Hi everyone, I thought updating to 2.0.3 would resolve this. At best, it has marginally improved the issue, but I am still experiencing it. So here’s the problem, but first the basic info:
Version: 2.0.3 for Windows
OS: Windows 7 SP1 4gb RAM, 64 bit
How I am connected/recording:
I am running everything through a Mackie 1202-VLZPRO. I am doing a ton of overdubbing, but never recording more than one input/track/instrument at a time. I am running the signal out of the mixer and into the line-in jack (1/8th inch) at the back of the tower. I then take the signal out via the headphone jack, which goes back into my mixer. Of course, I keep that signal isolated from the input signal by putting it into the 5-6 stereo input jack, which is muted. This blocks the signal from being fed back to the machine. From the headphones jack on the mixer, I have a stereo splitter. One goes into my headphones, and the other goes into a stereo receiver which powers my studio monitors. What this allows me to do is get a full mix of what the computer is doing plus what I am playing along with it (for example guitar), while just recording the guitar. When I want to record vocals, I simply punch the power switch on the receiver, then I STILL get my vocal+project mix the headphones. Important note: Software play through is OFF (as it’s totally unnecessary.) I am fully aware this may not be the most optimal way of hooking things up. So with that said, I’ll note that while it has been working REALLY well for me in the last 2.5 years, I am always open to suggestions on how to improve this hookup. That, however, is not why I am posting.
I am posting because lately I’ve become aware that when I’m recording a very precise guitar part and it feels like I’ve “nailed” the take, I’ll play it back, and it will sound really “off.” I’ll think, man, I thought I played that much tighter. Same with singing. I’ll think I got a good take only to play it back and back find, wow, I’m coming in kind of late. Since my band and I have been spending most of our time mixing these past few months, I’ve been tracking less. But this weekend, the real eye opening moment happened when I was recording a part that our bassist was doing. I’m an overly picky producer who tends to push his bandmates into doing things tighter and tighter. Well I watched our bass player complete an absolutely flawless take. I play it back, and it was a mess, as if he’d come in late and just lagged. I knew without a doubt this had not been the case.
So immediately, I suspected that the latency “rate” (or whatever you call that length of time) must have changed from the time I first set it (when the machine was new), to now when the machine has recorded so much audio. Kind of thinking, like any machine, the more it’s used, maybe the slower it gets. OK, no problem, I think. I’ll just re-calibrate the latency correction.
So I go through the test process, which just means I first create a click track. Then I put the phones up to the mic (studio monitors OFF, headphones ON), and I click record. The mic pics up the headphones which are playing the click track. You know how it goes.
I zoom in and find to my surprise, huh, it’s off, but HARDLY. So I tweak it a bit. By like one thousandth of a second. I run the test. Now it’s WAY OFF. It appears to be off by a quarter of a second. And every time I retweak it, and get closer, I’ll try to nudge it a bit and it’ll be way off again. Now I’m thinking, this doesn’t make any sense. So I do an experiment: I do the test. Rather than play it back, I mute what I just recorded and re-record a THIRD test track. I then mute THAT track, and record ANOTHER test track. And again. And again. Now I’ve got about FIVE test tracks. At this point, I don’t care so much if they’re synced up to the original click track. What I care about is this basic concept: They should ALL be synced up to each other, as I did not alter the latency rate. I didn’t alter anything. Just clicked record five times from the same spot. I zoom in and sure enough, they’re each aligned a little differently from one another.
SO, that’s when I upgraded to 2.0.3 (I’d been running 1.3.X—not sure). Did the same test thinking, for sure, this would resolve it (also rebooted the machine, natch). But, as I said at the start of the post, I’ve got the same problem even if I am seeing a slight improvement.
So my questions are:
- Is this actually a normal condition that I’ve only recently observed? In other words, if it’ better—a few thousandths of a seconds difference track to track, rather than hundredths of a second—in 2.x, is that just as good as it gets? Because if that’s standard for all digital recording, then fine.
- Is this NOT a normal condition? And if not then…
- What is causing it? And…
- How do I fix it?
Apologies for the long post, but I really wanted to err on the side of giving you all lots of info to work with rather than me just being like “oh yeah the latency is acting funny, what gives?”