one last question (re: latency)

Discussion in 'Converters / Interfaces' started by SeanG, Jun 22, 2008.

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  1. SeanG

    SeanG Guest

    I have heard a lot about having an external harddrive to record to, and i understand the concept, however a revelation came to me:

    When i record something onto cubase(or whatever software i choose to use), the software will be installed on my main hard drive ( C: ), right?
    My recordings will then, prior to saving, be stored in RAM, and clicking the save button will save the recording i just made to the destination of my choice (the external).

    Now if i've recorded a guitar piece, and want to now record vocals on top of that, i will playback the guitar, and sing over it. The guitar will be read from my external, and the vocals will be recorded onto a cubase project which is, prior to saving, stored in RAM. Now it seems that i should have no latency, and shouldn't have latency even if i loaded the guitar part from my main HDD ( C: ), which might have loads of fragmented data.

    Is this right? Because if the effect is the same, external or not, i'd rather just cart my laptop around without a big heavy external.

    Your comments please. thanks
  2. Kapt.Krunch

    Kapt.Krunch Well-Known Member

    Nov 21, 2005
    Wrong. People hear that buzzword "latency" and run with it.

    MANY things can cause latency, or other problems which one may think is latency. I'll TRY to explain in a VERY generalized manner...which will be open for correction, please. :wink:

    There will always be latency if you monitor "through" a program. And, it can be a problem because the stuff that is already recorded takes less time to read, load and play back than when you are introducing another signal, which has to take a more circuitous path through everything. Or, instead of read>process>output, it's process>write>store>read>process>output. Or..something like that. Some interfaces let you monitor the input at the output via pretty much a direct connection. It goes INTO the computer, but it also "Y's" it to a monitor out, that should be pretty much in time with the playback. The software knows what it is doing, if set properly, to make everything nice and lined up. (OK...that may be a generalized part to correct? :? )

    Your hard drive does not just load up Windows, Cubase...and all the other stuff into RAM, and sit, while RAM does EVERYTHING from beginning to end. RAM moves stuff in and out, back and forth to whichever hard drive it needs. Your OS/Programs hard drive will be plenty busy tackling those tasks. If you add the second hard drive, then the data that the RAM must move in and out for the tracks will leave the OS /Programs hard drive alone...thus speeding up each. They are not doing each others' tasks. And, while the OS/Programs drive is reading from and writing to, it's not also trying to fit chunks of audio into the mess, which will get those little heads bopping all over trying to do yet another thing and trying to fit what should be a continuous stream of data down to widely scattered areas of the hard drive.

    With only a few tracks, you can probably get away with one hard drive.

    Latency has much to do with the computer architecture, running programs and tasks, and settings in the computer's hardware and software...especially the recording software...(buffers, etc). Sometimes, the problem is not latency at all, but priority. Something else may be running that should be turned off. And, it's taking priority over your recording and causing clicks and crackles, so you may think it's a latency issue.

    Even as two or more computers come off the assembly-line exactly alike, once any one thing is changed, added or deleted on one that wasn't on the other...they are no longer identical. Every computer must be tweaked according to it's own added hardware and software requirements.

    You need to research more about what causes latency, about tweaking a computer for recording, about if your I/O interface offers a latency-free option (and why it can be that way), and about the relationships in general of RAM/HD/CPU/Mainboard/etc., and how each uses and affects the others.

    Make sense? Feel free to correct anything in error.

  3. Space

    Space Well-Known Member

    Jun 26, 2007
    That is a revelation, but only correct in part.

    "prior to saving, be stored in RAM," /quote
    Some is, some has already been printed to the hard drive. While you are free to do as you desire, one of the stronger reasons for having a "different" and completely separate internal or external hard drive is this issue you describe.

    While you are doing all these things you want to do with recording, the computer has many other routines and functions it does, all the time, and as these routines are happening the hard drive the computer sees as "0", that we call "C" is always the target. Any program running, any device attached to the computer, they all get a slice of the processor. The more programs and devices encountered the more opportunity for performance lag.

    The OS will swap memory as required, and it isn't going to send out a memo to let you know when it's going to happen:) And anything that needs monitoring will be handled by the processor. If the OS is swapping memory to hard drive C and your saving data to hard drive C, the OS will have priority to write.

    I see while I was chiseling out my reply, the Kapt. has given a more detailed explanation :)
  4. SeanG

    SeanG Guest

    Thanks for shedding some light on the subject :)

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