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The MIDI Forum

  Wednesday, 25 January 2023
  32 Replies
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Hello to all,
I come to you to try to find a solution to my problem.
Indeed, I try by all means to synchronize my Arturia Beatstep and or my Nektar Audio with Reason or Ableton.
And I always meet the same concern, that is to say that it notes sent sound late (control of delay does not change anything) but especially that they are random.

On a 1/4 loop, the first keystroke will always be a few ms late and if I loop, each keystroke it taps a few seconds apart.

I tried to change the Usb port, to change the cable, to change the sound card, to change the external sequencer, nothing to do the problem persists
I also tried on Ableton, same fight.
I updated all my drivers. and as it did not work, I even redid a new installation of Windows 10. but I dry royal.
It's not a latency problem in my opinion since it plays (check with midi view) each note has 3ms of difference.

I implore you to help me! I'm very angry.

Thanks in advance. Erreur midi sync.jpg
Didier set the type of the post as  Technical Question — 6 days ago
6 days ago
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#17387
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Hello Didier,

Interesting that you mention almost in passing that you're using a W10 system. This fact is much more important than that.

What else is your computer doing, when it needs to be giving as near to 100% of it's attention to your MIDI actions. How many of the other things can you stop, suspend, remove or whatever? Maybe it's certain specific things that are causing the problems, esp the 'random' variations, only, and you need to work out what those things are and stop them.

Ideally, when you're trying to do MIDI things, you need a platform that can give you TOTAL attention, as even the slightest distraction will affect the timing and you will hear it.

You mention two external units - how are those connected to the computer. I doubt that they are the cause of the problem. They MIGHT be introducing some delay, but it's likely to be regular (until the PC gets involved).

This is merely an initial thought (suspicion) and I need to get more information from you.

If you CAN spot a process or two that is kicking in a lot/regularly, and stop that, and the situation improves even a little bit, this could indicate what the problem might be.

Do you have any software that will monitor how 'busy' the system is, on a moment-by-moment basis. Showing any spikes of activity? Your system may well be more than powerful to cope with all this, but it's the TIMING of when these things happen that's important. You don't want your MIDI data being slowed down just because WinDoze is playing with a pretty indicator on your screen, 'he;pful' though it might be (at other times).

Geoff
6 days ago
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#17388
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Didier,

I've had a look regarding W10, and I see that you can assign priorities to Processes (but I think only processes, can't see anything similar to other things).

You can go into Task Manager, and check the list of processes running.

If there are any processes running re MIDI, i.e. any drivers, make sure these are set as high as possible, even to RealTime. Esp if they are currently low.

If there are any processes that seem to be very busy, and not important, then reduce the priority of these.

At least make sure that any MIDI relevant processes have higher priority than any that seem busy.

That may be easy to do, and see if it helps any?

Geoff
6 days ago
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#17391
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Hello Didier,

I've been looking things up via Google, as you didn't explain much about your setup, or what you were doing with it.

I note that the Arturia Beatstep is a percussion controller, which also includes a step sequencer so you can program patterns. Not sure if it has sounds built-in, but there is no standard MIDI IN (OUT only) although I think it can receive MIDI via USB.

The Nektar Audio (can't trace this, do you mean the Aura?) is a similar sort of thing, but no sequencer, and this can load your own sounds, but this CAN receive and play from MIDI IN.

How do you connect these together, with the computer, as in which device do you 'play' to generate the MIDI data, and which device would receive the MIDI and make the actual sounds? Seems like you could do this without the computer, so how does the computer fit into things?

If you load a midi file into your DAW, and play it to the Nektar alone, how does that work?

If you create a sequence on the Arturia, and play that to the Nektar, what does that do?

You refer to a 'sound card' - what is that? something in the computer? How is that linked into things?

Geoff
5 days ago
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#17396
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Chers Messieurs

Thank you for your answers, I finally did a fresh install of my pc and I'm now on Windows 11 (which doesn't change the problem) I have an Asus H470, Intel i7 2.9 and 32GB RAM with SSD, I normally use Reason 12 with an Akai Midimix + Akai MPKmini and Nektar's Beatstep or Aura (I bought the latter thinking the Beatstep was the culprit).
My windows is really basic, apart from the sound card and the NVDIA panel, there are no application processes running. I tried to see the greedy processes in the background but nothing alarming. I looked with the "LatencyMoon" application but I don't see too much problem. What would be my solutions other than Windows 11? Would a USB HUB help? An external midi clock?

I have Tested with Reason 10, Ableton 11, and Demo version opf Cubase and Reaper .. same problèms ..

With midi view, on 1/4 and 4/4 here are the results, each time there is 1rms more or less

3,03:43:18.675,out,Note on C3 Velocity 64,1,64,90 3C 40

18,03:43:18.973,out,Note off C3 Velocity 64,1,64,80 3C 40

29,03:43:19.174,out,Note on C3 Velocity 64,1,64,90 3C 40

44,03:43:19.473,out,Note off C3 Velocity 64,1,64,80 3C 40

55,03:43:19.674,out,Note on C3 Velocity 64,1,64,90 3C 40

70,03:43:19.973,out,Note off C3 Velocity 64,1,64,80 3C 40

81,03:43:20.174,out,Note on C3 Velocity 64,1,64,90 3C 40

96,03:43:20.473,out,Note off C3 Velocity 64,1,64,80 3C 40

107,03:43:20.674,out,Note on C3 Velocity 64,1,64,90 3C 40

122,03:43:20.973,out,Note off C3 Velocity 64,1,64,80 3C 40

133,03:43:21.174,out,Note on C3 Velocity 64,1,64,90 3C 40

148,03:43:21.473,out,Note off C3 Velocity 64,1,64,80 3C 40

159,03:43:21.674,out,Note on C3 Velocity 64,1,64,90 3C 40

174,03:43:21.973,out,Note off C3 Velocity 64,1,64,80 3C 40

185,03:43:22.173,out,Note on C3 Velocity 64,1,64,90 3C 40


Many thanks for your help
5 days ago
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#17397
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Hello,

I still don't understand how you're generating the midi data, and where it's going. You say there's a problem with it, but I'm not sure there is.

Consider the image in your first post. This shows something akin to a 'piano roll' display. I'm not sure what the scale is, but I'd assume that the slightly more prominent vertical lines show the quarter notes, so I'd guess that there are 4 of these per par, and there are 8 subdivisions within each note. But that is just a guess.

You are showing two notes per bar.

There is NOTHING 'wrong' showing here. It may NOT be what you're expecting, or wanting, but there's nothing wrong. You might be playing slightly off the beat, i.e. slightly late, As far as I can see, all the notes showing are the same amount off the beat, so I don't see the 'random' variation you mentioned in your first post. Was this played live, or was it recorded into the sequencer and then replayed? Live music often shows as being 'off', this is one of the reasons why sequencer software has the Quantise options to put notes back onto the beat. The problem with this sort of thing is that music that is slightly 'off' can sound more natural/human, while music that is too much 'on' the beat can sound too mechanical/robotic.

If all the display is the same, there might be a problem (disparity) between the set timing, i.e. a click or beat track that you are playing to, and the actual midi timing. Again, I don't know how you're doing this, so I'm guessing. Again.

Can you play something, just a number of seconds, and save the result into a midi file, and attach the file. That might be more help.

Geoff
5 days ago
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#17398
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Non-midi technical matters.

I did a quick reference to Google.

The first file/process on the list you show is Wdf01000.sys - this is part of the MS Driver Framework, and is an important part of Windows.

BUT it may be being invoked far too much, and this could be causing latency, but I don't know for sure.

These things are relative. the ISP count is a LOT higher than other things, but is this normal. Need to know what the data is like for normal use, i.e. nothing to do with midi, or sound, etc

Use Google to do a search for Wdf01000.sys, and see all the results you get. Incl 'Blue Screen of Death' references.

Wfd01 errors can indicate problems with drives, i.e. you're using the wrong version of a driver.

The ISR column on the data you show will be Interrupt Service Requests, which is the number of times the process has been invoked via Tnterrupt - and a LOT of this sort of thing could interfere with timing. BUT - what is a LOT on one computer, as opposed to another conputer??

The DPC column refers to Deferred Proc Call - in other words the system has tried to call the proc and has been unable to do so - prob it's in use already. This may cause some extra delay?

I do NOT know what normal/usual numbers should be for this, but the numbers for Wfd... MIGHT be way too high, and could indicate a significant problem which could be causing delays. Drivers you're using may not be suitable for W10 or 11??

Geoff
5 days ago
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#17399
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Looking at the numbers you sent in the table, with the note timings (the MIDI 'tick' counts would have made the job easier) I note that this data is quite OK, and shows no sign of anything odd within the data.

All the note lengths are approx 298 (micro secs ?), and all the gaps between the end of one note and the start of the next are approx 200.

I'd assume that this later data is different to the data in the piano roll image in your first post?

If there is any time lost, it is at the very beginning, before the first note, so that the first note is off-beat, all the others are similarly moved along in timing relative to the bar grid.

I've come back to this a little later. I'm now thinking that the first number in your data IS the tick count, although they are unusually low compared to what is normally seen. Is this only 24 ticks per quarter note, when 96 is more normal. Then I looked at the data again, and I thought - why is the first note timed at 3 ticks? What's happened to ticks 0, 1 and 2? Then I thought, I bet the 'pause' that's causing so much worry is about 3 ticks.

Midi music starts at tick 0. When any system tries to display the midi data as bars etc, it starts at 0. So there is in effect a 3 tick 'rest' at the start of the music. So prob this 'gap' is nothing to do with 'latency' at all, You've put (prob accidentally) a 3 tick rest at the start, and everything is adjusted to accommodate this.

Does that make sense?

Geoff
5 days ago
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#17400
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Hi,

I thank you very much for all your leads.
I have searched for the Wdf01000.sys process and others but there is no problem at this level on this pc.
I'm going to format my disk again, reinstall windows 11 properly , install MAJ and sound card drivers, Beatstep and Reason and we'll see tomorrow if it changes anythings.

Lien pour le fichier .mid https://www.dropbox.com/s/f5bb9an64b9r6jo/test_midi_clock.mid?dl=0
Lien youtube pour la vidéo de très mauvaise qualitée https://www.youtube.com/shorts/X9PxY3svoaw

On the video, first the external sequencer is played and then I add the kick of the daw (I am surely not very clear)

Thanks for your help and support
5 days ago
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#17401
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Didier,

The file you've attached is NOT a .mid file - looks like some sort of document file, or html, containing html code, image data, and other things.

Please note that I added to my last posting, so maybe there's part you have not noted?

Geoff
5 days ago
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#17402
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Geoff, the link brings you to the Dropbox website, and the file can be downloaded from there. I downloaded and played it on my phone quick just as a test.
4 days ago
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#17413
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Jason,

I had wondered if that was the case - I tried the link directly last night, and I've just tried it again. Nothing happens. I just get a blank browser screen.

Did you determine anything from the .mid file?

I have used dropbox before a number of times without problem, I might even have a dropbox account of some sort from long ago.

Geoff
4 days ago
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#17419
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Did you determine anything from the .mid file?


Nope, just gave it a quick listen on my phone. Not sure what I would be looking for to help out on this one :p

But I've zipped and attached the file for you.
3 days ago
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#17423
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It's terrible this story ...
I bought a sequencer (normally made to work with my DAW) saying to myself, cool, plug & play ... I didn't think I would have to tear my hair out, have to do audio and computer engineering. spelling out thousands of forums, posts about midi clock ... damn it's 2023 ! and I can't afford to be on a Mac (as long as their midi clock is nicer....) anyway ... would a usb HUB or an external midi clock solve my problem ? knowing that I have everything on usb ... AURA and BEATSTEP have only one midi output ... I contacted Arturia, Nektar, and ESI ... nobody has a solution ... fuck ... anyway ... the one who will find the solution will be my king !

(Sorry i'm Swiss and I don't speak English)
3 days ago
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#17426
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Didier,

I've now got the midi file you sent, thanks Jason. I've had a look at the data in that.

Firstly, this data is quite different to the data you listed in an earlier message. I was looking at that, and doing some calcs based on it, and that might all be a waste of time. My comments about a 3 ticks delay at the start do not tie in with the data in the midi file, which starts with a Note On event at Tick 0. So where the data you showed come from, and how that relates - if at all - to data in the midi file, I'd like to know.

I was also commenting on the tick resolution, but the data in the midi file shows a MUCH higher tick resolution, with 15360 ticks per quarter note, whereas a normal resolution might be 480 tpqn or maybe 960.

Again, the data in the midi file looks totally normal (apart from the 'resolution' figure (which is seriously over the top. The notes seem to be starting on the beat, i.e. on multiples of 15360, although I've checked only a little way into the file, the size of the tick numbers makes checking difficult.

You refer to timing and midi clocks - what are you trying to do with this?

I've never done anything with this sort of thing, I've never needed to. I'm not sure that you need to? You might need to worry about this when you're using drum machines, where you want to use other things that need to keep to the same timing, or again you might be using two different sequencers playing 'recorded/stored' data. If you're working totally in real time, then you should be OK. For example, if you've recorded something on a sequencer, then you can replay those track(s) while playing a keyboard live in sync to the sequencer sounds? If that's what you're doing, and it doesn't work, in what way?

By the way, I can manage a reasonable amount of French, I might need to look up some words? If that would help. The English you've displayed so far seems pretty good.

Geoff
2 days ago
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#17430
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Cher Geoff,

Thank you for answer and your time. To confess you all, what you explain me is quite technical (a little too much for me) My idea, is to be able to record in live my step, that they are played with the keyboard, or with my sequencer!
The sequencer was really to build loops with my Redrum or Tb 303 Vst (Reason) but it's not in sync with the rest (and notes played randomly + or - 2 rms) How I could show you a concrete example ? I'll try again with Ableton to see if it's not Reason that's the problem. Thanks a lot for your help
2 days ago
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#17431
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Yes, my aploogies if I get too technical. But, it's the technical things that really interest me. Especially the data inside a midi file.

If you can create an example of what's going wrong, get this into a midi file, and note which parts of what's there are supposed to be wrong, and which parts are not, that that will be a big help. So far, I have not really been able to tie together the data you've sent, and what you suggest is wrong (or not as you think it ought to be).

By the way, you can attach midi files to your messages, BUT. yes, this is a MIDI forum, but the file types (i.e. .txt, .zip etc) do NOT include .mid - yes, honestly. The way around this is to put any .mid files into a ZIP archive file, as .zip is OK.

Geoff
1 day ago
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#17443
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Hi,
I'm so pissed off... I don't want to be bothered for 30 years... I'm going to buy an external midi clock... and if it's still not totally in sync... I'll burn everything :-D

I'll share a Zip file with all the proofs of my problem tomorrow ! Thanks for your help and patience

One last question because I am lost ... I am looking for an external midi clock, but my 2 sequencers are usb. how can I find the right hardware for my configuration?



Didider
1 day ago
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#17444
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I look forward to seeing a complete midi file, this may shed light on the problem.

And apologies, but I must add - IF there IS a problem. No trace of anything in the previous midi file, but maybe something was hiding?

Hence, please supply notes with .mid, saying - NB at bar xx:xx:xx there is xxx happening but this SHOULD be yyyy.

Also, still need some info - how are units connected. A --> B --> C or

A --> [
B --> [ C i.e. A and B are in parallel into C, rather than in series
[

Geoff
21 hours ago
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#17454
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Thanks for your answer.

Here is a Zip with 2 .mid files and a .png

Mid_Kick : kick 1/4 played from my DAW on Redrum drum machine ( midi master rhythm ). the 2nd sound which arrives is the one played from my Beatstep sequencer in Midi slave via USB and which drives the Kong of Reason.

Midi_HH : Kick 1/4 played from my DAW and its rhythm box Redrum ( midi master rhythm ), the 2nd sound is a HH on 3/4 played from my sequencer in Midi Slace via USB and which drives Kong of Reason

The image is 3 of the notes played (the HH) from my sequencer. You can see that each note is not quite at the same time (not to mention the huge delay not configurable from the Reason preferences (nor from my ESI sound card)

I understand that the problem is Windows but I'm still amazed that it's so out of sync and delayed.

According to my research, there is no Midi clock that would be able to fix the problem ( no Midi IN ports ) A usb HUB doesn't seem to be the solution either. Could a MAC virtual machine on my windows pc get around the problem ? Or the only solution would be to set fire to my BEATSTEP as well as to my NEKTAR AURA ?

I'm super angry and upset with the midi :D

Thanks for your help
19 hours ago
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#17459
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Didier,

OK, I see the .png file, but I don't know how this relates to the midi data files. The .png shows that the notes are all delayed from the beat as suggested by the grid. I do NOT know if the image refers to the start of the midi file, or some other point within the midi file(s).

You could explain these points?

I'm still working through the midi files. So far, I can see that the data in both midi files starts at tick 0, which is NOT what the .png file shows. BUT the .PNG might refer to a point later in the midi data? My number-crunching has not got there yet.

Also, as I follow the data through the midi files, I see a succession of notes of 1920 ticks long, each starts at a multiple of 15360 ticks, so all consistent/regular.

This data is one one track.

Then there is data on another track, this might not fit though. More number crunching. The fact that your midi files are working with a resolution of 15360 ticks per quarter note (rather than a more usual 480 or 960) makes for a lot of extra number crunching.

I'll get back to it.

Geoff
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