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Author Topic: [SOLVED] Arpeggiator does not sync with DAW, although tempo is OK  (Read 1078 times)

aguadopd

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Hello,
I'm having problems synchronizing my Arturia MicroFreak hardware synthesizer (firmware v3.0.6.1069) with my DAW (Ardour 6.7.0 in Linux, using Jack).

Symptoms
- The synth synchronizes to the BPM.
  - Display shows "Ext USB" and the lastest manually adjusted BPM setting. /This last value seems not to matter, as BPM effectively changes when I change it Ardour/.
- *The arpeggiator is not synchronizing?*
  - It seems that it does not restart when I press play / the playroll starts moving. The arpeggiator is free running and then I should try stopping and replaying, many times until I luckily hit the beat.
  - It's not a problem of drift. I tried playing for two minutes and I can hear the same spacing between a kick drum and a synth note.

Facts/Setup:
- Microfreak:
  - Sync Source set to USB
  - Connected to PC via USB
- Ardour:
  - 1 MIDI Track connected to synth.
  - MIDI Beatclock Generator (Mclk / MIDI Clock) enabled.
    - Without this, the arpeggiator won't start when there's a note sent from the DAW. It works ok without arpeggiator. So something good is happening.
  - I tried enabling and connecting MIDI Time Code (MTC) and MIDI Machine Control (MMC), but they don't change nothing.
- Jack:
  - MicroFreak's MIDI input connected to MIDI Clock out and MIDI Control out.
  - MicroFreak's MIDI input connected to relevant MIDI output track of Ardour.

This problem is always reproducible for me. *Maybe there's a kind of MIDI message that Ardour is not sending when the playroll starts moving? Does the MicroFreak expect such a message?* Could not find specifics of MIDI communication in the MicroFreak manual.

I'm posting this in both Arturia's and Ardour's forum, as maybe there are things relevant to both. Thanks.

Crossposted at Ardour's forum: https://discourse.ardour.org/t/hardware-synthesizer-arpeggiator-does-not-sync-arturia-microfreak/106139
« Last Edit: July 22, 2021, 07:34:48 pm by aguadopd »

aguadopd

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Re: Arpeggiator does not sync with DAW, although tempo is OK
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2021, 06:30:16 am »
I found more after inspecting the MIDI Clock output in Ardour. It happens that:
- MIDI Clock only sends a `START` messsage when the playroll starts moving from the start of time. When starting from another position, it sends a `CONTINUE`. When stopping, a `STOP` is sent.
- MIDI Time Code and MIDI Machine Control send stuff, but are irrelevant.

In conclusion:
- MicroFreak needs a `START` message to synchronize its internal beat clock, that is used for the arpeggiator, the sequencer, the LFO, the cycling envelope and the glissando adjustments.
- `STOP` and `CONTINUE` messages stop the stuff that depends on the internal beat clock (arpeggiator, seq...), but that clock keeps running instead of locking its position or adjusting it according to the external beat clock. This is evidenced by the fact that if I start in sync, pause the playroll and then continue playing after some random ammount of time, the arpeggiator is not (necessarily) in sync.

I really don't know whether this is expected behaviour or not. Maybe it is! I cannot imagine why would you want to have a free-running clock. But maybe it's useful to start the internal clock with some offset so as to have an offbeat pattern.

Thing is, I want to record in arbitrary places, far from the start. I'll try to manage this with some kind of MIDI plugins to convert `CONTINUE`s to `START`s. Or perhaps I can explicitelly send a `START` from Ardour? I also found that the Cubase DAW has a "Always send Start Message" option, so perhaps it's not an uncommon problem and this deserves a Feature request for Ardour.

Quote
Always Send Start Message
    MIDI clock transport commands include Start, Stop, and Continue. However, some MIDI devices do not recognize the Continue command. By activating the “Always Send Start Message” option, you can avoid this problem with specific MIDI devices.

https://steinberg.help/cubase_pro_artist/v9/en/cubase_nuendo/topics/synchronization/synchronization_project_synchronization_dialog_midi_clock_destinations_r.html

I'll update if I make it.

aguadopd

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Re: Arpeggiator does not sync with DAW, although tempo is OK
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2021, 06:34:19 am »
Some related topics here, for completeness:
- ARP start/stop with MIDI in https://forum.arturia.com/index.php?topic=95414
- Sequencer and some sync problems https://forum.arturia.com/index.php?topic=101506
- MicroFreak over USB: why Arp only works when sync source is 'Int'? https://forum.arturia.com/index.php?topic=100708

aguadopd

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Re: Arpeggiator does not sync with DAW, although tempo is OK
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2021, 07:34:21 pm »
Good news, I solved it using x42's Rule Based MIDI Filter (or midimap), that is "A flexible MIDI event mapper plugin using a rule-based lookup-table loaded from a config file". This worked as I wanted, sending a START whenever the playhead started moving, from any position.

A minimal configuration file that does the trick when loaded with the midimap plugin:

Code: [Select]
# midimap.lv2 - config/map file
# Lines starting with a hash (#) are ignored, as are empty lines.
# Note that: whitespace is significant (beware of trailing spaces).
#
# at first we need to set the file-format version,
midimap v1
#### strategy
## Forward all events that don't match any filter-rule as-is.
## If not set, only events matching a rule will generate output
forward-unmatched

# Pablo
# Convert Continue to Start MicroFreak uses Start to synchronize
# its internal midiclock.  Ardour only sends Start at the beginning of
# the timeline; in other start positions it only sends Continue. I
# need a Start to synchronize to the beat. Probably I will always want
# to start playing at the start of a beat.
# 251 is Continue, converted to 250, Start.
251 | 250

 

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