MIDI clock/sync features I wish more DAWs had

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Shledge
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MIDI clock/sync features I wish more DAWs had

Post by Shledge » Sun Apr 08, 2018 6:27 pm

One thing I noticed that is lacking in most DAWs is... proper MIDI clock options. What if I want to trigger it manually? What if I want to send multiple clocks to different MIDI devices, with options for offsets, shuffle and divisions MIDI offset options in general are also lacking a bit. I usually find it a much better way to sync my synths to anything on my DAW, since latency compensation usually... adds latency for them. It's just not often implemented well and it's annoying.

These features properly make a lot of sense, especially if you want to sync hardware to software when you consider latency. It's ridiculous how badly MIDI is implemented in DAWs today - no wonder why people have the view that computer MIDI clock is bad.

Reaper seems to be the only exception to both, thanks to it's JS plugins. I can do all of the above and it works really well. I have set up a template that generates four MIDI clocks from JS plugins at varying offsets and divisions, which I can assign to any of my MIDI outputs. Even my BSP, which is notorious for it's latency, is now tamed and happily in sync with everything else!

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Post by Kent » Sun Apr 08, 2018 9:04 pm

Meh, digital. :despair: What can’t one expect?

:omg:

But seriously those are useful concepts. Ableton address some of them via inline plugins; to a degree.

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Post by Panason » Tue Apr 10, 2018 7:19 am

MIDI clock sync needs to be replaced with audio pulses. Maybe synth/drum machine manufacturers will catch on in another 210 years.

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Shledge
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Post by Shledge » Tue Apr 10, 2018 7:25 am

A dinsync-like clock would be a much better way overall.

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Post by andybizarre » Wed Apr 11, 2018 2:11 pm

It`s the OSs which implement MIDI badly, introduce jitter and so on. Not the DAWs. It`s even worse when you wish to sequence your VSTs with a hardware sequencer. On a Windows machine it`s so bad, I stopped doing MIDI recordings at all. Ableton is aware of this and adds about 7ms latency to MIDI events, just to exclude any jitter! An audiostream is far superior in accuracy and, by nature not to be influenced or interrupted by anything. So a I made myself custom trigger tracks with Ableton`s Simpler - as long as MIDI is kept inside the DAW, everything is fine. I`m using a spare DAC to clock the modular or the BSP with these trigger tracks, working beautifully.

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Post by Shledge » Wed Apr 11, 2018 2:47 pm

It's not the case of the OS for MIDI jitter, but your audio buffer and whether you use USB or not. I generally find that DAWs handle that in a very similar way - they tie MIDI events to per buffer length. I don't have issues with jitter unless I put my audio buffer higher than 128 samples, and that's in Windows. I'm able to comfortable run everything at 64 samples so everything is pretty much rock solid.

The issues I'm talking about is DAWs having a lack of essential MIDI functions, eg. options to offset it so it can sync with software, recorded audio etc. This is an issue even if you slave your computer from a hardware clock.

For example, I could have MIDI clock sent to a drum machine and have drums playing on a DAW - the drum machine will be in "time", but it will be playing slightly late overall, meaning there will be audible flamming or ruining the overall rhythm. If I offset it by say -15ms, it's now perfectly in sync.

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Post by thunderheart530 » Thu Apr 19, 2018 2:59 pm

The only way I could get a solid clock with no jitter out of a computer was through an audio interface and a USAMO. I then run that into a TetraMaps in my Modcan modular which goes to clock dividers that I can then use for timing variations...

Maybe Expert Sleepers could implement some sort of clock dividing options via their VST software.

Also I'm assuming you are direct monitoring through an audio interface or using a mixer right?

Also, in Ableton that have a calibration procedure that allows you to measure the timing offset of your recording and it will automatically nudge the starting point over for you.

So to explain my solution, USAMO VST, to audio interface, to USAMO, to drum machine which is being direct monitored (No Latency), to being recorded in Ableton and Ableton automatically compensating for the known latency that you calibrated it to. Works perfectly.

If I want to chop up my clock signal then I use my modular.
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Post by rjungemann » Fri Apr 20, 2018 12:41 am

Max (or Pd or ChucK or SuperCollider) will let you transform MIDI clock messages, but Max can be integrated right into Live.

You could do something like receive a MIDI clock, turn it into pulses and then use that to output another MIDI clock, or whatever. Or use it as your master clock. It'll work with simple clock messages (clock, start, stop, and continue) or MIDI timecode. If you have an idea of what you want to do I can probably throw together a patch.
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Post by Shledge » Fri Apr 20, 2018 2:57 am

thunderheart530 wrote: Also I'm assuming you are direct monitoring through an audio interface or using a mixer right?
No, monitoring the inputs from Reaper itself. The reason being for syncing with any samples, VSTs etc. I have in a project. I have my audio interface set at 64 samples, meaning latency with any audio is actually minimal. The issue is syncing software with it.
Also, in Ableton that have a calibration procedure that allows you to measure the timing offset of your recording and it will automatically nudge the starting point over for you.
Audio offsetting = latency when live playing. MIDI offsetting essentially does the same thing without adding audio latency.

Either way, happy I found a solution that works. Wish other DAWs bothered their arses.

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Post by forestcaver » Fri Apr 20, 2018 3:50 am

I understand where you’re coming from. I guess this is why the mutable midipal was invented (I am seriously considering building one or a midigal). I think it does most of what you want???

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Post by Shledge » Fri Apr 20, 2018 4:34 am

The only real hardware solution is E-RM Multiclock. Don't really need that for now as I can do that in Reaper with the Midiclock JS plugin.

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Post by andybizarre » Fri Apr 20, 2018 7:10 am

Well, this type of device originated from the SND ACME4. It's crazy expensive, a much cheaper alternative, though quite different, is the Bastl Klik. And one could use every DC coupled audio interface to reliably trigger/sync things on the modular with an audio track.In the meantime, I can avoid MIDI almost completely, MIDI clock is only needed to sync my FX units. Can't do much harm at that :hihi:

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Post by forestcaver » Fri Apr 20, 2018 7:53 am

Because I am thinking of building one (and probably dont understand midi well enough), what do you need that the midipal cant do? (Probably just demonstrating my total ignorance by this question :-) )

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Post by Shledge » Fri Apr 20, 2018 9:11 am

forestcaver wrote:Because I am thinking of building one (and probably dont understand midi well enough), what do you need that the midipal cant do? (Probably just demonstrating my total ignorance by this question :-) )
The ability of offset MIDI clock (not MIDI notes, that can be already done by most DAWs) by ms steps. I already have this solved with a JS plugin though.

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Post by forestcaver » Fri Apr 20, 2018 9:39 am

Ok - thanks!I thought it could lag the clock (maybe I am misreading the manual - will have to double check - I assumed that was what it meant - it’s in the clock section of the manual - I assumed it was in ms but didnt know)

Cheers...

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Post by flo » Fri Apr 20, 2018 10:22 am

In Ableton, you can offset MIDI clocks in the preferences:

Image

To offset MIDI notes, you can use the track delay:

Image

Both work in the + and - direction.

(Not my own pictures.)

Personally, I clock everything from an Innerclock Sync Gen Pro 2 and don't use any MIDI within the DAW... I don't mind the same amount of latency on everything as long as it's tight with no jitter :tu: It's pretty much on the grid though recording at a buffer size of 64 samples (thunderbolt interface).

Cheers :guinness:

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Post by Shledge » Fri Apr 20, 2018 10:49 am

flo wrote:In Ableton, you can offset MIDI clocks in the preferences:
I find in practice that it makes the clock unstable at the start, making time sensitive modules go out of sync. Main reason why I went off Ableton. A half arsed implementation.

I'm able to completely avoid that in Reaper - rock solid straight away.

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Post by flo » Sat Apr 21, 2018 10:57 am

Yes, the first hit is off. We need that time machine technology now to do this properly! :hihi: :tu:

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Post by droningspaghettimonster » Sat Apr 21, 2018 11:27 am

Shledge wrote:
flo wrote:In Ableton, you can offset MIDI clocks in the preferences:
I find in practice that it makes the clock unstable at the start, making time sensitive modules go out of sync. Main reason why I went off Ableton. A half arsed implementation.

I'm able to completely avoid that in Reaper - rock solid straight away.
has the clock not been fixed in live 10? :eek:

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Post by Shledge » Sat Apr 21, 2018 11:46 am

droningsphagettimonster wrote:
Shledge wrote:
flo wrote:In Ableton, you can offset MIDI clocks in the preferences:
I find in practice that it makes the clock unstable at the start, making time sensitive modules go out of sync. Main reason why I went off Ableton. A half arsed implementation.

I'm able to completely avoid that in Reaper - rock solid straight away.
has the clock not been fixed in live 10? :eek:
I don't use Live anymore :bananaguitar:

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Re: MIDI clock/sync features I wish more DAWs had

Post by cjunekim » Sun Oct 18, 2020 8:56 am

Shledge wrote:
Sun Apr 08, 2018 6:27 pm
One thing I noticed that is lacking in most DAWs is... proper MIDI clock options. What if I want to trigger it manually? What if I want to send multiple clocks to different MIDI devices, with options for offsets, shuffle and divisions MIDI offset options in general are also lacking a bit. I usually find it a much better way to sync my synths to anything on my DAW, since latency compensation usually... adds latency for them. It's just not often implemented well and it's annoying.

These features properly make a lot of sense, especially if you want to sync hardware to software when you consider latency. It's ridiculous how badly MIDI is implemented in DAWs today - no wonder why people have the view that computer MIDI clock is bad.

Reaper seems to be the only exception to both, thanks to it's JS plugins. I can do all of the above and it works really well. I have set up a template that generates four MIDI clocks from JS plugins at varying offsets and divisions, which I can assign to any of my MIDI outputs. Even my BSP, which is notorious for it's latency, is now tamed and happily in sync with everything else!
Well, it's been three years since your wrote this, but I really wonder how you did it with reaper. Could you please elaborate how you achieve this with reaper? What JS plugins?

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Re: MIDI clock/sync features I wish more DAWs had

Post by mindseye robot » Wed Oct 21, 2020 10:36 pm

I wish ableton could assign start stop midi sync per track - quantised.

alternatively I wish the expert sleepers software would do it.

for example - im using an ES-5 for sending midi sync to multiple hardware, but i wish i could have a start stop button in the es-5 plugin, allowing individdual devices to be able to start and stop on the grid, that essentially turns it into an E-RM multiclock style gadget. where the midi clock starts on the grid - allowing individual elements to be able to start stop without stopping the main transport.

If there is a max for live plugin out there that can be stuck in front of the ES-5controller plugin and someone points me to it, they would be my hero.
this is my system.. and a future retro XS + Abstrakt avalon
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