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Mark Baker

Cakewalk and Blackstar ID:Core Beam - driver/latency issues?

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Hi all
First time poster, only discovered this forum whilst trying to resolve an issue I have. 

I'm relatively new the world of DAWs, having played with the trial version of FL Studio in the past, but that is a breeze compared to the learning curve that is Cakewalk. Anyway, fundamentally, I want to use Cakewalk to record demo ideas for songs by recording bass/guitar and using synths/drums as MIDI. However, whilst Creative Sauce videos have helped me a lot with the VST side of things, I'm struggling with recording my plugged in instruments.

I have a Blackstar ID:Core BEAM amp, which has bluetooth and USB connectivity. I'm aware that the amp won't act as a true DI (there are no options to remove the amp modelling etc.), as these are just demos and I quite like the sound of the amp, I'm not too fussed by the sounds. Additionally, the amp claims to have the ability to a feature to be silent whilst still outputting through the USB. If I can then hear and track through my headphones plugged into my laptop, that is great. Laptop spec is pretty good, Win10, 32GB RAM, i7-10875H processor (8-core, 16 threads), 500GB SSD and 1TB HD and nothing major is running at the same time (I haven't tried with Wifi/AV turned off yet though). No dedicated soundcard (yet!). The amp works fine when using it's own software (which is used to adjust presets and control the effects "live"), the software recently upgraded to Architect from Insider but it appears to just be a GUI refresh.

Blackstar's own YT videos suggest ASIO, so I installed ASIO4ALL at first. However, in that case, the amp isn't recognised as an input (only ASIO4ALL is listed for input and output) and when I try and record alongside the midi-programmed drums, I just get a recording of the drums as an audio file. I came across FlexAsio which is on github, which I thought would solve my issues, but whilst it works pretty well, the latency is really bad and the configuration files didn't seem to install (and the suggested GUI also has issues). I haven't played enough with it to understand what the configuation file should be and thus haven't created one from scratch.

I've had a bit more luck with WASAPI, both exclusive and shared, and my amp is then recognised as an input. However, it plays with an awful latency through my headphones (almost as bad as the FlexAsio). Even the metronome and midi-programmed drums seem to play with a slightly delay version as well, causing weird phase issues and echo noise.

Obviously, one solution would be to buy an interface and use that, but for now I'd like to try some solutions that don't require me investing more money, has anyone get any solutions? 

Thank you very much!


 

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Hi Mark and welcome to the Cakewalk forums,

Do you have an audio driver for your amp?  I would use your amp's ASIO driver, if available.  (Don't bother with ASIO4All and the like.)

Kind regards,

tecknot

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I have a Blackstar amp the ID series which have a lot of the same guts as yours as well as the infamous USB port. All it's really good for in the end is to run the software for creating and saving patches. Forget using it for recording. It's just badly done. No driver and it actually has a hum in it on my system. That also includes the lineout/headphone jack.  This is true of a lot of these modeling amps like the Fenders too. 

So I just use a mike and it sounds great. What I like is it can be played at a low volume and still sound about the same. Not true of my Tube amps. 

Get that ASIO4all out of your system. You only need to use WASAPI mode now it is less invasive. 

You will want to purchase a proper audio interface for recording with any quality and hassle free. ON board audio is good enough for midi and editing loops etc but to record guitar best to use a good interface and a mike. 

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3 hours ago, tecknot said:

Hi Mark and welcome to the Cakewalk forums,

Do you have an audio driver for your amp?  I would use your amp's ASIO driver, if available.  (Don't bother with ASIO4All and the like.)

Kind regards,

tecknot

Hi tecknot, unfortunately the amp doesn't come with its own driver.

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2 hours ago, John Vere said:

I have a Blackstar amp the ID series which have a lot of the same guts as yours as well as the infamous USB port. All it's really good for in the end is to run the software for creating and saving patches. Forget using it for recording. It's just badly done. No driver and it actually has a hum in it on my system. That also includes the lineout/headphone jack.  This is true of a lot of these modeling amps like the Fenders too. 

So I just use a mike and it sounds great. What I like is it can be played at a low volume and still sound about the same. Not true of my Tube amps. 

Get that ASIO4all out of your system. You only need to use WASAPI mode now it is less invasive. 

You will want to purchase a proper audio interface for recording with any quality and hassle free. ON board audio is good enough for midi and editing loops etc but to record guitar best to use a good interface and a mike. 

Yeah, I'm starting to resign myself to having to buy something else. I'm fortunate enough to not have the hum issues that I've heard over people have suffered from, but obviously that doesn't help if I get my current issues instead.

I'm not keen on having to mic up, mainly to stop my family moaning :D but I think a proper audio interface on WASAPI might end up being the solution. Now to navigate the many different brands and models and price points available...

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2 hours ago, Mark Baker said:

I think a proper audio interface on WASAPI might end up being the solution.

Welcome to the forum.
Look for an interface with true ASIO drivers and you won't need to use WASAPI.
There are some Focusrite devices which aren't too expensive and have decent drivers.

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Here's my Blurb I wrote a few years ago regarding interfaces. 

Shopping for an Audio Interface?

There is a lot of choices.     Make a list of your requirements first.

What kind of connectivity do you require? and how many of each. This is the most important determining factor. Most of use only need a few in/outs. It’s nice to not have to unplug and plug stuff in.  If you plan on recording a drum kit then you'll need more. 

It’s false economy to short change yourself on this feature. You end up having to purchase a mixer as example. 

These are some of the connectivity options: 

XLR, 1/4",  Combi jacks,  RCA, ¼” line level, ¼” Instrument level ,MIDI, SPDIF, ADAT,MADI

How many ins and outs do you think you'll need now and in the future?

Are they accessible?  Front or rear panel?

Are all ¼” jacks Balanced?  Some have RCA jacks in Parallel with main outputs a very handy feature.  

Is there a true stereo input pair? Some don’t have a matched set of inputs which sucks for recording stereo devices like outboard synths and drum machines.

Are there peak level meters or just a little LED for each input? Input levels are very critical to good recordings. 

Are there channel Insert jacks? In other words do you have a old school compressor you would like to use?  

Are there separate controls for Monitor level and headphone level? 

Is there a blend control for mixing Input Source with Computer ( DAW) ? This is the Direct monitoring feature, some only have a switch which sucks because you have no easy way to balance  your singing or guitar with the backing tracks. 

How many Headphone jacks? A level for each? This is also important if you work with other musicians. Some interfaces have very elaborate headphone/ monitoring set ups. 

Are the input pads or line / Instrument toggle switches on the front, back or software controlled?

Is it a metal box or cheap plastic? Is it light and portable or large and bulky, Rack mountable?

Does it have an on / off switch?

Does it use Buss power or a power supply?

 Buss power can have issues with noise and Phantom power and some need USB 3. Look for at least an optional power supply.  

Does it have DSP effects built in?

Does it use a GUI mixer? Having a software (GUI) mixer adds more options.

Can it be used as stand alone? Some interfaces are also handy as a small mixer.

Does it have a Loop back function.

What are the Round Trip Latency (RTL) specs? Do you need low RTL for real time processing?

Low RTL is going to be at a higher price point. A $200 interface will have hidden buffers etc.

Zero Latency monitoring is not the same as RTL. All interfaces have some latency.

Zero latency is just marketing hype for monitoring directly from the interface.

And most important of all, Does it have top notch drivers for your OS. 

What is the word on support from the company?

Pretend you just bought the device and visit their web site. See if the drivers and manuals are easy to get at and kept up to date.

Does it come with free software, LE version of a  DAW you would like to try? Example Focusrite interfaces seem to come with a lot of good stuff. This has added value to the purchase price.

 

Everyone will recommend the interface they have chosen, that doesn't mean it is the right one for you.

 

Make your list starting with the input /output specs. Example you determine you need a 4x4 interface. That just narrowed down the search by a lot! You might find only 10 models. Now compare those to get the most features needed.

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10 hours ago, John Vere said:

Here's my Blurb I wrote a few years ago regarding interfaces. 

Shopping for an Audio Interface?

There is a lot of choices.     Make a list of your requirements first.

What kind of connectivity do you require? and how many of each. This is the most important determining factor. Most of use only need a few in/outs. It’s nice to not have to unplug and plug stuff in.  If you plan on recording a drum kit then you'll need more. 

It’s false economy to short change yourself on this feature. You end up having to purchase a mixer as example. 

These are some of the connectivity options: 

XLR, 1/4",  Combi jacks,  RCA, ¼” line level, ¼” Instrument level ,MIDI, SPDIF, ADAT,MADI

How many ins and outs do you think you'll need now and in the future?

Are they accessible?  Front or rear panel?

Are all ¼” jacks Balanced?  Some have RCA jacks in Parallel with main outputs a very handy feature.  

Is there a true stereo input pair? Some don’t have a matched set of inputs which sucks for recording stereo devices like outboard synths and drum machines.

Are there peak level meters or just a little LED for each input? Input levels are very critical to good recordings. 

Are there channel Insert jacks? In other words do you have a old school compressor you would like to use?  

Are there separate controls for Monitor level and headphone level? 

Is there a blend control for mixing Input Source with Computer ( DAW) ? This is the Direct monitoring feature, some only have a switch which sucks because you have no easy way to balance  your singing or guitar with the backing tracks. 

How many Headphone jacks? A level for each? This is also important if you work with other musicians. Some interfaces have very elaborate headphone/ monitoring set ups. 

Are the input pads or line / Instrument toggle switches on the front, back or software controlled?

Is it a metal box or cheap plastic? Is it light and portable or large and bulky, Rack mountable?

Does it have an on / off switch?

Does it use Buss power or a power supply?

 Buss power can have issues with noise and Phantom power and some need USB 3. Look for at least an optional power supply.  

Does it have DSP effects built in?

Does it use a GUI mixer? Having a software (GUI) mixer adds more options.

Can it be used as stand alone? Some interfaces are also handy as a small mixer.

Does it have a Loop back function.

What are the Round Trip Latency (RTL) specs? Do you need low RTL for real time processing?

Low RTL is going to be at a higher price point. A $200 interface will have hidden buffers etc.

Zero Latency monitoring is not the same as RTL. All interfaces have some latency.

Zero latency is just marketing hype for monitoring directly from the interface.

And most important of all, Does it have top notch drivers for your OS. 

What is the word on support from the company?

Pretend you just bought the device and visit their web site. See if the drivers and manuals are easy to get at and kept up to date.

Does it come with free software, LE version of a  DAW you would like to try? Example Focusrite interfaces seem to come with a lot of good stuff. This has added value to the purchase price.

 

Everyone will recommend the interface they have chosen, that doesn't mean it is the right one for you.

 

Make your list starting with the input /output specs. Example you determine you need a 4x4 interface. That just narrowed down the search by a lot! You might find only 10 models. Now compare those to get the most features needed.

I'm not saying this is spooky, but I literally just found your similar comment on this thread and was working my way through my requirements :D http://forum.cakewalk.com/Recommended-Audio-Interface-for-Sonar-m3281386.aspx

In the meantime, I was digging around in my box of old guitar bits, and I came across my old Zoom G1u - which claims to work as an interface with USB (and I believe has dedicated ASIO but I need to confirm that). I plan on giving that a whirl tonight and seeing if there is anything different. Might not be great for bass, we'll have to see, but might do the trick for the guitar parts.

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There does seem to be an ASIO driver for the Zoom- https://zoom.co.jp/products/guitar-bass-effects/guitar/g1u-guitar-effects-usb-audio-if-pedal#downloads

And it does say up to W8 so it might be OK. Certainly worth a shot. 

I understand the need for silent recording as well. That's why I often use my Zoom G1on which seems to be a close match to yours. Mine doesn't  have an interface built in but I have 4 audio interfaces. For a lot of songs I like the sound I get from the Zoom better than the Blackstar. But for styles like the Blues I need that overdiven tube sound. I also have a Fender Princeton but it's real old and needs work right now so too noisy and REAL loud. The Blackstart was the closest I could come to the sound of the Princeton when I demoed a bunch of amps in a store one day. They had the new version of my Princeton and it was great but it was $1,200 Can. The Blackstar was $300, lighter and could be turned down. 

One solution to recording a loud amp is to build a little sound proof box for it of lock it in a closet. 

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