in digital audio workstation (DAW) forums, and finding the best one for maximizing the efficiency of your other hardware can be challenging. I had great luck with an M-Audio Delta 66 a few years ago, but this is the older PCI standard, and it may or may not work on newer computers with PCIe and "bridged" PCI slots that are not native. Me, I'm biased against USB interfaces (there are a few high-end ones that have excellent drivers and spec out well in terms of latency, such as the RME one mentioned above), because USB data is transferred in packets, rather than as an uninterrupted stream, which is why I went to FW on my last DAW build, and got the Steinberg MR816. I also made sure I got a motherboard that did NOT have native firewire support, and purchased a dedicated PCIe Texas Instruments FW card to run it.

If I were in your position, I would want to get the round-trip latency to at or below 10ms, around which point the response time sounds instantaneous to the human ear.

But so much has to do with your computer's CPU and memory, how well the drivers of your interface behave, etc. On many business class laptops, for instance, you can't render glitch free audio without disabling the onboard wifi while you play...

... Here's a link to a music store's buying guide, which, while commercial, gives a basic rundown of the kinds of factors to consider:

http://www.sweetwater.com/insync/audio-interface-buying-guide/
_________________________
Yamaha P120, MO6, Steinberg MR816, Galaxy Vintage D, Komplete 8 & various other VIs, Reaper

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#2189610 - 11/28/13 11:39 AM Re: ASIO vs. ASIO4ALL [Re: dire tonic]
Peter Sivak Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/03/13
Posts: 48
Loc: Slovakia
Originally Posted By: dire tonic
Originally Posted By: Peter Sivak
Originally Posted By: dire tonic
I found ASIO4all gave me better latency with Realtek than both an M-audio and an Alesis card that I tried. In fact, ASIO4all gets me down to 64 samples latency on Galaxy D piano - that's the lowest setting for the driver and it's perfectly clean. I was getting unreliable popping (usually ok but touch and go) at around 128-192 using the interfaces. YMMV.


Hmm, interesting, I thought that whatever external sound card will have lower latency.


how many samples is your ASIO4all buffer size set to?

edit; sorry, I've just noticed above you've set it to 512 samples. Have you tried reducing this, in stages, all the way down to 64?


Yes I tried reduced it to 64 which decrease latency from 14.7 to 11.7 ms, so not too much. But the problem was when I played many notes, sometimes I heard crackles and pops, so I put it back to 512 samples (256 was also ok). But I said later, that with latency of 14.7 ms, which I have now, I am very satisfied, I feel the piano like in realtime.
_________________________
Peter Sivák

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#2189935 - 11/29/13 02:54 AM Re: ASIO vs. ASIO4ALL [Re: Peter Sivak]
dire tonic Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/17/11
Posts: 1366
Loc: uk south
Originally Posted By: Peter Sivak
Originally Posted By: dire tonic
I found ASIO4all gave me better latency with Realtek than both an M-audio and an Alesis card that I tried. In fact, ASIO4all gets me down to 64 samples latency on Galaxy D piano - that's the lowest setting for the driver and it's perfectly clean. I was getting unreliable popping (usually ok but touch and go) at around 128-192 using the interfaces. YMMV.


Hmm, interesting, I thought that whatever external sound card will have lower latency.


Whether or not an unaided PC (using ASIO4all) can equal an external soundcard on latency comes down to PC/laptop performance and workload. Up until a few years ago it was in the balance and a soundcard was usually the better option. I suspect most of the modern multicore processors are good enough so any PC with an uncluttered system drive and an i5 or better should be able to run a sampled piano close to the minimum 64 samples latency that ASIO4all allows.

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#2190055 - 11/29/13 11:39 AM Re: ASIO vs. ASIO4ALL [Re: dire tonic]
NormB Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/02/12
Posts: 46
Loc: Vancouver, BC
I have Realtek built into my motherboard, and use Ivory II and sometimes Truepianos to play for myself. I spent my whole adult life with acoustic grands and wanted something that would compensate a little for their loss. What I developed through trial and error to get reliability and low latency was to use an industrial strength desktop with the samples on a dedicated ssd, ASIO4all, an optical out to an external DSP and then to an audiophile integrated amp and large DYI three way speakers. Initially I used an E-MU 4040 usb, solely as a DSP. Using an optical out through trial and error this proved to be reliable with acceptable latency. You probably could pick one up for $100 or so used. I would however not try to use one of these using USB digital input and Windows 7 or 8. I don't think you ever will get it to work reliably. Optical input works without a hitch.

While the above setup worked just fine there are some profound limitations in using the 0404 with Windows 7. Accordingly, I recently abandoned the E-MU 4040 in favor of an audiophile DSP, a Yulong DA8. Sonically better for sure. As for latency, I usually run 256 samples and 5.3 ms latency. The E-Mu 0404 also handled this without a hitch. The Yulong DAC can happily run at 120 samples and 2.5 ms latency using an optical input, but is not happy at 64 samples; these are when running at 96kHz. I have not yet tried it with a sampled piano using USB input. The Yulong is pretty pricey, and it probably is overkill. There are a host of good USB DSPs in the $300-500 range now that should work well for your needs.

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