More info about midi notes playing early - Any suggestions?

Hi. So I’ve been reading the forums and trying to pinpoint why the midi notes are recording early. Rather than switching to another DAW, I am giving this a shot. I tried out the virtual keyboard function and the notes were actually recorded right on time so I’ve narrowed this down to a USB only issue.

When using my USB controller I can see the keys on the piano roll lighting up exactly on time so it’s not an issue with Cubase receiving the data at the incorrect time. Still for some reason it is adding the midi notes 1/32nd to 1/16th early. I am not 100% certain but I also suspect the notes are also drifting because the performance comes out a lot sloppier than I hear when I’m actually playing it.

Can anyone give me some direction on what to troubleshoot? I read about updating USB drivers but mine are all up to date.

System: Alienware Aurora R7, all SSD, 16 gigs DDR4
Controller: Komplete Kontrol S61, Oxygen 25 (same result on both)
Apollo Twin, Presonus Studiolive, MOTU 896 (same result on each)

Thank you

PS. I don’t mind switching to good old fashion midi cables but I’m not sure how to go about it. I could get a Midi to USB cable but wouldn’t that still be going through USB? Funny, I’ve had one for about 10 years that was never used and I finally threw it away about 6 months ago.

Do you still see the issue when you have a the simplest possible project, that is, just one MIDI/Instrument track and no plugins at all?
Is it always the same degree early regardless of sample rates/track BPM etc?

The lack of plugins is important as early recording can be caused by plugin compensation when it isn’t actually required.
This is an issue I’ve often encountered with MIDI being recorded early and one that still occasionally catches me out.

FWIW though I have had issues with this problem in the past I don’t anymore (other than when I forget and bypass rather than reactivate a plugin as mentioned above) thus I believe it should be solvable on your system too.