Recording audio tracks from MIDI tracks

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Robert Spectral
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Joined: Sat Jan 28, 2017 8:19 am

Recording audio tracks from MIDI tracks

Post by Robert Spectral » Sat Sep 08, 2018 7:45 pm

I've been struggling with understanding latency in Ableton Live 10 when recording MIDI tracks to audio tracks. I need to understand this for internal Live instruments, VST plug-ins, and external MIDI devices, such as drum machines and synthesizers.

If I record "Audio From" the "Master" track when playing back MIDI, there is always a 60-80ms latency introduced into the recording (see Figure 1 and Figure 2).

Figure 1

Figure 2

As you can see in the two figures, although the MIDI note is on the 1.2, the recorded audio is late, and this audio cannot be used without being edited. The MIDI instrument used in this example could really be anything, but in this case it's the zero latency Operator preset 5th Stab Lead.

I spent a long time reading the Ableton documentation trying to understand what was causing this and how to correct for it. However, nothing suggested was at all effective. Finally, I tried changing the "Audio From" to the MIDI track directly, and suddenly the recording was nearly perfect, accurate to better than 1ms (see Figure 3).

Figure 3

Here is the external link for the Figures on Imgur incase they are not showing up:

I'm interested to know why recording "Audio From" the "Master" track is introducing this unwanted latency. As the example demonstrates, there is no actual inherent latency. The only difference between the unusable first recording and the accurate second recording was the drop down selection for "Audio From". If this latency in the audio from Master is by design, then I have to say, it's an unwelcome design. Hopefully, I'm just overlooking something and there is a way to record audio from master without artificial latency.


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Re: Recording audio tracks from MIDI tracks

Post by mikb » Sat Sep 08, 2018 8:46 pm

This doesn't happen here. If you have anything on any track that is adding latency and you don't have Delay Compensation active, this could happen I suppose.

However, I just tried this with a serious latency plug-in on another track and Delay Compensation inactive and couldn't reproduce what you describe. The recording was right on the beat.

Only when I put this plug-in on the same track going to the master AND delay compensation was disabled the audio was late. Investigate your track for delay factors.
Basic gear info: Macbook Pro with macOS 10.12, Ableton Live Suite version 9 (64bit) with Ozone, Push and APC20 as controllers.

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Re: Recording audio tracks from MIDI tracks

Post by pottering » Sat Sep 08, 2018 10:20 pm

mikb wrote:With any Delay Compensation setting, if there is no track delay or plugin latency delay, then Audio From Master doesn't INTRODUCE latency, you have something there you forgot to tell us about (track delay or a plugin).
Even with any Delay Compensation settings, if there is no track delay dialed-in or no plugin latency delay ("5th Stab Lead" doesn't have any), then it shouldn't have any latency to be compensated or not. Audio From Master doesn't INTRODUCE latency. OP forgot to tell something.

Now, IF there is a plugin adding latency somewhere, or the track has non-zero Track Delay:

The Master Track's output is the final step of the DAW's signal flow, hence it logically has to be located after any delay compensation is applied, so it will have any plugin or track latency (latency can't be eliminated, only compensated), so recording from the Master is similar to recording external input from another DAW that had X latency.

If you want to record the Master with Delay Compensation then use "Resampling" in "Audio From", which is basically routed from the Master Track, but treated as another track instead of the final output.

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