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Very interesting thread. As a pro drummer, I do a lot of this type of stuff, so I'll definitely do some work on this. But it might be a few weeks, I just sold my old edrum module and am waiting on a new 2box drumit 5 MK2 to arrive. So I'll wait until I get that module and do some tests.

I will also add that I have used XLN's Addictive Trigger quite a bit to layer sounds on top of "real" acoustic drum recordings. Many times the AD Trigger does not perfectly line up with the acoustic hits. So much so that if I'm working on something that will be released to the public, I go through and manually tweak all the midi notes to perfectly line up with the audio drum hits. It's a real pain, but it's the only way I've found to get it perfectly accurate.

Obviously the AD trigger thing is not quite the same as what's being looked at here. But it's all related to latency of midi vs acoustic in some way. I do find that if I manually move the midi notes to alight perfectly with the audio, the vst sounds are in time with the acoustic. So the playback of the midi into the vst seems to align with the audio playing.

This is one of the areas that needs constant attention by Presonus as I think it contributes to the overall thought that "analog" sounds better than "digital." And every time you make a code change for something else, it has the potential to impact all this. Has to be a daunting task to keep on the development radar to test all these little timing things every time you change code, but is an absolute necessity.

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by Jemusic on Fri May 22, 2020 8:18 am
Just tested again. Tried setting audio buffer to 32 samples and then 2018. Got identical midi timing. I played in from keyboard controller and ATOM as well. Onto a midi track. Feeding back out to an external midi hardware instrument. The audio buffer settings in my system make no difference. The timing is tight to the click in each case. Even when you look at the midi event, the notes are right very close to the click. (Same for either buffer setting as well) I am not using any input quantise either. Just playing very accurately to the click.

Maybe its because my Midi interface is running from a USB port in a PCI card slot. Its totally independent of any audio settings. Why would it not be?

Its late at the moment but I make a video clip of the whole procedure.

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by roland1 on Fri May 22, 2020 9:00 am
UPDATES / THOUGHTS / CORRECTIONS / CONFESSIONS:

This morning — how much clearer is the mind on "the morning after" — I noticed something about my timing test results.

In setting up the experiment, I was looking to synchronize the MIDI with the audio of the actual "hit" point to determine system drift, latency and other assorted timing issues.

At first I was working at 1024 in my Focusrite control panel. This caused the recorded audio of the hit to be in perfect sync with the click. However, it was out of sync and also seemingly drifted both backwards and forwards from the MIDI notes I was playing into the track.

This was confusing me because I was using the audio transient as a reference point for my timing, not the MIDI note.

Yet when I switched over to a 64 audio buffer size, the MIDI notes began to line up almost perfectly with my audio recorded hits. In hindsight, I think the AUDIO was realigning with the MIDI, whose timing had not been affected by the buffer size.

So, this creates another question: which one is DRIFTING due to a larger buffer size? Is there such a thing as reliable audio or MIDI timing in a computer-based recording? Is each domain so affected by a multitude of circumstances, both software and hardware based, that perfection is unattainable in either one?

OH GAWD. I miss tape. :(

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by shanabit on Fri May 22, 2020 9:08 am
roland1 wrote
OH GAWD. I miss tape. :(


I have one roll of Ampex here with vintage SHANE on it. :XD:

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by roland1 on Fri May 22, 2020 10:54 am
I just want to cuddle with it for comfort. How much to rent for the weekend? :)

shanabit wrote
roland1 wrote
OH GAWD. I miss tape. :(


I have one roll of Ampex here with vintage SHANE on it. :XD:

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.

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by Jemusic on Fri May 22, 2020 6:58 pm
Here is the video timing test I promised. For the non believers. A few points I didn't make in the video.

Switch to HD if it does not look sharp. Best viewed full screen as well.

I felt an external metronome was a good idea. Feeding into an audio to midi converter. That way any timing inconsistencies due to sloppy playing are eliminated.

I turned Snap OFF in order to slide the midi event over so I could align the first midi note onto a grid line. I would have turned it back on in order to extend the left boundary out exactly 1/4 note. That is why it is still showing being on.

I also did not quantise any notes in the midi editor window below either. Just aligned the first note to a grid line. The rest are how Studio One recorded them.

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by Jemusic on Fri May 22, 2020 8:17 pm
So to roland1 it does depend on your configuration obviously as to whether midi timing is effected by audio buffer settings or not.

Also there are two things to take into consideration as well. Midi Offset setting and audio offset settings too. I think recording the sound of a key clack or drum pad being hit goes a long way to get the Midi offset right. That would be dependent on the controller as well. I noticed in my case it was different for the Kurzweil and also ATOM for example.

Then there is the issue of audio offset as well. In my case midi notes feeding external hardware might generate sounds which then need to be audio aligned. This would depend on the synth being used and the patch and one should really test that for each case and fine tune. That can be done by creating notes on the grid and then feeding them to either virtual or external instruments and adjusting the audio offset so the peak of the transient is also right on the grid.

It is a lot to take in.

If you have a desktop machine with spare PCI slots though, I highly recommend getting a midi interface in that situation. eg via a PCI to USB card converter. It really works great. And if you have multiple external hardware devices, get a midi interface that has multiple midi ports and put each synth on its own port. Timing improves big time when you do this too. As IanM5 mentions timing gets sloppy pretty quick when you are talking to say 8 synths over one midi port. Chords are one thing but multiple synths on their own channels on the one port is another. I send midi clocks and heavy CC messages down separate ports as well.

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by shanabit on Sat May 23, 2020 2:36 am
@Jemusic

RME HDSP9632 - Midex 8 Midi interface

There ya go. A LOT depends on the driver quality in these boxes and the timing solutions employed. RME is great AND its PCI there.
PCI eliminates a LOT of problems as USB has many issues with midi in MOTU land

The Midex8 is VERY solid with midi timing and has midi time stamping if I recall. MOTU midi boxes not so much. On MY system and I don't really care who is a believer or not there are issues with said midi timing.

The issue isn't making a metronome and converting it to midi. The issue is when you record MIDI with whatever controller then play back the external hardware it gets sloppy and does NOT play back what you in fact played in.

Some info on the Midex8 which very well can explain your perfect midi timing there:

"The Linear Time Base Method
To achieve the best possible Timing, the MIDEX-8 uses the Linear Time Base method. This new approach to optimize time-critical MIDI data transfer is the result of a close co-operation between Steinberg and Access Music.
The Problem
The new multitasking operating systems are often not capable of really accurately transferring MIDI data, even on very fast computers. The problem is caused by the sequential method that these systems use to share the system resources between all running applications. The in- tention of the method is to allow for a virtually simultaneous process- ing of different tasks. But when time-critical processes are involved, this method often results in slight timing problems. This might not be of great importance for many applications, but a timing difference of 5 milliseconds during a MIDI data transfer is clearly noticeable.
The Solution
The solution is called LTB – Linear Time Base. This method adds an ad- ditional time information to each MIDI Event and sends the event to the MIDEX-8 early.
• For this reason, the MIDEX-8 “knows” in advance which MIDI information/note to transfer next.
• Monitoring the current time position, the MIDEX-8 assigns the individual MIDI Events to the current position of your Song and sends the MIDI Event at the musically correct time."


Enjoy your rock solid midi timing as others don't have that

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by Jemusic on Sat May 23, 2020 4:26 am
Interesting. I thought LTB only worked with Cubase the same way AMT (Active Midi Transmission) works with Logic. I used to run Logic for many years with a Unitor 8 midi interface on a serial port and the timing was excellent too. I may not necessarily be getting the full advantage of LTB as the DAW has to be able to do it as well.

The metronome test I did was just to show how accurately Studio One can record midi data. It also plays back very perfectly what you play in as well. Even live playing against the click that is not quantised is captured and played back with great accuracy with all timing nuances.

I am a bit concerned though as I am on Win 7 and eventually when I do upgrade to Win 10 I am wondering if the Win 7 driver will still be OK.

Could it be just that the Midi interface in my case is running from a PCI slot instead. I have always been a great believer in getting the midi interface on its own port with nothing else. I do have a MOTU interface as well. (Microlite) I could try that on my PCI USB card and see if I get the same result.

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by shanabit on Sat May 23, 2020 11:27 am
Jemusic wroteInteresting. I thought LTB only worked with Cubase the same way AMT (Active Midi Transmission) works with Logic. I used to run Logic for many years with a Unitor 8 midi interface on a serial port and the timing was excellent too. I may not necessarily be getting the full advantage of LTB as the DAW has to be able to do it as well.

Even live playing against the click that is not quantised is captured and played back with great accuracy with all timing nuances.

I am a bit concerned though as I am on Win 7 and eventually when I do upgrade to Win 10 I am wondering if the Win 7 driver will still be OK.

Could it be just that the Midi interface in my case is running from a PCI slot instead. I have always been a great believer in getting the midi interface on its own port with nothing else. I do have a MOTU interface as well. (Microlite) I could try that on my PCI USB card and see if I get the same result.



1. I read where guys are running your midi interface on W10
2. Maybe the LBT doesnt apply with S1 as you stated? Not sure but I think you are correct
3. PCI midi timing is always rock tight. Heck my MTPAV Serial port version was way better thant he USB version I use now.
4. I would gladly try any test you would like me to do here. Im on Mac so there is that..
5. Live playing against the click is really what my issue is here. Its worse with VST's as you said but external hardware triggering after its played in is iffy too.
6. I think my big issue is the Roland TD8 triggering into S1. Its old I know.

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by Jemusic on Sat May 23, 2020 6:54 pm
Thanks shanabit for your info. Great to hear that Midex 8 is still a possibility on WIndows 10. I was hoping. Interesting in that Steinberg actually released the WIn 7 driver well after Midex 8 was discontinued. After a lot of complaints. Nice of them actually. I am wondering if Cubase now still supports LTB. I think Logic still has the AMT option in its midi settings, not sure.

I tested MOTU Microlite running in the PCI slot (USB Card) and got exactly the same results as my video meaning it is PCI related rather than something special such as LTB as I thought. (By the way LTB or AMT improves midi timing by a factor of 10 which is even more awesome but not sure of those DAW's still support it)

Even so a decent MOTU interface such as the Express XT is going to be pretty damn good running from the PCI slot.

I will do another test with the Microlite running from my Clarett interface on the iMac over thunderbolt. I suspect it too might be pretty good.

As a drummer and now keys as well, I am sensitive to timing issues. I have always strived for the best and tightest midi performance as I can get so that is the reason I have been building desk top machines with PCI slots. I used to be a CV/gate guy too for years before midi was invented and although a lot that was quantised the gate signal is super fast and tight. Hard to beat actually.

Hey the new Mac Pro has got PCIe slots again! About time.

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by Jemusic on Sun May 24, 2020 3:50 pm
Done some more tests which have interesting results as well. On my iMac now firstly with the MOTU Microlite on USB 2 only. Then using my Clarett 2 Pre interface over thunderbolt and using the Midi ports on that.

No input quantise either with any of these tests.

1 MOTU Microlite on USB 2. Got perfect timing again with either 32 sample or 2048 audio buffer settings.

2 MOTU Microlite on USB 2 again but with 20 instances of EMT plate present on an audio track. So my CPU was running at 61%. Also got perfect timing with either 32 or 2048 audio buffer settings.

3 Clarett 2 Pre Interface now connected to thunderbolt. Used midi port on that. Same thing. Perfect timing with either 32 or 2048 audio buffer settings and either 61% CPU or not.

This could mean two things. The MOTU has excellent midi drivers and works really tight over USB 2 and the Clarett over thunderbolt is also doing the same.

Found out too that Cubase dropped LTB several versions ago and same thing with Logic and AMT. So using the Midex 8 interface or Unitor 8 with current versions of Cubase/Logic you are not getting any advantages of LTB or AMT. Interfaces will still work fine though. Apparently with later versions of Windows operating systems they improved midi timing so much that LTB was not needed anymore with Cubase. Logic's midi timing has apparently got worse with later versions and current version too. Currently its not great for some reason. Cannot confirm, would have to test.

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by Rasi on Sun Jul 12, 2020 11:50 am
Studio one has had this issue for 8 yrs (at least)

https://youtu.be/XgQpz-IygMQ
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by niles on Sun Jul 12, 2020 2:12 pm
Rasi wroteStudio one has had this issue for 8 yrs (at least)

https://youtu.be/XgQpz-IygMQ
In 3.5.1 the safety buffer was removed for lowering monitoring latency. The trade off was less consistent monitoring of virtual instruments due to process buffer changes. This is especially noticeable at larger buffer sizes. The benefit of removing the safety buffer obviously is lower latency.

The comparison with Ableton in that video is worth nothing because Abletons monitoring latency is higher than Studio One because Ableton uses a safety buffer. The benefit of an extra safety buffer is that monitoring yields a consistent result. The guy in that video does not take that into account.

For comparison monitoring latency with a process block size of 128 samples at a sample rate of 44.1kHz in Ableton is 8 ms, while in Studio One it's ~6 ms.
Technically (in practice there are some other factors) without taking safety buffers into account the monitoring latency should be buffer size * 2 / sample rate. So in this case 5.8ms.

What the video shows us is not a bug but a choice. Both methods have the pros and cons depending on the situation. A safety buffer works great at large sample buffers to keep monitoring consistent. But at low buffer sizes it can easily become in your way because it introduces a latency that's almost just as big as the processing buffer latency.

Regarding the fact it's there for 8 year, that's just nonsense. Check out this picture and take a look at the relation of the MIDI note and audio in 3.3 (red) and 3.5.1 (green).

Image

In version 3.3 (and before) Studio One also had a safety buffer and monitoring was just as consistent as Ableton Live, trade off was +2 ms. In 3.5.1 the safety buffer was removed which lowered the latency by roughly 25%, trade off is jitter due to buffer changes when monitoring.

If you want to blame the developer for something, it can be that maybe an option would be the beter choice.

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by robertgray3 on Sun Jul 12, 2020 2:31 pm
niles wroteIn version 3.3 (and before) Studio One also had a safety buffer and monitoring was just as consistent as Ableton Live, trade off was +2 ms. In 3.5.1 the safety buffer was removed which lowered the latency by roughly 25%, trade off is jitter due to buffer changes when monitoring.


Thanks niles. To be clear, this is an issue with monitoring, or recorded events? I’ve only ever noticed these issues with monitoring, never with playback or the recorded events.

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by niles on Sun Jul 12, 2020 2:42 pm
robertgray3 wrote
niles wroteIn version 3.3 (and before) Studio One also had a safety buffer and monitoring was just as consistent as Ableton Live, trade off was +2 ms. In 3.5.1 the safety buffer was removed which lowered the latency by roughly 25%, trade off is jitter due to buffer changes when monitoring.


Thanks niles. To be clear, this is an issue with monitoring, or recorded events?
Only monitoring!
If it is an issue is subjective. ;)

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by robertgray3 on Sun Jul 12, 2020 2:47 pm
niles wrote
robertgray3 wrote
niles wroteIn version 3.3 (and before) Studio One also had a safety buffer and monitoring was just as consistent as Ableton Live, trade off was +2 ms. In 3.5.1 the safety buffer was removed which lowered the latency by roughly 25%, trade off is jitter due to buffer changes when monitoring.


Thanks niles. To be clear, this is an issue with monitoring, or recorded events?
Only monitoring!
If it is an issue is subjective. ;)


Gotcha ;) that’s what I thought.

It personally doesn’t bother me although I’m always monitoring input at a very low buffer, which from the look of the Green-Z / DP system is the intended practice and one in which the lack of a safety buffer might even be considered beneficial.

I have noticed that I tend to prefer monitoring at a lower block size in Live then Studio One (even with minimal DP), so I guess that’s why.

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by admiralbumblebee on Sun Jul 12, 2020 3:40 pm
niles wrote
Rasi wroteStudio one has had this issue for 8 yrs (at least)

https://youtu.be/XgQpz-IygMQ
In 3.5.1 the safety buffer was removed for lowering monitoring latency. The trade off was less consistent monitoring of virtual instruments due to process buffer changes. This is especially noticeable at larger buffer sizes. The benefit of removing the safety buffer obviously is lower latency.

The comparison with Ableton in that video is worth nothing because Abletons monitoring latency is higher than Studio One because Ableton uses a safety buffer. The benefit of an extra safety buffer is that monitoring yields a consistent result. The guy in that video does not take that into account.

For comparison monitoring latency with a process block size of 128 samples at a sample rate of 44.1kHz in Ableton is 8 ms, while in Studio One it's ~6 ms.
Technically (in practice there are some other factors) without taking safety buffers into account the monitoring latency should be buffer size * 2 / sample rate. So in this case 5.8ms.

What the video shows us is not a bug but a choice. Both methods have the pros and cons depending on the situation. A safety buffer works great at large sample buffers to keep monitoring consistent. But at low buffer sizes it can easily become in your way because it introduces a latency that's almost just as big as the processing buffer latency.

Regarding the fact it's there for 8 year, that's just nonsense. Check out this picture and take a look at the relation of the MIDI note and audio in 3.3 (red) and 3.5.1 (green).

Image

In version 3.3 (and before) Studio One also had a safety buffer and monitoring was just as consistent as Ableton Live, trade off was +2 ms. In 3.5.1 the safety buffer was removed which lowered the latency by roughly 25%, trade off is jitter due to buffer changes when monitoring.

If you want to blame the developer for something, it can be that maybe an option would be the beter choice.


You don't appear to understand what the issue is. You're discussing latency, the video is not discussing latency.

This is about timing offset that's sent with chunks, and is completely irrespective of latency. I cover this very directly in the article. Latency is fully accounted for.

As a second layer of confirmation, you can go grab Plogue Bidule and monitor incoming data to verify that Studio One sends events without offset. If you want to be really picky, just write your own plugin to verify this.

Regarding "8 years". I posted a well-respected article that's 8 years old that replicates these results in Studio One 2.0.7. This article has been discussed here and on other audio forums with independent verification.

And of course... I checked prior versions myself.

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by roland1 on Sun Jul 12, 2020 4:14 pm
admiralbumblebee wroteYou don't appear to understand what the issue is. You're discussing latency, the video is not discussing latency....


Admiral, dude, thanks for showing up. :)

Yes, this is NOT about latency, as you say, but about timing inconsistency between recorded notes, be they via MIDI or Audio.

For those wondering why it matters: If you were to record a drum groove, Studio One could potentially ruin that groove by placing MIDI notes at random increments within the bar as opposed to how you actually played them in real time. That, for me, is the crux of the issue. I'm not a GREAT drummer, but I can bury the click pretty good and S1 should reflect that in the recorded information.

Since first posting, I've done some more testing and have noticed that, in my case ( using a Focusrite USB 2 interface for my MIDI in and the buffer set at 64 - as well as various offsets), I am getting a recording drift of +/- 3 ticks when recording MIDI from a track within S1 itself. So human timing is not involved, just the machine and software itself. I was expecting perfection, but it does not exist here.

By "ticks" I mean those 1/100th increments that divide note duration within S1 recorded MIDI events.

So yeah, sometimes it's late, sometimes it's early, and that makes me feel unsure of whether I can trust the DAW to do what I'm expecting it to do. I wish this whole thing was more predictable, like latency, for which there is a simple, consistently working solution.

Hopefully with you on board and maybe a few others getting involved, we can get some real concrete numbers in various configurations.

Und zen, vee martch on Düsseldorf!!! [ crowd roars, thrusting placards in air.]

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by warddejager on Sun Jul 12, 2020 5:06 pm
I'll just leave this here
Ten years guys , 10 years

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