Thank you in advance for any help you may provide on my issue.
I have a very very strong desire to record some of the music I have written on my PC. The PC is newish.. it has an Intel i7 quad core, 12 MB of Ram. I can't imagine that such a computer would be unable to be used for decent recordings? However, when I try to playback a track and record a second instrument over it, there is a delay between the music and my the next instrument. Further, if I set the mic up so that I can hear it through the speakers, there is a large delay between what I play and what I hear. I believe the problem I am referring to is that of "latency" though I may be using terminology incorrectly. All I want to do is be able to play something into the mic and have it played over my headphones without delay so I can jam along to prerecorded tracks or do vocals over them.
I did not purchase a soundcard with my system. When ordering from Dell I asked if the Presonus Audiobox USB I own would function negate the need for a soundcard, he said yes this was even better than a sondblaster I could have installed. Is this true? Is this my problem?
Of note: my ableton live preferences show the following - I have no idea what these setting mean
Input buffer size: 0 samples
Input latency 0.00 ms
Output buffer size 4096 Samples
Output latency: 92.9 ms
Drive error compensation -2248 ("smp" is highlighted in an orange box)
Overall latency 41.9 ms
In/Out sample rate: 44100
Default SR and Pitch Conversion: Normal
The problem is this: You bring an analog signal into the PC, and it gets converted to digital. To play back that signal, it needs to be converted back to analog, then outputted to the speakers. There will be delay, no matter what you do.
In theory, a dedicated USB solution could be faster, but it depends on the exact implementation..
One thing you can do is make sure the sample rate is no more then 48KHz, to avoid any unnecessary audio conversion.
Most studioz run the instruments rough large mixing boards and the board leads straight into foldbacks while the recording compenent is just "mixed out" of the board so it looks like.
The main issue comes to drivers. Onboard audio simply isn't designed with audio input in mind, so you go through the entire audio conversion chain. Even soundcards are optimised for audio output, and will have delay on audio inputs.
Something like an M-Audio soundcard, which is designed for audio input, or a soundcard with ASIO support, would be closer to what you are looking for.
If you open the Audiobox appilcation up ("C:\Program Files\PreSonus\AudioBox\AudioBox.exe") and make sure that the Sample Rate is set to 44.1 kHz and the ASIO Buffer Size is set to 256. You should achieve the minimal amount of lag you desire. Of course, you wanted less lag. I'm pretty sure you need to fork out some cash for a more expensive or Firewire sound card to achieve the least amount of latency. Your output buffer size looks pretty large too, but I use Ableton Live and in the preferences there's not much you can change there in ASIO mode. I'm not sure what software you are using but you should probably start at 256 samples for input and output buffer sizes and work your way up till the lag is intolerable then go back to the setting where it was reasonable. It worked for me. I hope this helps you.
Oh, also, I would set Driver Error Compensation to zero.