Syncing, delay compensation, buffersize, multiclock

lately I am getting a bit confused as I get timing sync issues I do not understand.
My setup is Ableton Live as my daw, some elektron gear (2 overbridge enabled) a squarp pyramid which is driving some mono synths, a erm multiclock clock generator and a multi io audiointerface.
Now I have a couple of questions.

  1. Even when using the overbridge enabled devices I have a delay so the recorded signal comes in a bit too late doesn’t it? I havent used overbridge for some other reasons but I would like to go back instead of using the soundcard if timing issues could be solved. So how would I make sure the overbridge audio comes in at the right time? would syncing through live compensate for the driver latency? how tight is the sync? would it be better to keep syncing with the multiclock?

  2. when using the multiclock i experience different offsets with the same settings. I made a template in live running my audiointerface at 512 samples and adjusted every single clockchannel with each instrument to be perfectly on time, adjusted the offset of each channel accordingly and saved the settings in the multiclock. the next time i open a projct the timing is off. same driver settings, same clock settings, where does this come from ?

  3. when using plugins that are known to cause big delay (soundtoys plugin suite for example) i get a bigger latency when triggering synths of course. is this also reflected in the sync of the elektrons midi as well as audiowise?

did you find a solution?

Kind of. The problem is caused by Ableton. Somehow the latency compensation doesnt seem to be stable constantly. When using the elektrons with the multiclock and listening on a mixer everything is super tight.

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Ableton clock is a mess. You can get the sync right by adjusting delay in prefs, but then if you use any external instruments or effects the whole thing can go out of sync again because ableton for some reason wont take this into account. Its a shame because i think it would prob send pretty good clock if it did.

no it is not abletons clock i am using.
i am using a erm multiclock which generates its clock out of an audiosignal coming from live.
the problem is the delay compensation in live which is dynamic and does not get updated fast enough to compensate the inputsignal according to it constantly.

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RSyncing in Ableton or any DAW is a massive ballache basically. Its alot easier to use external instrument devices than it is to adjust track delays, is all i can offer…I did use audio clock from Live for a while, and it did work.

Hi Yentz, have you found a solution for this in the mean time? I am also struggling with this issue… Each time I start or load a project I have to use the metronome again to sync the rytm and my synths… The offset changes each time (also in the range from 30-100 ms)…

This is a complicated problem, but I guarantee you already have the tools you need to solve it. I use the multiclock with external hw and ableton, and my sync is exactly the same every time I turn on the machines, and the same no matter how many plugins I add to any track. You’ll need to experiment to figure out what your weak link is. All I can say is that I monitor everything through ableton, use the external instrument device for every external machine, and do not use track delays. (Unless using OB, in which case I use a positive track delay). Delay compensation is ON in Live’s prefs, and with the right multiclock offsets and/or external instrument device hardware latency offsets, everything tracks perfectly, never need to touch it.
EDIT: remember that the multiclock does not, and will never, shift midi notes forward or backward in time. Try to rule out any perceived delays in your system that could be related to misunderstanding this. Multiclock only shifts the clock streams.

Hi Zac_Kyoti, can you describe your setup a bit further? Do you sequence your hardware synths from Ableton, or do you use an external sequencer clocked by Ableton through the MC for that?
If you sequence with Ableton, do you use the USB midi of the MC to send notes to your hardware synths?

And one last thing, how do you deal with the Multiclock starting your external sequencer or drum machine 1 bar late?

I’m away from my gear this weekend, so I’ll do my best to describe. Sorry if I mess up any terminology. I use an OT, AR, a couple synths, the Multiclock, and of course my interface. The gear is set up such that anything with a sequencer, can sequence anything else. It’s important to note that I am monitoring everything through the DAW. Ableton drives the MC which is connected to each instrument directly - I’m not using any Thrus. I like everything to start instantly on pressing play, so I have the MC set to POS. The MC offsets are to taste, to allow whatever degree of freedom I need to shift forward and back. All of the instruments are using the external instrument device in their own channel in Ableton. This allows for correct delay compensation. The MC has the External Effect device on its channel, which allows soloing of channels without killing the clock stream.

The calibration of this whole thing is the hard part. This will be specific to your set up, but basically you are using a combo of adjustments to the midi clock stream (MC offset) and audio (hardware delay compensation in ext instrument device), to get all your instruments aligned with both the Ableton grid, and with each other.

Ableton can sequence the hardware by sending notes to the MC (USB), then the midi mapper in the MC is used to send the appropriate midi channel to the appropriate receiving instrument. Also, the OT midi out is sent to the midi in of the MC, to pretty much do the same.

I’ve got some other complications, since I use a controller keyboard and one of my synths can also send sequences, and I’ve got an iconnectmidi 4 in the mix to filter and transform some midi, but those things don’t really impact the basic setup info I described above. Keep me posted on specific steps you’re struggling with - hopefully I can help.

Can someone please elaborate, i cant even get the audio sync from the multiclock plugin to the interface itself. Would really benefit from some visual aid. currently using UAD apollo ERM multiclock ableton and various outboard synths and drum machines

perfect explanation thanks!

Hi all, I am having similar problems and figured I would revive this thread instead of starting a new one. My goal is to get my Digitakt to sync tight with Ableton while multitracking the DT in Ableton using Overbridge.

How I have it set up:

  • MC plugin in Ableton is in a rack with ‘Ext. Audio Effect’ sending the audio clock signal directly out of output 4 on my interface (Komplete Audio 6). I have Hardware Latency in Ext. Audio Effect set to 50 ms to shift the clock signal negative (that I later fine tune in the Offset-setting on the MC). The Ext. Audio Effect also ensures that I can solo Ableton tracks without stopping the MC plugin sending audio to the MC.
  • MC is in POS mode to allow direct playback, and as mentioned, I use the Hardware Latency setting in Ext. Audio Effect on the MC plugin track to shift the clock signal negative.
  • DT is receiving clock from MC through regular 5-pin MIDI and in OB I have Sync set to ‘no sync’. I only want to use OB to get the DT multitrack audio into Ableton.
  • Delay Compensation in Ableton is on, Reduced Latency While Monitoring is off.
  • I have both Komplete Audio 6 and OB as Audio Input and Ouput Device in Ableton. I have 8 audio tracks with inputs set to Ext. In and then the corresponding input number for each track coming from OB. Monitoring on all the tracks are set to off (I am monitoring through the track containing the OB plugin).

Problem 1:
After fine-tuning the timing Offset in MC, the DT syncs perfect to Ableton. However, only for a moment. If I wait a bit and do some other things on my computer and go back to recording, suddenly it is out of sync. I think I’ve narrowed this down to being related to Delay Compensation in Ableton (as it appears to be dynamic).

I read that by using the Ext. Audio Effect on the MC plugin track, the audio from the plugin will go out the output before being affected by Delay Compensation. Still drifts between being in and out of sync on different takes.

I read somewhere (Ableton Live & sequencers, workaround for latency issues - MOD WIGGLER) that the 8 audio tracks receiving the audio also should be Ext. Instrument tracks to avoid the Delay Compensation. I tried this too, but didn’t seem to help. Finally, I then tried to turn off Delay Compensation altogether, but then I have found no way to use MC in POS mode, as I can’t find any way to shift the signal negative. The MC manual suggests using a negative track delay on the MC plugin track in Ableton, but that doesn’t seem to have any effect unless Delay Compensation is on. I have tried so many things, but still don’t understand what can be the root here.

Problem 2:
In those periods where takes are in fact in perfect sync, and I record a 4-bar loop with 4 kicks, the first kick is late about 4 ms, while the remaining 3 kicks are dead on. Thus the distance between kick 1 and 2 is shorter than the distance between the others. Is this just an effect of using the MC in POS mode?

I have the same problem, latency is variable so its impossible to predict. Because of this I can’t:

  1. Play live
  2. Record

If I am using Ableton as master clock. When playing live i decided the only option is to do the clocking from my AR.