AUDIO LATENCY EXPLAINED
January 25, 2019
BY CJ JACOBSON
Latency is something you really do not think about normally, but you should, especially if you record using vst's.
- Latency is the time it takes to go in and out of your digital audio workstation (DAW).
- Latency is the delays you hear as its builds up and passes through your audio interface (sound card).
- Latency is usually measured in ms (milliseconds)
- There are 3 types of latency, Input, output and round-trip
How Latency Is Caused:
Have you ever triggered a soft synth with a MIDI controller and heard a delay? That is Latency and its caused by:
- Having your sound card buffers to high. The higher the ASIO or WDM buffer is, the more latency you will experience
- Using the wrong driver mode
- Using plugin effects with hidden buffers and/or that are CPU intensive
How Its Solved:
- You should always try and keep your 'round-trip' latency under 11ms.
- Never set and forget your buffer settings. Each project is different, so experiment and see what the lowest settings that specific project can handle. Note: as the project grows, you may need to raise your buffers.
- Always have the latest drivers installed on your PC or MAC. Make sure you check monthly to see if there are any driver updates form your sound cards manufacture's website.
- Use Zero Latency Monitoring when monitoring what you are recording. With this the signal is slip and one of the two signal is sent to the sound card's main outs and the other one is sent to your sound card's converters and into your DAW. Most sound cards support this feature.
Thanks for reading and I hope you have learned something new.
CJ Jacobson - Mastering Engineer