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Studio One 3.5 Audio Dropout Protection and Low-Latency Monitoring FAQ

Does the new latency management replace the original audio engine?

No, it’s an extension to the original audio engine but it doesn’t replace it. With Studio One 3.5 the user has control over multiple latency levels: standard-latency audio processing, independent Dropout Protection to avoid audio dropouts and low-latency monitoring for virtual instruments. With Dropout Protection set to “Minimum” and low latency monitoring for instruments unchecked, the audio engine works nearly the same as before but with added stability.

Does it reduce CPU load in my songs?

Basically, yes. While overall CPU load and likelihood of audio dropouts are significantly reduced, the total amount of data that needs to be processed is still the same. It’s just better distributed. So, while it’s possible to load more plug-ins and virtual instruments, the CPU and processing limits are still set by the available CPU performance, quality of drivers and audio I/O hardware used.

Do I need to adjust the Audio Processing Setup for every new song or recording session?

Audio Processing Setup parameters are globally stored. Ideally, you only need to set these parameters once to find the best settings for your specific system. However, if your recording and production setup and environment changes, it may make sense to adjust audio processing settings.

How do I know the difference between hardware (DSP) monitoring and software (native) monitoring?

In the Studio One mixer, a small “Z” at the bottom of the output channel fader indicates the availability and type of monitoring. Blue stands for low-latency hardware monitoring, Green for low-latency software monitoring. The mode is set in the Audio>Processing preferences panel (“Use native low latency monitoring instead of onboard DSP”). Low-latency monitoring still needs to be activated by clicking the “Z” button on the respective output channel(s). 

Can I use all my plug-ins in the low-latency software monitoring path?

No. You need to keep in mind that different plug-ins have different latencies . Only plug-ins that add less than 3ms latency to the audio path can be used in the software low-latency monitoring signal chain. Plug-ins with higher latency are no longer audible on the monitoring path. In addition, Pipeline effects, analyzer-type plug-ins and FX Chains which incorporate Splitters are excluded as well. In addition, Pipeline effects, analyzer-type plug-ins and FX Chains which incorporate Splitters are excluded as well.

Also keep in mind that due to their CPU load, some CPU-hungry plug-ins may cause CPU spikes when used at the lowest available buffer setting.

What about DSP powered plug-ins (like UAD Apollo) or outbound effects connected through Pipeline?

These are temporarily disabled as well when used in the low-latency monitoring signal chain because of their added latency.

Are there any side-effects of using high dropout protection settings?

Besides the obvious performance improvements, using high Dropout Protection settings leads to some latency or lag on level metering or any other real-time audio displays such as spectrum or loudness meters, as well as gain reduction meters. The higher the Dropout Protection, the lower the update rate on these meters. There’s no impact on audio timing thanks to the dynamic latency compensation in Studio One.

Is there still an advantage in using a DSP-powered audio interfaces?

In a world of powerful CPUs and low-latency audio interfaces, the biggest advantage of DSP-powered audio interfaces is the quality of their effects plug-ins. A hardware DSP based system has a clearly defined but also clearly limited amount of processing power. Native processing adds flexibility to the system. In a modern DAW such as Studio One, both types can be safely and reliably used side-by-side.

Sometimes I see duplicate plug-ins in my Performance Monitor – why?

When Native Low Latency Monitoring is used with <3 ms latency insert FX in either input or playback channels, they need to be processed in two separate audio processes to be heard in both the Z-mix output and other (Standard Software Monitoring) outputs. Whenever such track is monitor enabled, these plug-ins show as “Insert” and “Monitor FX” inside the Performance Monitor. When monitoring is disabled, the “Monitor FX” copy disappears. Complicated? Maybe, but the bottom line is: Studio One always makes sure that Insert FX with low latency can be heard in any monitoring or playback situation.

Why do I no longer have control over multiprocessing and CPU cores?

The multiprocessing and CPU cores parameters in Preferences/Audio Setup have been removed because Studio One now manages all multi-core and multi-processing related functions as part of Dropout Protection. For Dropout Protection to work, the application needs full control over these parameters. The upside of this is: there are less functions to deal with when setting up an audio device while Studio One dynamically optimizes CPU efficiency for low latency monitoring and plug-in processing.

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