"Although it might not seem like it, properly dealing with audio
requires an intricately tuned PC. The main issue is audio latency,
which refers to both the time it takes for a sound to enter your
machine and the time it takes for your machine to produce a sound.
In everyday use, we don’t really notice this latency. When
you click on a button that makes a beep, you don’t care that
it might take several hundred milliseconds for the sound to reach
your ears. But in the delicate world of audio engineering, several
hundreds of milliseconds is far too long, and even a delay of just
tens of milliseconds is undesirable.
"Most professional systems will try to reduce audio latency to
less than 10 milliseconds – faster than the average seek time
on most hard drives. Some systems will get it down as low as 2 or
3ms, enabling them to process vocals and instruments in real-time,
play software synthesizers just as they would the physical type,
and mix and master recordings with the same near-zero latency as an
analogue tape machine."