image description


Feature request and questions regarding presonus firewire devices and firewire safety buffer.
  Forum Index » Pre-Sales Questions 
Author
Message
mandren
Prenoob

Joined: 20/10/2010 13:16:24
Messages: 14
Offline

Hi!

I just tried CEntrance ASIO Latency Test Utility too find out my Firebox true round trip latency and couldn't get a lower result than 10ms when set to the lowest buffer size. I understand that most usb and firewire devices requires a safety buffer, but why is it so high for the Firebox and why can't I deactivate the safety buffer or at least decrease it? Some other firewire devices can get a 5-7ms round trip latency.

I've read that for example the Focusrite Saffire Pro 10 i/o let's you access the 'hidden' safety buffer (they call it the Firewire buffer)... and allowing you to tweak it. That's a much better situation! If a powerful computer can handle it, why not give the user a chance to try it?
When recording edrums and a few extra inputs the latency can become a dealbreaker.
Wouldn't it be possible to make an update available where we can change the Firewire buffer size?
It would be interesting to see if we can get the round trip latency down to compete with the "best" units in terms of low latency.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 29/10/2010 15:07:39

PhilG
Presonoid
[Avatar]
Joined: 29/07/2010 01:46:55
Messages: 1172
Location: Brisbane Australia
Offline

if you can tell the difference between 7 and 10ms you are superhuman.

thats the difference between counting to 997 and 1000 in exactly 1 second. Human variation in playing an instrument varies way more than that each beat

2 x SL16.4.2's
Audiobox USB
Studio One V2 Pro
/ Rack System
AMD FX-4170 / 16GB DDR3 / Win7x64 / Via 6308FW Onboard
/Mobile System
Toshiba Satellite P200 / 8GB DDR2 / Win7x64 / Ti FW & i7 13" MBP
/Wireless
Ipad v1 16gb - Samsung Galaxy Tab - Asus Black Diamond router

[Email] [WWW] [ICQ]
mandren
Prenoob

Joined: 20/10/2010 13:16:24
Messages: 14
Offline

PhilG wrote:if you can tell the difference between 7 and 10ms you are superhuman.

thats the difference between counting to 997 and 1000 in exactly 1 second. Human variation in playing an instrument varies way more than that each beat

Thank you!

May I ask what instrument you're playing?
Have you tried playing edrums with a round trip latency of 5 and then increased it to above 10 just for comparison?
It's much easier to cope with higher latency when playing bass or guitar, trust me.

Lower latency with stable performance and no clicks or pops is not a bad thing or wrong to aim for. I agree that it's very hard to tell the difference between a round trip latency of 7 and 10.
5 and 14 would be more noticeable. A roundtrip latency of 14 or higher is not uncommon with a Firebox and a mediocre system.
Monolithent
Supreme Baconator
[Avatar]
Joined: 28/07/2010 18:47:25
Messages: 13464
Location: Central New Jersey
Offline

There isn't a hidden buffer setting in the Universal control system that I have ever been able to find. I have also never heard of one. I've been dealing with this kind of stuff for a long time. I can barely tell a difference at about 13 and thats only if I know its gonna be there. I've used virtual instruments live on several occasions and if its below 15 (I average about 10 on my system) it causes no problems.
http://support.presonus.com

Tallest guy in the Mod Squad with all his hair still on his head.

No I'm not a freaking pilot!! The Air Force won't let me have a suit with a zipper...or sometimes shoestrings.

My advice and suggestions should never be considered advice or suggestions. These are mostly insane ramblings of a poor aircraft mechanic who can, strangely enough, still hear.

StudioLive 16.4.2, AudioBox 1818VSL, AudioBox 44VSL, Faderport, Digimax FS,, M-Audio Firewire 410
--MultiBoot System--
Win Vista 64/XP Pro/7 x86/7 x64 - Mac OSX Snow Leopard/Lion
Gigabyte motherboard--SYBA TI Firewire XIO2200A--i7 2600k Quad Core--16 GB DDR III--Custom 2U Rackmount--4 TB Raid (all internal SATA II)--19" Samsung HDMI LCD on pivoting VESA 1U Mount
Studio One v1 Pro x64
Studio One v1 Artist
Studio One v2 Artist
[Yahoo!]
mandren
Prenoob

Joined: 20/10/2010 13:16:24
Messages: 14
Offline

Monolithent wrote:There isn't a hidden buffer setting in the Universal control system that I have ever been able to find. I have also never heard of one. I've been dealing with this kind of stuff for a long time. I can barely tell a difference at about 13 and thats only if I know its gonna be there. I've used virtual instruments live on several occasions and if its below 15 (I average about 10 on my system) it causes no problems.

Thanks for your input Monolithent. Have you played edrums fast with a latency of 15 without noticing any problems?

Just to give a little more info about round-trip latency and firewire hidden/safety buffers for all others reading this thread:
Total round-trip latency is:
*ASIO input buffer
*ASIO output buffer
*A/D and D/A converters
*Any hidden safety buffer

To be able to transmit audio reliably at low latencies, FireWire requires a safety buffer. The main advantage is the ability to use the lowest latency at the highest CPU loads. The hidden safety buffer depends on the audio interface, but most FW interfaces have a big hidden safety buffer to avoid/prevent glitches and it can almost double the expected latency (Presonus, MAudio, Tascam etc has a pretty big hidden buffer). Many if not all FW interfaces has this buffer, but don't mention anything about it. RME for example is very open with their approach to Firewire buffers. They also happen to have one of the lowest round-trip latencies on the market as far as I know (MOTU is also in that league).

The optimal round-trip latency you can get at for example a 64 sample ASIO buffer at 44.1k is approximately 5ms; 2ms for A/D D/A and 3ms for ASIO in/out buffers. Then you have to account for any additional hidden buffer.
Most RME Firefaces use a fixed safety buffer of 64 samples, this amounts to 1.5ms at 44.1 additional round-trip latency. With this in mind the above total roundtrip wold equal 2ms A/D D/A + 3ms ASIO in/out + 1,5ms safety buffer = 6,5 ms. Calculating with 96k would yield an even smaller result.

If you measure your round-trip latency and it's ~10ms or more with the above settings your audio interface is most likely using a hidden buffer. If you're just tracking/mixing it probably won't concern you, but if you're playing or monitoring in real-time thru an amp simulator or drum vsti it can become a real issue. Playing at 5-7ms latency is good, but playing with a latency of 10ms or more starts to affect the feel.

A high end computer like mine and Monolithent don't get lower results than ~10ms which indicates that there's a big hidden buffer in the Presonus Firebox route.
How big is it exactly? I don't know. It would be interesting to hear Presonus thoughts and how big the hidden buffer is. I also want to know if they think it's possible to lower the hidden buffer for the Firebox. For example allowing the user to try a couple of different buffer settings. A high end computer might be able to cope with it nowadays.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 07/11/2010 22:01:15

Monolithent
Supreme Baconator
[Avatar]
Joined: 28/07/2010 18:47:25
Messages: 13464
Location: Central New Jersey
Offline

I do understand what you're looking for. And I have used this with electronic drums (Yamaha DTXtreme IIIs and an Alesis set that I can't remember the model of). If memory serves the bottleneck was actually more with the MIDI setup than the firewire.

I understand what you're looking for and I think your best bet would be to shoot a PM to wesley. She's a knower of all things Presonus. If what you need exists she will know how to get it for you.
http://support.presonus.com

Tallest guy in the Mod Squad with all his hair still on his head.

No I'm not a freaking pilot!! The Air Force won't let me have a suit with a zipper...or sometimes shoestrings.

My advice and suggestions should never be considered advice or suggestions. These are mostly insane ramblings of a poor aircraft mechanic who can, strangely enough, still hear.

StudioLive 16.4.2, AudioBox 1818VSL, AudioBox 44VSL, Faderport, Digimax FS,, M-Audio Firewire 410
--MultiBoot System--
Win Vista 64/XP Pro/7 x86/7 x64 - Mac OSX Snow Leopard/Lion
Gigabyte motherboard--SYBA TI Firewire XIO2200A--i7 2600k Quad Core--16 GB DDR III--Custom 2U Rackmount--4 TB Raid (all internal SATA II)--19" Samsung HDMI LCD on pivoting VESA 1U Mount
Studio One v1 Pro x64
Studio One v1 Artist
Studio One v2 Artist
[Yahoo!]
themuzic
Baconator
[Avatar]

Joined: 17/04/2010 05:42:47
Messages: 8703
Location: Wheeling IL (North Chicago Suburbs)
Offline

I have been an E-Drummer since there was such a thing. I have also been using a computer with my V-Drum Kit since the Asio was finally made to handle it for us drummers.

I have been using my V-Drum kit for both Live and Studio, using my Firewire FSMobile at 128 samples, which equates to 3.36ms on my machine. I don't feel a thing. I can even go as high as 256 samples (8.36ms) with no problems what so ever.

No matter what kind of Firewire device you use, you will never get 100% perfect feel mathematically. But it really ends up what makes you feel good.

http://www.homestudiotrainer.webs.com/
http://www.youtube.com/user/themuzic
Email - homestudiotrainer@yahoo.com
Skype - themuzic
Phone - 773-303-7260
I offer FREE assistance for Studio One (any version) and Presonus hardware, to anyone having issues or anyone who simply wants to learn

Gateway Tower - Intel Core i5 3330 CPU 3GHz 8GB Ram and 64bit Windows 8
[Email] [WWW] [Yahoo!]
mandren
Prenoob

Joined: 20/10/2010 13:16:24
Messages: 14
Offline

themuzic wrote:I have been an E-Drummer since there was such a thing. I have also been using a computer with my V-Drum Kit since the Asio was finally made to handle it for us drummers.

I have been using my V-Drum kit for both Live and Studio, using my Firewire FSMobile at 128 samples, which equates to 3.36ms on my machine. I don't feel a thing. I can even go as high as 256 samples (8.36ms) with no problems what so ever.

No matter what kind of Firewire device you use, you will never get 100% perfect feel mathematically. But it really ends up what makes you feel good.

I doubt that 3.36 and 8.36 is your round-trip latency. Adding the hidden buffer to for example 8.36 would most certainly end up with a latency over 10...probably close to 14.
If you don't experience or get bothered by a latency like that, you don't and that's good...I don't claim that anyone is lying. Everyone has their own feeling or view of when latency is apparent...your limit is higher than mine, but you certainly have one. I know lots of people that can get by with latencies around 15, but also people that cant stand anything above 10+.
It also depends of what you do with your equipment and how you play. Fast 16th or 32 note playing would make one experience a given latency more than when playing a slow 4/4 groove.

Midi can also add to the latency chain making it even more apparent. Small things add up and might become cumbersome suddenly when you make a change in your setup. I don't think it's a bad thing to aim for lower latencies and to have an option to lower it.
Monolithent wrote:
I do understand what you're looking for. And I have used this with electronic drums (Yamaha DTXtreme IIIs and an Alesis set that I can't remember the model of). If memory serves the bottleneck was actually more with the MIDI setup than the firewire.

I understand what you're looking for and I think your best bet would be to shoot a PM to wesley. She's a knower of all things Presonus. If what you need exists she will know how to get it for you.

Thanks for the suggestion Monolithent! I will try to contact Wesley. I'm a bit surprised that no one from Presonus is around answering questions in their own forum. I know technical support probably has their hands full of support tickets and so forth, but someone from Presonus should try to chime in on topics not answered.
themuzic
Baconator
[Avatar]

Joined: 17/04/2010 05:42:47
Messages: 8703
Location: Wheeling IL (North Chicago Suburbs)
Offline

mandren wrote:
themuzic wrote:I have been an E-Drummer since there was such a thing. I have also been using a computer with my V-Drum Kit since the Asio was finally made to handle it for us drummers.

I have been using my V-Drum kit for both Live and Studio, using my Firewire FSMobile at 128 samples, which equates to 3.36ms on my machine. I don't feel a thing. I can even go as high as 256 samples (8.36ms) with no problems what so ever.

No matter what kind of Firewire device you use, you will never get 100% perfect feel mathematically. But it really ends up what makes you feel good.

I doubt that 3.36 and 8.36 is your round-trip latency. Adding the hidden buffer to for example 8.36 would most certainly end up with a latency over 10...probably close to 14.
If you don't experience or get bothered by a latency like that, you don't and that's good...I don't claim that anyone is lying. Everyone has their own feeling or view of when latency is apparent...your limit is higher than mine, but you certainly have one. I know lots of people that can get by with latencies around 15, but also people that cant stand anything above 10+.
It also depends of what you do with your equipment and how you play. Fast 16th or 32 note playing would make one experience a given latency more than when playing a slow 4/4 groove.

Midi can also add to the latency chain making it even more apparent. Small things add up and might become cumbersome suddenly when you make a change in your setup. I don't think it's a bad thing to aim for lower latencies and to have an option to lower it.
Monolithent wrote:
I do understand what you're looking for. And I have used this with electronic drums (Yamaha DTXtreme IIIs and an Alesis set that I can't remember the model of). If memory serves the bottleneck was actually more with the MIDI setup than the firewire.

I understand what you're looking for and I think your best bet would be to shoot a PM to wesley. She's a knower of all things Presonus. If what you need exists she will know how to get it for you.

Thanks for the suggestion Monolithent! I will try to contact Wesley. I'm a bit surprised that no one from Presonus is around answering questions in their own forum. I know technical support probably has their hands full of support tickets and so forth, but someone from Presonus should try to chime in on topics not answered.


Not sure where you're getting this "Hidden Latency" thing but I think you're way off base here. Needless to say we're not going to agree on much as you seem pretty sure of your information so we'll just leave it at that.

Happy hunting.

http://www.homestudiotrainer.webs.com/
http://www.youtube.com/user/themuzic
Email - homestudiotrainer@yahoo.com
Skype - themuzic
Phone - 773-303-7260
I offer FREE assistance for Studio One (any version) and Presonus hardware, to anyone having issues or anyone who simply wants to learn

Gateway Tower - Intel Core i5 3330 CPU 3GHz 8GB Ram and 64bit Windows 8
[Email] [WWW] [Yahoo!]
mandren
Prenoob

Joined: 20/10/2010 13:16:24
Messages: 14
Offline

themuzic wrote:Not sure where you're getting this "Hidden Latency" thing but I think you're way off base here. Needless to say we're not going to agree on much as you seem pretty sure of your information so we'll just leave it at that.

Happy hunting.

Please care to elaborate why you think I'm way off base?
FireWire requires a safety buffer to transmit audio reliably at low latencies. It could be tiny or big depending on device. Why is that so hard to accept? Is it because I called it a hidden latency? Call it hidden, safety, offset, internal buffer or whatever you want. Just because you haven't heard about it, it doesn't mean it's all mumbo jumbo.

Happy hunting? Hmm that's just disrespectful. I thought someone with your background would at least treat information with interest even when in doubt.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 08/11/2010 22:52:00

wesley
Presonic
[Avatar]

Joined: 17/04/2009 15:43:38
Messages: 217
Offline

Hi Mandren:

I have to say that I agree with most of the comments most people have been making on this thread. 10 ms round trip should not interfere with anyone's performance on drums, keys, guitar, vocals or anything else. Low latency monitor systems average about 12-15 ms roundtrip.

The mad scientists at Toontrack have been using FireBoxes for years to demo EZ Drummer and DFH Superior and have never complained of latency.

I'm not doubting that you are hearing something that's messing you up , just that it's the 10ms of ASIO latency, so, I'm leaning towards MIDI as the culprit. How are you MIDI-ing up your kit? If you're using the built-in USB connection or the MIDI I/O on the FireBox, try getting a higher quality MIDI interface.

I would recommend the Unitor series from Emagic, but, unfortunately, Apple discontinued them when they bought the company. You can still find them on eBay cheap. Another good option is the MOTU timepiece and rumor has it that M-Audio has improved their performance on their MIDI interfaces, but I've not tried them personally.

I think the question you should be asking these PreSonians is what MIDI interface do they use with their PreSonus audio interfaces when they're having such great experiences recording V-Drums.

I'll open it up to the floor

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 11/11/2010 18:59:03

Wesley Elianna Smith
Product Manager
mandren
Prenoob

Joined: 20/10/2010 13:16:24
Messages: 14
Offline

wesley wrote:Hi Mandren:

I have to say that I agree with most of the comments most people have been making on this thread. 10 ms round trip should not interfere with anyone's performance on drums, keys, guitar, vocals or anything else. Low latency monitor systems average about 12-15 ms roundtrip.

The mad scientists at Toontrack have been using FireBoxes for years to demo EZ Drummer and DFH Superior and have never complained of latency.

I'm not doubting that you are hearing something that's messing you up , just that it's the 10ms of ASIO latency, so, I'm leaning towards MIDI as the culprit. How are you MIDI-ing up your kit? If you're using the built-in USB connection or the MIDI I/O on the FireBox, try getting a higher quality MIDI interface.

I would recommend the Unitor series from Emagic, but, unfortunately, Apple discontinued them when they bought the company. You can still find them on eBay cheap. Another good option is the MOTU timepiece and rumor has it that M-Audio has improved their performance on their MIDI interfaces, but I've not tried them personally.

I think the question you should be asking these PreSonians is what MIDI interface do they use with their PreSonus audio interfaces when they're having such great experiences recording V-Drums.

I'll open it up to the floor


Thanks for taking the time Wesley!
Believe it or not, I'm actually pretty satisfied with my Firebox. It's rock solid on my Win 7 64 system and with the lowest buffer setting my round-trip latency is ~10ms which is good enough for me. I can play with a pretty tight feeling at that setting, but anything above the lowest buffer is a no go for me when playing drums. I can tolerate a much higher latency on guitar, keys or vocals.

I don't think we can blame this on midi...or are you hinting that Firebox has a "bad" MIDI I/O?
I'm using a MegaDrum and a Alesis Trigger IO with my kit and they're ok devices. The MegaDrum is actually very tweakable on the midi side and fast and solid. Now some one will jump in and say: "Get a Roland TD-20!"
A funny thing is that a TD-20 has a slower midi output than the Roland HD-1 module (Steve Fisher at Roland has confirmed this).
So congrats to you themuzic on your HD-1 I watched your video presentation of your project studio. Impressive to get all those goodies in that space.

I consider myself a PreSonian too Wesley, don't get me wrong.
The MAIN thing with this thread is to get information about the Firebox safety buffer and if it's possible to lower it. How big is it? Would it be possible to make an update where it's possible to tweak this buffer or would this make the Firebox too unstable even on a high end computer?

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 12/11/2010 16:20:44

mandren
Prenoob

Joined: 20/10/2010 13:16:24
Messages: 14
Offline

Suddenly my thread is quiet again
 
Forum Index » Pre-Sales Questions
Go to: