Vst plugin delay?

I was trying out a plugin called Frei::Raum from a company called Sonible. It’s an entropy EQ, and a proximity EQ. I am, or more like I was hoping to use it to reduce electric violin bow noise.
I am getting a delay with the plugin. I asked the vendor about it - and the reply is below.

Now I’m wondering – how many plugins REALLY have some latency issues and/or a delay??? How can you tell if a plugin is suitable for live performance, without the pain of installing it and trying it??

Obviously - unlike recorded material, the vst host can’t supply the content or music any faster because it’s not already recorded, it’s real time.

Unhappy in Columbus
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Yes, frei:raum does introduce a quite large amount of processing delay -
about 70 to 100ms, depending on various parameters like sampling rate.

Usually, when working in post production your DAW or sequencer can
compensate for the delay (by providing the audio data EARLIER to the
delayed track than to the others) so it becomes inaudible and does not
interfere with your work on the remaining tracks. Actually, there are
barely plugins that don’t have to be compensated by the host.

In your case, when using a plugin in a close-to-real-time setup the host
obviously cannot compensate the time difference as it cannot look into
the future.

You will probably experience the same effect when using frei:raum (or
many other plugins for complex signal processing) when inserting it to a
track you’re using input monitoring on… Again, the host can’t correct
the delay and you’ll start to hear it

Hi Alex,

This is hard to answer in numbers because I do not know, but I do know that the plugins I have that use a lot of processing (higher latency) are either Hi resolution studio plugins with mastering options that use a “look ahead” scheme to compensate the delay in a DAW like DMG Equilibrium or Acustica Nebula (which has also low latency options and program sets) or Sample playback vsti’s like UVI workstation that use custom scripting and large disk streaming setups. I guess one way you could go would be to email the creators in advance of any purchase and see what they think about low latency use with your setup. Good Luck with all of it …

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I sure would love to see a list grown here of low-latency plugins suitable for live performance use.

Made sticky, of course!

I have nothing to contribute other than a couple reverb plugins (which hardly count, I’d guess…) so if someone would like to start such a thread, that would be awesome! :smile:


You know, this really depends more on your rig than your plug-in. Any latency that I have ever had to deal with was attributed to my rig, and the LARGE plug-ins that eat memory up. I have stayed away from those plugs while playing live because I don’t have time to wait on loading and/or computer glitches after loading them. Actually, I have found several smaller libraries that sound just as good as some of the large ones while performing live. There is quite a difference though if you are wearing cans in a studio. My 2 cents, for what it is worth.

That’s not at all what the plugin vendor said – see above. It’s not system dependent, it truly is dependent on the nature of the plugins.

The vendor Sonible, stated that their frei::raum plugin REQUIRES read ahead capabilities, which of course doesn’t exist with a real time/live performance. (Unless the effect is working on pre-recorded or looped sound)

I think a list of plugins suitable or highly compatible with live performance is a GREAT idea - Thanks Terry. For one thing, it might encourage vendors to think more about live performance rather than just uh, DAW usage.

In a signal processor plugin, that is many times true. I mistook the list you wanted as plugins in general, not specific. My bad. All I know is what I have experienced. I have been 100% soft synth for several years and play live on the average 3+ days a week. I do not have latency issues because I have weeded out the bad plugs and refined my rig. So I guess Sonible is the first on your list. It is not designed for live situations. Add most Izotope plugs as well.