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Buffer and latency, do they affect audio quality?

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Buffer and latency, do they affect audio quality?

Postby Don_prince » Mon Oct 30, 2017 7:43 am

Just as the title says: buffer and latency, do they affect audio quality?

I have been wondering this for a while now, and to me it sounds like an improvement of quality to have a low buffer, however due to the loading time it may be a gut feeling and just amazement to hear the audio after some silence, so I wanted to rule it out...

Does a low buffer, for example 128 or even 64 (somehow I can get it that low with my audio driver even though Hauptwerk does not list options that low and I can even go lower than that) have a significant audio quality improvement over say a buffer of 2048? Or does this only affect the delay?
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Re: Buffer and latency, do they affect audio quality?

Postby mdyde » Mon Oct 30, 2017 8:05 am

Hello Don_prince,

In themselves, buffer size and latency have no effect upon audio quality at all. (The audio interface used, and its driver can of course affect audio quality significantly, though.)

Buffer sizes just affect latency, performance (especially polyphony), and resilience to audio glitches (covered in the 'Performance tuning' section in the Hauptwerk user guide).

Don_prince wrote:I have been wondering this for a while now, and to me it sounds like an improvement of quality to have a low buffer, however due to the loading time it may be a gut feeling and just amazement to hear the audio after some silence, so I wanted to rule it out...


Just to clarify, you don't actually need to re-load the organ after just changing the buffer size, provided that you do it within Hauptwerk via Hauptwerk's 'General settings | Audio outputs' screen. That setting can be changed even with an organ loaded.

Don_prince wrote:Does a low buffer, for example 128 or even 64 (somehow I can get it that low with my audio driver even though Hauptwerk does not list options that low and I can even go lower than that)


The smallest buffer size setting that Hauptwerk allows is 256, since buffer sizes smaller than that become extremely CPU-intensive and are also extremely demanding in terms of the timing of the computer hardware and its drivers (DPC latency, etc.), if audio glitches are to be avoided. Also, a buffer size of 256 at 48 kHz gives a latency of only about 5.3 milliseconds, which is equivalent to playing a real organ console only about 1.8 metres away from the pipework (due to the time sound takes to travel through air), i.e. less latency than a real pipe organ would have anyway.
Best regards,
Martin.

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Re: Buffer and latency, do they affect audio quality?

Postby Don_prince » Mon Oct 30, 2017 4:41 pm

Thank you for your quick reply,

With this knowledge I will increase the buffer, for the sake of more polyphony, that'll give both cpu's some time to breathe
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Re: Buffer and latency, do they affect audio quality?

Postby mdyde » Mon Oct 30, 2017 4:57 pm

Thanks. You're very welcome.
Best regards,
Martin.

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