Tricks with latency and serial/parallel processing with computer and outboard gear?

I recently moved and have a larger, more dedicated space to set up music equipment. I’ve spent some time organizing a lot of my gear into the various inputs/outputs of my interface and building up an Ableton Live set that allows me to send signals into and out of the interface in any order (or parallel).

For example, I can run a sample on my computer -> my modular -> pedal board -> analog heat -or- a sample -> analog heat -> pedal board -> my modular by switching around the sends and returns. I am having a lot of fun exploring these different pathways and the changes in the resulting signal.

The issue I’m running into is when I start to build up more complicated set ups (especially when the final output is made up of parallel streams of audio that have went through different paths), the resulting mix can end up sounding very doubled and sloppy because of the latency the various paths can introduce into the system.

I’ve been exploring some of Ableton’s documentation around the topic. I’ve had some luck “eyeballing” the delay compensation inputs that are available for various tracks which can mostly fix issues, but I’m curious if there are some other “tricks” out there for dealing with this kind of thing.

For my personal use case, at least for now, I don’t really care if there’s a lot of delay between what is actually “played” and what I “hear” in terms of amount of latency…I’m fine tracking instrumentation where this sort of accuracy matters in a more dry way…I’m more concerned with the relative latency differences right now.

I’m wondering if this sort of thing is something others have experimented with and might have suggestions as to what I can do or try to make things a little easier (and more creative/fun and less tedious tweaking).

And for specifics, I’m using the Saffire Pro 40 with channels running in and out of my:

  • modular
  • reamp box -> amp -> pedal board (gets signal from the send jack of the amp’s effects loop) -> DI’d to the interface
  • joemeek preamp with a fuzz pedal in the insert chain

I have a mic on the amp’s speaker which I can mix in as another “color”

I also have an elektron heat which is doing it’s own da->ad through usb and overbridge.

Hi, I’m totally new here so hopefully I’m using this place correctly :slight_smile: For awhile I’ve been suffering with latency when recording my synths. I monitor audio through my interface (UAD Apollo x8p) rather than through the DAW itself, so while playing I have no issues with latency there. However after recording, if I play back the result it’s always off, either ahead or behind the beat, and I have to drag the region on the grid. This isn’t always a big deal if something I played has pretty obvious rhythmic transients, where I know I hit certain beats. But if it’s a pad or soft bass or something thick without many peaks, lining it up manually gets a little annoying. But I’ve just been manually fixing recordings after the fact and I’d like to find a way to fix this once and for all.

The other issue I have with latency is sync - with sequencers, drum machines, or any synth running an arp or rhythmic LFO. Even when monitoring over my interface, the rhythm is always off. Not necessarily drifting, just off. If I know I want a 16th note arp sometimes I’ll just record it knowing that it’s off and then line up those transients afterwards on the grid. But this makes jamming and trying ideas live otherwise impossible.

My DAW of choice is Logic but I also use Ableton sometimes and this can apply to both (also I use a MOTU MidiExpressXT for midi and CV.OCD for my Euorack and I use USB for some of my modern synths).

In the DAW, basically there are latency settings in the sync/clock menus, as well as on any midi tracks used as a trigger you can adjust latency, either in ticks or milliseconds, negative or positive values. I guess my question is how do I know? Is there a technical and precise way of, I dunno, “pinging” the equipment or something to see what the current delay is in precise milliseconds, and then I can enter that value into those fields to adjust accordingly? Or do I just have to guess every time? Would love to get it set up precisely in my project templates so I can just play and not have to worry about it. Thanks!