External Effects - Delay not being reported

Hi

I’ve started using a few outboard effects, compressor, eq etc…
I’ve set them up as external effects in vst connections and got them processing just fine, however one strange thing is that pinging the hardware with the external effect plugin ALWAYS produces a result of 0ms, which I’m sure isn’t accurate.

Delay compensation is working when the effects are inserted directly onto a track or group, but parallel processing is causing a very small delay which creates the infamous “comb filtering” effect. However since I can’t get cubase to report the latency, I have to match up parallel processed tracks visually.

Any idea why the external fx plugin always reports 0ms? Anything I can do to fix it?

Suggestions appreciated! Thanks

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Hi Method1,

This is a known issue with RME interfaces. A search (“pinging external FX” or something like that) will reveal this issue goes back years and neither RME or Steinberg have done anything to resolve it because it seems not enough customers are affected. The suggested fix is to insert a delay, but I find this a frustrating workaround for something that should work as documented. I would have thought there are more RME users using External FX who are really annoyed by this.

Anyone at Steinberg care to respond?

Thanks for the reply… after investigating it seems not just RME cards are affected.

Anyway I tested with logic 9 which correctly reports the “negative delay” so to me it seems the issue is the DAW and not the interface. Hopefully Steinberg will address this at some point because currently parallel processing with external FX in cubase is a real headache.

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Which exact hardware are you using?
Could you attache a screenshot of your VST Connections–> External FX tab?
Could explain in greater detail how you have your hardware connected and everything is routed?

Gr,
JHP

Hi

I’ve attached a screen shot of my routing. I’m using 2 RME Multiface 2 boxes in aggregate, synced with spdif.
The outboard effects are all cabled up with good quality cables and connectors.

I just did the loopback test from the steinberg ftp and got some interesting results.

When looping back using totalmix (so no cables) the result was 90 samples early.
I adjusted record delay by 90 samples and the loopback aligned perfectly.

Then I added the API 2500 external effect and did the test again (after pinging the effect)

The result was 13 samples early.

I adjusted recording delay a further 13 samples and the recording lined up.

Then I added the clariphonic external effect and re-recorded after first pinging

The result was again 13 samples early.

These were the results at 44.1, will do the test again at 48khz

So it seems I have to manually compensate -13 samples each time I add an external effect, in other words unless I’m doing something wrong, delay compensation/ping function is not working correctly.

Thanks for the input.
Screen shot 2011-08-24 at 6.28.56 PM.png

So to setup the aggregate device you have two RME PCI cards connecte to the system?
Is that setup recommended and supported?
You should make sure what is the recommended method to use both devices on one system is.

Your test reports on loopback tests are not described in a way that it is comprehensible what you have actually routed and measured.

Anyway, in Cubase… -->

In the external FX you can right click on a bus name and select “Check User Delay”. Cubase will then play a test signal out to the send bus and will start to measure how long it takes to return to the return bus. This ping cannot be a negative value because it takes time to go from in to out and through the circuits of the effect device.

If the measured ping is 0 then the signal did not correctly make the loop. Route the send bus to the effect device and the output of the effect to the return bus and make sure that the signal passes through. Once the loop has been made correctly and a ping has been measured, you can set the external effect as insert effect on a track. If you would like to record this effect then route or send the output of the track to a group “xy”, create a new audio track and set the group “xy”as input of this track. As you can record the outputs of groups directly in Cubase you will be able to record the effect in Cubase.

<–Is this the method that you have been using?
If not go about as described and let us know if the problem persists.

Oh yes, for now leve the VST Audiosystem settings “Adjust for Record Latency and Record Shift” defaulted. So check “Adjust for Record Latency” and set “Record Shift” to 0 samples.

Gr,
JHP

Hi JHP

Thanks for trying to assist.

Yes I have followed the recommended settings for an aggregate device with 2 pcie cards. However results are the same if I use the aggregate device, or just use one interface with the other disconnected, ie not in aggregate.
So that is not the problem as far as i can tell.

For the loopback test, i used the project from the steinberg ftp. I’m not sure what you find incomprehensible about this, so please let me know what further information you need.

I routed outputs 1+2 to inputs 1+2 of my interface using the RME totalmix software.
Recording the outputs 1+2 back into inputs 1+2 results in the recording appearing 90 samples early.
Therefore I must adjust recording offset by -90 samples in order to get the recording to line up with the original.
Leaving it at 0 samples as you suggested always results in a recording being 90 samples early.

Note… this is before using any external effects. No plugins of any kind were used in this baseline loopback test.

So that is the first issue… there is a “negative delay” when recording and this is reported by a simple loopback test.

Now for the external FX.
They are definitely connected correctly because i can send audio out and receive it back having been processed.

If i right click and choose “check user delay” in the vst connections window, the ping is sent and i get a delay of 1.08ms.

However… when I insert the external fx plugin on a track, and click the ping button, the delay slider returns to 0ms.

Now, using the same loopback test, if I insert my external effect plugin and record the output, the audio is recorded 13 samples early. If i adjust the record delay compensation (already on -90) to -103 samples, the recording is aligned with the original. Every time I add a new external effect plugin to the original track, it creates a further -13 sample delay which I must compensate for in the recording offset.

so 2 things are happening here.

1.) there is a recording offset of -90 samples which i have to manually compensate for, even before using external effects.

2.) the external effect plugin does not ping correctly, it always reports 0ms (although the vst connections setup is able to measure a ping of 1.08ms) - even though my connections are in place, and i can send and receive audio to and from my outboard effects.

I hope i was able to explain that clearly. Essentially delay compensation is not working for me, and I have to manually measure and compensate. As i said, using the external i/o in logic 9 correctly reports the -13 sample delay on external effects. So in logic i simply set the recording offset to 90 samples, and the logic i/o plugin is able to compensate for the -13 sample offset without me having to adjust recording delay each time, unlike cubase.

Come on guys at Steinberg. You know about this. Please fix it.

http://www.rme-audio.de/forum/viewtopic.php?id=12103

I have had this problem with Fireface 800 and I am still waiting for a fix.

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Any comment from Steinberg on this would be appreciated. I have paid for every major upgrade of Cubase hoping this problem would be fixed and I feel I deserve a response.

So are you saying that you still get a 90 sample offset -ve time with a loop-through in Logic? and a further 13 sample -ve delay on external FX?

So that would be -2.3ms at 44.1Khz

Does this figure change with different buffer sizes?

Have you tried a loop through using real wires output to input?

When if everything was working correctly it should in fact be a +ve Delay being reported?

If you do a virtual loop back you will end up with a signal that is in front of you original signal. That is something that I would expect. The device driver does not know that it is a virtual loopback and that you are bypassing the AD/DA conversion, so delay compensation will take place. The signal is dragged back by the latency that the ASIO driver reports to the host. You do not have manually compensated this 90 samples mismatch that you have measured. The host and the driver compensate for the AD/DA conversion automatically. The loopback test project from the Steinberg server is for hardwiring, not for virtual connections.

You will find that also with an analog hardwire connection you will have a minimal mismatch of original signal and loop backed signal. This is what the “record shift”Devices-> Device Setup-> VST Audiosystem is for.
So calibrate your timing correctly with a hardware loop and not with a virtual loop.

Now for the external FX.
They are definitely connected correctly because i can send audio out and receive it back having been processed.

If i right click and choose “check user delay” in the vst connections window, the ping is sent and i get a delay of 1.08ms.

However… when I insert the external fx plugin on a track, and click the ping button, the delay slider returns to 0ms.

I cannot reproduce what you report. I used a Fireface 400 and the Cubase external FX. I had a typical reamping setup thus I used an amp to send and a mic to pickup the ping signal. I also wired a Input for the fireface to a mixer and the output of the mixer to an input of the fireface and could measure a ping.
For the external effects connections try to avoid digital routings with ADAT and mixing up two AD/DA converters. Regarding a setup that has two different AD/DA converters involved, and you might if your devices are not from the same type series, you still have one driver that reports one latency. If the AD/DA’s have a different latency I assume that micro timing issues are bound to happen.

  1. Make sure that you route the external effect device to the analog input and output of the same device.

  2. Try to route this effect device loop with the ASIO device that directly relates to the latency that the ASIO driver reports to the host and not to the one that has quicker AD/DA converters.

Is your external effect device routed two the I/O’s of the same device?
Did you already try to switch the connections to the other device?
Do you have a more detailed on how I could reproduce the problem?

Gr,
JHP

I redid the test using cabling instead of virtual routing.

The recording delay is now -13 samples in the loopback test, so I need to set -13 recording offset in order for the original and loopback recording to align.

Buffer sizes make no difference.

Logic and cubase report -13 samples offset when cabled. However logic is still able to ping external effects (producing the -13 sample result) whereas cubase is not.

The instructions in the loopback test do state that virtual connections are supported, and even gives instructions for such. Nevertheless i did as suggested and used cabling. The recording offset with cabling is -13 samples, so recording offset is still required to be set at -13 samples in order for the loopback to be accurate.

I cannot reproduce what you report. I used a Fireface 400 and the Cubase external FX. I had a typical reamping setup thus I used an amp to send and a mic to pickup the ping signal. I also wired a Input for the fireface to a mixer and the output of the mixer to an input of the fireface and could measure a ping.
For the external effects connections try to avoid digital routings with ADAT and mixing up two AD/DA converters. Regarding a setup that has two different AD/DA converters involved, and you might if your devices are not from the same type series, you still have one driver that reports one latency. If the AD/DA’s have a different latency I assume that micro timing issues are bound to happen.

  1. Make sure that you route the external effect device to the analog input and output of the same device.

  2. Try to route this effect device loop with the ASIO device that directly relates to the latency that the ASIO driver reports to the host and not to the one that has quicker AD/DA converters.

Is your external effect device routed two the I/O’s of the same device?
Did you already try to switch the connections to the other device?
Do you have a more detailed on how I could reproduce the problem?

Gr,
JHP

No digital connections are being used with my external effects. Only analog, balanced cable connections.
I tried a simple test, i wired outputs 3+4 back into inputs 3+4 on the same device, and set that up as an external effect. When right clicking and choosing “report user delay” a ping of 1.04ms was measured.

However inserting this effect as an external fx plugin and clicking the ping button reverts the delay slider back to 0ms.

My devices are of the same “series”

I get the same results with one device or another, used in aggregate or used individually.

Logic is able to ping these effect loops.

Cubase is not able to accurately ping the external devices or report the delay using the external fx plugin.

SO in summary I have tried using:

a.) one rme multiface
b.) 2 multifaces in aggregate
c.) virtual & cabled routing (in both cases a delay of -13 samples is measurable on external fx, but cubase cannot ping the external fx)

So using cables it seems any roundtrip is -13 samples, it’s just that cubase is unable to compensate for or detect this while logic is able to.

I have seen reports of this in this thread (another user with a fireface) and in the RME support forums, not sure what else to do or say, I think my tests have been exhaustive and prove that cubase has a problem with accurately pinging external effects with certain interfaces.

RME Support are of the opinion that this is a cubase problem, however you report no problems. It’s very frustrating.

Just because I can’t reproduce with a fireface does not mean “there is no problem”. But a problem occuring does not mean that there is nothing to assess and no solution or workaround. :wink:

I am just squeezing out some information and assessing the situation with you. I am not an ASIO specialist. Of course I will report this thread to the respective departements. Reported: (29350)

Thank you for outling the technical situation so far.
If there is anything you or anybody else that experiences “external effects not pinging correctly with device that is early in timing” would like to add go ahead.

Gr,
JHP

Your input is much appreciated JHP, thank you for trying to assist.
I look forward to hearing if there’s any response from Steinberg

Maybe I did miss something but is this issue considered as been solved?

I have a latency issue with a TC Konnekt 24d and an external compressor.

I don’t have a problem with the ping showing delay compensation, but I did have comb filtering on my Distressor, even though I didn’t have it on my API 2500. I reset Total Mix by holding Ctrl and clicking on number 1. The comb filtering went away.

I don’t know why, but if anybody is reading this because they have comb filtering with their Externbal FX, try it. It worked for me.


Man, I wish I knew about this post!!! I also wish JHP would have stated what his compensated ms number was! That would be good to know.

I run my Mackie with external efx and this posted info from the OP reads all wrong. He knows that 0ms can’t be right, and that’s maybe the best thing he has going for himself. The rest of it is a mess, sorry to say. I wonder if the OP ever figured out how to run an external efx in Cubase? What I can say about this is that you do not need to compensate the track if the Steinberg program makes the adjustment. Just make the recording, import to the project and everything is perfect. When he speaks about adjusting things this speaks of some type of ‘live’ playback. It doesn’t work that way.

Reading JHP’s questions to the OP and then the OP’s response I just cringe because the two are not on the same page.

To swurveman, you wrote ‘Total Mix’ as if it were a heading in the Cubase manual. What are you talking about here? The stock key command ‘Ctrl+1’ = Transport - Set Marker 1. What are you saying that it does on your setup? This doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

Oh, my Steinberg assessed compensated delay using my Mackie is around 17ms. I had not heard about any issues with RME interfaces actually before reading this article. Is Jose around? He is running the RME interface with very small latency. I don’t know whether he is using external efx but I was under the impression that his ms number would beat my Mackie. Not that it really matters because - remember - this is about recording with the external efx and bringing the recorded track back to the project.

The OP was complaining that when he pings an External FX via the Cubase External FX bus through his RME he gets a -ve delay value. This is clearly wrong!

No external Mixer just the external FX!

The OP has a RME Multiface card, which comes with a Totalmix Mixer. Throughout the thread there are references to a comb filtering problem for users of RME cards and TotalMix with Cubase. I have a RME AES32 with a TotalMix Mixer and Cubase 6. My solution -resetting my TotalMix Mixer- was referring to the RME/TotalMix end of the problem. It stopped the comb filtering effect when using my hardware compressor on a Cubase sound source, i.e a vocal… I hope it helps other RME users with TotalMix.