633: Delay or latency when playing your MIDI keyboard in Sibelius

If there's a delay between you playing your keyboard and you hearing the sound, this isn't because there's a problem in Sibelius but because your sound card or audio interface is taking too long to process the sound. If there's a delay in producing the click sound you're playing to, then the notes you're playing will be delayed even further.

The most common cause of this is the type of playback device you're using. To check this, go to Play, Playback Devices. Have a look at the devices you have in the Active devices list on the right hand side.

If the device's type is MIDI, check it's not your internal sound chip i.e. Microsoft GS Wavetable. This device is very latent and will not be able to play the sound without a considerable delay. In this case choose, from the Playback Configurations, General MIDI (Enhanced) or Sibelius Sounds or you can create a new Playback Configuration with another MIDI device (i.e. your keyboard if it has sounds built in) and this will have a quicker response when you play your MIDI keyboard.

If you do use virtual instruments (i.e. devices that have the type of VST, Sibelius, Kontakt or ARIA) then the latency, or delay, will be dependant on the audio device that Sibelius is using to play back with.

To configure this, go to Play, Playback Devices and click the Audio Engine Options button. There, you need to get the Latency value down to the lowest you can get it. As many different sound cards have so many different names and settings, we can't tell you exactly what you need to choose so you'll have to test different combinations of Interface, and Buffer size to find the lowest Latency setting.

To find the best settings, you can click the Interface drop-down, which will list all the audio devices Sibelius can see. On Windows, some may appear more than once with letters in brackets afterwards and should be chosen in this priority:

(ASIO): Audio Stream Input Output: this will be the best option to choose, if you have it. This will generally give you the lowest latency too.
: Windows Audio Session API: This too will give low latency but will be using your computer resources to do so
: Direct Sound: This is the common driver using Windows' Direct Sound and will do for most situations.
(MME): Multimedia Extensions: This is an emulated driver that Windows can use. This will give you the worst performance and is not recommended.

So, if you have a device listed with ASIO, choose that. If not, try WASAPI and then DS, then if you really don't have anything else, choose MME.

If you're on Windows and you don't have a device with (ASIO) after it then we recommend you purchase a sound card with ASIO drivers, which you can do from shop.avid.com.

If you are still having problems, you will need to download and install the latest drivers from the manufacturer's websites. Here's a list of common MIDI and audio device manufacturer support pages:

Avid Audio
Roland and Edirol


1.003 - 1.4, 2 - 2.11, 3.0 - 3.1.3, 4.0 - 4.1, 5.0 - 5.2.5, 6.0 - 6.2, 7.0 - 7.1
09 Aug 2011

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