Hi folks, I've lurked a while at Piano World (DP forum) and happy to support this new venture (thanks CG!). I must admit this is partly motivated by a much better interface, especially when trying to upload files 😀
TL;DR: Ravenscroft 275 is my first VST and latency is unacceptable to me (audio files below). Is this a fairly typical compromise that everyone is making when using VSTs? I would like to know before going any further down the VST rabbit hole…..
I've had a Yamaha CLP-585 since 2014 and interested in getting better sound with VSTs, so I started out with the VI Labs Ravenscroft 275 which I bought last year in a sale after reading good things about it. Running on Windows laptop (i7-6600U processor from 2015, 8GB RAM, Ravenscroft running on internal SSD, seems to cope fine). Using latest version of ASIO4ALL 2.15 and 64 samples buffer (1.5ms) @ 44.1 kHz. I have read most of the discussions about settings/buffers/Macs vs PCs/inherently poor audio setup on PCs/external audio eg Focusrite.
For these 2 audio files I have mixed the audio of the onboard CFX Grand with the Ravenscroft 275 together so you can hear the "echo" of latency. Recorded twice using 2 routings:
CLP-585 > Cable (see below) > Windows laptop > R275 on UVI Workstation using ASIO4ALL drivers > Laptop headphone socket 3.5mm > CLP-585 Aux in > Headphone out to audio recorder (WAV) > Audacity editor (amplify & export to MP3)
Each sample starts with me playing just the Ravenscroft 275 (Local Control OFF on CLP-585 to mute onboard sound), then I turn Local Control ON to bring in the onboard CFX Grand sample which gives an "echo" effect of the R275 latency.
1- Cable is USB (B to A) which gives ground loop noise: usb-cable-ground-loop-noise.mp3
2 - Cable is Roland UM-One Mk 2 MIDI to USB cable: midi-cable.mp3
Many thanks to Gombessa for the great advice on the PW thread about solving ground loop noise. I thought I would compare latency using both direct USB & Roland MIDI just to be sure, and also give an example of the ground loop noise produced when using direct USB if this helps anyone. I can't notice any difference in latency between them, not that I really expected any difference.
By using Audacity to visually identify the separate audio peaks of onboard CFX and the R275 (bit tricky), I estimate about 60 - 70ms latency between onboard & VST which is the equivalent of sound travelling distance of approx. 20m.
The problem for me is that when playing Ravenscroft 275 VST, my brain is waiting for the sound when my finger hits the bottom of the key and it just doesn't feel natural.
For those of you who use VSTs regularly, I would really appreciate your feedback on the audio files above and whether you notice any similar latency compared to your onboard sounds.
If using a VST is always going to result in noticeable latency and small loss of "immediacy" in the sound then fine, I can learn to live with onboard sounds and trade up to a newer model at some point.
If you can't tell any difference in latency between onboard & VST then great, I will continue looking at options. Most likely going to end up with a VSL Synchron piano (wait for release of their M1 native version first) and Macbook Air or Mini (wait for next Apple product updates later this year). In which case time to start saving….🙂