I give up, Ableton, I really do. PDC/timing/hardware issues,

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
koranek
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Re: I give up, Ableton, I really do. PDC/timing/hardware issues,

Post by koranek » Fri Nov 09, 2012 7:53 pm

The way I understand it is that PDC tries to compensate for the fact that every plugin has some processing delay. No plugin can generate a wave form, or process a wave signal when acting as an effect, in zero seconds. There are no infinitely fast plugins. If they did, everything would always be in perfect timing. And each individual plugin has it's own unique processing delay. And to make it worse, it's not always constant over time.

PDC is a way of establishing just how slow or fast a plugin is, and then moving everything around so that it lines up, as well as possible, in the end.

In this case, I think direct monitoring will always be off compared to the software. To be fair, PDC itself is kind of flawed because I don't think the processing delay always stays fixed for a plugin. And don't forget, even if you are using external hardware, and assume that the hardware itself does not have a processing delay, as soon as you factor MIDI in, all kinds of other little slips happen.
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Tone Deft
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Re: I give up, Ableton, I really do. PDC/timing/hardware issues,

Post by Tone Deft » Fri Nov 09, 2012 7:58 pm

your post doesn't mention automation, you're close but need to read up on this.
oddstep wrote:I agree with all of this. I'm just bored of writing "its music, just listen and trust your judgement"

morerecords
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Re: I give up, Ableton, I really do. PDC/timing/hardware issues,

Post by morerecords » Fri Nov 09, 2012 8:05 pm

So, Nobody, huh?

peace...

aizo
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Re: I give up, Ableton, I really do. PDC/timing/hardware issues,

Post by aizo » Fri Nov 09, 2012 8:34 pm

well for external instruments, why not get one of these?

http://www.innerclocksystems.com/New%20 ... 0MKII.html
ImageImage

Tone Deft
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Re: I give up, Ableton, I really do. PDC/timing/hardware issues,

Post by Tone Deft » Fri Nov 09, 2012 8:52 pm

sorry I retract my earlier comment.

what settings are you using? I've only done two synths at once and have had good LUCK.

seems like Live 7 was happier days for you, perhaps you can get a refund. the word 'rewrite' has been used a lot with Live 9 but you've been optimistic long enough.
oddstep wrote:I agree with all of this. I'm just bored of writing "its music, just listen and trust your judgement"

rtcardinal
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Re: I give up, Ableton, I really do. PDC/timing/hardware issues,

Post by rtcardinal » Fri Nov 09, 2012 9:25 pm

Yes, the other thread deals mainly with delay compensating lives automation when plugins with latency are chained/added to the session.

Morerecords:
This is a similar issue, but not same as the other thread. It seems like the midi you are sending your external synths is NOT delay compensated related to the latency that the plugins cause. It seems that midi, automation, display and video are not properly compensated in Live when adding plugins which cause latency. Therefore your direct monitored stuff will come in early. I can get a sense of your frustration, as that would be pretty chaotic to say the least when compound it with any sloppy midi timing (par for the course, except when using innerclocksystems stuff for clocking external midi clocks). I've pretty much given up on sequencing lots of hardware, personally (that's another story) - It's a constant battle to keep things in sync pretty much anyway you do it. The best timing I've ever gotten when it comes to sending notes to external gear is with expert sleepers 'Silent Way' and an analog modular synth. No midi what-so-ever (other than internal ableton midi). Obviously, that doesn't solve any of your problems, though! I think the only thing you could would be to calculate the exact amount of latency that is being caused by your plugins in ableton, and then delay the midi being sent to your synths by that much. Of course, this a moving target, and you'll have to do this every time your overall latency changes. Good luck... I'd personally hate that.
Hopefully the Abes can solve delay compensation problems with Automation, Midi, and Display. It affects everyone to a varying degree, if they care about it or not.

DIgiDennis
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Re: I give up, Ableton, I really do. PDC/timing/hardware issues,

Post by DIgiDennis » Fri Nov 09, 2012 10:04 pm

morerecords wrote:So, Nobody, huh?

peace...
Ok I see now that you are not interested in a solution to what ever problem you think you have with the software.

Just for the sake of others with similar issues, Live works really well with external synths, I sequence many with success by using the External Instrument.
Simple process really, monitor trough Ableton _will_ align your audio to midi, no need to fiddle with the track delay. I do delay midi clock in the midi preferences though.
Freeze track works as you expect and you can even 'flatten' the frozen track to audio.

why do you bring PDC into this? it's not even remotely relevant esp. when you insist on direct monitoring through your interface...weird?

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Re: I give up, Ableton, I really do. PDC/timing/hardware issues,

Post by Tone Deft » Fri Nov 09, 2012 10:12 pm

the guy's frustrated and I think put out a well worded plea for sanity.

some people have success with this, some don't. we all use Live differently and bring up different use cases. I've seen some very patient, very polite, very skilled Live users post about total clusterfucks with Live.

Ableton "Hey, here's Live 9!!!!"
users "so, PDC. it's pretty important right?"

bad timing. :wink:
oddstep wrote:I agree with all of this. I'm just bored of writing "its music, just listen and trust your judgement"

H20nly
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Re: I give up, Ableton, I really do. PDC/timing/hardware issues,

Post by H20nly » Fri Nov 09, 2012 10:20 pm

if only the timing was more like this

Image

DIgiDennis
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Re: I give up, Ableton, I really do. PDC/timing/hardware issues,

Post by DIgiDennis » Fri Nov 09, 2012 10:28 pm

the guy's frustrated and I think put out a well worded plea for sanity.
I would get frustrated too, if I tried to direct Monitor external gear and expect it to be in sync with plugins.

The delay is different for each synth, even midi interface, its even worse if you daisy chain your gear.
All this is unknown to the Application so you have to manually delay each midi track and most likely by different amounts.

That's why the only sensible thing to do is measure the delay on the incoming audio and then align it. Live does this really well and automagically just for you ( and me )

H20nly
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Re: I give up, Ableton, I really do. PDC/timing/hardware issues,

Post by H20nly » Fri Nov 09, 2012 10:31 pm

^ sounds like the kind of thing you would want to do once and then save as your template set.

if only...

massenmedium
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Re: I give up, Ableton, I really do. PDC/timing/hardware issues,

Post by massenmedium » Fri Nov 09, 2012 11:11 pm

DIgiDennis wrote:
the guy's frustrated and I think put out a well worded plea for sanity.
I would get frustrated too, if I tried to direct Monitor external gear and expect it to be in sync with plugins.

The delay is different for each synth, even midi interface, its even worse if you daisy chain your gear.
All this is unknown to the Application so you have to manually delay each midi track and most likely by different amounts.

That's why the only sensible thing to do is measure the delay on the incoming audio and then align it. Live does this really well and automagically just for you ( and me )
Absolutely. Not to mention that when timings change in the software it would have no way of adjusting the direct monitored signal.

But (just to reiterate I guess) -

First it's worth checking to see if you need to set some Driver Error Compensation. Even with good cards and drivers this is sometimes necessary.

Then set up External Instruments with the correct Hardware Latency settings.

Finally you'll most likely have to set some MIDI Clock Sync Delay in preferences.

Once all that's in place the software is in a position to do its best to get everything lined up.

massenmedium
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Re: I give up, Ableton, I really do. PDC/timing/hardware issues,

Post by massenmedium » Fri Nov 09, 2012 11:14 pm

rtcardinal wrote:I think the only thing you could would be to calculate the exact amount of latency that is being caused by your plugins in ableton, and then delay the midi being sent to your synths by that much. Of course, this a moving target, and you'll have to do this every time your overall latency changes.
And that's exactly what the External Instrument plug will solve for you.

Akshara
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Re: I give up, Ableton, I really do. PDC/timing/hardware issues,

Post by Akshara » Fri Nov 09, 2012 11:59 pm

Okay, I almost deleted this. But I'm going to post it anyway, because what the hell. Grab the popcorn.
H20nly wrote:did you read the whole thread or just part of it? the last few pages or so everyone seems to be getting along just fine... scroll down to the post from theophilus. can't miss it, it's a giant screen shot. he posted some really good test results and others are starting to identify specific reasons in their chains for PDC errors - not just "this doesn't work grrrrowl growl"... like... some people.
While the research in that thread is interesting from a research perspective, it is testing very straightforward and purely theoretical scenarios which are relatively easy to work around, yet doesn't address the advanced real world scenarios that one would encounter in practical applications on complex projects. And in my opinion, is actually adding more confusion for those who don't really get the full scope of the issue, and is unintentionally downplaying the complexity of the problem.
H20nly wrote:anyway, this thread has you looking a little schizophrenic at the moment... are you telling us how it should be, taking jabs at the forum, here to tell us if we're using Live right or wrong, looking for help, or just posting to say good bye?
Whatever his reasons, I imagine you'll give him a good shellacking for asking.

I get where he's coming from and completely understand his exasperation. It is incredibly frustrating when you have been troubleshooting a complicated problem and are at your wit's end, and come here to ask for help, and those who don't really understand the problem offer up solutions that either have been tried already or simply aren't relevant, or jump on your case for not using the software properly.

Maybe give the guy the benefit of the doubt as a professional instead? Ever call your ISP or OS tech support for an advanced issue and have them talk you through steps like unplug your modem and restart your computer, like you're an idiot who doesn't know what you're doing? It's kind of like that around here at times.
Machinesworking wrote:Seems to me DigiDennis posted a working method here…. Personally I've never direct monitored my hardware synths, I would try a different method.
Man, some of you guys...

I can think of a handful of reasons one would prefer a direct monitoring situation, all of them desirable in a professional studio. One of the studio's I worked in had every input across a person-tall rack of interfaces direct monitored by default, for use with a digital console and with outboard patch bay routing, and could not be changed on a whim, and we still had to maintain sync between two DAW systems, several ADATs and a rack of outboard midi hardware and keyboards anyway. If I suggested that we monitor through the software instead, or that we set up a template with every piece of outboard gear as an External Instrument in Live, I'd probably be laughed at before being told we weren't doing it and to find a solution anyway or to hit the door.

DigiDennis' method isn't a working method for the situation being asked about. With respect, Machinesworking, you post that you've never direct monitored your hardware synths, yet give the guy grief for dismissing an irrelevant suggestion, and then offer advice anyway… and that advice is to not direct monitor hardware synths.

I can see why he'd be exasperated.

vinz89's suggestion demonstrated a genuine understanding of the problem.
morerecords wrote:Can anyone out there tell me how they sequence multiple hardware synths?

Can somebody please explain to me how they are effectively sequencing multiple synths while also using loops and plug ins that exist within Ableton?
I've tried several scenarios: running Live as a dedicated midi sequencer slaved to a second master audio recording system; or running Live as a sampler/looper instrument in tandem with the hardware instruments, slaved to a second master sequencer/recorder; or with Live being the master sequencer and recorder, and manually sliding midi notes late while using delay offsets to sync everything up, similar to what rtcardinal and vinz89 have suggested; or committing parts to audio as soon as possible, then scooting them in place to line up with everything else - which is hit and miss when the audio and automation are out of time with the visible grid - and inserting blank audio at the start of each track and then consolidating printed clips into single files that span the project length so that they maintain internal timing integrity and are easy to drag around if/when things drift out further as the project progresses.

You mentioned Logic earlier. Bottom line is that Live does not offer a Latency Toolbox like Logic does, and is not designed well for complicated external hardware setups. Live is just not precise when it comes to timing. Its whole thing is about manipulating audio and time in the most flexible way imaginable - while at the expense of precision. Heck, MacProVideo has a six hour tutorial on how to manage latency and timing in Logic to a sample accurate level. Ableton hardly even acknowledges that there's a timing problem, and had to change the Live 8 manual due to public outcry over it.

One can make it work of course, but it takes a lot of management. In my opinion, it is much easier to manage when Live is treated like an instrument alongside your hardware, and when there is either another instance of Live or a different DAW on a different system altogether for recording the audio from everything to one central location. That's what I would consider looking into in your case.
rtcardinal wrote:It seems that midi, automation, display and video are not properly compensated in Live when adding plugins which cause latency. Therefore your direct monitored stuff will come in early. I can get a sense of your frustration, as that would be pretty chaotic to say the least when compound it with any sloppy midi timing (par for the course, except when using innerclocksystems stuff for clocking external midi clocks). I've pretty much given up on sequencing lots of hardware, personally (that's another story) - It's a constant battle to keep things in sync pretty much anyway you do it...

I think the only thing you could would be to calculate the exact amount of latency that is being caused by your plugins in ableton, and then delay the midi being sent to your synths by that much. Of course, this a moving target, and you'll have to do this every time your overall latency changes. Good luck... I'd personally hate that.
Finally, someone who genuinely recognizes the scope of the problem and offers a thoughtful word. Once midi, automation, tempo based effects and the GUI get out of sync internally within the application - then what exactly is the point? Keeping databases of latencies and timing dependencies, printing to audio at nearly every stage, manually scooting clips, midi events and automation nodes, while aligning them to a visual grid that is audibly out of sync... I personally do hate it.

Which is why I have stopped using Live for work that requires precision midi timing and automation, and only use it for audio loops, sketching ideas and live performance.

morerecords... I think that you likely know all of this well enough already, and what the solution is.
DIgiDennis wrote:
morerecords wrote:So, Nobody, huh?

peace...
Ok I see now that you are not interested in a solution to what ever problem you think you have with the software.
And then here's yet another person who doesn't recognize it, because it hasn't happened to them. So it must not be real. That never gets old.
DIgiDennis wrote:why do you bring PDC into this? it's not even remotely relevant esp. when you insist on direct monitoring through your interface...weird?
Because... he's already got a system which works just fine with direct monitoring, and has for years, and he knows how to compensate for traditional audio and midi latencies and that isn't the problem; and he wouldn't be having a problem at all using a more traditional DAW, such as Logic, Studio One, ProTools, Digital Performer, Sonar, or <insert your DAW here>, or according to him, even earlier versions of Live. Yet Live 8's internal PDC is broken, and moves all kinds of shit around in bat shit crazy ways... and there have been several dozen threads over the last several years, across several forum communities, with several dozen explanations, theories and well meaning tests to the point that this horse is freaking dead.

If Live is internally out of sync with itself, then it doesn't matter how precise your external latency compensation routine is, or whether you use External Instrument or not. Things will still sound out of sync.

I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt of being a professional, of course. And that he knows what he's doing, and is referencing this to the PDC issue because it is affecting him on practical level. But if you want to insult him and treat him like a 101 amateur who needs to learn how to connect his audio interface, then go right ahead.
Tone Deft wrote:the word 'rewrite' has been used a lot with Live 9 but you've been optimistic long enough.
This is good advice. Live could still be be a great instrument in your arsenal, morerecords. Kind of like a sampler on steroids. But maybe it's just not the right DAW for the heart of your system, at least not anymore.

Good luck with it, wish there was a simple fix; and sorry I kind of lost it on your thread. Needed to be said, if only for myself.

H20nly
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Re: I give up, Ableton, I really do. PDC/timing/hardware issues,

Post by H20nly » Sat Nov 10, 2012 12:42 am

Akshara wrote:
H20nly wrote:did you read the whole thread or just part of it? the last few pages or so everyone seems to be getting along just fine... scroll down to the post from theophilus. can't miss it, it's a giant screen shot. he posted some really good test results and others are starting to identify specific reasons in their chains for PDC errors - not just "this doesn't work grrrrowl growl"... like... some people.
While the research in that thread is interesting from a research perspective, it is testing very straightforward and purely theoretical scenarios which are relatively easy to work around, yet doesn't address the advanced real world scenarios that one would encounter in practical applications on complex projects. And in my opinion, is actually adding more confusion for those who don't really get the full scope of the issue, and is unintentionally downplaying the complexity of the problem.
i wasn't going to reply to this because it's become obvious that at some point somewhere i have offended you... pushing that aside, and for the benefit of all involved... my point with the post you quoted above was twofold;

firstly, to say that the mentioned PDC thread was all shenanigans is to take away from the efforts made by some to not only understand the problem themselves, but to help others understand it as well. having said that, i will add this... the sense of community went from shit to shine near the end of that thread and many people spent much of their time looking at this objectively. in doing so, hopefully Ableton can find some meaning and/or inspiration in that. you are right, and so is morerecords, that bickering about it is not the way to a solution. it could be argued however, that being objective is.

secondly, the questions i asked were not plucked out of the sky. the OP implied he is looking for answers but had a lot to say and/or imply about the only people trying to provide any. i realize that the answers were not going to solve the problem he is having... but if this horse has been beat to death then what does one hope to accomplish by beating it some more?

it seems that answer is also twofold:
A. complain for the sake of complaining
B. draw/keep Ableton's attention upon the matter in a constructive way

in regard to A. - you get what you get with that approach.
in regard to B. - see my first point regarding being objective...


good luck with your plugins.

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