Big latency problem :(

Hi guys,
First of all, I’m totally new to Renoise. I just acquired 2.8.
I’m running Renoise on a 2009 Macbook, which has a 2.1 Ghz Core 2 Duo processor and 1 GB of RAM

My goal is to first compose and record my songs in Renoise, including vocals and guitar tracks.
Later I want to perform live; controlling track effects with my Akai MPD32 and singing at the same time (lead vocal track muted, of course).

But I’m already running into a serious problem when I try to record my guitar.

My guitar is plugged into a Tascam US-122 mkII usb audio/midi interface.

When I start recording my guitar parts as a sample, latency and crackling increases drastically and within two minutes, my guitar sounds like it’s distorted by an old Gameboy.

Is there any way to prevent this? This way, I cannot even begin to use Renoise in the way I’d prefer.
I’m considering installing USB Audio Driver for Mac, but I’m just wondering if anyone with a similar setup has had this problem and of course, how it can be solved.

My next step might be to buy a new laptop with a Core i7 processor and lots of RAM and run Ubuntu, maybe things will be more stable (???)

I would avoid springing for a new laptop as the next step in the process, unless you were already looking to get one.

The first thing I would check is the integrity of your audio interface. Is it just the guitar that is distorted, or do vocals recorded with a microphone come out the same way? I don’t own a Mac currently, so I couldn’t really help you if it was a driver issue.

Hi… First thing we have to know, “what is your buffer size?” If you don’t know, that is here in this window, found @ Edit, Preferences, Audio

2nd, “are you using amp sims?” Name, brand, version number, audio unit, or vst?

3rd… Does the tascam manual make a point about installing the driver? Even if you are on mac…

and finally, 2.1 core2dou is plenty to run Renoise, and amp sims… but the 1 gig of ram is probably bare minimum. Also, what is your hard disk speed? 7200 rpm is preferred…

1GB RAM is really the bare minimum for running OSX 10.4 at all (requirement for 32bit version of Renoise, if you’re running the 64bit version you need OSX 10.6 and even more RAM!) Any chance of finding a cheap stick or two on ebay and replacing them? Unfortunately old RAM starts to cost a lot more than new RAM after just a few year. I don’t know exactly what RAM you need so not saying this is definitely the case for you.

Seems there was three MacBooks brought out in 2009 but this page might be useful.

First of all, thanks for all the quick replies, appreciate it!

To answer your questions:

  • I’m actually saving up for a new laptop, mine is slowly giving up the ghost and when the CPU runs hot, the fan noise is very annoying, so, yeah…

  • My audio interface is fine, it works like a charm when I use it in Garageband to quickly record some ideas.

  • The Mac version doesn’t seem to indicate buffer size, only latency (set standard to 1ms) and sample rate (44100).

  • I’m running amp sims, but not from software, my guitar goes through an old Line6 Pod Pro before it goes into the Tascam. Never had a problem with that before. The problem I described remains when I plug my guitar straight into the Tascam.

  • All Macs have the Core Audio architecture built in. It’s similar to ASIO. In Garageband, for example, there’s never any latency when I hook up the Tascam and there’s definitely no latency when I use the built in mic or line input. If I’d get a new Macbook, maybe just a pre-amp would suffice instead of a usb interface (?). I never had to install any drivers for the Tascam, on a Mac it works straight out of the box.

  • I’m running the 32 bit version on OSX 10.5. I’m not going to upgrade my RAM though, it’s not worth it. As I said I’m looking out for a new laptop. I’m even considering just sketching my ideas in Garageband and seriously go to work when I get my new laptop.

The thing with Renoise is it has no Direct To/From Disk streaming. This means all recordings have to be recorded into RAM, not your hard drive. Same with any samples loaded. Therefore the 1GB is going to be more of a limitation than for software which can record directly to the hard drive.

Really? I did not know that!
About a potential new laptop though, I’m considering some trade-offs from my experiences, maybe it’s worth a discussion:

Macbook pros:

  • Extremely reliable
  • Core Audio architecture built in

Macbook cons:

  • Very expensive
  • Hard and expensive to upgrade if necessary

Laptop (considering Asus) pros:

  • More affordable, even with high specs
  • More easily upgradable if necessary
  • Extensive keyboard might be a pro for Renoise (?)

Laptop cons:

  • Even though Asus has the most reliable hardware in my experience, I’ve never been able to trust a regular laptop to be reliable enough on tour/stage
  • Some have noisy fans or run really hot, which can be quite a nuisance

So I guess, I could ask you Renoise users who perform live, what would you recommend/what are your experiences?

If/when I next upgrade my laptop I’m pretty sure I’ll be going for a Lenovo Thinkpad.

Yeah I did consider a Thinkpad, but I’ve heard of entire offices having to return like 10 Thinkpads because they all broke down within 2 months :huh: that’s a scary thought…

Really? Although I don’t think there’s really a manufacturer I haven’t heard horror stories about. Which is why I put quite a lot of the choice onto the reported (or experienced) after-sales support of a said company for the country you want to purchase in. But most of the big manufacturers should be fine for that…

Plus a quick Googling shows dozens and dozens of posts/conversations saying Lenovo blows Asus out of the water on the reliability front! I have to actually admit I was surprised recently when I heard people saying Asus motherboards were considered poor quality. I always thought they were meant to be fairly highly rated… Maybe that’s just because they are affordable and feature-rich though.

I don’t know man… I think both will do just fine. I actually love those Thinkpads! Some people just have bad luck when they happen to purchase a buggy laptop. My ex girlfriend had some kind of artist edition HP Pavilion. Let’s just say that within the first 6 months, the fan noise kept pests away and its CPU kept us warm all through the winter <_<
And my Macbook is currently dying a slow death. CPU heats up like a mofo whenever I watch or stream HD video, when I record something in Garageband or when I’m fiddling around with Renoise. Granted, it’s 4 years old, but it’s still a pain and I don’t have the money for a decent new laptop right now. Guess I’ll have to make it a priority now that I can’t use Renoise properly…

I do not know why the tascam manual does not mention buffer size. My guess is that, “buffer size is not something you set and forget.” Buffer size can change project to project, and even change several times during a project.

I notice that you can get glitches with a small buffer, and even too large a buffer.

If your buffer is too large, for what your synths, and fx are calling for, you are creating latency for no reason. If your buffer is too small, than you will get plenty of hickups.

Most of the time, my buffer sticks around 64 samples. It never used to be like this. In 2005, “the very first days of my production journey,” any buffer smaller than 512 was considered illogical. “Couldn’t be done.” ( This was around Cubase 3. )

Now, “512,” is the biggest my buffer ever gets. Just 7/8 short years. WOW.

“Least to say”

All digital audio stuff has latency. Even your Floor POD has some latency, given it might be so minimal that it is akin to standing one meter away from an amplifier’s cabinet. “A millisecond, or two,” of latency.

What I suggest is looking at your buffer size, it if it is larger than 1024, I would bring it down by halves… I am not sure, what is good for your computers spec… but since we still do not know your buffer #, I’d suggest that you should not ignore this completely… Try 512…

As for garage band… I dunno… All these computer softwares have their own quirks… Garage band is a pretty lightweight program, but than again, “there’s hardly anything in it.”

As for laptop… I kinda like Toshiba. With quick high speed hard disk, and high speed ram.

Right now I use a Hewlett Packard desktop and whatever… I bought it at Costco… It was very inexpensive, and really nice spec… AMD seems to make really quiet chips… My fan never gets so loud that it becomes a distraction.

For my next computer, depending on funds, I would like to go with Intel Chips. I am not sure if I would buy a laptop, but it is extremely possible I would.

I think a stick of ram would help.

THANKS!!! I’ll definitely look into it.

Well guess what…

I went over to the Tascam website, installed the last drivers for OSX Leopard and I also updated the US 122’s firmware.
I launched Renoise and started jamming and recording random clips with my guitar plugged straight into the interface.

It’s been 15 minutes and there hasn’t been any latency thus far! CPU usage also remained very low. Fan’s going crazy though, maybe it’ll help if I clean up the inside again.

About buffer size though, even the control panel that came with the driver I installed doesn’t give an indication of it. I think it has something to do with me running this thing through the Core Audio architecture on a Mac, because the control panel doesn’t give me any options to adjust any settings.
As for Renoise, the manual recommends increasing latency value when latency and crackling noises start to occur.

I just hope I’m good for now.

Take care you have enough swap/page space, it will eventually turn into DirectToDisk streaming if you push it far enough :D

By the way I looked it up, but using a usb drive as virtual RAM doesn’t work on a Mac :(