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What is Buffer Size – Which One Should I Use?

What is Buffer Size?

It’s hard to explain what is buffer size, it’s a little abstract. What buffer size do, is it determines how fast the computer processor can handle the input and output information. With lower buffer size, the computer processor handles the information very quickly, it takes more system resources and it’s pretty strenuous on the computer processor. With higher buffer size, the computer processor handles the information slower, but it takes fewer system resources and it’s less strenuous on the computer processor.

Which Setting Should I Use?

It depends, most DAWs will have different buffer size 32, 64, 128, 256, 512 and 1024, when you are recording, you need to monitor your input signal in real time, so choosing lower buffer size like 32 or 64 with quicker information processing speed to avoid latency. High buffer size is the main reason that causing latency issue, but when you are mixing and mastering, you need to run multiple plugins simultaneously, you should choose higher buffer size like 512 or 1024.

Personally, I will choose 64 or even 128 when I’m recording, because I can run some plugins like EQ and compressor in real time, I don’t like to monitor completely dry signal. I will find the sweet spot where I can run those plugins without noticing the latency. When it comes to editing, mixing and mastering, there’s no other choice, only 1024, I don’t want to have too much strenuous on my processor, it’s smoother using 1024.

When you start to notice latency, lower your buffer size, and when you hear crackles or your computer start to slow down, use higher buffer size.

Does Buffer Size Affect Sound Quality?

The answer is NO! Buffer size will not affect your audio quality, so don’t worry using the lowest buffer size, the only thing it will affect is processing speed and latency.

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