Possible to achieve less than 5ms latency?

Posted by: Fscotte

Possible to achieve less than 5ms latency? - 01/28/13 10:11 AM

For simple monitoring, using some of the big VST samples like Ivory or Vintage D, and a laptop... Is it possible to get to 2 or 3ms latency?

I need a new laptop so I'm wondering what I need.
Posted by: Steve Jackson

Re: Possible to achieve less than 5ms latency? - 01/28/13 10:26 AM

Are you using a high quality outboard sound card?

It's very important for better latency.

Take care,

Steve
Posted by: Dave Horne

Re: Possible to achieve less than 5ms latency? - 01/28/13 10:36 AM

This thread really should be in the Digital Piano section.
Posted by: Fscotte

Re: Possible to achieve less than 5ms latency? - 01/28/13 02:20 PM

Originally Posted By: Steve Jackson
Are you using a high quality outboard sound card?

It's very important for better latency.

Take care,

Steve



Wasn't planning on it. Are there no laptops or current hardware built in that can give you an all in one solution? I want to keep gear to a minimum.
Posted by: Del

Re: Possible to achieve less than 5ms latency? - 01/28/13 02:30 PM

Originally Posted By: Fscotte
Originally Posted By: Steve Jackson
Are you using a high quality outboard sound card?

It's very important for better latency.

Take care,

Steve



Wasn't planning on it. Are there no laptops or current hardware built in that can give you an all in one solution? I want to keep gear to a minimum.

You really will get more activity on this question over at the digital forum. Most folks visiting this forum have instruments that don't need to be plugged in.

ddf
Posted by: Minnesota Marty

Re: Possible to achieve less than 5ms latency? - 01/28/13 02:55 PM

Originally Posted By: Del
Most folks visiting this forum have instruments that don't need to be plugged in.

Del, does that mean that you don't approve of Dampp-Chaser systems? - LOL
Posted by: Del

Re: Possible to achieve less than 5ms latency? - 01/28/13 03:13 PM

Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
Originally Posted By: Del
Most folks visiting this forum have instruments that don't need to be plugged in.

Del, does that mean that you don't approve of Dampp-Chaser systems? - LOL

I guess I should have said they "don't need to be plugged in to make piano-like sounds." If the Dampp-Chaser system is making sounds it's really in trouble.

ddf
Posted by: Steve Jackson

Re: Possible to achieve less than 5ms latency? - 01/28/13 04:09 PM


Actually, I have clients who use that software with their MIDI
equipped acoustic pianos. Yes, you need an outboard card for it
to work. Laptops won't do.

Take care,

Steve
Posted by: Del

Re: Possible to achieve less than 5ms latency? - 01/28/13 04:40 PM

Originally Posted By: Steve Jackson

Actually, I have clients who use that software with their MIDI
equipped acoustic pianos. Yes, you need an outboard card for it
to work. Laptops won't do.

Hopefully the pianos will still play without being plugged in.

ddf
Posted by: ClassicU3

Re: Possible to achieve less than 5ms latency? - 01/29/13 01:00 PM

Using a standard, consumer-grade audio interface that is built into most computers will not achieve the performance you're after. You will need a professional-level audio interface with ASIO drivers to achieve the kind of audio performance you're talking about. Even then, you may not get down below 5ms.

Also, as you're playing sampled pianos, getting the maximum performance would mean having the samples located on a separate hard drive from the system drive and also having that drive be as fast as possible (i.e. 7200 RPM or more with a fast I/O and seek times).
Posted by: karlosserio

Re: Possible to achieve less than 5ms latency? - 01/29/13 04:15 PM

If using a laptop live for pianos be careful with some problems:

- vibrations; can cause a hard disk failure or a freeze during a performance;
- reliability; buy top of the line laptop with good I/O options (Firewire + USB); a lot of musicians use MAc's but a high end PC made for gaming is also a cheaper option;
- tweaking the OS specifically for audio; forget internet, games, lots of processes running, etc.. Create a solid platform that you can rely on; use this laptop only for playing;
- reading piano libraries; use two separate drives, one for OS and one for samples. If you can go with two SSD, they increase your laptop performance and speed and keep the heat inside way down;
- use a good external audio device with balanced outputs;

Finally... Be prepared for the worst and have a line out from your keyboard to the mixer.

And have fun smile
Posted by: Steven Y. A.

Re: Possible to achieve less than 5ms latency? - 01/29/13 05:16 PM

some entry level audio interface offers 0ms direct monitoring.. like E-mu seires

otherwise 5ms is pretty hard to achieve especially USB causes delay..
a good PCMCIA interfaces cost a lot more... looking at 500-600$, the upper E-mu series..
Posted by: ClassicU3

Re: Possible to achieve less than 5ms latency? - 01/30/13 10:29 AM

It should also be noted that the lower the latency you're pushing for, the smaller the buffer sizes and the more likely that you'll experience performance issues with your system (i.e. audio pops/clicks, drop-outs, etc.

If concerned about vibration and shocks to the hard drives, it might be best to consider solid state drives, which take the moving parts of a standard drive out of the picture, and also offer much faster performance. They are more expensive, though.
Posted by: Edtek

Re: Possible to achieve less than 5ms latency? - 01/30/13 05:54 PM

I struggled for many hours trying to get my Windows machines to play well with VI's. Then a fellow on Piano World Digital forum said Apple products work with no problems. I bought a used Mac Mini and sure enough it worked right away. No latency, plug and play with all the VI's I have (Alicia's Keys, True Piano, NI Grand).

But then I bought an acoustic piano so my mac now sits idle:-)
Posted by: Jeff Clef

Re: Possible to achieve less than 5ms latency? - 01/30/13 06:18 PM

"...But then I bought an acoustic piano so my mac now sits idle:-)..."

Just as I fought down the impulse to say that an acoustic piano would meet the standard the OP wishes, with no costly and vexing additional equipment.

I told myself, sternly, that it was no answer at all... except, it is the answer. Or, an answer.

My impression is that many people think that latency under 10 ms is not noticeable; 6, 7, or 8 is thought acceptable. Anyway, I am curious about what E-Mu interfaces the other poster is referring to. I have the E-Mu 1616m, which is satisfactory if something of a bother, but it appears that Creative Labs has abandoned the product line, and has not updated the drivers or user interface for several years. Sweetwater no longer carries the line.

I know the OP's question is on the wrong forum, but since we've gone this far, I am curious about what E-Mu product is being referred to.
Posted by: FogAudio

Re: Possible to achieve less than 5ms latency? - 01/30/13 09:03 PM

Agree about E-Mu. They are essentially dead (though who knows they could be reborn in the future).

I will also mention that Firewire is essentially a dead technology. I wouldn't be looking too hard for a laptop that has that as an option. USB2.0 has supplanted it as the more standard interface for professional interfaces. USB3.0 (Superspeed) which is available on most laptops today will eventually supplant USB2.0 sound devices while more exotic devices may go Thunderbolt. USB3.0 is supposed to be backwards compatible with 2.0 but many audio vendors have problems running their USB2.0 devices on USB3.0 ports (caveat emptor).

Regarding 5ms, yes you can get there pretty safely but as others have mentioned not without a decent interface. You can even get to 2ms though you might suffer occasional dropouts. Look to RME or Roland {Duo/Quad/Octa}Capture. But be prepared to drop some real dough.

The comment of "0ms monitoring" (usually marketed as "zero latency monitoring" since it is not truly 0ms) is a pro pos of nothing and means the interface can turn a mic or line input going into the device and mix it with audio/sound out of the computer/software. When you are talking triggering sounds in a software engine latency is the addition of input latency (from MIDI or virtual USB MIDI) plus outbound buffering latency.

Regarding fast harddrives, depending on the software and the sample set used you might be better served upgrading your memory to 16GB than shelling out $300-$500 for a secondary drive. You definitely do not need a secondary SSD since most if not all of a sampled instrument can be loaded or cached into RAM unless you had *really* large samples (sampled at 96K). That said, SSDs can do wonders to improve the overall efficiency and speed of your machine. Personally though, if I were to put an SSD in my laptop, I'd put it on the system drive where the pagefile/swapfile is located.

Regards,
Ryan
Posted by: Fscotte

Re: Possible to achieve less than 5ms latency? - 02/01/13 04:29 PM

I ordered the HP 8560plaptop, which has a 160gb SSD drive.

I also have an old Emu 1616m with PCMCIA connector. Not sure if that will even work ok with an adaptor for the Expresscard connector on the 8560p.

Regardless, I was able to dub over guitar tracks with my Emu years ago setting it at 5ms latency. But the big VST are definitely more demanding.