How to record midi without latency in a CPU Intense project with many Plugins

Hello Community,

I am often struggling to add new midi layers to an already big project. Even when I freeze all instruments (except the one I am triggering) with their channels and bypass all inserts in the mixer, I cannot get the latency back to the level of a new project.

So here is my scenario:

  • a project with Native Instruments Maschine and Kontakt loaded as vst Instruments
  • About 10 midi tracks triggering different sounds in both samplers
  • Activated 4 outputs for different sounds on both samplers (Overall 8 channels)
  • Already done lots of mixing with third party plugins on most channels including a mastering chain on stereo out
  • Have increased the audio buffer of my interface to 1024, asio guard is deactivated, input and output latency is about 25 seconds

The project runs smoothly and mixing works perfectly - no glitches at all. However, with the large buffer and all the plugins loaded, it is obviously difficult to play along with let’s say another instance of Kontakt.

What can I do to prepare such a project for live jamming without resetting everything?

What I am trying is:

  • Freeze all unused instruments
  • Bypass all inserts in the Mixer
  • Reduce buffer size in Studio/Studio Setup/VST Audio System to minimum

After, the project indeed runs smoothly at the low buffer size, the reported input latency is around 6ms. However, still when I hit a note on my midi keyboard, I only hear the sound with considerable latency. When recording, Cubase seems to put my hits to the right place yet it is difficult to get groovy when monitoring is delayed.

Generally, I have no problems with latency on my system. In a native project, everything is perfect and I can play along even after layering quite a few sounds and loading several vst instruments. But somehow, when I start adding third-party plugins, it changes irreversibly. Freezing, bypassing, and fiddling around with buffer size does not help. Every sound I trigger with my midi controller reaches my monitors delayed.

So, how are you going about this? Any tips and strategies on how to prepare such a project for a new latency-free groovy take of live jamming? I would be very grateful to learn about some workarounds.

One solution that comes to my mind is doing a mixdown, jamming with mixdown in a different project and then later importing the new tracks to the old project but hmmm, that’s tedious…I’d strongly prefer a solution by which I can keep it all in one project…

A simple way to check that is to show latency on each channel in your mixer. see what you have there.

or an quick fix is to export your song to a wave, put in a fresh project and record what you need … export that then import to exciting project

Have you tried ‘constrain delay compensation’? I use that when my latency gets too high to record with. It turns off plugins that are adding latency to the signal path. It might not work in your case because it sounds like you have manually done the same kind of thing but it’s worth a shot.



that’s exactly what the ‘constrain delay compensation’ button is for.


Yes, indeed! Thats it! :exclamation: :exclamation: :exclamation: :mrgreen:

Thank you soooo much, folks, for taking time. I was not aware of this functionality and it puts the whole problem to rest. Its a game changer for my production workflow. :stuck_out_tongue:

Also, many thanks for the hint to the channel latency. Was not aware of this either…very good to finally see which plugins are actually causing latency.