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Music computer terminology explained

Finding the perfect Carillon music production computer for you will probably involve looking through lots of specification options and reading terms and phrases that sound complicated or just make no sense, don't worry we've all been there! Computer techs often expect words and terms they use ever day to be easy to understand or just make logical sense but that's not usually the case. Below we'll go through ones often used through the site and explain what they mean.

Low Latency (Low latency performance, small buffer settings, responsive)

This is referring to how quickly the audio from your computer is played back through your audio interface (often called soundcard) when you hit play or trigger a sound using your midi keyboard. The lower the latency the quicker this happens. With audio recording/mixing and producing the audio is often going through effects, the quicker this happens the harder the computer has to work get the sound processed and then out through your speakers. Latency is set through the control panel of your audio interface or soundcard, this is the buffer setting, how long you give the computer to process before the device has to output the sound. It is usually either presented as a 'sample setting' 32,64,128,256,512 (doubling each time) or as a measure of time in ms (2ms, 4ms, 11ms etc) The computers power has the biggest affect on the latency you are able to work at but the audio interface also affect this, especially at the very low buffer settings/latency. We only recommend good low latency interfaces on our pages, for the very best low latency you should look at RME USB, PCIe or Thunderbolt interfaces/soundcards.

DAW (Host, Sequencer)

This stands for Digital audio workstation, also sometimes referred to as your sequencer or host. It's the application where you will record, mix and produce your music and spend all your time. The most common DAWs you will see are Cubase, Pro Tools, Reaper, Ableton Live, Reaper

Virtual Instruments (samples, VSTi, synths)

These are (usually) plugins that run within your DAW (digital audio workstation, such as Cubase, Pro Tools, Live) Not the same as effects although they will use the same plugin format (VST) as effects. Virtual instruments play sounds when triggered by your midi keyboard or midi notes in your DAW.