Ableton 11 - Pro 3 Sync

Ableton 11 - Pro 3 Sync
« on: August 04, 2023, 02:04:52 PM »
Hi all,

I read the Ableton 10 thread and thought as its a few years old and I'm using Ableton 11 I'd start a new thread.

I'm struggling to get consistent sync between Ableton 11 and the Pro 3. My setup is as follows:

iMac 3.2 GHz 6-Core Intel Core i7 16GB Ram
Ableton 11.3.4 w/ Push 2
UA Volt 4 audio interface - (Ableton Settings: Buffer Size 512 Samples, Input latency 11.6ms Output latency 11.6ms)
Pro 3 SE (v1.1)  - Local Control set to On

Pro 3 Midi Settings:

1. Midi Channel - ALL
2. Midi Clock Mode - IN
3. Midi Clock Cable In - USB
4. Midi Clock Cable Out - USB
5. Midi Param Send - CC
6. Midi Param Receive - CC
7. Midi Control Enable - ON
8. Midi Sysex Enable - ON
9. Midi Sysex Cable - USB
10. Midi Out Select - USB
11. Midi Program Send - ON
12. Midi Program Receive - ON
13. Midi Arp/Seq Notes - ON
14. Mid Arp Beat Sync - QUANTIZE

The Pro 3 is connected via USB to the iMac and Midi Clock Mode on the Pro 3 is set to IN so that pressing play on Ableton's transport triggers the seq on the Pro 3, which it does. In Ableton's Midi pref tab I have Track and Sync enabled for the Pro 3 output port and track enabled for the Pro 3 input port.

I have the Pro 3 coming into Ableton on an External Instrument track. As I'm using sync to trigger the Pro 3 sequencer the hardware delay function in the Ext Instrument in Ableton doesn't work. I think this is normal and not a bug in Ableton. Instead I use Mid Clock Sync Delay (in the dropdown on the Pro 3 Output port in Ableton prefs) to sync timing. The problem is that once I set this to achieve sync it doesn't stay stable. It might stay for a few mins and then I have to adjust again. Sometimes it drops sync when I just stop everything and change patch on the Pro 3. Whatever time the Midi Clock sync Delay is left at when I close the Ableton session it almost always needs to be adjusted again when I open a new session.

I also have sync issues even when I don't want the pro 3 sequencer to be triggered by Ableton. In this instance I have sync turned off in the midi out prefs in ableton. The pro 3 is being triggered by a midi clip in Ableton and in this instance I can use the hardware delay function in the Ableton External instrument to sync up. However its a similar problem in that it doesn't stay stable.

Anybody have any ideas on how to resolve this, its a huge frustration and means I'm constantly in tech issue mode instead of creative mode. 

And linked to the above does anyone use CV tools in Ableton to sync hardware more reliably or indeed use any other external clocking device?

Many thanks, K

« Last Edit: August 04, 2023, 02:20:47 PM by Kev68 »

Re: Ableton 11 - Pro 3 Sync
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2023, 02:52:17 PM »
I think I've worked out the problem. Hopefully I'm not jumping the gun here but it seems to be very stable since I stopped using Sonarworks Sound ID Systemwide app. I work almost entirely on headphones so I really wanted to have the same EQ correction curve not only for when I'm working in Ableton but also listening to music on websites, youtube etc. Therefore I was using the Systemwide app as opposed to the plugin on the master channel in Ableton. After disabling the Sonarworks app my sync issues are resolved and I'm now using the Sonarworks plugin on the master channel instead. A small but very worthwhile compromise to get everything in sync.

I can stop banging my head against the wall now and get back to making music!


Re: Ableton 11 - Pro 3 Sync
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2023, 04:00:05 PM »
That makes sense, the standalone software was giving varying latencies when it was processing, which live's compensation could not acount for since it was external.

Out of curiosity, are you able to use the arp beat sync quantize function? i never got it to work when clocking externally from midi, i found just starting/stopping the sequence manually in time much more consistent.

You can use one of the cv inputs, or the ext input to trigger the sequener. I've never tried this tbh. But if you set the sequencer to trigger mode and select the play source to be ext in or cv, the sequencer should advance one step each time the Pro 3 receives a trigger. Not sure how it will then deal with notes that are longer than the main step length, or ratchets, though.

I think if you don't have any cv/eurorack gear that can convert a clock or a dc coupled output with cv software, You could use the oldschool approach of a very short audio click going into the ext input. This way it will follow the latency compensation tightly , and it actually works lexactly like those super expensive clocking devices like from ERM.
I remember doing this on my original SH101 and being very surprised at the rythmic tightness it provides.

One Ableton related thing: i found that Live has some latency on midi note input playback, even on internal plugins as soon as latency compensation is enabled. Selecting 'low latency when monitoring does improve things, but turning off latency compensation is still noticeably snappier.

Personally, i found setting a low buffer size, and disabling latency compensation gives me the easiest way to have a creative workflow with a hybrid setup. If not, i need to constantly adjust both audio and midi clock delays when i switch from using the external sequencer vs playing notes from the DAW. Just disabling latency comp allows me to have a setting that is tight enough for realtime composition. I only enable the comensation once i'm fully recorded in the DAW and the high latency mixing/masteering plugins get used.