MIDI questions

timing out & how to sync MIDI to audio

Hi n-track forum. I’m new to PC multi-tracking and have a couple of questions I’m hoping someone can help me with. I’m trying to get a basic set-up working before I splash out on the (very reasonable) registration.

1. Before I hook up my other MIDI gear to the PC (no cable yet!) I am trying out the MIDI functions of n-track using the built-in Soundblaster card. Only trouble is it plays totally out of time, and with the notes all broken up. Could this be particular to the sound card, or will it be OK when I use the Soundblaster to control an external sound module by MIDI? I have tried changing the buffer settings and the ‘keep devices open’ control as suggested on this board, but no luck.

2. I have a song previously recorded as wav tracks (no MIDI), to which I would like to add quantized MIDI recording (as I’m too useless to play my keyboard in time). The song is based on an analogue recording of a drum machine, so the timing should be consistent. How should I set up n-track so it does the quantizing correctly? I can experiment with the BPM, but I don’t know where to adjust the offset. Or is there an easier way of doing this?

Thanks

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2. I have a song previously recorded as wav tracks (no MIDI), to which I would like to add quantized MIDI recording (as I’m too useless to play my keyboard in time). The song is based on an analogue recording of a drum machine, so the timing should be consistent. How should I set up n-track so it does the quantizing correctly? I can experiment with the BPM, but I don’t know where to adjust the offset. Or is there an easier way of doing this?


OK. I suggest you import the tracks, line up the drum track on the grid, and set the offset of the other tracks to the same as the drum track…

I don’t know how much you know about N-track so the following may be too much or too little.

In more detail…


1. Import the wav tracks into N-track - including the drum track.

2. Hopefully you know the tempo of the song… if not, you’ll need to find it. In N-track set the temp to that of the song.

3. Next set the grid properties (SHIFT-click the grid icon for Properties) and set the properties of the grid to “beat”, and display grid "always (if you don’t do this the track snaps to grid).

You should now have lines marking the beats in the bar.

4. Next you need to line up your drum track with the beats on the grid. You can do this by holding SHIFT and dragging the track left and right until the drum beats match with the grid. This should be fairly easy with a drum track. As you get closer to the mark, zoom in and adjust accordingly.

5. Double-click the wav display of the drum track to get the wave file properties. Note down the “offset” for the track.

6. Now pull up the properties for each of the other tracks and enter the offset that you noted above. This should cause all teh tracks to be lined up now (NOTE: Assumes that all the tracks started at the same “origin”).

That should be it…but I bet if you go to the end of the song and check the drum track against the grid it will have drifted. If you are lucky it won’t be much. There are a few things to do to sort it out, but lets wait until you get to that point.

HTH


Mark

Thanks Mark.
I’ve done what you suggested and it looks like my grid lines up exactly to the end of the song with the drum beats. Actually it was easier than I expected: zero offset was needed and the BPM was exactly as originally set on the drum machine.
I can see that this program has so many features its going to take me a while to learn them all!

So it looks like it should work, but the internal synth still plays way out of time. Any ideas on that one?

The internal synth is more than likely Microsoft GS Wavetable Synth. That’s a software synth with a lot of latency by today’s standards and a good bit of jitter. The only way around it is to use some other synth.

The real purpose of the MSGSWTSynth is to give a mostly acceptable MIDI playback experience to soundcards that don’t have an acceptable MIDI synth (FM only or none, or are so cheap the hardware synth REALLY sucks), and almost as important, a common soundset across virtually all machines. It’s not useful for the way we use a MIDI synth for the most part. It also adds MIDI playback capability to soundcards that have only wave out (must support 16 stereo - it uses the wave out on those cards). Not all wave only cards support it.

If that’s not the MIDI device being used then there are other tricks to try.

You might want to change the midi settings in preferences to use the wave timer instead of the system timer. Worked for me trying to get wave tracks in synch with midi tracks. Give it a try.