Daw Sync Plug-In + Usamo comparison

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telder55
Posts: 6
Joined: 07 Mar 2022, 15:30

Daw Sync Plug-In + Usamo comparison

Post by telder55 »

Hello, I was a little disappointed to here about the plug-in being dropped. Does this mean each time i change the tempo in my DAW I need to generate a new sync file? I was hoping the Midronome would be able to replace my Usamo in my home studio set up but I'm questioning that now.

Currently, I am using Ableton and my default template includes an audio track with Usamo plug-in on it. I can load up a fresh set, set the tempo, press play and my hardware is all in sync without any extra steps. It is also not needing to wait a bar before it sends sync to my hardware. I was envisioning a similar functionality with Midronome + the ability to press play from the Midronome when I don't feel like opening Ableton up.

I'm still excited to check this box out but it sounds like it won't be able to replace my Usamo for the time being.
Simon
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Joined: 09 Jan 2022, 22:08

Re: Daw Sync Plug-In + Usamo comparison

Post by Simon »

Hi Telder,

Nice to hear from you! Yes you're exactly right, and yes I am afraid the USAMO might be a bit more practical in that way. The Midronome does give you a lot more options and possibilities though, and my guess is that it will be more stable and reliable than the USAMO (to be proven! :D ).

The funny thing is writing a plugin to generate the sync track automatically is really not such a big deal - the reason why I abandonned the idea was because DAW plugin coding is a real nightmare, you have different version of VST, then you need AAX for Pro Tools, and almost every single DAW reacts differently (even though the VST implementation is meant to be "the same"), especially when it comes to giving tempo map info, which would be essential for such a plugin.

Point is - right now making sure that all DAWs and all OS'es are supported is very important, and I have to make smart choice as to how I use my time (there is tons other things to do, like starting to work on those new features, the modules, and setting up the ordering website for that long list of people who are dying to buy one).

If the community ever feels like writing such a plugin I would be happy to help though, all they need to do is to look at what audio the Sync File Generator makes ;)

Simon
MLaf
Posts: 53
Joined: 08 Aug 2022, 21:42

Re: Daw Sync Plug-In + Usamo comparison

Post by MLaf »

I can understand the annoyance with having multiple plugin formats (vst, au, aax, and now clap) and many different DAWs. Sometimes supporting "most" is better than "none". In the IT security world, people often say "well I can't implement all of these requirements so I'm not doing anything" whereas any improvement is better than none.

If you provided a plugin in the most widely supported format (probably VST3) that worked as it should in say the top 3-4 used DAWs, that would probably please 70-80% of the customers who are hoping for it.

You said making sure that all DAWs and all OS's are supported is very important however back to the security example, a pretty high bar to hurdle.

I'm not saying to drop everything and work on this, but perhaps lowering the bar to a more obtainable goal might make it an easier task to accomplish.
Simon
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Re: Daw Sync Plug-In + Usamo comparison

Post by Simon »

That's actually very good thinking: the Sync File Generator works for everything, and for major DAWs there is a plugin which makes things easier... I like that idea 8-)

Just another factor to consider: from my experience with the plugin, it is not as reliable as a simple track with a WAV file, i.e. the DAWs will sometimes send wrong info when running the plugin, but if I bounced it then every was fine. Similarly, it seems some DAWs send some weird audio if you are using multiple WAV files for the sync (instead of a long one), you will see on the Midronome the tempo jumping at every new WAV file on the track.
Hence the idea with the Sync File Generator, I am trying to avoid frustrated customers - even though I understand it is not as practical as a plugin ;)
MLaf
Posts: 53
Joined: 08 Aug 2022, 21:42

Re: Daw Sync Plug-In + Usamo comparison

Post by MLaf »

Yeah there will always be tradeoffs when it comes to computers/audio/etc. If the pros/cons are documented then the choice is at least in the consumers hand.

I just noticed that the sync file generator doesn't support fractional bpm's (eg 87.4). Time to submit another bug report :-)
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eevolute
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Joined: 30 Apr 2023, 18:22

Re: Daw Sync Plug-In + Usamo comparison

Post by eevolute »

I have to agree with OP on this. I use USAMO with Studio One, and was hoping Midronome would be more reliable and easy to configure. I was really disappointed to read the plugin was not developed anymore. It creates more problems than it solves IMO:

1. in-song tempo changes are not possible. For example in a few songs I use a gradual bpm change over 16 bar down and up, and this is impossible to create with a sync file. the USAMO seems to handle this ok, not all (older) machines do but that is another matter.
2. Having to regenerate a file if you just want to change the bpm to get an idea how this would sound, it is very time consuming.
3. Looping does not work (at least not for me). Every time a loop repeats the Midronome gets more out of sync.
Having to send start/stop in addition to the usb of the midronome may cause this?

Please consider a plug-in, very simple, in at least VST/AU formats, which the majority of daws support. Those that don't can still use the sync-file then.
Simon
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Re: Daw Sync Plug-In + Usamo comparison

Post by Simon »

Fair points ;)

Regarding 1. this is already on the road map - coming in future version of the tool.

Regarding 2. yes I'm aware, I think a plugin will eventually come, at least for a few DAWs, the others will have to use the tool :)

Regarding 3. this should definitely work: my guess is you are looping the whole file, which is missing a few ticks (on purpose) at the begining. Try looping a few bars inside the sync and see if this works.


Just remember the Midronome is still quite new and yes updates and improvements will come - it just takes time ;)

Cheers
Simon
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eevolute
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Re: Daw Sync Plug-In + Usamo comparison

Post by eevolute »

Thanks for your response!

reg 1+2: Good to hear, it will help a lot with daw-based sync setups. I know the Midronome serves other purposes too so for that I can only recommend it!

reg 3: I have some additional information on this, if this is not the correct forum for it, please let me know:

- I did not loop the whole file, but choose a 8-bar section starting at bar 17 to 25 to loop. The sync file track starts at postion 1 of the song. Every time the loop goes back to 17, the midi clock gets delayed and goes further out of sync. it does not matter if I start the song from 1, any other position or at the loop point.
- Then I decided to try this: cut the sync file at bar 9 till 17, and repeat this 8-bar audio event every 8 bars and try the same loop. And to my surprise, this works, the looped section stays in sync. I know it is not the advise to cut the sync file, but it is currently the only way I can get S1 to loop properly.

Let me know your thoughts please.
Simon
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Joined: 09 Jan 2022, 22:08

Re: Daw Sync Plug-In + Usamo comparison

Post by Simon »

My pleasure ;)
Regarding 3. yes please create a topic in one of the "Questions" forum, to try to keep this topic... on topic ;)
Thank you
MPrinsen
Posts: 74
Joined: 01 May 2023, 13:42

Re: Daw Sync Plug-In + Usamo comparison

Post by MPrinsen »

I actually created an account just for this.

I too would love to see a simple plugin, so you can easily load it in your project and change tempo easily without the need to render new audio files etc.

I fact, I also currently have a USAMO and hoped this could replace it, as it has a couple of other nice features, but if it doesn't do easy DAW sync, I'm not sure I'm going to purchase it.

However, I thought maybe it would be possible to just load the short single audio pulses (the high and low pulse) in a sampler and trigger it with a midi clip, would that work? So then you don't need a long audio file, but only the short audio files (which I think are the same for any tempo, correct?) and if you change tempo, it will automatically adjust. Am I right? That would be a perfect workaround for me.

I'm confused why the long audio file skips a few pulses at the start of the file, why is that? Is that really needed? That would make things complicated..
Simon
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Re: Daw Sync Plug-In + Usamo comparison

Post by Simon »

You all make a very good point about the plugin - practicability is important I get that.

But the reason for all these (empty space at the beginning, at the end, using a WAV file instead of a plugin), are because from my experiments DAWs have the habits of often sending not the audio that is written. For example Studio One often sends an extra pulse when you press stop (even though it is not written in the file). And the first pulse is often incorrect (I guess because the WAV file is still loading or something?).

On an actual audio file you will not hear those things, but on a sync signal it can break the signal (the Midronome will show "Err" if a wrong sync signal is sent to it).

Anyways - I'm investigating this deeper, in particular with Ableton since many people seem to use it, so this should all improve in a future release, including the practicability.
MPrinsen
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Joined: 01 May 2023, 13:42

Re: Daw Sync Plug-In + Usamo comparison

Post by MPrinsen »

Cool! I’m using Ableton as well, so that would be perfect for me.

But what about my idea of using a drum rack with the single pulse sounds loaded, which are triggered by a looped midi clip? Would that work?
Simon
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Joined: 09 Jan 2022, 22:08

Re: Daw Sync Plug-In + Usamo comparison

Post by Simon »

Are you on the Facebook group? https://www.facebook.com/groups/midronomevip
Pieter there published a nice Ableton "sync device" which seems to be what you describe.
MPrinsen
Posts: 74
Joined: 01 May 2023, 13:42

Re: Daw Sync Plug-In + Usamo comparison

Post by MPrinsen »

Simon wrote: 02 May 2023, 08:36 Are you on the Facebook group? https://www.facebook.com/groups/midronomevip
Pieter there published a nice Ableton "sync device" which seems to be what you describe.
Cool, thanks! Will check it out
Dave
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Joined: 28 Feb 2022, 06:22

Re: Daw Sync Plug-In + Usamo comparison

Post by Dave »

Simon wrote: 01 May 2023, 21:44 You all make a very good point about the plugin - practicability is important I get that.

But the reason for all these (empty space at the beginning, at the end, using a WAV file instead of a plugin), are because from my experiments DAWs have the habits of often sending not the audio that is written. For example Studio One often sends an extra pulse when you press stop (even though it is not written in the file). And the first pulse is often incorrect (I guess because the WAV file is still loading or something?).

On an actual audio file you will not hear those things, but on a sync signal it can break the signal (the Midronome will show "Err" if a wrong sync signal is sent to it).

Anyways - I'm investigating this deeper, in particular with Ableton since many people seem to use it, so this should all improve in a future release, including the practicability.
Studio One + USAMO here, as well.

I dislike Ableton, so would stick with my current DAW (or switch to Cubase maybe if I had to).
northerntao
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Joined: 06 May 2023, 02:57

Re: Daw Sync Plug-In + Usamo comparison

Post by northerntao »

Just got my Mididrome today to replace a dead USAMO. For me, a plug-in that can handle tempo changes is a must. Love the onboard features compared to the USAMO, but need (ok, want!) the ability to alter the tempo in Ableton and have it sync reliably downstream,
thetechnobear
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Joined: 06 May 2023, 14:19

Re: Daw Sync Plug-In + Usamo comparison

Post by thetechnobear »

As a developer of vsts , I totally sympathize with Simon in this.
A vst could become a pretty large overhead on the project.
And frankly, personally, I’d prefer Simon spent his time/effort focused on the firmware side of midrnome

I think this could be a good area for the community to get involved, as different solutions could be worked on for different daws.

Eg, as a dev I’d be happy to look into/help in bitwig and ableton , but have little interest ( actually none) in studio one ;)

What would be useful Simon, is if you could open source what you have already for the vst. So we can see where it’s at, the approach you have used etc.
it might be it’s as easy for me to start from zero, but honestly I tend to be more motivated when I have some initial code to look at - even if I don’t use it !
Simon
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Re: Daw Sync Plug-In + Usamo comparison

Post by Simon »

Ohh you're Mark from Facebook - ok that makes sense :D
Yes I'd be happy to do that as I said on FB ;)
telder55
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Joined: 07 Mar 2022, 15:30

Re: Daw Sync Plug-In + Usamo comparison

Post by telder55 »

Good to see there are others with interest in the VST option still. I was thinking, perhaps it would be easier for someone to create a max for live patch that can generate the sync file? With many of us using Ableton, that could satisfy a good portion of us I think :)
Simon
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Re: Daw Sync Plug-In + Usamo comparison

Post by Simon »

Hi all :)

So I've spent the last week investigating the possibilities. There is a new (ish) plugin interface called ARA which is a huge step forward to make a decent DAW plugin. ARA v2 seems ot be supported by most major DAWs accord to the ARA Wikipedia Page, and using it instead of a usual plugin would give the possibility to build a precise tempo map in the plugin (and time signature map).

Once you have the tempo map and you know where the play head is, then it will be much easier to send the correct signal out, whatever the DAW, and have cool features like the possibility to send the signal before pressing play to get constant sync.
The key point is that DAWs can give precisely the play head position as sample - which is enough if the plugin has a tempo map. But DAWs are not great at giving the current BPM, current time signature, current bar and beat - at least not in a standard (=non ARA) plugin.

It's still a lot of work though, so as it has been suggested a few times, I am hoping we can run this plugin as a community project. What does that mean?
  1. The plugin code will be fully open source
  2. I or someone from the community can build beta versions of the plugin for people to test them
  3. There will be no official support from Midronome on the beta versions
  4. Once the code has reached a stable state where it works like it should on a few major DAWs, an official 1.0 release will be made
  5. Development can continue after release 1.0, and again when things are stable Midronome can release an official new version
I will try to spend some time on the code to at least build a first version, but it might still take some time and be quite low on my list of priorities. So I really hope some developpers from the community can chip in and help here :D
I will be of course more than happy to provide help and answer questions to them so we can get a working plugin as soon as possible!

And as suggested by @telder55, I agree that a separate Max4Live plugin for Ableton would be an amazing add (I might have a go at it myself at some point ;) )

Simon
Dark Waves
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Re: Daw Sync Plug-In + Usamo comparison

Post by Dark Waves »

Since the technical aspects of ARA vs. VST are already over my head, obviously I won't be one to contribute to this coding project, much as I like the idea. Just wanted to throw in the idea here, as I may have mentioned elsewhere, that, if possible, it would be great if a plug-in could cause a DAW to follow the Midronome in addition to the other way around, especially since most DAWs can't follow MIDI clock, even though they generate it. Having this optionally happen via USB would alleviate the need to dedicate an audio connection in the interface.
Simon
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Re: Daw Sync Plug-In + Usamo comparison

Post by Simon »

Oh sorry it seems I missed it - I'll reply on the topic you created about it ( viewtopic.php?t=203 ).
Simon
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Re: Daw Sync Plug-In + Usamo comparison

Post by Simon »

Hi all - here is the Alpha plugin for those who want to try it.
=> https://files.midronome.com/tools/plugi ... -macos.zip
It's Mac only, not signed (see Readme file), and there will be no official Midronome support on it.
But I tested it on StudioOne and it works ok as long as you play from the beginning of a bar.
Cheers
Simon
telder55
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Re: Daw Sync Plug-In + Usamo comparison

Post by telder55 »

Very cool Simon! I will check out the alpha plug-in and let you know how it goes on my end :)
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eevolute
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Re: Daw Sync Plug-In + Usamo comparison

Post by eevolute »

Thanks Simon, I will test as well asap!
MLaf
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Re: Daw Sync Plug-In + Usamo comparison

Post by MLaf »

Damn, neither of the two DAW's I use support this obscure format (Bitwig and Reason). I mean Bitwig just jumped on the CLAP bandwagon and Reason just got VST3 support so chances of either one adding this format (within the next decade) are probably slim. Unfortunate...
Simon
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Re: Daw Sync Plug-In + Usamo comparison

Post by Simon »

MLaf wrote: 31 May 2023, 05:11 Damn, neither of the two DAW's I use support this obscure format (Bitwig and Reason).
You mean the ARA format? Yea that's true. But they can both sync to MIDI Clock though.

Just FYI I'm not against making a non-ARA plugin, but honestly it's not great because clearly the VST interface was designed to make audio effects and not time-based - in a normal plugin you get access to:
  • the current BPM
  • the current time signature
  • the "last bar position"
  • the current position in quarters
And that would be enough IF these were actually provided by all DAWs, correct, and in the same way. Problem is Steinberg decided to put all these parameters as "Optional" in the VST spec so yea it's pretty much different from one DAW to another. And that's without handling looping...

I just have a feeling that even with hours and hours of work on a non-ARA plugin I would still get mediocre results (i.e. it would work 90% of the time, but there will always be situation where things do not work properly).

WIth ARA, I get access to the tempo map, and that way I could make a really solid plugin - the first version I made does not ever lose sync with the Midronome, you can freely move the playhead where ever and however fast you want, you can change the delay on the go, and you can play from wherever in the song - all of that without ever losing sync :)

One idea I had (which funny thing is what the Melodyne plugin used to do before they came up with ARA together with Presonus) was to make a plugin where you would have to "load" a tempo map into. That would work, but obviously you would have to reload the tempo map everytime you change it...

Simon
knarrrz
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Re: Daw Sync Plug-In + Usamo comparison

Post by knarrrz »

As an Ableton user, I love the idea of a dedicated Max device. Since Ableton doesn't support ARA, it would be the perfect solution. Especially with the new Push Standalone in mind, which can host Max devices. The only thing here is, that parameters like Offset and Output Gain must be mapped to the Push encoders within the Max code, in order to be able to adjust them on the Push later on.
Would be totally amazing if that worked out! For now I'm using the solution with the Drum Rack, which works quite well and stable so far, also on Push Standalone.
Simon
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Re: Daw Sync Plug-In + Usamo comparison

Post by Simon »

Oh yea with the new Push - good point!! Cannot wait to dig deep into Max4Live - I just need to find the time :D
MLaf
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Re: Daw Sync Plug-In + Usamo comparison

Post by MLaf »

Simon wrote: 31 May 2023, 10:25 You mean the ARA format? Yea that's true. But they can both sync to MIDI Clock though.
Yes they can but I cannot test that because my play button does not work... so I don't even know if that will work for me.

I'm confused with the plugin - doesn't it just need to spit out a pulse that is synced to the DAW tempo? That's what the wave export app does.

If and when DAWs get around to implementing support for ARA, what's to say it won't end up the same as VST where each DAW handles things differently?
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