perfect syncing

  • windows 7
    mlr 2.51++
    ableton 8
    clock sync through midi yoke

    is it normal (for those who've synced ableton's clock to max's) for the tempo to flutter +/- 3 bpm on every beat? i'm slowly getting the hang of ableton's features (finally) and i have max as the master and ableton as the slave for tempo (for accelerometer tilty purposes)

    i am wondering if this is a midi yoke issue, or just a sync issue in general. i've figured out how i want to use quantized 1-shot drum/bass drops, but when the tempo's a couple bpm off it really affects my timing.

    i am wondering if this is a calling to finally get max for live. hmmph

  • floating bpm in the display is a normal side-effect of midi-sync in ableton, 3bpm is a bit extreme though, it shouldn't be more than ±1 or 2 bpms ... how is your stuff hooked up, only virtual ? you could try using physical cables to see whether it's 'faster'. Or mybe run a separate app pumping out Midi clock and syncing both ableton and mlr to that ...

    hard to say to what extent this is only a display problem and how exactly this floatation is handled by ableton ... whenever i see a discepancy in the bpm on the different devices it doesn't always sound as off as the display reads.

    i've been experimenting with different sync scenarios and hardware for years now and currently when we are playing with 2 computers i don't midi sync anymore, we just 'pitch' the two computers (like turntables, align the one to the other and it will play in sync pretty much indefinitely) ... this has a number of advantages:

    - uses less cpu (Ableton external sync is a bitch on cpu power)
    - is and sounds much 'tighter'
    - doesn't 'float' at all (provided you have a fast cpu and some headroom processing power)

    but it's a bit complicated with tempo changes, this is really the only advantage when MIDI-syncing, pretty smooth gradual tempo changes can be achieved when using an external hardware clock (you do need an external clock for this, just using one cpu as the master and other as slave won't cut it) ...'tightness' is also better when using an external clock although nowhere near as good as when your 'pitching'

    one caveat with gradual tempo changes in sync in Ableton is that if you have audio clips the warping of these clips is also adjusted ... and doesn't sound so hot most of the times ...

    i had written about this subject before here:

    PS: i have M4L and afaik this doesn't provide any new solutions (i don't use mlr however, there might be a m4l version of that around), hopefully in Live 9 there will be more widespread OSC support which could be the key to solid network and inter-app timing.

  • ^ just to add, the m4l version of mlr and the sync is pretty money within ableton and using ableton as the master to midi sync w/ other devices if u are trying to do so.

    no drifting, if your ableton runs solid on its own, thats how it will run w/ m4l mlr.