1 2 Previous Next 20 Replies Latest reply: Oct 12, 2010 1:44 AM by spheric
musicalbox23 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
After many days of tweaking my PreSonus Firebox and buffer settings in MS2, I've reluctantly had to accept that the latency is just too much for me to work with. I've seen and read stories of people using MS2 live (especially that video about Nine Inch Nails using it for everything) but clearly, they're not getting this same amount of latency. I've changed buffer settings from 64 all the way to 1024, but nothing seems to help. The strange part is that I can't really hear the latency change not matter what buffer setting I use.

Does anyone have a success story? Are there other audio interfaces that have less latency? I know the latency is largely coming from the computer, but I wonder if different hardware would help.

Thanks in advance!

Mark

Macbook Pro (Snow Leopard), Mac OS X (10.6.4), BFD2, Metasynth, Rebirth, Peak... the usual suspects.
  • 1. Re: Best audio interface for low latency?
    Maddcow Level 1 Level 1 (25 points)
    I use a MOTU Ultralite Mk 3 (not the new hybrid model) with a buffer of 64....my MBP details are in my sig. I perform live with this and whilst I have to choose my synths and other plugins carefully, I haven't had any real issues with this setup when using it live. I've definitely had some problems at times with my entire setup, but these weren't latency/audio interface problems. My total latency is between 7-8ms and I can't notice this at all....and I'm using in-ear monitors so I'd definitely notice if the latency was a problem.

    My recommendations are:
    1) Get the best-quality audio interface you can afford. The MOTU Ultralite and RME Fireface interfaces are outstanding, and the Apogee interfaces are arguably the best on the market. But for value-for-money and features galore, I don't think you can beat the MOTU Ultralite. It has onboard DSP processing that can take some of the burden off your CPU, and it has a remarkable number of I/O options for a 1/2 rack sized unit.

    2) Use the fastest machine you can afford and put the maximum RAM in it. RAM makes a huge difference to MS performance.
  • 2. Re: Best audio interface for low latency?
    dingdangdawg Level 2 Level 2 (455 points)
    Ditto, Mad Cow. I am now using a MOTU Ultralite mk3 (the firewire only model, not hybrid/USB) for MainStage, and love the low latency + built in hardware DSP (which I use for compression and EQ on all my inputs). I was using a FireFace 400, but sold it and got the Ultralite and an Apogee Duet (for studio use).

    And I agree on the fastest machine you can afford. My 2.0 GHz couldn't cut it, but I now have a 2.4 GHz and that is working out nicely. 4 Mb RAM is enough for me, but I don't use a ton of keyboard software instruments.

    Even then, I can not get my latency down to the point where I use MS for my main vocal fee .... I patch my vocal through the Ultralite "direct" and use Mainstage for delay or reverb when needed. This works just dandy.
  • 3. Re: Best audio interface for low latency?
    Pancenter Level 5 Level 5 (7,645 points)
    musicalbox23 wrote:
    After many days of tweaking my PreSonus Firebox and buffer settings in MS2, I've reluctantly had to accept that the latency is just too much for me to work with. I've seen and read stories of people using MS2 live (especially that video about Nine Inch Nails using it for everything) but clearly, they're not getting this same amount of latency. I've changed buffer settings from 64 all the way to 1024, but nothing seems to help. The strange part is that I can't really hear the latency change not matter what buffer setting I use.


    Then the problem lies not in getting a new interface (just yet) but why you're not hearing a difference between 64 to 1024. That is a very audible difference... the first thing I would do is get that cleared up.

    You have Logic's software monitoring turned on and the Firebox's direct monitoing off. Go into Logic's Preferences/Audio and set the I/O buffer to 128.

    1. Are you using and Plugin's on the master bus?

    2. How do you have Logic's PDC set?

    3. Have you enabled Logic's "low latency" toggle?

    pancenter-
  • 4. Re: Best audio interface for low latency?
    gilapuki Level 3 Level 3 (530 points)
    I use a Presonus Inspire for band work, and have no problems with latency. How? I clicked on Mixer Bypass button. Result? No latency!

    Does the Firebox have a similar function? If so, try using it.
  • 5. Re: Best audio interface for low latency?
    Pancenter Level 5 Level 5 (7,645 points)
    gilapuki wrote:
    I use a Presonus Inspire for band work, and have no problems with latency. How? I clicked on Mixer Bypass button. Result? No latency!

    Does the Firebox have a similar function? If so, try using it.


    I'm pretty sure it does, I think all of the Presonus stuff has a direct monitoring feature. I was assuming the O.P. wanted to use/hear some of Logic's effects but you may be right although I can't understand why he would hear no difference between a 64 / 1024 buffer setting.

    pancenter-
  • 6. Re: Best audio interface for low latency?
    gilapuki Level 3 Level 3 (530 points)
    If the mixer is not bypassed, you hear the acoustic mix plus the MainStage mix. The buffer seems to have no effect on my Inspire interface. The only thing that worked was to turn off the Presonus Mixer. Odd, but I can work with it.
  • 7. Re: Best audio interface for low latency?
    Thomjinx Level 1 Level 1 (125 points)
    I work in a music store and have had the opportunity to try a lot of different audio interfaces. M-Audio, PreSonus, Steinberg, Digi, Apogee Duet, MOTU, Tascam, Lexicon, T.C. Electronic, etc. So far, nothing I have tried has as low a latency as MOTU.

    And the older Mk 1 has a bit less than the Mk 3, but the Mk 3 has built-in verb, eq and compression.

    Cheers,
    Thomjinx
  • 8. Re: Best audio interface for low latency?
    rounik music Level 4 Level 4 (1,120 points)
    Thomjinx wrote:
    I work in a music store and have had the opportunity to try a lot of different audio interfaces. M-Audio, PreSonus, Steinberg, Digi, Apogee Duet, MOTU, Tascam, Lexicon, T.C. Electronic, etc. So far, nothing I have tried has as low a latency as MOTU.

    And the older Mk 1 has a bit less than the Mk 3, but the Mk 3 has built-in verb, eq and compression.

    Cheers,
    Thomjinx


    Out of interest, What about the Metric Halo?
  • 9. Re: Best audio interface for low latency?
    Thomjinx Level 1 Level 1 (125 points)
    I have not had a chance to try one of those, but I think Dingdangdog here on the forum has one or more of these.

    Perhaps he could share some info on these.

    It should be noted that audio quality does not seem to be directly related to latency. Some great sounding interfaces just aren't optimized for low latency, but them most have zero-latency monitoring through the inputs.

    FWIW, the Apogee Duet had the second best latency of the units I have tried.

    Thomjinx
  • 10. Re: Best audio interface for low latency?
    Thomjinx Level 1 Level 1 (125 points)
    My mistake, it is Fear in the Wes... who has the Metric Halos
  • 11. Re: Best audio interface for low latency?
    Jazzmaniac Level 2 Level 2 (425 points)
    how did you measure the latencies of these interfaces?

    Cheers,

    Jazz
  • 12. Re: Best audio interface for low latency?
    rounik music Level 4 Level 4 (1,120 points)
    Thanks Thomjinx,

    Metric Halo's have a very good reputation for both quality of preamps, extremely low latency and very stable and well-written drivers for OSX. Was just interested to see if you'd tested it along with the other gear and how it ranked. Am weighing up between Metric Halo, Apogee, RME or MOTU for a client soon.

    Thanks
  • 13. Re: Best audio interface for low latency?
    dingdangdawg Level 2 Level 2 (455 points)
    My 2 cents again, having owned an RME FF400 (used it for Logic Pro and MainStage), and now using a MOTU Ultralite for MainStage and an Apogee Duet for Logic. The RME sounded great, had great pres, good MIDI interface results, and flexible routing, BUT I found the software routing software to be difficult to master and confusing. I sold it, and bought an Ultralite and Duet (I was playing out enough that I wanted a dedicated studio interface, as well as one for road use).

    The Duet sounds terrific and is very simple to use and perfectly integrated for use with Logic and MainStage, BUT it can only handle 2 ins and outs. The UltraLite does not sound quite as good as the FireFace and Duet, but perfectly good enough for live/MainStage use, AND it has great routing, plenty of ins and outs, AND hardware DSP.
  • 14. Re: Best audio interface for low latency?
    spheric Level 3 Level 3 (690 points)
    rounik music wrote:
    Thanks Thomjinx,

    Metric Halo's have a very good reputation for both quality of preamps, extremely low latency and very stable and well-written drivers for OSX. Was just interested to see if you'd tested it along with the other gear and how it ranked. Am weighing up between Metric Halo, Apogee, RME or MOTU for a client soon.


    Metric Halo.

    I have a Mobile I/O 2882 +DSP, upgraded to 2d when those cards came out.

    The DSP stuff is really, really good, routing possibilities are completely open (with the 2d card that they all now have). You can build your complete mixer/routing system, with some of the best-sounding DSP plugs, and full monitor routing, and save that as boot state.

    All outputs can directly drive headphones, so it works as an 8-channel headphone amp as well.

    Support is extremely fast and top-notch, and a company offering an after-market hardware upgrade for their own products EIGHT YEARS after they were released to bring them up to identical spec with hardware sold today (as happened with the $400 2d card) is just utterly insane. Any normal company sells you a new interface every four years.

    When 10.5 Leopard was released, I got the final drivers via e-mail from the local distributor a full week BEFORE release date. When 10.6 was released - a month early, to the surprise of most - the final drivers were available for download the night before official release date.

    The Metric Halo interfaces were among the few that were completely unfazed by the supposedly "bad" Agere Firewire chips. No complaints. BJ knows his Firewire specs and codes properly.
    http://www.gearslutz.com/board/music-computers/166225-imac-mb-mbp-agere-firewire -chipsets-can-troublesome-okt-07-till-feb-08-a.html

    As for the sound quality - they blow MotU out of the water, and I like'em better than RME's. Haven't compared to Apogee's stuff. And, of course, the 2d card brought a new clock circuit which further improved sound quality.

    </rant_off>

    (Edit: I'm such a fanboi. )
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