Understanding ASIO guard levels

Lowest latency possible is very important for most of my projects.
For recording keyboard with VST plugin and for guitar/bass recording with effects/plugin.
But so is stability/playability. hm.

I don’t quite understand the ASIO guard concept fully…
How does the 3 different ASIO guard levels differ? + on vs. off
Will a high ASIO guard setting allow me to have lower buffer than usual, or is it the other way around?

The buffer settings are seperate from the asio guard settings.

When turning asio guard on means that all the tracks which are being played back will have bigger buffer settings, this is to minimize the cpu consumption.
Asio guard is only in effect for live vsti or recording/monitoring tracks, the levels is obvious but which way is up, isn’t clear to me also.

Hope this clarifies a bit, ooh and if somebody thinks it needs to be corrected … be my guest :slight_smile:

Asio guard is only in effect for live vsti or recording/monitoring tracks,

Exactly, just the other way around.
Record enabled or monitored tracks are processed in realtime, the rest is pre-processed by Asio guard using a larger buffer.
By how much larger depends on your setting.

I’ve only recently bothered to look into the use of ASIO guard on my machines, and for what it’s worth it works extremely well on both my desktop and laptop.


But haha I still don’t quite get it
Why would anyone put the ASIO guard on lowest setting or disable it?
And, wouldn’t a high ASIO guard setting give more headroom to lower the buffer on one realtime track?

Because you can keep your buffer at a low level, say 128 or lower. And with asio guard enabled you would never have to adjust buffer settings again. The additional play buffer does that the project doesn’t stutter even if you have pilled dozens of tracks on. Really nice when it works :slight_smile:

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Ok, so I just put the guard on HIGH and be able to have even lower buffer on one track?
If low latency invites stutter, and ASIO guard prevents stutter, the high setting must be better?

Some users have reported that ASIOguard doesn’t work on their machines as it should, so there have been different threads looking at for example different buffer sizes versus ASIOguard.

Your explanation of what you would expect from ASIOguard and being able.to record and monitor with minimum buffer size/minimum latency, is exactly what I would expect. But I think you need to do real world tests with your own setup. On my machine, I always use minimum buffer size for my interfaces but then I run small and uncomplicated projects. Consequently on my desktop there appears very little difference between small, medium and large ASIOguard and how they affect my real time ASIOmeter.


Q. Why would you NOT want to run ASIO Guard at the highest level all the time?
A. When a track has ASIO guard working on it, Cubase is looking ahead and pre-processing it. But, say you are doing an effect parameter automation pass… When you move the parameter for that track, the result can not take place immediately because the track is already processed for some amount of time into the future. Thus, introducing a latency. So, if you reduce the level of ASIO Guard, or turn it off, you reduce or eliminate that latency.

Ah, my brain understands it better now :smiley:
So ASIO guard acts like a buffer divider.

I think of it like the Freeze function, but somewhat agile and automatic.

I upgraded from C6 to C8, massively excited at the prospect of ASIO guard. However it makes no difference here and often makes things worse. So disappointed. Wish I was one of the lucky ones. I just leave it off

This is something that has been exercising my brain for many years and believe me my brain does not get enough exercise.

I have however found a workaround for recording guitar and bass. I use UAD efx and with Asioguard there can be a fair amount of latency, even running at 64 samples. You can use any standalone Amp Sim for this. I have an RME Fireface UC, but I guess any multi channel soundcard will work just as well. I set up the Stand alone (Amplitude 4 and run it at the same time as running Cubase. I set up an audio track in Cubase with the same preset in Amplitude 4, also selecting the same input channel. I now can monitor straight through the soundcard with very little latency. When I am rehearsing the part I mute the Cubase track. However when I record I unmute the track but leave it in playback mode, thus avoiding hearing both the playback and the direct monitored sound. I can then immediately audition what I have just played. I have found that it makes timing so much better this way.

Perhaps you do this already?

Cheers, David

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I’m currently working on a commercial project right now with a lot of long tailed reverbs for sound design elements. The track is also a fully composed music track as well with multiple sections, so the treatment of the instruments varies throughout. While composing on the track project I had my I/o buffer set to 256 and had a real problem with Cubase stuttering during measures that had to change tempo and meter at the same time. When I changed the ASIO Guard from normal to High the stuttering went away and everything played back smoothly. The only way I could get smooth playback with ASIO Guard on Normal was to change the I/o buffer setting to 1024 - which then was problematic for playing in time! I think just setting the ASIO Guard to High is the way to go and keep your I/o buffer set low.

That’s the way I do it…