Do Audio Interfaces Reduce Latency?

By Bob •  Updated: 05/11/21 •  6 min read

Latency is the time delay between when your computer sends a signal and when you hear it.

It’s also the time delay between when an audio interface processes a signal and then outputs it to your recording or playback device.

Latency can be measured in milliseconds, which are too small to notice by ear but can result in noticeable delays in digital audio processing programs like Audition CC 2015.

Latency reduction software reduces latency by buffering the audio signals and then playing it back at a higher rate.

The length of time for which an output signal is delayed before being heard through speakers or headphones is known as “latency.”

Will an audio interface reduce latency?

Audio interfaces are designed to reduce latency or the time it takes for a signal from your computer to reach your speakers.


Interfaces usually have two types of inputs: one that plugs into the headphone jack on your computer and another that connects directly to input channels on your mixer.

The microphone plug-in and interface will go into your computer’s microphone jack. The input channels will be connected to your mixer.

An interface with a built-in preamp can also feed an instrument like guitar or bass directly into your computer for recording without having to plug in any more equipment at all.

Latency is usually caused by two things: how fast you’re playing back your recording and how long it takes to process the audio.

The more latency, or lag time, you have in an interface, the less responsive it’ll be for playing back audio after a recording is made. – This can make tracking difficult because there’s often some form of delay between when you play something on your instrument and when it’s heard in your recording.

Does an audio interface cause latency?

So, does an audio interface cause latency? Yes, it can. In fact, all your gear has some amount of latency which you need to account for to achieve the best recording performance possible.

The two leading causes of latency are: 

Both issues may also be happening at once! Plus, there’s always something unexpected going wrong that will add more delays.

You might have noticed we said ‘set up’ before because if you’re using multiple devices, there may be a problem with the interface between them.

The way latency is measured on what you’re measuring and how it’s being used. Most of the time, we measure it in milliseconds (ms).

For example, an audio interface may have 100 ms total latency, sound like one second when listening to music.

Latency can make your recording less enjoyable and sometimes even unusable, so if you want to avoid any issues or get that pro-sound quality, don’t forget about this essential factor!

And never stop practicing because nobody ever gets their performance perfect! 😉

Through an increased understanding of both technical equipment as well as musical techniques.

Tips to help stop latency when recording on a laptop

Does RAM affect audio latency?

RAM affects audio latency, but depending on the devices you are using, it may not be a significant factor.

Suppose your computer is running multiple programs and other processes in addition to recording software. In that case, RAM will affect your latency time.

However, suppose only one program is open at any given moment. In that case, this won’t affect how fast an input device can communicate with a DAW (digital audio workstation).

This means that choosing different types of hardware or interfaces isn’t going to change much about whether or not there’s the latency between when you press a key and hear the sound come out of speakers!

How do I fix audio latency?

It is possible to reduce latency with the use of an audio interface.

Although, how much you can get away from it will depend on your recording environment and how you are using your computer while recording.

If all else fails, try a different sound card or set up a dedicated workstation for high-end productions.

Always use monitors when recording audio so that you don’t have to rely on computer speakers (which can introduce more lag).

Use external processing like reverb or EQ before hitting the record. Any added effects after recording will add even more of a delay.

Finally, if all else fails, try using two computers instead of one powerful machine: load up Logic Pro X in one while playing WAV files from iTunes through Windows Media Player in the other; this way, there is no overlap, and you’ll be able to play with zero latency!

The final step is to adjust the latency of your audio interface. It’s best if you can set it as low as possible without introducing any artifacts, but try recording a dry track and see what happens before changing anything else

The goal with an audio interface is to perform on stage or in the studio with zero computer lag so that everything feels natural!

Do wired headphones have latency when recording on a laptop?

Wired headphones have no latency when recording on a laptop because they’re connected directly to the computer.

Wireless headphones will produce some latency, which can be reduced or eliminated with calibration software like ReWire (more info below).

But the latency will still exist, no matter how good your wireless headphones are.

You can use a mic for recording that’s connected to an audio interface instead of the computer as well this way, you’ll get latency-free recordings with any headphone or microphone set up because there won’t be any cables attached to the laptop.

Find the best audio interface we recommend here.