Given Up With Pc's!

I’m so annoyed that after 7 years, 5 audio and MIDI interfaces, 3 operating systems and every sequencer under the sun, I STILL can’t get half-way acceptable MIDI timing out of a PC!!!

I swear it’s actually got worse - when I started with Logic & a MIDISport on Windows 98, the timing was a little loose, but just about workable… These days I sequence a hihat and a bass drum on my Akai, playing on the beat and on 16ths, and it sounds like something Autechre have knocked up with a S&H filter and a delay unit clocked to the 12th decimal point on the trading price of African bananas

I’m thinking of picking up another hardware sequencer or going back to an Atari, but at the same time I’m wondering whether it might be an excuse to move over to a Mac

So could I pick up a dirt cheap G4 iMac running OS X 10.5 Leopard, and get Renoise up and running on it no problem?

Or, could there be anything else I could do with my PC to rescue the MIDI timing? It’s marginally better in Ableton Live under Directsound, but still sounds terrible. In Renoise and in Live! with ASIO, it’s stuttering all over the place no matter what I do with audio or MIDI buffers, and no matter how many background processes I close or how simple the sequence is

come to the dark side, my latency is low :)

I dual boot windows and os x; wanted the large array of vsti’s on windows, but found it completely non workable with my current sound card (m-audio fw 410). gave me clicks and pops, bunch of shit.

first of all, hi J Swift, i see you post all the time, i’ve always wanted to hear your music :)

second of all, you could get a g4 pretty cheap and have it running renoise pretty quickly… leopard is a little corpulent on a g4 but tiger would suit you just fine. It’s what im running on m Powerbook G4 and it works might want to get a g5 imac actually, as they’re a bit faster… regardless, macs work very well, have low native latency, and are generally agreeable. The only think i hate about them is apple - as their products are expensive and it’s hard to keep up with the proverbial Joneses.

good luck sir.

Or boot Linux from CD and see how Linux does it :D

thanks for all your replies. i actually never have time to any music, i’m always fighting MIDI issues in some form!

i’m quite into the idea of getting a G4. power wouldn’t be much of an issue because i’m doing everything off an Akai and desk these days. but the styling of Mac’s has always tempted me

the MIDI thing’s not even latency. with my RME i can get 0.5ms latency (i think!), it’s just these random timing splurges where it misses a note by about half a second then seems to collapse in on itself and double up notes and things, and they happen about once every 2 seconds, so it’s not even an option to try and work with it

i don’t get why it’s not more of an issue. i’ve had the same thing with every PC, OS and sequencer i’ve used apart from with Logic 5 on win 98 - which was just mildly sloppy

booting Linux sounds very interesting though… it would make things very easy… assuming i could get the RME or Midisport drivers working for MIDI h/w?

how would i go about booting a PC in Linux? it’s a complete mystery to me! can i just download Linux from somewhere and burn a boot disc?

Excellent! I’m just trying to read the documentation on their site but it says their Launchpad is offline at the moment

I don’t really want to install another OS - especially at this might not fix the problem - it doesn’t mention being able to boot off a CD, it seems only to mention an installer… i’m also unsure about hardware drivers… my MIDISport MIDI interface only lists Mac and Windows drivers

Fantastic! I think I’ll do the same then

Still a little unsure on this device driver issue… wish I could spend half as much time making music as I do messing around with things like this!

I was actually a bit put off after reading a 5-page thread on a unix forum on how to get a Midisport working! RME i’d be a bit reluctant to get running on unix, not knowing whether or not it’s going to be an improvement… there’s some weird issue with some of the Hammerfalls (maybe all) where when it uploads the firmware (or whatever it is) to the device, there’s always a chance it won’t upload properly and then the only solution is to send it off to America

Computers eh!?

Result though… just as a last ditch attempt before tossing a coin on either Ubuntu or an iMac, i managed to get Logic 5 working again on my PC… this hasn’t worked for me in about 5 years, so i uninstalled every audio app i own (apart from Renoise) and hid all my plug-ins, and got it running again

and would you believe it, the MIDI timing is probably tighter than an Atari… i stacked about 30 notes on one measure along with a drum beat playing 16ths, and on the Atari you’d hear a delay doing that, but tight as anything

conclusion, Logic genuinely seems to have brilliant MIDI timing… whatever it’s doing gets round a problem a lot of people think is down to Windows or PC hardware

i might even post up examples to show how bad it is with: Cubase, Renoise, Live!, Buzz, MED, etc. and how machine-tight it is with Logic… don’t get me wrong, Renoise is the only sequencer for me, but this has been a major issue for me for a long time

where are you located? i was selling my dual 2.5ghz g5 with 2 gigs of ram and 2 250gig hard drives and a geforce 7800gtx card for like a grand, but i’m in boston and preferred not to ship it if i didn’t have to.
jasonbass at gmail dot com

hey! i’m in the UK… and tbh, i’d probably just pick up a cheap iMac for a few hundred because i wouldn’t be needing much more than MIDI sequencing… too many other things i need to buy at the moment!

seem to have problem solved on Win XP using Logic now though… actually realised in XP, the timing on Renoise 1.8 (it’s an old laptop, yet to try 1.9 on it) is so close to being passable… still just the occassional stutter though, but it’s probably about 20-30ms, rather than the 500ms (approx) which i’m getting with Vista and 1.9… and also the occassional 1 second+ pause, even in XP, which would make recording awkward

If MIDI I/O timing precision is important while using Windows, I’ve learned that you shouldn’t utilize both input and output from your soundcard.

So, in this case, Logic might have had an open recording channel which have caused the issues (and perhaps Renoise too) ?

Logic’s actually been the only sequencer i’ve known on the PC which has tight timing and no glitches

i can have a MIDI sequence playing, resize windows and switch views and mess around with Explorer and things, and i don’t get any untoward note delays or stutters

any other sequencer, and i’m getting these subtle (win98 & xp) and not so subtle (vista) stutters every other bar or so, plus, whenever i do anything which requires any additioning processing, like messing around with windows, minimizing and maximizing things… and it’s also typically worse when i’m using ASIO and sometimes proportional to the audio buffer… Logic’s definetly doing something different because it’s got some unusual options in the MIDI window… i assume it’s basically prioritising MIDI information higher than the rest

Post up results J Swift.

Let us listen to what you are talking about.

1.9 does support WDM drivers which are a lot tighter than the windows MME drivers for Midi that you have to stick with in 1.8
If you want to test tightness of Midi in Renoise i would really recommend you to install at least 1.9.


i’ve been using 1.9 on my main machine since it came out… i actually get the worst timing with this, but i’m unsure how much of that is down to Vista… i can attempt to find out though… i’ve still got 1.8 installed on my older machine, so this is all i’ve tested on XP so far

i’ve got a 98 machine, an XP, and a Vista, with emagic, Midisport and RME soundcards/MIDI devices, and all the major sequencer… so i can mix and match a bit… of every sequencer i’ve used on the PC, only Logic has ever given me the kind of tightness I’d expect from an Atari ST (not that they’re actually that tight either… but there’s a happy medium of looseness… i’d actually love a random note delay feature within Renoise - say, 00-FF range of random ms’s to delay - to emulate subtle looseness)

@Vadarphone: i think i will record some of this to show what i’m on about

Cool, cheers.

To be honest, I was rendering out a simple 4/4 kick loop the other day (when I mean simple, I mean it was JUST the kick, on the bar)

I did this twice (cant remember the reason why) and decided to stick it in Reaper to have a look at the waves.

There was a very clear timing issue with on of the renders, despite them being from EXACTLY the same bar, with no other effects or anything added.

You could see when you lined things up in Reaper, that some of the samples started at different times!

I can’t tell much about Vista, though my impressions that i gained of it when working these few times with Vista were not particulary blowing off my mind.
I have yet to meet somebody who is exclusively satisfied with Vista in general and i would not bet on Vista to use it professionally for anything.

It is good enough to do office things with, but then again, one can also score Linux or a Mac and achieve the same.

XP or die i shall say when it regards to Windows.

Just to add…

I ran the same test, with a standard kick drum loop just now, and it seemed perfect.

I inverted the phase on one of the renders and I registered silence in Reaper.

Seems alright, actually.

I checked out the way the kicks lined up with the grid in reaper and it was perfect too, on all beats.

@J Swift. It would be good if you could post up some results. Only takes two seconds.