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Re: Laptops -dedicated to music only?

Per Boysen wrote:
> On 28 jun 2007, at 12.07, andy butler wrote:
>> afaik best possible for Windows is 3mS from in to out.
>> (+ AD/DA times)
>> ( though I don't know if anyone achieves that figure in harsh reality)
> Generally you should be able to achieve lower buffer settings with good 
> ASIO drivers on a Windows system compared to OS X, if both systems run 
> on equal hardware. That's  because OS X keeps some sort of safety margin.

thank you,
any figures to give an accurate idea of the difference.

> The next question would  be why you need 6 ms rather than 12 ms? I 
> honestly can't tell. 

I can tell.

> When touring as a guitarist (with no laptop) I 
> sometimes had to stand on stage five meters away from my amp/speaker and 
> I never had a problem with that latency. Latency tends to be a problem 
> for bedroom musicians that are used to headphone monitoring, but it's 
> really not a problem for those who have any experience in playing live. 
> You can easily learn to compensate for latency by how you're playing 
> your instrument, as the hornists in a symphonic orchestra often do; when 
> they play with horns targeting the ceiling behind the stage they have to 
> play a little earlier than the other instruments (like for example 
> trumpets and trombones that target the audience spot on) in order to let 
> the audience perceive the notes musically in time.

Interesting example.
Of course horns have quite a slow attack, so
a) some of the latency compensation is for that
b) a slow attack means the timing is much less critical

> Finally, all DAWs and the looping software Mobius (Windows XP) do proper 
> compensation for any latency induced by the hardware. Every recording is 
> shifted in time on playback to line up correctly in time.

but beware, DAWs won't automatically compensate if you use an external 
AD converter. 

Mobius does not compensate for every function, no looping software can.
Triggering a loop from the start, hitting Reverse...etc..
..lots of things just can't be compensated.

> So there can 
> only be a problem when you use the hardware to recalculate your direct 
> input sound and it's not worse than using an amp/speaker compared to 
> using head phones.

The trouble with latency is that it adds up.
2 lots of "negligible latency", added together can
easy be significant.
If you're using speakers already, then the pc latency 
is more noticeable.

> Finally, finally, we have the scenario when the hardware is not working 
> correctly because the user have not adjusted the software properly. Like 
> for example if you should try to use MME drivers instead of ASIO on in 
> Windows etc. Maybe a lot of the reported latency issues fall into the 
> category?

It's also possible that a lot of "no noticeable latency" reports
are coming from people who just didn't notice it :-)

I think there's a number of issues to consider.

1) How critical is rhythmic accuracy for the music. Sometimes not at all.
2) How accurate is the players rhythm.  If there's less inaccuracy in the 
    then that introduced by latency effects is less prominent. 
3) How loose can the player be, and still sound good.
4) How sharp is the attack of the instrument.
5) Are you already using a guitar>>midi converter, in which case you 
already have
    quite a bit of latency, and any more starts to hurt.
6) Can the player compensate for latency? (I can manage about 80mS or so, 
but only
    under ideal conditions).

andy butler