Ample Guitar -- great sound but latency?

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Matt
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2014/02/15 12:00:37 (permalink)

Ample Guitar -- great sound but latency?

This is a really great sounding sampled guitar.  I already bought it so it's a moot point but I'm not sure I'm understanding the midi time offset.
 
There's a built-in 50ms delay in the sample they explain is to let the sound develop:
 
http://www.kvraudio.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=245&t=402869
 
However, the 50ms delay makes the guitar unplayable in real time.  How does the midi time offset help this?  This is only for playback right?  It doesn't know what key you're going to press before you press it... I guess I'm not understanding how this is a solution.
 
Here's another thread where they offer this "solution":
 
http://www.kvraudio.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=245&t=402203
 
Am I misunderstanding?
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    CJaysMusic
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    Re: Ample Guitar -- great sound but latency? 2014/02/16 10:11:24 (permalink)
    It says to set your track delay to -50ms, which im pretty sure is your offset in Sonar. You also need to take into account the latency that your sound card is set to. Make sure you subtract that from the 50 as it says you need a total of 50.
     
    It sounds like more trouble than its worth.

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    tacman7
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    Re: Ample Guitar -- great sound but latency? 2014/02/16 14:24:57 (permalink)
    You have a midi guitar or are you using a keyboard?
     
    Record a part with a keyboard guitar then play it with ample?
     
    This is not an amp sim right? It's a VSTi?
     
    Arpeggios or strum arps work well with whole note chords.
     
     
    #3
    bitflipper
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    Re: Ample Guitar -- great sound but latency? 2014/02/16 16:11:51 (permalink)
    I demoed that guitar when it was first released, and although the sound was excellent I dismissed it as unusable due to its high CPU requirement. There are too many Kontakt-based instruments available that are far more efficient. That trick of moving the sample start ahead was originally suggested by the vendor, and it's a kludge to cover up problems with the sample player. I'd give the vendor some time to work on optimization and revisit the product in a year or so. In the meantime, check out the Ilya Efimov, Pettinhouse or Orange Tree Samples guitars as more practical alternatives. If those are too pricey, see if Indiginus will fill your needs.


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    Matt
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    Re: Ample Guitar -- great sound but latency? 2014/02/17 10:59:22 (permalink)
    Yes it's a vst instrument I'm playing with a midi keyboard.  I was sold on the demos, they are pretty incredible.
     
    What I mean is that -50ms offset will make playback sound correctly but it doesn't make it actually playable in real time...?
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    Vastman
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    Re: Ample Guitar -- great sound but latency? 2014/05/18 16:25:21 (permalink)
    I don't know guys... I've got a slew of "guitarz" and just bought the AGM,T,F&G and it's frickin' amazing!  as long as timing issues are consistant...
     
    I've just been vamping around with all the 14 strum notes and 28 playing modes and this thing is deep but totally rad... no latency issues playing from the keyboard at all...
     
    Then again, I'm dumb!  Don't really understand the -50 issue... I just tried setting the "time" on the midi track to this and it was wack... then changed it to +50 and sounds great....Don't even really know if this is what you're talkin' bout... but latency hasn't been an issue to me at all and I HATE latency... Will be mucking around a lot this week as it really excites me to have real guitar riffings going again (my old hands are failing) and the melodies/words are flowing differently with this tool
     
    most realistic guitar I've every imagined.  And I haven't even scratched the surface...KVR has a pretty active forum and lots of suggestions by users, some of which already showed up in the latest updates which seem to be coming out fast.
     
    The nice thing is a unified interface across instruments, beautiful deep samples, huge stylizable playing (just switching among the patterns and multiple different single strum keys makes it sooooo much realer than anything else I've tried)
     
    Biggest headache?  Memorizing all the keyboard triggers.... but they are wonderfully done!
     
    BTW, Bit... I don't even think they should have the little demo... it is nothing like the real thing... just gave me a taste of the sound... but after spending the night with the vids from "the reverend" I crossed my fingers and took the plunge.  Glad I did... and their "make your own bundle" discounts were great...
     
     

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    Topographic4001
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    Re: Ample Guitar -- great sound but latency? 2014/12/01 14:33:08 (permalink)
    I'm experiencing similar issues, so I'm adding in my experiences to this post. After I purchased all of Music Labs' virtual guitars and liked them, I decided to get every one of the Ample Guitars too' (except the nylon'). Like some have already said' the sound quality of Ample Guitars is great. However, the latency is severe enough' to make it difficult to incorporate into projects. I created a test template an hour ago, which was for me'... to be able to identify the main problem in using it' inside of Sonar X3 (or any DAW for that matter). I wanted to draft out a comprehensive tech support email to Ample Sound'. One major problem comes up quickly though - there is no tech support for Ample Sound' (Surprise !). There is only a forum (like this Cakewalk forum) where users take their problems, and hope to have them resolved. If you're very polite and don't mention other similar products (that don't have the same problems as Ample Guitar) they will reply back to you' without deleting your questions (yes, their moderator controls the forum's content like a Microsoft lawyer). Regarding my test template, I made a 16th note arpeggio phrase on a piano and quantized it deliberately. Then loaded Music Labs Real Guitar' and copied the piano part to it. They both played back perfectly in Sonar X3 Producer. I then loaded Ample Guitars Taylor, Martin & PRS and copied the same piano part to their tracks. The out-of-time' MIDI offset made this sound terrible. I rerecorded the identical part in real-time playing/recording the Ample Taylor' track' along to the now' existing piano/Real Guitar tracks; It was very cumbersome to make the instrument (sound) on the millisecond your mind hears the notes and your fingers play the notes.. yet the Ample Guitar software playback sound' is later than your fingers striking the notes. It takes me back in time to 1996' to the bad old days' of Gigasampler'. It had this same type of latency issue too'. But this is now 2014' and we should be passed this. Ample Sound' must be secretly working on a fix to this issue, since their competition Music Labs' (does not) have this problem. My personal opinion: Ample Guitars Taylor' and Martin' sound richer in detail than Real Guitar's acoustic does, but if it makes your productivity slow down or even come to a halt because of its problematic timing issues; stay with the product that adheres to all of your other software's basic rules for professional quality software instruments').

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    Kylotan
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    Re: Ample Guitar -- great sound but latency? 2014/12/01 15:10:28 (permalink)
    You could always play a low latency instrument during tracking, and switch to the high latency version later.

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    Karyn
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    Re: Ample Guitar -- great sound but latency? 2014/12/01 15:58:18 (permalink)
    Matt
    Yes it's a vst instrument I'm playing with a midi keyboard.  I was sold on the demos, they are pretty incredible.
     
    What I mean is that -50ms offset will make playback sound correctly but it doesn't make it actually playable in real time...?


    For playing real time the VSTi can't possibly know which key you're going to press next so you'll always get at least 50ms latency.
    For MIDI playback, it does know what's coming next, so you can force it to play everything 50ms early, so the sound plays in time.

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    Topographic4001
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    Re: Ample Guitar -- great sound but latency? 2014/12/01 16:13:57 (permalink)
    Kylotan
    You could always play a low latency instrument during tracking, and switch to the high latency version later.


    Yes you can, but after you do it' you have to shift that track in time to match your other tracks normal time, or create a special pre-offset track within Sonar to accommodate Ample Guitar's limitations. If both Music Labs' and Ample Sound' had the identical problem, I'd be forced to do that. I personally' am going to use Music Labs' virtual guitars until Ample Sound' releases an update that doesn't force users to make their DAW's sync to an out-of-tempo software instrument. It's not a user problem - it's a research & development problem that the manufacturer needs to resolve after this topic' (and it's connected complaints) hit the internet blogs... just not their Ample Sound' blog though... eh'hem.

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    Kylotan
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    Re: Ample Guitar -- great sound but latency? 2014/12/02 05:37:54 (permalink)
    Topographic4001
    Kylotan
    You could always play a low latency instrument during tracking, and switch to the high latency version later.

    Yes you can, but after you do it' you have to shift that track in time to match your other tracks normal time, or create a special pre-offset track within Sonar to accommodate Ample Guitar's limitations.

    Why is that a problem? That's exactly what the Time+ option on a MIDI track is for.
     
    It's not a user problem - it's a research & development problem that the manufacturer needs to resolve after this topic' (and it's connected complaints) hit the internet blogs... just not their Ample Sound' blog though... eh'hem.



    I don't agree. If they want to model the attack correctly, then that will require some period of time where the sample is almost inaudible. I don't see it as any different from playing a "slow strings" patch where I will have to press the keys some time before the start of the measure for it to sound right. Admittedly 50ms is probably more than the sample really requires, although maybe you need most of that for a whole chord strum. Maybe they could have provided a lower latency truncated sample during tracking, though I don't know how feasible that is. The demo video seems to imply they don't really intend it for real time use.

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    Topographic4001
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    Re: Ample Guitar -- great sound but latency? 2014/12/02 10:54:42 (permalink)
    Kylotan
    Topographic4001
    Kylotan
    You could always play a low latency instrument during tracking, and switch to the high latency version later.

    Yes you can, but after you do it' you have to shift that track in time to match your other tracks normal time, or create a special pre-offset track within Sonar to accommodate Ample Guitar's limitations.

    Why is that a problem? That's exactly what the Time+ option on a MIDI track is for.
     
    It's not a user problem - it's a research & development problem that the manufacturer needs to resolve after this topic' (and it's connected complaints) hit the internet blogs... just not their Ample Sound' blog though... eh'hem.



    I don't agree. If they want to model the attack correctly, then that will require some period of time where the sample is almost inaudible. I don't see it as any different from playing a "slow strings" patch where I will have to press the keys some time before the start of the measure for it to sound right. Admittedly 50ms is probably more than the sample really requires, although maybe you need most of that for a whole chord strum. Maybe they could have provided a lower latency truncated sample during tracking, though I don't know how feasible that is. The demo video seems to imply they don't really intend it for real time use.


    We'll agree to disagree then. Music Labs' achieved the standard to go by. I'm beginning to sound like a salesman for them, but when a company gets it right, I respect it and it becomes the de-facto benchmark. Kinda like Spectrasonics' Omnisphere'. Although I have Goliath and SampleTank 2 & 3; Omnisphere is the standard Swiss army knife for all things synth. So let Ample Sound' rise up to the bench and get their (even nicer sounding acoustic guitars) up to snuff and usable, without forcing someone's 98 tracks to conform to it's out-of-sync plucking. I love those quick fade in string patches by the way; Mellotrons, Jupiters, OBX-a's, real string sections of course; but those are supposed to be with a mild attack fade in, unless they're spiccato, staccato, pizzicato, etc. Plucked instruments however, should sound the moment your finger plucks/picks or depresses that key. I think everybody who creates music is aware of the nuance when a guitarist moves their pick over the six strings creating the initial first strum; it' being less than a second before the actual (tick) in time of the true tempo' to be fluidly presented. With the intention that it's sixth and last string be struck through the strum on the next beat of the hard tempo. That's what my wooden guitars and basses do'.. the virtual guitars should be the same. Imagine if your wooden guitar generated its sound 50 milliseconds after you picked it. You'd have to tell your band members to play 50 milliseconds later to all be in sync with one another. These are all details to be worked out by Ample Sound'... and they will resolve it. I look forward to their upcoming fix. Until then, I will use my actual wooden guitars, or Music Labs' software guitars. Again, because Music Labs' just got it right the first time. Let the user create those deliberately out-of-time' fluid strum motions to fit each individual song; not a software doing that on every note.

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    Kylotan
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    Re: Ample Guitar -- great sound but latency? 2014/12/02 12:44:47 (permalink)
    Topographic4001
    Plucked instruments however, should sound the moment your finger plucks/picks or depresses that key. I think everybody who creates music is aware of the nuance when a guitarist moves their pick over the six strings creating the initial first strum; it' being less than a second before the actual (tick) in time of the true tempo' to be fluidly presented. With the intention that it's sixth and last string be struck through the strum on the next beat of the hard tempo. That's what my wooden guitars and basses do'.. the virtual guitars should be the same.



    I don't understand what you're saying here. But if the idea is that the last string is heard 'on the beat', that requires that the first string is heard before the beat. Setting a negative delay would be how you achieve this while still having the MIDI notes quantized. This makes sense for strumming; I don't know why they'd have the same thing for individual notes, if they do, but maybe it's so that they can be consistent across the track.

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    Scoot
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    Re: Ample Guitar -- great sound but latency? 2014/12/02 13:08:07 (permalink)
    Ahh this is a shame. I fancy the Amplesounds J-Bass, and 50 msecs isn't worth it for me. Not sure I'd gamble on that

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    Scoot
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    Re: Ample Guitar -- great sound but latency? 2014/12/02 23:04:51 (permalink)
    PLaying the actual synth rather than a lower latency alteran
    Kylotan
    You could always play a low latency instrument during tracking, and switch to the high latency version later.


    This doesn't really work for me, as the dynamics of synths differ and when you play you play to the synths dynamics. I often assign Breath controller to an aspect of the synth, but the assignment may not be available to the the lower synth, so I can't play that expression, and if it is, it may respond differently.
     
    Then there are the key triggers, these if available will be differently set up, may not be key triggers but ranges.
     
    There is nothing wrong with wanting to play the synth you are recording. You may be happy working around, but you can't just dismiss people thinking for those who don't like 'workaround'.
     
     

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    emeraldsoul
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    Re: Ample Guitar -- great sound but latency? 2014/12/03 00:59:29 (permalink)
    Some users say playing it live doesn't work without setting up compensation.
    Another user says it plays live no problem.
     
    I wonder if the computer specs matter? Midi interfaces might operate quicker with some computers, some soundcards?
     
    just a thought. If the poster Vastman has no problems with latency, and his specs show 48gb of ram, with a fast processor, then maybe he's quickly loading the samples in and that cuts the latency down?
     
    I'm not too bright at all of this, either, but I was looking to pick up the AGT and the J and I'll keep my eye on this thread, thanks!
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    Kylotan
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    Re: Ample Guitar -- great sound but latency? 2014/12/03 05:11:25 (permalink)
    Scoot
    There is nothing wrong with wanting to play the synth you are recording. You may be happy working around, but you can't just dismiss people thinking for those who don't like 'workaround'.



    Ah, I'm not dismissing people. Just saying that if they like the sound of the synth, this is one way in which they can use it. Some here seem to want it to be magical and predict the future - eg. playing a strum across 6 strings such that the 6th string is heard when I press my MIDI keyboard! - so maybe they ask too much.
     
    Judging by the videos it is intended to be a scoring synth rather than a live synth, so you'd record it bit by bit or even manually enter it into the Piano Roll. If that's not how you like to record (and generally, I don't), then it's probably not the synth for you.

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    Karyn
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    Re: Ample Guitar -- great sound but latency? 2014/12/03 08:38:43 (permalink)
    emeraldsoul
    Some users say playing it live doesn't work without setting up compensation.

    That is not possible,  it would require the computer to trigger the sound before you'd pressed the key

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    konradh
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    Re: Ample Guitar -- great sound but latency? 2014/12/03 09:28:55 (permalink)
    I was highly impressed with the audio and video samples on the Ample Guitar site and considered buying it, so this is interesting.
     
    As any of you who know me are aware, I am a huge fan of RealGuitar (Musiclab) because it is simple to use (once you get a couple of concepts down) and the system load is very light.  If you know how to do it, RealGuitar will strum any chord you can think up, plus it is a good solo instrument.
     
    I really want Ample to work, though, because it has a different and really good sound.
     
    One possible issue: if this is one of those systems that requires you to populate a chart with a list of chords you plan to use in a song, that's OK, but that is way less flexible (for me) than just putting the chords in MIDI as I need them.  I do understand, however, that for someone who does not read music (or does not like to), maybe a chord table is a good thing.
    post edited by konradh - 2014/12/04 01:30:49

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    Scoot
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    Re: Ample Guitar -- great sound but latency? 2014/12/03 22:23:22 (permalink)
    Karyn
    emeraldsoul
    Some users say playing it live doesn't work without setting up compensation.

    That is not possible,  it would require the computer to trigger the sound before you'd pressed the key


    Doesn't this apply to all VSTis (what's the plural of VSTi?), but for some reason this one needs it, where wit others the latency is navigable. 
    post edited by Scoot - 2014/12/03 22:39:15

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    #20
    Kylotan
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    Re: Ample Guitar -- great sound but latency? 2014/12/04 07:53:12 (permalink)
    The difference is that there are 2 types of latency in play here - first, a latency in the system that is based on processing time between when the MIDI event is received and the corresponding audio is produced from the synth, and second, a latency that is perceptual based on the 'attack' of the sample, ie. a delay between when a sample starts to play and when it is effectively heard.
     
    The first type of latency can (and usually is) automatically adjusted during playback. The DAW and plugin can work out between them how long it takes for a MIDI note to trigger audio and can read the MIDI early to compensate. (Or can push the audio back, but the end result is the same.) The idea is that sample 1 from the soft synth ends up playing back on exactly the frame when the MIDI On event is triggered. This doesn't help during tracking however because that latency is part of the system and (as we've noted) the DAW is incapable of predicting when you are going to press a key on your keyboard. So you will probably hear more latency while tracking than when you play it back.
     
    The second type of latency is inherent to the sample. If the sample has an attack that takes 50ms before the main transient or peak is heard, it will feel like the sound has a 50ms latency relative to the MIDI event that triggers it. This is going to be here during tracking but it's also not going to go away during playback. Even with the usual latency compensation, a MIDI event at 1.000 seconds is going to result in that transient/peak being heard at 1.050s because that's how long it takes for the sound to 'get going'. If you know your instrument has that kind of slow attack, you can adjust for that with the Time+ option so that the MIDI is triggered slightly earlier to counterbalance it. But it can't be addressed by plugin delay compensation in the normal sense because the plugin's delay is already compensated for. Sample 1 is already playing exactly when the MIDI On event happens - it's just that you don't hear much until Sample 2000 or so.
     
    Now, the plugin could 'lie' to Sonar and pretend it has more inherent latency than it really has, meaning that playback would be more likely to sound like it coincided with the MIDI. But that wouldn't work well if there are a variety of different attack durations (quite likely if some are plucks and some are strums), and either way it would make no difference during tracking because that compensation can't occur in real-time.

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    #21
    Scoot
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    Re: Ample Guitar -- great sound but latency? 2014/12/04 09:45:09 (permalink)
    Its the first type thats the issues here though isn't it. As with the second the comparison is being made against 'like' instruments, so the attack is the same. The first is the response of the instrument, and fro I can make out, complaits are that many other VTis have a lower latency than Amplesound.
     
    I'm not bothered by their guitar stuff, but the Bass stuff (J-Bass) was firm on my list until I read this thread. Playing a bass synth as part of a rhythm has got to be tight, and programming lacks feel.

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    #22
    Kylotan
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    Re: Ample Guitar -- great sound but latency? 2014/12/04 14:05:14 (permalink)
    The makers are on record as saying the 50ms delay is part of the sound ("it takes around 50ms to get the string really vibrating. We preserve the moment of the stroke, otherwise it will sound like piano.") rather than a processing delay.
     
    If I was them I'd try and implement a zero-attack version suitable for tracking (eg. start the samples right before the transient with a very short fade-in) and use the full sample only on playback. I've never written a VSTi though so I'm unsure how practical that is.

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    #23
    Scoot
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    Re: Ample Guitar -- great sound but latency? 2014/12/04 20:10:38 (permalink)
    Wow, is that really the response time of a physical guitar. Doesn't the Haas effect says that a 30ms delay causes a sound to be perceived as a separate sound than another How is this not an issue for a actual guitar player. Why does a piano string respond so differently?
     
    I'm learning guitar, and just at the open chords sort of stage of playing, so complete beginner. I'm not interested in their Guitar stuff, because I think I should make playing the real one the aim. I have both strum acoustic and electric plugs, so if I wanted a substitute for composition I could use them. But then, being they are modelled on a physical string, isn't that an issue for them too?
     
    Bass guitar strings must act similarly to normal guitar, so how does a bass guitar player keep tight, if it takes 50ms to reach its transient peak.

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    #24
    konradh
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    Re: Ample Guitar -- great sound but latency? 2014/12/04 22:56:38 (permalink)
    Scoot, I use Native Instruments Scarbee J-Bass (and Rick and P-Bass) and I have zero latency problems so maybe that's worth looking at instead of Ample Sound.
     
    Note that I always set my Asio buffer low while tracking and high while mixing.
     

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    #25
    Scoot
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    Re: Ample Guitar -- great sound but latency? 2014/12/05 00:37:46 (permalink)
    Cheers Konradh. Had a listen to the demos, I wasn't as sucked into the sound as the amplesound, but maybe that's down the the performances and I can set up more how I liked. It's a fraction of the price of the Amplesound though, and affordable gamble.
     
    Another part of the appeal is that the Amplesound is dedicated to the one job. I considered Trillion, but it looked massive. Scarbee requires Kontact, which comes with a bundle of samples ( I know I don't have to install these, but I'd be intrigued). I'm trying to take a different approach and reduce my VSTi options. I've just installed Sonar on my new laptop, but I haven't installed any Sonar VSTIs. Just AAS full package, XLN Addictive Keys and Addictive Drums.

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    #26
    Kylotan
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    Re: Ample Guitar -- great sound but latency? 2014/12/05 08:00:13 (permalink)
    Scoot
    Wow, is that really the response time of a physical guitar. Doesn't the Haas effect says that a 30ms delay causes a sound to be perceived as a separate sound than another How is this not an issue for a actual guitar player. Why does a piano string respond so differently?

    I just did some unscientific studies by recording myself playing guitar, then zooming in on the waveform.
     
    This is a single plucked note.

     
    The first 20 milliseconds are partly pick noise and partly the string not resonating properly yet, probably due to it being distorted (by the pick movement) near one end of its length and time being needed for the vibration to travel along the whole string and start it all vibrating in unison. Between 20 and 30ms you see the waveform emerging, at 30ms it starts to get a lot louder, but it doesn't peak here until 55ms.
     
    You could probably remove the first 20ms and nothing of value would be lost - but that still leaves a 35ms minimum delay to get a realistic-sounding pluck of one string.
     
    You'll see the period here for each oscillation is roughly somewhere around 3.3ms and 3.2ms, ie. 303Hz. This is what you'd expect, because I've just plucked an open D which is 293Hz, but a plucked string always starts sharp and settles later.
     
    Now, for conjecture:
    • I suspect the Haas effect only matters for hearing 2 separate sounds. I don't think a gap of 30ms between motion and hearing will matter (otherwise, standing more than 30ft from a musician or speaker would mean you don't think they're playing or talking, as sound only travels at about 1ft per second).
    • Not sure about piano strings, but since they are essentially percussion instruments I expect there is a slightly quicker attack. I also don't think it matters much for the reason above. I don't have a real piano to test with, so any test I could do will be on samples which may have already been trimmed. (I did take a look at NI's The Giant, and that did seem to have removed all the hammer noise so you could hear the fundamental almost immediately. I think TruePianos had a more realistic attack but I don't have time to measure it right now.)
     
     
    post edited by Kylotan - 2014/12/05 11:15:56

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    #27
    200bpm
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    Re: Ample Guitar -- great sound but latency? 2014/12/05 08:18:03 (permalink)
    I think its great that keyboard players have guitar VSTis now.  I wonder if any of them sound authentic?
     
    I got the Scarbee Bass VSTs in Komplete, they sound good but programming them or playing them with the needed articulations is almost impossible, just easier to play a real bass.

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    #28
    Scoot
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    Re: Ample Guitar -- great sound but latency? 2014/12/05 08:55:06 (permalink)
    Thanks fr taking the time to test the waveform, I had contemplated doing the myself, but am juggling a few things until after the weekend.
     
    That initial sound is quite low in amplitude, so I agree you could probably dismiss it. Is it the sound of the pick releasing the string, or the initial press against the string. I suspect the latter. Although the peak is at 55 ms, the amplitude is substantial at around 44ms, so removing that 20 seconds pick press m leaves around 24 ms, even less if they treat treat the initial 30 ms as insignificant. The natural envelope of the sound is still there, so hard for them to say it suddenly sounds like a guitar.
     
    I guess I'm just annoyed at their answer, because I had spent time looking at the manuals, checking reviews, and the demos and tutorials. It seemed just what I wanted, then suddenly it isn't
     

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    #29
    JonD
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    Re: Ample Guitar -- great sound but latency? 2014/12/05 09:19:26 (permalink)
    Hmm, despite the so-called "timing issue", there isn't a single post in their forum complaining about it.
     
    So it begs the question:  Is this a perceived problem only from reading the specs, or have you guys actually demoed it to hear if it's unplayable in real-time?
     
     
     

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    #30
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