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Viewing topic "Rock solid MIDI timing?"

Posted on: April 29, 2014 @ 11:31 PM
Total Posts:  10
Joined  07-13-2012
status: Newcomer

Which sequencer can control the Motif keyboards with the best timing and why is that?

Ideally it would be sample perfect as VST can do via the “delta frames” in VST events. But I’ll use anything that comes close, I just need some info what’s actually the technique. And I think it might be Yamaha specific, who knows.

Will saving the MIDI stream to .mid and letting the Motif play it without PC give more precise timing? Maybe I should do this for the final render?

Thanks for help of any kind :)

  [ Ignore ]  

Posted on: April 30, 2014 @ 02:19 AM
Total Posts:  3019
Joined  01-25-2005
status: Guru

Sample accurate MIDI timing is an oxymoron.

Since MIDI is a serial interface running at only 31 kHz, it’s a physical impossibility. Then add on the jitter of MIDI clocking from any computer based sequencer and the timing gets sloppier.

If you surf teh interwebz you will find a lot of arguments about the accuracy of MIDI timing. If you really need sample accurate timing, you have to stay within the DAW itself.

Keep in mind that MIDI timing has been “good enough” for professional use for over three decades. But it is not and will never be sample accurate.

  [ Ignore ]  

Posted on: April 30, 2014 @ 02:55 AM
Total Posts:  36648
Joined  07-30-2002
status: Moderator

Nor does it need to… It is designed for music. The world’s best drummers, keyboard players, and certainly guitarist, etc. are not sample accurate. It’s like using pitch correction to make every note perfect. Nothing really needs to be, even when it seems like that’s the thing to do.

Go with what feels good, sounds good, and anything that measure down to 1/44,100 of a second… We’ll it doesn’t guarantee that it will be one bit more enjoyable

  [ Ignore ]  

Posted on: April 30, 2014 @ 04:05 AM
Total Posts:  10
Joined  07-13-2012
status: Newcomer

Thanks, your answers have already helped me.

The story is this: Last year I bought a hardware rompler for about $500 and just started writing a sequencer for it, under Windows 7. It was a simple tracker GUI, grew a few days/weeks and worked wonderfully, like a dream… except MIDI timing.

I had gotten Windows threading as exactly as about 1 millisecond (timeBeginPeriod) and tried three different timers (timeGetTime,QueryPeformanceCounter and asking a 44khz DirectX audio stream for sample positions), all three were great except one thing: I could still notice the jitter. And from what I’ve now read from you I’m kinda supposed to notice it, because there is no better way.

One idea I still have not tried is sending MIDI output only in input callbacks originating from the “Timing Clock (F8H)”. Is that maybe what professional DAWs do? The clock message from the MoXF comes 24 times a quarter note, this seems high enough for using it for the sequenced notes.

In .mid files there’s the time deltas between MIDI messages, and I guess they will be used by the Yamaha keyboard more precisely than any external sequencer could send it live. But I could be wrong.

Anyway, with my custom sequencer + [other company]’s rompler the jitter was a bit annoying and maybe Yamaha has a better MIDI driver and it will be better with the MoXF. Need to buy it first ;) I simply had to ask here if the jitter experience is normal, because I could be missing a time stamping mechanism or any trick.

This rendering is BTW free of jitter to my ears. At least if the jittery harp at the beginning is on purpose.

  [ Ignore ]  

Posted on: April 30, 2014 @ 05:12 AM
Total Posts:  6820
Joined  07-27-2002
status: Guru

You can’t hear “MIDI jitter” because there is no such thing. There is only audio converter
jitter which is related to an audio clock. You’re talking about something that sounds “stair-steppy” to you. That is an audio aspect - MIDI has no sound.

MIDI response differs from hardware piece to hardware piece. I had an old Alesis drum module (D4) that responded very quickly to key presses from my MIDI controller (if it was
‘directly connected to the controller via a MIDI cable). And I currently have an Alesis Ion
synth that exhibits an 18-tick delay responding to incoming MIDI data, even if the data is
quantized. That’s a bit less than the human ear can perceive, the human ear can perceive
“lateness” when it’s about 25 ticks, based on 480 ppq resolution, which is what most
sequencers are set to.

My Roland V-synth (version 1) has a really noticeable lag, about 40 ticks, responding to
incoming MIDI data. My Dave Smith Prophet 08 has no noticeable or measurable lag at
all. So again, it is really a matter of the hardware (or software) instrument you are addressing.

Honestly, you’re not going to find a “solution” to your perceived problem. What you get
from your MIDI playback is what you get. Treat it like you would a human musician -
because human beings don’t play with 100% quantized accuracy.

Is any DAW’s MIDI timing better than other DAW’s? No, not in my experience. I have Pro Tools 9, Logic 8, Cubase 7.5, PreSonus Studio One and Digital Performer 8. The MIDI
timing is the same in all of them. Again, it is a matter of what hardware or software instrument I am sending MIDI data to.

  [ Ignore ]  


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