Low cost audio editor for multi-track recording, with *no latency issues*? at DVinfo.net

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Old March 14th, 2004, 09:41 PM   #1
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Low cost audio editor for multi-track recording, with *no latency issues*?

I know, it's asking alot...

But... is there a low-cost audio editing app for multitrack recording that *doesn't* suffer from latency problems? It seems like one can either get Audacity or Goldwave for free but have to work around the latency issue when recording more than one track, or one can spend $300+ on Audition/Sound Forge/etc. (BTW, so far I've used Audacity; Goldwave -- which has a built in workaround, but it's still a pain; and the Audition demo)

Any worthwhile choices that are sub-$100?
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Old March 14th, 2004, 09:47 PM   #2
 
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YEP!
TRAKTION, from Mackie Designs. http://www.mackie.com

You can read a review of it that I wrote a couple months ago.
http://www.sundancemediagroup.com/articles/tracktion.htm

Tracktion is an amazing application. There is no app with "no" latency issues, and much of it is hardware related, but Tracktion supports ASIO and other protocols.
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Old March 14th, 2004, 10:05 PM   #3
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DSE--

Thanks, I will try out the demo. Looks interesting...

One thing re: your comment about "no such thing as no latency issues" -- as far as I can tell, I have no latency problems when using the Audition demo, but do have them with Audacity and Goldwave. So I'm assuming that there's not a hardware problem but a software issue?

For reference, I am using the SoundBlaster Audigy Platinum card (with the front bay I/Os ) on a 1.9 GHtz P4 w/ 768MB RAM.
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Old March 14th, 2004, 10:14 PM   #4
 
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EVERYTHING in the computer world has latency. Question is....how serious is it? If you are recording a voice, then up to about 40ms of latency is usually acceptable. If you are working with softsynths and a keyboard, anything more than 10ms is heinous.
If you can find anything that provides less than 5ms of latency, you're in heaven.
There is nothing that is faster (to my knowledge) than 2ms of latency. Sonar reports latency of 1.5ms with WDM drivers, but I doubt it. Besides, WDM is dead now...Frickin' m$oft....:-)
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Old March 14th, 2004, 10:29 PM   #5
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Interesting; I'll have to examine my tracks a little deeper -- what I've recorded so far has been a simple programmed drum track with two guitar tracks over it... if I can get four or five tracks without any latency being noticable, I'll be happy.
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Old March 14th, 2004, 11:06 PM   #6
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Latency should be a non-issue unless you are using some kind of realtime processing and need the to use the output of what you are recording while recording it. In a multitrack environment, one of the basic things any audio app does is compensate for latency so what you record is in sync with what is being played back. Otherwise, recording music by parts would not be possible or would be very very difficult.
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Old March 14th, 2004, 11:21 PM   #7
 
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If you are recording an instrument while listening to a prerecorded track, and want to monitor the audio from the track being recorded, latency is always a factor.
I do this everyday, all day. No application is free of this issue. Vegas, Audition, Tracktion, Deck, Logic, Sonar, all suffer from latency. The app can't compensate as fast as your ear can hear or your finger can react. This is why ASIO, WDM, and other low-latency driver formats were created, and why various apps choose to support different driversets with hardware.
With ProTools, this is not an issue because you are using their hardware, designed to work with the CPU and plugs.
Making the matter worse is if you insert plugs. We use compressors and reverbs (software) in the real-time monitoring of a track, and they really play hell on latency, as you'd expect them to.
Whether it's audio being recorded or a device being used to record information for a softsynth, latency is always present whether it's caused by software or hardware. There are always methods of reducing the negatives of latency, but the system CAN'T compensate to allow you to monitor what's being recorded while listening to other tracks. Because you are playing it live.
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Old March 15th, 2004, 10:00 AM   #8
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> If you are recording an instrument while listening to a
> prerecorded track, and want to monitor the audio from the
> track being recorded, latency is always a factor.

Yes. That happens if you try to monitor through the computer system, which is a no-no. What you do in a pro environment is use hardware (either a real mixer or an audio interface with direct monitoring capabilities like the MOTU 828 and such) to feed the signal you are recording to your monitor mix.

Then again, some computer systems are so fast that latency is not easily noticable unless you are recording stuff with very fast transients, like percussion. You can sometimes get by using software play-thru on some Pro-Tools systems and with highly optimized software and very fast computers (i.e., Digital Performer for OS X running on a high-end G4 or G5). Still, the correct way to do it is use hardware play-thru, which is available even on some entry level USB interfaces like the M-audio Quattro.
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Old March 15th, 2004, 10:19 AM   #9
 
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<<<-- Yes. That happens if you try to monitor through the computer system, which is a no-no. What you do in a pro environment is use hardware (either a real mixer or an audio interface with direct monitoring capabilities like the MOTU 828 and such) to feed the signal you are recording to your monitor mix.
-->>>

Yes, well...I beg to differ. As someone who has been in a software only, and what I'd consider a 'professional' environment for more than 4 years, with more than 12 years of software-based recording behind me...I monitor thru the system. With compression, with verb, using both AES/EBU I/O to my Lex unit, or using the UAD Proverb.
Not ONLY do I monitor this way, I also often score to picture with DV coming off the hard drive on the same machine. Films I've recently worked on such as Last Samurai, Hidalgo, Open Range, Lost Landscapes, and many others, are all done this way in our studio. If you have the setup managed correctly, this is VERY doable. We no longer use hardware mixing, nor hardware based synths, it's all software based. I'd consider us pretty professional around here.
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Old March 15th, 2004, 10:46 AM   #10
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<<<-- Originally posted by Ignacio Rodriguez : Yes. That happens if you try to monitor through the computer system, which is a no-no. What you do in a pro environment is use hardware (either a real mixer or an audio interface with direct monitoring capabilities like the MOTU 828 and such) to feed the signal you are recording to your monitor mix.
-->>>


But obviously, I *am* monitoring through the computer and don't have "pro" harware, hence my original question.

Although I have played music for years, I have never invested much in recording equipment. I've gone from two-tracking on a boombox to a cheap Tascam 4-track to now trying to record to my PC. Most of my recordings are just for myself.

Some of the music I record may be used in my commercials, but even then I would probably only record one or two tracks (like an acoustic guitar over a simple drumbeat). If I needed a really well-done, well-produced piece, I'd go to a local studio (on the client's dime, of course)

The latest version of Goldwave has an interesting workaround built in to the app (an offset preview that allows you to set and preview the latency compensation before meshing the tracks) but overall Goldwave just seems like a pain for multitracking. I can justify the cost of Audition (it costs as much as one of my ads), but would like to explore less expensive options, like Traktion.
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Old March 15th, 2004, 08:34 PM   #11
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> obviously, I *am* monitoring through the computer
> and don't have "pro" harware

What audio interface are you using? Perhaps it has hardware playthrough and you are just not using it.
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Old March 15th, 2004, 08:39 PM   #12
 
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John,
Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't you mention an Audigy? The new Audigy drivers allow for ASIO, which will reduce latency during monitoring if you are using Audition or Vegas, but you should still expect latencies of around 10-15 ms. The more tracks you lay down, the greater the latency becomes.
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Old March 15th, 2004, 10:09 PM   #13
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I am using the Audigy Platinum card with the front bay I/O interface (not the Audigy 2 new-school 7.1 Platinum, but the previous 5.1 version). I'll look into the drivers (although Creative does seem to recommend that you don't update your drivers unless you are experiencing problems with the card)

Ignacio -- I could be wrong... does the Audigy have hardware monitoring?
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Old March 15th, 2004, 11:31 PM   #14
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> does the Audigy have hardware monitoring?

I really don't know. I guess you will have to take a look at the documentation that came with Audigy. It might be referred to as hardware play-thru, direct monitoring or some other similar term.
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