Need your opinion on MIDI keyboard

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by lamerica80, Jun 16, 2008.

  1. lamerica80 macrumors 6502a

    lamerica80

    Joined:
    May 22, 2008
    #1
    So i bought the M-audio Keystation 61es and tried it with Live and Fruityloops on my PC (vista). On Live the lag was terrible, unplayable. On fruity much better, but it didnt quite have that directness im after. It might be cause im un-used to playing synthstyle with pianolike keys, i miss my old Roland D-10 in this aspect.

    Will the lag issue resolv with the macbook im getting in a week?
    Whats your experiences with the keystation? Should i return it and get another one or will i get used to the semi weighed key action?

    Thanks!
     
  2. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #2
    The lag you are hearing has almost nothing to do with the MIDI keyboard - its called Latency and it is dependent on the speed of your computer, the efficiency of your audio interface, the buffer settings in your software, and the performance of the software.

    When you hit a key, the MIDI signal enters your computer very quickly - then the computer has to call up the software, access the sound file, read the sound digital waveform (and transform it as necessary with velocity values, effects, etc), load it into the buffer of the audio interface, and then tell the interface to spit the sound out the output jack.

    The main variable is the buffer size - if you have a large buffer, it takes longer to fill it before the sound is sent out. However, if you make the buffer too small, then it empties before the machine can fill it back up again, and you get audio glitching and distortion.
    The faster your machine and software performs, the smaller a buffer you can set, and the shorter your latency will be.
    The more stuff you are running (instrument software, effects, other software and other OS processes) the slower your machine will be, and the larger you have to make the buffer.

    So the moral of the story -- for audio use, keep your machine lean and mean - turn off all your Internet, wireless, background programs, etc. (one good way is to create a second User account on the machine and customize it by stripping it down). Don't load up any more audio software, instruments and effects than you actually need. Read your manuals and experiment with reducing the buffer size. Use the fastest computer you can practically afford. Make sure it has plenty of RAM and a fast hard drive. Use a second (external) hard drive for audio and instrument files to take the load off the System drive.
     
  3. Chairman Plow macrumors regular

    Chairman Plow

    Joined:
    May 15, 2008
    Location:
    CT
    #3
    Definitely latency. I use an M-Audio Axiom 25, and my software of choice is Reason 4. On an Acer notebook I used to own (up to spec with 2GB of RAM installed), plenty latency no matter how I tried to compensate. On my MBP, no such lag, no tweaking was required. Can't speak for FL as there's no Mac version.
     
  4. godkorg macrumors member

    godkorg

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2007
    #4
    Windows doesnt' allow direct access to hardware by peripherals (like MIDI controllers)... thats where Mac gets the major edge...

    You'll be amazed at how well it'll work

    If you listen to "mr. hyde" on my myspace (www.myspace.com/temptingtragedy) (Yes I'm shameless ;) ) the first half is a good size sequence that I play in real time (not mixed down, from Reason) on the recording, and live, I play the strings over the sequence... it's a pretty big sequence, never had a skip or anything, I have the 1.8ghz white macbook with 2gb ram and a 160gb hdd... you'll be laughing :)

    p.s. ditch fruity loops for Reason... FL has made progress but I still see it as more of a toy than anything else :)
     
  5. lamerica80 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    lamerica80

    Joined:
    May 22, 2008
    #5
    Thanks guys! I guess ill keep the keystation for now!
     
  6. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2006
    Location:
    One Nation Under Gordon
    #6
    The Keystation, like most modern controllers, is USB. Vista latency is not an issue with this class of input device - as long as you have Vista drivers or have something that's holding back the PC.

    The Keystation may have some lag, I dunno. I was looking at getting it since I don't use the keyboard that often, but I opted for an Axiom in the end which I have no major problems with, but some have raised issues with the build quality of the keys. Still - you can't expect miracles at the price. I usually use Live on Vista.
     
  7. lamerica80 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    lamerica80

    Joined:
    May 22, 2008
    #7
    Previous poster, u r right!
    Just got my MB and hooked it with garageband up to the keystation, there is NO latency! It works amazingly well! The only thing is that i can hear some slight electronic noice just after a note goes silent, what is that?
     
  8. godkorg macrumors member

    godkorg

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2007
    #8
    That just depends on the app you're using and the quality of the sample you're using as well... if its what I've heard, you cant hear it in a overall mix... does the noise die down or does it persist? could be anything... :)
     
  9. Chairman Plow macrumors regular

    Chairman Plow

    Joined:
    May 15, 2008
    Location:
    CT
    #9
    Unplug your Macbook (run off the battery) and see if the noise is still there. You may have a ground loop in your electrical wiring.
     

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