MIDI Triggering delay issue

I’ve been using the trial version of Cubase 7 since I built a new Windows 7 computer for my studio, to replace a ten-year-old XP machine running Cubase 3.7. For the most part I’ve been happy with it, but a new issue has appeared from nowhere, which is rendering Cubase next to useless.

I’m using an M-Audio Midisport 2x2 interface and a trusty Kawai K1 is my usual controller for instruments - I also have a Roland SPD-SX which is connected via USB midi that I use to record drum parts.

I’ve started out creating some new projects using my traditional mixture of external MIDI kit, audio, and VST instruments, and all has been fine. However, about a week ago, for no apparent reason, I started to get about a quarter of a second delay between triggering a note and the note sounding. I can create a new project, and all will be fine, I can record a few snippets of MIDI and do whatever for a while, and then the delay will appear, with no warning, sometimes halfway through recording a part. Sometimes, my searches for a solution will lead me to change a setting, and on the occasions that this works, it works for a couple of minutes at the most. The issue arises regardless of the complexity of the project.

For example, my most recently-started project consists of 2 MIDI tracks, and is 16 bars long. One of the tracks has 1 single note in it, with no other controllers, and the other has 4 notes (and no other controllers). NO audio tracks, NO VST instruments, NO plug-ins, NO nothing of any kind running in the project. I found an article which talked about drift between audio-cards and software, and recommended using the “Use system timestamp” setting - I duly checked the box to use that setting, and all worked fine. For about a minute.

I’ve set Cubase to reset midi devices on stop. That worked for about a minute. Manually resetting using the menu function works very occasionally if I do it repeatedly - but only for about a minute.

I’ve set Cubase to Constrain Delay Compensation. Like the other things, that worked for about a minute.

I get the delay issue using both midi controllers (one of which is connected to the Midisport, and one of which is connected via USB). I only get the issue when Cubase is recording or playing back. When it is static, it passes the MIDI signal through with no problem.

I also just tested it to check the MIDI input meter - when not in playback or record, the midi I/O indicator registers instantly when I trigger a note (and there is no delay in playing the note). When playing back or recording, the midi In and Out indicators both show the delay.

I really hope this is down to some daft setting hidden away in one of the obscure menus that I haven’t found yet, although that wouldn’t explain why everything was fine for the first couple of weeks.

UPDATE - I just picked out some additional details. If I record some MIDI while I’m experiencing the delay issue, the notes are actually recorded on the part at the time that I play them, even though the I/O indicators still register the note rx and tx with the delay. Don’t know what that points at…

Anybody got any ideas?

Further update - I don’t get any kind of midi lag with Reaper or Ableton Live. I prefer the workflow and arrangement process of Cubase over Reaper, but I’ll be honest - after just one afternoon I’m starting to swing towards Ableton.

Certainly all these “odd little quirks” that Cubase exhibits (the transport bar disappearing from the screen whenever I’m about to click a button on it, VST instrument windows randomly disappearing, often when I’m right in the middle of editing one of the parameters etc) are becoming enough of an issue to distract me from being creative, as I end up spending more of my studio time coming up with workarounds to deal with stuff that doesn’t seem to want to work as it should. As an example - this afternoon I spent nearly half an hour hunched over the keyboard and mouse, step-entering a drum part that would’ve taken me less than a minute to record via MIDI…