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Conexant/Windows 7 Latency (Delay) from Line-In.


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#1 Ashs35

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 12:48 AM

I've just got a new Dell Vostro 260 & am wondering if there is actually a solution to this problem. Basically there is a delayed response coming through my speakers from the time I play a note on my guitar, to the time it sounds through the speakers, it is only very minute. I had the same problem with my previous computer but was able to fix it using 'Realteks HD Audio Manager' somehow, however the sound card on the Dell is 'Conexant' so the Realtek software is not compatible. Conexant do have there own version of software that is similar (called Smartaudio) however through playing around with it I haven't been able to figure it out like I could with Realtek's audio manager. I have also tried every possible combination of settings in 'Sound' properties, un-ticking 'listen to this device' etc.. and still the delay remains, this is a real pain in the ass, you would think it would be a fairly easy flaw to fix by the computer company's, so many people are having the same issue and there doesn't seem to be a solution...
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#2 Nanobyte

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 08:51 PM

I assume you have already been through cancelling any special audio or environmental settings. Has it anything to do with the type of input you are using, Line-in, USB? Other inputs connected concurrently? Other processes running? Is it on-board or sound card audio? The only other thing I can think of is to increase the priority of the audio process/app in Task Manager (or equivalent) and go back to default after use.

#3 Ashs35

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 08:55 AM

It's the 'line in' of the computer, but the same latency applies for both the front & rear mics also. It is a Conexant sound card, which is built into the computer (as far as I know). Can't change priority to realtime, even if you change it to high, it changes the sound of the guitar to a lesser quality so am less inclined to play around with that. ASIO doesn't seem to do anything either. Starting to think maybe an external USB sound card/input is the way to go.
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#4 Nanobyte

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 10:58 AM

I read the thread title from the main BC menu so I missed the Line-in bit. Sorry about that. Conexant is onboard audio like your old Realtek. Fine for most users. There isn't much you can do about time delays; my comments were more like desperation measures.

Adding a discrete sound card used to be a solution but I'm not sure if that is still the case considering current processor speeds. A USB audio interface will do the job. They are more expensive but are geared towards instrument inputs. After your post, I ran a quick test myself in Anvil Studio that I use for my MIDI (USB keyboard/regular sound card/WDM mode) and got 22mS MIDI latency and audio out latency of 18mS. I couldn't hear any delays but I'm no pro.

#5 Ashs35

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 11:17 AM

Yeah it's only a fraction of a second, almost un-noticable but really makes playing guitar utterly impossible. I remember I used to use a Griffin imic on a laptop a few years ago because the built-in mic input on that was completely ridiculous, mayaswell have been a tin cup and some string, and that seemed to do the job. I'm looking at getting one of these 'Creative: SoundBlaster external sound cards' for about $30, should do the trick.

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#6 Nanobyte

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 01:48 PM

That's not quite what I was thinking of. I have no idea if it will cure the latency issue. I saw one of those for about $25 in a local store. I had in mind something like this Tascam or similar. Obviously a lot more money but clearly intended for pros such as yourself! The "Zero-latency hardware monitoring" may refer only to the headphone output. You'd would have to look into it further unless someone else in the forum has experience.

#7 Ashs35

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 09:44 PM

I'd say it will work, as that is what it's designed to do (unlike the actual "line in/sound card" on the computer) which seems to be purely for LOOKS. The SoundBlaster is actually just an external sound card, which will add another sound device within 'Sound' properties, so will bypass Conexants PRETEND audio device. That's what the griffin imic did, which was about $70 4 years ago which worked on a laptop with no input, so it's the same kinda thing & thus, should work..
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#8 Ashs35

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 01:27 AM

Just hooked up the 'Creative Sound Blaster Play!' and the latency and delay has GONE!, the only thing is, the output of the computer going to the speakers has to be coming from the headphone socket of the Sound Blaster (might save someone 30 mins of screwing around), it's amazing how you can pay $600 for a brand new custom built Dell and it doesn't even have a working 'LINE IN' on it, when you can just buy one for $30! (which is probably more Conexant's fault) but still Dell sell computers saying it has a 'LINE IN' when really they should be calling it a 'DELAYED LINE IN'. Any how problem solved.

Also you have to un-tick 'AGC' which is located in the microphone properties under the 'custom' tab, in 'sound' ('recording' tab). Otherwise you'll get a lot of noise on top of whatever you're playing.

Edited by Ashs35, 14 November 2012 - 11:32 PM.

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#9 Nanobyte

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 10:03 AM

It's great that it's working OK. You probably can't blame Dell, their Line-In is fine for most users. The concern I had with the device you chose is that it is yet another USB device with potential delay. By using the headphone output, you are bypassing the USB connection back into the onboard audio. I think I mentioned with the Tascam interface that the zero latency may be only from the headphone output, though I have no direct knowledge. You figured out same with the Creative.

#10 Ashs35

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 07:42 PM

Yeah it's essentially a sound card that you just plug into your USB, which is cool, considering it's only $30 & the sound quality is perfect. And Dell's "line in" is guaranteed to 'not work' for ALL musicians, or anyone wanting to record audio into their computer, which there are millions of them, so you'd think they'd wanna fix a pretty crucial & tiny fault because it reflects badly on them & even worse on "Conexant" who are supposed to be the audio "experts", & It's clear now why Conexant don't offer any customer service whatsoever, it's because they don't actually know what they're doing! but As for the Dell, it works beautifully, they just need to switch from Conexant, to Realtek.

Edited by Ashs35, 14 November 2012 - 11:21 PM.

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#11 Ashs35

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 02:20 AM

UPDATE: Well, although I thought I had the problem solved, as there is no latency coming from the speakers when playing the guitar, there is however latency when I am trying to 'record' what I am playing, it is only a tiny amount of delay, but it makes it impossible to multi-track, as whatever you are recording is recorded out of time to the click track/metronome, even though there is no latency when playing along to the click track. So when you play it back, the metronome is always faster than what you played.

So I have contacted 'Creative' and they said to do these steps, however I have no idea how to do the first step, so if anyone knows how to do that?? I would appreciate it muchly.

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1. Ensure that the headset/soundcard uses a USB Host that is on an individual IRQ slot. This means that no other devices in the PC can be sharing this IRQ.

2. If you are running a hyper-threaded CPU, turn off Hyperthreading from the BIOS. Consult your motherboard's documentation for more information on how to turn off Hyperthreading.

3. Launch Windows Control Panel and do the following: Change Processor Scheduling to Background Services. Navigate to the advanced page of the System applet. Click on the Performance Settings button. Select the Advanced tab and click on Background Services for Processor Scheduling.

4. Switch Off Power Schemes. In the Power Options applet, choose the Always On power scheme. Change the settings for Monitor and Hard Disk Turn off and System standby to 'Never' (this will prevent your PC from not responding during song playback).

5. Disable System Sounds. Select the 'No Sounds' scheme under the Sounds tab of the Sounds and Audio Devices applet.

6. Where possible, disable your Network Interface Card (NIC), Wi-Fi, Modem, and any non critical USB devices and check whether the noise has been reduced or eliminated.

(comes from: http://support.creative.com/kb/ShowArticle.aspx?url=http://ask.creative.com:80/srvs/cgi-bin/webcgi.exe/,/?st=303,e=0000000002541368683,k=7089,sxi=19,case=obj%2883981%29,kb=ww_english_add,varset=ws:http://au.creative.com)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Edited by Ashs35, 16 November 2012 - 05:23 AM.

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#12 Nanobyte

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 12:32 PM

I thought I had mentioned that a USB device would work fine providing you didn't record but I must have omitted it. You seemed to want only to play the guitar through and out. When you start recording, you have to account for latency in all devices, in and out. If you are trying to add a new track while playing back the existing tracks, latency is an issue. I don't multitrack; no-talent single track is enough for me.

When you asked about IRQs I had to think back many years when there was no Plug n Play and you had to allocate a limited number (15) of IRQs. At the time I recollect I had to have expensive SCSI devices because I ran out of IRQs trying to fit a Roland sound card in. To check IRQs go to Device Manager, change View to Resources by Type. Expand Interrupt Request tree. You should find all your USBs are on one IRQ. I have a separate PCI sound card which has its own unique (virtual) IRQ. I have not tried playing a guitar through the PC for years but I don't remember any delays. I don't know how you would allocate a single IRQ to a single controller/port.

I mentioned that I use Anvil Studio for playing my USB keyboard. That has a utility (View/Latency) to measure and account for latency. You can import tracks so it has some home studio capability. I'm sure the more sophisticated home studio apps like Acid are fully equipped.

I'm not qualified to advise you on messing around with IRQs. I googled "virtual irq" and one link was interesting. It mentioned there is a BIOS option that prevents IRQs being changed. Coincidentally, M-Audio happens to be the brand of my USB keyboard. I think you would be better off finding a musician's audio forum. Perhaps browse the linked forum, and beyond!

Edit: I googled "home recording studio". Typical site that has a lot of useful info, Basic Home Recording Studio, though it does not have a lot of info about sound cards and audio interfaces. The audio interface shown as an example is similar to the Tascam I mentioned.

Edited by Nanobyte, 16 November 2012 - 01:11 PM.


#13 Nanobyte

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 10:38 AM

I had further thoughts about your problem. You have solved the latency for your playing. You could also have done that externally by playing the guitar through any device producing audio (amp, pre-amp with headphone connection). The fact it is out of sync with the existing tracks that you are playing back should not be an issue. You should be able to correct that after recording, providing it is a separate track. I'm more familiar with syncing audio and video, where you simply drag the audio along the timeline or fine tune by entering adjustments in milliseconds. I already mentioned that in the simple audio app I use, you can adjust latency per track either by using the utility in the software (such as for MIDI) or manually entering millisecs.

#14 Ashs35

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 01:28 AM

PROBLEM SOLVED: It turns out whilst the sound blaster eliminated 'play back latency' it did not eliminate 'recording latency' so I've discovered that what I needed was an "AUDIO INTERFACE". This is what I got and it has reduced ALL latency and is working beautifully: http://www.behringer.com/EN/Products/UCA202.aspx It was only $45.

Also with this specific Audio Interface you just need to download the updated drivers from their website here: http://www.behringer.com/EN/Support/...Downloads.aspx

And also because it uses ASIO you need to set the audio device to 'Behringer USB Audio' within the properties of your DAW and configure the ASIO settings from there (if need be). It will look something like this (from within Adobe Audition CS6):

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#15 Nanobyte

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 10:45 AM

Glad you got it fixed. When is your first major release? Do we get a cut?

Thanks for the feedback. The device you installed is essentially what I recommended way back, the Tascam or similar. The Tascam has a lot more in it including recording software. If you are on a budget, you found a good solution ($45 v $110).




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