External midi clock sync

Enabling the option to sync cubase to an external midi clock to overcome the lags and drifts in timings using an external gear that synced to the actual project

Midi Clock is not quite that simple to solve. The problem is often… jitter as it interacts with various hardware.

Cubase doesn’t sync to external Midi Clock. Likely a design choice, because MIDI clock can be unstable. It does sync to external machine control (timecode) but not to Midi Clock.

TIGHTER MIDI CLOCK: The solution could be to use a better midi clock source like the ERM Multiclock. It syncs to the DAW using a high frequency square wave, and then provides MIDI Clock output to each device that needs to lock tight. It helps eliminate jitter from the source. At that point… you can work with each piece of hardware, if timing is still a problem… and that’s a thing to consider: So much hardware has been pumped into the market in the last decade. Some are better than others in these little details like jitter and sync.

Hi ,
I do aware and familiar with all what you have mentioned but , and there’s big but
For your reference same gear and i am using few good old one’s not new analogs hybrid’s, on Ableton as master clock, midi timings are great and stable when Ableton is slaved to my beatstep pro as master clock everything works like a charm. Unfortunately cubase team for years avoiding to handle that issue compared to other daws

Cubase HAS to be the midi clock Master, this aint Ableton for sure.
Cubase allows Master or Slave with MTC ONLY.

LOWER your audio buffer setting in Cubase and it will tighten things up as far as the midiclock is concerned.

PS, Ive never had to do what SoundsLikeJoe has mentioned and I have a rack full of old hardware synths

Dear Shanabit
Cubase HAS NO option to be slave only through midi TC and thats not what I am taking about. I mentioned Ableton as a second option for me in order to test stability and timing compared to Cubase and Walla… Working perfectly as master clock or synced to the beatstep pro

Lowering the buffer not giving any improvements, believe me i tried everything.

ERM clock is great product but not the solution for me . Spending more money on something that can be fixed at program level if Steinberg will take care for critical built in option that should work stable instead of adding more colours pallets as “new features”

For me, MIDI clocking problems were between Analog and MIDI… jitter would cause any analog clocking to stutter during recalculating clock divisions/multiplications or delay repeats would get off … Cleaning up the clock made all the devices play tighter and without any more inconsistency.

“Lags and drifts in timings…” isn’t exactly descriptive enough to imagine what they problem is technically. Could just be a complaint about preference. What does “Lags and drifts” mean exactly? Measures slow down and speed up?

Try using MIDI clock slaves as external instruments and send clock to it instead of the actual MIDI interface. This way the MIDI clock will be sent earlier by the latency, so the audio signal arrives at cubase mixer at the exact timing (+the external hardware’s reaction time) which is regardless of buffersize. If you insert a buffered plugin to the external inst input, the amount will be compensated, too. This was new in C11.

Also if you are using a single MIDI port for everything, i.e. clock, notes and so on, the slave becomes jittery so easily. MIDI is a slow serial connection, and 2 to 3 bytes of notes are often quantized to the nearest 16th, that position is also occupied by the single byte clock. So always try to avoid sending other MIDI signals over the port that is used for MIDI sync, if you can’t avoid sending notes to the same port, shift the notes earlier or later by 1 tick, it will free the timing. These had to be taken care of in the early days when we only used hardware to make music, too. And many people didn’t know how to make groovy setups.

Wow u have made simple issue like its rocket science. Yes u understand exactly what i mean when. Determine project tempo , send midi clock to specific device synced to Cubase in my case my beatstep pro controls my old MS20 via cv/gate and sending midi clock to the ms clock in. When the project playing you can see the tempo on the beatstep pro start’s drifting from 120 bpm to 118-123. If u have discovered a way to fix this issue the next Cubase update on me :wink:
I do insist that there is a solution for that and Ableton is the proof for this in both situation as master or external sync timing are tight and stable. And no i hate Ableton so its not an option to move to other daw. every time I need to deal with the creepy visual and the layout of things it just doesn’t work for me to get used to it

Yep. That’s jitter inside the Beatstep.

You could clock both these devices via CV Gate using an audio output from Cubase. Beatstep will stop attempting to calculate tempo and will just respond to pulse like the MS20, at that point. You could use a plugin like Silent Way Sync, or simply use the Click Track in Cubase.

To use the click track, you’d change the sound to a simple transient like the Urei Click (CSG Urei Click - YouTube) and route the Click audio output to an unused physical out. Take that signal into both the Beatstep and MS20 via mult. If not the click track, you could make a VSTi with a square wave sound. Setup a MIDI file on this instrument that uses whatever PPQN you like. The faster the tempo the better… 8th notes is a default Korg standard. Many devices prefer 16th note or 24 PPQN (DIN Sync).

Jitter is a fairly common problem with some devices that want to be the master. A quick search shows many having this same problem, regardless of host… so it’s most likely the Beatstep Pro ability to clock externally that’s the problem to overcome.

Very unstable sync from Ableton live to Beatstep Pro (same solution I proposed)

Cubase has never been allowed to sync to MIDI Clock because of this same design flaw in the MIDI protocol. So that’s probably never going to happen. Most synths never suffer this, as they aren’t designed to be master clocks but the BSP is and doesn’t manage jitter well. The solution is going to be in finding a better method of clocking your devices (CV via audio, cleaner MIDI, etc)

You can also set Cubase to send Clock while stopped. That can help keep some devices in sync too.

Im pretty sure I just said Cubase CANNOT slave to MIDICLOCK, ONLY MTC

““Yep. That’s jitter inside the Beatstep.””"

There is the issue

I sync a Yamaha MOTIF, Korg Triton Rack, Rolanad DC1, Roland XV5080 here with no issues

Carry on

There is no solution for this honestly. AD-DA is and will be the problem especially in a hybrid setup. The best you can go for is working with a monster sequencer like a Cirklon, SEQv4+, Octatrack etc. and fire all restmidi not distributed to your analog gear to DAW and go for your FX and Softsynths fired again by sequencer, and record everything live with one track that is loopbacked by your capable Audiointerface. This was at least my best try for “tightness”, no clue about the ERM-Multiclock experience, but technically it elongates both: the midi and the digital input pathways by nature. There is no exchange of an analog mixer, that you finally record as a whole mix with external FX into digital, I am sure. If you stay into the box I think the bounce will be better than what you hear by playback most of the time.

Post; The much better audio sound in Cubase, it does not support my workflow at all, there was no learning curve if you came from another DAW, you simply wanted to transpose every skill from the other DAW to Cubase and that is it! (much more complicated compared to Ableton)
Conclusio: Stick to your old DAW! or maybe still Ableton

The 500bucks bug hell needs an end, at least for me