Sonar4 synth lag problem?

Discussion in 'Digital Audio & Recording' started by olly, May 2, 2006.

  1. olly

    olly Member

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    Im using SONAR4 Pro and love it, but I want to program my drum tracks using the Cakewalk TTS-1 in the synth rack (dx). When I hit the keys on my keyboard Im hearing the sounds in there, but there is a slight lag or delay of about half a second between when I hit the keys and when I hear the sound? Ive had a look around but cant find anything that could be causing the problem? Any ideas anyone?
  2. Graeme

    Graeme New Member

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    In a word - latency. That's basis of your problem.

    There is always a finite amount of time between your triggering an event (hitting a key, for example) and the final production of a sound. This is particularly noticeable when you use soft synths, as they have an inherent latency of their own (the difference between being told what to do and then creating the note, drum hit, or whatever) which will be added to the general system latency.

    For many computer based musicians, the holy grail is finding ways of reducing the latency to a manageable level (which most would accept as 10mS or less to allow 'real time' playing). Your half a second is much too high to make the system useable.

    Unfortunately, there is no simple answer, as it is highly machine and software dependent and what works for one person will not necessarily work for another.

    The general rules follow the line;

    Get the latest drivers for all the hardware you have.

    Optimise the OS for music work (which means getting rid of TSR's, disabling services you aren't using, etc., etc.).

    Avoid any audio mapping routines (such as the Windows sound mapper) like the plague, since they will introduce their own additional latencies.

    Check the buffering levels of the software, these may be wrong for your system.

    Use ASIO drivers if at all possible - most users say these have improved their system.


    At the end of the day, if you can't get your latency down to a reasonable level, you may have to resort to slipping tracks in the software to get them lined up, but a bit of perseverence will usually pay dividends.

    My best tip is to use a second computer for music, not the same one you use for all the other stuff. Although this sounds extreme (and expensive) it's really neither. You can get a second main CPU box for not a lot of money and a KVM switch will allow you to use your existing keyboard, pointing device and monitor with it. If you don't load it up with a lot of useless (and musically unnecessary) software - no modem, no browser, etc., you'd might be surprised at just how well and reliably your music software will then run. I did this years ago and have never looked back.
  3. olly

    olly Member

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    Thanks Graeme

    Thanks for that Graeme... I really appreciate you taking the time to answer my question in such depth, I will experiment with what you have said and hopefully fix the problem. Thanks again. Olly

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