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Old 11-12-2018, 11:54 AM   #1
Dzamija
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Default WDM works better than Asio in 2018?! (A.K.A. Line 6 drivers are dogs**t)

So I've been using an old Line 6 UX1 interface since 2012. Never really felt the need to upgrade since all I ever record is myself and 2 simultaneous inputs is plenty for that.

It's also got a nifty built-in, software-controlled guitar processor DSP thingy that allows you to record at low-latency regardless of the buffer size, and can even give you a dry signal of whatever you're recording, WHILE monitoring through the DSP (something called "Gearbox).

Pretty cool, cause it lets me set a high buffer size and go nuts with plugins while I record, and then just re-amp with any amp sim I want.

However, it performs *notoriously* bad at low buffer sizes, and by low I mean 128 bit 'cause it can't even go lower than that (2010 was a while ago after all and the tech is probably outdated as hell). Crackles all over the place and kills both my monitors and my ears, I'm sure every audio engineer here is aware of exactly what ear-piercing god-awful sound I am describing.

I used to think this was due to my PC being outdated and me not having enough CPU power and what not, but I recently upgraded my rig and got some pretty nice components, an i5 8400 among other things which just kills everything I throw at it. Yet the crackling at 128 bit still remains no matter what.

So either the interface or its drivers are the bottleneck then, my next train of thought was. So just for fun, I decided to ditch the Line 6 ASIO drivers for a bit and try recording with ASIO 4 ALL. That gave me some very weird artifacts at low buffer sizes, so then I went for Reaper's built-in WDM kernel streaming Windows XP driver, at 64 bits.

Woe and behold... no crackling, no artifacts - crystal clear signal at 64 bits. After a crazy stress-test with like 10 amp sims running in parallel, thing didn't even flinch. I was amazed. A WDM driver was giving me incomparably superior results to ASIO?

Am I crazy here? I've been using ASIO for 9 years now and have never had results like this. Isn't ASIO supposed to be the industry standard when it comes to this stuff? How is it possible that I'm getting such good results with WDM? Are the Line 6 drivers simply so outdated and useless that anything else is better?

I'd really like to hear what you folks have to say about this. I can offer sound clips or something if you don't believe me, I could hardly believe it myself.
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Old 11-12-2018, 01:08 PM   #2
zeekat
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Been a while since I recorded through my POD GX interface, couple of observations though:

1) pretty sure Gearbox is very outdated - I think at some point they started offering free upgrade to a bit less outdated POD farm
2) so nothing changed I see - the lowest buffer was always 128 samples, but personally never had problems with it while using in ASIO mode, plus the driver returns latency values pretty faithfully which helps with automatic latency compensation
3) having fast computer doesn't mean it works fluently, throttling speed demon will disrupt low latency audio no problem. You sure your computer ran at high performance power profile, or whatever it's called?

And what was the latency in WDM mode?
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Old 11-12-2018, 02:19 PM   #3
Dzamija
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zeekat View Post
1) pretty sure Gearbox is very outdated - I think at some point they started offering free upgrade to a bit less outdated POD farm
It's all outdated as hell, lol. I did get POD farm with the original CD, but POD farm was dependent on the buffer size, unlike Gearbox. The more you increased it, the more the latency increased, while Gearbox always stayed latency-free. Sound's kinda shit though, but useful enough for monitoring.
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2) so nothing changed I see - the lowest buffer was always 128 samples, but personally never had problems with it while using in ASIO mode, plus the driver returns latency values pretty faithfully which helps with automatic latency compensation
It worked fine for me at 128 until you start using a lot of amp sims, as those tend to use a lot of juice. I couldn't get away with more than 4 at the same time without crackling. Now I can do 10 no problem, and maybe even more, I didn't even stress it further than that.
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Originally Posted by zeekat View Post
3) having fast computer doesn't mean it works fluently, throttling speed demon will disrupt low latency audio no problem. You sure your computer ran at high performance power profile, or whatever it's called?

And what was the latency in WDM mode?
I'm not all too sure about the high performance mode, but I do know that on my old PC I set Reaper to High Performance via Task manager, and it did nothing to alleviate the crackling - if that's what you're talking about.

Latency is 5 ms right now at 64 using WDM, I can't even notice it.
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Old 11-13-2018, 02:07 AM   #4
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Pretty sure POD Farm standalone app has the same ASIO buffer-independence feature ("Tonedirect Monitoring", in Line6 lingo).

I meant the performance power profile in windows, power-related CPU throttling was always the main culprit in case of crackling problems here. Interesting about the low latency in WDM mode, never occured to me I should even try to use it
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