Latency questions

I recorded a source going directly into my interface while also being routed in parallel through the ER-301, and the actual input-to-output latency does indeed appear to be ~8ms:

I’m also rather surprised by this finding. Hopefully @odevices is cooking up ways to bring the latency down.

Not particularly at the moment. There are other higher priority items I want to get out of the way. I suspect the bulk of the latency is due to the resampling pipeline on the inputs (60kHz downsampled to 48kHz). The latency is not particularly optimized there. FYI, after the downsampling stage, processing buffer size is currently configured to 128 samples.

Interesting. Is that 128 samples total for input and output buffering, or is there 128 samples each for input and output? I’m trying to get a sense of how much ground there is to gain.

Brian, FWIW, this is an important issue for me and probably others who are using the ER-301 as a playback sampler. Especially for percussion samples, 8ms is definitely perceptible when triggering alongside other drum modules. I know beggars can’t be choosers, but anything you can do to bring down the latency would be greatly appreciated! I would be fine with an option to reduce sample buffer size in exchange for increased processing overhead.

@resynthesize, running at 96kHz does lower the input-to-output delay to about 5ms. It’s not a final solution, but it could help in the meantime.


Ah great, I will try that! Thanks.

Agreed, I gave this a whirl the other day and it almost halved the latency. Was a bit worried it might mess up my quicksaves, so I backed everything up first.

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I tried the 96khz firmware today, and there is definitely noticeable improvement for drum sample triggering. Thanks for the suggestion @miminashi.

@resynthesize Did you mesure the latency at 96KHZ?

Wanted to use one output of the ER 301 as simple drum machine, but that latency is too much at 48KHZ

It’s about half that of 48khz

I’m a bit shamed to ask cause @odevices you said in this thread reducing latency is not a priority. Which I understand. Must be lot of work.
But, can you think about it? :eyes:
It’s hard to use ER 301 as a drum machine without reducing it. (Yes even 4ms is too much).

really? i never found 4 ms too much for drums. how it is a problem for you? synchronizing with other elements or because you wanna go finger drumming or what? just curious!

I am still curious too…

I presume the problem arises when using drum sounds in the ER-301 alongside external modules, for example the same trigger routed to different sound sources and with very short clickly sounds. Which kinda makes sense, but I’ve asked for audible demonstrations of this and have yet to hear any.

I’ve seen demonstrations of this (see post above in this thread) by way of recordings in a DAW where the timeline is zoomed right in to the point where the latency is clearly visible, but that’s not the same thing as being able to hear it.

It would be really good to have a proper well presented argument for this, complete with source files, external modules used, the samples used in the ER-301, recording in DAW showing the difference, but most of all an example where the problem is clearly audible and the same example treated so that it’s not audible so the community at large has a reference to present whenever this kind of thing is questioned. It would make a fantastic blog post for example. Maybe this already exists out there?

Shrugs, either way there’s plenty of ways to handle this if it ever becomes a problem, but I find it rarely does because more often than not I want some sounds off-grid anyway for feel and swing. Also any self respecting sequencer should be able to delay triggers so that these kind of things can be compensated for, i.e. it should be possible to dial in a 4ms delay on everything being triggered outside the ER-301. I consider this just part of working with audio and not necessarily a problem per se.

Having said all that I don’t want to be discouraging and I am all for these improvements being made - every little helps!

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When I performed with the 301 as a beats machine in 48k mode the rhythm sounds sequenced from the 101 were definitely out of whack with bass sounds (non 301) also sequenced with the 101. It’s the transients in the sounds that makes them feel odd. For example if the kick drum is a dominant sound and it is on the same first 1 beat as a sharp transient bass sound, then the bass triggering first sounds odd and not in a good way.

Switching to 96k sounded much better but it still wasn’t perfect. I think 4ms is ok but the lower it goes the tighter it sounds.

Easy enough to try at home on say ableton, write a pattern with two dominant, transient sharp sounds and put them on separate tracks, and then start adding delay in ms to one track and see how far it goes before it subtley changes the feel or vibe. It’s probably at its most uncomfortable when the most dominant sound doesn’t arrive first. E.g. a late bass sound will feel happier than a late kick, genre forgiving. On rare occasions I have done this on purpose to tighten up rhythm tracks involving numerous machines with different internal behaviours in response to clocks. In my work with various Elektrons synced to each other and ableton by expert sleepers, I have different clock offsets in the tune of under 4ms amounts to get them as close as possible, the Machinedrum needed the most negative clock offset for example, allowing it time to spool up.

I don’t think until it is shorter than 4ms, I will use my 301 for mega critical sounds, e.g. main kick drum, if there are tighter machines/sounds playing in sync. Work around are possible but millisecond delays are not available on many Modular sequencers, my trigger riot can do it but that is a trigger only sequencer. The 101 can do it but only if you set the clock speed/multiplier very high.

What bothers me and others may not bother you and vice versa, I know we have debated tunings and the like on a similar vain before. I think a lot of this stuff can be less or more of an issue depending on the sound your looking for etc

What constitutes a dominant transient sharp sound?

If it’s so easy, why will no one actually do a proper demonstration of this?

Generally when people make assertions and they are cheerfully questioned, it’s up to the asserting party to prove their position, not for the person who is doing the questioning to go on a wild goose chase to try and recreate the same scenario from billions of potential options that the other person is describing. I certainly am not spending time proving someone else point - that’s silly, it’s easier just to dismiss it as nonsense, but I am not doing that either, I am opening the forum for those that feel strongly to present their case comprehensively so there is no more ambiguity.

At this point it’s all just words and pictures… not saying anyone else has to do the work themselves either, but if you want to be taken seriously, it would be a very smart move :smiley:

I hope this is challenging in a constructive way - my post above outlines what would constitute a good presentation of the case.

Dominant as in not in the background, important role in track.
Transient as in fast attack, not a slowly attacking pad sound. At these sort of ms ranges we’re really talking about instantaneous attacks, e.g. under 1ms.

When I have a free moment I will put something together but I think you are being a bit dismissive, your point about preferring to work off grid is not relevant to someone who wants there music to be on for example.

Sigh… I know what the terms mean, but without hearing specific audio I can’t possibly know what they mean to you or anyone else.

…and I am not being dismissive at all, I went out of my way to specifically say I wasn’t doing that in my last post to try and avoid this kind of derailment:

I went to such verbal lengths because from past experience I know that turning the focus of the discussion to some slight on someones behaviour is always the next thing that comes up in these discussions when the challenge gets real. Presumably as a way to detract from the actual issue at hand? I don’t know, why do that, why not just prove your point? It’s supposed to be easy, why make things more difficult by saying someone is behaving in such a way or whatever. It’s not cool.

What may be obvious to you may not be obvious to someone else is exactly my point, make your case and make it really obvious so anyone, even a total beginner can experience it and fully understand every aspect of it.

I am not saying anything else in this now because this post I am writing now is already embarrassing and full of depressing potential and I am really not able to handle it at all.

I am only interested in clear unambiguous easily repeatable science, I will keep reading and if that is forthcoming from somewhere then great, I will return and join in the conversation, otherwise, have fun, I done here!

Example built in Ableton Live, every two bars the kick is shufled back by 1ms in relation to the bass sound, rising to 10 ms and then it returns to perfectly aligned and does it again.

To my ears at least, each two bars the kick seems to lose dominance and auditory importance, as its transient moves behind that of bass sound. When it snaps back to perfect time the kick sounds important again, it is very subtle and I guess not everyone will hear it and different sounds may make the effect more or less pronounced.

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I’m sorry I disagree, I think this whole section is quite dismissive. You’re basically saying

  1. fix it somewhere else,
  2. I don’t care in my music,
  3. Decent other kit should be able to do it,
  4. I can work around it.

As you don’t know what other equipment they may have available, then that to me is quite a dismissive approach to helping another user with their “issue”.

Perhaps it is the tone rather than the intent but it certainly comes across as dismissive to me. I’m not trying to wind you up but didn’t want JayPee to feel like his feelings are irrelevant to the forum.

This is also quite dismissive, implying it is a wild goose chase, implies it is made up and there is no goose to catch.

That is quite a presumption, I mentioned the dismissive tone of your post because you stated that you weren’t being dismissive.

This is not always possible in these matters of music, for example some of the finer points of the application of mastering techniques would be lost on me, even with audio examples but I suspect professionals of the field would be able to determine the difference.

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That’s a pretty subtle example, but also a good representation. Although if someone needs to be convinced that the relative timing between two sounds can be audible, I’m not sure what to say.

Questions about perception are not easy to answer, since they depend a lot on the context and vary from person to person. The same is true of questions about what characteristics of any system are “acceptable”. The latency characteristics of the ER-301 are roughly on par with a moderately optimized PC. For many people. this appears to be perfectly acceptable. If you are among that group, count yourself lucky.

For me, the appeal of the ER-301 is that it (in theory) exists in the same “reference frame” as my other outboard gear. If I need to perform latency compensation hacks to get my various signal chains to agree on what time it is (e.g., when mixing the output of an analog drum machine with samples being triggered on the ER-301), then in my opinion (and for my uses) it’s better to use equipment that has better latency performance.

In no way do I mean to denigrate the ER-301. But latency is certainly not an area in which it shines, and unfortunately the ER-301 is not yet able to replace my old rack samplers for my purposes.

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