I'm getting a delay or latency when recording or performing synths

Last updated on 3/29/2016

Before you can get MIDI input or input monitoring to work with out a delay, you will need to make some adjustments in your software's audio options. Typically the easiest way of reducing latency is by doing the following:

  1. Go to Edit > Preferences > Audio - Driver Settings (Options > Audio > General in legacy products)
  2. Locate the "Buffer Size" slider and adjust it towards the left to Fast
  3. If the Buffer Size slider is grayed out an you cannot adjust it, it is because you are using ASIO drivers. If this is the case you will need to adjust your buffer size/latency setting by going to your sound card's proprietary control panel. This can typically be done from this same menu by clicking the ASIO Panel button or by opening your device's control panel from Windows.

Ultimately, the smaller buffer size the less amount of latency you will here. If you can get your buffer size down to 10 msec or less, you probably won't notice a delay. If you start to experience distortion or audio dropouts, you may have to increase your buffer size setting for stability.

Below are some additional suggestions regarding improving latency performance:

If you are using WDM Drivers:

  1. Make sure you have the latest drivers from your sound card manufacturer's website and not from the disc included with your hardware. Manufacturers are constantly updating drivers and there may already be more recent and more stable ones available.
  2. Most Cakewalk products will try to access the WDM driver mode by default, but many times, built-in sound cards will have trouble in this driver mode. With built-in sound cards that come with computer's it is often recommended to use the "MME (32-bit)" driver.
  3. If you are forced to switch to the "MME (32bit)" Driver Mode under Edit > Preferences > Audio - Playback and Recording (Options > Audio > Advanced in legacy products), then you may not be able to achieve ultra-low latency. If this is the case, we recommend checking out our open audio hardware guide by clicking here.

Regarding DMA Buffer Size:

 

  1. Most high-end cards allow you to change DMA Buffer Size in their control panel or mixing software.
  2. After you lower the buffer, you must click the Wave Profiler button under Edit > Preferences > Audio - Driver Settings (Options > Audio > General in legacy products) for the changes to take effect.
    Note - this button will be grayed out or unavailable when using ASIO driver mode.

If you have a device with ASIO Drivers:

 

 

  1. If your device has ASIO drivers, go to Edit > Preferences > Audio - Playback and Recording (Options > Audio > Advanced in legacy products) and change the Driver mode to "ASIO".
  2. If you use ASIO you can usually access the ASIO control panel under Edit > Preferences > Audio - Driver Settings (Options > Audio > General in legacy products) by clicking on the ASIO Panel button.
  3. If the ASIO panel does not open anything, go to your sound card's mixing or control panel software in Windows. Lower the buffer size here to improve latency.

If you are using the built-in sound card that came with your computer:

These types of sound cards are typically designed for general media playback and not necessarily optimized for recording. Your built-in sound card may not be able to perform at low latency settings. A list of recommended audio cards and additional information is available at the following links:

 

 

 

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