need more latency time: possible to increase buffer size above driver limits (on weak CPU)?

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KVRist
443 posts since 4 Dec, 2019

Post Mon Jun 21, 2021 3:30 am

I use the Yamaha Steinberg USB ASIO driver for Cubase.
To compensate for my weak CPU I often have to set up the buffer size to max: 2048 samples with around 60 ms of latency.
However that is too often still not enough: there is lots of crackling noises when I play sounds in Serum that have much unison. The CPU would still need some time longer to calculate the output sound I think.
So I wonder (because I don't want to buy a more powerful PC now) if there is a way to still increase latency above what this driver was programmed for? Or is there an alternative driver that can do it?
It really wouldn't matter if I had to wait for the sound (for longer than 60 ms, even a second...) but I'd like the sound to be clean without having to record it first and freeze the track and all that...
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KVRian
776 posts since 15 Jul, 2016

Post Mon Jun 21, 2021 3:58 pm

Because audio is realtime, you won't be able to buffer your way out from a weak cpu.

Think of the buffer as the biggest dude in the gym and let's say I am the cpu. I can lift just 11 kilos.
With a small buffer, the dude throws at me very fast 1 to 10 kilo weights and I lift them all. Maybe, at times, I get distracted and skip some of them (clicks and pops).
Now you increase the buffer, so the dude regularly sends me 10kilo weights, I lift them all with no issue.
You increase the buffer again, now my bro is sending me like clockwork batches of 20kilos but is obvious I won't be able to lift them, as I can lift only half. (clicks and pops again).

Also Cubase is a little disaster (to put it mildly) when it comes to cpu management. Even with asio guard enabled, Cubase won't reach the multicore performance of modern engines like the ones in Ableton or Bitwig. You really don't have options here: change cpu or daw or, even better, both.

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KVRAF
2038 posts since 10 Jul, 2006 from Tampa

Post Mon Jun 21, 2021 4:38 pm

Your best bet would be to optimize your system. This includes turning off anything you don't absolutely need for audio work (including Wi-Fi and anti-virus), only runing the Windows, Cubase and ASIO/audio interface services and apps that are required for recording and playing back audio.

Most people don't bother doing this, or don't bother doing it properly. When done properly, it can make a huge difference and can help squeeze a bit more processing power from your CPU.

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KVRAF
13033 posts since 8 Mar, 2005 from Utrecht, Holland

Post Tue Jun 22, 2021 1:23 am

Have you tried Reaper?

No joke: it's the most CPU efficient DAW on the block.
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KVRist
138 posts since 8 Mar, 2003 from Cologne

Post Tue Jun 22, 2021 1:37 am

Steinberg did release an asio driver based on mme/directx drivers years ago, there should be larger buffersizes possible with this one. I don't know if this one is still available though. It was bundled with Cubase in the past.

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KVRist

Topic Starter

443 posts since 4 Dec, 2019

Post Tue Jun 22, 2021 5:39 am

I don't want to change my system atm though I will have to in the long run, I know.
In the long run I'll have to get a more powerful computer, anyways...
But I'm looking for a transitionary solution here.
I've tried to get rid of everything unnecessary already. There's nothing running in the background that's not alsolutely necessary for music.

I think I could buffer my way out for this special purpose: simply checking how certain sounds I create sound. That's all I would like to do: the added crackling noises bug me when I try to create sounds with heavy unison + FX in Serum. The heavy CPU charge will only last a few seconds so I could buffer my way out in this case.
Of course I couldn't play a whole piece in real time with my weak CPU if I use sounds that eat up lots of CPU because then I'd have to increase buffer sizes so much that I'd have to play blindly - with the sounds coming out of the speakers only hours later... But for live performances I'd simply sample the sounds to reduce CPU load. This is just to shortly play more CPU intense sounds to fine tune them while doing sound design and being able to shortly listen to the sounds in real time without crackling noises resulting from CPU overload.

So the closest solution is polac's suggestion but there's no link and I couldn't find such an alternative driver so far. I'm looking for an alternative driver that allows for greater buffer sizes than the standard one so my computer would have more time to think than they usually admit. It's like a solution for the handicapped who are a bit slow and who need more time... My computer is a bit like that. My hope is that someone has had this problem before and could solve it?
Nothing can be better than liberty and free time to spend as you choose. Don't let those modern slaveholders ruin your life!

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KVRAF
13033 posts since 8 Mar, 2005 from Utrecht, Holland

Post Tue Jun 22, 2021 7:07 am

juno987654321 wrote:
Tue Jun 22, 2021 5:39 am
I think I could buffer my way out for this special purpose: simply checking how certain sounds I create sound.
[...]
My hope is that someone has had this problem before and could solve it?
No, larger buffers will only help to a certain extent.

Have you tried Reaper instead of Cubase?
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KVRist

Topic Starter

443 posts since 4 Dec, 2019

Post Tue Jun 22, 2021 8:01 am

Hmn, I'm skeptical if it couldn't work with an even higher buffer size. As I increased the buffer size the crackling noises disappeared more and more and the sound got better and better, so I thought even higher buffer sizes might work?
But maybe there is a limit for some reason? Could be so. I'd have to try it out if I could find an alternative driver...

I could also try Reaper and see if it works. This would be less convienent, but I could only use Reaper in combination with Serum in special cases if Cubase fails. I wouldn't want to give up on Cubase in all other cases.

So yeah, might be an idea worth trying. Still, I already fear that it's Serum that really eats up most of the CPU and Cubase/Reaper will only make a small difference. Could try, though...
Is Reaper for free, then? Don't have much money atm which is why I have to become creative in the first place. Otherwise I could just buy a new computer and everything would be great...
Nothing can be better than liberty and free time to spend as you choose. Don't let those modern slaveholders ruin your life!

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KVRAF
13033 posts since 8 Mar, 2005 from Utrecht, Holland

Post Tue Jun 22, 2021 1:46 pm

juno987654321 wrote:
Tue Jun 22, 2021 8:01 am
Is Reaper for free, then? Don't have much money atm which is why I have to become creative in the first place. Otherwise I could just buy a new computer and everything would be great...
Wow, nobody told you yet? :shock:
https://www.reaper.fm/purchase.php
There is only one version of REAPER. The license price depends on how you use it.
$60 : discounted license.
$225 : commercial license.
You may use the discounted license if:
You are an individual, and REAPER is only for your personal use, or

You are an individual or business using REAPER commercially, and yearly gross revenue does not exceed USD $20,000, or

You are an educational or non-profit organization.

Please download and evaluate REAPER before purchasing.
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KVRAF
29280 posts since 11 Apr, 2010 from Germany

Post Tue Jun 22, 2021 1:56 pm

Reaper might be pretty CPU efficient, but, frankly, what's the benefit of being able to play one voice more? The CPU is your problem, and nothing in the world will cure that.

Tough stuff, but, that's how it is.
Plugins and a DAW. On an operating system. Which runs on a computer.

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KVRist

Topic Starter

443 posts since 4 Dec, 2019

Post Tue Jun 22, 2021 2:40 pm

Now that Bert has told me that Reaper is not for free I'm no longer interested in Reaper.

Won't matter. I'll keep exporting the results to .wav and use my fantasy to imagine the sounds without crackling noises or pops in between as I tweak them if there's no better solution atm.
I'll keep unison voices low as I tweak and only at the end up them to 12 on both oscs.
Then I could sample the results and get no issues, just clear and good sounds.

Just thought someone would come up with a still better workaround solution I haven't thought of yet.
Cubase THIS TIME is not the problem. I'll stay with it. :tu:
Nothing can be better than liberty and free time to spend as you choose. Don't let those modern slaveholders ruin your life!

KVRist
138 posts since 8 Mar, 2003 from Cologne

Post Wed Jun 23, 2021 1:46 am

Another thing you could try is to use the asio driver provided by flstudio, this one is based on wasapi. Didn't try it but there is the possibility that you can set larger buffersizes. It should also install with the demo of flstudio.

KVRer
21 posts since 26 Oct, 2017

Post Wed Jun 23, 2021 2:11 am

if I remember correctly Flstudio asio driver gives you 2048 max buffer. Same with asio4all. You can try free asio2wasapi. From my experience I'm afraid others tell you the truth: freeze or get newer hardware...

KVRist
138 posts since 8 Mar, 2003 from Cologne

Post Wed Jun 23, 2021 2:16 am

Ah ok, so no solution in this case.

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KVRAF
13033 posts since 8 Mar, 2005 from Utrecht, Holland

Post Wed Jun 23, 2021 3:04 am

juno987654321 wrote:
Tue Jun 22, 2021 2:40 pm
Now that Bert has told me that Reaper is not for free I'm no longer interested in Reaper.
The eternal fully functional demo IS free. Not even willing to try it? Your loss, not mine :shrug:
We are the KVR collective. Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated. Image
My MusicCalc is back online!!

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