Variable MIDI monitoring latency


I’m running Cubase 3 with a Korg Triton Extreme keyboard via an M-Audio Fast Track Pro.

When I play notes on the Triton during playback of the project, for example, constant 16th notes, the sound I hear stumbles and stutters intermittantly. i.e. sometimes there is monitoring latency, sometimes there isn’t. This occurs whether recording is activated or not but only when there are also MIDI events on the existing tracks being played back.

The resulting recording is fine - i.e. the notes are in the positions that I played them in, however the intermittent latency during playing makes it impossible to hear what I’m playing properly during recording!

I’ve tried the following:

  • Monitoring icon on the track switched on or off
  • Sync icon on transport bar switched to ‘offline’ or ‘internal’
  • ‘constrain delay compensation’ set to ‘off’ or ‘on’.
  • ‘use system timestamp’ box in device setup/MIDI/direct music/: set to: ticked or unticked
  • Triton MIDI clock set to ‘internal’ or ‘external’

Nothing seems to make any difference. Occasionally the problem doesn’t occur but then I try playing MIDI on a different track and it still occurs. What could be causing this?


I still don’t know what is causing this. Has anybody had any ideas yet?


System specs?

Sound card latency/buffer settings?

Hello again.
I’ve managed to get back to music again and still there is no solution to the variable MIDI monitoring offset while recording MIDI. I’ve tried uninstalling my M-Audio soundcard and SX3, and re-installing them, but it makes no difference.

In summary, when I play in MIDI on my keyboard (whether recording it or not), the rhythm of the notes I play in is not what I hear from my monitors. It seems that the presence of existing MIDI notes in the song being played back is somehow interfering with the output of my keyboard being sent to the monitor speakers.

For example, if there is a MIDI bass line or piano part already recorded and I try to play or record a regular 8th note meter on hi-hats over it, what I hear while I’m playing it is an irregular rhythm on hi-hats, which makes playing in time very difficult! If I then listen back to the recording, however, what was recorded was the same regular 8ths that I played in, so the existing MIDI parts (bass or piano) are interfering with the signal after it has been recorded and is on the way out to the keyboard/tone generator, soundcard and speakers.

The problem doesn’t occur if there are no previously recorded parts playing back OR if the parts (e.g. bass or piano) have been muted.

As it stands, sequencing MIDI is just impossible as I hear a stutter, irregular version of what I’m trying to play in, which is totally offputting. (I wish music software/hardware was like any other product where if it goes wrong you take it to the company you bought it from and they fix it, instead of being told to go and ask other customers to try to help you :frowning: .)


Thanks for replying Steve. I felt helpless before!
First I will give you as much information as possible:
I have a Triton Extreme keyboard, with its 16 channel sequencer being played by Cubase SX3 version 3.1.0. My interface is an M-Audio Fast Track Pro. My PC was built in 2006 by Digital Village to be a dedicated music PC. It has dual Pentium 3.2GHz processors and 2Gb of RAM. It runs Windows XP 32-bit, service pack 3.
MIDI Connection paths are: Triton>5-pin MIDI> M-Audio>USB>computer>USB>M-Audio>5-pin MIDI>Triton>Audio L &R>Speakers.
The jittering in live MIDI input occurs regardless of whether the input is on the same or different channel to those being played back at the same time. It also occurs regardless of whether there are Audio tracks being played back. The problem is not present if the other MIDI tracks are muted. Also, the problem comes and goes. After a while it works okay, then minutes later, OR sometimes when I close and reopen Cubase, it comes back.
I tried starting a new project with only MIDI tracks, no audio. The problem occurred when I reached about 5 tracks but I suspect that this is a coincidence due to the fact that the problem comes and goes every so often.
I use Direct music, not Windows MIDI and have ‘use system timestamp’ ticked.
I have M-Audio ASIO driver selected and released in background. I tried ticking and unticking the boxes: ‘Multiprocessing’ and ‘Adjust for record latency’.
I went into File/Preferences/MIDI and changed MIDI max feedback from 250ms to 50ms and back.
I changed the M-Audio settings from 24-bit to 16-bit and back. Sample rate is 44.1kHz.
I read in a SoundOnSound article about a problem called ‘live MIDI buffering jitter’, caused by the sequencer quantising MIDI being played in to the nearest audio buffer, resulting in a random jitter being heard on the live track being recorded even though it is being recorded as played in. This is exactly what I’m experiencing.
However the size of inaccuracy in the jitter is more like 100ms. Surely my 25ms of audio latency would only cause a maximum offset of jitter of this amount. Nevertheless I did what the article suggested and reduced my audio buffer size (in my case from 1024 to 256 samples), giving a reduced latency of 8ms. The jitter was no different.
The only thing I wasn’t sure about was what you meant by ‘experimenting with analogue audio’.
I just want to create music and haven’t been able to properly since I got the M-Audio 2 years ago. I did have a Motu 828 MkII which worked without jitter but then it blew a capacitor and I got the M-Audio for less than the repair would have cost.
Is there anything else I could try? I can’t help feeling like if you were here you would look at my setup and pick up on something obvious and say ‘you just need to change this setting or routing’ - and it would work all of a sudden!
Don’t give up on me!

Hi Steve,

Thanks for your continued suggestions. I may have found the solution: Earlier in the same Sound On Sound article a problem of consistent MIDI latency which affected the actual recorded MIDI was mentioned. This differed from my problem of course but I tried the solution as a last resort before you replied with your latest ideas.

The fix involved using windows explorer to navigate to a folder called midiportenabler under: Program files\Steinberg\Cubase SX3\ and then cutting a file called ‘ingnoreportfilter’ out and moving back into the parent folder 'Cubase SX3' and pasting it there. Then I ran Cubase SX3 and opened up one of my projects. Now, when I went into one of my MIDI tracks and clicked on the dropdown boxex for MIDI ins and MIDI outs there was a new option: ‘M-Audio MIDI in (emulated)’ and ‘M-Audio MIDI out (emulated)’. Selecting these new MIDI in and out options for a particular channel made the live jitter problem go away. Selecting the original options again made it reappear sometimes.

I’m still reluctant to celebrate too early due to the intermittent nature of my problem but so far it seems to have worked! If it still goes wrong then at least I still have your recent ideas to try out.

Thanks again Steve!