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Drum machine sync to DAW. midi delay compensation when tracking your hardware?
Old 1 week ago
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Drum machine sync to DAW. midi delay compensation when tracking your hardware?

Do you have to play with midi delay compensation to get your external gear on the grid?

I'm having a time getting a SP16 to follow the midi click from Reaper and Live.

Is is normal to have to mess with Midi compensation?

Last edited by drockfresh; 1 week ago at 02:31 AM.. Reason: Simplify post
Old 1 week ago
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I have no latency issues with either synths or drum machines syncing to the grid with Ableton. Using MOtU midi interfaces and an RME audio interface.

Ableton has a weird quirk ( they call it a feature... ) that if the big yellow "on" button is engaged on an audio track while you're recording on it ( such as a drum machine ), the audio will be a bit late. So the trick is: put the audio track in record but don't have the "on" ( some may call it the monitor button ) engaged. You'll need to monitor the audio thru your audio interface since it won't be playing thru Ableton. I'm used to it now, but it gave me fits when I first encountered this weird bit of software programming.
Old 1 week ago
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And dont use plugins with latency while recording with Live. Especially on the master bus. They will mess with sync, with or without "automatic delay compensation".
Old 1 week ago
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Originally Posted by 3rdpath View Post
I have no latency issues with either synths or drum machines syncing to the grid with Ableton. Using MOtU midi interfaces and an RME audio interface.

Ableton has a weird quirk ( they call it a feature... ) that if the big yellow "on" button is engaged on an audio track while you're recording on it ( such as a drum machine ), the audio will be a bit late. So the trick is: put the audio track in record but don't have the "on" ( some may call it the monitor button ) engaged. You'll need to monitor the audio thru your audio interface since it won't be playing thru Ableton. I'm used to it now, but it gave me fits when I first encountered this weird bit of software programming.
When you send midi to an external device and record it - it's right on the grid...?
Old 1 week ago
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Originally Posted by drockfresh View Post
When you send midi to an external device and record it - it's right on the grid...?
My TR-707 is so off-grid in Ableton it's turned vegan and generating it's own electricity from the composted remains of it's last dinner
Old 1 week ago
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Originally Posted by usedtohaveajuno View Post
My TR-707 is so off-grid in Ableton it's turned vegan and generating it's own electricity from the composted remains of it's last dinner
Moderators. You can close this thread.
We have a winner.
Old 1 week ago
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drockfresh View Post
When you send midi to an external device and record it - it's right on the grid...?
yep. Tight to the grid. And I'll mention that none of my synths are new...they're all vintage from 1974-1991ish. So age of midi ( or CV to midi ) isn't an issue.

As mentioned, if the track is "on" while recording, the recorded track will be late by an uniform amount. This is a weird bug, I mean "feature", of Ableton.

are you recording with the track engaged? If so, try it without. If you're not monitoring thru a mixer or your interface doesn't have monitoring, you won't hear the track as it is recording.
Old 1 week ago
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3rdpath View Post
yep. Tight to the grid. And I'll mention that none of my synths are new...they're all vintage from 1974-1991ish. So age of midi ( or CV to midi ) isn't an issue.

As mentioned, if the track is "on" while recording, the recorded track will be late by an uniform amount. This is a weird bug, I mean "feature", of Ableton.

are you recording with the track engaged? If so, try it without. If you're not monitoring thru a mixer or your interface doesn't have monitoring, you won't hear the track as it is recording.
Really!? I'm trying to understand how that is possible.

If you send midi from your DAW to your external synths then there is always going to be some small latency to transmit the data isn't there?

Next, each synth will have a triggering latency too - how long it takes to react to the recieved midi and produce the audio. This varies from synth to synth. Unless your DAW knows the round trip latency of each synth I don't see how it could always be tight to the grid. Fascinating!
Old 1 week ago
  #9
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On my system it's about 6ms, depending on the device that is sequenced with DAW midi and recorded as audio.
It is very constant though. Some synths/effects add some additional latency. But there is no "jitter", unless it's under 0,5ms and I don't care about that because it's silly to do so.
If you mix hardware with software instruments (0ms on grid) you can always delay the software tracks if you feel that it's a benefit. I like to adjust microtiming to either direction, sometimes it helps the transients to move notes around slightly.
However, don't ever use plugins like a lookahead limiter plugin on the master bus or you will get huge audio offsets, at least with Live.
I'd advise to test audio recording sync before looking at midi: play a click track/metronome and plug a cable from the output to the input. Record and compare the tracks. If they align then you're good to go. If not then kill all plugins and disable "delay compensation" and try again.
Old 1 week ago
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drockfresh View Post
Is is normal to have to mess with Midi compensation?
Yes
Old 1 week ago
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Originally Posted by DanRand View Post
Yes
But if you get a few bars lines up - isn't it possible that they will get slightly mis-aligned over time? If the distance between bars on the drum machine is different than the DAW. Or is that not how midi clock works? Once it's lined up isn't will stay lines up..?
Old 1 week ago
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drockfresh View Post
But if you get a few bars lines up - isn't it possible that they will get slightly mis-aligned over time? If the distance between bars on the drum machine is different than the DAW. Or is that not how midi clock works? Once it's lined up isn't will stay lines up..?
If your drum machine is recieving midi clock from the DAW then it's not using it's own internal sequencer clock and so the time between each beat & bar is the same as the DAW - however, the midi clock sent by your DAW might well suffer from some jitter. On top of that, the way any device responds to midi clock can vary too. Then there is the way a device responds to other midi data, note on etc, which is not the same as the way it syncs to clock.

For sample accurate sync there are quite a few devices out there which solve the issue by using a plugin to send the clock using an audio track instead of midi. It still arrives to your external gear as midi clock but it travels out from your DAW and interface as an audio signal. The ERM Multiclock is one such device that provides four clock outputs which can all be offset to account for each devices latency.

For sample accurate midi recording back to your DAW there exist solutions from expert sleepers. Otherwise I'm pretty sure you will need to nudge your recordings back or forth a little.
Old 1 week ago
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Originally Posted by lectrojape View Post
If your drum machine is recieving midi clock from the DAW then it's not using it's own internal sequencer clock and so the time between each beat & bar is the same as the DAW - however, the midi clock sent by your DAW might well suffer from some jitter. On top of that, the way any device responds to midi clock can vary too. Then there is the was a device responds to other midi data, note on etc, which is not the same as the way it syncs to clock.

For sample accurate sync there are quite a few devices out there which solve the issue by using a plugin to send the clock using an audio track instead of midi. It still arrives to your external gear as midi clock but it travels out from your DAW and interface as an audio signal. The ERM Multiclock is one such device that provides four clock outputs which can all be offset to account for each devices latency.

For sample accurate midi recording back to your DAW there exist solutions from expert sleepers. Otherwise I'm pretty sure you will need to nudge your recordings back or forth a little.
Got it. Thanks. Awesome post. I just got the USAMO and I am trying to get it working. The ERM looks great but way out of my budget for this type of thing.
Old 1 week ago
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drockfresh View Post
But if you get a few bars lines up - isn't it possible that they will get slightly mis-aligned over time?
Only if the clock from the DAW/midi interface is drifting, or if the device is drifting in response to clock; and the only way to fix it is to nudge audio recordings earlier or later (not something I need to do anymore with Sync Gen + Expert Sleepers). This means something needs fixing, and IMO is more serious than jitter because it just gets worse over time. My 303 would always lose sync i.e. drift after 5-10 mins until I got a Sync Gen.

Drift is a permanent offset that just keeps getting worse the longer the track goes on.


Quote:
Originally Posted by drockfresh View Post
If the distance between bars on the drum machine is different than the DAW.
You'll get jitter. After a MIDI clock message is received, some transients have low latency (after the clock message), and some will have high latency. It's a mixture of cyclic push/pull jitter (a kind of drift, but in small amounts and not permanent, see screenshot), mixed with random jitter.

Two MLA jitter graphs - note the larger push/pull sawtooths, mixed with the busier random jitter spikes (the random jitter looks like *noise* in the bottom graph):


(above zero = early, below zero = late)


Cyclic (sawtooth) jitter kind of rights itself at the end of a cycle, so doesn't get worse over time. In the screenshot, the cycles get later and later (travelling from top to bottom i.e. early to late), then suddenly jumps to early timing (back to the top), and again starts getting later and later over time until it jumps back to the top again. You can kind of think of cyclic jitter as 'temporary drift'.

If you've got the clock firing in the right place this will mean some transients will be earlier than Live's grid/metronome and some will be later on the grid*. If you take an average position of some of the transients, that average position should be very close to bang on the DAW's grid, but most transients won't land bang on the grid.


* how early or late depends how high the jitter is i.e. the combined jitter of the DAW + midi interface + synth.


How the *Synth* is Monitored

BTW, how you monitor the synth determines how you configure the DAW e.g. Live's External Instrument plugin should only be used for *synths* through that are software monitored through plugins running in Live. If you used the External Instrument plugin for mixer/direct monitoring, the MIDI would fire too early and you'd also create unnecessary PDC/plugin latency.

How you monitor also affects how you set up the DAW's recording tracks.

Last edited by DanRand; 1 week ago at 12:24 PM..
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