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#2403499 - Yesterday at 09:35 AM Comparitive Latency of popular VIs... and the winner is...
dire tonic Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/17/11
Posts: 1847
Loc: uk south
Ivory!...

...5th place was a surprise...



As is evident, the precise starting point is always a little vague but the picture should be clear, Ivory getting into its stride at around 10ms, pianoteq at around 14-15ms. Note, this is MIDI trigger to VST processing time only but the additional components (key depression, issuing of keyboard MIDI to PC - monitor-to-ear etc) being common to all VSTis, the variation in totals should exactly reflect the varation here.

My thanks to lolatu whose sterling work in quantifying typical AP latency aroused my curiosity about the relative performance of our currently most popular libraries. Though Pianoteq falls to last place in this test it should be clear from lolatu's overall estimate of 45ms for his AP - a result which ties almost to the millisec on the identical test I carried out on the AP here - that the extra two or three millisecs are relatively trivial.....contrary to what we might have been led to believe up until quite recently.

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#2403525 - Yesterday at 11:18 AM Re: Comparitive Latency of popular VIs... and the winner is... [Re: dire tonic]
ElmerJFudd Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 305
You'll have to give some detail about your latency measuring method for the results of your test to mean anything.

Pianoteq taking time to calculate sound creation shouldn't be surprising.


Edited by ElmerJFudd (Yesterday at 11:20 AM)

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#2403531 - Yesterday at 11:33 AM Re: Comparitive Latency of popular VIs... and the winner is... [Re: dire tonic]
emenelton Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/09
Posts: 623
That is nice to see them all like that. My take away is number 3 has clearly triggered first. After that one and two trigger at the same time.

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#2403552 - Yesterday at 12:21 PM Re: Comparitive Latency of popular VIs... and the winner is... [Re: dire tonic]
MacMacMac Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 4025
Loc: North Carolina
I have to agree with Elmer. Without knowing the test conditions, it's not possible to reach a valid conclusion.

My latency measurements (Vintage D inside of Kontakt) came in at 2.3 msec. So why are yours coming in at 2x to 4x slower? I guess it's because the measurement techniques differ ... which brings me back to Elmer's point. smile

Also, my experiences and impressions with Pianoteq leave me thinking that it exhibits the lowest latency of all ... quite the opposite of your results. (I don't like the sound of Pianoteq, but the apparent low latency gives a nice feeling of connectedness ... more so than any of the many sample sets I've used.)

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#2403561 - Yesterday at 12:49 PM Re: Comparitive Latency of popular VIs... and the winner is... [Re: dire tonic]
dire tonic Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/17/11
Posts: 1847
Loc: uk south
The recording was done in simultaneous MIDI/audio pairs without time base, meter or quantisation. Audio from whichever vst engine was engaged (only one VST active at a time) was then routed back from the master to the nominated audio track. Each of the five track-pairs having been recorded at random starting points were lined up to sync the beginning of all five MIDI events. For the sake of clarity I've deleted the other 4 midi tracks.

I ran the test from scratch twice with identical results to within visible error. If there is anything going on under Cubase's bonnet which might magnify the results, I would still expect the ranking to be valid.

Finally, I ran lolatu's experiment with Garritan CFX and found a total (key-tap to sound) latency of 42ms. It would seem that in a properly set up system, overall software-piano latency is fully up to AP muster.

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#2403567 - Yesterday at 01:10 PM Re: Comparitive Latency of popular VIs... and the winner is... [Re: dire tonic]
MacMacMac Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 4025
Loc: North Carolina
Re: Acoustic piano ... Key tap? Does that start at the top of the key stroke or at the bottom? And how would you compare either of those to a digital piano. There's no way to detect either one on a digital!

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#2403573 - Yesterday at 01:15 PM Re: Comparitive Latency of popular VIs... and the winner is... [Re: dire tonic]
dire tonic Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/17/11
Posts: 1847
Loc: uk south
The key tap is on the top of the key - I used the blunt end of a pencil and a fast key stroke (fff). The entire affair is conducted in the audio domain, whether DP or AP.

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#2403576 - Yesterday at 01:19 PM Re: Comparitive Latency of popular VIs... and the winner is... [Re: dire tonic]
emenelton Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/09
Posts: 623
I take exception with the Vintage D being in the number three position.
The clip waveform clearly shows earlier activity than the others.

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#2403577 - Yesterday at 01:20 PM Re: Comparitive Latency of popular VIs... and the winner is... [Re: dire tonic]
dire tonic Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/17/11
Posts: 1847
Loc: uk south
- just to be clear - the key tap test (a la lolatu) is a purely audio test to measure *total* latency. It has nothing to do with the test conducted at the top which is specific to the latency component arising from the vst engine alone.

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#2403579 - Yesterday at 01:20 PM Re: Comparitive Latency of popular VIs... and the winner is... [Re: emenelton]
dire tonic Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/17/11
Posts: 1847
Loc: uk south
Originally Posted By emenelton
I take exception with the Vintage D being in the number three position.
The clip waveform clearly shows earlier activity than the others.

...hang on, I'll just go and change my glasses....

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#2403581 - Yesterday at 01:24 PM Re: Comparitive Latency of popular VIs... and the winner is... [Re: MacMacMac]
toddy Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/30/11
Posts: 1992
Loc: Portugal
Originally Posted By MacMacMac
Re: Acoustic piano ... Key tap? Does that start at the top of the key stroke or at the bottom? And how would you compare either of those to a digital piano. There's no way to detect either one on a digital!


Surely you can measure any piano - or keyboard - in the same way, either mechanical or electronic. You record the tap and the piano note with a microphone. In that way, the playing field is completely level for all instruments, and it seems from lolatu's experiments that both AP and DP are yield very similar results in the 40 - 45ms range.
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#2403584 - Yesterday at 01:34 PM Re: Comparitive Latency of popular VIs... and the winner is... [Re: dire tonic]
dire tonic Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/17/11
Posts: 1847
Loc: uk south
Originally Posted By dire tonic
Originally Posted By emenelton
I take exception with the Vintage D being in the number three position.
The clip waveform clearly shows earlier activity than the others.

...hang on, I'll just go and change my glasses....

- nope, it still looks like Ivory in the lead. You must be using some esoteric waveform interpretation to guide you to that conclusion...help me out...

ETA: ..I think I see what you mean; it's down to the energy of the waveform in the early stages, there's more shaded-in 'area' in the vintage 'D' at the outset. Yes, could be that you're right.


Edited by dire tonic (Yesterday at 01:38 PM)

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#2403590 - Yesterday at 01:54 PM Re: Comparitive Latency of popular VIs... and the winner is... [Re: dire tonic]
ElmerJFudd Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 305
The click of the pen on the key occurs at contact. Any acoustic player knows sound occurs at hammer contact with string and we push our arms and fingers into the instrument for musical events to occur when we desire them to. Any latency is naturally compensated for in the playing. When playing with an ensemble our amazing human minds make key throw decisions in real time based on when audio data reaches our ears. We can rapidly recognise tempo and predict next pulse and pulse rate like magic (it's not magic of course, our brains are just really good at making these sorts of computations). In large ensembles and large rooms we follow the conductor.

There is a point at which realization of sound could be so disconnected from keyboard attack that it becomes annoying for the player to compensate. I've never experienced this on an acoustic piano or on a digital. But I have on inadequate computers running software instruments, but not in recent years.

I'd suggest at minimal latencies, sound quality trumps latency variations by a lot. Unless it becomes annoying for the player to compensate naturally it shouldn't be a factor in software instrument selection. Also there are many variables here... Starting mainly with your computer, your host, your audio card drivers, lowest possible buffer setting before audio breakup, distance from your monitors, speed of midi/usb connection, etc. Even if we all agreed on the testing method our results would vary greatly.

Back to making music.


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#2403592 - Yesterday at 01:58 PM Re: Comparitive Latency of popular VIs... and the winner is... [Re: dire tonic]
emenelton Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/09
Posts: 623
How the attack of the sample is edited, to allow a little more breathing space at it's attack component, should be ignored in a test like this. It does contribute to how the piano feels(as in hitting it's stride) but the initial attack is the point to determine latency from, not the more robust parts of the attack component -

If you magnify the vertical it should help.

I do compliment the test though. It really has a real empirical quality.


Edited by emenelton (Yesterday at 02:11 PM)

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#2403596 - Yesterday at 02:05 PM Re: Comparitive Latency of popular VIs... and the winner is... [Re: ElmerJFudd]
dire tonic Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/17/11
Posts: 1847
Loc: uk south
Originally Posted By ElmerJFudd
Even if we all agreed on the testing method our results would vary greatly.

Not at all. Not if we're testing measurable, i.e. non-subjective, parameters with standard equipment.

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#2403604 - Yesterday at 02:20 PM Re: Comparitive Latency of popular VIs... and the winner is... [Re: dire tonic]
MacMacMac Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 4025
Loc: North Carolina
I don't own standard equipment. Do you?

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#2403606 - Yesterday at 02:22 PM Re: Comparitive Latency of popular VIs... and the winner is... [Re: MacMacMac]
dire tonic Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/17/11
Posts: 1847
Loc: uk south
Originally Posted By MacMacMac
I don't own standard equipment. Do you?

You're being obtuse...I mean like for like.

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#2403608 - Yesterday at 02:29 PM Re: Comparitive Latency of popular VIs... and the winner is... [Re: dire tonic]
emenelton Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/09
Posts: 623
The test shows the relative latency among the five vst's, displaying the different lengths of time after the trigger that the various pianos take before the sample plays.

It does not seem to address other latency components and I also think talking about AP latencies and the 42ms figure has no place in this test either.

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#2403610 - Yesterday at 02:31 PM Re: Comparitive Latency of popular VIs... and the winner is... [Re: dire tonic]
ElmerJFudd Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 305
Like for like isn't standard equipment.

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#2403612 - Yesterday at 02:36 PM Re: Comparitive Latency of popular VIs... and the winner is... [Re: emenelton]
dire tonic Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/17/11
Posts: 1847
Loc: uk south
Originally Posted By emenelton

It does not seem to address other latency components and I also think talking about AP latencies and the 42ms figure has no place in this test either.


No, it doesn't address the other components, the two biggies as I see it are pure audio latency from monitors (= ~ audio latency from AP soundboard?) and latency arising from controller keyboard, translating to MIDI, de-coded at PC (= AP action, hammer, jack and the full heath-robinson monty).

I think the 42 ms figure is interesting as it contrasts so drastically against what many here might have believed about AP latency superiority.

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#2403614 - Yesterday at 02:37 PM Re: Comparitive Latency of popular VIs... and the winner is... [Re: ElmerJFudd]
dire tonic Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/17/11
Posts: 1847
Loc: uk south
Originally Posted By ElmerJFudd
Like for like isn't standard equipment.

You can rely on my distancing myself from this kind of pseudo-semantic dispute.

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#2403615 - Yesterday at 02:38 PM Re: Comparitive Latency of popular VIs... and the winner is... [Re: dire tonic]
ElmerJFudd Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 305
You're going to have to go in detail here to describe how you conducted this test. There just isn't enough information for it to have any useful value.

We're going to need a list of all equipment/hardware used. Don't leave anything out.
Then a procedure please. Step by step.
Any settings or other information that would come into play.

It's just plain unfair to post a picture like the one at the start of the thread and affect people's purchasing decisions without explaining what you're doing.

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#2403617 - Yesterday at 02:43 PM Re: Comparitive Latency of popular VIs... and the winner is... [Re: ElmerJFudd]
dire tonic Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/17/11
Posts: 1847
Loc: uk south
Originally Posted By ElmerJFudd
You're going to have to go in detail here to describe how you conducted this test.

You're going to have to settle for what I've provided, like it or lump it.

I think I provided all the necessaries a few posts back - there's no alchemy. If you have a specific question, do pose it.

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#2403619 - Yesterday at 02:46 PM Re: Comparitive Latency of popular VIs... and the winner is... [Re: dire tonic]
emenelton Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/09
Posts: 623
Originally Posted By dire tonic
Originally Posted By emenelton

It does not seem to address other latency components and I also think talking about AP latencies and the 42ms figure has no place in this test either.


No, it doesn't address the other components, the two biggies as I see it are pure audio latency from monitors (= ~ audio latency from AP soundboard?) and latency arising from controller keyboard, translating to MIDI, de-coded at PC (= AP action, hammer, jack and the full heath-robinson monty).

I think the 42 ms figure is interesting as it contrasts so drastically against what many here might have believed about AP latency superiority.


I think it's a real good test for the internal's while these other things are not a component of your test. So I am for your test and the snapshot of what it exhibits.

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#2403624 - Yesterday at 02:53 PM Re: Comparitive Latency of popular VIs... and the winner is... [Re: emenelton]
dire tonic Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/17/11
Posts: 1847
Loc: uk south
Originally Posted By emenelton
I think it's a real good test for the internal's while these other things are not a component of your test. So I am for your test and the snapshot of what it exhibits.

I think that's the whole point; it's a take of just one element in the latency chain and if the results are valid - given the close proximity of the results with no more than 5ms between extremes - it should re-assure most that there's not much to choose between the various VI's - they're contributing probably the least to our latency problems.


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#2403626 - Yesterday at 02:56 PM Re: Comparitive Latency of popular VIs... and the winner is... [Re: dire tonic]
ElmerJFudd Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 305
Sorry, mate. No name calling or personal dispute here. No anger, only good vibes here. Just discussing the topic of the thread.

Unless you are willing to offer what's been asked for, I'm going to have to call it out as not scientific, not empirical, and the results of the test should be ignored by the forum.

Of course people are going to believe what they like, but I'm quite surprised we have readers and contributers who wouldn't ask for more information and are content with a picture.

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#2403627 - Yesterday at 02:58 PM Re: Comparitive Latency of popular VIs... and the winner is... [Re: dire tonic]
jimb100 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/24/14
Posts: 73
Loc: Florida
I see the usual suspects are out trying to use semantics to discredit your tests.

So much effort on their part in trying to maintain acoustic piano superiority in this single arena where you have demonstrated what most already intuitively know: latency is not an issue for digital piano players.

Why this need to constantly 'prove' the acoustic piano is superior to the digital?

Can't the music be enough, whether it comes from a digital or acoustic?

Oh, never mind, I forgot. This is the internet!
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#2403630 - Yesterday at 03:06 PM Re: Comparitive Latency of popular VIs... and the winner is... [Re: ElmerJFudd]
dire tonic Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/17/11
Posts: 1847
Loc: uk south
Originally Posted By ElmerJFudd
I'm going to have to call it out as not scientific, not empirical, and the results of the test should be ignored by the forum.

Good luck with that!

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#2403631 - Yesterday at 03:07 PM Re: Comparitive Latency of popular VIs... and the winner is... [Re: dire tonic]
ElmerJFudd Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 305
Done.

I have no actual interest in any debate about acoustics vs. digitals. I own and use both many times over. I just think the test is bogus unless the tester is willing to give an equipment list and detailed description of procedure and methods. Is that unreasonable? I'm surprised anyone would think so. Unless this is just about diretonic being a regular here that you know and like and I'm just a whiney noob. If that's the case, I call out both the test as unfair as well as the blind support of its results.

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#2403632 - Yesterday at 03:11 PM Re: Comparitive Latency of popular VIs... and the winner is... [Re: dire tonic]
emenelton Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/09
Posts: 623
Originally Posted By dire tonic
Originally Posted By emenelton
I think it's a real good test for the internal's while these other things are not a component of your test. So I am for your test and the snapshot of what it exhibits.

I think that's the whole point; it's a take of just one element in the latency chain and if the results are valid - given the close proximity of the results with no more than 5ms between extremes - it should re-assure most that there's not much to choose between the various VI's - they're contributing probably the least to our latency problems.



So my impression, number 3, shows 6ms and numbers one and two are about 7ms.
Am I reading it correctly?

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