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Windows 7: Sound latency in live monitoring

19 Apr 2014   #1
Art Howard

Windows 7 Home
 
 
Sound latency in live monitoring

When plugging a microphone or instrument into the mic/line input of my new Windows 8.1 computer (the issue also exists in Windows 7), there is a 1/8 or 1/16 note lag in the sound coming through my desktop speakers/headphones. Recording is fine, I'm talking about live monitoring.

I've used an XP computer for several years to record multi-track music, and also to record Skype conversations for a podcast. My mixer has always been plugged into the line in of the factory sound card, and monitored either with my desktop speakers or by plugging headphones into the desktop speakers, no problem.

Now I've been forced to upgrade to Windows 8.1, and the basic function of plugging a mic into an input jack and hearing myself doesn't work. This goes for analog and USB gear. There are HUNDREDS of pages on the Internet about this, since Windows 7, with no solutions.

Here is a video I made detailing the problem, and demonstrating how any proposed fix (update drivers, use the sound card software, try USB, use high performance power settings) hasn't worked.

If this can't be fixed in the next couple of days, this thing is going back to Best Buy!




My System SpecsSystem Spec
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19 Apr 2014   #2
fireberd

Windows 10 64 bit
 
 

I have a Recording Studio, using Sonar X3. Latency is an issue in PC audio systems and more so than professional recording interface units. I have a Roland Octa-Capture and get reliable operation at 6ms Latency. Before the Octa-Capture, which is USB connected, I had a Focsurite Saffire Pro 40 which is Firewire connected and the best I could do for reliable operation was 11ms.

The DPC Latency Checker (only for Windows 7 as its not Win 8 compatible) may show some PC issues. There is the Resplendence Latency monitor that is also available that will work with both Win 7 and Win 8 and will provide more in-depth system analysis.

Vista/Win7/Win8 handles some audio functions differently than XP so what happened or worked in XP may not in newer OS'.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Apr 2014   #3
Art Howard

Windows 7 Home
 
 

I appreciate the reply and will look into those latency checkers.

However, this is not an issue of syncing five banks of MIDI keyboards to some synth drums and a choir for a multi-track recording. This is plugging a mic into a jack and being able to hear yourself. Someone who wants to plug their $10 mic from Office Depot into the computer to say "hi" to grandma on Skype is not buying a $300 outboard piece of gear to do so. And although I've got a nice mic and mixer, that's basically all I'm trying to accomplish here.

Again I appreciate the reply, but I think Microsoft and Best Buy have a PC coming back to them.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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19 Apr 2014   #4
carwiz

Windows 7 Pro-x64
 
 

I'm not sure why you have the listen option turned on for a mic anyway unless you like to hear yourself talk. Skype doesn't work that way. The software you use to record should control the output to the speakers. Set the Windows option for exclusive use by software. Did you check to make sure there were NO Sound Effects turned on in the audio controller? I don't have a mic to test with but Environment options like room, chamber, reverb, etc. are listed under sound effects and will cause a delay.

I use Audacity to record my vinyls (pressed records if you're under 30 ) and had to turn off listen or I'd get a reverb sound. The speakers were driven by Audacity itself.


Attached Images
Sound latency in live monitoring-speaker-optons.jpg 
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19 Apr 2014   #5
Art Howard

Windows 7 Home
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by carwiz View Post
I'm not sure why you have the listen option turned on for a mic anyway unless you like to hear yourself talk.
I have a laptop plugged into my mixer as well as my mic, and I use sound effects, like a morning radio show, while I do interviews (applause, etc.). I have to hear to balance the sound. Also to balance my mic and whoever I'm talking to on Skype.

And then other times I'm making music and play guitar along with a track. If I can't hear the sound of the amp emulator through the speakers/headphones in real time with the music, I can't get in sync with it.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by carwiz View Post
I use Audacity to record my vinyls (pressed records if you're under 30 ) and had to turn off listen or I'd get a reverb sound. The speakers were driven by Audacity itself.
You shouldn't have to turn off the Listen feature to do that. I used to record cassettes and radio shows in Windows ME and listen as I did it in 2001. Apparently a 2001 PC could do things a 2 TB drive, 3.5 MHz computer with 8 GB of RAM in 2014 can't do.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Apr 2014   #6
fireberd

Windows 10 64 bit
 
 

As I previously mentioned, Vista/Win 7/Win 8 handle some sound functions differently than XP and earlier. Thus what worked in XP may not work the same in newer OS'. Maybe Linux would do what you want, or if you want to pay 3 times as much for a PC, a MAC "may" do what you want.

A $150 two channel USB recording interface MAY do what you want. Buy something such as the Focusrite 2i2 unit somewhere that has a liberal return policy in case it too does not do what you want.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Apr 2014   #7
3D Jed

Windows 7 pro x64 SP1
 
 

@ Art Howard - I think the unwanted echo is due to monitoring the sound 'downstream' and not at the front end. See this short video

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/...68/no_echo.mp4
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Apr 2014   #8
Art Howard

Windows 7 Home
 
 

Thank you for the video, 3D Jed, but I couldn't get it to open. Could you post it to YouTube?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Apr 2014   #9
3D Jed

Windows 7 pro x64 SP1
 
 

that's odd - dropbox usually works. try this

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=keNn...ature=youtu.be
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Apr 2014   #10
Art Howard

Windows 7 Home
 
 

Yes, I'd like to hear the sound "upstream" and live as you're doing in that video. But I CAN'T. The only way to hear the sound is "listen to this device!" Otherwise, the sound is muted. And as you say, if I were trying to play a piano over a backing track, I wouldn't be able to hear what I was playing to the music.

You've got the Realtek card, which seems to have a workaround to this. My computer came installed with the IDT High Definition Codec, which doesn't seem to be able to give me the upstream sound. I've also bought an Audigy Soundblaster card, and that's not working, either.

The people on this 32-page thread on this forum had my identical issue. Sure would be nice if they would join in on this one!
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