Tutorials / 4 April 2018

What Is Latency?

Imagine you’re recording vocals. You’ve got a drum track and rhythm parts ready… you hit record, sing over the track and you’re feeling good about the take. But when you play your recording back, your vocals sound slightly out of time. Chances are, you’re suffering from a serious case of latency issues.

What is latency?

Latency is the delay generated between when you play, or record a signal and when it plays back through a system or your headphones. Although this is often milliseconds, it’s significant enough to cause problems in your workflow.

Why the delay?

When you strum a chord on a guitar, or sing a note into the microphone, the audio signal is sent into your computer soundcard, converted from analog into digital bits of information, processed in your DAW, re-converted into analog and then sent back to your speakers.

This journey that your audio signal travels takes time – usually just a tiny few milliseconds, but this seemingly negligible delay is noticeable enough to throw everything out of sync.

How do I fix latency?

Thankfully, there are things you can do to eliminate latency and help you record with peace of mind.

First, take a look at your computer setup. Recording on a DAW can take up quite a lot of processing power and RAM. Closing all unnecessary programs allows your processor to run at its full potential. Having a good computer is the foundation of a recording setup, so if you’re still having problems, even with only BandLab open, it might be time to consider a hardware upgrade.

What is latency correction?

The next thing you can do, thanks to a bit of smart trickery, is called delay compensation. On BandLab, round-trip latency correction is available on the web Mix Editor and the Android app. If you’re experiencing latency on BandLab, click the gear icon at the bottom right of the screen and select “Latency correction”. Unplug your headphones and start the test. BandLab will compensate for this delay, and you’ll be able to record latency free.

Is there anything else I can do?

The most common fix, and something we highly recommend when doing any form of audio recording, is to use an audio interface. The BandLab Link Digital is optimised for the lowest latency with minimal setup required, just plug and play.

We hope these few tips help with reducing your latency problems so all of your focus can be on making great music.

Start a new project on the Mix Editor today, here.

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