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My timing has never been poorer than when I started recording my performances in DAWs. Today was another reminder of that.

In creating this post, I hope to get a few S1 pros involved to test and confirm the MIDI timing inaccuracies I've discovered in Studio One. This test is error free if we are to believe the settings and our eyes and ears when it comes to recording.

For this test I used S1 4.61 on a PC through a Focusrite 6i8 USB 2 interface (2nd Gen). I set the block size to 1024. (I'm monitoring in real time and not through S1's "blue button".)

At the end of this post, I've also included a LICEcap GIF of the results I got with a simple MIDI vs AUDIO rec. test.

Here's what to do if you feel so inclined:

1) Create an 8 bar looped section and render a click track from S1's click menu for use within that 8 bar loop.

2) Hook up a shure 57 or other mic with short XLR cable and record the click track.
a) COMPARE the rendered click track transients versus the mic recorded click transients: do they line up perfectly?
b) If there is a gap between the two (latency, either + or -) then go to Options/Advanced/AUDIO and set the offset + or - by whatever distance that gap is in MS or samples.

c) Record the click track again and keep adjusting the audio offset until the output click signal and the recorded click signal are in perfect sync. This prepares you for the MIDI accuracy test.

NOTE: What you have now established is perfect audio timing in your signal chain where the output of the system is almost simultaneously recorded into the DAW.

3) Set up an external MIDI instrument. I used V-Drums because that's where I noticed these timing issues with MIDI most.

4) Now, record yourself playing a single note in exact time with the click WHILE ALSO RECORDING THE AUDIO sound of your finger hitting that key or the V-Drum head. The reason for this is to prove how close your real time physical attack on the keyboard is to the click track being played back — knowing that the mic recording track has already been calibrated for PERFECT timing to that click.

5) NOW, here's the fun/no so fun part: Have a look at the MIDI notes that you recorded: are they in perfect time with the audio track of you hitting the keys? My answer: an emphatic NO.

If you are concerned about accuracy of MIDI performance, I've put this test together to give us a common means of measuring the accuracy of MIDI input from system to system.

Please let me know what your experiences were. It should take about 15 minutes to try this.

Below is a GIF of the gap between the drum hit that my mic recorded, and the variable/unreliable offsets that Studio One created to make my MIDI performance / Drum grooves utterly useless. The highlighted area offers a visual display of the offset between MIDI and audio attacks.

BONUS ROUND: For a further thrill, adjust your Dropout Protection and note how this begins to offset your recorded MIDI signal as well. I'm always at Minimum. I tried Medium. That was enough to send me running back.

Bad MIDI timing in S1 2.gif

I use: Studio One Pro v5 on i7 7700 win10 PC w16GB RAM and 4.61 on a Mac Pro Tower (Sierra) w/RME & Focusrite interfaces.

Author: Reality Checks for Everyday Life — Keeping it real in a world of illusions. I can also be found loitering at: http://RolandK.ca

Attention all shoppers: The people in commercials are paid actors.
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by roland1 on Thu May 21, 2020 4:15 pm
I'll reserve this space in case I have to add something further to this test.

I use: Studio One Pro v5 on i7 7700 win10 PC w16GB RAM and 4.61 on a Mac Pro Tower (Sierra) w/RME & Focusrite interfaces.

Author: Reality Checks for Everyday Life — Keeping it real in a world of illusions. I can also be found loitering at: http://RolandK.ca

Attention all shoppers: The people in commercials are paid actors.
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by Jemusic on Thu May 21, 2020 4:47 pm
First question. When you were playing your V Drums and recording the midi signal and the sound of the head being played, did you have Input Quantise on by chance. If you did then the midi notes will be quantised to the grid, but the audio will be freeform in timing. You may get quite distinct errors here. Please check this. And try again if it was ON. It usually defaults to ON actually meaning you may have had it on without knowing.

I have done some serious Studio One timing tests myself and it is rock solid for me. But I have a midi interface connected to a USB port which is on a card fitted to a PCI slot. So for me the midi interface is quite separate to everything else. I can get timing down to fractions of a mS. For every note that is.

Some people also may not have any form of drum pad either to do this test. I do have ATOM so that would the only way I could test it. But the only audio that I could record would be what ATOM would be triggering internally inside Studio One. (Added latency there) You are recording the audio from a drum brain which hopefully would be pretty fast and low latency.

Recording a controller key being pressed would not be a good test either. What you are saying is you need drum brain being triggered from a pad connected to it to do this test. So it sort of narrows it down. But a good test to do anyway for those who have a drum brain and pad connected to it. I can borrow one so I might give it a shot for you. (I just have to check it has got a Midi OUT though)

Please add your specs to your SIGNATURE.
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Specs i5-2500K 3.5 Ghz-8 Gb RAM-Win 7 64 bit - ATI Radeon HD6900 Series - RME HDSP9632 - Midex 8 Midi interface - Faderport 2/8 - Atom Pad- iMac 2.5Ghz Core i5 - High Sierra 10.13.6 - Focusrite Clarett 2 Pre & Scarlett 18i20. Studio One V5 (Mac), Notion 6.7, Ableton Live 10 Suite, LaunchPad Pro
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by roland1 on Thu May 21, 2020 5:32 pm
I was expecting you.

First of all: IQ was NOT on during MIDI recording. That would be an "anti-groove" approach to drum tracking.

Second of all, please don't discourage others from trying this test. It may lead to some important revelations. Admiral Bumble Bee already tested S1 and said it had some serious MIDI note drift issues on his system. I discovered that myself today by investing a little time and effort. Here's his website. http://www.admiralbumblebee.com/

If your system works perfectly, hey, that's all I needed to hear. Thanks for your input. I definitely want to figure out what the source of my timing problem is though. So let's keep this ball in play.

If there are issues with USB 2 versus Thunderbolt or PCIe cards, etc., then perhaps this test might help us all to recognize where the problem areas might be. I have an RME system with a PCI card as well. It's just not hooked up right now.

There are some very smart people on this forum who will figure out a way to create some version of this test that works for their configuration.

Jemusic wroteFirst question. When you were playing your V Drums and recording the midi signal and the sound of the head being played, did you have Input Quantise on by chance. If you did then the midi notes will be quantised to the grid, but the audio will be freeform in timing. You may get quite distinct errors here. Please check this. And try again if it was ON. It usually defaults to ON actually meaning you may have had it on without knowing.

I have done some serious Studio One timing tests myself and it is rock solid for me. But I have a midi interface connected to a USB port which is on a card fitted to a PCI slot. So for me the midi interface is quite separate to everything else. I can get timing down to fractions of a mS. For every note that is.

Some people also may not have any form of drum pad either to do this test. I do have ATOM so that would the only way I could test it. But the only audio that I could record would be what ATOM would be triggering internally inside Studio One. (Added latency there) You are recording the audio from a drum brain which hopefully would be pretty fast and low latency.

Recording a controller key being pressed would not be a good test either. What you are saying is you need drum brain being triggered from a pad connected to it to do this test. So it sort of narrows it down. But a good test to do anyway for those who have a drum brain and pad connected to it. I can borrow one so I might give it a shot for you. (I just have to check it has got a Midi OUT though)

I use: Studio One Pro v5 on i7 7700 win10 PC w16GB RAM and 4.61 on a Mac Pro Tower (Sierra) w/RME & Focusrite interfaces.

Author: Reality Checks for Everyday Life — Keeping it real in a world of illusions. I can also be found loitering at: http://RolandK.ca

Attention all shoppers: The people in commercials are paid actors.
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by Jemusic on Thu May 21, 2020 5:49 pm
I am not discouraging anyone from doing this test. I think its relevant for sure. I am just saying the main people who are going to be able to do it are those with drum brains and a pad connected to them. There is not another way from what I can see. I have got access to a drum pad and brain but I just have to check it for either USB or midi OUT that is all. It might be one of those lower Yamaha models that only have audio outs.

The tests I have done involve keyboard playing and synths etc for timing. Not so much drum brains etc. Which are actually important too because of the very fast and percussive nature of those sounds. I have achieved excellent results though especially over thunderbolt on an iMac using a Focusrite Clarett interface.

And yes I have seen varying results re midi jitter tests as well. Studio One has not always done that well. From what I can see Ableton and Cubase are very tight in this area. I am in the process of testing Ableton now actually. If I can get the drum brain and pad I will do the test on both Studio One and Ableton that you suggest and we can compare.

You need to do the test again using your RME card in the PCI slot and use the RME Midi IN/OUT as well. It is very fast.

With your test as well why not record three things:

1 The sound of the pad being hit by a stick (faster sound, eg better transient)
2 The audio the drum brain creates. eg a clave sound maybe.
3 The midi note ON the drum brain sends into Studio One.

Look at all three close up.

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Specs i5-2500K 3.5 Ghz-8 Gb RAM-Win 7 64 bit - ATI Radeon HD6900 Series - RME HDSP9632 - Midex 8 Midi interface - Faderport 2/8 - Atom Pad- iMac 2.5Ghz Core i5 - High Sierra 10.13.6 - Focusrite Clarett 2 Pre & Scarlett 18i20. Studio One V5 (Mac), Notion 6.7, Ableton Live 10 Suite, LaunchPad Pro
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by roland1 on Thu May 21, 2020 6:00 pm
People working on a keyboard need to know if their notes are being input accurately as well. So recording your key taps goes a long way toward seeing if the transient timing matches the input device. I could actually do the same test using my Apple keyboard as a controller. Not sure if I could trust the results, but it could be done.

P.S. I did an audio output test from the V-Drum. I'm going to test it again. Last time I was distracted too much by other stuff. Now I have time to look at it more closely.

I use: Studio One Pro v5 on i7 7700 win10 PC w16GB RAM and 4.61 on a Mac Pro Tower (Sierra) w/RME & Focusrite interfaces.

Author: Reality Checks for Everyday Life — Keeping it real in a world of illusions. I can also be found loitering at: http://RolandK.ca

Attention all shoppers: The people in commercials are paid actors.
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by Jemusic on Thu May 21, 2020 6:05 pm
I just think the sound of a key being pressed on a controller with your finger is a bit vague compared to a pad being hit by a stick which would be an excellent transient. When I play my Kurzweil controller for example the whole sound is just too long and vague. Unless you tap the keys with something sharp without damaging the key maybe.

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Specs i5-2500K 3.5 Ghz-8 Gb RAM-Win 7 64 bit - ATI Radeon HD6900 Series - RME HDSP9632 - Midex 8 Midi interface - Faderport 2/8 - Atom Pad- iMac 2.5Ghz Core i5 - High Sierra 10.13.6 - Focusrite Clarett 2 Pre & Scarlett 18i20. Studio One V5 (Mac), Notion 6.7, Ableton Live 10 Suite, LaunchPad Pro
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by Jemusic on Thu May 21, 2020 7:05 pm
Ok I have got some preliminary results. I did this test tapping on the keys of my Kurzweil controller with something hard in order to create a snappy sound, and recorded that onto an audio track.

I recorded the midi note ons coming from the Kurzweil at the same time as the tapping audio.

Note: One has to be slightly careful with this because if one was tapping slowly the midi note ons may arriver later compared to very fast and firm or quick taps. I was able with practice to do fast and very quick firm taps.

I recorded the midi through my interface that is on a USB port in a PCI slot USB card.

I did have to tweak my Midi offset. Initially the midi note ons were all 10 mS late compared to the audio tapping. I set my Midi record offset to -10 mS. Then after that they were all totally spot on. Nearly every midi note on was in perfect alignment with the audio tapping transient. A few did vary, but no more than 1 mS deviation.

Since you would not even pick 5 or 6 mS of timing error, for me this test was perfect. And playing drum parts in should present no issue.

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Specs i5-2500K 3.5 Ghz-8 Gb RAM-Win 7 64 bit - ATI Radeon HD6900 Series - RME HDSP9632 - Midex 8 Midi interface - Faderport 2/8 - Atom Pad- iMac 2.5Ghz Core i5 - High Sierra 10.13.6 - Focusrite Clarett 2 Pre & Scarlett 18i20. Studio One V5 (Mac), Notion 6.7, Ableton Live 10 Suite, LaunchPad Pro
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by roland1 on Thu May 21, 2020 7:05 pm
Staccato, end of index finger. If you do that consistently, you'll see it well enough to judge the timing. There should not be a 50 ms lag or whatever. :)

I use: Studio One Pro v5 on i7 7700 win10 PC w16GB RAM and 4.61 on a Mac Pro Tower (Sierra) w/RME & Focusrite interfaces.

Author: Reality Checks for Everyday Life — Keeping it real in a world of illusions. I can also be found loitering at: http://RolandK.ca

Attention all shoppers: The people in commercials are paid actors.
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by roland1 on Thu May 21, 2020 7:08 pm
Jemusic wrote[...] A few did vary, but no more than 1 mS deviation.

Since you would not even pick 5 or 6 mS of timing error, for me this test was perfect. And playing drum parts in should present no issue.


For me, there were times when the MIDI note was ahead of the transient and sometimes behind. There was only one hit where it was spot on. So something's not working right on this end.

I use: Studio One Pro v5 on i7 7700 win10 PC w16GB RAM and 4.61 on a Mac Pro Tower (Sierra) w/RME & Focusrite interfaces.

Author: Reality Checks for Everyday Life — Keeping it real in a world of illusions. I can also be found loitering at: http://RolandK.ca

Attention all shoppers: The people in commercials are paid actors.
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by roland1 on Thu May 21, 2020 7:11 pm
P.S. Wanna try it on the Scarlett 18i20? Bet that's USB 2.

I use: Studio One Pro v5 on i7 7700 win10 PC w16GB RAM and 4.61 on a Mac Pro Tower (Sierra) w/RME & Focusrite interfaces.

Author: Reality Checks for Everyday Life — Keeping it real in a world of illusions. I can also be found loitering at: http://RolandK.ca

Attention all shoppers: The people in commercials are paid actors.
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by Jemusic on Thu May 21, 2020 9:10 pm
Scarlett 18/20 a little worse but not bad though. Most midi note ons were within 2 mS of the audio tapping sound. Some early and others late though but only by about 1-2 mS.

I will try the midi and audio from the RME PCI interface next and report.

Please add your specs to your SIGNATURE.
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Specs i5-2500K 3.5 Ghz-8 Gb RAM-Win 7 64 bit - ATI Radeon HD6900 Series - RME HDSP9632 - Midex 8 Midi interface - Faderport 2/8 - Atom Pad- iMac 2.5Ghz Core i5 - High Sierra 10.13.6 - Focusrite Clarett 2 Pre & Scarlett 18i20. Studio One V5 (Mac), Notion 6.7, Ableton Live 10 Suite, LaunchPad Pro
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by roland1 on Thu May 21, 2020 9:46 pm
I have had some good success by lowering the buffer. I had it at 1024 and brought it to 64. Now the MIDI notes are much closer.

Here's the thing: with 1024, I had deadly accurate audio input. I assumed, with the offset, that I could achieve the same result with MIDI. But MIDI drift seems to happen FAR MORE at a higher buffer setting. And it's unpredictable.

At 1024, I noticed that the MIDI could be both ahead or behind the audio being recorded of my VDrum pad hits. I also noticed that the audio being recorded from the VDrums output would drift on occasion from the audio being captured of my drum hits.

So there is a wonkiness to be found here, whether it's with my system, the Focusrite interface, the USB 2 communication with the computer, or in Studio One itself. On the latter note, I did try Reaper and had similarly bad results at a buffer setting of 1024. I don't blame the cables because they wouldn't cause the audio to drift like that.

My projects are typically VSTi heavy, so I tend to work at higher buffer settings to avoid playback sluggishness or dropped samples. I guess most of my problem is solved. I'd still like to know if there is a way to keep the same interval of latency and not see both MIDI and audio jump out of alignment because...well, because of something.

I use: Studio One Pro v5 on i7 7700 win10 PC w16GB RAM and 4.61 on a Mac Pro Tower (Sierra) w/RME & Focusrite interfaces.

Author: Reality Checks for Everyday Life — Keeping it real in a world of illusions. I can also be found loitering at: http://RolandK.ca

Attention all shoppers: The people in commercials are paid actors.
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by Jemusic on Thu May 21, 2020 10:19 pm
With my Scarlett test too it was a normal USB port as well. Not the PCI USB card. I did that especially.

I tested with the RME PCI mounted audio and midi interface. Also super tight here too. Like either within fractions of a millisecond or maybe 1 mS out in some places. (had to set a different midi offset though) This may have had more to do with my tapping as well. The taps on a keyboard have to all be the same and very consistently fast and firm. But I think anything that is in the PCI bus is just better.

For years before as well I ran my Uniter 8 interface off the Serial Port and always got super fast and tight timing. Its because there was no other communication on there. I still feel there is something great about the PCI USB card for me. And having my midi interface coming from that. Changing buffers for me has no effect either by the way on either the audio or midi. The audio (and midi) still records in the same place.

The Kurzweil audio is always super close to the key tapping audio for me as well meaning it spits out a sound pretty damn fast and very consistently at the same time.

I suggest if you have a PCI audio and midi interface such as the HDSP9632 I would run at least your drum setup midi wise into that. You can set this up in the External devices easily. Even if you are running another audio interface off USB that is still fine. On Windows you cant have both of them at once but it is easy to select the one you want in Studio One. You can run midi from both places at once as well. (USB and PCI) The audio quality of the HDSP9632 is also pretty amazing.

This has ben interesting for me. And I appreciate the whole test idea. What I have found really good about this test is recording audio of the keys being tapped or a drum pad being hit is a very good way to go. This has enabled me to get the midi offset actually set correctly and more accurately.

Please add your specs to your SIGNATURE.
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Specs i5-2500K 3.5 Ghz-8 Gb RAM-Win 7 64 bit - ATI Radeon HD6900 Series - RME HDSP9632 - Midex 8 Midi interface - Faderport 2/8 - Atom Pad- iMac 2.5Ghz Core i5 - High Sierra 10.13.6 - Focusrite Clarett 2 Pre & Scarlett 18i20. Studio One V5 (Mac), Notion 6.7, Ableton Live 10 Suite, LaunchPad Pro
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by IanM5 on Thu May 21, 2020 10:56 pm
Don't forget that a single "Note On" MIDI message takes about a millisecond to come down the wire. That's not including any CPU and buffering time at each end. It's a serial connection so three "simultaneous" notes arrive at least 1ms apart. If MIDI clock is on it's slower. If any CC stuff is happening it's slower.

There is no such things as instant in the digital world.

Studio One Pro 4, Intel i5-8400 @ 2.8GHz, 32GB RAM, Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
Focusrite Scarlett 8i6 (3rd Gen), Novation Launchkey Mini Mk3, Akai MPK Mini MKII, Novation Remote 25 (ancient, but not as ancient as I am)
Guitars, Mics, Synths, Upright Piano (tuned circa 2005), £50 drum kit, Wife (with Cello and Cello skills)
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by shanabit on Thu May 21, 2020 10:59 pm
@ Rolando

1. V Drums trigger response/delay. My TD8 sucks here
2. Midi cable length, longer= more delay and timing issues. Also cheap cables don't help
3. If using USB midi interface then super sloppy compared to PCI
4. Does S1 do midi time stamping? Im guessing no?
5. The AUDIO buffer is tied to that midi buffer.
6. Midi Drivers themselves can be written crappy
7. Audio delay itself with system throughput.

SO many things affect this. That said S1 sucks in this regards

S1 Pro 4.6.2, Cubase Pro 10.5.20
OSX High Sierra 10.13.6
Steinberg MR816X, Steinberg CC121
2010 MacPro Dual 2.4 Quad, 14 GB Ram
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by IanM5 on Thu May 21, 2020 11:35 pm
shanabit wrote@ Rolando

1. V Drums trigger response/delay. My TD8 sucks here
2. Midi cable length, longer= more delay and timing issues. Also cheap cables don't help
3. If using USB midi interface then super sloppy compared to PCI
4. Does S1 do midi time stamping? Im guessing no?
5. The AUDIO buffer is tied to that midi buffer.
6. Midi Drivers themselves can be written crappy
7. Audio delay itself with system throughput.



All true apart from point 2. Longer or poor quality MIDI cables do not affect timing at all. Longer/poor cabling increases the chance of data corruption due to noise but it cannot slow down the data. You can miss notes but you can't slow them down with cable length/quality.

Studio One Pro 4, Intel i5-8400 @ 2.8GHz, 32GB RAM, Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
Focusrite Scarlett 8i6 (3rd Gen), Novation Launchkey Mini Mk3, Akai MPK Mini MKII, Novation Remote 25 (ancient, but not as ancient as I am)
Guitars, Mics, Synths, Upright Piano (tuned circa 2005), £50 drum kit, Wife (with Cello and Cello skills)
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by Jemusic on Fri May 22, 2020 12:04 am
shanabit wrote@ Rolando

5. The AUDIO buffer is tied to that midi buffer.

SO many things affect this. That said S1 sucks in this regards


Point 5 refers to virtual instruments here but does not apply for external instruments. Audio buffer settings have no effect on external hardware midi timing.

However audio buffers effect Instrument tracks feeding virtual instruments of course. With my iMac though and a Focusrite Clarett interface over thunderbolt, round trip is only 2 mS for me. So thats 1 mS each way so that is FAST! Software monitoring is fully possible at a 16 sample buffer setting. No perceived delay at all.

Please add your specs to your SIGNATURE.
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Specs i5-2500K 3.5 Ghz-8 Gb RAM-Win 7 64 bit - ATI Radeon HD6900 Series - RME HDSP9632 - Midex 8 Midi interface - Faderport 2/8 - Atom Pad- iMac 2.5Ghz Core i5 - High Sierra 10.13.6 - Focusrite Clarett 2 Pre & Scarlett 18i20. Studio One V5 (Mac), Notion 6.7, Ableton Live 10 Suite, LaunchPad Pro
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by shanabit on Fri May 22, 2020 6:48 am
Jemusic wrotePoint 5 refers to virtual instruments here but does not apply for external instruments. Audio buffer settings have no effect on external hardware midi timing.

.


Its funny to me how everyone wants to argue this point. This is true for Cubase as it is for S1

If i set the playback buffer high i get a lot of midi slop, set it low and it is way tighter and this is with
hardware midi

Carry on.

S1 Pro 4.6.2, Cubase Pro 10.5.20
OSX High Sierra 10.13.6
Steinberg MR816X, Steinberg CC121
2010 MacPro Dual 2.4 Quad, 14 GB Ram
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by shanabit on Fri May 22, 2020 6:49 am
IanM5 wrote
shanabit wrote@ Rolando

All true apart from point 2. Longer or poor quality MIDI cables do not affect timing at all. Longer/poor cabling increases the chance of data corruption due to noise but it cannot slow down the data. You can miss notes but you can't slow them down with cable length/quality.


Do me a favor and run a 100ft midi cable and let me know how the timing is then. :thumbup:

Im not talking about the baud rate here

S1 Pro 4.6.2, Cubase Pro 10.5.20
OSX High Sierra 10.13.6
Steinberg MR816X, Steinberg CC121
2010 MacPro Dual 2.4 Quad, 14 GB Ram

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