Sequel Drops MIDI Notes

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Sequel Drops MIDI Notes

Postby rkabz54 » Sun Oct 06, 2013 2:55 am

I am a new Sequel user and have been running Sequel for a month now. I have run it on two different PC's and have experienced MIDI note dropouts on both. One PC runs Windows 7 and the other Windows 8. (the Windows 7 PC runs Cubase 7 no problems by the way). The first is a quad core AMD with 16GB RAM and the other a Dual core AMD with 4 GB RAM. The Windows 8 PC has an SSD. So it's darn fast in all respects. Both use sound devices with ASIO drivers. When notes are dropped, Sequel usually misses playing the first note or first few notes in a bar at random, with dropouts up to about maybe quarter of a second in length. It's not always in the same bar, but most often at the beginning of a bar (but not always). This happens mainly (or maybe is most noticeable) with MIDI Bass guitar and MIDI Drum loops. Usually for more, but probably just a coincidence, these are tracks 1 and 2 most of the time. It can be one loop or both that dropout individual or sometimes together. This is very annoying as it is unpredictable and occurs at random, rarely in the same place. The dropped notes end up in the Exported Audio as well, so it's not just playback in the Project that is affected. It spoils my experience of an otherwise very useful piece of software, since loop based music design is a fast way of getting my music ideas together. Maybe it's just as well I have Cubase 7 to import my projects into for the final cut and I can also use the Sequel loops in Cubase....... I had high expectations of Sequel 3 but am now quite disappointed with Sequel 3. :( :(

PS: I have seen other complaints of this or similar issues with MIDI dropouts in Sequel and they are not yet fixed. :roll:
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Re: Sequel Drops MIDI Notes

Postby Joel Gragg » Wed Oct 09, 2013 8:04 pm

Hello

In the Control Panel of Sequel (Settings>Audio Settings>Setup) what do you have the buffer size set to? Many times if you have the buffer set low while playing back a project, this can cause dropouts. For playback you can increase the buffer size, which should improve the performance of playback on the project causing less potential Audio and MIDI dropouts. You can also freeze tracks (see * icon in the channel view) in Sequel 3 which will improve your CPU's performance.
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Re: Sequel Drops MIDI Notes

Postby rkabz54 » Fri Oct 11, 2013 1:41 pm

I have the buffer set to 20mS (E-MU 0404 USB) just for this reason, and I consider this to be a very large buffer. As an experiment I changed it to 2mS and could not notice any difference in the number of dropouts. I played my project back about 10 times listening for dropouts at 20mS and only had or or two dropouts in all of that time (about 30 minutes). Set buffer to 2mS expecting a huge increase and the number of dropouts did not increase at all, but the 'Computer Usage Indicator' (CPU performance) did increase somewhat, from 1.5 bars peak to 2.5 bars peak in the same sections of the project. There are 20 tracks of mixed midi and audio loops in this project, none are frozen. I have had dropouts in much smaller projects as well. And I reiterate, on two different PC's......on the Windows 7 PC with MOTU PCIe based hardware, the buffer size is the second highest available at 1024 samples. This again is very high, but Sequel drops MIDI notes on this PC as well. No dropouts with Sequel 3 project imported into Cubase 7 (Windows 7 PC), same hardware setup/buffer size.

UPDATE.....................

Just installed Sequel 3 onto my HP notebook, Intel i7, 8GB RAM, Windows 8, on-board sound running generic ASIO driver. Guess what - MIDI dropouts here as well. Buffer size is 2048 samples. So now that is THREE different PC's dropping MIDI notes in Sequel. Hasn't 'crashed' with 'A serious problem.......' yet but that may be only a matter of time............keep you posted. BTW all machines are running 64 bit OS, Win 7 or Win 8. Sequel is a 32 bit app......must be time for a 64 bit update don't you think?
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Re: Sequel Drops MIDI Notes

Postby rkabz54 » Wed Oct 16, 2013 7:28 am

OK did some more playing around with Sequel 3 on one of my 'larger' projects. After I moved all of the tracks along by 8 bars to make some more room to change the beginning of my song, Seuqel started dropping a lot more MIDI notes and generally was VERY unhappy with playback. Curious, I checked the Sequel Computer Usage indicator and it was peaking at around 2.5 bars (50%?). Then I thought I would check CPU and memory usage with the windows Task Manager. This told a completeley different story. CPU usage peaked at 95% and memory usage for Sequel (I have a few loop packs installed) was a whopping 1 GIGABYTE plus!!!!!! Fortunately the PC has 4GB, but this is HUGE for any program. As expected the memory usage and CPU usage bobbed up and down depending on the complexity of what was being played. After about 20-30 seconds of playback, the level indicators on the various tracks started to get 'sluggish' lagging behind the peaks of the music in the tracks by up to 200-300mS (about 1/2 to one beat at 125BPM) or so (estimated). So I guess Sequel is a bit of a 'hog' when it comes to memory and CPU resources, and the DSP algortihms bog down when loaded up with lots of tracks and effects. (Steinberg do warn you of this in a round about way in the manual ie 'Freeze Tracks'). The project is about 20 tracks of mixed MIDI and AUDIO loops. Most tracks have at least one effect (default in the loop) and I have about 300 bars at 125 BPM. The project has been flattened from a performance. So I guess it means you actually need a SUPERCOMPUTER to run Sequel with any sort of reliability. My PC is a Windoes 7 OS, dual core AMD5300+ with 4GB of DDR2 RAM (an 'older' PC, but not that old). But it meets the general requirements recommended in the manual and is/has been running Cubase 7 with no problems.
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Re: Sequel Drops MIDI Notes

Postby rkabz54 » Wed Oct 16, 2013 3:02 pm

Even more playing around.............loaded the project into Cubase 7 (on the same PC) and noticed this:

1. Cubase does not drop MIDI notes
2. Meters on all tracks stay in sync
3. CPU loading is a bit lower
4. Screen updates (cursor) a lot faster

Cubase 7 is running in 64 bit mode on this Windows 7 PC. Obviously makes a difference.

Back in Sequel, obviously the DSP processing for effects etc needs more CPU resources running in 32 bit mode. Also for the first time I actually noticed the cursor stopping and starting, jerking its way along the screen.

Bottom line is that although Steinberg recommend a Dual core processor and 2GB memory for Sequel, in 32 bit mode it's not enough when the projects have a lot of tracks and DSP (VST, effects) work to do.

Cubase being a 64 bit app, takes more memory for the same Sequel project, but the CPU load is reduced and there is greater capability in handling DSP (VST, effects). Maybe the Cubase 7 engine is better overall anyway.

Less to do with the Audio (ASIO) buffer size, (as suggested by a Steinberg Engineer although that is also important and no disrespect intended), than PC 'grunt' for 32 bit apps in Windows 7 or Windows 8 for that matter.

Maybe Windows 7 (64 bit) could be 'tweaked' (for the 32 bit app) but why should users have to do that when Steinberg recommend Windows 7 as the base OS platform?

My thinking is that Sequel is behind the eight ball running fairly complex (20 tracks +) projects as a 32 bit app in Windows 7/8 and is in desperate need of a 64 bit version. Then it could do some serious work.......

Any comments from Steinberg Engineers ???????????
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Re: Sequel Drops MIDI Notes - ONGOING

Postby rkabz54 » Wed Nov 13, 2013 8:03 am

On request of Steinberg support, I have been dealing with my local support person. He requested I send him one of my troublesome projects, which I did. After running and listening to my project, the support person said that they did not experience any MIDI dropouts. The support person exported an audio file from his PC for me to listen to. When I listened to the audio, because I am more familiar with my material, I clearly heard dropouts in HIS EXPORTED audio file. So, I am not imagining my problem after all. I have sent him a list of 12 dropouts and other issues with the audio file, from MIDI dropouts, to unsounded notes or incorrectly sounded notes, usually 'volume' issues, where for instance a cymbal hit is louder than it should be. When the audio track is imported into the project and overlayed, you can clearly see missing audio where there is MIDI data present to trigger the instrument sound.
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