That's interesting - my home PC has no MIDI interface, so I bought (admittedly a very cheap) USB MIDI interface. When playing into the PC from my digital piano, the music starts off OK-ish and then turns dreadful as the metronome slows exponentially! (I admit this might be my computer's reaction to my muscial ability, but we'll leave that aside for now...)
My initial research led me to believe that this was a result of the USB interface's lack of synchronicity - as MIDI clearly has a very strict clocked signal, the lack of such a clock on USB meant that it couldn't "keep up"... but perhaps I am getting confused? Could my PC be just too ancient?! I tried it on both my (relatively new Sony) laptop and my work (new HP) laptop, but with identical results each time. Therefore, I concluded, either the USB bus isn't really suited to MIDI, or the device I purchased is really cheap and nasty!
Metronone on what, the piano or in software? Have you got a proper soundcard? Sounds like it may be an issue with that rather than the midi. If you dont have a proper sound card have a look at this, boasts performance of normal soundcards to a usable standard (but theres no substitute to a proper soundcard with well coded ASIO drivers) ASIO4ALL - Universal ASIO Driver
And yes, depending on what software you are using, it is a pretty good possibility your pc is too slow. Drop me a PM if you want to give it another go and ill see if i can help out getting a working configuration.
Another vote for the edirol interface. Ive got an edirol USB keyboard here and its been fine. Edirol are generally quite good for the price, they are part of Roland which cant be bad.
Personally though id give one of the £5 ones a go first. They may be fine, as above if you dont have proper soundcards in your PCs it will be that whch is the limiting factor, not the midi interface.
Good brands; M-Audio, Terratek, EMU, Edirol, and for a school (depending how much you are into music) i wouldnt be put off from buying something by the likes of Behringer just to see what its like.
Last edited by j17sparky; 13th November 2008 at 06:44 PM.
This ASIO driver addon thing prevents or atleast helps latency? Im just asking because we have a bunch of old kit running all different sound cards. The majority of them have bad latency and get worse as you add more layers or channels when working with the midi software ( sound studio ). We want to goto USB keyboards thinking they are going to be sooo much better but from what i've read - this might not be the case after all.
We have P4 2.8Ghz - 333/400Mhz FSB Motherboards running 256 or 512MB DDR RAM @ 333Mhz also using Realtek AC97 onboard soundcards.
We did order several MIDI enabled Soundcards from eBay for £8-12 each to try. They was just as bad as the integrated soundcards tbh.
How does this ASIO driver work? Do I just install it on any machine with a soundcard that has a MIDI input?
The problem manifests itself like this: I play a piece on the piano connected to the MIDI input (USB). I play, say for example, 20 notes, each an identical length (e.g. crotchets). The first few will recorded in time, but then the recording starts to slow down, so that the next couple become a beat and a half long, (dotted crotchet), then twice as long (minims), etc, until it ends with a single, long, tied note lasting about 3 bars!
All the time the recording is happening, I can optionally have the software produce a metronome "pulse", either through the PC's sound card or via MIDI "back" to the piano. Either way, this pulse slows down in a similar fashion to that explained above, so that initially there are, say, 2 beats per second, then down to 1.5 per second, then down to 1 per second, etc. All this whilst I am still playing at the same speed. Hope that makes sense.
Hence my research, which led me to believe that MIDI and USB aren't the best combination. If any of this sheds any further light, then that's great - but I appreciate that, at this point, this has progressed from a "helping the school out" issue to a "troubleshooting my PC" issue... and everyone's time is far more valuable and probably more wisely spent on more pressing concerns!
sdc - Seems a wierd one that. What sofware are you using? Id still give ASIO4ALL a shot. Its free so you've got nothing to lose. What generallly happens with issues like i described is you get glitches and quick changes of tempo, not a prolonged slowing.
techyphil - For the sake of this convosation ASIO is to music what DirectX is to games. With badly coded GFX drivers you will get a drop in framerate, or in the case of music drop outs in audio; glitches, snaps, pops etc.
I have used ASIO4ALL on the ac'97 soundcards and they are suprisingly good. Which software are you using?
Goto your music softwares options and find the Audio interface pages.
Change it to ASIO4ALL
Change ASIO4ALLs settings for a 512 sample buffer.
Play some music - does it sound/respond better?
If its glitchy, increase the buffer to 1024.
If theres too much latency change the buffer to 256.
A big buffer is bad for latency.
Too short a buffer and your PC cant keep up and starts making pops and crackles.
IF you dont have a midi interface then it doesnt really matter too much about latency, so you can increase the buffer to 2048 samples which will hopefully give you nice stable audio.