Compensate for external latency?

OK, I’m pretty sure that the answer is going to be that this isn’t possible, but you never know with the Octatrack so figured it was worth an ask :slight_smile:

I thought I had come up with a genius idea by routing all my various audio sources into my computer, then having outputs from the computer back into the OT, so I could send whichever inputs I like to the inputs on the OT in my DAW, without having to rewire anything - basically using it as a mixing desk.

However, I just realised that the latency of the in/out through the computer makes it so that you end up with issues like flamming (is that the right term? two hits very slightly out of time) etc. on rhythmic parts (e.g. if I play my MD synced to the OT, going into the computer via Live and then back out into the OT. with something 4/4 on each).

You could probably get away with it for most uses at really low latencies, so I will see how my computer handles that, but I was wondering if there is any general solution within the OT to compensate for this external latency? (By delaying the internal tracks by x ms, I guess).

Unfortunately I can’t just do direct/monitor routing with my interface because it doesn’t have enough outputs, so I’m using an aggregate interface of my 18i8 + iConnectAudio 4 (which probably adds a little extra latency too).

Honestly, sounds like your studio has grown to the point where you need a patch bay. It adds in a similar amount of convenience, adds no latency, and has default signal flows that you override when necessary.

I don’t think trying to minimize the latency is worth chasing, you’ll spend a lot of money for minimal improvement, especially when you can get the best physically-possible results with a cheap patch bay solution.

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Ah yeah great idea, I had forgotten about patch bays - I don’t have room for a proper mixer but a compact patch bay could be ideal. I’ll have a search on here for suggestions (but if you have any please go ahead and recommend!)

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I don’t have any first-hand experience (I’m adding a patch bay in the next month or two to help with sampling into my new Octatrack), but I see this one regarded highly and is probably going to be the one I go with:

For compact, Hosa makes a small one (there are others out there as well!):

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Thanks! Not having to rewire anything is definitely tempting so I’ll have to do some more research…

The Samson S shown above is a solid unit. The routing switches are accessible via the front panel - a big plus.

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And to answer your question: no, there isn’t.

In fact I know not a single standalone sound generating device which has this feature and even with (entry level) digital mixers it’s not standard.

Another approach to latency compensation would be to manipulate the timing of the MIDI messages (delay them differently for each device), but this only works when the OT isn’t the master.


Thought this might be the case, it’s a pretty edge case. Just thought I’d check as the OT covers some pretty edge cases!

I actually think I can achieve what I want for now by using the two headphone outs on my 18i8 as the OT sends (if you route it direct in Focusrite Control it should be zero latency), then I can either route stuff like that where latency matters, or where it is not so important and I want to add effects on the computer I can do that… then I’ll use my other interface’s headphone output for the times I need to use headphones I guess!

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Yep, this works, so all good for now I think :slight_smile:

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If you are using Ableton you can disable delay compensation & Reduced latency when monitoring
in options when sampling and switch it back on after and should make it a lot better anyhow

Oh interesting! I had no idea that option existed, I’ll try it out! What is the trade off, does it bypass plugins or something?

yeah it switches of the delay compensation for all the plugins but gets rid of all latency, so other things may go out of sync but should help for what you need to do then switch it back on after…

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The delay compensation didn’t make any difference for me, I guess because there are no plugins in the chain anyway?

I did a quick test triggering a short impulse on both the OT and MD then measuring the gap between them in a wave editor (I know how to party :joy:), with the MD receiving clock from the OT, and the MD audio coming into a thru track, and determined that the Focusrite Control monitoring method adds no latency.

Here were the results:

Direct audio cable from MD to OT: 7ms
via Focusrite Control monitoring: 7ms
via Ableton, delay comp off, 64 samples buffer: 18ms
via Ableton, delay comp on, 64 samples buffer: 18ms

To be honest the extra 11ms going via Ableton probably isn’t a big deal in a lot of scenarios. I only really noticed this because both machines happened to be triggering a kick when I hooked them together and it sounded bad, but you’re unlikely to be doing this in reality!

Didn’t work? It should stop all latency created in ableton.
I’ve been using that trick for a while if I need no latency for whatever reason…
thought that would have done the trick. But I guess it depends on how you are syncing everything and your audio routing etc…

I think the thing is that the latency I measured is just the latency of input and output of the audio driver (which reports 4.5ms each so 9ms, plus a little extra I guess) - nothing in ableton is adding extra latency. If I had latency introducing plugins, I expect it would solve the extra latency they add due to PDC.

Whereas when I use the Focusrite Control, it bypasses the computer entirely and just acts like a patch bay within the interface so no driver latency - the 7ms I measured is probably some combo of MIDI clock drift and internal latency on the boxes.

Like I say it’s probably largely academic, doubt I would have noticed if it weren’t for the kicks playing on both lol


I have been considering this from another angle: I use a digitone, digitakt, Octatrack, and have trouble getting the kicks to not flam when master clocked via a DAW (most other issues as you said are negligible; it’s really layering kicks treating things DJ style that fucks it up…) I have concluded that nudging MIDI may be my best bet and have been eying this handy looking device. No such experience as of yet, however. But my hope is being able to nudge each into place. It’s not the same setup scenario, but should work assuming you are sequencing on device.

Hmm yeah you are always going to get some degree of differing latency between devices I guess. Do you still get the same issue when master clocked from one of the Elektron devices? Modern computers are notorious for having quite poor MIDI timing which can result in an unstable clock, I ended up using my Digitone via OB to get a stable clock source without buying more hardware (see Overbridge makes a great MIDI clock source)

If the degree of offset is constant I guess nudging MIDI timing might work… I guess I’d be tempted to try to look at creative workarounds that don’t involve two devices playing a kick at the same time as it sounds simpler, haha

Hope I’m not repeating something already said. Here’s a suggestion, not sure whether it works for you:

I’m usong RME sound cards for a long time. A UCX for example has 8 inputs and 8 outputs (2 of these generally used for the monitors, 2 others for headphones)

Thebgreat thing is, you may connect 8 momo sources/4 stereo, and you can in the Totalmix software directly output them to any output with no latency (probably a millisecond or so).

You may record that input in you DAW at the same time, with monitoring OFF if you like.

You may also send tracks from you DAW to the outputs connected to the Octotrack inputs…

So depending how many sources you have, such a solution could work. Othe companies sound card may work as well, I’m only advising what I know from experience. Added bonus is, you can use it even without the computer, and it is also class comploant for the iPad etc…

Hey, thanks for the input! Yeah this is actually exactly what I ended up doing - I have a Focusrite Scarlett 18i8 which has 2 mono and 2 stereo (“headphone”) physical outputs (annoyingly the other two outputs making up the “8” are SPDIF only!) and their Focusrite Control software lets you route stuff directly with no latency, just as you describe.

So I’m using the headphone outs to the OT, and now I can route any input to them, but also, as you say, record into the DAW, or treat stuff in the DAW… the other thing that appeals with this setup is I can also just one of my synths with my DAW directly and bypass the OT entirely without rewiring anything, if I’m not in an OT mood :slight_smile:


Just a thought, does the “tempo nudge” feature on Elektron devices do anything when MIDI clocked? I’ve not tried it, I’d guess it probably doesn’t, but would be cool if so as you could then sync it up like a DJ beatmatching… worth a try I guess