In this article you’ll learn how to fix audio latency in FL Studio.
I’ll explain how to remove audio latency, depending on the power of your CPU, and audio hardware to reduce latency when recording.
Before getting into removing latency while recording, here’s a funny video I made about how companies promise “zero latency” (which simply just isn’t true..)
Audio latency is when there is a delay in your voice when recording. This audio lag makes recording hard, because you say a word, but the repeated echo of your voice throws off your upcoming words.
Latency also effects your MIDI Keyboard keys while making beats!
The short answer to remove audio latency while recording is getting:
- An Audio Mixer (View recommended mixers)
- Direct Monitoring on an Audio Interface
What is Audio Latency?
The first thing to understand is that audio latency is still a problem within the audio industry. It’s had big improvements in recent years, but to get zero-latency, the best approach is getting an analog mixer, or an audio interface with a direct monitoring knob.
We’ll start with FREE ways to fix audio latency in FL Studio!
You may also find these resources helpful:
Best Computer for Recording (CPU)
Your CPU is everything when it comes to music production.
If you’re trying to record in a big project with lots of Virtual Instruments and Plugins (VSTs), getting low latency is hard!
If your computer is not very powerful, here’s a pro tip:
Export the song to .MP3, load it into a new project, then record over it! Your CPU only focuses on recording, allowing you to set lower latency times (buffer size) in ASIO settings.
By exporting the beat into an .MP3 or .WAV file, and recording in a new project, your CPU can focus all resources to low-latency with a low ASIO buffer length (explained below)!
Then bring your recording into your main project afterwards! 🙂
Select an ASIO Driver
An ASIO driver gives your computer A HUGE improvement.
You get SOME LATENCY when recording through a computer, but a low ASIO sample size is the first thing to try, to reduce latency!
Anything over 10ms (512 samples) and you’ll start to hear the “slapback” of audio latency.
What ASIO Driver to Record Audio in FL Studio?
FL Studio gives you two ASIO Drivers by default:
- ASIO4ALL v2
- FL Studio ASIO
If you have an audio interface, it should include its own ASIO Driver!
The best ASIO Driver for FL Studio is usually your audio interface ASIO Driver. The second option is ASIO4ALLv2, and the third option is FL Studio ASIO.
However, to figure out what’s the best ASIO Driver for recording, you’ll have to test what driver gives the lowest latency and stability.
Typically audio interface drivers perform best, but not always, so compare the audio interface’s ASIO Driver to ASIO4ALLv2!
An ASIO Driver WILL NOT EFFECT AUDIO QUALITY, just “audio latency”. Simply select the one that gives the lowest latency (and is most stable).
ASIO Driver Buffer Size (Samples)
This image shows where to adjust buffer size in FL Studio (also known as buffer length, or sample size).
The biggest thing to look for is “latency” when selecting your ASIO Driver. You’ll notice the FL Studio ASIO has much higher latency than your audio interface’s ASIO or ASIO4ALLv2!
Audio latency performance comes down to two things:
- Your computer’s specs/performance
- Your ASIO driver
If your computer or ASIO Driver cannot keep up with a very fast setting, you will start to experience underruns.
(Underruns are when you hear glitches, clicks, and pops, and is your computer telling you to either increase your ASIO Driver’s buffer length, or your computer may need upgrading soon!)
FL Studio’s manual on audio settings says the optimum setting is 440-880 samples (10-20ms). Any lower is diminishing returns.. meaning your computer works harder for little improvement!
For example, 512ms vs 1024ms is a huge difference!
And even 256ms to 512ms is noticeable, but at 256ms, your computer is required to work very hard!
How to Get The Lowest Latency in FL Studio
It’s very important you understand the music creation process.
In the early stages of the beat there are not many plugins loaded.. therefore you can adjust a low latency like 512ms.
As the song gets heavier with plugins, this is when you experience underruns (your computer can’t handle the low buffer size!)
If your FL Studio project gets underruns no matter what, your last choice is increasing buffer size to 1024, or even 2048. (In the image above, I also enabled triple buffer.. a last-case scenario!)
Latency is only a problem when recording with microphones or MIDI Keyboards. Not when mixing music! (Mixing can have a higher buffer size!)
How to Get Zero-Latency When Recording
I’ll now reveal the music industry’s secret to get ZERO LATENCY while recording.
In short, it’s using an audio mixer (see good affordable mixers!)
When you use an ASIO Driver, there’s always going to be some latency, because the audio has to be recorded from your microphone, into your computer, then sent OUT of the computer to your speakers/headphones to hear!
This is called “round-trip audio latency”.
To prevent latency, we have to keep things “analog”.
Two ways to get ZERO-LATENCY when recording a mic are:
- Direct-Monitor Knob on Audio Interface
- Analog Mixer
This only works for recording microphones.. A MIDI Keyboard always suffers from ASIO latency 😟.
Direct Monitor Knob (Zero-Latency)
A direct monitor knob is not a feature on all audio interfaces. You usually have to jump up to a model with more inputs/outputs.
You want a “direct monitoring knob”, not a “direct monitoring switch” (which gives very little control).
Direct monitoring means that you can hear your recording WITHOUT it going into the computer (round-trip latency).
How the direct monitoring knob works is it allows you to hear your recording in real time, and blend in the music as desired. It’s not perfect, but it squashes audio latency!
Analog Mixer for Recording (No Latency)
The analog mixer approach is by far the best way to record audio with absolutely no latency.
Once you get into fancier mixers, you can even apply effects on your vocals to improve your recording performance, but still record the audio dry to put your own effects on later.
Conclusion: Recap on How to Remove Recording Latency
So there you go! That’s the best way to record with no latency (zero-latency recording).
The most affordable solution is using an ASIO Driver. You don’t even need an audio interface for this, as you can just use a USB microphone and an ASIO Driver.
However, I told you that the CPU and a good ASIO Driver are the two most important things to get low latency.
FL Studio tells us that the single core speed is most important in selecting a CPU.
Here’s a training resource I have for you:
Leave a comment with questions, or contact me directly.
Or.. listen to my free FL Studio podcast!