MIDI Timing Woes on Windows

Sorry this is a real oldie, but I’m still not getting acceptable MIDI timing when working with synth hardware.

PC 3GHz, 2GB RAM, Vista, RME Multiface for audio & MIDI

It’s the same timing issue I’ve had on 3 different machines, with 3 different OS’s and 3 different pieces of MIDI & Audio h/w… I get late/sloppy notes quite regularly; particularly when CPU is above 12%; and particularly when I’m triggering triggering multiple MIDI events, like chords

It’s always helped to set MIDI instrument delay at -50ms, and the lower I can get my soundcard latency the better… Seems to be more of a problem with ASIO than Directsound (but I need to use ASIO for multiple inputs)

Just wondering if there could be a way to prioritize MIDI events in code; I remember another sequencer that let you choose…

It also mentions the alternative MIDI drivers on the Preferences screen; couldn’t find a way to toggle between MME(?) and the other…?


The comment about the MME drivers in the preferences means that, if your HW supports WDM drivers, you should select them instead of the MME drivers. You’ll see them in the MIDI input/output if your HW supports them.

They are named:
“Example MIDI input A” This is the MME driver
“Example MIDI input A (WDM)”. This is the WDM driver

See this topic for more info about the WDM stuff.

Beside that, we really can not do much more for this on Windows, at least not without building our own dedicated HW (as Steinberg and Logic did in the past). Windows & timing simply sucks in general.

Some tips:
Keep your ASIO buffers as small as possible to get smaller MIDI timing errors
Try disabling one CPU for realtime Audio in Renoise. This will automatically prioritize MIDI.
Try if other ASIO drivers (ASIO4All) give you better results.
Try if optimizing the PC for background services helps (or if it makes it even worse).

If you have the choice between a Mac and Windows, choose a Mac (better said OSX). MIDI timing is always tighter on OSX because they designed their driver models to solve such kind of problems.

Thanks for your help!

Yeah, I’ve never been really happy with the MIDI timing I’ve had in Windows; certainly Live and SX have given me similarly shakey timing (Logic on Windows 98 used to be reasonably tight though)

The nature of the problem I get with Renoise is a sort of stuttering which can delay notes by up to half a beat, which occurs kind of sporadically, and if I deactivate all the plug-ins and cut down on the number of tracks I’ve got playing, it’s usually less frequent and less noticable

Certainly seems proportional to the ASIO buffer, but if I go below 11ms I can’t run much in the way of processing, and then I get larger stutters when the machine starts to struggle

I’ll certainly try the optimizing PC for background services

Everyone’s been telling me to get a Mac lately! Ideal solution would probably be a Mac as a sequencer and a PC as an additional workhorse triggering samples and running fx