Published April 20 2020
Are you encountering a delay or echo when you are recording? If so then you are probably experiencing latency.
What’s Producing the Delay?
Latency in digital-audio applications, is the amount of time it takes for a signal, such as a singing voice or a guitar performance, to travel from an analog input on an audio interface, through the analog-to-digital converters(A/D), into a computer, back to the interface and through the digital-to-analog(D/A) converters to the analog outputs.
You are essentially listening to your performance through a computer which requires the computer to process this information and produces a delay.
Any significant amount of latency can negatively impact the performer’s ability to play along to a click track or beat, making it sound like they’re performing in an echoing tunnel.
In practical terms, the amount of roundtrip latency you experience is determined by your audio interface’s A/D and D/A converters, its internal device buffer, its driver buffer, and the buffer setting you have selected in your digital audio workstation software (Mac) or Control Panel (Windows).
Solving the Problem :
One of the easiest solutions is to simply blend the analog input signal with the playback from the computer. The simple analog Mixer knob on the front panel of the AudioBox Go, PreSonus AudioBox USB 96, AudioBox iTwo, and Studio 24c allows you to blend the analog (pre-converter) input signal with the stereo playback stream from the computer.
The following diagram illustrates the blend of recorded audio(playback) from your computer.
A similar solution is utilised by the AudioBox iOne, Studio 26c, and Studio 68c. These interfaces provide a Direct Monitor switch that sums the analog input signal with the playback streams, giving you an equal mix of the two.
Please note when recording in Studio One, ensure that the blue monitoring speaker icon is not highlighted blue as shown in the first image below when using the mix knob.
More sophisticated Interfaces may offer you a virtual mixer to monitor your performance as is the case with the Studio 1810c, 1824c and the Studio 192 series. You can open the virtual mixer by double clicking on the interface icon.(Please note the Quantum series interfaces do not have a virtual mixer by design)
In the example below we are creating a unique headphone mix for outputs 7 & 8 on the Studio 1824c interface. Begin by selecting mix 7/8 (highlighted in red) and raise the faders to increase any live instruments that are playing at the same time (Vocal, Acoustic, Bass, etc.) to your performers taste. You can also combine this with any playback from your computer or DAW software as you may have already recorded drums for example. These computer playback channels are labeled 'DAW 1 -18'
Mix 7/8 audio will be then routed to output 7/8 on the rear of your interface.
The final option is to monitor exclusively through your DAW which in this example we are using a Studio 68c. NB: In the case of the Quantum 2626, Quantum and Quantum 2 interfaces it is only possible to monitor exclusively through your software DAW.
1. In Studio One go to Preferences>Audio Set up>Audio Device
2. Under Audio Device you will see your Block Size. Try starting at low at 32 samples and changing to 64, 128, etc. if you encounter pops, clicks etc. when recording.
N.B: When recording you will generally use as small a buffer size as possible. When mixing your song however, you should be using a larger buffer size to prevent noise due to your computer's CPU being overloaded. More information on that subject can be found here.
3. Next select the Processing tab. Under Drop Out Protection select Low to start with and increase this if you are encountering drop outs in your recordings.
Under Monitoring Latencies>Low Latency you will see the number of milliseconds of latency when you use Low Latency(more on that in the next step) compared to Standard latency. The main objective here is to keep your Low Latency under number under 12ms as the vast majority of people will not notice this and click 'OK'
4. Next ensure that the blue monitoring speaker icon is highlighted blue as illustrated in the image below. You may now notice a latency delay between your microphone and headphones.
5. The final step is to open the Studio One mixer view and simply click on the 'Z' and it will turn Green with the Studio 68c. You should now be unable to notice any delay enabling your performer to give their best possible performance.
Finally please note that other interfaces such as the Studio 1824c, Studio 192 will give you a hardware monitoring option in which near zero latency is achieved and is represented by a Blue Z.
Please see the following video on the Blue Z & Green Z monitoring options for further information: