Midi timing suggestion on recorded VST instruments.

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Re: Midi timing suggestion on recorded VST instruments.

Postby Conman » Sat Mar 17, 2012 9:24 pm

The latency, at least on my machine here and on VSTs , is for the most part, as good as real instruments with the odd, between once a day or week, exception which is expected on anything post Atari and even that had it's mysteries.
Now I can't tell exactly how the problem affects you but in my experience most midi timig problems that look like this (most, not all) are to do with stacking things like snare drums. (drums'll do for now as an extreme example, other things can wait a bit)
Now in the real world stacking snare drums can have it's problems but with the effects of midi it's compounded by most of the midi limitations with the exception of a couple of instruments. These can make the problem seem much worse than it really is. Things like strings are, or should be, a lot more forgiving than drums due to their being more ephemeral as a medium so in my case I'd allow quite a lot of movement on these.

I'm trying to get a more focussed handle on what's happening here as well as consolidating my thinking so please bear with me. I'm trying to ascertain whether the problem is musically related or are we dealing with machine music accuracy here at least in part. To the former a little drift won't matter but the latter could be a big deal.
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Re: Midi timing suggestion on recorded VST instruments.

Postby Guest » Sat Mar 17, 2012 9:40 pm

Kind of makes me wonder if anyone bothered to read (let alone understood) what the section Windows Timers in the SOS article was about.
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Re: Midi timing suggestion on recorded VST instruments.

Postby Joel Eriksson » Sat Mar 17, 2012 10:29 pm

cubasepadawan wrote:Any inaccuracy is coming from software and hardware outside of and before Cubase even knows about it, so it is impossible for the DAW to calculate anything when there is nothing to calculate against!


I'm sure the number of actual midi problems out there are many. The issue I'm bringing up concerns users with a well working midi. In regards to early placed midi data while recording VST instruments (which is what I'm trying to focus on in the thread) I don't see your point. Cubase knows what's going on since the sound is coming out when playing. And there's something to calculate against: The latency which is a known value to cubase. If it would be the case that you had something connected between the audio output and the speakers, say like an outboard mixer with significant latency. Then Cubase wouldn't be able to take that in account.
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Re: Midi timing suggestion on recorded VST instruments.

Postby Sir Dancelot » Sun Mar 18, 2012 1:20 am

Yes, what Joel says!

Everytime someone chimes in with midi issues that are not a concern to this thread.
Is it so difficult to understand the issue at hand?

Maybe if it's repeated enough so again:

This is what the OP said in the original post, go to page one to read the whole post but it comes down to this:

When recording on a VST instrument's track, Cubase
should move the timing of notes forward - equal amount of ms as is the
current output latency. This to give the player and the recorded take justice.


After recording, when looking at the midi editor the midi notes are a bit early


It's the thing that notes appear early in the editor. Having latency issues in the sence of hitting a key and actually hearing the sound and the time difference between has nothing to do with notes appearing earlier.
When you lay down a chord and that every note comes in serie because that is the way how Midi communicates is all very interesting but has also.... Nothing to do with notes appearing earlier in the midi editor.

Hope that we can now stay on topic for real.

Greetz Dylan.
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Re: Midi timing suggestion on recorded VST instruments.

Postby Guest » Sun Mar 18, 2012 3:35 am

Hi Dylan, no it doesn't clear up the "issue" and pandering to users who have not understood the underlying causes only promotes a false sense of security and is literally pie in the sky. Besides we are talking about latency, which by virtue is an inexact science since it is predicated on having a properly working system.
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Re: Midi timing suggestion on recorded VST instruments.

Postby Joel Eriksson » Sun Mar 18, 2012 6:58 am

Cubase Padawan, why do I get the feeling you can solve this?
That cubase has to move all midi data of the recorded take forward I'm certain of to get closer
an authentic playback, but that the amount of ms should be the same as the total output latency, I'm now late in this thread beginning to be un-certain of. I did some testing and the relation between the midi notes, and what actually
was heard during the take, was differing from note to note, like you were talking about Padawan.
I think that a more precise theory would be this:

Cubase should recognize the time the sound starts playing and place the note on that exact spot. Is that a better way to express what needs to be done for authentic playback?
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Re: Midi timing suggestion on recorded VST instruments.

Postby Guest » Sun Mar 18, 2012 7:13 am

When I started with MIDI I had great dreams of a MIDI drumkit that would play just like a real drum set (so I could hit them after midnight) and it was sounding fine and latency seemed tolerable but come the point that I wanted to record I got what were *annoying* results.

In the very beginning I started with a class-compliant keyboard, seemed fine although not a drum kit interface. Then I tried drums using a TMC-6, as well as DTXplorer and playback was acceptable but when recording I started to realise all was not what it seemed.

So this in mind I went about emulated ports and so on thinking that the system timestamp would work it out, and while it seemed to improve things; I still had no joy at all recording so I went and got an old-school Motu Interface that that fixed my problems.

I put it down to incorrect reporting of timing information from Windows to Cubase but maybe it's only my view.
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Re: Midi timing suggestion on recorded VST instruments.

Postby Joel Eriksson » Sun Mar 18, 2012 7:17 am

Sir Dancelot? When you got that brilliant idea of moving parts using the info line, how much
did you push it forward? Was it the same as your output latency or even more? I know it's
not so easy to recognize exactly how it was played though, without some kind of audio-proof.

I sent a "copy" of the vst instrument to a group channel, routed to an audio-
channel, to get some measures. It showed to be a bit more than just the output latency. The
value actually looked closer to the output latency plus the input latency (with some tiny back and forth
in-exactness..) mumble mumble.. but perhaps it was more because of that routing I did?
I'm beginning to feel dizzy and should sleep already. Do you get an idea of how badly I want some
true expert to solve this issue already?
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Re: Midi timing suggestion on recorded VST instruments.

Postby Joel Eriksson » Sun Mar 18, 2012 7:35 am

cubasepadawan wrote:I put it down to incorrect reporting of timing information from Windows to Cubase but maybe it's only my view.


Do you think early placed notes is because of this? I mean they are all early. Less on low latency and more on high latency. I think Cubase has to move the time forward of the incoming midi data to make the playback as accurate as possible despite any other inconsistency flaws.
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Re: Midi timing suggestion on recorded VST instruments.

Postby cubic13 » Sun Mar 18, 2012 8:27 am

To be honest, I'm not sure that the problem is elegantly solvable via software programming. Maybe I didn't get it, but...

Let's say that there is a regular drumbeat already programmed and we record a band live on top of it :
- one has an electric guitar which is recorded via a directional mic placed at 10 cm of the speaker,
- another is performing on an upright piano recorded the same way with a mic placed just above it, at 3 meters from the guitarist
- Now we have a bass player with its instrument recorded directly on a Hi-Z input of the audio interface with an ampsim, this, at 5 meters from the guitarist and 2 from the pianist.
- Finally, you have a second keybordist playing an organ sound with a VSTi.
All these are hearing their performance with monitors that are placed at the opposite side of the room, let's say at an average of 6 meters from the band. The audio interface latency input is 4 ms and rhe latency output is 6 ms.

Knowing that the sound speed in the air is 343 m/s at 20°C (which means that each more meter gives 2.91 ms of latency), what is the relevent lMID Iatency shift that the host should do ? :shock:
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Re: Midi timing suggestion on recorded VST instruments.

Postby Sir Dancelot » Sun Mar 18, 2012 10:31 am

cubasepadawan wrote:Hi Dylan, no it doesn't clear up the "issue" and pandering to users who have not understood the underlying causes only promotes a false sense of security and is literally pie in the sky. Besides we are talking about latency, which by virtue is an inexact science since it is predicated on having a properly working system.


okay, so explain this:

I play a Halion4 Piano patch via an M-audio Oxygen49 that is connected to my pc with a USB chord.
I set my audio buffer to 256 samples.
While I am playing I don't have any noticable timing isseus. So happy camper, let's play a few bars.

I enable the clicktrack and start playing to the beat, that (to my own judgment) is fairly on the beat.
I hit stop and go in the editor.
Now I see that the whole part is moved backwards in time. Now, latency is a lag of audio or midi right?
So if you have high latency the things you do should apear later in time. How is it possible that what I play appears earlier in the editor?

Can you directly adress this issue Padawan?

Greetz Dylan.
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Re: Midi timing suggestion on recorded VST instruments.

Postby Sir Dancelot » Sun Mar 18, 2012 10:38 am

moving parts using the info line


I enabled click and made my best effort to play fourth's notes for a few bars.
I went into the editor and the notes were plusminus all around 022 to early on each beat.

In the projectpage I selected the container and added the 022 in the info line and it went well.
I experimented with playing more complicated stuff and it's all working now, so I have a sort of solution since the beginning of this thread. The 022 is not milli seconds btw, it's the bars and beats time info, don't know what that is called.

So I couldn't exactly measure the amount, I did it a bit quircky, I am not a mathwizzard so..

Greetz Dylan.
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Re: Midi timing suggestion on recorded VST instruments.

Postby Conman » Sun Mar 18, 2012 6:56 pm

Sir Dancelot wrote:
moving parts using the info line


I enabled click and made my best effort to play fourth's notes for a few bars.
I went into the editor and the notes were plusminus all around 022 to early on each beat.

In the projectpage I selected the container and added the 022 in the info line and it went well.
I experimented with playing more complicated stuff and it's all working now, so I have a sort of solution since the beginning of this thread. The 022 is not milli seconds btw, it's the bars and beats time info, don't know what that is called.

So I couldn't exactly measure the amount, I did it a bit quircky, I am not a mathwizzard so..

Greetz Dylan.


So. The latency is not between the player and the DAW but maybe the DAW reporting a position encounters internal latency on the round trip between itself (to the processor, the graphics redraw etc.) and itself?
In musical terms this mostly doesn't matter but in some technical sense maybe it would.
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Re: Midi timing suggestion on recorded VST instruments.

Postby Como Baila » Mon Mar 19, 2012 1:43 am

Conman wrote:So. The latency is not between the player and the DAW but maybe the DAW reporting a position encounters internal latency on the round trip between itself (to the processor, the graphics redraw etc.) and itself?
In musical terms this mostly doesn't matter but in some technical sense maybe it would.


Really, there must be both. There will be a delay between pressing the key and Cubase receiving the midi message.

Since the audio output of a VSTi is subject to the control of Cubase's plugin delay compensation (PDC) ... just as every audio channel sending to the master bus is, after the midi is recorded in 'real time,' it will still be ahead of the audio, because you aren't hearing the audio in real time, but with the delay not just of latency of the system, but also PDC.

You were playing to what you were hearing, but what you were hearing was delayed. So why does the midi note show up early instead of late? Because as you adjusted your playing, the midi note still had to get there before it could trigger the sound of the VSTi you are playing against. It is the played sound which is delayed, not the recorded midi note. So the midi note must be earlier!

This comes back to what Joel reasonably asked. If when recording midi and monitoring it through Cubase, all sound output is delayed by the highest latency plugin, since Cubase does know this PDC, why can't there be a simple way to adjust the recorded midi?

Here's one good answer. Not that you couldn't, but that you might not want to. It the highest plugin latency was from the midi triggered VSTi itself, if you move the midi notes forward in sync with the beat, on playback the notes of that instrument will now be late and no longer sync with the rest of the project ... as they did when you played it.

The input delays are small and probably no greater than band mates listening to each other across a stage. It is the output delay that messes things up.

I've thought about this a lot and could be totally wrong ... but I don't think so.

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Re: Midi timing suggestion on recorded VST instruments.

Postby EdCubasero » Mon Mar 19, 2012 10:01 am

Como Baila wrote:Presumably, someone could do the equivalent of a 'null test' by sending midi from a hardware sequencer routed through a midi splitter and then simultaneously recorded into Cubase and another purportedly better functioning DAW. Then the original midi file and the two recorded midi files could all be placed side by side in a sequencer and examined for differences. This would resolve the question of timing inaccuracies in recording.

Como



Thats a great test that should objectively tell us how good Cubase records MIDI. Should be done first at the lowest latency setting and then at the highest, to see itf it really has an impact on how early the notes are recrded or not.
I cant do it, dont have the equipment. Could anybody do this please?
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Re: Midi timing suggestion on recorded VST instruments.

Postby goodbyenine » Mon Mar 19, 2012 2:41 pm

Hi

I agree with the OP on this. Cubase should be able to compensate.

The argument raging here is I believe due to a few misconceptions.

Firstly, playing through Cubase is obviously affected by latency.
Secondly, exsisting midi parts are subject to PDC by Cubase. Cubase does trigger notes early ONCE THEY ARE IN PARTS to compensate for known variables (overal system latency plus any user defined latency in the external instrument plugin interface).
Thirdly, and crucially, a musically aware user will naturally compensate WHEN PLAYING IN for the delay of the system. This explains the incorrect early midi data. Be clear here - the user is naturally playing ahead of the beat. The human brain is smart.
Put these facts together and you have a situation where Cubase is behaving on the (erroneous) assumption that the recorded MIDI is positioned where the user wanted it. It's not. It's early, by a time factor that involves the latency of the system at the time the MIDI recording was done. Add to this that Cubase is also playing these DATA earlier than displayed on key edit, as it must compensate for the system delay on playback.

The OP is absolutely correct. We need Cubase to (perhaps optionally) recognise that the "talent" is playing early by an easily calculable amount of time.

I am plagued by this every day of my life (on Nuendo actually but I've tested Cubase too).

Turning off PDC during record slightly helps, as the "talent" is now compensating by a smaller amount.

The situation affects all flavours of MIDI be they plugins or external instruments. The mileage may vary between the two owing to the different sums of latency in each case.

Clear now?

Thanks.

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Re: Midi timing suggestion on recorded VST instruments.

Postby Conman » Mon Mar 19, 2012 3:30 pm

Before we get mired by our own ingenuity here, and forgive me if I've forgotten it's been pointed out, do these anomalies involve just the numbers onscreen or are they also aural?

Why? All my midi sounds fine here and if somethings out I rarely look at the numbers. Now, my question is: Is the midi actually out or just the numbers in the Info Line reading erroneously?
(and I know the midi always has latency, thanks)
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Re: Midi timing suggestion on recorded VST instruments.

Postby Como Baila » Mon Mar 19, 2012 6:08 pm

goodbyenine wrote:Put these facts together and you have a situation where Cubase is behaving on the (erroneous) assumption that the recorded MIDI is positioned where the user wanted it. It's not. It's early, by a time factor that involves the latency of the system at the time the MIDI recording was done. Add to this that Cubase is also playing these DATA earlier than displayed on key edit, as it must compensate for the system delay on playback.

<snip>

Clear now?


Isn't this exactly what I said above?

But you leave out one part. If the midi data from a track played against a project is now moved forward (to the right on the timeline) to sync to the grid, if you play the project back using all the same tracks and VSTi you used to record in the first place, the midi data will now trigger that same VSTi late on the beat, no?

Is it most important for the midi data to look right or to sound right in the context of the project in which it was recorded?

I think everyone can figure out that answer.

Now, if you are recording multiple passes, each with a different VSTi, some of which have the highest PDC latency in the project and you want to create a new midi file of all the parts for export for other uses, then, yes, you will have to adjust all the tracks to the beat. And, for that purpose, presumably Cubase could keep track of some adjustment for each midi track to sync each one individually to the grid.

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Re: Midi timing suggestion on recorded VST instruments.

Postby Joel Eriksson » Mon Mar 19, 2012 6:42 pm

I made a simple video as a contribution to the smart one's that one day are going to solve this problem.

http://vimeo.com/38791238
Password: 2012
- Given to readers of this thread.

Please tell me if I have violated any rules, and I will immediately delete this Video.
My purpose is only to make clear what I wish to be fixed since there is a huge confusion about this.
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Re: Midi timing suggestion on recorded VST instruments.

Postby NYC Composer » Mon Mar 19, 2012 7:18 pm

You have illuminated an issue that makes me feel a lot better about my playing. For years, I have thought that trying to compensate for latency has made me play everything early, as per the MIDI results...now I think perhaps not. Hmmm.
Regards, L.J.

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Re: Midi timing suggestion on recorded VST instruments.

Postby Joel Eriksson » Mon Mar 19, 2012 7:22 pm

Thanks NYC fellow composer!

Looking at your specs that says, you're using a fine MAC we can also presume that all the discussion about windows and timing and stuff is quite irrelevant here.
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Re: Midi timing suggestion on recorded VST instruments.

Postby Sir Dancelot » Mon Mar 19, 2012 7:27 pm

Joel Eriksson wrote:I made a simple video as a contribution to the smart one's that one day are going to solve this problem.

http://vimeo.com/38791238
Password: 2012
- Given to readers of this thread.

Please tell me if I have violated any rules, and I will immediately delete this Video.
My purpose is only to make clear what I wish to be fixed since there is a huge confusion about this.


Well that's it! Exactly what I am experiencing.
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Re: Midi timing suggestion on recorded VST instruments.

Postby NYC Composer » Mon Mar 19, 2012 7:32 pm

Joel Eriksson wrote:Thanks NYC fellow composer!

Looking at your specs that says, you're using a fine MAC we can also presume that all the discussion about windows and timing and stuff is quite irrelevant here.


We'll see. I'm going to try to reproduce tonight. How are you recording your audio-are you sending the track to a group?
Also, just for consistency, what sound card are you using and what was your buffer setting when you did the video?
Regards, L.J.

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Re: Midi timing suggestion on recorded VST instruments.

Postby chase » Mon Mar 19, 2012 7:39 pm

Joel Eriksson wrote:I made a simple video as a contribution to the smart one's that one day are going to solve this problem.

http://vimeo.com/38791238
Password: 2012

VERY informative.

And, just to be clear ...

If I've understood correctly, the reason your playing was on the beat (the click) - in spite of latency - was that you were doing what would be expected of a musician, and playing ahead of the click to make the instrument sound together with the click?

Some organists have to do that all the time, in effect always playing with tens of miliseconds latency - eg, apart from a lag between the pressing of a key and the corresponding pipe(s) beginning to sound, the organ console can be tens of feet from the pipes - meaning tens of miliseconds just for the sound (once started) to reach the organist's ears. It's a skill acquired through playing (eg pianists transferring to the organ learn to adjust to the lag and can then play as if there were no lag), and ...

... as this thread shows, this skill is clearly just as relevant to DAW users.

Unfortunately, apparently, Cubase currently seems fixated with logging a MIDI note at the instant when it's played, rather than at the moment when Cubase outputs the start of the sound of the note from the VI. For those players who have acquired the skill to make the VI's sound co-incide with other audio, in spite of the latency, it would be useful if Cubase could delay the placement of the MIDI note to the instant when the sound of the note starts. Then (if I've properly understood), for playback, the normal DAW methods of compensating for the different latencies of different VIs (and FX) would ensure that the MIDI notes would then play in time with what was already recorded (instead of early, as in the video).
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Re: Midi timing suggestion on recorded VST instruments.

Postby Como Baila » Mon Mar 19, 2012 8:03 pm

chase wrote:Unfortunately, apparently, Cubase currently seems fixated with logging a MIDI note at the instant when it's played, rather than at the moment when Cubase outputs the start of the sound of the note from the VI. For those players who have acquired the skill to make the VI's sound co-incide with other audio, in spite of the latency, it would be useful if Cubase could delay the placement of the MIDI note to the instant when the sound of the note starts. Then (if I've properly understood), for playback, the normal DAW methods of compensating for the different latencies of different VIs (and FX) would ensure that the MIDI notes would then play in time with what was already recorded (instead of early, as in the video).


Because it must. First the note input and then the sound output. If it logged it as the sound you hear begins, then when you played back what you just recorded, your playing would have to be behind the beat of what you had heard while recording.

Read this carefully and think about it: https://www.steinberg.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=20516&p=131400#p131198

I don't disagree that Cubase could and should track the PDC to make adjustment available. But I do disagree that the default behavior should be any thing different than it now is.

I watched the video and the behavior is expected. The slight difference between the playback of the VSTi against the click is the difference between where it should be to remain in sync with the project, i.e., click, and the playing.

And, I'm done posting on this topic.

Good luck, all!

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