Midi Drifting when recording hardware synths- normal?

Hi all,

Most of the threads I have searched for regarding midi drift have been about people recording their own performance.

My problem is when I program a sequence into a midi track, send it out to a hardware synth (Moog Minitaur), and record the audio into a new track.

Sure, there is a small amount of general recording latency (no big deal, really, as I can just nudge the midi track) BUT the problem is that some notes are out of place, whilst some are not. It can vary from correct placing, and +/- 10-20ms.

I have checked the System TImestamps option in the Midi Port setup but this does not appear to do anything.

This occurs using numerous MIDI interfaces.

Are there solutions to this, or should I just get a Mac :laughing: ?

Thanks and Regards.

PS: I am on Windows 7 64 bit, using Cubase 7 32 bit. Completely clean system, just reinstalled yesterday. Using SSL Alphalink AX Converters and MadiXtreme 64 MADI PCI-E card.

Haven’t used external synths in many years, but a problem that used to come up a lot was emulated drivers…search for “midi timing emulated drivers” and you should get the info to check/fix this if this is your problem.

20ms is too much for standard midi jitter or the usual sloppy timing of Windows midi so it’s probably driver or hardware incompatibility of your system.

you’ll be even worse off , have you got auto quantise on in the transport panel ? and could I ask why you choose to use 32bit on your 64 os ?

I’ve got 4 different hardware midi units, including the venerable Midex8. They all perform differently and they all have their problems, like hung notes, random pitch bends, latency on chasing automation. But I’ve not noticed midi jitter as you describe, well not that I’ve tried to measured it either as my style of music doesn’t require 100% precise timing anyway. I was going to suggest, if you haven’t already, that you try the Midex8 because it is purported to have superior timing abilities. This unit is what I use as my main midi output to all my synths so perhaps that’s why I haven’t noticed any issues… Also I use midi via USB connections to a couple of my synths, and these seem pretty good, but I guess this isn’t available for your Moog!


Thanks for the replies guys, much appreciated.

After a bit of tweaking in the MIDI Ports setup and disabling the emulated ports, I have solved the randomness of my problem.

However, after one minute of recording 1/4 note bursts @ 120bpm, they start with 0ms drift on the first note, and by one minute it is up to .5ms (this is both with my Minitaur and my Access Virus :astonished: I would have expected the virus to be 10 minutes our of sync by then :stuck_out_tongue: )

This is not a problem for me as I don’t record takes more than a minute, but does this gradual drift indicate an underlying problem, or is it just one the drawbacks of working with MIDI?

There shouldn’t be any drawbacks of working with MIDI :wink: I’d say a drift which is repeatable is an indicator of a bug and should be queried with Steinberg. Do you have a suggested repro procedure or a project?

I’m sometimes recording well over 10 minutes of continuous midi, so I’m interested in whether it’s drifting even though I’ve never noticed it personally.

I’d be even more worried if this was a drift across the project rather than just during recording say, because sometimes I have projects which are over 1 hour in duration… Again, I’ve not noticed and I’ve just done a 1.75Hour midi project and rendered the synths down OK, albeit in small prob <1min subsections.


MIDI in Cubase is quite annoying. If you use the midi delay compensation notes sound fine when monitoring, but come in too early when you record your tracks.

I use Propellerheads Reason for external synths now. Timing is rock solid. :smiley: