If you use Sonar,
ditch WDM, and go ASIO.

From: DrumKAT user suddenly down to 1.5ms latency
dialup04238.intersatx.net  03-08-22 13:11

copied verbatim from the PARIS newsgroup by popeye-x

Note: this doesn't have anything to do with running the Paris MEC under the beta skunkwork ASIO2 drivers. It's strictly a post about optimizing Sonar, in case anyone here doesn't already know about this.

I've been fooling around with the DR-008 drum sampler DXi in Sonar, and trying to get the latency as low as possible. I'm programming a few drum parts using a DrumKAT controller and some pedals. I was a drummer many MANY years ago when I was teenager, before I switched to guitar, so I'm pretty comfortable with banging in drum parts by hand, and then semi-quantizing. I use some commercial drum loops too, because I'm not THAT good a player. My chops are too rusty, and a drum pad ain't kit drums, and I miss real cymbals. But I still like getting a groove down with the DrumKAT when I can.

Anyway, the big issue with doing this with soft synth/sampler drums is latency. I'm used to outboard Midi sound modules (Alesis DM4) where there is basically no latency. When I first tried this with the DR-008 drum DXi under Sonar, I couldn't get the latency lower than 20ms with the WDM drivers for my Dakota card (driver version WMD 3.01, running under WinXP). That was just slow enough to drive me crazy with the delay between hitting a pad with the drumstick, and hearing the sound through the speakers or headphones. I can't program a drum part with 20ms latency on the pad. Sonar would let me set the slider down to 10ms, but I got many clicks in the sound, and Sonar's audio engine would very quickly lock up. 20ms seemed to be the best I could squeeze out of the Sonar/Dakota combination.

Then I remembered that this latest version of Sonar supports ASIO. It took me a little while to figure out how Sonar handles this, but when I finally found the right place to tell it to use ASIO (Options/Audio river/Advanced/Driver Mode), it worked. I'm suddenly down to 1.5ms latency according to the Sonar Audio Options/General tab.

I don't know what the real latency is, but it feels pretty damned immediate when I hit a pad on the DrumKAT. It's much more of a straight wire from the pad to the sound. I'm a very happy camper now. This info here pertains to the Dakota card, but you'll probably get equally low latency performance using another card with a good ASIO driver, like maybe the RME series.

If you use Sonar, ditch WDM, and go ASIO... it rocks.

BTW, one thing I noticed is that Sonar's CPU meter shows more than twice the CPU cycles being used in ASIO mode on "idle", compared to WDM. That worries me a little, because all I'm running is this little DR-008 drum DXi, no additional plugs or anything, and it's fluctuating around 30% CPU usage on my lowly 1GHz computer. It's probably going to be okay for the mostly percussion stuff I want to do, but I'd probably need a heftier comp if I was doing heavy DXi or VSti with this setup.

Anyway, I thought I'd toss this out there, in case anyone hadn't heard the news about Sonar and ASIO.



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