MIDI Sync issues?

OK, I’m just getting into the MIDI keyboard game, and I’m running into an aggravating issue in synching up MIDI input with existing tracks.

I have an Evolution 49-key midi controller hooked up through a MidiSport USB interface.

If I play an existing recording, and play along with my keyboard (using the GM piano sound), I can hear it fine, and the input is recorded to a new midi track in N.

But when I play it back, the MIDI track lags way behind the other tracks.

I tried just playing along with an N-track Drums rhythm, and while I was playing it, I was in pretty solid synch with the drum track. But on playback, there’s a significant delay to the keyboard track. And although I haven’t looked closely enough to confirm it, it seems like the MIDI gets further and further out of sync the farther into the track it goes (it seems to get worse with elapsed time).

What’s going on? I’ve tried various combinations of WDM, ASIO, etc. for recording and playback, but the same thing happens every time.

My hardware specs are listed below, in case it matters…

Thanks in advance for your help.


  • Intel Pentium IV 2.4gHz
  • Retail Heatsink
  • Abit IS-7 Motherboard
  • 1GB PC3200 DDR 400 RAM CAS 2.5 (Corsair)
  • 80gb Seagate Barracuda HD @ 7200rpm
  • ATI Radeon 9500 Pro 128mb
  • Soundblaster Live! 5.1, Live!DriveII
  • LinkSys Wireless Ethernet PCI Card
  • LiteOn CD-RW
  • LiteOn DVD-ROM 16x

  • Logitech Optical Mouse
  • Samsung SyncMaster 930b LCD (19")
  • Windows XP Home SP2
  • DirectX 9.0c

What’s you selected MIDI Ouput Device?

"Microsoft GS Wavetable Synth"

That’s my problem, isn’t it?


Yep, because it’s a software synth. It has at least 80ms of latency, and in some cases much more, up to a second, depending on the system. It’s also slightly variable to add to the misery. It wasn’t intended to be a great synth but one that sounded consistent across all systems at the time it was released, and that was a good while ago. It was better sounding than the typical FM synths of that time period.

Thanks, phoo.
So what should I do instead? :(

If you need to hear real time MIDI sounds then a hardware synth of some kind. For playback most of the VST Instruments do fine. Others here will have much better suggestions than I can. I use an outboard Yamaha MIDI Module, but used to keep an SB Live in the machine just for MIDI. The SB Live 5.1 should do fine. Just select one of its onboard synths as the MIDI out in n-Tracks MIDI prefs.

OK, I’ve played with this a little more, and here’s what’s happening.

I’ve loaded a soundfont into the Live! card (using the kX drivers). No other tracks in the song except the channels for N-Track drums.

As I play, it sounds fine. Right on rhythm, no perceptable lag between striking the key and the note playing. But when I stop recording and look at the piano roll, it’s not aligned with the grid (and consequently, it’s out of sync with the metronome or N-Drums). The playback is accurate to the piano roll. It doesn’t seem to matter whether I turn the MIDI echo on or off. :(

Oddly, the problem is minimal on the first take, but gets worse with each succeeding take. ???

Could the problem be my MidiSport USB? Could that be introducing some sort of delay or latency?

Why does the echo sound fine, but the actual recorded midi events end up out of synch with the grid?

THanks in advance, folks!