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#38470 - 12/22/00 11:33 PM What is best for timing in a MIDI system?
AuraStar Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/15/00
Posts: 16
Hi all... I was wondering if someone could help me figure this out.

Here's my setup:
*P2 350, 64M ram, Aureal Vortex PCI soundcard w/mpu-401, Cubase 3.7
* Korg ER1
* Korg EA1
* Yammy CS2x

My question is this: In this system, what is my best bet to get stable timing? The Korgs output MTC, Cubase has several options, and the Yammy has no internal clock.

Previously, (before the Yammy) I had the korgs slaved to Cubase. However, I noticed that when I had the Korg's clock set to external, there were glitches in the sounds, especially when using the Tempo Delay effect. I assume this was due to unstable timing in Cubase, because when the Korg's clock is set to internal, the glitches disappear.

Is it possible to take the clock signals from one of the Korgs as master timing for the whole system? I have a merge box, and I was thinking about merging the outs from one of the Korgs (master timing) and the CS2x (controller), and routing it to the MIDI IN on my soundcard. Then Cubase can pass the data on to the other Korg and the CS2x through the MIDI OUT. Will this work as I think it will? What settings will I need to make in Cubase? Will there be any problems with this setup that I should be aware of? And will I be able to use both the CS2x and the Korg's sequencer as input devices?

Also, are there any other things I should check that could be causing timing glitches in Cubase? TSRs, windows settings, etc?

I know that's a ton of questions Any help you can provide would be much appreciated...

Thanks

AuraStar

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#38471 - 12/26/00 05:12 AM Re: What is best for timing in a MIDI system?
inocybe Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/13/00
Posts: 30
Loc: Belgium
We experienced timing problems when we had a windows system (a long time ago). We had to set the latency up to 500ms to get a bit of stable timing. It's bizare because an 15 year old atari is powerfull enough to give stable Midi clocks and handle a whole studio, but a P2 350, 64M ram can't???? (You still got work B.Gates). Well, We trashed the PC and bought a Mac, end of story, end of problem. But nevertheless here are some things on timing for ya.

1. Bigger latency improves timing; Favor midi timing over audio too. If possible disable the audio part of your sequencer to get more power to the MIDI part.

2. Cubase favors the first 8 tracks in your arragments and always sends these first. Place timing sensitive parts there.

3. You can sync cubase from a drumcomputer. Normally these machines have very stable timing clocks, far better as most PC's. With a bit of luck your computer is stable in following the clock.

4.Get a Mac or an Atari or an Amiga. (They all tend to have better timing as a PC (not that PC's can't get decent timing)

5.update drivers.

6. get a new motherboard (It's our guess (after the problems we had) that the motherboard is the source of the problem. Probablly some minor incompatebillities with the chipset.)

7.Get some Prozac.

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#38472 - 12/26/00 12:40 PM Re: What is best for timing in a MIDI system?
David Green Offline
Member

Registered: 08/03/99
Posts: 86
Loc: BC, Canada
I would look elsewhere besides the PC itself as the problem.
! There is NO reason to change to another platform (such as Mac) as there is no benefit to doing so !
Macs etc. do NOT have better timing than PCs.
You mention only having an MPU and three synths, are you daisy-chaining them (IN-THRU etc.)? If so, that's probably your problem.
Pick up a good multi-port MIDI unit.

Up until I purchased my PIII-700 I was using a P-200 with a MOTU to manage 9 synths and effects, and I have no timing problems at all.

David
* Roland & Cakewalk Resources and Roland Newsgroups: http://www.lilchips.com *
_________________________
Li'l Chips Systems
www.lilchips.com

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#38473 - 12/26/00 05:09 PM Re: What is best for timing in a MIDI system?
AuraStar Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/15/00
Posts: 16
Quote:
Originally posted by David Green:
I would look elsewhere besides the PC itself as the problem.
! There is NO reason to change to another platform (such as Mac) as there is no benefit to doing so !
Macs etc. do NOT have better timing than PCs.


Hi - thanks for the help

I was glad to hear someone say the PC was not necessarily the problem

Quote:
You mention only having an MPU and three synths, are you daisy-chaining them (IN-THRU etc.)? If so, that's probably your problem.
Pick up a good multi-port MIDI unit.


Well, I have 3 devices now. The problems I spoke of in my earlier post occurred when I only had the 2 Korgs. Could the problem stem from using a soundcard with an integrated mpu interface? What if I get a standalone mpu card?

Quote:

Up until I purchased my PIII-700 I was using a P-200 with a MOTU to manage 9 synths and effects, and I have no timing problems at all.

David
* Roland & Cakewalk Resources and Roland Newsgroups: http://www.lilchips.com *[/B]

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#38474 - 12/28/00 05:02 AM Re: What is best for timing in a MIDI system?
inocybe Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/13/00
Posts: 30
Loc: Belgium
I didn't said you HAVE to switch platforms, it's just an option. I have only one wish from every computer that comes into our studio, and that's to do it's work and do it good and needs as little time as possible for maintainance and problem solving. A Mac gave me this, a PC couldn't (we had 4 different PC over 4 years so i think I know something about a PC, I even did repairs for a while to make some extra money.) I PC doesn't HAVE to be a problem, but it CAN be a problem ! I ran a bunch of synths from a 486, but my 200Mhz couldn't get a note on time (that's not normal or is it?)!!

Aurastar- You say you use the soundcards MPU. Normally this should work fine (on my old 486 that worked). But what cable do you use? Those Y-cables tend to be "not really OK" to drive a studio. MAYBE a decent Midi interface solves your problem. You could always try...

Keep in mind the modular structure of windows can "disturb" the OS if much software has been installed or removed or just after a while of hard working. It's a good thing to reinstall your system once a year or so and defragment, even reformat your drive. Your PC should fly after this and maybe it solves your problem too.

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#38475 - 12/28/00 12:08 PM Re: What is best for timing in a MIDI system?
AuraStar Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/15/00
Posts: 16
Quote:
Originally posted by inocybe:
I didn't said you HAVE to switch platforms, it's just an option. I have only one wish from every computer that comes into our studio, and that's to do it's work and do it good and needs as little time as possible for maintainance and problem solving. A Mac gave me this, a PC couldn't (we had 4 different PC over 4 years so i think I know something about a PC, I even did repairs for a while to make some extra money.) I PC doesn't HAVE to be a problem, but it CAN be a problem ! I ran a bunch of synths from a 486, but my 200Mhz couldn't get a note on time (that's not normal or is it?)!!


Well, unfortunately, I'm very poor Buying a new system is simply not an option. I guess my question should have been "how can I get stable timing with what I have?"

Quote:
Aurastar- You say you use the soundcards MPU. Normally this should work fine (on my old 486 that worked). But what cable do you use? Those Y-cables tend to be "not really OK" to drive a studio. MAYBE a decent Midi interface solves your problem. You could always try...


If the y-cable is the problem, then my only option would be to get another interface - unless I can get a better quality y cable.
Even if I got a standalone MPU card, i'd still have to use a y-cable, right? Or do those cards actually have MIDI ports?

Quote:
Keep in mind the modular structure of windows can "disturb" the OS if much software has been installed or removed or just after a while of hard working. It's a good thing to reinstall your system once a year or so and defragment, even reformat your drive. Your PC should fly after this and maybe it solves your problem too.


Well, I defragment regularly, but I'm kind of afraid to attempt a complete wipe/re-install. I've just heard too many horror stories. And I know that Windows can cause problems with any number of things... but are there any specific things I should check?
Any types of TSRs that are particularly troublesome, etc...

Thanks for the information - at least you guys gave me a response

Oh, about that Prozac....

Thanks
AS


[This message has been edited by AuraStar (edited 12-28-2000).]

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#38476 - 01/01/01 05:42 PM Re: What is best for timing in a MIDI system?
Smitty Offline
Member

Registered: 05/17/00
Posts: 155
Loc: Holtwood, PA. USA
They say to always go with the most accurate clocK(obviously), and as I understand it your computer uses the soundcard as a clock for midi. If this is true, and considering that some soundcards - correction, MOST SOUNDCARDS are cheapies, even if they are installed on a top notch P-3 or Athlon, it doesnt matter. Luckily Cakewalk gives you the option of deciding what you will time with, and I use the clock in my card because it is a Yamaha DS2416 (one of the better audio I/O boards out there.
Im sorry I'm just not sure about your question on if your proposed solution will work or not, it sure cant hurt to try it.
Aurastar, the backup, and reload everything every so often is not a bad idea. As I hear it, as good as windows works most of the time it does have a tendancy to degrade over time, seems bugs tend to develope in the binary and its all downhill from there.

------------------
Smitty
_________________________
Smitty

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#38477 - 01/05/01 08:29 AM Re: What is best for timing in a MIDI system?
inocybe Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/13/00
Posts: 30
Loc: Belgium
-we used our soundcard when we had a PC next to a MPU interface. We didn't used a Y cable but a Gravis midi adaptor, wich I liked very much. (in/out/thru + leds).

-The MPU has his own seperate breakout box with midi in/out etc... we used an opcode 2x2 box too for a while wich fitted on the parrallel port.

-A little note why you got to re´nstall from time to time. Windows uses DLL's (Dynamic Link Libraries) wich are mostly lockated in your windows/system directory. The filosofy behind this is that a bunch if progs could use the same DLL to preform the same functions, thus saving diskspace (important on earlier computers, but now out of date). The problem is that you cannot delete them because you don't know wich progz are using them. Even the uninstall-function doesn't remove them all. So if they are updated, the old ones are left alone and new once are put (eg. VBRUN100.DLL VBRUN200.DLL etc..). so after a while your system directory has a lot of DLL,s but they're not only taking up diskspace they need also to be registered in windows in order for windows to use them. (if a prog comes asking for it). So this takes up memory and system resources, slowing your computer down. A DLL has more as one entry, so figure out what happens when you got a few hunderds of them loaded in memory... or if 2 entries have the same name (crash..). You could delete them manually, but this is dangerous because their names really don't point out what they're doing (before you know you simply throw away something important and your comp just don't boot anymore)

-The horror stories about re´nstalling a Windows system are true (after a while you get used to it, but you gotta be carefull). Some more recent computers do have a re´nstall CD delivered with them, so that's easy. But otherwise....pure horror. If you got all the installation disks still there it's not really difficult. First you need to make a boot disk. (windows can make them, although I make them myself to be sure I got everything I need to do a format C.) You need to backup your data files. I really can't explain how I do it as I still do this all in DOS (wich is a bit out of date, but it's the only way I know). So I make a disk wich contains all drivers for CD/HD etc.. and all drivers (I change the autoexec.bat and config.sys for use with a disk so all drivers load from disk.) of wich I don't have the installation disks anymore (happens a lot with older comps that come from some company or something.) I also put all needed Dos tools (edit/Format/scandisk/etc..) Then I restart, format and copy the drivers and change the autoexec.bat and config.sys back for use with HD (that's why you need edit.com) . if everything works well i got my CD-ROM after reboot in DOS and can install windows. Wich normally should configure everything by it's own. So as you see it's pure Horror...

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#38478 - 01/05/01 08:52 AM Re: What is best for timing in a MIDI system?
inocybe Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/13/00
Posts: 30
Loc: Belgium
BTW before you begin wiping yer HD (if you would.) The last OS I ever used on a PC wav WIN95. So I don't know if all my tricks still work. I mostly re´nstalled PC's people bought from company's and needed a wipe real bad (most of the time they didn't even had the drivers or any disks with it, so that's why my technique is this complex, there must be a better and easier way. if there isn't It's just unbelievable.

i did it with my 486 from time to time, once a year or so and the difference in performance was really noticable.

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#38479 - 01/06/01 08:02 PM Re: What is best for timing in a MIDI system?
AuraStar Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/15/00
Posts: 16
Well, thanks for the help, ppl... I've solved my problem - without buying any new hardware Oh, Joy...

I just went through the configuration and troubleshooting checklists at CWU, and I'm happy to report that my timing is now rock solid. Yay!

I'm surprised no one ever mentioned anything about virus protection... that seemed to be causing the largest majority of my problem...

Anyway, thanks, I'm off to make some music

AuraStar

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