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Resolving Poor MIDI Timing with this setup
Old 3 weeks ago
  #1
Gear Head
 

Resolving Poor MIDI Timing with this setup

Hi all,
I’ve read a number of posts and online resources extensively around MIDI timing. To be honest, I’ve come to the conclusion that I shouldn’t have issues with my setup, but for some reason I do, unless USB is just inherently bad always, in which I’m hoping someone can tell me what the solution is (other than buy some old Alexis sequencer from the 80’s). Eg. Is the answer to get a thunderbolt, USB 3.0 interface? Mac? Etc.

My setup is as follows:

1. 16 core AMD 3.x ghz processor. 32gb ram. Good graphics card etc, can’t see issues here. Running the latest version of windows 10
2. ALL computer services except for the essentials required to run ableton have been disabled. All networking is disabled. All antivirus software is removed from the pc.
3. Using RME Fireface UFX (version 1 from 2012) via USB 2.0. Midi is coming out of here via cable into Roland TR-8S. Midi comes back into the computer via the Fireface Midi in.
4. Ableton is sending the clock signals. Is set to ‘Pattern’.
5. Latency setting is 48 samples on the fire face/ableton.

6. Processing for ableton, fireface drivers etc. priority set to ‘real-time’.

Issue: the jitter is unacceptable, and every time I open ableton I need to re-adjust the MIDI delay settings. It is anywhere from -21 to -4ms. And then, jitterwise recording the midi notes back in are still +- a few ms randomly on either side of the beat. It is more than a ‘funk factor’.

What do I do? How do I fix this properly or is this as ‘good as it gets’ with MIDI and a modern interface? Is getting a newer interface likely to fix the issue, or Mac etc.?

Any help greatly appreciated, I can’t accept that this is as good as it gets in 2019.

Thanks heaps, really appreciate it.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #2
Gear Head
 

Anyone?
Thanks
Old 2 weeks ago
  #3
Lives for gear
 

Maybe try the RME forum? https://forum.rme-audio.de/

Edit: Big thread on RME MIDI https://forum.rme-audio.de/viewtopic.php?id=16259
Old 2 weeks ago
  #4
Gear Nut
 

i got a ufx and had issues where i could hear the midi clock not being stable. in the end i bought a 2 usamos because i couldnt figure out anyway to fix it. it seems like its a problem using midi over usb on windows. before the ufx i had some pci sound cards and never had a problem. but now that i have it setup i wish i had gotten an esx8md and es40. im also trying to monitor thru ableton and it was the only way i could make everything sound together consistently.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #5
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rockmanrock View Post
Maybe try the RME forum? https://forum.rme-audio.de/

Edit: Big thread on RME MIDI https://forum.rme-audio.de/viewtopic.php?id=16259
Great thanks, I’ll check it out
Old 2 weeks ago
  #6
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cs1729 View Post
i got a ufx and had issues where i could hear the midi clock not being stable. in the end i bought a 2 usamos because i couldnt figure out anyway to fix it. it seems like its a problem using midi over usb on windows. before the ufx i had some pci sound cards and never had a problem. but now that i have it setup i wish i had gotten an esx8md and es40. im also trying to monitor thru ableton and it was the only way i could make everything sound together consistently.
esx8md and es40. -> are these 2 well regarded? Site says ‘jitter-free’ and sample accurate?
Old 2 weeks ago
  #7
Gear Nut
 

it uses the spdif output to send the midi as digital audio then converts to midi. i spent a really long time trying to figure it out and just got a usamo because i didnt want to keep putting money into it and when i got it to work i bought a second one. but with the es40 and es8 you get 8 midi outputs which is nice for having some clock only, some notes only outputs. i also dont have a eurorack case or power supply so there was a lot of overhead, but if you only need 1 midi output you could just get a usamo. you just have to check what sample rate youre running at. i think the usamo doesnt work well at 44.1 with the rme audio outputs and is better at 48k or higher. i use mine at 44.1 but i use an output from an ada8200 from the ufx adat.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #8
Lives for gear
 
crufty's Avatar
Mac + core audio + motu w/mts = sample accurate midi (in theory)
Old 2 weeks ago
  #9
Gear Head
 

Option #1

only work in the box

Option #2

use computer as tape recorder, sequence all hardware from external sequencers with proven timing

Option #3

Silent Way / Usamo / Sync Lock - some device that sends timing via audio signals out of your daw to become MIDI

Look into Option 3 it works really well if you want a hybrid setup
Old 2 weeks ago
  #10
Gear Guru
 
Yoozer's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bower88 View Post
esx8md and es40. -> are these 2 well regarded? Site says ‘jitter-free’ and sample accurate?
They are, but take a bit more effort to set up. You can get a cable that converts AES/EBU to SPDIF.

Get a Doepfer beautycase and put these modules in there. Not cheap though.

If you have only a few MIDI devices you could also get an USAMO and a thru box.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #11
Gear Head
 

I’m thinking at this stage the best option is probably just to hard-quantise the MIDI in ableton, then record (and starting point chop) a non-midi audio record in of the tr-8s, extract groove from the clip and apply it after the fact. It’s a bit crazy we are still using this old school technology when it doesn’t work?
Old 2 weeks ago
  #12
USB is asynchronous with buffers and by definition will introduce some latency and jitter. How much depends on the buffer sizes in the midi driver [1] and therefore may vary by manufacturer, device and driver version. I'd expect 2-6ms of latency with variable jitter in either direction [2].

MIDI also has buffers and a little bit of latency, though with gear I have actually used jitter has been very low unless it is overloaded. Maybe 2-4ms each way.

That potentially means for example OUT:4(+/-2)ms USB + 3ms MIDI {+} IN: 3ms MIDI + 4(+/-2)ms USB = 14(+/-4)ms round trip might be pretty typical.

EDIT: Elsewhere on this forum is a discussion about MIDI timing that revealed this link. Looks like it varies a lot by manufacturer. More than I would have assumed TBH. https://www.innerclocksystems.com/litmus

NOTES:
[1] which is not the same as the buffer size setting for your audio drivers
[2] in well designed drivers jitter should reduce once the buffers are sufficiently large, but it'll never be perfect

Last edited by ambiguous signal; 2 weeks ago at 03:11 AM.. Reason: Add informative link.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #13
Gear Addict
 
channelite's Avatar
I’ve gone out of the box, using the Digitakt for sequencing. However my work flow has evolved into jams and recording a jam rather then composing in Live and Bitwig. I have to say the jams are much more interesting then composing. I remember how terrible the sync was with Live and the Tempest. I’ve also tried ableton link with midi link sync app. I don’t remember if that was better. Bitwig made a big deal about being an external midi slave, but never really gave that a try either.
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