Is midi sync from ableton to external HW really this bad

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dixie237
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Is midi sync from ableton to external HW really this bad

Post by dixie237 » Tue May 15, 2012 7:01 am

Hi,
I have just started to get back into external hardware again after years of softsynths.
I have recently bought a Blofeld, a proteus 2500, and just picked up an x0xb0x.

Last night for the first time after a studio re-arrange i plugged the hardware into my Motu midi express XT, just midi outs to sync up for arps and to start and stop the x0x, set the sync options im Ableton midi prefs for these 3 channels, set up 1 bar single note clips to drive the hardware. What a mess.

Firstly the units are running 4 x faster than lives bpm. I had to drop to 30 bpm to get a 120 bpm speed!!

Then the proteus display for bpm was fluctuating between 29-32 ish flicking away, the bar note for this didnt run the arp on a perfect loop.

The x0xb0x, set to play a same note 1/16 pattern kept coughing and spluttering. Sounded awful.

I have no idea what the Blofeld was doing.I'd had enough by this point.

I reset the XT to factory settings..still the same, and then began my forum trawl to find some answers. It seems that this is "just the way it is"!!! Crap midi clock from Ableton.

Am I missing something here?

I am now looking at some sort of external dedicated clock device to ensure good timing. Does anyone have any experience with sorting this mess out, or advice on decent hardware to resolve.

Any advice or pointers greatly appr.

Cheers
D

pgmjsd
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Re: Is midi sync from ableton to external HW really this bad

Post by pgmjsd » Tue May 15, 2012 10:21 am

Might be a midi routing issue creating duplicate clock messages (a midi echo). I've not had that problem with my hardware devices, although I tend to use them one at a time, recording the output.

dixie237
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Location: South Coast. UK.

Re: Is midi sync from ableton to external HW really this bad

Post by dixie237 » Tue May 15, 2012 11:36 am

Hi pgmsjd,
thanks for reply. I think i will have another go tonight stripping it all back and introducing midi ports one at a time. i think I did this last night (of a fashion) but it was all a bit frustrating.

I will ultimately work the same way, single synths, recording phrases down as i go to audio. But it sould be possible to send sync to two or more yes?

I will post here after 2nd go.

Cheers

D

divonic
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Re: Is midi sync from ableton to external HW really this bad

Post by divonic » Tue May 15, 2012 12:28 pm

I recently moved and got a new sound card and am going through a similar situation of setting up external devices. Tho I haven't run into this issue.

I have a Nord Lead, Dave Smith Mopho, Redsound Elevata, EMU XL7, Kawai K1r, Roland R8m and Akai xe8 all controlled by Ableton Live. I am still in the testing and set-up stage. Everything is running well so far. and I don't need to bounce everything down to audio to get the sounds I want. The only issue I've had so far is there seems to be a conflict between my APC40 and my Lexicon MX200.

So some questions:

What version of Live are you using? What computer? What operating system? what sound card do you have? Does it have MIDI outs that you can use rather than the MOTU MIDI Express? In Live what sync options did you set?

My first suggestion would be to test one device at a time.

I'm not in front of my studio computer at the moment so I can't get too into details but sounds like something isn't set up right.

Ub373NNN
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Re: Is midi sync from ableton to external HW really this bad

Post by Ub373NNN » Tue May 15, 2012 8:08 pm

i go find midi sync not all up on my standards but can not go pin point to what the cause on it is.

invol
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Re: Is midi sync from ableton to external HW really this bad

Post by invol » Wed May 16, 2012 5:13 am

Though you do have a lot of other variables to check.... Earlier versions of Live 8 had some issues with sync. What version are you running?

celeste1
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Re: Is midi sync from ableton to external HW really this bad

Post by celeste1 » Wed May 16, 2012 6:27 am

Yes.

dixie237
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Re: Is midi sync from ableton to external HW really this bad

Post by dixie237 » Wed May 16, 2012 6:37 am

Hi ,
thanks for replies.
My system is as follows PC running XP32bit. Intel core 2 duo. Latest Ableton 8.3.
Audio int is Motu 24io with the PCIe 424. and the Motu midi express XT.

My settings on Monday night on midi prefs were to have 3 midi ports open on output. all set with track and sync on.

I think the issue was some kind of midi "echo" as last night the first thing i did with a blank ableton session was to disable all midi ports. I set up an audio channel for x0x input and when i pressed play on ableton transport the x0x played spot on. Good timing, correct tempo. There was a small latency issue but not a prob to sort.

Strangley enough though with no midi track being set up to send on its corresponding Midi in and with the port off. I was suprised at this as the x0x was stopping and starting based purely on Abletons transport.

I didnt realise that that alone would send clock and stop start. Without testing again (and i will tonight to try to duplicate the issue and work out exactly what was happening)I assume the x0x was recieving the 3 sets of sync from the open ports, plus Abletons internal independant clock giving the 4 x speed I was experiencing??!!

The Proteus again having opened its port with track only and no midi clip talking to it, picked up Abletons tempo upon play. With a midi clip with a 1 bar note in place (still track only on) it wouldnt play arps but woul trigger a note, but as soon as the sync was turned on it played arps perfectly. Although the tempo display on ther proteus screen was flicking up and down occasionally.


So thats where Im at. I will have another look at other configs tonight.

Thanks all for replies.

Cheers

D

invol
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Re: Is midi sync from ableton to external HW really this bad

Post by invol » Wed May 16, 2012 6:47 am

Your system seems more than up to the task. Check the settings in the MOTU control panels too, not just in Live. Good luck!

dixie237
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Re: Is midi sync from ableton to external HW really this bad

Post by dixie237 » Wed May 16, 2012 8:21 am

Hi,
Yeah my setup is well spec'ed for running this stuff, and my computer is running sweetly at the mo.

As I said, I have just got back into external hardware after along spell of just softsynths, so this was my first attempt to sync up externally. I wasnt expecting the results I got, so it was a bit confusing. Also there is a lot of stuff online about Midi sync issues with Ableton so it didnt look good at first. My previous experience with working this way was with Cubase SL3. That ran perfectly.

It looks like I am sorting this out, so I am happy.

With respect to the Midi interface, I will delve into the clockworks software and try to understand that a little better, although the "factory reset" that I did seems to be working well.

Cheers
D

invol
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Re: Is midi sync from ableton to external HW really this bad

Post by invol » Thu May 17, 2012 4:59 am

dixie237 wrote:Hi,
Yeah my setup is well spec'ed for running this stuff, and my computer is running sweetly at the mo.

As I said, I have just got back into external hardware after along spell of just softsynths, so this was my first attempt to sync up externally. I wasnt expecting the results I got, so it was a bit confusing. Also there is a lot of stuff online about Midi sync issues with Ableton so it didnt look good at first. My previous experience with working this way was with Cubase SL3. That ran perfectly.

It looks like I am sorting this out, so I am happy.

With respect to the Midi interface, I will delve into the clockworks software and try to understand that a little better, although the "factory reset" that I did seems to be working well.

Cheers
D
Steinberg has been in the MIDI business since 1984, and started as a MIDI only app, while Live started as audio only and didn't add MIDI until version 4 in 2004. That said, for basic stuff Live is fine. (Logic is still best for working with a lot of hardware IMHO). I used to have a lot of hardware synths and such, but now only have a Waldorf Pulse, and use soft synths for everything else, so Live more than suits my needs. For working with a lot of hardware it is a bit challenging, but totally doable if you take the time and configure everything efficiently.

Are all of your devices on their own MIDI ports? I would also make sure they all have unique device IDs and are on different MIDI channels when possible to help trouble shoot. Song Mode, Pattern Mode, etc are often an issue, as is making sure that the int/ext clock settings are right on all the hardware.

Cheers,
Brian

dixie237
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Re: Is midi sync from ableton to external HW really this bad

Post by dixie237 » Thu May 17, 2012 7:06 am

Hey Brian,
Thanks again for reply.
Just to wrap this up (for now)and to hopefully help anyone else who might read, last night I set up again. Again All ports off. Each synth going into Midi interface has its own port. So all ports off (in and out). I think I made a mistake yesterday when I said I didnt need a live midi channel to trigger the x0x, as last night I did. The x0x didnt work on transport alone. So i turned on the track and sync output to the x0x. pressed play on Ableton transport and again fine. Correct tempo, good timing. I the turned track on for the Proteus and played some notes...fine, turned sync on for the proteus (so now 2 active) and the tempo on the x0x doubled.
I hope I am right in assuming I should be able to have multiple sync outputs on for multiple external devices.
My conclusion is (for now) that I need to work on the midi interface settings and get into the clockworks software (which doesnt look that user friendly).
There are routings settings in clockworks that looks as though it could be sending clock received on any port to all other ports. Although the proteus wasnt triggering arps when the sync was off, based on the sync being on for the x0x.
Will again dig into clockworks. Any feedback from Motu midi XT Express users much appr.

Will post on Motu-nation forum also.

Cheers

D

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