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Hi Folks.

Latency question.  I must admit upfront, I am VST glutton.  Average project: about 10 instrument tracks, couple of midi tracks and about 4 vocal tracks with many  (many!) "take lanes" some active, most muted. A dedicated Asio (not wrapper) card: 128 samples / low latency setting.When full backing is ready, I record vocals. 

Vocal clips, when recorded are not synced correctly,  I suspect because of the Plugin latency...  at times clips are 1/2 + second off, so I have to move them manually.  Do I  use PDC of turn off FX engine when recording vocals?  Or something else?  Also, maybe it is related: does amount of muted  take lanes significantly contribute to overall latency, or not?

  P.S. Sorry, not giving up VSTs or bouncing tracks :) 

Thank you in advance!

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Before I track vocals (with VST monitoring), I just do a rough instrumental mix (with all the desired FX) and then I archive everything except that rough mix and the vocal track I am going to record.  Then there's no FX load to worry about except the one(s) on my vocal track and/or bus.  That way I can dial my ASIO buffer down as low as possible and get rid of most latency issues

I think a muted track with FX still places a load on the CPU, whereas archived tracks do not.  (When I do this I don't think about PDC so I can't answer that part of your question.) 

Edited by BRainbow
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Thanks for the reply.

Bouncing, as I mentioned is not my preferred workflow.

About muted things, to be clear, question was about muted take lanes, not entire track.

Assuming I have 30 take lanes in a single  track with 25 muted and 5 un-muted. Will those 25 contribute to latency?

Thank you.

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11 minutes ago, Misha said:

Assuming I have 30 take lanes in a single  track with 25 muted and 5 un-muted. Will those 25 contribute to latency?

Track or lane count have nothing to do with latency. So, when it comes to latency, muting tracks/lanes has no effect. The number of audio tracks/lanes does affect disk I/O which can lead to drop outs. Muting has no effect on I/O, archiving does.

Latency primarily comes from two sources, audio driver I/O buffers and plug-in delay compensation. So, if there are plug-ins that affect the PDC calculation are in the track or clip, bypassing the effects may reduce latency.

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i use PDC on recording and turn it off when done,i also check [remove DC-offset] on preference..

the only thing i need to do is bypass fx on the master-track

im running @128-buffer-ASIO

Edited by martsave martin s

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Scook, Martsave martin s,

Thank you for replies!

I do not have issue with dropouts,  "only" latency. Yes, disabling FX engine works, but I  thought that PDC would compensate for the plugin delay?  I have not experimented with remove DC-offset yet.

If there is no way to correct this plugin latency by adjusting common settings (not archiving, bouncing or using less plugins), is it possible to automate FX engine?  Off -record / On -playback?

Thank you.

 

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Disclaimer: the  following is IMHO, not 100% sure.

PDC on/off just switch PDC (delay compensation) for tracks you are recording. So it change what you hear during live monitoring but is should not influence the time where recorded material is placed.

As Scook has mentioned, most common source for not correctly placed recorded clips is your audio interface drivers. By default, CbB assume latency reported by the driver is correct and "reverse" the effect (note that is not Plug-in Delate Compensation (PDC) but Interface Delay Compensation (has no common abbreviation)).  So first check you have everything right without plug-ins: record dry vocal and try to record another dry vocal listening the first recording, in case the result is not what you expect you have problems with interface delay settings.

PDC works by trusting the information provided by plug-ins. There can be "bad" plug-ins which report no latency while introducing it (that can be helpful in some cases). In this case a DAW has no chance to compensate correctly, try to find plug-in in question and search for something like "live mode/zero latency" option in that plug-in. Good plug-ins with such options do that right, they really switch to different algorithms to avoid latency. But "bad" plug-ins can simply set Delay parameter to zero, without doing anything else.

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9 hours ago, azslow3 said:

PDC works by trusting the information provided by plug-ins. There can be "bad" plug-ins which report no latency while introducing it (that can be helpful in some cases). In this case a DAW has no chance to compensate correctly, try to find plug-in in question and search for something like "live mode/zero latency" option in that plug-in. Good plug-ins with such options do that right, they really switch to different algorithms to avoid latency. But "bad" plug-ins can simply set Delay parameter to zero, without doing anything else.

Good point...  Linear Phase plugins in particular are known to introduce significant latency.    

 

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martsave martin s,

Yes, I have FX on master bus and some of the individual tracks.

----

azslow3,

Yes, recording "dry" with FX engine off...records correctly.  I mainly use Fabfilter plugins. They do have "look ahead" and most likely other items that probably screws up timing... I do not know. Going through all instances, turning features on/off constantly besides their main task is way too time consuming.

Some plugins (I believe  Izotope) have cross reference controls that would control some plugin features in multiple  instances through one place. I suggested a feature to F.Filter team to have a control "junction" for all FF plugins used in single project that would control latency. Low, Medium, High. A rep came up with this answer:"Thanks for your request. Isn't this what the delay compensation in your DAW is doing?"  So here I am

I guess,  if it can not be corrected by a simple setting in a one (or two) place(s) and to have all those wonderful plugins in multiple instances, the easiest approach would be turn off FX engine for recording and turn it on for playback/mixing. If this is the case, is there a way to automate FX engine to have this behavior? 

Thank you!

 

 

 

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It's a simple matter of using the global effects bypass toggle  which is a box marked FX. Couldn't be more simple. 

It's "good practice" to learn to keep projects light on effects and bypass all mastering type effects while tracking. 

VST's instruments do not cause "more" latency. And only certain effects can be the offenders so with me if I need to re record something when I'm at the mastering stage, I just use that magic button "FX" and there is no latency. This same latency will also appear if you try and record midi with a controller. 

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1 hour ago, Misha said:

martsave martin s,

Yes, I have FX on master bus and some of the individual tracks

i would try bypass only the FX on the master-bus and then enable PDC(it work on my computer)

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John,

Yes, I do get this is one "solution", but can this FX toggle be automated? I do not want to go to boring details, but it is about a specific tracking workflow.

 

martsave martin s,

I believe Scook or Noel mentioned (if I understood correctly)  that you can not bypass FX engine by disabling FX bin, or particular FX at the track or bus., only magical FX toggle button on top will truly bypass FX load, it is not selective.... That was my understanding on how it works.

 

 

 

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FX should report latency correctly. DAW should take it into account. If FX is used in monitoring chain, there is nothing DAW can do, except giving "bypass all" functionality. DAWs distinguish between keeping FX "hot", so ready to include it into processing chain  any time, "cold" when plug-in is still there but does not influence project and "off" when plug-in is unloaded.

Well, theory is good, but what can you do practically? It is good to identify which plug-ins introduce which latency and what is complete routing. Unfortunately, CbB does not show you which PDC is applied. You can try (that is quick) the following: install REAPER (portable will work, demo is fully functional) and ReaCWP extension to it. Point to your custom VST folders in preferences. Open your CbB project (better a copy... if ReaCWP is installed correctly, you will be able to do this, with some luck it will be loaded currectly) and open View/Performance Meter or Track Manager. Here you will see PDC per track. Note that values are rounded to the buffer size, for each FX individually, so in CbB you probably have less PDC then shown here. Opening FX of individual track and selecting concrete FX will show actual PDC for this plug-in in the left bottom corner.

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azslow3,

Thank you for reply!

"It is good to identify which plug-ins introduce which latency and what is complete routing"...  I am messy with my plugins. If I feel one is needed where it is needed, I will just slap it there, without too much thought how it will affect latency.  Machines are getting faster and software smarter, so I hope this latency "thing" is a downhill battle. But for now... Instead of wrestling with particular plugin or plugin manufacturer, I think the easiest path would be to automate how FX engine works. On playback / Off on recording.  I guess, since nobody answered it is not that simple.  If a particular plugin could be excluded from recording and included on playback on main FX engine, it would worth to investigate and try to address the issue of particular VST. But as I understand it is all or nothing on main FX engine.

Scook,

Thank you for the link. Interesting plugin, but again it is same scenario. I do not want to give up the plugins I am using, even if they report PDC incorrectly. I rather disable FX engine on recording, however, automating it would save time by not clicking around constantly :)

I feel I have to explain why I want to automate, instead of just clicking FX button. In a session, when I try out different phrasings, I can have dozens (sometimes over 100) takes of different parts, so I constantly Record->Listen->Record->Listen...over and over This is my workflow.  I am not looking for suggestions on my workflow :)  Just if the FX toggle can be automated.

 

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4 hours ago, Misha said:

I am messy with my plugins. If I feel one is needed where it is needed, I will just slap it there, without too much thought how it will affect latency.  Machines are getting faster and software smarter, so I hope this latency "thing" is a downhill battle. But for now... Instead of wrestling with particular plugin or plugin manufacturer, I think the easiest path would be to automate how FX engine works. On playback / Off on recording.  I guess, since nobody answered it is not that simple.  If a particular plugin could be excluded from recording and included on playback on main FX engine, it would worth to investigate and try to address the issue of particular VST. But as I understand it is all or nothing on main FX engine.

I feel I have to explain why I want to automate, instead of just clicking FX button. In a session, when I try out different phrasings, I can have dozens (sometimes over 100) takes of different parts, so I constantly Record->Listen->Record->Listen...over and over This is my workflow.  I am not looking for suggestions on my workflow :)  Just if the FX toggle can be automated.

Plug-in delay and related PDC in many cases can not be solved by faster computers.  Like you can not reduce the size of your shadow by running faster...

We do not suggest you change your workflow. Your original observation was "Vocal clips, when recorded are not synced correctly". That is a bug. In the DAW, in some plug-in or just in the way you use the DAW or some particular plug-in. So our recommendation is attempt to find it.

Note that your proposal to just automatically disable FX engine on recording, while sounds like ultimate, is not really ultimate. If there is a bug with PDC, it can affect not only recording but also playback. Depending from plug-ins and routing, audio clip has to be at "wrong place" to sound in sync, f.e. when some plug-in is in parallel with vocal chain. BTW that you can test: when you get "not synced" recording, does it play correctly with all FXes off?

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4 hours ago, Misha said:

I think the easiest path would be to automate how FX engine works. On playback / Off on recording.  I guess, since nobody answered it is not that simple.

I think you were right the first time that plugin delay compensation should just take care of it all transparently. And it does for the most part. I would urge you to take some time to figure out exactly what plugin or combination of plugins and/or project routing/setup is cuasing the problem in your current case, and report it to the Bakers with a demo project.

If it isn't in fact due to misreporting of delay by the plugin, they may actually be able to address the problem. And if it is a problem with the plugin, they have relationships with major plugin vendors to help push for a solution.

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Thank you everyone for help and encouragement!  

I spent quite some time today trying different scenarios, eliminating / re-inserting / re-routing  VSTs.  Finally, I believe I fixed it.  Issue was not multiple instances of same FX or even huge number of take lanes...

What worked:

1)Disabling graphic acceleration for plugin group in regedit.

2) Disabling "look ahead" items.

3) Turning off "True Peak Limiting" in limiter. 

P.S. azslow3, I like that "you can not reduce the size of your shadow by running faster..."

 

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