Listen to guitar through computer in realtime with minimal latency

I want to listen to my guitar and PC audio at the same time through one set of headphones. I’ve been looking at the Focursite Scarrlet Solo for a while but I’m concerned about what the latency will be like. A friend tells me “if I have my shit setup correctly there will be minimal latency”.

Latency Issues with Interfaces – Focusrite Audio Engineering - I read this and essentially it sounds like I just need to reduce my buffer, although I don’t understand the discussion around sample sizes.

Can anyone share their experience with using this in the way I intend to?

I don’t intend to use the direct monitoring connection on the audio interface, because I still want to hear PC audio for things like following lessons and listening to a metronome. Using the direct monitoring connection and listening to the PC will require a speaker and headphones, or two pairs of earphones using one for each ear.

Hey Adam, I use the focusrite with Ableton (the software that comes it) and can’t feel any latency at all, even with some effect (reverb mostly) or even amp simulation plugins for electric guitar, that said, I triy to not have many audio tracks, that’s what I understand can overwhelm your computer.
Oh and I use it on my laptop so I don’t exactly have a super machine. Maybe more experienced users can give their 2 cents on it though.


If you have your audio interface declared as your PC speakers, you’ll get your PC audio played back and your guitar with pretty much minimal (undetectable) latency.



Thank you!

As long as you use Asio driver, which is especially designed to output with low latency you are good. The DAW program itself you use is not that important.

You can still use direct monitoring, and this will give you close to zero latency irrespective of the buffer settings.

As @TheMadman_tobyjenner points out, if you have your audio set up so that the Focusrite is configured as the audio output, then you will hear the computer backing tracks and metronome through speakers or headphones connected to the Focusrite.

The direct monitoring will mix the computer audio and the guitar direct monitoring audio together. And latency won’t matter

Latency really only matters where you have some sort of “round trip”. For instance, if you are not using direct monitoring for some reason; like if you want to apply effects to your guitar in the DAW and be able to hear them as you play.

If you can avoid doing this and use direct monitoring, you will never have any issues with latency. If you do wish to monitor via the PC and DAW still, then using ASIO (on a Windows computer) and setting the buffer size low will reduce the latency.

You may need to experiment with this as it will depend on your computer and how the Focusrite is connected (e.g. via USB hub or not) as to how low you can go before it starts causing issues with the audio.

Note that the lower the buffer size, the more load you will get on your PC. The higher the load, the more chance it will struggle to keep up with processing the audio stream and cause drop outs.

Most modern PCs and Audio Interfaces should be easily capable of processing multiple streams at fairly low buffer rates without too many problems, but if you add plugins that will increase the latency and the load. So it’s basically a bit of a balancing act to get a setup which works for you on your system.




Can’t put it any better than Majik already has. Just wanted to say that I’ve been using a much cheaper audio interface via ASIO with Amplitube on a decent PC, and get no noticeable latency at all.

Awesome stuff, thanks all. What interface are you using @Goffik ?

It’s a Behringer U-Phoria UMC22 which cost me just under £40 a couple of years ago. They seem to be about £5-£10 more expensive now. Reviews are generally good and I’ve had no issues with interference or audio quality. That’s just with guitar though. I have no microphone so can’t comment on that.