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Midi interface with good latency

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Midi interface with good latency

Postby kosashi » Mon Dec 13, 2010 5:43 pm

Hello,

I'd like to connect a MIDI keyboard to my PC. The keyboard doesn't have an USB interface and I'm looking some options.

There's a whole lot of MIDI-USB "cables" for like 5-10$, but from what I've googled, I can expect a whole lot of latency problems (at the very least), so I'll pass with those.

There seems to be another category of such MIDI-USB interfaces which are priced around 40-50$ and up. Can I expect that one of those will let me use the keyboard with no problems?

Or should I disregard the MIDI-USB interfaces in general and buy a new sound card instead, e.g. one with a real MIDI port?
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Re: Midi interface with good latency

Postby MarkOne » Mon Dec 13, 2010 6:15 pm

I've got the big brother to this one: http://www.dv247.com/computer-hardware/motu-fastlane-usb-2-input-2-output-32-midi-channel-interface--6340 and it's rock solid. No latency problems with it. Bear in mind that USB is quite quick in MIDI terms, and I'd be surprised if the latency involved in servicing the data from the USB MIDI port was the major factor in the overall end-to-end latency, especially for a software instrument.
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Re: Midi interface with good latency

Postby Matt_Moose » Mon Dec 13, 2010 6:57 pm

One of the M-audio Midisport 2x2 green boxes will do you fine. Reckon you could pick one up off fleabay for £25/$40. I've got one of those _and_ 2 of the 2x4 ones plugged into my PC and have no latency issues at all that I'm aware of.
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Re: Midi interface with good latency

Postby BJG145 » Mon Dec 13, 2010 7:16 pm

Matt_Moose wrote:One of the M-audio Midisport 2x2 green boxes will do you fine.
(...yeah, use a couple of those all the time...)
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Re: Midi interface with good latency

Postby Slasher » Tue Dec 14, 2010 1:24 pm

I spent quite a time testing MIDI interfaces a few years back for timing accuracy.

Can't remember every device but the Midiman 2x2 was amongst the worse and the Steinberg Midex 8 I found unuseable, because while it timestamped notes and sent them out correctly, it was hopeless at capturing notes in realtime in the first place (so only really good if you quantise everything after recording).

The best USB inteface I could find was the edirol pcr keyboards (you can use their MIDI ports as an interface for other gear). They had a consistent out/in latency of about 2-3ms compared to 13-14ms of the Midiman if I remember correctly. Still not as good as the 1ms I used to get from my Voyetra interface but more than useable.

Remember that this latency is added to any audio latency if you are controlling a virtual instrument. Also note that USB interfaces suffer from jitter, so it is very hard to adjust your playing to the delay because it is constantly changing!

I now have MIDI on my Presonus FireStudio Mobile. Haven't tested the timing though because I found out pretty quick that it can't handle Sysex dumps so I'll have to keep the edirol for midi anyway. Shame, because otherwise I've been really impressed with the Presonus.
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Re: Midi interface with good latency

Postby Martin Walker » Tue Dec 14, 2010 3:10 pm

I stick with the MIDI input on my Emu 1820M, simply because PCI/PCIe solutions invariably provbide significantly lower latency than either USB or Firewire (which in my experience gives much higher latencies :frown:)

According to my measurements, it's PCI/PCIe ~1mS, USB ~2mS, and Firewire anywhere between 5 and 15mS !!!


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Re: Midi interface with good latency

Postby BJG145 » Tue Dec 14, 2010 6:37 pm

Interesting...I flipped through your two-part article on this earlier because I was quite surprised to learn how bad MIDI latency could be. (I'd always assumed it was negligible, and never noticed a problem playing stuff through my 2x2, though I guess drums might be more demanding.)
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Re: Midi interface with good latency

Postby fatbenelton » Wed Dec 15, 2010 12:40 am

No complaints with either my Emagic Unitor 8 or the smaller Emagic MT4
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Re: Midi interface with good latency

Postby Darclinc » Wed Dec 15, 2010 7:25 am

For what it's worth, I've had a M-Audio 4x4 Midisport, which is now a doorstop, and I'll never get one again. I've had really bad experiences with M-Audio products ...

I have however been very happy with my Edirol UM-3EX so far :

Image

You can also daisy chain several together if you run out of ports at some point.

D.

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Re: Midi interface with good latency

Postby Elteto » Thu Dec 23, 2010 12:05 pm

Martin Walker wrote:I stick with the MIDI input on my Emu 1820M, simply because PCI/PCIe solutions invariably provbide significantly lower latency than either USB or Firewire (which in my experience gives much higher latencies :frown:)

According to my measurements, it's PCI/PCIe ~1mS, USB ~2mS, and Firewire anywhere between 5 and 15mS !!!


Martin

One more vote for anything PCI or PCIe...

Definitely another vote for E-Mu!

Too bad the 1820m is discontinued, but I can always hope E-Mu decides to resurrect it as 1820m PCIe in the near future!
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