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OB-6 Clock Sync with Ableton Issues

OB-6 Clock Sync with Ableton Issues
« on: December 23, 2020, 07:02:42 PM »
Hi all,

Recently became the owner of an OB-6 and love it more than anything else I own. I am, however having some issues with using Ableton to control it. I've noticed when I connect it via USB and set it to receive MIDI clock, it is always off by a bit when I see the tempo readout in the clock section. There also seems to just be a general jitteriness to MIDI sent to it.

As an experiment, I set the OB-6 to send clock into Ableton, and just as well! Ableton's tempo readout will show something off by about 1.2-1.8 BPM than the tempo shown on the OB-6 clock, and it also will change on every 1/4th note by a small amount.

Now, I've had a bit of poor performance of MIDI over USB with other synths before, but never anything this bad. Is there something wrong with how I've set it up, or is something actually wrong with my unit?

Settings on the OB-6 are:

  • MIDI Channel = 1
  • MIDI Clock = I have cycled through every option, but none seem to work right
  • Clock Port = USB
  • MIDI Control = On
  • MIDI Sysex = USB

I've gotten the OB-6 to send me the arpeggiated MIDI into Ableton, so I know they are talking to eachother. But there just seems to be something off about tempo, MIDI and sync. I know MIDI over USB is notoriously bad, but... this bad?

Settings in Ableton:

  • Track/Sync toggles on for both input and output on the OB-6 ports
  • Sync Type = MIDI Clock (on the input)
  • MIDI Clock Type = Pattern (on the output)

I'm running Windows 10, Intel Core i7 2.60GHz, 16GB of RAM and an Audient iD44 interface if that provides any relevant context. The iD44 does not have MIDI outs, but I can fish out an old USB Scarlett interface just to test, and maybe send MIDI to the OB-6 via actual MIDI cables and see if the same issue is present.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Re: OB-6 Clock Sync with Ableton Issues
« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2020, 08:17:05 AM »
Does it sound in sync though?  I'd ignore the display, usually those look like the tempo is fluctuating more than it is.

Re: OB-6 Clock Sync with Ableton Issues
« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2020, 08:11:49 PM »
Not really to be honest. At first I thought I was just not hearing it right, but it doesn't seem to be consistently in time. It was also concerning that when the OB6 was master clock sending tempo to Ableton, the Ableton tempo readout was wavering.

MPM

Re: OB-6 Clock Sync with Ableton Issues
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2020, 12:35:31 PM »
Settings in Ableton:
Track/Sync toggles on for both input and output on the OB-6 ports


Switch that to OFF
I'm not a DAW user, but it looks like that'll cause a conflict if the OB~6 is sending clock too, and your DAW is set to receive it. I also recall an old thread about DSI issues receiving transport commands on CC's that aren't DSI transport CC's (or something like that).
« Last Edit: December 28, 2020, 12:43:45 PM by MPM »
OB-6  Prophet-6  Prophet.Rev2/16  no kids

the8bitdeity

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Re: OB-6 Clock Sync with Ableton Issues
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2020, 03:41:26 PM »
Ableton has a notoriously jittery clock, so you can expect a little bit of clock drift. However if you're hearing noticeable clock difference you might need to adjust the MIDI clock latency in Ableton's MIDI configuration menu. Should be a pretty easily Googleable thing, since it's so notorious. Basically you can add some latency (possibly negative) to align the OB-6's clock to Ableton.

Also agreed on MPM's point you want only the Track and Sync on the Output to the OB6, not the input since Ableton will be acting as the boss clock.
P12R, uWXT, Kijimi, Xerxes, OB6D, P6D, Hydrasynth, System 8, Pro 3, Wavestate, Peak, MS20D, A4mk2, ARmk2, MC202, Avalon, Model:Cycles, Octatrack, NLDR, H9000, Digitone, Deckard's Dream mk2, Roland System 500 + other Eurorack

Re: OB-6 Clock Sync with Ableton Issues
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2021, 03:10:56 PM »
I bought a USAMO because of DAW MIDI clock. Now timing is rock solid.

Re: OB-6 Clock Sync with Ableton Issues
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2021, 04:17:37 PM »
Really weirdly, tried the codeKnobs VST editor (https://codeknobs.com/products.php?id=12)

Now, i don't really get this thing, as it required you to disable the OB6 in Ableton completely (not allowing you to send MIDI over USB to it) but the VST would be configured to the port. It has a sync setting that requires you to create a 'virtual MIDI port' for which I needed an application called loopMIDI. Once I did that, I could send Ableton's clock to this virtual port, and a setting on the VST would allow me to direct it to the synth.

Sync works perfectly. It does hiccup sometimes, but that's an overall issue with the plugin (the OB6 will sometimes reset to an init patch, and lose sync. there's a sync button in the plugin, pressing it restores the connection). So SOMEHOW feeding Ableton clock into this plugin produces a neat and tight sync? I'm lost.

the8bitdeity

  • *
  • 25
  • Ham handed synth enthusiast
Re: OB-6 Clock Sync with Ableton Issues
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2021, 05:04:17 PM »
Really weirdly, tried the codeKnobs VST editor (https://codeknobs.com/products.php?id=12)

Now, i don't really get this thing, as it required you to disable the OB6 in Ableton completely (not allowing you to send MIDI over USB to it) but the VST would be configured to the port. It has a sync setting that requires you to create a 'virtual MIDI port' for which I needed an application called loopMIDI. Once I did that, I could send Ableton's clock to this virtual port, and a setting on the VST would allow me to direct it to the synth.

Sync works perfectly. It does hiccup sometimes, but that's an overall issue with the plugin (the OB6 will sometimes reset to an init patch, and lose sync. there's a sync button in the plugin, pressing it restores the connection). So SOMEHOW feeding Ableton clock into this plugin produces a neat and tight sync? I'm lost.

It's probably generating a clock from the audio render calls, there are even external hardware that does this using a similar process. https://www.e-rm.de/multiclock/
P12R, uWXT, Kijimi, Xerxes, OB6D, P6D, Hydrasynth, System 8, Pro 3, Wavestate, Peak, MS20D, A4mk2, ARmk2, MC202, Avalon, Model:Cycles, Octatrack, NLDR, H9000, Digitone, Deckard's Dream mk2, Roland System 500 + other Eurorack

Re: OB-6 Clock Sync with Ableton Issues
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2021, 04:26:37 PM »
I have given up on recording analog synths into Ableton (still on Live 9 Std)...I just use Serum and if I want to sound like my OB-6 I can generally make it work.
I have found that Reaper is a pretty good substitute, although it has some problems with the OB-6...e.g. if I set MIDI Clock to IN, I get some weird noise coming in and out for a few seconds and then it quiets down. I can generally get by with using nSS...this is mostly for Sync.
I occasionally have problems with recording MIDI simultaneously with audio from the OB-6 in both Reaper and Ableton; every once in a while it will just not start and I have to do a retake. I use this to layer the OB-6 with other sounds...
DSI OB-6, Nord Electro 3HP & 6HP, Roland SoundCanvas SC55mkii, Beatstep Pro, KeyStep, Roland SE-02, MPD18 (+mpcstuff), Roland TD-4 V-drums, Fender-Rhodes Stage MK1, Reaper, plus dozens of acoustic instruments

Re: OB-6 Clock Sync with Ableton Issues
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2021, 04:29:46 PM »


Settings on the OB-6 are:

  • MIDI Channel = 1
  • MIDI Clock = I have cycled through every option, but none seem to work right
  • Clock Port = USB
  • MIDI Control = On
  • MIDI Sysex = USB


I have had pretty good luck with MIDI...all my MIDI routes through a MOTU midi express, and that seems to smooth things out. I have a lot of USB devices running into my computer (2 full 10-port hubs) so it's not always MIDI-friendly
DSI OB-6, Nord Electro 3HP & 6HP, Roland SoundCanvas SC55mkii, Beatstep Pro, KeyStep, Roland SE-02, MPD18 (+mpcstuff), Roland TD-4 V-drums, Fender-Rhodes Stage MK1, Reaper, plus dozens of acoustic instruments

Re: OB-6 Clock Sync with Ableton Issues
« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2021, 08:07:24 PM »
Ableton has a notoriously jittery clock, so you can expect a little bit of clock drift. However if you're hearing noticeable clock difference you might need to adjust the MIDI clock latency in Ableton's MIDI configuration menu. Should be a pretty easily Googleable thing, since it's so notorious.
Does anyone know why Ableton does not provide the facility to just use a hardware clock? I have a Focusrite interface with an excellent clock...low jitter, etc. It works great with Reaper and Sibelius (and previously with SONAR) but Ableton just overrides it (at least that's my perception...if I playback an identical drum loop on my SoundCanvas and then compare how it aligns with the same loop (played simultaneously) vs Reaper and with Ableton, it locks up perfectly with Reaper, but drifts with Ableton.
DSI OB-6, Nord Electro 3HP & 6HP, Roland SoundCanvas SC55mkii, Beatstep Pro, KeyStep, Roland SE-02, MPD18 (+mpcstuff), Roland TD-4 V-drums, Fender-Rhodes Stage MK1, Reaper, plus dozens of acoustic instruments