Midi timing suggestion on recorded VST instruments.

I know this has been discussed before, but I can’t see that the developer’s
has fixed this and I will try to clarify what’s the problem. If you
can help further, please post.

I believe that:

When recording on a VST instrument’s track, Cubase
should move the timing of notes and controller data forward.
This to give the player and the recorded take justice.

EDIT: Please watch this video if you recognize this problem.
The password is 2012

So, we can tamper with track delay, making it work but what if you want to quantize?
Then you have to mark all notes and nudge them to the right a bit,
otherwise chances are that notes unfairly will jump to the left.

I think this subject is important - not only for this particular reason,
but when I read around the forum, It seems like some people believe
they actually are having hardware or software problems because of this.

If you are bothered by this problem, all you can do for the moment
is to use the Steinberg support form to report it. It’s important
that you do this, because the reason it’s not fixed yet is that no one
earlier has reported about it. If you suspect you got any other midi
problems and that your notes always come off early or late, then it
shouldn’t be confused with this issue. This thread is only about
timing difference on recording vs playback when using VST instruments.

Well, I can understand your point… Perhaps a preference?

I personally don’t ever play with noticeable latency, I either reduce the latency or I play an external synth (e.g. simplay a piano) and then change the sound afterwards. I usually quantise too.

I think a better request of Steinberg would be to give us a low latency switch for live playing of chosen VSTis so we can have a large latency in the project but at the same time record midi using low latency playback. This has been discussed before too.


I just want to clarify - this goes for low latency too,
even if you, Mike don’t suffer from it.
The notes place in the timing and the playback will
be “your short latency” earlier than you felt it while recording.

May I put it this way:
We compensate for small or big latencies when playing -
but the sequencer sort of undoes the compensation.

Mike, I think your request is totally interesting but please forgive me,
it’s an other discussion. I wish that this thread could stick to the

And one more thing… you say “Perhaps a preference?”
When do we not want to keep our recording as it is? Plus the benefit
that when you quantize - it will be a slight better chance that the notes
land correctly. Please don’t be offended from the question, but if
you know a certain situation you would untick that preference, when
would that be?

Is this really true?

I have to nutch e-ve-ry recording a bit to the right before quantizing.
Sometimes I record a performance in muliple takes, 2 bars, then the next 2 bars etc.
If the midi would be in the place were I thought I put them I could work a lot faster.
But between every take I have to adjust the timing in the editor.

I always thought this was a hardware/software issue as you mentioned and learned to live with it.

Consider another thing, I noticed when I drag the notes to the right, the controller lanes do not move in conjunction.
Precision modulation and pitchbend will go out of sync because of this.


Applying controllers like modulation/pedals/pitchbend applying on top of an existing quantized midi performance
will also be out of sync.

Greetz Dylan.

It is a hardware issue mostly, as typical MIDI interfaces such as USB are often not very good for even basic tasks, hence my using such things as Parallel port based MIDI interfaces and PCI but as the OP did not specify their setup it will be difficult to diagnose any problem.

Thanks, I appreciate your point about the controllers.

Cubase Padawan, My midi system is not the problem. I think this
happens in your studio too with your fine parallel PCI stuff.
Please prove me wrong, that’s what I’m waiting for.

This is an example:

I work on an orchestral piece of music, and the project is loaded with lots
of plugins and instruments. Now I want to record a take with
Vienna Grand Piano from NI. My current output latency is high say, 20 ms.
Recording works fine though and I manage to play along in good rhythm.
Now I listen to it and the piano sounds like it was played by someone
needy to go to the toilet.

But… if I

Turn the volume down on Vienna Piano and
Turn the volume up on my outboard digital piano which
has almost zero latency and internal speakers. Now I record again.
I turn up the volume on the Vienna Piano
again and listen to the recording. It sounds much better.

This is a workaround that works fine on recording piano,
but I don’t like it, because when it comes to drums,
strings or whatever quirky sound, using a piano sound is
no fun and doesn’t give you the right feeling.

If there is one fundamental thing I’d expect from a sequencer
it is that the playback sounds the same as you recorded it.

I’m using VST instruments alot and each time I find myself
moving notes slightly to the right before it will sound normal
or before I’m able to quantize it - it gives me head ache.

So back to my suggestion again. I think the cure is to move forward
all midi data (which should automatically
be done by the sequencer) when recording on VST instrument channels.

Maybe there’s a smarter or even more accurate way to put it?
Suggestions are most welcome.

I’ve sent the link to this thread to the Steinberg support.
and am awaiting their comments on this.

AFAIK … there is no ‘midi delay compensation,’ as there is for audio from VST/ VSTi. In other words, there is independent midi delay in addition to audio delay from pressing a key to hearing the sound from your VSTi.

Both delay issues and timing issues exist.

Check out these articles for some overview.

If the timing is good, the most satisfactory ‘work around’ is probably just to turn off ‘snap’ and nudge the track to sync. That will also keep all your controller data synced to your notes. Not elegant, I admit … but it sure works.




Now that is info I can use!
Thank you Como.

Greetz Dylan.

as typical MIDI interfaces such as USB are often not very good for even basic tasks, hence my using such things as Parallel port based MIDI interfaces and PCI.

Padawan, please do a search before you put info on this board, or don’t state it as fact but as an assumption from your side. Because it’s simply not true.


I think there is more relevant information on problems like these on the Sound on Sound site. I can get answers to problems in minutes that would take years to see here. There’s some serious system experts over there and they always explain things very clearly.
And they don’t visit this forum.

Try setting the “Priority” to midi?

Thanks Como, I’ve read those articles before I began this thread and lots of
facts are covered there. Still I believe that this easy sequencer tweak
of moving forward the mididata is the answer to the problem. (the
problem that I talk about) I can’t see why it should work in any other way.

I agree, thanks. That has to be the best work around.

And that seems to me like a really simple tweak, which I think
they should implement in Cubase.

Would even Cubase be the first DAW to have a playback timing correct recording
environment of VST instruments if they did?

I’m tired of moving stuff after I record. And even if I record on my lowest
latency and the sound plays only a few milliseconds earlier, I’m tired of
knowing it’s not exact, especially when believing the tweak would be so simple.

I hear you!

If I were to put a name to what you propose, I’d call it MDRC … Midi Delay Record Compensation. It should be easy to accomplish this with incorporation of the same calculations used in Plugin Delay Compensation as an after you stop recording auto adjustment.

If you are recording against other playing tracks, presumably any midi latency would already be factored in by the compensation you, the player, makes to stay with the beat of the other tracks while monitoring your playing and what your hearing from the program.

I think there also must be an issue here similar to ‘direct monitoring’ as used by a vocalist tracking against a project.

Depending on your sound source, with a hardware module couldn’t you use a midi splitter with one out going into Cubase for recording and the other directly to your module. That way … I think … the alignment would by off no more than the minimal playback latency your system is capable of.

If you also recorded in with record quantization set around 1/64th or 1/28th, shouldn’t your recording pretty much exactly reflect your performance?


PS I love midi!

What gives you that impression?

So as I understand is that this problem has to do with Softsynths? Not hardware midisound generators etc?
That explains a lot. 15 years ago I made miditracks in digital orchestra pro on a computer and a roland Soundcanvas.
That system didn’t had that problem :smiley:

Mostly, yes. But it’s the same for VST effects. Cubase PDC (plugin delay compensation), adjusts output latency to the level of whatever is the longest summed delay of audio through a channel. If you had a softsynth with latency and then had it bussed to an effect rack or had an insert rack on the VSTi output channel, all those consecutive delays are summed. The longest delay chain sets the total latency and all the other channels have some fraction of that delay … the difference between their delay and that of the longest … added, so all the audio comes out in sync.

Depending on the VSTi, some are very CPU demanding and will require a higher buffer, which results in longer latency. If I’m recording midi on my system using hardware and without running any VST or VSTi plugins, I can set the buffer at 32 samples … for all practical purposes undetectable latency.


Guys this is a lost battle.


5 pages and amongst all the posts Steinberg denying the facts, saying this is not a bug. The only workaround is to work at the lowest possible latency and create a keycommand for advancing MIDI some ticks, then hit it everytime you record something.

If someone got to something better than that please tell us here.

Don’t use midi equipment that doesn’t come with a proper (non class-level) driver.

You are getting really annoying Padawan. You just fail to see the problem.
It’s not about the midi timing. What happens is that after recording midi notes appear EARLIER in the editor.
Better midi drivers will not let the midinotes appear where they should be.

It has to do with the latency of VST instruments. That latency is compensated for in Cubase, so because of that the midi notes appear earlier because they are not taken in the equation.

Can you please read carefully all replies and join constructively or shut up?

Greetz Dylan.

No greeting required Dylan, for I am not even sure that you are experiencing the problem?

I have never experienced the problem so it is quite likely one of those issues that are infinitely unsolvable without the purchase of improved hardware.

The only person whom as I see things (enemy or not) who really has any idea about this at all would be Como, as he has bitten the bullet long ago and purchased the proper kit as I have said myself in another post.

Oh and PDC was never invented or invisioned for use on the recording side of the DAW, it was, is and always will be a mixing paradigm.