Boutiques with MX-1 : Bad latency

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Boutiques with MX-1 : Bad latency

Postby Chug Norris » 13:12, 23 January 2017

Hi All,

Just bought an MX-1 and connected up my two Boutiques (JU and JP) via USB (using an Arturia Beatstep USB 'Y' cable to get round the non-powered USB issue - massive thanks to this forum for the tips!).

MIDI and audio are being streamed ok but the problem is that there is quite a noticeable latency from the Boutiques. This is evident in both midi notes being triggered, and the external sequencer playing in sync (it sounds quite badly late).

I have a TR-8 attached as well and this is fine. I have tried booting up the MX-1 at both 44.1khz (the Boutique's rate) and 96khz (the TR-8) and the problem is the same.

Anyone else noticed this? You won't notice it on pads perhaps, but anything punchy and transient is unuseable in a live situation (which is why I bought the thing...)

I just want to get any info/evidence to the contrary from you good people before I contact Roland about this one way or the other.

Cheers.
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Re: Boutiques with MX-1 : Bad latency

Postby rsaintjohn » 17:01, 23 January 2017

Chug Norris wrote:Just bought an MX-1 and connected up my two Boutiques (JU and JP) via USB (using an Arturia Beatstep USB 'Y' cable to get round the non-powered USB issue - massive thanks to this forum for the tips!).

MIDI and audio are being streamed ok but the problem is that there is quite a noticeable latency from the Boutiques. This is evident in both midi notes being triggered, and the external sequencer playing in sync (it sounds quite badly late).


I don't have this combo, but have you tired taking the Y cable out of the equation, and tested whether this happens with just one Boutique on a direct connection, both through the powered slot and the unpowered (running on battery)? Since the TR-8 is direct connected and not exhibiting the problem, that's the first place I'd check to start to eliminate culprits.
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Re: Boutiques with MX-1 : Bad latency

Postby Chug Norris » 11:03, 24 January 2017

Thanks saintjohn, I'll try this, although only one Boutique is using the y splitter as the other is in the bus powered slot 3. You'd think if it was causing issues to neighboring slots it would cause problems to the TR-8 too. But worth a try just to eliminate it, you're right.

I must say I'm starting to think that there's a fundamental problem with latency on Boutiques streaming audio over USB. I always have to use a track delay to compensate when integrating them into my DAW this way - or put up with the horrible noisy distorted/whirring minijack output. But this isn't an option on my MX-1 as the analog ins are already used by other synths. It was the integration of the boutiques on the MX-1 that was the selling point for me!

Will be doing some more test over the next couple of days and get back to you. Cheers.
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Re: Boutiques with MX-1 : Bad latency

Postby dpbel » 02:42, 25 January 2017

I have the [3] boutiques (JX-JP & JU) along with a miniNova running off the USB also attached to the MX1 but using a different "Y" connection and NOT the beatsteppro cable. I have had no issues with any latency, and record to DAW with no issues regarding latency. Check each boutique through USB3 directly to rule out your cabling. BTW, are you powering through a hub or each individual charger?
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Re: Boutiques with MX-1 : Bad latency

Postby Chug Norris » 16:17, 18 February 2017

Right, done all of the above and loads more. With all combos of leads, sync, sample rates, standalone and connected setups etc, I have reached the conclusion there is a consistent 15 milliseconds or so of latency with the audio coming from my 2 Boutiques over any USB channel on the MX- 1. This makes things far too sloppy to use for the live sets I am planning (the reason I bought the MX-1).

So now I've done my bit and I'm convinced I've bought a turkey, I'll put a challenge out: can anyone with either a Boutique JP or JU post a video conclusively showing that they DON'T have this catastrophic latency with the MX -1? Because either just my (otherwise perfectly functioning) MX-1 is flaky with these synths, or you folk claiming yours work perfectly aren't noticing the latency for whatever reason.

Maybe try a Tr-8 and a Boutique attached via USB to the MX-1. Sequencer on for the Boutique, with a short sharp sound with instant attack. Simple unswung drum pattern on the TR. Hit play on the MX-1 and record the lack of latency and perfect timing.

Anyone up for this? Cos I think we've payed for a dud setup as it stands. Care to prove me wrong?
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Re: Boutiques with MX-1 : Bad latency

Postby Goon » 19:42, 18 February 2017

Works fine with my TR8-FA-06 & VT3 all plugged into usb ports, no issues.
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Re: Boutiques with MX-1 : Bad latency

Postby ducker69 » 01:52, 7 March 2017

Hi i am looking at buying the mx-1 but i have worried about the latency over usb by the devices as well...

Is it possible for anyone to tell us what the actual latency is for audio over usb for the mx-1? I don't mean when running it in external mode.. i mean when running it as standalone mode without a computer. I think some people wouldn't notice 15ms latency but i would!
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Re: Boutiques with MX-1 : Bad latency

Postby ducker69 » 00:31, 23 March 2017

Hi chug,

Since you have the device... i don't suppose you could plug the audio output from one of your devices AND the usb for the same device into the mx-1 then record both inputs onto the computer .. then compare the start of the note through each input to compare the latency? I would love to know what it is but roland haven't been very helpful when i ask them.
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Re: Boutiques with MX-1 : Bad latency

Postby darenager » 19:01, 23 June 2017

Are you talking about latency into computer OP? I do not use a computer and have zero latency with any of my boutiques, I use usb y splitters for the power and audio over usb, and have the master outs of the MX-1 direct to monitor speakers, everything is very tight timing. If you are going into a computer try using the analog master outs from the MX-1 to see if there is a difference.
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Re: Boutiques with MX-1 : Bad latency

Postby Chug Norris » 15:54, 30 October 2017

UPDATE: Good news for MX-1 owners

It's now definitive and confirmed by Roland - the Boutiques are the problem, not the MX-1, and it won't ever get fixed.

Here is a video of a test I performed which seems to prove the latency definitively.

https://youtu.be/FmnXzoCktOY

Below is my correspondence with Roland in light of this video. It shows that they acknowledge the problem, and that it is seemingly unfixable. Whole conversation happened within 24 hours:

_________________________________________

Hi Roland.

I've been a user and evangelist of your products for a quarter of a century. I've done videos demonstrating your equipment ,which you have shared on your official Facebook pages.

But your 1st generation Boutique synths are still suffering from unacceptable latency - so much so that I can't use them alongside other Aira stuff (through an MX-1) in a live situation without them sounding badly out of time. There is a provable minimum 15ms of latency. Here is a video I have posted proving it - it is sparking much interest on the Boutique Users FB group right now.

https://youtu.be/FmnXzoCktOY

PLEASE Roland - you are normally very good at listening to your customers when things like this happen. Is there ANYTHING you can do to help? We love the sound of these synths, but Boutique users are really struiggling to use them as intended right now.

Kind Regards,

__________________________________________

Hi

Thank you for your video.

•Very good informative video I must say!

To be honest I have not come across this issue before, but testing our unit ( JX-03 ) alongside a old beast (JV-1010) using 5 Pin Midi, you can also clearly see the JX is behind.

I will pass this video along to Japan and await their comments.

____________________________________________

Thanks *****, nice to get a reply so quickly and know that someone is on the case. For what it’s worth, 15ms is the lowest latency I can prove - it tends to be a fair bit more when using USB through a DAW. Best of luck getting Japan to look at this.

Cheers

_______________________________________________

Hi

No worries.

Ok, I have had a reply from Japan, and they confirm that this is the specification of the ACB technology.

There are no plans of any firmware update (or even if it is possible) unfortunately.

Sorry that I could not give the outcome we wanted.

Any other comments/issues just come to me.

_____________________________________

Oh dear that is bad news ******... oh well, all I can do just is spread the official word then, help to stop people wasting time trying to fix the fundamentally flawed, buying expensive hubs etc etc to try and stop it. Be nice if Roland could make a public announcement but of course I understand that’s highly unlikely.

Anyway, thanks for your efforts.
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Re: Boutiques with MX-1 : Bad latency

Postby darenager » 11:51, 2 November 2017

@Chug Norris Seems that my earlier observation of experiencing no noticeable latency on my setup was wrong, after watching your video I did a quick test of my own, and the results were similar to what you have reported.

Here was the setup used:

JX-03 connected to MX-1 audio via USB with power split, sequenced from din midi port
JU-08 connected to MX-1 audio via USB with power split, sequenced from din midi port
TT-303v2 connected to MX-1 via analog input 1
Sequenced from Squarp Pyramid 1/4 notes with duration of 16th notes on 1 bar pattern, tempo 120bpm
All items used running latest firmwares as of 2/11/2017

My latency between the TT and either of the Boutiques was 12ms, I checked 4 or 5 random places in the audio and the results were always 12ms adrift.

I think the reason I had never noticed before was because I use the JX and JP for pads and strings mainly, but now I think I will test all my other Boutiques including the SH-01a and TR-08, I will post a follow up if anything of note occurs.

Another semi related observation I have noted with the MX-1 is occasionally when syncing the TR-09, TB-03 and TR-08 to it or with the MX-1 slaved to the SBX-1 is that it can go out of sync for a second or so resulting in a lag then correction cycle, like a stutter, not good.
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Re: Boutiques with MX-1 : Bad latency

Postby Myrk- » 12:31, 5 November 2017

Milliseconds, as in thousandths of a second - 12/1000th second. You guys think 12ms would really make a compositional difference? That's less drift than the tightest rock band on the planet could even ever play at - when you hear a CD of a band, that's not within 12ms separation of notes between musicians. With the topic title "Bad Latency" I'd expect something kinda audible like 50ms, which is what most people perceive as a very slight echo, or small room reverb - kinda natural. The brain in general clumps together anything in the 20-30ms range as it's so close - our timing resolution is just not that good, but I guess there are some people out there with higher resolution, in the same way our eyes differ from one another...

This being said, I have always learnt that putting everything at the exact same time will sound unnatural, robotically so - something that, as far as my knowledge goes, is something top producers avoid. Each to their own I guess... but now you know it's there does it bother you more so than if you didn't know it? The rest of the globe seems ok using boutiques in their music...
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Re: Boutiques with MX-1 : Bad latency

Postby darenager » 13:21, 5 November 2017

12ms is actually very noticeable on fast attack sounds and percussion, consider if you were to layer 2 sounds with fast attack on different midi channels if one of the devices had 12ms of latency and the other did not you’d certainly hear it, it will sound smeared, try it yourself and see what you think.

Of course midi itself is not perfect, once you have a few chords going and a couple of channels of data then timing can suffer noticeably even with very tight equipment, so to have synths that have latency is only going to make things worse. Sure if you are making music that does not require precise timing then it is probably not going to bother you, but for people who do require precision it is a real issue.
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Re: Boutiques with MX-1 : Bad latency

Postby Chug Norris » 11:27, 7 November 2017

Myrk- wrote:You guys think 12ms would really make a compositional difference? That's less drift than the tightest rock band on the planet could even ever play at - when you hear a CD of a band, that's not within 12ms separation of notes between musicians. With the topic title "Bad Latency" I'd expect something kinda audible..



No offence Myrk, but the reason these instruments have such legacy value (and are thus being recreated for a viable marketplace) has nothing to do with Rock music, however tight, and everything to do with extremely rythmically tight DJ orientated electronic genres such as house, techno - that sort of thing. These are the genres that elevated this Roland gear in the 80s/90s to legendary status, when rockers were busy with Guns N Roses and Grunging out. The latency is demonstrably AT LEAST 15ms (I can only presume that Darenager's TT has a 3ms or more lag to start with). Try doing Moroder's 'I Feel Love' bassline from 1977 and making it 15ms late, it will sound bad, end of. In case you're not convinced, here's a vid showing what 15ms of lag sounds like. If your rock music (which uses Junos and Jupiters..?) is fine with this, good luck to you, but anyone making the aforementioned genres SHOULD find it ugly and unacceptable on things like tight basslines, chuggy sequences, percussion etc - or just quit now, frankly...

https://www.dropbox.com/s/m7080c02arbax40/15ms%20Latency%20with%20Sound.mov?dl=0
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Re: Boutiques with MX-1 : Bad latency

Postby Myrk- » 15:36, 8 November 2017

Fair does. If it's that much of a bother I'd suggest then using something like a Yamaha MEP4 or alternative to delay the midi signal of other gear by what ever amount you need to bring it all perfectly in time. Or if in a DAW just do a 2 second task of shifting it by x ms. I guess Roland decided that 12ms was acceptable!
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