reducing audio and midi latency and stuttering

even though we’re hoping to be moving in a month or so i’m trying to make some moves towards reducing my recording latency. the actual recorded audio doesn’t seem to be suffering too much, but the metronome being sluggish is definitely not optimal!

i’m convinced that multiple factors are contributing the issues and so i’m approaching this from a few angles.

because the software is writing to a networked drive i’m thinking that “getting things started” in the stream of data being written while recording is causing the metronome to stutter. usually after 2 bars or so it settles, but it’s still annoying. i’m currently copying all my recorded data from the network locally to the c:\ drive. once this is done i’ll start using this local drive as my main drive, and run a batch file at regular intervals to make sure everything is backed up to the network. once an hour should probably do it. i also have other scripts running on another machine that back up the networked data to two usb hard drives. i’ll be using robocopy, which comes with windows 7 for the copying, and i’m using rsync for the other backups.

regarding the midi latency, i’m using a very cheap (it cost about $5) usb-midi interface. not only that, but it’s also connected to a very cheap usb hub. the hub is powered, but still; it’s not an ideal situation. i think a rethink is in order on the usb side of things. i have several usb devices and while it shouldn’t be an issue, the fact that some of them are being used to record audio / midi and are connected to a hub (perhaps even a hub connected to a hub! i haven’t checked everything recently) is probably not helping. i plan on having the midi-usb thing connected directly to the computer, and the same for the audio interface. everything else (as in stuff that isn’t timing-critical) can be connected to the hub(s). these things are the korg microkey, korg nanokontrol, mouse, green led light (yep! i use it to find my way around the rack gear in the evenings), bluetooth receiver (for a remote keyboard / swipe pad i’m testing out). my usb-vga adapter doesn’t get enough power from the hub (even though it’s powered, which tells me it’s definitely a cheap hub!) so that will have to be connected directly to the computer too. that should come to four usb devices connected to the computer, and that will hopefully help.

once we get moved i’ll be buying a “proper” electronic drum kit, probably alesis, probably a dm8 or a dm10. the percpad will serve as additional sounds, and i’ll connect the percpad’s midi out to the drum kit’s midi in. the drum kit’s midi out (if it’s the dm10) can go into the behringer bcr2000’s midi in, and all that midi data can merge in the bcr2000. if i buy the dm8, which doesn’t have a midi out, i’ll connect the percpad to the bcr2000, and the bcr2000 to the dm8’s midi in, and the dm8 brain can do the merging, sending the merged data out of its usb output. this will be connected directly to the computer.

that’s the plan, anyway… if all this fails, once we’re moved, i may just upgrade my audio interface to something with more ins & outs, and with midi onboard, killing multiple birds with one stone. if i go down this path i’m looking at the tascam us line, probably a us800.

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