[SOLVED] Latency around 10-20ms. Is it noticable?

Hi guys, this is not a thread for exposing any issue,and this is why I’ve decided to put in in the “Lounge” section.
I just need an advice from more experienced users here.

So, as the title suggests, is the 10-20ms latency something a user can easily notice? (I currently have this latency to my midi setup, I don’t notice anything). And, in case it is noticeable, is it bearable or it can cause trouble?

Thank you!

I’m no expert but I also have that kind of latency with some midi instruments. I can’t feel or hear any delays. Not unless of course you zoom into it. I think the threshold is when you start feeling or hearing delays, which of course, annoys you when you are playing.

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Thank you very much for sharing your observations!

It depends on the instrument, the artist and the genre and what you are doing. If you are simply recording live with a midi keyboard to a click then you may not notice it. If you are adding guitar tracks to existing material even 10ms is too much.


When playing music in on instrument tracks I can sense the latency delay down to around 15ms – sense mind you. When I set the sample buffer low enough for things to feel nice and tight, I end up at around 8ms round trip.


Thank you for your observations, @microapp! I’m mostly concerned about midi controllers, true!


Steve, I’m mostly concerned about creating ARPs and Beats by “abusing” the remote API :slight_smile:
I’ve noticed an additional 10-20ms and that may kill the implementation actually and turn me to code externally.
Thank you for your tip for the buffer, I’ve never pushed it that low, I’ll give it a try!

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I know. But like I said, I sense it as sloppiness in keeping time. It’s interesting to note that when playing live (acoustically), and the guitarist is, say, 3 meters across the stage, one hears the other player’s pluck with about 9ms delay.

Imagine how effed up that is with a whole orchestra! Well, it keeps conductors working, I guess.


I totally get it!

Oh well, I maybe worry a bit too much, since at the end of the day, auto quantize will fix most of lag. After all, when using “real” ARPS I never get them completely synced while recording, I’m just waiting for the corrected loop after the auto quantize :grin:

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When playing guitar or plucked synths or techno/dream piano or finger drumming on pads, I start being bothered by higher than around 10 to 15ms latency as well - also depending on the tightness of the rest of the project.

But listening - I can tolerate quite a bit more without any loss of enjoyment.

In musical terms, latency from a specific track can end up occupying similar territory to a conscious “groove”. e.g. all snare hits being a bit late can also be a laid back groove.

So while latency is definitely a physics and technology phenomenon, it can produce (un)desired groove effects, and thus potentially lead to (un)happy accidents.

Side note about attending live symphonic orchestra performances: the groove may feel slightly different, depending if you sit way on the left (typically low latency for high strings, high latency for low strings) or right (reversed latency) or in the middle of the auditorium. - In reality, this effect may very well be unnoticed, because a large orchestra in a reverb rich auditorium is kind of a sonic mess anyway. A pleasant mess though, unless you only like quantized techno. :crazy_face:


:joy: :joy:

Thank you very much for sharing your experience, @Nico5!

I must admit that all the answers contain info very insightful to me - /at least -.

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I play a roland td30 to trigger sd3 vst in Cubase. I find anything above around 12ms feels not quite right. It has a really tight responsive feel when under 5ms. I’m using an RME audio interface


Wow, 12ms noticeable? Thank you very much for sharing this!

What are you actually recording?

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Adding my voice to that of all others. Depending on what instrument one is playing, even 10 ms can feel a lot. The effect is more pronounced with most acoustic instruments whose sound is really close to the ears. Pluck a guitar, your gut moves. Hit a snare, it’s right there. Sit in front of the piano, the sound is just beyond the keyboard. Play a brass instrument, get the initial sound from just behind the bell, cross your fingers and pray that the first reflection is actually in tune. :rofl:

But with MIDI instruments, especially when controlling synthesized sounds, there’s no sense of “being there”. The sound comes from “elsewhere” (kind of how one plays a vst violin for example. It could be close-miked, but not under-your-chin-screaming-in-your-left-ear-close-miked. Or it could be recorded with more ambience. So the sense is that we’re “controlling” an instrument from far away. Which is in stark contrast with the first paragraph, because in the first case we expect “acoustic” instruments to retain their response when recording.

So… depending on what the goal is, one might or might not get away with 10-20 ms of latency.


To my humble opinion and experience a roundtrip of more than 6ms can allready feel ‘off’ No problem for swelling synth sounds but for playing perussive keys or guitar it feels just okay. Percussion might even need a roundtriup around and under the 3ms.

I would suggest that 10 to 20ms is unworkable

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ARP Bass lines and drum patterns. My plan is to record the MIDI events. I can be almost sure that after hard quantizing the events will fall in sync, however the experience while recording from the comments that I’ve read, may vary.

That’s a relief :slight_smile:

And that’s not a relief :slight_smile:

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If you are an expert knob twiddler who spends his time treating a 303 cut off filter like a scratch dj then yes , with a controller ,it’s nearly impossible to get the precise control you want via anything over 10ms , even then you may be moving parts to sync properly , the MR is not capable of this sort of function YET , i use this sort of behaviour quite a bit ( the hint is in my user name ) and this is one thing the old Generic remote was damn good at , doesn’t matter if it was with sx3 ,5 ,7 ,8 ,10 multiple Midex 8’s with midi leads no longer than 2m on various out board synths , latency was never an issue , but with the new MR this is not possible . So yes it’s very noticeable and makes certain things useless


Not sure I totally understand this. My script triggers midi events from inside the MR to a virtual port, but I do notice latencies (nothing to do with my devices), they are intrinsic.

So sorry for the ‘; that’s not a relief’. Let’s say it all depends. Off course when you don’t mind or feel the slugginesh while playing and quantize everything afterwards there is no problem. To my experience it depens on the chosen instrument and not in the last place on the muscician. Mostly on and around 6ms is found to be accaptable, but I had drummers that were unsatisfied with as little as 3ms. I anyway work analogue (direct output) on a large console. One of the main reasons I still work like that has everything to do with latency. There is non here, no timing issues, no phasing on the headphone. Most people tend to get used to all the side effects of latency, and only start to understand how different the world without it all of a sudden is when they experience how things used to be in the old days.