How Latent Are You?

by | May 18, 2016 | Software, Technology

latencyThe fancy new audio chain I bought isn’t exactly working like I thought it should.  Oh, it makes an incredible recording, but the unit itself dangerously overheats, and playback is fraught with pops and crackles (Rice Krispies!) that are not in the waveform.

Luckily, the company has great customer service (ZenDesk), and I’ve been going back ‘n’ forth with them about my “issues”.  They confirm, that yes, the unit does get hot, and it must be used in an environment that is well ventilated. 

Well, right there I’m in trouble.  My studio (a converted 2nd-floor closet) has NO ventilation.  It’s my own private little Las Vegas sauna for +100°F Summer months.  I keep towels handy.  So, now, to use the unit, I place it atop plastic freezer bricks.  Hey, don’t laugh…it works!

But the playback popping is another thing.  I’ve checked cables, plugs, shielding, and power supplies.  Naga.  Those artifacts make my editing times 2 or 3 times as long, ’cause I keep having to go back and check to see that the blips are not really there.

So, my ZenDesk friends sent me instructions for retrieving computer system information, and they also asked for a specific report from a program called “LatencyMon”.  This free program installs quickly, and once you set it’s mechanism in motion, it reads the amount of latency you have in your audio playback signal.  They ask you to run it for 10-15 mins, and be sure to play back some audio through the program in question.

The results are saved and sent to technicians in a .txt file.

I didn’t have to be a technician, though, to tell right away that my system was flunking the LATENCY issue.  Lots of red flags.

 However, the program is long on diagnosis, and short on solutions, so I’m waiting for my ZenDesk friends to offer some suggestions.  In the meantime, ‘seems like this might be a good tool for any of us to be implementing, just to check on the efficacy of your audio playback system. 

BTW, Latency refers to a short period of delay (usually measured in milliseconds) between when an audio signal enters and when it emerges from a system. (Wikipedia).  I think my latency involves LOTS of milliseconds.  ;\

I’ll let you know what happens.  In the meantime if this is a test that sounds worthwhile for your needs, here’s the download link:  Scroll about halfway down the page until you see  “System Monitoring Tools”, and download “LatencyMon 6.50”  It installs quickly and is intuitive to use. 

I hope this solves my Snap, Crackle, Pop!




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