Latency is the small amount of time it takes hardware to compute information going in and out. In audio terms, “low latency” means your computer puts audio out almost instantly which is very useful for the recording stage, but this dramatically increases demand on system resources and can cause drop-outs and glitches. Higher latency will create a small delay in playback but will decrease the strain on the computer, meaning it can more easily run lots of plugins and virtual instruments.
When buying an audio interface, you should always make sure that it can provide low latency recording, or preferably a “direct monitoring” option, so that you can listen to the signal you’re recording direct, rather than it having to be processed by your computer first.
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