Mod wheel "quantized" with external synth

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
FunkinGonuts
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Oct 19, 2017 7:47 pm

Re: Mod wheel "quantized" with external synth

Post by FunkinGonuts » Wed Sep 05, 2018 9:55 pm

Wow!!! I never thought I'd find another person who reported this problem! I have been experiencing this issue ever since I started buying hardware synths about 2 years ago. I started in Live 9 and upgraded to 10 and it's always been there. I reported this to Ableton in early 2018 and they confirmed to me it was a bug, so I must be that one other person!

This has been such a frustrating problem because I have tested hardware synths in Reaper and the pitch bends and mod wheel changes are always super smooth, even with a buffer size of 32 samples.

It's amazing to me that they haven't fixed this.

Here is my conversation with Ableton support:

----
January 05, 2018 01:55

Hardware synths do not receive pitch bend or mod wheel data smoothly

I previously contacted support for this issue and then it seemed to go away on its own for a short time, but it came back. It comes and goes, and I have no idea why.

When I send pitch bend or mod wheel messages to my hardware synths they do not respond smoothly. This is both when I use the pitch bend and mod wheel on my midi keyboard, and when I use automation envelopes within Ableton. For example, if I use the pitch wheel on my midi keyboard, the played note does not bend smoothly, but will suddenly jump up a whole step once the pitch wheel is all the way up. Then when I move the wheel back down to the center position, the note will suddenly jump back down. The mod wheel has similar behavior. I have tested using a 5 pin midi cable from my 18i8 to each synth instead of a USB cable, and that didn't change anything.

I have discovered that when I use Reaper, this issue does not occur. I only have this problem when using Ableton. I have attached 2 videos. One Reaper session, and one Ableton session. In each session, I have a midi clip looping a sustained note and pitch bend automation going up and down. You will see that Reaper sends the data very smoothly. But the Ableton video shows that the synth is not receiving pitch bend data until about 45 seconds into the video when there are sudden jumps up and down.

I really prefer to use Ableton as I love the workflow. I even upgraded to Suite for the Live 10 upgrade. But this issue has really been troubling me.

Please let me know if you can help. Thanks.


January 08, 2018 12:02

Hi Ryan,

Thanks for getting in touch with Ableton support. I'm sorry to hear that you've experienced this issue.

This is a known issue when working on Windows in low buffer sizes. If you raise the buffer size to 256 or higher, then the issue should not occur.
We have an open bug report about this, as yet it's not been solved however. If there's an update on it in the future, you'll be notified though!

Sorry for any inconvenience caused!

Cheers
Brendan
Ableton Technical Support

Angstrom
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Re: Mod wheel "quantized" with external synth

Post by Angstrom » Thu Sep 06, 2018 12:47 am

Yeah. I've noticed this one. It's not lovely.

I thought I was going crazy and checked against StudioOne, which handled the pitchbends perfectly (to my hardware synths). But Live really fumbles it. Hard.

I did a bunch of tests (assuming something was wrong with my interface), but everything pointed back to Live. So I made a load of example graphics, put somthing on the centercode beta board etc.

Its a very weird bug and I have no idea why other DAWs on windows dont exhibit it and Life does.

FunkinGonuts
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Oct 19, 2017 7:47 pm

Re: Mod wheel "quantized" with external synth

Post by FunkinGonuts » Thu Sep 06, 2018 2:03 am

Yeah, it's definitely something wrong with Live.

I went through the same thing thinking "maybe it's my audio interface" or "maybe my CPU isn't working properly" but I always circle back around to "well why does it work just fine in Reaper?"

As for now, the workaround for me is to set my buffer size to 512 samples, which gives me about 42 ms of latency (which is unplayable), so I arm and mute the track in Live and turn on direct monitoring for the channel/s on my audio interface that the hardware synth is going into.

Hopefully, Ableton gives this more attention soon.

mikb
Posts: 373
Joined: Sat Jan 08, 2011 9:53 pm

Re: Mod wheel "quantized" with external synth

Post by mikb » Thu Sep 06, 2018 10:07 am

FunkinGonuts wrote: As for now, the workaround for me is to set my buffer size to 512 samples, which gives me about 42 ms of latency (which is unplayable)
Roundtrip latency? Are you using ASIO with a dedicated audio interface? I don't think my latency is that high even with native audio in my MacBook Pro.

Another question, is this problem intermittent with the same instrument and those low audio buffer settings, or does it occur always? Does it vary with instrument?
Basic gear info: Macbook Pro with macOS 10.12, Ableton Live Suite version 9 (64bit) with Ozone, Push and APC20 as controllers.

mikb
Posts: 373
Joined: Sat Jan 08, 2011 9:53 pm

Re: Mod wheel "quantized" with external synth

Post by mikb » Thu Sep 06, 2018 10:48 am

Angstrom wrote:
I did a bunch of tests (assuming something was wrong with my interface), but everything pointed back to Live. So I made a load of example graphics, put somthing on the centercode beta board etc.

Its a very weird bug and I have no idea why other DAWs on windows dont exhibit it and Life does.
In your tests, did you find whether Live is affecting the MIDI going out? Or does the issue seem to somehow happen in interplay with the MIDI in the Windows OS and some events are dropped at that stage? Because the problem must be that events are dropped, mustn't it? At regular intervals possibly. Maybe some events are malformed and therefore ignored?

I don't use a PC at the moment, but was planning for this. I think I'd need this to work for all external instruments I use.
Basic gear info: Macbook Pro with macOS 10.12, Ableton Live Suite version 9 (64bit) with Ozone, Push and APC20 as controllers.

FunkinGonuts
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Oct 19, 2017 7:47 pm

Re: Mod wheel "quantized" with external synth

Post by FunkinGonuts » Thu Sep 06, 2018 11:59 am

mikb wrote:
FunkinGonuts wrote: As for now, the workaround for me is to set my buffer size to 512 samples, which gives me about 42 ms of latency (which is unplayable)
Roundtrip latency? Are you using ASIO with a dedicated audio interface? I don't think my latency is that high even with native audio in my MacBook Pro.

Another question, is this problem intermittent with the same instrument and those low audio buffer settings, or does it occur always? Does it vary with instrument?
Yes I am using a Scarlett 18i8 usb interface with the latest driver. I normally set my buffer size much lower (64 or 128) which gives me about 7 ms of latency, which is great. But the whole issue here is Live is unable to send a smooth pitch bend or mod wheel movement to ANY of my hardware synths unless my buffer size is increased to 512.

It’s not my interface, it’s not my hardware, or my computer. It’s Live, and they have acknowledged it. More people just need to report it so they will fix it.

Angstrom
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Re: Mod wheel "quantized" with external synth

Post by Angstrom » Thu Sep 06, 2018 2:18 pm

mikb wrote:
Angstrom wrote:
I did a bunch of tests (assuming something was wrong with my interface), but everything pointed back to Live. So I made a load of example graphics, put somthing on the centercode beta board etc.

Its a very weird bug and I have no idea why other DAWs on windows dont exhibit it and Life does.
In your tests, did you find whether Live is affecting the MIDI going out? Or does the issue seem to somehow happen in interplay with the MIDI in the Windows OS and some events are dropped at that stage? Because the problem must be that events are dropped, mustn't it? At regular intervals possibly. Maybe some events are malformed and therefore ignored?

I don't use a PC at the moment, but was planning for this. I think I'd need this to work for all external instruments I use.
I found that the issue also arose if I sent midi via a virtual midi pipe. I noticed the issue was especially prevalent with gui drawn ramps (two dots with a single line between) and I noticed that if I entered the pitchbend via pitchwheel the additional events created helped to create more data.

So its not a data thinning issue. Just in case anyone thinks that. Because a gui drawn ramp produces worse outcomes than the usual envelope stairs do. Additionally, its evident when sending to a virtual midi port. Eas seen in my Test 3 below.

Im busy packing for a gig at the mo so I'll paste my test 3 from centercode


TEST 3: I just sent pitch bend / CC mod wheel to Reaktor 6 standalone.exe via a midi pipe.
The manually recorded pitchbend and CC mod wheel sounds More normal, but the gui drawn ramped parameter sounds steppy. So, the gui drawn ramp makes pitchbends, steppy filter on the mod-wheel (via drawn ramps). Everything is OK if I twist a physical control and record in many steps. These seem to retrigger the bend polling process.

it's like there's a polling issue on the ramps for all CCs sent out of external ports. Like the midi output thinning is extremely high.
I don't notice it that often because most of the time I work in the box, and if I'm recording CC's they are recorded from a hardware knob-box and so are not ramps. They have a lot of points. These work better.

Thinning relates to recorded automation, not drawn automation, so it's cannot be that. (Also I don't have thinning set, but more importantly - its not that)

https://ableton.centercode.com/project/ ... 6525DE324E}

mikb
Posts: 373
Joined: Sat Jan 08, 2011 9:53 pm

Re: Mod wheel "quantized" with external synth

Post by mikb » Thu Sep 06, 2018 3:16 pm

Angstrom wrote:
MikB wrote:
Angstrom wrote: Its a very weird bug and I have no idea why other DAWs on windows dont exhibit it and Life does.
In your tests, did you find whether Live is affecting the MIDI going out? Or does the issue seem to somehow happen in interplay with the MIDI in the Windows OS and some events are dropped at that stage? Because the problem must be that events are dropped, mustn't it? At regular intervals possibly. Maybe some events are malformed and therefore ignored?

I don't use a PC at the moment, but was planning for this. I think I'd need this to work for all external instruments I use.
I found that the issue also arose if I sent midi via a virtual midi pipe. I noticed the issue was especially prevalent with gui drawn ramps (two dots with a single line between) and I noticed that if I entered the pitchbend via pitchwheel the additional events created helped to create more data.

So its not a data thinning issue. Just in case anyone thinks that. Because a gui drawn ramp produces worse outcomes than the usual envelope stairs do. Additionally, its evident when sending to a virtual midi port. Eas seen in my Test 3 below.

Im busy packing for a gig at the mo so I'll paste my test 3 from centercode


TEST 3: I just sent pitch bend / CC mod wheel to Reaktor 6 standalone.exe via a midi pipe.
The manually recorded pitchbend and CC mod wheel sounds More normal, but the gui drawn ramped parameter sounds steppy. So, the gui drawn ramp makes pitchbends, steppy filter on the mod-wheel (via drawn ramps). Everything is OK if I twist a physical control and record in many steps. These seem to retrigger the bend polling process.

it's like there's a polling issue on the ramps for all CCs sent out of external ports. Like the midi output thinning is extremely high.
I don't notice it that often because most of the time I work in the box, and if I'm recording CC's they are recorded from a hardware knob-box and so are not ramps. They have a lot of points. These work better.

Thinning relates to recorded automation, not drawn automation, so it's cannot be that. (Also I don't have thinning set, but more importantly - its not that)
Does indeed look like a tricky issue. Thanks for sharing the link.
Basic gear info: Macbook Pro with macOS 10.12, Ableton Live Suite version 9 (64bit) with Ozone, Push and APC20 as controllers.

FunkinGonuts
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Oct 19, 2017 7:47 pm

Re: Mod wheel "quantized" with external synth

Post by FunkinGonuts » Thu Sep 06, 2018 3:53 pm

mikb wrote:
FunkinGonuts wrote: As for now, the workaround for me is to set my buffer size to 512 samples, which gives me about 42 ms of latency (which is unplayable)
Another question, is this problem intermittent with the same instrument and those low audio buffer settings, or does it occur always? Does it vary with instrument?
Sorry I didn’t answer your second question, I was on the train. The problem is always there, no matter what synth I’m using.

All of my synths below equally suffer from this problem:
Roland JP-08
Roland JX-03
Korg Volca Bass
Korg Volca FM
Arturia Microbrute

ronh73
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun May 03, 2015 10:13 am

Re: Mod wheel "quantized" with external synth

Post by ronh73 » Sat Mar 09, 2019 5:57 pm

I have the same problem and I hope Ableton will fix this issue in their 10.1 release.

ronh73
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun May 03, 2015 10:13 am

Re: Mod wheel "quantized" with external synth

Post by ronh73 » Sat Mar 09, 2019 6:10 pm

Here is a picture of the difference between a pitch bend from a midi controller (left, 2 times) and a pitch bend from Ableton Push 2 (right).

https://goo.gl/qpjqDW

trvst
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Apr 25, 2019 6:20 pm

Re: Mod wheel "quantized" with external synth

Post by trvst » Thu Apr 25, 2019 6:22 pm

YES... I have been having this problem since I got my Moog Subphatty. I assumed it as the Moog, then I got a Behringer Model D and noticed the same problem. SO furstrating. At least it's good (?) to know it's a known bug. A bug I'd very much like to see resolved!

FunkinGonuts
Posts: 9
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Re: Mod wheel "quantized" with external synth

Post by FunkinGonuts » Fri Jul 12, 2019 2:39 am

Hey Ableton, can you please fix this already? What's the deal?

[jur]
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Re: Mod wheel "quantized" with external synth

Post by [jur] » Fri Jul 12, 2019 3:59 am

If everyone here report this to support@ableton.com this might push the issue towards the top list of to-do fixes, just saying' (between you and me) :wink:
Ableton Forum Moderator

FunkinGonuts
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Joined: Thu Oct 19, 2017 7:47 pm

Re: Mod wheel "quantized" with external synth

Post by FunkinGonuts » Fri Jul 12, 2019 12:25 pm

Yup I’ve reported it in the past. You’ll see previous posts from me in this thread. Still waiting for some kind of update on when/if they plan to fix it.

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