Some basics on MIDI jitter in DAWs

For computer based music makers. Discussions about plug-ins and stand alone computer synth gear.

Some basics on MIDI jitter in DAWs

Postby vicd » Thu Jan 24, 2013 6:30 pm


I don't like the drums, but the drums like me!
User avatar
vicd
Supporting Member!
Supporting Member!
 
Posts: 232
Joined: Sat Sep 03, 2011 9:26 am
Location: Siberia
Real name: Victor
Gear: Blofeld, Formanta (EMS01, Maestro, Mini), JD800, Morpheus, MP7, Plugiator, TG77, TOM1501, TR626, UltraProteus, V-Synth XT
Band: ROBOPOP

Advertisement:

Re: Some basics on MIDI jitter in DAWs

Postby trevordutton » Sat Jan 26, 2013 6:34 am

Nice article, thanks for posting. I've suspected something like this existed. Definitely worth resetting the appropriate preferences for optimization in your host DAW when recording midi.
User avatar
trevordutton
Junior Member
Junior Member
 
Posts: 136
Joined: Sun Jan 28, 2007 6:35 pm
Location: seattle area
Gear: FR XS, VSynth, MEK, Monomachine, Evila Modular, DRM MK111, Waldorf Pulse, XV 5050, Moogerfoogers, many analog filters, many softsynths, etc.

Re: Some basics on MIDI jitter in DAWs

Postby Ashe37 » Sat Jan 26, 2013 6:55 am

Of course, a lot of that could be due to midi settings in the host, not just some generic problem with the host. Some of that could also be plugin delay compensation or lack thereof.

Also, it was skipped in the article that determining delays or time differences of under 10 ms is difficult for many people, and it takes an 80th percentile human to be able to detect an 8ms delay. The ability to perceive a delay under 7ms is something like 95th percentile, and 6 ms is generally accepted to be impossible.
Ashe37
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 2630
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:43 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Real name: Unpronounceable
Gear: Ensoniq SD-1/32,SQR,VFX,ESQm
Virus Indigo, M3-61 , MS2000BR, Volca Bass
Emu XL-7, Matrix 6r
TG-33, K3m, Blofeld, Micron, Mopho, Bass Station II
Band: Eridani V

Re: Some basics on MIDI jitter in DAWs

Postby vicd » Sat Jan 26, 2013 9:17 am

Ashe37 wrote:Also, it was skipped in the article that determining delays or time differences of under 10 ms is difficult for many people, and it takes an 80th percentile human to be able to detect an 8ms delay. The ability to perceive a delay under 7ms is something like 95th percentile, and 6 ms is generally accepted to be impossible.


I think even 6ms and under will be perfectly audible if that's a "corrupted" chord with displaced note start times. Or even worse with layered sounds - meet some nice unwanted flanging/"unison". Like e.g. the guys reporting it here for hardware.

I don't like the drums, but the drums like me!
User avatar
vicd
Supporting Member!
Supporting Member!
 
Posts: 232
Joined: Sat Sep 03, 2011 9:26 am
Location: Siberia
Real name: Victor
Gear: Blofeld, Formanta (EMS01, Maestro, Mini), JD800, Morpheus, MP7, Plugiator, TG77, TOM1501, TR626, UltraProteus, V-Synth XT
Band: ROBOPOP

Re: Some basics on MIDI jitter in DAWs

Postby Ashe37 » Sat Jan 26, 2013 9:37 am

the 'unwanted flanging' is how they would notice it, not the different start times
Ashe37
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 2630
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:43 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Real name: Unpronounceable
Gear: Ensoniq SD-1/32,SQR,VFX,ESQm
Virus Indigo, M3-61 , MS2000BR, Volca Bass
Emu XL-7, Matrix 6r
TG-33, K3m, Blofeld, Micron, Mopho, Bass Station II
Band: Eridani V

Re: Some basics on MIDI jitter in DAWs

Postby trevordutton » Sun Jan 27, 2013 8:13 pm

Changes in timing this small in the context of a performance are felt more than heard. But it can definitely prove to be the difference between a part that's played professionally verses loosey-goosey. However, it could also be a desirable result when the notes begin as a quantized sequence and the timing aberrations contribute to humanizing the feel.
User avatar
trevordutton
Junior Member
Junior Member
 
Posts: 136
Joined: Sun Jan 28, 2007 6:35 pm
Location: seattle area
Gear: FR XS, VSynth, MEK, Monomachine, Evila Modular, DRM MK111, Waldorf Pulse, XV 5050, Moogerfoogers, many analog filters, many softsynths, etc.

Re: Some basics on MIDI jitter in DAWs

Postby vicd » Sun Jan 27, 2013 8:35 pm

Hmm, tried to do some math and the results are scary :geek:

So: there's a guitar with a distance of 1 cm between the strings near the bridge (likely, even less).
And a guitar player, moving his hand with a mediator at a speed of 1 meter per second (likely, even faster).
From this I derive that the difference between start times of each string being strummed is at most 10ms (divided 0.01 m by 1m/s).

Strumming is audible and distinguishable, amirite? Short attacks etc.

I don't like the drums, but the drums like me!
User avatar
vicd
Supporting Member!
Supporting Member!
 
Posts: 232
Joined: Sat Sep 03, 2011 9:26 am
Location: Siberia
Real name: Victor
Gear: Blofeld, Formanta (EMS01, Maestro, Mini), JD800, Morpheus, MP7, Plugiator, TG77, TOM1501, TR626, UltraProteus, V-Synth XT
Band: ROBOPOP

Re: Some basics on MIDI jitter in DAWs

Postby Ashe37 » Sun Jan 27, 2013 9:44 pm

In that case you also have to factor in the wavelength of the notes being played. You're still saying 10ms, which is within the threshold of an average person's perception.

People using tiny amounts of 'swing' on midi notes to make them sound played are introducing far more of a delay than that, in many cases.
Ashe37
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 2630
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:43 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Real name: Unpronounceable
Gear: Ensoniq SD-1/32,SQR,VFX,ESQm
Virus Indigo, M3-61 , MS2000BR, Volca Bass
Emu XL-7, Matrix 6r
TG-33, K3m, Blofeld, Micron, Mopho, Bass Station II
Band: Eridani V

Re: Some basics on MIDI jitter in DAWs

Postby Solderman » Thu Feb 21, 2013 6:37 pm

Equally of interest to me was a discussion in the comments section of the article about DAW Midi output. Seems that while some DAW software can prevent jitter for incoming, they all fail the jitter aspect to some degree on output, Ableton Live being notoriously bad. The only viable jitter-free option for output to monosynths with CV/Gate input seems to be the Expert Sleepers ES4 spdif to CV/gate module and plugin combo.

"Lots of people are nostalgic for analogue. I suspect they're people who never had to work with it." - Brian Eno
User avatar
Solderman
Supporting Member!
Supporting Member!
 
Posts: 1752
Joined: Sat Nov 17, 2007 5:43 pm
Location: Dallas, Texas
Real name: Zane W
Gear: μbrute, Kraftzwerg I, Поливокс(mod), SEM Pro, SH101(mod), TR606(mod), α Juno, Virus b

Re: Some basics on MIDI jitter in DAWs

Postby mikemilton » Fri Feb 22, 2013 3:25 pm

Sorry for being late to this party :shock:

This piece was written from the perspective of a player and was motivated as an exploration of why playing through a DAW felt 'wrong'. The effect really is easy to experience in this context and it matters in that the player is taken out of the moment / flow which (at least) impacts their experience and can change the performance.

Critically, the effect is random, variable, and not musically related. Fixed delays are regularly adapted to (a few have been mentioned above but they are not really relevant to this discussion). Regular, musical changes can be intentional (for example, swinging beats) but just randomly clustering notes is problematic and clearly disturbs, for example, fast arps (emulating strumming, for example).

I happen to play the same instrument as the author. It is intended for live performance (not to say one cant use it otherwise). It happens to have its own music production environment which is extremely low latency and high bandwidth and has native instruments or can host AU/VSTs. One result is that playing it is much more like playing 'real' instruments (like, say, something fretless or a reed instrument) where the player interacts in real time with the instrument to bring out a particular note and tone. This requires very immediate feedback and fine resolution in control signals (I happen to think this is one reason people like CV over midi as well). When one moves out of the native environment it, impacts like the one in the article can be very clear. Many people who lay down tracks with it record audio (vs MIDI) for the reasons above.

Cheers, Mike
mikemilton
Newbie
Newbie
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun May 08, 2011 12:47 pm

Re: Some basics on MIDI jitter in DAWs

Postby nathanscribe » Fri Feb 22, 2013 9:45 pm

Another important factor is the delay caused by the receiving instrument. I've had mixed results from different synths when played the same MIDI file, and though I haven't done this simultaneously, I did do several tests with each synth. Some seemed more stable than others. Some were broadly fine but with an occasional big glitch. I never got round to doing proper tests, but MIDI and DAWs are not perfect partners, unfortunately.
User avatar
nathanscribe
VSE Review Contributor
VSE Review Contributor
 
Posts: 2936
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 1:03 pm
Location: The right side of the Pennines


Return to Software Synthesizers

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests