Is there anyone that's aware of a software that acts a bit like an audio console? I would like to adjust the frequencies of my microphone for ambient noise reduction etc in real time.


  • I'd guess audacity could do that. Just guessing tho - no idea. Commented Jul 2, 2013 at 20:43
  • 1
    This question appears to be off-topic because it is about audio mixing, not about musical practice. Should be migrated to another stack?
    – Wheat Williams
    Commented Jul 3, 2013 at 12:27
  • Jack and LADSPA if you run Linux, but you didn't tell us what OS you are on.
    – oberdada
    Commented Jul 3, 2013 at 13:30

1 Answer 1


Not quite in what you may mean by "real time": such processing requires conversion from analogue to digital and back, which necessarily introduces some latency: you need to read data into some buffer, then it can be processed, and then sent to the output. The buffer needs to be at least one sample.
It's still called real time, because you can have just this constant delay, but continuously following signal without interruptions.

Obviously, this is just what digital mixing consoles do. These nowadays have similarly versatile EQs, dynamics etc. as those built into all DAWs, but they use dedicated DSP chips rather than the CPU where also the complete operating system has to run on, so they can achieve lower latency at the same processing power. CPU-based processing needs quite big buffers to run stable, when you try getting the latency below something like 5 ms you may get drop-outs. But if you're ok with that, what you need is

  • A good audio interface, with decent drivers for your platform of choice. Few devices have well-working ALSA drivers, so with Linux it's always a bit difficult; on Windows, the professional standard is ASIO, on Mac it's Core audio – almost any interface supports those.

  • A clean OS, that won't start expensive background operations when you need the power to maintain the low-latency audio connection. Here, GNU/Linux with lightwight window managers clearly wins, Windows XP is also quite stable, but provided you don't have too much junk installed (popping up messenger services etc.), newer Windowses and OSX will also do the job, given a sufficiently fast machine.

  • A live-suited DAW. There are plenty. I like Reaper, which is easy to route for such stuff, lightweight, has powerful plugins capabilities, and isn't free but quite close to.

Make sure you actually use the right drivers; for instance with Windows sound system drivers you'll never get anything you could call low-latency.

Once you have it all running, your opportunities are quite unlimited. Arm some tracks in you DAW, switch on their monitoring, and put in whatever plugins you want.

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