delay on my midi...

midi keyboard comes out a bit behind…

im using n-track 3.3, with sblive 5.1 card, on kx drivers…

ive just plugged a midi keyboard in for the first time, and after a while of tryin to work out which output i needed to hear it, i got it workin (output: microsoft GS wavetable SW synth) but theres a short delay between it comin out of my speakers. delay doesnt seem on the track when i record it, but is still there as i am recording it, also is there when i play back.

im assuming this is some kind of latency, but i dont know how to get rid…anyone help??

Yeah, that’s the MS wavetable synth. It’s not intended for this kind of purpose. You need a low latency synth, like any of the following:

- external MIDI synth
- soundfont synth built into soundcards like soundblaster or Audigy
- “plugin synth”, which you plug into n-Track – called “VSTi” or “DXi” plugins (“i” is for instrument).
- standalone software synth (running on the same computer).

The last option is the most complicated, and most soft synths come with plugin capability anyway.
One option I can highly recommend is “sfz” soundfont player (google to find it). However, then you’ll need to find soundfonts containing the instrument or instruments you want to use. The best general purpose type is called “GM” for “General MIDI”, which is a standard that says that patch #1 shall be an acoustic grand piano, #2 shall be … etc. Sorry but I don’t use these kinds so I can’t help you find one, but I bet someone here does.

There’s a bit of learning curve here to get everything lined up, but once you do it’s well worth the effort. And we’re all here to help you on the way.


a-ha. thanks.

i think i have some software synths (VSTi 's) but how do i go about adding them…is it just like adding an effect on an audio track??

i tried my soundblaster cards as the MIDI output (well, the kX driver anyway) but i couldnt hear any sound…

im downloading sfz now, but what should i put as my midi output in preferences?? (theres about 7 options of which ms wavetable was the last)

The basic steps are:
- go to Add channel—>Add new instrument channel—>
- go to Settings—>Midi settings—>Midi devices.
* Select your input port and check the “keep devices open” box.
* Set Input to output echo to “Manual”
* Select your synth channel from the Outp. port list (under Manual mapping)
- Now hit the “Live” button and you should be able to play
- If you still have a latency problem, try decreasing the play back buffer size.

I struggled with MIDI for a couple months. The first part of this tutorial opened a bunch of doors for me…
SFZ tutorial at Audiominds Website

I think the last part of the tutorial may be different now, but the first part showing how to add sfz as a channel is still valid.


ok folks, i still got a problem here. the only midi output that gives me any sound is the MS wavetable synth. the kx options (synt, synth2, control, Uart) dont work, and the other options, midi mapper and mpu-401 dont give any sound either.

anyone got any ideas how i get round this?

OK, you’re at the beginning of a learning curve which is difficult to get over in a single post. The essence of the problem is this:

Your keyboard is sending out a bit of data that says something like "play note #80 of instrument #16 for 100ms with a volume of 90/127"

The question is, where does that data go. The only sound you are getting is from the data going into the bogstandard MS wavetable synth which is converting this data, in windows software, into a (general midi) sound. The problem is, windows takes a little while to process this data, hence the delay (latency)

Without a very efficient (i.e. more expensive) soundcard, you may struggle to get latency acceptable for live playing using any software synth, although you stand more chance using a VST plug-in synth. To use a VST synth in n-track you have to direct the ouitput of a midi track to the VST synth and actiavte the “live” button.

back to that midi data. With soundblaster cards you have on-board hardware synths that can play soundfonts. As standard the synths come loaded with GM sounds, but you can load any soundfont you want. The beauty of this solution is that the synth is in hardware, so can be made to play without software processing. Select the output as creative synth or whatever and again activate the “live” button.

Finally, there’s that output shown as UART. This is your output midi port. If you were running things the other way round, and letting n-track play the sounds in your midi keyboard, you would direct n-track output to UART, and the data would come out this port and into your keyboard, playing its own on-board sounds.

This is only scratching the surface, and I bet I’ve left a few things out, but it should point you in the right direction. You’ll find additional (and some of the same) helpful folk over at

Wow, I just posted the same basic question only to see this post come up just before mine. Well I guess we both need to learn about MIDI

If you’re using VSTi’s, you don’t need to pick ANY MIDI output source. You don’t need any, because your MIDI data stream is going to an internal thing: the VSTi.

First, plug in the VSTi.

Second, right click on the MIDI track and set “Output to” to the VSTi.

Bingo, that’s it.

To get low latency, install ASIO4ALL, which you can google to find. It turns your built-in soundcard into a low-latency soundcard. (Latency is the delay between hitting a key and hearing the sound.)

Hi !

I would recomend (for starters) to see if you can’t find out why the internal synths on the SBLive are not sounding. (Maybe something in the KX Mixer that’s muted / not selected) ?

The VSTi with ASIO4ALL will work as well (very good option) but for just getting going and throwing around a couple of ideas the soundfont on the SBLive is good enough to get a feel and record a couple of ideas without the ‘schlep’ of having to use the ‘LIVE’ option.

(its not that big of a deal, but it would be good to try and get behind what’s causing this - it can never be a bad thing to get to know the KX software a little closer…)

Jeff is onto something with ASIO4ALL tho’.

The whole point of installing KX was to get a faster driver for your soundblaster right ? But the added ‘benifit’ is the complexity (with the power of routing of course) of the KX software and its mixer.
With ASIO4ALL you can have the speed when you need to, but the more intuitive interface (read: one that’s not different from what you know) of the SB’s software. And it’s a nonobtrusive driver ‘addon’ and not an upgrade or a ‘replace’.

If you are up for some experementing and fiddling, try and scratch around in the KX’s setting, or uninstall KX and reinstall the latest SB drivers along with ASIO4ALL.

Please take my post also as alternatives to the other guys’ and not ‘countering’ it. Every one has posted excellent ideas - I’m just trying to add another option or two so that you have more options to choose from.

BTW - does your midi keyboard have its own sounds onboard ?
If it does you can just tell n-track to echo the midi, switch off the keyboard’s ‘local’ sound, and let N-track reproduce over the keyboard what it receives on the midi in …

My .05


Well, I can help with VSTi but not with SB. I suppose it’s a tossup which adds more complexity, the nuances of LIVE mode or using a hardware synth, though I think VSTi is simpler if you’re not the technical type. Plus, I like the ease of doing an offline mixdown for rendering, which I can’t do when using my external synth. And of course, the handy Freeze function only works for VSTi’s.

In the end, you’ll want to be able to do all possibilities (VSTi, SBLive, and external synth if you have one).

Oh WARNING: don’t use the MIDI rendering wizard. First, there are at least 3 different situations, and it only handles one. Second, if you take the defaults (which is usually the safe thing) you will delete your MIDI tracks (ARRRGH!) Hit Cancel and make it go away forever. We’ll walk you through the correct steps for your situation.

I thought that the AISO drivers were limited to 16bit ADC in n-track. On the FAQ page, Flavio states that the AISO drivers are limited to 16bit in n-track. Is that information out of date?

If it’s not out of date and you use this AISO solution does that mean that you can’t record/playback in 24bit?

If that’s the case, it’s still a viable solution, but it creates a limitation you have to consider.