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I don't understand buffer size with Cubase LE

What exactly is the buffer size? For instance, I have the M-Audio Firewire 410 and in the software interface I can change the buffer size down to 64, and this gives me a low latency in Guitar Rig 2. However, when I raise it I get a higher latency. I figured a buffer meant how much memory is allocated to a specific task, and if there is more memory, shouldn't I have less latency?

Also, even though I change the buffer to 64 in my control interface, when I load the audio setup in Cubase LE it automatically sets my buffer at 5512. The buffer in Guitar Rig 2 changes based on what my Firewire 410 is set at. If I try to change it manually, down to 64, the lowest it goes is to 512. I can't seem to get the audio sync test to work right, it always fails.


pr0gr4m Sat, 03/11/2006 - 22:38
This is not the exact explanation of what the buffer is, but here is how you can think of it.

Think of the buffer as a piece of paper. With the buffer set to a low value, like 64, that means that the piece of paper can hold 64 words. So one device writes out 64 words, sends that piece of paper to another device which reads those 64 words. Because the number of words on the page is so low, both devices are able to read and write the information quickly.

Now, lets say you increase the buffer to 512. That 512 words per page. It's going to take the devices longer to write and read those pages because there are more words per page.

Now coming back to the audio world. The increase in buffer size means an increase in processing time which results in latency.

When you do the audio setup, the system is trying to detect the lowest buffer size that will work with your system without any huge latency issues. I'm not familiar with your setup or that Firewire card but 512 seems a bit high and would definitely result in some latency.