Consumer grade bluetooth speakers & latency

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gimmeapill
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Consumer grade bluetooth speakers & latency

Postby gimmeapill » Tue Jun 26, 2018 9:15 pm

Ok, here's the deal: I'm playing guitar on the go through a small analog preamp (vox amplug) that sends it output to a bluetooth speaker connected via a 3,5mm stereo jack (no bluetooth is actually involved).
It's a poor man's setup, but still way better at low volume than all the crappy battery powered combos I got to try.
So far so good, until I tried my wife's speaker and heard...latency.

Looking at the specs of the latest generations of those speakers, they usually seem to use some kind of onboard DSPs in order to sound bigger than they look, so this is not too surprising. Bluetooth connection is also reputed to have latency issues, yet here I'm talking only about the 3,5mm analog input.

So I tried to make some measurements with jack_iodelay (since there doesn't seem to be much information on the topic floating around), and here are the results.

All the tests were run through a Focusrite 2i2 first Gen with the following Jack settings:

Code: Select all

/usr/bin/jackd -P89 -p128 -t2000 -dalsa -r96000 -p64 -n3 -Xseq -D -Chw:USB -Phw:USB -i2 -o2


- First - straight to the soundcard with a patch cable to loop the input to the output:

Code: Select all

   784.627 frames      8.173 ms total roundtrip latency
        extra loopback latency: 528 frames
        use 264 for the backend arguments -I and -O

-> this tells that my jack settings + soundcard produce a latency of about 8.1 ms roundtrip at 96khz. No surprise.

- going through my usual studio speakers

Code: Select all

   816.398 frames      8.504 ms total roundtrip latency
        extra loopback latency: 560 frames
        use 280 for the backend arguments -I and -O ?? Inv

-> Slightly higher figure going through actual speakers and a microphone: Original figure + about 0.4 ms. I'll use this as a reference.

- going through the first small bluetooth speaker (Klipsch Groove)

Code: Select all

   883.775 frames      9.206 ms total roundtrip latency
        extra loopback latency: 627 frames
        use 313 for the backend arguments -I and -O Inv

-> compared to the reference above, that's 0.7 ms of additional latency added. Mesurable, but still quite negligible.

- going through the second bluetooth speaker (Anker Core 2)

Code: Select all

  3192.864 frames     33.259 ms total roundtrip latency
        extra loopback latency: 2936 frames
        use 1468 for the backend arguments -I and -O ??

-> That's bad. 24.5 ms added. I ran the test several times to be sure.
Probably not an issue when using the device for its intended purpose to play music from a mobile device, but clearly problematic for latency sensitive applications.

I'll try to add more results if I get my hands on some different models.

So, now you know ;-)

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protozone
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Re: Consumer grade bluetooth speakers & latency

Postby protozone » Thu Jun 28, 2018 2:56 am

From what I read elsewhere, BlueTooth is not full-bandwidth audio so while it might be OK for bass and/or monaural sounds, it's a lossy technology thus far. It's still fun for some things though.

There might be some alternatives not called "BlueTooth" that use similar principles, however, and are still wireless but probably using proprietary techniques. BlueTooth is also notoriously dangerous in terms of security holes and flaws. It's been that way ever since it was invented; it never progressed in that regard. That's another reason to disable it for those of us who don't use it ever.

The only application I have for typical BlueTooth is to transfer ringtones and pictures to and from a phone too cheap to have a removeable USB-compatible chip. That's really not enough reason for BlueTooth for me. I have a fancy ringtone now, but I don't want my whole DAW computer constantly vulnerable just because I wanted a ringtone for a phone I'd rather not have to answer anyhow.

Which does remind me...
REAPER's tragic flaw (amongst it's deprecated MIDI) is that they recently implemented wifi stuff into it!!! blech!
And the default password is totally insecure. So now your DAW can literally be hacked while you're using it. NOT GOOD.
I tried to post a forum message at Reaper.fm about it, but because of forum/email glitches I can't get into my user account or even create a new one. I think I might have emailed them, but I got no responses. Maybe i'll try again or just post on some other more prominent forums that I know a lot of REAPER users use ( https://gearsz.com , http://kvraudio.com , http://synthtopia.com , etc) VintageSynth.org had the same problem. I don't go to IDMforums.com anymore because their internet bullies are especially bad in terms of vicious hostility towards any type of lack of conformity. ( I mostly got attacked their after I revealed my nationality and ethnicity, so maybe it was related to that ).

I think I will start a separate forum topic about that. I was tempted to post a message at a security website about it, but too many potential hackers go there, and I'd rather post up security hole patches than vulnerabilites.

gimmeapill
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Re: Consumer grade bluetooth speakers & latency

Postby gimmeapill » Thu Jun 28, 2018 7:32 am

Dude, please keep it on topic please ;-)
Did you even read the post? No Bluetooth connection is involved (I wouldn't even step there for audio work), yet the speakers themselves are not necessarily that bad in a portable scenario.

If you want to contribute and have one of those small speakers, try to connect via a 3.5 mm stereo jack from your linux box and measure the round trip latency. Here's a more detailed explanation: https://www.linuxmusicians.com/viewtopic.php?t=8022

For measuring an external speaker you'll need also a microphone to capture the output back, and also exclude the latency of your system - see the first measurement.

Then please post the results here with the brand and model - that could be useful information for potential buyers, since there's just nothing in the zillion of online reviews for those devices.

Now coming back to bluetooth: if you find a reliable way to measure the connection latency and compare it with a cable connection on the same device, please let us know. Otherwise this can of worms is for sure best excluded ;-)

Cheers,

LX

Jack Winter
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Re: Consumer grade bluetooth speakers & latency

Postby Jack Winter » Thu Jun 28, 2018 11:32 am

protozone wrote:REAPER's tragic flaw (amongst it's deprecated MIDI) is that they recently implemented wifi stuff into it!!! blech!
And the default password is totally insecure. So now your DAW can literally be hacked while you're using it. NOT GOOD.


At the risk of being offtopic I have to ask what are you on about?

AFAIK, midi is still developed and getting better and has most certainly not been deprecated. No wifi specific stuff in it that I know about, and I've never heard anything about any password?
Reaper/KDE/Archlinux. i7-2600k/16GB + i7-4700HQ/16GB, RME Multiface/Babyface, Behringer X32, WA273-EQ, 2 x WA-412, ADL-600, Tegeler TRC, etc 8) For REAPER on Linux information: https://wiki.cockos.com/wiki/index.php/REAPER_for_Linux

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protozone
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Re: Consumer grade bluetooth speakers & latency

Postby protozone » Thu Jun 28, 2018 4:02 pm

Jack Winter wrote:
protozone wrote:REAPER's tragic flaw (amongst it's deprecated MIDI) is that they recently implemented wifi stuff into it!!! blech!
And the default password is totally insecure. So now your DAW can literally be hacked while you're using it. NOT GOOD.


At the risk of being offtopic I have to ask what are you on about?

AFAIK, midi is still developed and getting better and has most certainly not been deprecated. No wifi specific stuff in it that I know about, and I've never heard anything about any password?


I forget what it's called. It's some kind of wifi Transport function. It's not essential at all. It uses the http protocol and is for iOS devices and similar so you can use an iPod Touch or iPhone to tell Reaper to play, stop, record. There are HTML templates now in some of the data folders and they are editable. I think the default password was "password" or something like that. It's not an optional component, either. I will look up the name of it later today if I have time. I'm pretty sure it uses a person's local hotspot. It might not even be bluetooth, but actual networking over local internet connectivity. It makes me nervous though.

Jack Winter
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Re: Consumer grade bluetooth speakers & latency

Postby Jack Winter » Thu Jun 28, 2018 4:52 pm

Ah I see.

It's just an optional control surface implementation that can be controlled via http. Nothing to do with wifi or bt, all you need is networking and a browser. And note that you have to specifically enable it.
Reaper/KDE/Archlinux. i7-2600k/16GB + i7-4700HQ/16GB, RME Multiface/Babyface, Behringer X32, WA273-EQ, 2 x WA-412, ADL-600, Tegeler TRC, etc 8) For REAPER on Linux information: https://wiki.cockos.com/wiki/index.php/REAPER_for_Linux

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protozone
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Re: Consumer grade bluetooth speakers & latency

Postby protozone » Thu Jun 28, 2018 5:43 pm

Jack Winter wrote:Ah I see.

It's just an optional control surface implementation that can be controlled via http. Nothing to do with wifi or bt, all you need is networking and a browser. And note that you have to specifically enable it.


If it's networking, what is it networking over and thru? doesn't that involve routers/modems/wireless and/or ethernet?
And if you have to enable it, then why are the files right there in the reaper system folder? I'm skeptical.
I'd rather have the option to not install it, just like the main other features can be opted in/or out of.

If it's not involving the internet, then why is there a password? I think it goes through people's home routers, and potentially puts their DAW into an online status with a direct pipeline into the DAW project to and from the internet, right? Or am I inhaling smoked banana peels?

I will look into it more, though. Maybe you're right, if it's just ethernet.
It still seems kinda silly though. I wish they'd stabilize MIDI functionality further instead of adding notation and more esoteric stuff.
But ya know, I use Reaper almost every day for the past several years and I purchased it. So I'm not totally biting the hand that feeds us.

Jack Winter
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Re: Consumer grade bluetooth speakers & latency

Postby Jack Winter » Thu Jun 28, 2018 6:10 pm

I'm sorry to continue an off topic discussion..

You are inhaling smoked banana peels 8)

Edit: I'm sorry gimmieapill, I won't post anything more on this subject.

I found that such an amount of misinformation needed a counterpoint, but I suppose I went too far. :oops:
Last edited by Jack Winter on Fri Jun 29, 2018 6:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reaper/KDE/Archlinux. i7-2600k/16GB + i7-4700HQ/16GB, RME Multiface/Babyface, Behringer X32, WA273-EQ, 2 x WA-412, ADL-600, Tegeler TRC, etc 8) For REAPER on Linux information: https://wiki.cockos.com/wiki/index.php/REAPER_for_Linux

gimmeapill
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Re: Consumer grade bluetooth speakers & latency

Postby gimmeapill » Fri Jun 29, 2018 5:53 am

Gents, why don't you go sabotage another thread instead?
I mean, courtesy has its limits...


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