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crawdad689

As an interface: No latency initially, a couple minutes later... ~2 seconds of lag!

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This problem has existed since I got the Helix LT years ago, in every firmware I've had installed on the LT and every OS and audio software I've had on my Mac. I'm running the most current firmware as of now, 2.91.0. I've tried multiple USB cables. I have a 2012 MacBook Air w/ 4GB RAM and plenty of free storage, running a clean install of the latest OS. Computer runs like butter for all of the other tasks I use it for, and the exact same problem persists regardless of how many programs I have open.

 

Regardless of whether I'm using GarageBand or Logic Pro X, regardless of buffer settings, etc. - when I try to use the Helix LT as the interface, everything starts up fine with imperceptible lag, then I start playing, and within usually 30 seconds to a few/several minutes, it all of a sudden gets incredibly laggy - probably about 2 seconds of latency, so not a serviceable result. It seems like it happens right after I either start playing loud, fast, adding effects or a looper track - so it may be DSP related? I have no idea what could be causing the issue.

 

When I take the 1/4" out from Helix LT into my cheapo Apogee Jam and into my MacBook, I get no perceptible lag, 100% of the time running the same setup otherwise.

 

Any ideas? I don't have another Mac to try and replicate the problem on, unfortunately. Is there any other audio software I should try out on this computer to see if the problem persists?

 

 

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9 hours ago, crawdad689 said:

Any ideas?


Well, I have had a Helix floor unit since they first came on the market and it lives in my studio hooked up to An iMac 27” Retina 5k with 32Gb of memory and never experienced anything like the latency you are describing.

 

From what you are describing, I would think that you may be inadvertently using software monitoring - that way lays madness. There is another thread on here that I spotted recently where someone mentioned a similar thing with a HX Stomp - here’s the link, check it out.
 

EDIT
I found this, you might like to check that your Logic is set like this, but have your Helix LT as the input/output device. That way you should experience zero latency because you are monitoring you LT directly. Note: your Studio Monitors will need to be hooked up to your Helix or use phones in the Helix box.

 

 


Hope this helps/makes sense.

Edited by datacommando
Extra info added

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14 hours ago, crawdad689 said:

I have a 2012 MacBook Air w/ 4GB RAM and plenty of free storage...

 

 

 

I won't say that this is definitely the problem, but it could be...4 GB is not a tremendous amount of RAM, and DAW's are memory hogs, especially if you're running a bunch of plug-ins. An 8 year old machine is suspect, too. Hard to say...

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I had similar problems a while ago.

I use Logic X on MBPro, with Helix floor. I also use an RME babyface interface. In Logic my input device was Helix and output Babyface, as I just prefer using the volume control on the Babyface for monitors and headphones (the dim function is really useful).

I was having a similar issue as you, where initially everything would be great, then after an arbitrary amount of time, a huge amount of latency (2-3 seconds) would appear out of nowhere. Unplugging/rebooting either interface fixed the problem, but only temporarily.

 

The fix, for me anyway, was to create an aggregate device, with Helix in and Babyface out. Since using this, I've not had a single repeat of the problem!

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1 hour ago, 52dmk said:

I had similar problems a while ago.

I use Logic X on MBPro, with Helix floor. I also use an RME babyface interface. In Logic my input device was Helix and output Babyface, as I just prefer using the volume control on the Babyface for monitors and headphones (the dim function is really useful).

I was having a similar issue as you, where initially everything would be great, then after an arbitrary amount of time, a huge amount of latency (2-3 seconds) would appear out of nowhere. Unplugging/rebooting either interface fixed the problem, but only temporarily.

 

The fix, for me anyway, was to create an aggregate device, with Helix in and Babyface out. Since using this, I've not had a single repeat of the problem!

Apple likes to tell people that their audio drivers are perfect and you should be able to use aggregate devices without issue, but its just not true. Once you start using multiple I/O devices you're asking for trouble. 

 

In regards to the OP - are you monitoring off the Helix outputs or through the laptop headphone output or a different interface. If you're monitoring off the LT, you shouldn't get any latency on your guitar signal because the signal is not passing through the computer unless you have track monitoring enabled in Logic. If you're only getting it after awhile on playback tracks, but your guitar is still in time, you may be out of RAM or your HDD might be on its way out. 

 

I know people don't like to hear it, but Apple doesn't want you to use your computer for 8 years, and their newer OS's aren't going to be built with the older machines in mind.

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Chances are this is a result of a low memory condition in older machine with limited processing power.

When you say you have no problems like this with anything else you run that doesn't surprise me at all.  The VAST majority of end user software requires very little in terms of memory, especially things that are more internet based.  It's not a particularly wild guess that the DAW is the most memory and processing intensive app you have running unless you do something like CAD, 3d animation, or video editing which would have similar memory constraints.

What happens when you begin running low on memory the computer will swap real memory out to disk to provide more free memory when an app require it.  This is referred to as virtual memory.  Even if you're not running other end user apps (which helps) you still have background tasks the operating system requires that intermittently require processing and memory so that memory may get swapped out so your DAW has more free memory.  But that memory will still have to be swapped in from disk when the background task needs to process something, and that swapped out memory gets swapped in while the DAW memory gets swapped out momentarily  This is the reason you don't see the latency until it's been running for a while because the DAWs memory requirements have grown so the operating system is swapping memory in and out to accommodate all the applications (both foreground and service background apps) once you get going and begin using more memory.

I would almost bet if you doubled your memory you'd never experience it again.  Of course that all depends as well on the processing power of the microprocessor in the machine as well.  Faster microprocessors with swap faster than slower ones.

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4 hours ago, cruisinon2 said:

 

I won't say that this is definitely the problem, but it could be...4 GB is not a tremendous amount of RAM, and DAW's are memory hogs, especially if you're running a bunch of plug-ins. An 8 year old machine is suspect, too. Hard to say...

This.

An 8 year old under powered laptop at that.

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2 hours ago, DunedinDragon said:

Chances are this is a result of a low memory condition in older machine with limited processing power.

 

Going to agree with this.

 

I have actually been recording with my Helix Floor the last few nights.  I use a WIn10 Laptop not a Mac and record into Studio one pro.  With the Helix it is mostly a matter of your CPU and Memory creating the latency.  I have 32 Gigs of Ram and an I7 8750 processor and I still have to balance the block size to get a decent latency with Helix and not get drop outs.  

 

I still get a USB round trip latency of around 20 - 25 ms which is honestly almost unusable without monitoring off of the Helix itself.

 

It will work well though.  I have been experimenting with Helix re amping and it is really a great feature.

 

Best of luck but you most likely need to upgrade or replace your machine to get consistent reliable latency.

 

 

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Let me clarify something it isn't that you have old hardware that is the problem. Its that it was underpowered even 8 years ago. The Macbooks were not very powerful to be honest, especially the Airs. (they were built to be lighter)

 

I am running on a 6 year old processor. I7 5820K (it still rocks hard) yes I can get underruns in FL Studio. Yes I can push it to the max in games now. (if in 4k)

I built this rig 6 years ago knowing it could last me a decade if needed.  But since I went up to 48K I am meeting the limits of this processor. I plan on building a new rig next year once the Rocket Lake CPUs release with Mobos that support PCIe4.0. As long as this one doesn't burn up before then, it will last me until then. 

 

That said I still balance wtih the 512s latency, or higher! This creates too much throughput latency to be usable if I were recording and monitoring completely through my PC. This is not the case though. I strongly recommend that you wet monitor through from your unit, and kill any monitoring throughput you have in your DAW. 

 

In FL Studio I have my guitar coming through input usb7 (from helix) Dry channel recording of whatever I am playing. I monitor with amps/FX through the Helix unit itself.  I just make sure whatever channel I am recording to in the mixer in FL Studio is not routed to the master.  That is it. Its pretty simple once you wrap your head around it the first few times. 

If you want to record with your AMP/FX baked in already then just use USB 1&2 instead of 7. 

I am not sure about Studio One, but FL Studio has latency compensation (so you won't have to shift your recordings to align)

 

 

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Checking back in - thanks, y'all!. Sounds like the issue may be due to an underpowered computer. For what it's worth, I recently found out that, when lag starts to occur, the problem can be instantly remedied in Logic by simply clicking the play button, stop button and beginning-of-track button (lag occurs eventually, regardless of whether I am recording or just playing and monitoring). Unplugging the Helix LT USB cable and plugging it right back in also solves the issue within seconds. Is there anything I can do apart from spending $1K+ on a new Mac laptop?

 

I have been using monitoring within Logic - my monitors/SW are connected to the headphone jack on my computer currently. What's the preferred monitoring setup for Mac/Logic, Helix LT, and powered monitors + powered SW with RCA inputs? I would like to be able to use the monitors/SW to play audio from my computer and simultaneously monitor my playing, with the added option to monitor through headphones, so I don't think it will work to just hook the monitors/SW up directly to the Helix LT through the headphone jack, right? Do I need a basic mixing console to manage the audio outputs?

 

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2 hours ago, crawdad689 said:

I have been using monitoring within Logic - my monitors/SW are connected to the headphone jack on my computer currently. What's the preferred monitoring setup for Mac/Logic, Helix LT, and powered monitors + powered SW with RCA inputs? I would like to be able to use the monitors/SW to play audio from my computer and simultaneously monitor my playing, with the added option to monitor through headphones, so I don't think it will work to just hook the monitors/SW up directly to the Helix LT through the headphone jack, right? Do I need a basic mixing console to manage the audio outputs?

Monitoring through your computer's headphone jack is definitely *not* what you want to be doing, and is probably part of the reason you're hearing the delays you're hearing. I'm not a Mac user so I don't know exactly how it appears on Macs, but on Windows you need to select ASIO Helix as the audio device in your DAW.

 

If your Helix is connected via USB to your computer, it can play back your computer's audio and your guitar simultaneously, and do it a lot better than the built in sound card of your Mac. That's how it's intended to be used. It also gives you the benefit of monitoring your guitar tones directly through the LT with zero latency, instead of hearing it looped back through the software monitoring of Logic.

To summarize:

-Helix should be connected via USB to your Mac

-Helix ASIO should be the audio device selected in your DAW (I don't know exactly what Macs call this, so the way it's worded or selected I can't help with)

-Playback from within your DAW and other apps on your computer will come back to Helix and go out through its 1/4" out ports, XLR ports, and headphone ports via USB1-2 channels by default

-Your guitar input will be heard straight out of the Helix so you hear NO latency. You can do this and still record the signal going into your DAW. You just need to select Helix's USB1-2 as the input to the track in your DAW (USB1-2 is default, it can be edited in your patch), and then TURN OFF SOFTWARE MONITORING for that track. This is critical -- if you don't do that, you'll hear the direct-monitored sound of your guitar straight from Helix, as well as the software monitored sound doubled back through your DAW, with a slight delay that will make things sound odd/phasey/echo-ey/delayed/louder than they should be.

As for your monitors and other stuff, you can take those out of the outputs on your Helix. Lots of options there--do what works for you. The important thing is, don't take them out of the headphone port on your Mac, otherwise you're defeating the purpose of using the far superior hardware of the Helix.

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3 hours ago, crawdad689 said:

 

I have been using monitoring within Logic - my monitors/SW are connected to the headphone jack on my computer currently. What's the preferred monitoring setup for Mac/Logic, Helix LT, and powered monitors + powered SW with RCA inputs? I would like to be able to use the monitors/SW to play audio from my computer and simultaneously monitor my playing, with the added option to monitor through headphones, so I don't think it will work to just hook the monitors/SW up directly to the Helix LT through the headphone jack, right? Do I need a basic mixing console to manage the audio outputs?


Not only an under powered computer, but a failure to read the manual. For connecting your Helix LT to a computer you should read, study and inwardly digest pages 53 through 56. I really despair that someone spends a heap of cash on a digital toy and then is surprised that it won’t work properly with old gear and expects quality audio from a mini jack socket. You don’t want to spend money on a better computer system, but are asking if you need to buy a basic mixer.

 

In the post above, ”qwerty42” has essentially restated the things that I mentioned in my earlier post about using the Helix as an audio interface. Possibly you didn’t read that, much like the manual. You obviously don’t have your DAW on the Mac set up to use the Helix as it should because as you say that you unplug and replug the USB to fix things, yet don’t say that the DAW flashes up a screen telling you that the audio device has been disconnected and the you have to re-establish the USB audio.
 

Madness, sheer madness.

 

Check this:

https://line6.com/data/6/0a06439c975d5787c3e351aa0/application/pdf/Helix 2.0 Owners Manual - Rev D - English .pdf

 

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Thanks, guys. Sorry my lack of reading caused despair! The resources you shared are quite helpful, and I have had no more lag since I"m now sending audio from my computer to the unit via USB and monitoring from the Helix LT output!

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10 hours ago, crawdad689 said:

Thanks, guys. Sorry my lack of reading caused despair! The resources you shared are quite helpful, and I have had no more lag since I"m now sending audio from my computer to the unit via USB and monitoring from the Helix LT output!


Yay! 
 

Enlightenment!
 

Now you can start to have some fun!

 

Enjoy!

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On 5/1/2020 at 10:06 AM, 52dmk said:

I had similar problems a while ago.

I use Logic X on MBPro, with Helix floor. I also use an RME babyface interface. In Logic my input device was Helix and output Babyface, as I just prefer using the volume control on the Babyface for monitors and headphones (the dim function is really useful).

I was having a similar issue as you, where initially everything would be great, then after an arbitrary amount of time, a huge amount of latency (2-3 seconds) would appear out of nowhere. Unplugging/rebooting either interface fixed the problem, but only temporarily.

 

The fix, for me anyway, was to create an aggregate device, with Helix in and Babyface out. Since using this, I've not had a single repeat of the problem!

 

The above turns out to be the best "fix" for those of us who want to use our audio interface as our studio's output device. Create an aggregate device for recording your guitar tracks with Helix. You can switch it back to "normal" when doing your microphone tracking. I just got a new Stomp to use for recording some tracks in Logic Pro and was using it (audio in) with an Apollo Twin (audio out). I was having the exact same 2—3 second guitar delay mentioned by the OP after recording for awhile. Maddening. Creating an aggregate device fixed the problem. So either solution (aggregate or using Helix as your audio out monitor) will do the trick.

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I've been fighting this today with my Helix LT! Really annoying. After a few minutes of recording stereo track over USB the audio becomes delayed by more than a second.

Stop/play logic resets it.

 

I have found that the sample rate in the Helix is 48kHz and in my project in logic it was 44.1 kHz. Changed the Logic Project->Audio sample rate to 48kHz and have now had more than an hour without the issue.

 

Hope that helps someone...

Mike

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Interesting. I suppose another solution might be to download the Line 6 Mac driver if you still want to use a rate other than 48kHz. That might work.

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