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Topic: Firewire latency?--

  1. #1

    Firewire latency?--

    I'm running Giga 3.12 on my Pentium D 955XBK (dual 2.8) w/ 2gig of 667 RAM, 200g sys, 250 audio, 200g sample drive. I'm using the M-Audio 1814 firewire interface. I run giga in stand alone mode with Sonar 5.2 w/ great success. ( After much tweaking) My DMA buffers are set to 64 which provides the least amount of latencey. I'm in GSIF2 mode and using the midi in on my audio card so as to take advantage of the midi kernel streaming. My problem is that I can send a midi out to Giga and one to my external Roland Fantom-X and Giga is ever so slightly behind the roland. The lag doesn't bother me so bad on strings and horns, but when playing piano runs, or drums it erks me. If I time delay the tone in the Roland by 1 time delay (roland unit) the two match up.

    My question is this: Is the extra lag due to the fact that I'm using a Firewire audio interface?

    If so, should I get a PCI audio card just for Giga?
    Currently my firewire unit is going into a TI firewire PCI card in the back.
    Would a direct PCI audio card shave off that little bit of bothersome latency?

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2

    Re: Firewire latency?--

    Usually the biggest latency issues are on the audio side, not the midi. Latency on the midi messages themselves usually indicate there's something wrong with the driver, the midi interface, or maybe the application's midi configuration. See if a different manufacturer's midi interface makes a difference. Or try a different driver version. In your audio application, make sure Midi Time Code, Midi Machine Code, and Midi Song Position Pointers are all turned off. Your sequencer clock should be set to Internal or Audio if you have audio tracks. Sending midi Start is OK but not necessary unless you're doing a Giga capture. Also make sure that Sonar's "Input Echo" button isn't activated on the midi track if this is a sequencer playback issue. If this is a live keyboard playing issue, you might try doing "local echo" in the keyboard and disabling it in Sonar. I assume you're not using a midi hardware router which probably has its own midi echo controls.

    The other possibility is that there is no latency in the midi channel... it could just be the response time of the midi sound generation hardware itself. Actually, this is the most likely culprit. Only the best midi sound boxes approach the performance and quality of a giga library which is why you rarely see them mixed. If this is the case, maybe a little more giga latency might help level the field... see what happens if you bump the buffers up to 256 or higher.


  3. #3

    Re: Firewire latency?--

    Maybe I wasn't clear, no lag in the midi signal or the roland. Giga is about 5 or 6 ms behind the roland. If I bump the buffers up, Giga gets worse and worse. This is the case even in stand alone mode with no sequencer involved. I have 4 midi outs on my controller keyboard, so to compare my hardware with software I run 1 midi out to Giga via the midi in on the firewire card and 1 midi out to Roland so that they get the exact same midi signal at the same time. Roland spits out audio signal 5 to 6 ms before giga. I have tried different midi ins inside giga with the same result. Surely there must be a way around the lag.... It's hard to believe giga is slower than even my oldest of external hardware.

    Thanks for your reply and help


  4. #4

    Re: Firewire latency?--

    Sorry I got it backwards. I use a Tascam FW1884 and an RME Fireface 400 myself and don't experience giga signal delays like that with Sonar 5. I usually set my buffers to 128. Though PCI may be slightly faster, I switched from an M-Audio TDIF PCI card myself and remember lots of driver/version issues with them. My firewire interface is built into my ASUS P4P800 Deluxe motherboard and I recall having to reflash the chipset specifically for firewire so you might check if there's anything similar for the board you use.

    Before giving up on firewire (I love it myself) I'd suggest you try some different M-Audio driver revisions, maybe even older ones if you already have the latest. And touch base with them to see if they have issues with particular firewire chipsets or boards. If you consider trying a different brand audio board, I'd suggest RME whose driver-based routing is like M-Audio on steriods. Tascam isn't as sophisticated but the midi is rock solid.


  5. #5

    Re: Firewire latency?--

    Thanks for the reply. I do have firewire ports directly coming out of back as well as side. Perhaps I'll first Bypass the TI firewire card, and go direct. Second, I'll try the older driver versions like you said. I really feel like with this smokin' computer and giga (choir sings, "AAAAAHHHHH!!!"), I oughta start hearing the sound slightly before the idea gets from my brain to my fingers.

    Again thanks, I'll report back....Bkeys

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