Sync Latency Compensation DISASTER

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professorcobra
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Mar 25, 2020 10:02 pm

Sync Latency Compensation DISASTER

Post by professorcobra » Wed Mar 25, 2020 10:29 pm

Hello dear and fellow Ableton producers and musicians,

unfortunately i really have to put emphasis on (in my view) the biggest and most embarassing flaw and actually straight up "no-go" in the ableton software today...

The non existance of the to-host-sync latency compensation.

Meaning, whenever i have a plugin or effect in my chain that introduces latency the audio is compensated but the clock timing of that track is NOT,
meaning for example plugins used for sidechain or re-envolping such as VolumeShaper, LFOTool you name it... are always out of sync - if a previous plugin introduced latency - aswell as Delays, Reverbs, Glitch Plugins: everyhing else that tried to sync to the DAW is also affected by this latency.

This is just not acceptable. Sure, a lot of you will argue that you can put effects such as sync automated sidechain in front of the latency inducing plugins, but sometimes this is not possible. Especially for plugins such as delays, glitch effects and stuff which are mostly used towards the end of a chain - this is a disaster.

So Delays, Pre-Delays from Reverbs, Note based Gates, all this stuff is out of sync if you not ONLY work with zero-latency plugins in that chain.

It comes even worse, when it comes to finding a work around for sidechaining, one can think: "Yeah but since Ableton 10 we have this max4live device called Shaper"

Well guess what: It is beyond me how this could pass through quality control but shaper is always not in timing. It is always delayed.
Try testing it out: Draw for example a square wave shape, where the first half of the legth (lets say a quarter note) is the value totally zero, and for the second half the value is 100% percent and then let it modulate the gain of a utility or the volume fader of the track etc. then resample/bounce/freeze-flatten it.
It is always off! In this example the shaper always lets something through after the beginning, which should be duked.
I know this is a different topic, but i will write a post about that aswell.

Coming back to the topic, so there is NOT even a workaround in regards to sidechaining.
Sorry but how poor is that. That is so over the top unprofesional.

And as a cherry on top, i know for this problem is even a bug report thread in an insider forum FOR YEARS.
And nothing is happening.

So for one last time, Ableton fix this.

Note:
I know this is an issue that an OVERWHELMING amount of ableton users doesn't even know about.
It is horryfing finding out that all those years in so many projects, stuff has been out of sync and you felt something was not right, but you could just not point your finger on it.
Utter disappointment in ableton!

Juli310
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Mar 24, 2020 1:00 pm

Re: Sync Latency Compensation DISASTER

Post by Juli310 » Wed Mar 25, 2020 11:59 pm

Thank god somebody else is mentioning this. It's driving me crazy for years now.

For everyone not familiar with this topic, here's a simplified summary:

You create a simple audio track that you want to sidechain to the kick. Now you take a plugin like LFOTool and set the sidechain so it fits in with your kick. So far so good.
Now imagine: Before you sidechain, you load a plugin on the audio track that introduces latency. This is where things get messy. While Live compensates for the audio latency, it does NOT compensate for the channels sync timing.
You might wonder now why this even matters?
Well, here's the problem: Your sidechain won't be on time and always be a little bit delayed due to the faulty latency compensation.
The consequences: LFOTool ducks too late and the audio which should actually be sidechained laps over the transient of your kick drum. This nullifies the actual purpose why you put the sidechain on the channel in the first place.
To make matters worse, this becomes more and more severe with every latency introducing plugin on the channel.

This not only affects sidechaining. As stated above, delays, reverbs and various effect plugins that use syncing to host BPM are also affected by this.
All of this results in an inability to make fine adjustments in your productions.

It boggles me how an error like this can still be existent in the world's #1 DAW. While it seems like a minor issue on first sight, this is a tremendous error in the program. Imagine producing in a 150 channel project and not a single track is actually in sync with the song. This is just ridiculous.

Note that Live is the only major DAW to have this problem. On top of that, this issue is already known. Jauz once talked about it in a livestream and how it's been messing with his productions. When a big producer is publicly sharing a fault in the software he's using, you know something's up. Still, the devs don't even bother fixing it. This is borderline unprofessional.

People use this program to work and earn their money. They rely on it. Yet, there are FUNDAMENTAL issues with the program that don't get fixed for years despite being known.

Imagine Photoshop displaying every color slightly off. This would render any professional work done in the program unusable, since the results can't be relied on.

As stated in the thread's title, this truly is a disaster.

pottering
Posts: 1054
Joined: Sat Dec 06, 2014 4:41 am

Re: Sync Latency Compensation DISASTER

Post by pottering » Thu Mar 26, 2020 12:48 am

It is NOT plugins that sync to BPM.

That's completely FALSE.

Delays, reverbs, etc that sync to BPM will be properly compensated.

It is only plugins that sync to the TRANSPORT, plugins the read and use the current play marker position, which is different from just syncing to the BPM.

Those plugins are rare, and it is no accident it is always the same 2 plugins mentioned, LFOTool and Volumeshaper, because it is pretty much only those 2 plugins that have problems with Live's PDC.

(There are other plugins that sync to the transport, but most are INSTRUMENTS, and hence are not affected by plugin latency.)

pottering
Posts: 1054
Joined: Sat Dec 06, 2014 4:41 am

Re: Sync Latency Compensation DISASTER

Post by pottering » Thu Mar 26, 2020 12:58 am

Also it is false there is no workarounds for sidechain, every plugin like LFOTool/Volumeshaper has a Offset parameter or similar you can use to adjust the "phase" of your LFO to fit the out-of-sync audio.

That's what Offset is for, pretty much its only use.

professorcobra
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Mar 25, 2020 10:02 pm

Re: Sync Latency Compensation DISASTER

Post by professorcobra » Thu Mar 26, 2020 1:24 am

just fyi, this is what cableguys the developer of the afore mentioned "volumeshaper" plugin, which doesnt have an offset function
(which would be hard to use either way, because you would have to manually add up all the latencies from the plugins, ableton does not show total latency on a track) say to this topic:

This problem is not caused by Cableguys plugins, but is the result of a PDC (Plugin Delay Compensation) issue within Ableton Live. Our plugins are synced to the timing information provided by Live, and unfortunately Live does not correctly factor in PDC, so the timing information provided can be wrong. We discussed this with Ableton in 2011, and we encourage anyone affected by the issue to bug them about it.

and i want to friendly remind that this problem doesnt occur in Logic, Cubase, FL, you name it...

pottering
Posts: 1054
Joined: Sat Dec 06, 2014 4:41 am

Re: Sync Latency Compensation DISASTER

Post by pottering » Thu Mar 26, 2020 4:41 am

Offset is just one name for that function, it can have other names like "phase" or "adjust" or whatever the dev's imagination can come up with.

I own Volumeshaper, don't have it installed now, but I'm pretty sure you can easily slide the shape backwards/forwards in time in its GUI.

It is not that hard to adjust offset/phase, just use your ears. Sounds to me you didn't even tried it.

Live's PDC is not really broken, it works as designed, though it is bit hard to explain why, and why it actually makes sense for Live to work like that.

Main factor is that M4L Devices like Shaper and LFO can modulate (up to 10) parameters in separate MIDI effects, instruments and audio effects (including in other tracks), also track parameters like Track Pan and Track Gain, and a few project settings like BPM (well, maybe only BPM).

For a simple example: you can have a M4L LFO device modulating a parameter in a synth and another parameter in an audio FX (let's say Utility's Gain, much like Volumeshaper) in the same track.

If you add a 1000ms latency plugin in that track before LFO, how should Live compensate?

If it delays LFO 1000ms, the audio FX modulation will be in sync, but then the synth parameter modulation will get out of sync (1000ms late).

So it is basically impossible to delay the LFO in that scenario without problems.

(And that's a pretty simple scenario.)

Either Ableton would have to limit how flexible M4L devices are or let PDC break in a few scenarios.

Ableton chose to retain the flexible modulation, since only a few plugins in a specific scenario get out of sync, and that can be fixed by the user, while killing the flexible modulation system would remove that option forever for every Live user.

And now, when pretty much everyone knows about that PDC quirk, and the sites (and user communities) for plugins like LFOTool and Volumeshaper list the workarounds, and anyone can easily find those, it makes even less sense to remove nice functionality from ALL M4L devices, just to speed up a bit a specific process for a few people.

(Music is not a racing contest)

pottering
Posts: 1054
Joined: Sat Dec 06, 2014 4:41 am

Re: Sync Latency Compensation DISASTER

Post by pottering » Thu Mar 26, 2020 4:45 am

Also, there are plenty of videos and tutorials teaching how to use MIDI to trigger LFOTool/Volumeshaper in Logic, Cubase, FL, etc.

All those treat MIDI trigger as an ADVANTAGE of LFOTool/Volumeshaper over normal sidechaining.

Yet people come to Ableton forums and paint MIDI trigger as some kind of "horrible workaround"....

Florian360
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2020 2:05 pm

Re: Sync Latency Compensation DISASTER

Post by Florian360 » Tue Jul 07, 2020 4:34 pm

I'm sorry but in my case this isn't only with LFO Tool or Volumeshaper! It's with every plugin, even with the stock compressor sidechaining to a different channel!

Here if you want to test it out by yourself:
  • Create a midi track with a synth of your choice. Create another track with sidechain material, a really short transient sound on every beat is perfect (operator with really short midi notes).
  • Put a compressor on track 1 and sidechain it pretty hard with the short transient sound. Turn on the metronome, the ducking should now be perfectly alignmend with the click.
  • Increase track delay on track 1. The ducking will shift away from the click. Choose a high track delay so it's obvious (200 and it's around a half beat off)
Put an LFO Tool instead of a compressor on track one and trigger it with a seperate midi track, again set the midi notes on every beat and repeat point 3.

I don't know about you guys but on my two computers this clearly happens all the time. Maybe I'm missing a setting somewher? And please don't tell me it's impossible for ableton to keep this in sync. I worked with Cubase for almost 10 years and there such things never happend.

jeremiasm
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Jul 12, 2020 1:01 pm

Re: Sync Latency Compensation DISASTER

Post by jeremiasm » Sun Jul 12, 2020 1:09 pm

pottering wrote:
Thu Mar 26, 2020 12:48 am
It is NOT plugins that sync to BPM.

That's completely FALSE.

Delays, reverbs, etc that sync to BPM will be properly compensated.

It is only plugins that sync to the TRANSPORT, plugins the read and use the current play marker position, which is different from just syncing to the BPM.

Those plugins are rare, and it is no accident it is always the same 2 plugins mentioned, LFOTool and Volumeshaper, because it is pretty much only those 2 plugins that have problems with Live's PDC.

(There are other plugins that sync to the transport, but most are INSTRUMENTS, and hence are not affected by plugin latency.)
You might be right on that, but these plugins don't have a problem with Live, Live has a problem with itself. This doesn't happen in other daws.

spice3d
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu May 28, 2020 1:24 am

Re: Sync Latency Compensation DISASTER

Post by spice3d » Tue Sep 08, 2020 9:52 pm

I just discovered this issue after getting Schultz Audio's Oszillos Mega Scope which lets you line up the waveforms of multiple tracks. In the screenshot below, you can clearly see the ducking of the SIDEDCHAIN track coming in after the trigger, which aligns with the actual kick track.

Image

I could not get any of my "ducking" plugins to adjust for the latency, including LFOTool. Since I am using independent MIDI notes (as opposed to the actual kick) to trigger the duck, I nudged the notes a bit forward. It wasn't perfect but what I found was interesting. By my ear, aligning the ducked parts with the kick sounded odd in my EDM song. My guess is that I'm used to hearing the ducking coming in a bit late. Perhaps it would be different if I was applying the technique in a more traditional non-EDM song.

This isn't a solution nor an excuse, but I found the result interesting nonetheless.

Coffeerun
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Nov 20, 2019 7:18 pm

Re: Sync Latency Compensation DISASTER

Post by Coffeerun » Tue Sep 15, 2020 12:10 pm

I really think the ableton team dont have good programmers anymore, plugins like eq 8, the filter types where all made by extern programmers like cytomic and the good programmers left to bitwig wich is my no. 1 daw now, i dont expect revolutionary things or bugfixes for latency compensation anymore because they arent able to do that thats my honest opinion. They are such a big team i believe and they programmed not nearly half the amount on new things that the small bitwig team did in the last 2 years...

Bulemy
Posts: 65
Joined: Fri May 15, 2020 1:20 pm

Re: Sync Latency Compensation DISASTER

Post by Bulemy » Tue Sep 15, 2020 12:16 pm

wait, guys, may be 10.2 will recieve fix.

docbot
Posts: 92
Joined: Sat Jan 28, 2006 1:19 am

Re: Sync Latency Compensation DISASTER

Post by docbot » Wed Sep 16, 2020 12:53 am

Coffeerun wrote:
Tue Sep 15, 2020 12:10 pm
I really think the ableton team dont have good programmers anymore, plugins like eq 8, the filter types where all made by extern programmers like cytomic and the good programmers left to bitwig wich is my no. 1 daw now, i dont expect revolutionary things or bugfixes for latency compensation anymore because they arent able to do that thats my honest opinion. They are such a big team i believe and they programmed not nearly half the amount on new things that the small bitwig team did in the last 2 years...
let's hope that's not true

obviously they've managed to come up with Ableton Link. I'm pretty sure they'll be able to tackle latency compensation (also for midi out and midi clock out).

we'll see, but I get your point. I sometimes have the same feeling about Image Line, ever since their main programmer left, everything has been a bit subpar compared to the devices of their haydays

jonljacobi
Posts: 538
Joined: Sat Dec 30, 2017 3:36 am

Re: Sync Latency Compensation DISASTER

Post by jonljacobi » Wed Sep 16, 2020 6:03 pm

I have no idea what's up with Ableton, but I have noticed several pieces of software whose direction has changed or quality has suffered for reasons unknown. Whether it's someone leaving the team, someone taking over, or developing a bubble is impossible to say unless you have inside knowledge. I had Bitwig 1.3 and was sure it would mature for classic studio use in sort order, but as of 3.2 the week of work that would take has never transpired. My best guess is whomever envisioned that role for the program left the company.

First off, I don't suffer from this issue, hence I'm not qualified to comment, but I would think that you'd like the program to keep everything in sync at all times just on general principles. Certain things about the program make me wonder just how robust the MIDI/data infrastructure is. I've often wondered if the company isn't paying for an unwise programming decision on the incomplete MIDI/timing implementation made early on. MPE is definitely something that fits the program's mission, yet it's not there yet. I think it's in the works, and if I had to guess, the entire MIDI engine is being redone for the 2.0 spec. This might fix PDC for synced stuff. Who knows?

There are a lot of inconsistencies throughout the interface that convince me that perhaps Ableton could use some fresh eyes, but again, who knows? Maybe this is all just down the pike. Live still by far my favorite DAW and by far the most efficient for me, so I just adapt, wish, and wait.

Coffeerun
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Nov 20, 2019 7:18 pm

Re: Sync Latency Compensation DISASTER

Post by Coffeerun » Thu Sep 17, 2020 4:14 pm

Lets hope ur right and they are working on something big in the dark only to drop the bomb in a view month and blow us away with new features that no one expected :) i mean they must work on something big otherwise it makes no sense that we dont hear nothing from them such a long time..except a view controllerscripts and bugfixes...i really would like to use ableton more often i love the push so much but its so far behind in a view things that i cant sacrifice the features i got in other daws and abletons lacking only for push

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