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Dealing with latency and ADC

From: Pro Tools 10 Essential Training

Video: Dealing with latency and ADC

When you record audio into Pro Tools, the time it takes your computer to receive the input signal, record it, process it, and send it back out to an output is called latency. Latency values can be as low as 0 or higher than 50 milliseconds on up, which is quite noticeable and will most likely negatively affect your performance while recording. I'll show you why. If we go to Setup > Playback Engine, we can set the hardware buffer size, and this is a major determinant of what your latency is.

Dealing with latency and ADC

When you record audio into Pro Tools, the time it takes your computer to receive the input signal, record it, process it, and send it back out to an output is called latency. Latency values can be as low as 0 or higher than 50 milliseconds on up, which is quite noticeable and will most likely negatively affect your performance while recording. I'll show you why. If we go to Setup > Playback Engine, we can set the hardware buffer size, and this is a major determinant of what your latency is.

If we bring it down to the minimum, 32 Samples, that's really unnoticeable. I'm going to record enable this bass track. I'm going to play a few notes and you won't be able to distinguish when I actually hit the string and when the note comes back from Pro Tools. (Music Playing) However, if I change this hardware buffer size to 1024 Samples, now you're going to be able to hear the difference between when I actually strike the note and when it comes back from Pro Tools.

(Music Playing) This latency can certainly affect your performance and will most likely not enable you to play in time with the rest of the music. So that's why you want to reduce the latency, that is reducing the hardware buffer size down to the minimum when you're recording. Those of you recording into a USB powered interface, like an Mbox 3, can achieve 0 latency monitoring by turning the mix knob all the way to the left on the input side.

This routes the input signal right back out of the interface before it's even converted from analog to digital, thus there's no latency. On those USB powered interfaces, to hear your input track along with the other tracks that have already been recorded into Pro Tools, you need to put the mix knob into the middle. In this case, you'll hear the input signal with 0 latency and the playback from Pro Tools, which will have a little bit of latency. With a small hardware buffer size this is manageable. However, with the larger buffer, the latency causes too much delay between the prerecorded track and the track currently being recorded, which will negatively affect the timing of your recorded performance.

On some M-Audio and third-party USB devices, the mix control is software driven. In this case, you can go to the Setup > Hardware, and launch the setup application. In there you'll find the controls to adjust the mix level. FireWire interfaces like the 003 and the Mbox 3 Pro handle digital audio and latency in a slightly different way. For those devices, the minimum latency is not 0, it's actually 3 milliseconds, because it takes 1.5 milliseconds to convert an analog signal to digital, and another 1.5 milliseconds to convert it back from digital into analog.

This A to D to A conversion takes a total of 3 milliseconds. FireWire interfaces can utilize a feature called Low Latency Monitoring, which is turned on or off from the Options menu. It's right down here at the bottom. When it's on, the latency is 3 milliseconds. However, there are some accompanying limitations. All plug-ins and sends on record enabled tracks are automatically bypassed, so when using LLM you can't record with any real-time effects on the record enabled tracks.

And let me turn this on and you'll see what I mean. If I record enable this lead guitar track, this delay plug-in will have to be bypassed and it happens automatically. In practice, I've found that working with low buffer sizes is totally fine for recording even the most time sensitive material, and so I don't really use Low Latency Monitoring very often. Once you're done recording, you can go back to the Playback Engine and change it to a higher buffer size if needed, but when you're recording, I recommend knocking it down to the smallest hardware buffer size available.

Now, you can record with Automatic Delay Compensation active as well. Delay compensation will be applied to all tracks in the session except the tracks that are record enabled. You can turn on Delay Compensation right down here. Pro Tools will tell you to open the Playback Engine dialog in order to enable Delay Compensation and you can choose yes of course. Here you can choose between none, short, long, and maximum. Regardless of what you choose, Pro Tools automatically compensates for any timing discrepancies between the material being recorded and the delay compensated tracks.

When the newly recorded tracks are played back, they're correctly time-aligned with the other delay compensated tracks. So Pro Tools will manage the delay compensation for you automatically while recording, but it's up to you to manage the latency by adjusting the proper parameters shown in this video.

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This video is part of

Image for Pro Tools 10 Essential Training
Pro Tools 10 Essential Training

108 video lessons · 15056 viewers

David Franz
Author

 
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  1. 13m 44s
    1. Welcome
      1m 20s
    2. Exploring the different versions of Pro Tools
      3m 22s
    3. Optimizing your computer before installing Pro Tools
      4m 18s
    4. Troubleshooting
      2m 19s
    5. Using the exercise files
      2m 25s
  2. 36m 55s
    1. Installing and authorizing Pro Tools
      1m 49s
    2. Connecting your Pro Tools system
      4m 31s
    3. Powering up and powering down
      58s
    4. Choosing the Playback Engine and Hardware settings
      5m 55s
    5. Optimizing Pro Tools' performance
      6m 26s
    6. Utilizing Automatic Delay Compensation (ADC)
      3m 36s
    7. Setting essential preferences
      2m 35s
    8. Creating a Pro Tools session
      4m 31s
    9. Identifying elements in a session folder
      2m 36s
    10. Creating new tracks
      3m 58s
  3. 42m 5s
    1. Exploring the Edit window
      6m 44s
    2. Exploring the Mix window
      3m 11s
    3. Exploring the Transport and Big Counter windows
      2m 57s
    4. Using the Color palette and window arrangements
      2m 35s
    5. Investigating the menus
      3m 22s
    6. Understanding samples and ticks
      3m 34s
    7. Viewing and manipulating tracks
      4m 31s
    8. Selecting inputs, outputs, and busses
      3m 58s
    9. Selecting an I/O settings file
      4m 12s
    10. Understanding signal paths and gain stages
      3m 46s
    11. Utilizing keyboard shortcuts and Keyboard Focus
      3m 15s
  4. 21m 11s
    1. Using DigiBase and the Workspace browser
      4m 14s
    2. Importing audio
      3m 0s
    3. Importing MIDI
      2m 48s
    4. Importing session data
      5m 34s
    5. Importing tracks from a CD
      2m 51s
    6. Importing video
      2m 44s
  5. 56m 46s
    1. Recording audio
      6m 13s
    2. Playing back audio and Edit window scrolling
      4m 52s
    3. Creating a click track
      5m 24s
    4. Overdubbing and using the record modes
      8m 52s
    5. Recording with playlists and Loop Record
      4m 6s
    6. Punch recording and using the monitoring modes
      4m 14s
    7. Dealing with latency and ADC
      4m 58s
    8. Creating a group
      6m 5s
    9. Adding effects while recording
      5m 16s
    10. Creating a headphone (cue) mix
      4m 29s
    11. Assigning disk allocation
      2m 17s
  6. 1h 28m
    1. Understanding nondestructive editing and region types
      3m 19s
    2. Using the Selector and Grabber tools
      3m 37s
    3. Using the Trim and Scrubber tools
      7m 5s
    4. Using the Zoomer tool and zoom presets
      5m 51s
    5. Using the Pencil tool
      3m 10s
    6. Using the Smart tool
      1m 27s
    7. Understanding the Edit modes
      5m 51s
    8. Arranging clips
      6m 40s
    9. Undoing an edit
      2m 44s
    10. Utilizing fades and crossfades
      9m 41s
    11. Building a comp track using playlists
      5m 17s
    12. Locking and muting clips
      2m 48s
    13. Special Edit window buttons
      7m 15s
    14. Creating an audio loop
      5m 19s
    15. Editing a voiceover
      9m 41s
    16. Using Elastic Time and Elastic Pitch
      9m 12s
  7. 17m 21s
    1. Working with clip groups
      4m 33s
    2. Using time, tempo, meter, key, and chord
      5m 37s
    3. Creating memory locations
      7m 11s
  8. 33m 10s
    1. Setting up MIDI on a Mac
      4m 17s
    2. Setting up MIDI on a PC
      2m 14s
    3. Setting up MIDI in Pro Tools
      2m 44s
    4. Recording MIDI data
      3m 14s
    5. Recording multiple MIDI tracks with one virtual instrument
      2m 17s
    6. Recording options for MIDI
      6m 21s
    7. Using Step Input
      4m 35s
    8. Making a drum loop with MIDI Merge
      3m 36s
    9. Composing with virtual instruments
      3m 52s
  9. 57m 1s
    1. Using the edit tools for editing MIDI data
      10m 0s
    2. Editing MIDI data in the MIDI Editor
      7m 31s
    3. Working with the MIDI Event List
      2m 12s
    4. Editing MIDI data with Event Operations
      8m 33s
    5. Quantizing MIDI tracks
      12m 16s
    6. Creating and using Groove Templates
      5m 35s
    7. Utilizing real-time properties
      5m 50s
    8. Using MIDI Learn
      5m 4s
  10. 17m 30s
    1. Exploring the Score Editor
      5m 49s
    2. Using the Score Editor
      5m 5s
    3. Setting up a score
      4m 48s
    4. Printing and exporting a score
      1m 48s
  11. 25m 39s
    1. Writing and editing automation
      6m 40s
    2. Drawing automation with the Pencil tool
      4m 2s
    3. Editing automation with the Trim and Grabber tools
      2m 58s
    4. Cutting, copying, pasting, and clearing automation
      4m 12s
    5. Turning automation on and off
      3m 52s
    6. Automating plug-ins and virtual instruments
      3m 55s
  12. 1h 49m
    1. Setting up a session for mixing
      8m 50s
    2. Setting up an effects loop
      9m 30s
    3. Working with plug-ins
      4m 33s
    4. Utilizing ADC while mixing
      9m 8s
    5. Applying EQ
      12m 43s
    6. Adding compression and limiting
      14m 25s
    7. Using delay effects
      6m 52s
    8. Applying AudioSuite plug-ins
      6m 24s
    9. Adding reverb to your mix
      6m 50s
    10. Bouncing down a mix
      4m 15s
    11. Making an MP3 for iTunes and SoundCloud
      2m 53s
    12. Setting up a session for mastering
      4m 58s
    13. Mastering a session
      10m 37s
    14. Bouncing down master recordings with Dither and Noise Shaping
      7m 24s
  13. 9m 59s
    1. Importing and displaying video files
      2m 38s
    2. Adding music, foley, ADR, and FX
      4m 29s
    3. Bouncing down video and audio together
      2m 52s
  14. 4m 0s
    1. Archiving an entire session
      4m 0s
  15. 58s
    1. Further recommendations
      58s

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