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honesty about latency, please



  • greetings all

    i am not a newbie to all this but need some modern-day (2017) feedback on transitioning from hardware to software...FOR LIVE USE.

    i am a former cubase/plugins user so i already know the realities of latency. then went with Universal Audio Apollos (which was great but, i sold to become non-computer dependent). now thinking of a Kemper. but...

    i scored a new job at an Apple/Mac dealer/repair place and can get their refurbished stuff almost for free. so now, i am looking at Positive Grid, Amplitube and the latest Apogee Duet-4-Mac or RME Babyface.

    as much as i love the small foot print of iOS setups (iPad Pro, etc), i must stick with laptops, since PG and Amplitube desk-top versions offer pro-grade rack effects (better comps, EQ, delay, mods, etc).

    i know the Agogee and RME have a reputation for minimal latency but i also here that technically, there is still a SLIVER of latency. and, their 'direct monitoring' is worthless to me because i play live and need to hear the effects in real time.

    i play clean tones only (acoustic-electric), no distortion patches. so, any bit if latency is always noticed to me. i hear that with the modern day Apogee-Duet/RME babyface Pro/PG/Amplitube set ups, the latency has been recorded about 4ms. but, that is still more than hardware (and UA Apollo).

    i just wanted to hear from some 2017 PG/Ampltube users, who use their systems for LIVE-RIG use (not recording). i watch all the new youtube videos on this subject and it seems like players are getting good results. is it true?

    i do not trust tech support/pre-sales at PG, IK, Apogee and RME because, they are out to sell product and may be biased with their assurance that latency is not noticed these days. but i do trust you actual players. please comment here?

    if ANY noticeable latency still exists in these modern day PG/Amplitube set ups, save me from the mistake of blowing my money on it all...if i should stick with the original Kemper plan, so be it!

    (sorry for typos)


  • A2

    I wouldn't lump RME in with Apogee. Apogee is almost always not only going to have slower drivers, but also much less stable and eating more CPU than most of the mid level brands.

    http://kailuamusicschool.com/tech/round-trip-latency-roundup/

    RME and MOTU are the two horses in the race of latency and CPU use, the rest of the field trails pretty far behind (but its getting better in the last few years). USABLE latency is a lot different than theoretical.

    Generally speaking, test supported data across the type of real scientific fields that hardcore audiophiles will often wring their hands at and run screaming from, anything under 15 miliseconds of ACTUAL Round Trip Latency is not really noticable...if and ONLY if that is the one path from the instrument to the ears. Given two paths, phasing and such can make serious trouble. Most of the better cards can get under 13msec now, which in real life vs internet bragging rights is usually ok-ish for most people.

    Converter latency alone is going to eat about 4 msec usually, so when you see these cards running round trip latencies around 6 or so, you know they are running EXTREMELY small safety buffers, but again, that's improving lately as well, and a 2 msec safety buffer for non-latent FX (not sure if this is the case for BIAS and certainly not the case for most convolution based FX) can actually be more than enough.



  • Apogee hangs its hat on its converters, but latency hadn’t been an issue for me on my Duet when practicing at home. Never gigged with it but the concept is the same. Just running the output to mains instead of my home monitor rig.



  • Latency is a non-issue for me on Mac (2015 and 2016 i7 MBPros w/ SSDs; multiple sound cards mostly less expensive, prosumer level stuff (focusrite)).

    Latency is not just a function of your sound card, your computer plays a role. The faster the CPU the lower you can run your buffers, etc, but that said, latency has not been a problem for a long time. Honestly I have not had latency problems over five years plus. Just configure your machine properly.



  • great replies and i am grateful. i feel better now.

    next i am wondering what the quality difference is with mobile vs desktop. is the software code much better on desktop?

    i would like to go iPad pro route but i am afraid mobile versions of guitar apps are like comparing real pedals to rack gear (toys vs pro tools).; are my eyes being fooled by those pedal graphics?

    MBP's are so expensive! since i am only playing live (no recording), i am wondering if a Macbook Air or iPad Pro is fine (with the same good latency).


  • A2

    Get a windows laptop, spend less money and save it for other goodies. Get a better computer for cheaper that is capable of running a far more diverse field of software



  • @richard-pavelec I use the mobile software rather than the desktop software when I feel like silently practicing, and it sounds pretty damn great. There are demos on youtube of people using an ipad to run the software live.


  • A2

    @richard-pavelec said in honesty about latency, please:

    great replies and i am grateful. i feel better now.

    next i am wondering what the quality difference is with mobile vs desktop. is the software code much better on desktop?

    i would like to go iPad pro route but i am afraid mobile versions of guitar apps are like comparing real pedals to rack gear (toys vs pro tools).; are my eyes being fooled by those pedal graphics?

    MBP's are so expensive! since i am only playing live (no recording), i am wondering if a Macbook Air or iPad Pro is fine (with the same good latency).

    I use both Bias Fx and Bias amp on my iPad Pro and I can't hear any latency while playing but if you wish to switch patches with a remote controller during a performance keep in mind that there is a noticeable gap.
    You can read more about this here:

    https://forum.positivegrid.com/topic/134/switching-time-latency-hardware-or-software/14