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I recently got a Roland TD-11K, which has an USB output. I plugged it on my Windows 10 and the drivers were successfully installed. I went to the Sound Control Panel, checked "Listen to this device" on the properties of the TD-11K recording device, and it worked!... but with some delay. Impossible to play while listening.

I would like to know what is the best approach to connect my drum kit to my computer and listen to it with my headphones, also computer-plugged, with the same delay and quality as you would have playing with the headphones connected directly in the drum kit. The reason for this is that in the future, I intend to use VSTs to enhance the drum kit and some learning softwares. My drum kit is next to my computer so it makes sense to only use my computer for everything.

Does an audio interface accomplish this? I read a lot of tutorials teaching how to record yourself playing on the computer but none of them explicitly say if or how you also listen through the computer. I just started in the musical area and I'm afraid to spend more money without making sure it will fix this problem.

Thanks!

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  • "also computer-plugged, with the same delay and quality as you would have playing with the headphones connected directly in the drum kit." - I bet it will be a long while before this is possible. The best shot so far is using ASIO4All or some other ASIO solution. – Alen Siljak Apr 14 at 18:34
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Sound Control Panel, checked "Listen to this device"

This is most likely going to use the Windows WDM/directsound and "in shared mode" which tends to have a lot of latency.

For recording and playing you will want to use a low-latency driver: look for a Roland-provided ASIO driver or use ASIO4ALL (freeware). You will need software that can "use" the ASIO driver as well, and if you are going with VSTs in the future, you would be using a VST Host application that will be able to select ASIO for the input and output. There is a freeware application for windows called "VSTHost" (conveniently enough) that can get you started, and there are also open source ones available.

The trick is to set your ASIO buffers as low as they can go without hanging your application and/or having the audio crackle and break up. You probably are not going to get much below 8-11ms. I think 12-15ms is around when people tend to perceive the delay when playing.

Even with ASIO drivers, one thing I have found that can help reduce latency by a few milliseconds with e.g. on-the-motherboard Realtek audio is to find out what the default sampling is for the chipset and then try setting your ASIO driver settings to use that sampling rate.

Another thing to consider going forward is that you may be able to capture the midi signals instead of the raw audio and then you can re-kit the entire performance with a midi drum kit package.

Further, there are a lot of questions pertaining to ASIO and recording on this stack, so try a search. I "bolded" three terms which will help you google for more information.

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  • be aware that ASIO requires exclusive use of the audio hardware, so you will not be able to listen to music from some other source on the same computer unless you have two audio devices, such as a separate sound card installed on an audio-capable motherboard. My second device is a "Stealth pedal" audio interface for guitar and a separate set of speakers for the computer – Yorik Nov 4 '20 at 20:24
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If the TD-11 is like the TD-15 (which I have and just tested this with), and you're connecting it to your computer via USB, the TD drum module is an audio interface. It provides both stereo audio input and output. You connect your headphones to the TD module and use the TD module as the audio output (AND input) in your computer's DAW software. You may need to install Roland's audio driver software for this to work properly. Since you talk about "VSTs", I suppose you're going to be using a DAW program that can utilize some low-latency technology such as ASIO. If you're on Mac, things are low-latency enabled and work by default.

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