Audio & midi not lining up

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Audio & midi not lining up

Postby Robrosen92 » Sat Nov 02, 2013 4:19 am

Hey all, I am having an issue I'm hoping to get some help with...
I'm recording midi into my PC and then quantizing to grid and all that jazz. And then i send the midi back to my synth and record the audio and for some reason, the audio wont be aligned to the grid as perfectly as the midi. The patch I'm using has no delay and has a very sharp immediate attack.

Cubase 7
Korg Kronos via S/PDIF
Motu 828 MKIII (also serves as MIDI interface and sends clock to kronos)

Any help would be greatly appreciated!!!

Thanks!
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Re: Audio & midi not lining up

Postby Paul Coyle » Sat Nov 02, 2013 7:06 am

Hiya,

This could be a few things,

1 if the not lining up is constant, ie; every recorded note is late by the same amount, then just select the whole Audio track, Hit 'j' to turn off the snap to grid and line up the 1st note. You may need to move the audio event's snap point if your going to be quantising or moving it around the grid any further.
To avoid it next time check that the record delay offset option in the device setup window is ticked. If it is there's also a way to specify the offset you want in samples if your interface isn't reporting the correct latency to cubase.
Easy way to mesure the exact delay, change your timebase in the transport panel from bars and beats to samples, then use the range tool to measure the distance from the MIDI to Audio, if you have the info panel open at the top of the arrange window it'll tell you the selection length in samples and you can type that figure in and problem solved.

2 If the offset isn't constant then you may have a MIDI timing issue and they can be harder to track down. Make sure you are using the correct MIDI port (there will be several in the list) I can't remember which to choose but best bet would be to work your way through the ones you aren't using now. Once you find the one that works you can hide the others in device panel. If that still doesn't sort you I'm all out of ideas, the last time I had to deal with issue was way back in SX days when steinberg ended up adding a MIDI port enabler file that you had to move from the application folder to make the ports work... try searching the MOTU website...

Good Luck,

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Re: Audio & midi not lining up

Postby Robrosen92 » Sun Nov 03, 2013 3:15 am

I appreciate your response. It seems that recording midi and audio seem to work on cue so i don't want to mess with any hard delay or anything... Its just when i send midi out from cubase :cry: I've tried my MOTU, and direct USB midi... NOTHING! worst of all..this never use to happen!! Ahh! Any other advice will be greatly appreciate :(
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Re: Audio & midi not lining up

Postby Paul Coyle » Sun Nov 03, 2013 5:14 am

Hiya,

From your last post I'm now confused.
Is your problem that MIDI sent to your keyboard is being played late by your keyboard? Or is it late once you record the keyboards audio back into cubase? Or is it even late or sometimes early? The more specific you are the easier it is to help.

This still sounds like a latency issue, do try the previous 'record offset' tip (which only affects the Record position not the Playback position of existing audio) if not it's a single check box to turn it off.

The issue could also be the way you are monitoring, if you're monitoring all the audio through cubase then there will be a delay introduced by software (MIDI in sync but audio from keyboard delayed by ASIO buffers..) but this shouldn't be there on playback.

Cheers,

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Re: Audio & midi not lining up

Postby Robrosen92 » Sun Nov 03, 2013 5:41 am

The problem is that MIDI is being sent late to my keyboard, thus making the audio returned to my interface late.

I have clarified this by playing quarter notes to the metronome in cubase, and the waveform is perfectly (within human reason) to the grid. This would dispel any audio latency.

Heres a visual of whats happening: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/365 ... iissue.jpg
the three tracks are labeled accordingly. I am willing to admit that my timing probably isnt perfect and I may be testing this incorrectly, but I see no waveform delay in what I'm playing back into cubase.

I am monitoring via my audio interface, not through cubase. I have tried different bugger settings.

Thanks again
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Re: Audio & midi not lining up

Postby Paul Coyle » Sun Nov 03, 2013 5:57 am

Ok

let's isolate it then.
Plug your MIDI out into your MIDI in and record it back into a new track, is it aligned?

If yes, then the problem is most likely with the keyboard.

Try the same loop-back test with audio. Is the off-set the same in Audio as MIDI?

If yes, adjust the record offset.

If no, then it'll be a MIDI timing issue and I'm not much chop there.

Cheers,

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Re: Audio & midi not lining up

Postby Robrosen92 » Sun Nov 03, 2013 6:17 am

Much to my dismay because i seriously love cubase, the MIDI loopback did not produced aligned notes.
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/365 ... issue2.jpg

Now I'm totally bummed.

If anyone has an idea, I'm all ears... Thanks for your time good sir!
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Re: Audio & midi not lining up

Postby Paul Coyle » Sun Nov 03, 2013 6:34 am

See my very first point in first reply :)
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Re: Audio & midi not lining up

Postby Robrosen92 » Sun Nov 03, 2013 7:10 am

Yes I did heed your word and change the sample offset which has helped. i find that the exact timing is still ever so slightly off... but whatever :) it was 364 samples if you're curious. My only concern is having to keep on turning that on and off whenever i record other instruments.... small price to pay i guess..
This bug should be fixed!
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Re: Audio & midi not lining up

Postby Paul Coyle » Sun Nov 03, 2013 7:55 am

Try the loop test with audio. I suspect it might need the same tweak and then you can just leave it on.

I think the problem is the interface not telling cubase the correct latency rather than a bug.

Cheers.
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Re: Audio & midi not lining up

Postby Svenne » Sun Nov 03, 2013 10:53 am

I'd say that it's pretty clear that this is latency issue. All digital equipment introduces a measure of latency.

Cubase has good features to compensate for this, though. With plug-ins this is handled automatically, but with external a more hands-on approach is required to "teach" Cubase about the latency characteristics of your keyboard/soundmodule. Refer to pages 264-265 in the Cubase 7 pdf manual for an explanation about this.

One thing though. You will never be able to compensate for latency in real time (that's what zero-latency audio interfaces are all about). At least not until someone invents a keyboard that can predict the future.
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Re: Audio & midi not lining up

Postby DLearyUS » Sun Nov 03, 2013 9:04 pm

possibly you have a mid lop situation going on in the keyboard....try turning "echo/local/thru" off in the keyboard.
i have seen this problem before and it wasnt cubase or the interface it was the synth itself. once thru was turned off
the latency issue dissappeared. just one more thing to look at maybe not your solution just sayin....
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Re: Audio & midi not lining up

Postby Robrosen92 » Mon Nov 04, 2013 11:53 pm

I just want to say thank you all for the help :) I appreciate it. I don't post here often. I am experienced with this type of software and have never had this issue before, even on cubase, which is why I'm baffled

Try the loop test with audio. I suspect it might need the same tweak and then you can just leave it on.

I think the problem is the interface not telling cubase the correct latency rather than a bug.


Tried the audio loop test; the audio latency seems fine. For a loop back I expected some latency and thats what i got.

Heres a screen cap of the test I just did: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/365 ... issue3.jpg

All tracks to be looked at are solo'd
Track 1: This is the audio recorded with no sample offset. The audio is being produced by my korg kronos which is making sound via notes being sent by midi via cubase connect to my kronos via USB. This is the original issue.
Track 2: Same as above, with a sample offset of 364
Track 3: This is the audio loop test. I send track 2 back into an input of my interface and retested. I got a very minor amount of latency and this is expected.

The only explanation is that Cubase is sending wonky midi out. To further make things weird, this is what I found in the midi loop test (midi ports on my MOTU being looped back into each other):
I sent chords. The chords each had 3 notes that started perfectly on grid. I gave the playback an extra 2 bars so it wasn't abrupt, and when the chords were recorded, the notes weren't together (auto quantize was off) as they should have been. If it was just late, that would lead me to believe that yes it's just a latency issue... but the notes weren't even together....

I think the problem is the interface not telling cubase the correct latency rather than a bug.

Is there a way for it to communicate better wth my interface? My interface is one of those that has better compatibility with cubase apparently.. so I'm hard pressed to believe that my interface wouldn't work rather seamlessly with cubase (protools and my motu hated each other however).

I'd say that it's pretty clear that this is latency issue. All digital equipment introduces a measure of latency.

Cubase has good features to compensate for this, though. With plug-ins this is handled automatically, but with external a more hands-on approach is required to "teach" Cubase about the latency characteristics of your keyboard/soundmodule. Refer to pages 264-265 in the Cubase 7 pdf manual for an explanation about this.

One thing though. You will never be able to compensate for latency in real time (that's what zero-latency audio interfaces are all about). At least not until someone invents a keyboard that can predict the future.


I did heed your advice and unfortunately it did not solve the issue I am looking to resolve.
I am doing direct monitoring via my interfaces external software, not through cubase. I am using -0- plugins

Thanks again for all of your help. if there is anything else I can do for you guys to further help me, please let me know!

Thanks

- Rob
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Re: Audio & midi not lining up

Postby NWP » Tue Nov 05, 2013 12:04 am

Have you set up the keyboard as an external instrument so Delay Compensation can be used?
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Re: Audio & midi not lining up

Postby Robrosen92 » Tue Nov 05, 2013 12:11 am

NWP wrote:Have you set up the keyboard as an external instrument so Delay Compensation can be used?

I attempted however I do not believe that will ultimately solve my issue of midi from cubase coming out really wonky

i could probably set it up well if i could figure out the delay in MS
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Re: Audio & midi not lining up

Postby NWP » Tue Nov 05, 2013 12:20 am

VST Audiosystem reports the input latency, maybe that would help. IIRC, setting up an ext inst allows you to ping the device to get the latency.
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Re: Audio & midi not lining up

Postby Robrosen92 » Tue Nov 05, 2013 12:27 am

NWP wrote:VST Audiosystem reports the input latency, maybe that would help. IIRC, setting up an ext inst allows you to ping the device to get the latency.

This did not solve the issue, unfortunately
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Re: Audio & midi not lining up

Postby Robrosen92 » Wed Nov 06, 2013 2:03 am

Anyone with ideas? sorry to bump but I'd love to go back to recording with peace of mind :(
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Re: Audio & midi not lining up

Postby LarsErik » Wed Nov 06, 2013 7:25 pm

A few Cubase settings that you might want to try if you havn't already:

    In the Device Setup in the Midi Port Setup section try having the Use System Timestamp for 'Windows MIDI' Inputs and Use System Timestamp for 'DirectMusic' Inputs checked.

    In the Device Setup in the VST Audio System section try having the Adjust for Record Latency checked.

    In the Project Syncronization Setup try having the ASIO Audio Device option as timecode source.

And from the top of my head, here's a few things you might wanna try:

    Check if there's any BIOS updates for your computer available. BIOS updates are always fun!

    Make sure you have the latest drivers for your sound card and also for your computer USB-controller(s).

    Try using a different USB-port for your sound card.

    Try using a different USB-port for your Kronos.

    Try using regular midi cables between your soundcard and your Kronos instead of using USB for the midi data.

    Try using another synth just to see if the midi timing is still bad to rule out any problems with your Kronos.

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Re: Audio & midi not lining up

Postby MISTA SHIFTA » Thu Nov 14, 2013 12:16 pm

Robrosen92 wrote:Anyone with ideas? sorry to bump but I'd love to go back to recording with peace of mind :(


@Robrosen92 have you found a solution for this issue? I've just bought an expensive new custom laptop setup, including Cubase Artist 7 and Steinberg's very own UR28M sound card and I'm experiencing the same issue of the DAW sending wonky midi out to hardware synths.

Am I right in saying that what you've been experiencing has only just come about? As I've had the system for less than a week and the issue has always been there, I'd be interested to know + whether there was any chance this could be the result of something like a software update.

I've spent hours trying to fix this, have gone through many of the fault diagnosis processes that you have and have trawled various forums, eventually posting the following thread:

viewtopic.php?f=181&t=50139

I also have a MOTU midi interface (their 5 port Micro Lite), but get the same issue as you too when plugging my hardware synths directly into MIDI USB. Given that I'm using a Steinberg sound card that's supposed to be uber compatible with their DAW, I'd ruled out the direct monitoring delays some people had mentioned.

If you've yet to find a solution also, I'd love to hear from someone in the know what Steinberg's process is for fixing things like this. I'm pretty cheesed off as I've invested a significant amount of money and ended up with a system with serious recording limitations vs my old cheepo setup running Cubase Studio 4!
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Re: Audio & midi not lining up

Postby johnstaf » Thu Nov 14, 2013 10:09 pm

Have you tried the timestamp checkboxes in Device Setup\MIDI Port Setup?
The buffer sizes can also have an effect on MIDI timing, causing timing errors when set too high.

BTW there's a very good Sound on Sound article about MIDI timing problems. I don't remember when it was written, but it is several years old, and just as valid today. It's well worth tracking down.
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Re: Audio & midi not lining up

Postby MISTA SHIFTA » Thu Nov 14, 2013 10:44 pm

johnstaf wrote:Have you tried the timestamp checkboxes in Device Setup\MIDI Port Setup?
The buffer sizes can also have an effect on MIDI timing, causing timing errors when set too high.


Hi johnstaf,

Thanks for replying. Afraid I've tried the checking the 'Use system timestamp' option, but to no avail.

I have just tried several takes of playing back a quantized four note chord from a MIDI out port to a MIDI in and recording it on a separate channel as suggested by Paul Coyle and tried by the OP. I've noticed that each time this is recorded, the gap between the first of the new recorded MIDI notes differs - I had ranges between circa 140-350 samples.

Weirdly, the order of the four notes and their spread always looked roughly the same though - lowest note, followed by the middle two played together and lastly the highest. Here's a link to a picture of one of these MIDI out to MIDI in recordings:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/spd01d2ln23rn1g/Cubase%20MIDI%20error.jpg

Like the OP, this makes me think that it must be an issue with Cubase Artist 7 playing wonky MIDI out. It looked like this issue only came recently to the OP, so I'm wondering if there's a small chance the OP's difficulties started post updating to 8.1. I mention this as I see Steinberg have issued a sticky about ongoing driver testing for 8.1, however I wouldn't know any different as my laptop was supplied with the update already installed.
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Re: Audio & midi not lining up

Postby MISTA SHIFTA » Thu Nov 14, 2013 10:46 pm

n.b. I'm using a 128 sample buffer and am getting the same issue when reducing or decreasing it.
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Re: Audio & midi not lining up

Postby Robrosen92 » Mon Nov 18, 2013 3:09 am

Hey man, thanks for joining the thread and validating my insaneness :)
First things first, I'm actually on W7 and not 8.1

Unfortunately, I have not solved this issue, and have dismissed it as reality due to the following: Upon looking through every single session ever, I've always had the issue, and it's never been bad enough to notice until i looked closely, so I'm just leaving it and manually moving the parts.

This is a bug. Plain and simple. This is not how the DAW is supposed to transmit midi. I understand, there has to be SOME kind of latency, since the DAW and outboard midi hardware cannot predict the future, but 365 samples worth of it? That's pretty high! Not to mention, as the other poster had validated, even doing a midi loopback produces out of line midi. That's just not right.

I am about to pass this on to steinberg as a bug. that's what it is. plain and simple.
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Re: Audio & midi not lining up

Postby Svenne » Mon Nov 18, 2013 11:57 pm

Robrosen92 wrote:Hey man, thanks for joining the thread and validating my insaneness :)
First things first, I'm actually on W7 and not 8.1

Unfortunately, I have not solved this issue, and have dismissed it as reality due to the following: Upon looking through every single session ever, I've always had the issue, and it's never been bad enough to notice until i looked closely, so I'm just leaving it and manually moving the parts.

This is a bug. Plain and simple. This is not how the DAW is supposed to transmit midi. I understand, there has to be SOME kind of latency, since the DAW and outboard midi hardware cannot predict the future, but 365 samples worth of it? That's pretty high! Not to mention, as the other poster had validated, even doing a midi loopback produces out of line midi. That's just not right.

I am about to pass this on to steinberg as a bug. that's what it is. plain and simple.

How have you set up this "midi loopback"? If I understand you correctly, you have used one of these alternatives:
A) You have simply taken MIDI Out on your interface and connected it to MIDI In.
B) You have connected the MIDI Out on you interface to MIDI In on your synth, and then the synth's MIDI Thru to your MIDI interface's MIDI in.
In either case, 365 samples of latency is pretty good. Especially if you've chosen the MIDI Thru route. Remember that there are 44 100 samples in one second. That's 44.1 samples in 1 millisecond. You have a latency of ≈ 9 milliseconds.

All digital equipment introduces delays (latency). This is the reason that it has been recommended to avoid using MIDI Thru for time critical sound (such as drums), since MIDI was introduced in the 80's.

This is no bug. It's just the way MIDI works.

Note: If you try any of these setups, don't forget to block MIDI Thru in Cubase! Otherwise you will create a MIDI feedback loop.
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