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Syncing Feeling :(
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Production Techniques Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3  Next [all]
Author Syncing Feeling :(
Babaluma
cool ross, i understand you!

i'm almost certainly going to be able to get midi before i get a sync lock, so i'll report back when i've got the midi up and running and done some more testing!

thanks so much for all the help people! this is a truly wonderful forum!

gregg
DGTom
Just for shits & giggles I recorded some of what I'm talking about

MIDI Slop;

http://dl.getdropbox.com/u/252415/Phasey_Kicks_128.mp3

2 passes from the MPC, Clocked from Ableton, 2 bar count in (empty bars) to allow MIDI Clock to 'settle'

What sounds like a flange is actually the sound of MIDI! Accurate sync to me would make a louder kick, maybe some slight - static - phase, but even over a short time you can hear the MIDI wander, not workable for me.

This is the same thing, but the MPC Kick + 808 Bass triggered by the Step Sequencer being driven by the MPC pulse out. This is acceptable to me.

http://dl.getdropbox.com/u/252415/MPC_BD808_128.mp3

& finally, modular in perfect harmony with its digital brethren!

http://dl.getdropbox.com/u/252415/Modular_House_Jam.mp3

This is quite long, skip thru. Synths & bass kick are all modular, rest of the percussion is MPC. 808 doesn't come in until halfway, where its just analogs, the ending shows how tight it all stays together without any kind of thud.

You may need to turn the volume up abit, I record pretty conservative levels & no added 'erbs n spices where used in the preperation.

Babaluma
thanks dgtom,

first example definitely not acceptable! my experiment yesterday was FAR WORSE after 10 minutes of just the mobius.

second examples perhaps acceptable, can still hear a little phasing, but i reckon in the context of a track perhaps nothing to worry about.

nice jam too!
Chuck E. Jesus
DGTom wrote:
ross g wrote:
seriously: at least try using a midi interface with your pc to the Mobius and overdub kick, then snare, then bass, whatever...see if the sync sounds sloppy to you, then make some decisions on how to correct it...there is a lot of misinformation in this thread and you are putting the cart before the horse...


Have you ever done this? Overdubbing kick, snare, bass with MIDI Clock as the master?


yes i have, and i understand your point....i'm not arguing that midi timing is as good as an analog pulse...the OP was having a problem lining up separately recorded tracks is his DAW, if he tries using midi from the DAW to drive the Mobius, he may find that quite acceptable...
Chuck E. Jesus
Babaluma wrote:

first example definitely not acceptable! my experiment yesterday was FAR WORSE after 10 minutes of just the mobius.


if the goal is to line up kick drums and have them sound perfectly in phase, i agree it's not acceptable...if you are trying to layer separate tracks of different instruments, chances are you won't notice a problem...

i'd recommend googling "midi timing" and read up, there's a ton of info available...
wetterberg
Babaluma wrote:
second examples perhaps acceptable, can still hear a little phasing, but i reckon in the context of a track perhaps nothing to worry about.
I don't think you'll ever hear midi-controlled timing that doesn't shift a few milliseconds back and forth every now and then... it's in the nature of the game.

In my experience *Perfectly* aligned sounds *need* post tweaks.
Ranxerox
ross g wrote:

if the goal is to line up kick drums and have them sound perfectly in phase, i agree it's not acceptable...if you are trying to layer separate tracks of different instruments, chances are you won't notice a problem...


Exactly. And probably not possible for all to be perfectly in phase anyway, unless you're using VSTs in a 'sample accurate' DAW - which you're understandably keen to avoid.

Babaluma wrote:

extremely tight timing (think kraftwerk, vince clarke, good techno) is very important to me, as is steering clear of the computer and midi as much as is humanly possible.


You'll probably find that extremely tight timing, particularly in terms of the phase issue identified here, was probably the last thing on these guys' minds when they were in the studio.

Kraftwerk actually played half their stuff by hand for a start - check Wolfgang's funky drum-pads, for an example. And considering the gear used in the classic techno recordings (80s, 90s), they no doubt 'suffered' under the yoke of MIDI-clock, DIN- and tape-sync, just as you are!
wetterberg
Ranxerox wrote:
Babaluma wrote:

extremely tight timing (think kraftwerk, vince clarke, good techno) is very important to me, as is steering clear of the computer and midi as much as is humanly possible.


You'll probably find that extremely tight timing, particularly in terms of the phase issue identified here, was probably the last thing on these guys' minds when they were in the studio.

Kraftwerk actually played half their stuff by hand for a start - check Wolfgang's funky drum-pads, for an example. And considering the gear used in the classic techno recordings (80s, 90s), they no doubt 'suffered' under the yoke of MIDI-clock, DIN- and tape-sync, just as you are!
I hate to be the negative nancy here, but I don't think that's entirely true, Ranx;
the early techno recordings didn't use midi clock and such nonsense... The Roland MC-4 was widely used for a lot of stuff, for instance, and that thing is INSANELY tight. So is din-sync (ie, analogue pulses==near instant playback) so all those 606, 808, 909, 303, 202 jams were anything but sloppy, from what I understand.

I was also under the impression that the Kraftwerk drum pads were only for shows? Surely those cats went through their share of analogue step sequencers?

a confused
Kwote
i'm gonna offer an alternative solution. buy more modules! SlayerBadger!
Kent
Ha! Fuck ya!

I think that MIDI Time Code, as a subset of the MIDI Spec, is getting unfair treatment in this discussion. Much of what people SEEM to be attributing specifically to the MIDI specification is actually based upon their empircal results derived from their entire system including the variables that have yet to be mentioned. Things like: USB drivers, chipsets, interface of choice, etc.

If you dedicate a cable to MTC and you have your sync (not to be confused with 'clock') in order then things will be tight. The Ataris are a working case in point. So are all of the systems that I've installed, to be honest. There is definitely enough bandwidth for MTC and some other odds 'n' ends.
Ranxerox
wetterberg wrote:
the early techno recordings didn't use midi clock and such nonsense... The Roland MC-4 was widely used for a lot of stuff, for instance, and that thing is INSANELY tight. So is din-sync (ie, analogue pulses==near instant playback) so all those 606, 808, 909, 303, 202 jams were anything but sloppy, from what I understand.


Yeah, but they weren't exclusively using those boxes. You also had cheesy MIDI synths like the Poly-800 - anything they could find at the pawn shop. Then they were having to overdub on 8-track reel-to-reel; maybe they found a way to record a timing pulse on one track, but I suspect they soon relied on MIDI to tie it all together.

Anyway, by the 90s they were definitely using Ataris and Ensoniq gear - Jeff Mills, Rob Hood, Carl Craig et al., indicating a switch to MIDI.

And lets not forget the 909's famous timing 'slop', integral to it's funkiness!

wetterberg wrote:

I was also under the impression that the Kraftwerk drum pads were only for shows? Surely those cats went through their share of analogue step sequencers?
a confused


There's a book by Wolfgang Flur called 'I Was A Robot' where he spills some beans regarding Kling-Klang Studios. They did sequence some of the recorded drums, but this wasn't their central mission - other electronic acts of the time were mixing sequencing and live-playing as well.
Ranxerox
Sorry to keep flogging this one, maybe it's turning into a pet subject?

Actually, I've re-checked my copy of 'I Was a Robot' and, you're right, most of their recorded percussion from 'Trans Europe Express' onwards was sequenced. The book says that they could get the timing better using a sequencer than with Wolfgang playing drum-pads, and that he increasingly felt like just a session musician!

The thing to remember about the MC-4 and Roland gear such as the 909 and MC-202 is that it they were 'microprocessor controlled' - meaning that even though the clock signal was analog, the 'brain' was still a digital processor struggling to multi-task, essentially a pre-MIDI digital IC running embedded code. The timing accuracy of different models varies significantly.

This link has a lot of interesting information about sync issues -

http://www.innerclocksystems.com/

Check out their veiled reference to the MC-202 under 'Q&A':-

Quote:
A quick look at the microprocessor task routine and the time intervals between them shows very clearly why this model will always be a loose rubber band on the timing stakes.


Mr. Green
Babaluma
good input everyone!

we've been discussing the innerclock systems site since the beginning wink yep, he has a lot of great info there. that's why i plan to get a sync lock once it becomes available, and knock this whole "problem" on the head once and for all!

some great tightly synced music was done without midi for sure, and some amazing techno was made with ataris and hardware synths and drum machines, for sure!

in my case it was just the mobius's timing that was not good enough. the mobius is a digital sequencer with analogue outputs. i naively expected to be able to run the sequencer, record, repatch, run the sequencer again and record and expect the waveforms to line up exactly, which they did not. :(

but i have hope i'll get it sorted!
Chuck E. Jesus
Babaluma wrote:
good input everyone!

we've been discussing the innerclock systems site since the beginning wink yep, he has a lot of great info there. that's why i plan to get a sync lock once it becomes available, and knock this whole "problem" on the head once and for all!

some great tightly synced music was done without midi for sure, and some amazing techno was made with ataris and hardware synths and drum machines, for sure!

in my case it was just the mobius's timing that was not good enough. the mobius is a digital sequencer with analogue outputs. i naively expected to be able to run the sequencer, record, repatch, run the sequencer again and record and expect the waveforms to line up exactly, which they did not. :(

but i have hope i'll get it sorted!


man, all i can say is good luck w00t
DGTom
Kent wrote:
I think that MIDI Time Code, as a subset of the MIDI Spec, is getting unfair treatment in this discussion.


Fair enough. It must be said that things weren't quite as bad until USB came on the scene. Lots of people held on for grim life to their serial MIDI hardware for ages until they were left behind in the technological rush. The USB MIDI interface was not a step in the right direction.

I'm not sure if the MIDI spec actually makes any demands on minimum / maximum, acceptable levels of jitter?

Loads of classic tunes used MIDI (was the ATARI as big in the US as the UK tho?) but mostly hardware sequencers. Kenny larkin called Carl Craig the 'King of the MMT8 Mutes' Juan Atkins used the Roland MC-50 for the longest times. Alot of East Coast House & Garage was MPC, even SP, based. & all the while there were Roland MSQ sequencers & bits like the Korg KM30 (think thats right) sync box linking MIDI to Din Sync.

But yeah, MIDI Sync will work, I wouldn't call the phasey kick drum example I posted 'out of time' but it is out of the pocket. The problem I have with it is, if I have built a groove & was then to try & track that out piece by piece with MIDI as the master the resulting multitrack recording would not sound like what I had wanted to record.

Babaluma wrote:
first example definitely not acceptable! my experiment yesterday was FAR WORSE after 10 minutes of just the mobius.

second examples perhaps acceptable, can still hear a little phasing, but i reckon in the context of a track perhaps nothing to worry about.


I think the 2nd one is due to the amount of 'air' around my kick sample hihi In reality I'd hi pass that one & turn the volume way down, just to give the overall kick abit of grit, but the differance is its a fixed time differance, the 1st example you can clearly hear the timing 'move' you can't work with that! You can't program a rythm if you don't know where & when sounds will hit everytime.

Babaluma wrote:
nice jam too!


Thanks! Mr. Green Just a synth noodle really (window comparator in full effect!) I think the end is best for showing the analog seq'ers dancing with the MPC.
Ranxerox
DGTom wrote:
Kenny larkin called Carl Craig the 'King of the MMT8 Mutes'


Man, this would be a real acquired talent - have you ever tried doing live mutes on an MMT8? The switches are really cheap, with nasty rubber buttons with a really stiff action - you almost habitually end up double-tapping or pressing hell out of them to ensure they engage properly. I think I read an interview with a guy from Alesis who admitted they'd cut a lot of corners on that and the HR-16 to keep the prices down.
DGTom
Wow! Never knew that! Makes the fact so many people (Orbital I'm looking @ you!) used them for live!!

hihi I don't think Craig even owned it! Pretty sure the story went he borrowed it from Larkin!!
suitandtieguy
Ranxerox wrote:
Man, this would be a real acquired talent - have you ever tried doing live mutes on an MMT8?


yeah. I don't think it's nearly as bad as the impression you're giving.

this thread is totally making me look forward to plugging Numerology into my MMT8 as soon as I get a new mac and can move my current one over to the keyboard rig.
Ranxerox
suitandtieguy wrote:

yeah. I don't think it's nearly as bad as the impression you're giving.


This was some years ago, but I distinctly remember the buttons being stiff. Maybe mine was defective then? Or the contacts needed a clean...

Actually, just found this link:

http://www.mmt8.com/faq.html

Apparently 'sticky' button syndrome is a known problem with MMT-8s.

Maybe I'm not full of shit after all! razz

(Edit: - Just to defend my (non-existent) rep some more, I'm gonna go over the top!)

See the following link for more information regarding this common complaint regarding the MMT-8's buttons:

http://machines.hyperreal.org/manufacturers/Alesis/MMT-8/

I've quoted the following from other users of the MMT-8 for posterity, and to prove I'm not talking out my arse:

Quote:
...No more crappy membrane buttons for me.. the improvement is amazing. The mmt-8 is now a usable tool instead of a frustrating one. The mute buttons are snappy and responsive, and each button gives a satisfying "click" instead of being mooshy.



Quote:
...Fixing the problem is highly recommended - if you don't do it, one or
both of the following will occur:

1 - It will drive you bananas and mess up your music making.

2 - The extra force that you use on the panel will tear the front
panel printed circuit board from the plastic case.

(contd.) ...Later MMT8s and HR16s did not have such trouble as the early
machines - which is most of them, I think. Perhaps they changed the
composition of the rubber contacts.


Quote:
...I have owned quite a few pieces of Alesis gear over the years and I too have had problems with intermittent buttons on HR16 & MMT8
machines.


So there! How's that for anal!! twisted
b3nsf
I'm gonna throw more fuel on the fire at this point.... razz Has anybody noticed the timing differences between an MPC3000 and an MPC2000XL? At first I thought I was just having a wee bit of gearlust, but now I'm totally convinvced the 3000 has more swing and the 2000XL is more rigid.

Mr. Green

My MMT8 is mortally wounded in the LCD, buying a new screen might be more expensive than the whole unit! Damn drunk roommates! d'oh!
Ranxerox
b3nsf wrote:
Has anybody noticed the timing differences between an MPC3000 and an MPC2000XL? At first I thought I was just having a wee bit of gearlust, but now I'm totally convinvced the 3000 has more swing and the 2000XL is more rigid.


I had heard the 3000 was extremely tight. Wasn't the 2000XL the budget model?

b3nsf wrote:
My MMT8 is mortally wounded in the LCD, buying a new screen might be more expensive than the whole unit! Damn drunk roommates! d'oh!


In spite of the button problems I found it a fun and surprisingly simple sequencer to use. The great thing about learning a piece of gear like this is that you build up muscle-memory, so using it becomes very fast and automatic.

I knew a guy who had an Emax II sampler - horrible thing, but he had used it down to the point where his hands were a blur, and he could operate it blindfolded (at a guess). Try that with a computer!
b3nsf
oh, I meant the swing was good, or more natural sounding.... the 2000XL has more of a computer's metronome sound, cold and inhumane!
DGTom
The 3000 is tighter / keeps better time than the 2KXL. You can measure it.

The 2000XL is still alot better than 99% of software / computer midi sequencers timing, plus the integration of the sampling engine & sequencer has obvious benefits.

The 3000 was the last MPC Roger Linn worked on, from there the akai guys took over. The MPC2000 was basically an S2000 with a seq'er, pads & a decent screen. Same upgrade options etc.

The XL is basically the 2K with a few better things & a crappier data entry wheel! XL doesn't need the OS loaded from disk every boot-up, I fitted a card reader / writer in mine so no fucking with SCSI or floppies. The XL adds a few nice performance features.

The AD/DA on the 3000 is differant as well, most say the XL is abit more clinical, colder - the differance between the S1000 & the S2000 I guess. I mostly use the digital I/O so my Metric Halo is the front end of the MPC, works out nice!

I think the biggest differance is the 3000 will allow you to edit & do most things while the seq'er is playing, the XL will allow most things but you can't drop into / out of 16 levels for example without stopping & starting, I can imagine the 3000 is alot quicker, smoother to work with because of this but its not something I've ever been bothered by.

If I was gonna trade the XL out for a 3K, I'd go the whole hog & get a 60mkII or a Linn 9000!
Babaluma
just ordered an echo audiofire 12 so will let you know how the midi syncing goes in a few days!
b3nsf
Quote:
If I was gonna trade the XL out for a 3K, I'd go the whole hog & get a 60mkII or a Linn 9000!


I thought for sure the 3000 was the "tops" as far as Linn design extent, audio quality, build quality and lack of system bugs...

maybe Im just suffering from severe gear lust love

my maxed out XL is very unhappy right now!!!!! d'oh! meh angry Mr. Green
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