Audio Interface Latency Benchmarks

My biggest question with getting an audio interface is: will it automatically reduce latency?

I am currently using the built in sound card for my audio system, it’s a non AISO driven sound card. I feel (but haven’t tested) that I am getting essentially no latency.

Would I automatically get better latency with a $100 interface?

Would I get even better latency with a $900 interface (RME/Apollo)?

Are there any benchmark tests of the latency of interfaces? I don’t mean manufacture marketing… but a closed loop test of various makes and models?

Then you are on Mac, or you are an organist used to play with delay. :wink:

No, I am on a PC… HP ZBook… very decked out.

I have my keyboard with sounds patched into a mixer along with the output of Gig Performer and I can play both at the same time. There is no discernable latency coming from Gig Performer with this hardware setup.

Gig Performer does have a Latency measure tool !!
https://gigperformer.com/docs/Userguide36/editwindow.html

OK, then you are an organist!

No truly, without audio interface, I have more than 10ms latency, and I am not comfortable to play a piano VST with such a delay. Did you try to measure your latency using the GP latency measurement?

In general, any decent audio card will have lower latency than what’s built in to your PC.

Also, a lot depends on the device drivers and while I have not used an Apollo, the RMEs are my goto interfaces and they’re superb.

There are lots of decent ones around the $400/500 mark (that seems to be the really sweet spot) but I can’t (and won’t) personally comment on interfaces I haven’t used myself.

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I can’t measure the latency with the built in tool because without an interface with i/o, my laptop only has 1 1/8" jack which can be assigned as either i or o but of course not both.

Just comparing the audio from both my laptop and my keyboard, playing a percussive sound, I can’t really hear any latency.

Which… gets me back to my original questions:

Would I automatically get better latency with a $100 interface?

Let’s assume based on your experience David-san that yes… automatically it’s a positive.

Would I get even better latency with a $900 interface (RME/Apollo)?

Which is to say… in this situation where all I care about is audio out of Gig Performer and not recording or other issues… what if any are the latency advantages from one interface over another?

Are there any benchmark tests of the latency of interfaces?

So this is something pretty common to graphics cards, where you run a software test and report exactly what the FPS or CUDA performance is. In theory the Gig Performer software test (requiring a hardware loop in place) does an accurate job of measuring this. All things being not equal, if someone had access to multiple interfaces testing their latency using the same computer… you would be able to demonstrably measure the latency performance of one interface vs another. In other words… a bench mark test. I think this would be very useful.

Seems not up to date… but even so a good read thru
https://www.dawbench.com/audio-int-lowlatency.htm

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Yeah, dated but as with a lot of things well researched, even if the tech isn’t current (firewire 400!) the fundamentals are there. I still have a hard time with the notion of investing in an RME Babyface which is USB where as I’d have no issue paying for a Hammerfall card… if that were an option for this setup but it’s not.

With my laptop supporting TB3, I’d rather go that route (apollo duo x) but again… I wonder if that extra $$$ will pay any dividends in latency performance over something that costs $100.

And the link you sent points out one very key thing… these manufactures just want to sell their latest model and if they disclose latency at all it’s under hypothetical best case scenarios and shouldn’t probably be trusted.

I don’t understand your quest for the lower possible latency if you are already happy with your current latency. Remembering the time when I chose my audio interface I had several issues. The first was that my Win PC has more than 10ms latency with the internal sound card: a no go for me! Then I had an issue with audio interfaces not supporting USB 3.0 while I had no other option on my NUC PC. I tested many audio interfaces and found only two could survive to USB 3.0 at this time: a RME and an Audient, both with an acceptable latency to me. Finally after a double blind audio test, I chose a RME UCX, and believe me or not, I didn’t want to buy such an expensive audio interface :grimacing:

So, what is exactly YOUR motivation in buying an audio interface?

I’m new to Gig Performer and while this works well now… 1/8" audio jacks on the motherboards of PC’s generally speaking aren’t the cleanest ;-).

I also don’t entirely understand what Gig Performer hands off to the interface. Is it simply the audio output or are any of the VSTs processed on the interface?

Plus, I am a drummer and I would see a day where I would potentially start recording with an interface. That’s not my immediate need but I don’t like to buy things twice. Latency is very key when tracking drums unless you are doing direct monitoring.

Overall, it makes sense that I would use an interface. With VST, latency is very important so I don’t want to plug one in and find I am actually unhappy with latency or sound quality.

And… I am just one who likes hard data. I referenced how GPUs are easily testable in an apples to apples way and thought there might be either something similar to that I haven’t found or… someone’s real-world experience where they found latency was much better/worse with one interface over another.

Yes, it is

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this:-

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Thats the same benchmarks I’ve posted above…

Regarding latency, there are tests available, but I doubt that any decent audio interface would have a higher latency that your laptop built-in audio card:
http://www.dawbench.com/audio-int-lowlatency2.htm

Regarding audio performance, I think it is better to use your own ears to test a few candidates.

As you are on Win/PC it is interesting to benefit from an audio interface with a multi-client driver. So you will be able to use several GP instance at the same time or use one together with a DAW.

As mentioned by @dhj it is basically the audio, yes. But you sometimes also have a MIDI interface built into the audio interface and some brands (e.g. Universal Audio) offer some specific VST using their built in hardware DSP (I personally prefer to be more generic, i.e. less hardware dependent).

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Latency is decent enough for all well known brands.

If you are a rich man or for professional use, go to RME, otherwise most of existing interfaces will fit.

If you are guitarist/singer, a 2x2 interface is ok, but if you are a drummer, you will need at least a x8 inputs unless using a MIDI electronic drum.

This will weigh on your budget.

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Whoa, this thread is gold.

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You should probably ask your questions about keyboard controllers on our hardware forum, you’ll probably get answers more quickly than at the other forum where you posted your question :slight_smile:
Having said that, thanks for the kind words about GP on the other forum!!!

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It’s possible your laptop has latency close to that of a “professional” audio interface. Microsoft made a lot of changes to its basic audio system over the years, and I’ve read claims that the Windows 10 WASAPI (Windows Audio Stack API) drivers can rival ASIO (which is the standard for all the pro interfaces).

Realtek, who makes the majority of the audio chips for Windows based laptops and desktops, also has various versions with ASIO drivers. So if you have a high end laptop and installed the Realtek drivers it’s possible you’re already on ASIO and won’t see much latency improvement going to an external interface.

Regarding USB 2 vs 3 vs. Thunderbird, you’re not going to get a material difference there. At least not unless you’re getting into the several thousand dollar class of interfaces that have more than 30 audio ins and outs.

I’ve benchmarked my own audio interfaces from RME, Focusrite, Prosonus, and MOTU over the years. Last time I did it was a couple years ago. The lower end drivers have improved a lot, and off the top of my head I believe there was only about 1 ms difference between the fastest (RME) and slowest (Focusrite). A 1ms difference is like sitting a foot further away from your speakers.

Whatever you buy, just make sure it has ASIO drivers. There are some low end usb dongles out there that are fine for connecting to your stereo, but have high latency.

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While latency is important, the sound quality is also a factor to consider.

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