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Author Topic: MIDIJet Wireless MIDI lag time  (Read 2296 times)

tigerxchaos

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MIDIJet Wireless MIDI lag time
« on: November 21, 2011, 05:50:17 PM »

Hey tribe,
As I work to get comfortable with my playing style on the ZX, I've noticed something that is throwing me off a little bit. It seems like there is a tiny bit of lag when playing over wireless. It's minute, probably measured in single-digit millisecond numbers, but noticable; the drum hits come a hair after my finger touches the pad.

Is this something anyone else has noticed? More importantly, those of you that gig with your Zendrums, is this something I should be worried about and go wired when I start playing shows? Could such a tiny difference throw off the rest of the band? Or should I just work on ignoring it, or (harder) adapt to it? It seems like a negligible amount, 1/100th of a second or less, but not having played as part of a band yet, I'm not sure if it's something I should concern myself with.

Thoughts?
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Pocket Master

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Re: MIDIJet Wireless MIDI lag time
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2011, 06:19:59 PM »

I have not had any issues with a delay, there is one room that I cannot use my wireless because there are so many wireless mics and guitars as well as wi-fi and cordless phones, I think there is an interference and it will occasionally delay, so I wire up just for that room which is no big deal because I stay in the same place there.  How far away are you from the speakers when you notice the delay, the further away you are the more it will sound like a delay but it is really the time the sound has to travel to get to you.  The other thing to consider is if you are behind the mains and are not using a monitor, you could be hearing the delay of the mains bouncing off of the wall and coming back to you, that would really sound off.  If you are wearing headphones and you still notice a delay, there could many things, processor if you are using a computer, RAM, windows versus mac, and so on.  If you give some more detail of the setup when you hear the delay it may help give some insight to the problem.

Rob
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tigerxchaos

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Re: MIDIJet Wireless MIDI lag time
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2011, 06:46:49 PM »

Hi Rob! I'm noticing it in my little studio area in my apartment. I have a couple of Mackie monitors set up and my kitchen's only maybe 17 feet long or so, so I don't think it's an acoustic thing. I think it's either the MIDIJet or my laptop/audio interface.

I'm running FL Studio 10 with Battery 3 and with Kontakt, but I also pick up on it when I'm practicing with my Roland drum tutor software. My laptop's a core i7 with 8GB DDR3 RAM, and my audio interface is an E-MU 0404 USB (accursed thing that it is).

I have to do some more testing to see what setups I notice the delay in. I have an Alesis D4 to hook into as well and I think once I try that out directly, it will be telling as to where the delay is coming from. Once thing I did notice--and the delay is so small that it could be psychological--but it doesn't seem that I have any lag when running wired.

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Pocket Master

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Re: MIDIJet Wireless MIDI lag time
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2011, 08:58:34 PM »

You might want to make sure that you have all of the un-needed background processes turned off, those processes could take up some of the RAM and processor causing a delay, I have noticed that more with the PC based systems than with the MAC.  I am not sure how many MIDI devices you have plugged into your E-MU 0404, but I have found that the more MIDI devices you plug in that there is some latency.  You might want to try getting a M-Audio UNO MIDI to USB cable and try just plugging your Zendrum into it and then into your computer.  See if that fixes the latency, if it doesn't, then my guess would be it has something to do with your processor having too much running in the background which will give you that delay.  Hope this helps.

Rob
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tigerxchaos

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Re: MIDIJet Wireless MIDI lag time
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2011, 11:15:23 AM »

Thanks for your suggestions Rob. I know there is a little lag time added by the sound card (2-6ms) but I would expect that to occur over wired MIDI as well. I do have a MIDI to USB connector that came with my drum tutor software as well. I'll do some more empirical testing and see what I can figure out.

If it turns out there's no way to eliminate it, is it something to be concerned about when playing with a band? From doing the math, it is probably about a 128th note off from the "true" beat at 120-140bpm which is what most of what I'll be playing is.
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THUMPER

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Re: MIDIJet Wireless MIDI lag time
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2011, 11:58:21 AM »

I have been using a Motu Fastlane midi to USB interface and do not notice a latency. All computers will have some lag but you can get it to a managable level thru settings and your hardware. Like Pocketmaster said sometime the farther you get from the speakers you will hear a definate lag. I try and stay 10-15 feet in front of mine. Thumper
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Thumper

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Re: MIDIJet Wireless MIDI lag time
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2011, 11:59:49 AM »

Pocketmaster what is the midi interface that you and Dr Shark have? Thumper
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Thumper

Inspector 109

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Re: MIDIJet Wireless MIDI lag time
« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2011, 08:07:54 AM »

We've had many debates around here about what human hearing is capable of discerning.
Technical facts say I'm wrong, but I can feel a very tiny change in speed beyond what wise experts will state is "real" so I understand your nagging feeling that something is not quite right on top of the beat, and the struggle to correct that in real time with how you play.
Every device has a response curve and processing speed all it's own, finding some combination that you can live with seems like a tall order sometimes. Mostly everybody wants to tell you that it can't possibly be their fault and they can prove it on paper! ::)
I've been about 200 feet from the stage during soundcheck to test the MIDIJet.
As far as I can tell the MIDIJet doesn't add any latency to my drumstrokes.
Getting away from the front house PA by even a few feet makes a huge difference, though.
Usually. I'm three feet away from the receiver with headphones on to mix the whole band.
My sense of it is that even 10 feet from a speaker makes a noticeable smear in what you hear from what you hit.
Try a long heaphone cable or wired in-ear monitors to A/B test my theory for yourself.
If there actually seems to be a technical issue, please let me know and we'll get it sorted out together immediately.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2011, 09:49:53 AM by Inspector 109 »
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David Haney
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Pocket Master

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Re: MIDIJet Wireless MIDI lag time
« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2011, 12:55:33 PM »

Thumper,

Shark is using the MOTU 5 by 5 I believe for connecting all of his gear.  I go back and forth between the M-Audio Midisport 4 x 4 and the UNO Midi to USB cable.  It depends on how many items I am hooking up.  If it is just my foot pedal and my Zendrum, then I will most likely use the UNO, one on each piece of gear.  If my Macbook is going to be off stage, then the UNO is not long enough for me to run from the foot pedal to the mac, so I switch from the UNO to the Midisport so I cun run a long MIDI cable from the pedal to the mac, I usually run wireless on my Zendrum so the UNO will work for that or I can plug the wireless into the Mdisport as well.  There are so many ways to hook it up that it just comes down to what works for you.

Rob
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tigerxchaos

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Re: MIDIJet Wireless MIDI lag time
« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2011, 01:06:22 PM »

Hey Inspector,
I would have to guess that the latency, whatever it is, is probably not a technical issue. I talked with one of my bandmates who is very knowledgeable with electronics and MIDI, and he said it's very probably just a tiny delay caused in processing the wireless transmission, coupled with the standard ASIO sound card delay. The problem I have when deciding how much of a concern it is, is that I know I'm sensitive to such things (I can see CRT TV screens flickering and so on), so would the average person listening or playing with me also notice? I'm starting to think not. I think it's just something I need to get used to... I am doubting whether or not a 128th note would be a major issue for anyone. Even my drum training software marks anything less than a 64th note off as "perfect".

I'm sure it could also be a delay in the 3 feet or so between my ears and my monitors when I'm practicing at my studio desk. Sound waves are nowhere near as fast as radio waves, and it's such a small delay that I could just
I'll give it a test with headphones on tonight and see if I notice any difference. When playing live, I'll have in-ear monitors so it's not going to be an issue there.

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tigerxchaos

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Re: MIDIJet Wireless MIDI lag time
« Reply #10 on: November 25, 2011, 08:28:38 PM »

Empirical testing complete! (well, as empirical as I can get, anyway)

Test conditions:

Hardware:
Dell 1747 laptop, i7 Q720 quad-core processor, 8gb DDR3 1333MHz RAM, 2 SATA 500gb hard drives @5200 RPM (I'm assuming the HD speed)
E-MU 0404 USB 2.0 Audio Interface
Cakewalk UM-1G USB MIDI Interface
Behringer MX 802A Mixer

Software:
FL Studio 10.0.8
Battery 3

Tests:
1) Fully Wireless, Monitors
2) Fully Wireless, Headphones
3) Wired via USB MIDI, Monitors
4) Wired & Wireless simultaneously (via MIDI in on audio interface and MIDI in from UM-1G), Monitors

Results:

1 & 2: There was no difference I was able to hear between my Mackie monitors (about 3' away from my ears) and a pair of wired headphones.

1 & 3: There was a definite snappiness to #3 that #1 lacked in an incredibly slight amount. It seems wired is definitely a hair more responsive than via the MIDIJet Pro. I would have to guess that this is normal, given that (I assume) there's a larger amount of processing that has to be done to transmit the signal wirelessly. However, Inspector, if you think it could be a technical issue, let me know. I'm open to suggestions.

4: This seemed to corroborate my findings with 1 & 3. I activated both MIDI inputs via FL Studio and when striking pads in Battery 3, rather than one solid drum sound, I could hear that the attack was rough-sounding and clicky from the two hits occurring minutely apart. Also, longer drum sounds seemed to create an "out of tune" sounding effect since the sample was not playing at the exact same point between the two inputs.


So what's all this mean? Not sure. My ASIO latency was set at 6ms, so I turned it down to 4. I tried different drums to make sure it wasn't an issue with the attack settings in Battery 3. My personal opinion is that the delay is so minute that it won't cause an issue, but again, I have to look to you more experienced tribesmen to tell me if it's something to worry about when playing with a band, and to you, Inspector, if you think it's a technical issue. I don't see what could have gone wrong though to create such a delay...with no moving parts, I would assume any technical issues would result in complete failure rather than the addition of a tiny delay.
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Inspector 109

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Re: MIDIJet Wireless MIDI lag time
« Reply #11 on: November 26, 2011, 06:35:15 AM »

That's good detective work on your part.
The #4 simultaneous wireless and cabled flanging sound would be the best indicator of speed difference.
I am certain that no one else besides you will ever notice that difference in a band situation without hearing both simultaneous signals, too.
I also don't think there is a technical glitch, either.
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