Need Help: Ableton Live Ver. >10.1 --> CC Data Output is Too High!

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KVRist
189 posts since 30 Jun, 2016 from USA

Post Mon Jul 27, 2020 12:24 pm

NOTE: This thread is about a problem that I have detected and am currently experiencing with the current version of Live, now on 10.1.17. The problem, which will be described later, occurs in any version of live greater than version 10.1. In other words, version 10.1 works fine and there is no problem.

THE PROBLEM: The problem is that Live 10.1.xx transmits too much MIDI CC data, and it inundates my MIDI interface, a MOTU MIDI Express 128, and also floods my external synthesizers thereby scrambling and screwing up any kind of sequence playback from the DAW. Regular Note On/Off MIDI events are fine; the problem is when CC data is transmitted along with Note On/Off events. Most likely, the CC data alone is bad enough to cause problems, however, one needs Note data to hear the synth. Know what I mean?

Check this video that I made, which describes the problem: http://www.efextek.com/temp/Interface_O ... arison.mp4

From a support ticket I submitted to MOTU, the tech confirmed that the MIDI interface is NOT the problem, and they agree that the interface is being flooded with high-throughput data. Overall, the light should never be that bright during normal playback.

A day or two later, I had a thought to test Live's actual MIDI output by using an application called LoopMIDI. LoopMIDI simply creates a virtual MIDI port that can be added to Live (in Preferences) so that a loop-back test can be done. The application is perfect as it measures the amount of MIDI data being transmitted (and received) in the virtual port.

I have attached screenshots of the application at various sample rates. Read below for the reason for the different sample rates. Basically, there is one that really stands out, and that's the one that has a data value of 1.45 kilobytes per second! That's way too much data!

I have also submitted a support ticket to Ableton, and this is where I need your help. Ableton says that they see no problem on their end at this time. Basically, the tech said that since I am using 96kHz as my project's sampling rate, the MIDI data rate is higher. IMHO, MIDI data rate should NOT be tied to audio sampling rate. Notice that the data measurement of Live 10.1.15 at 96kHz is about 6x the amount of data transmitted in version 10.1.0 at the same sample rate. This is the problem! Yes, the 10.1.15 data rate at 44.1kHz is about half that of the same at 96kHz, so I get what the tech is saying, but I honestly think it should not be that way in the first place. If so, then that essentially means that folks who record at higher sampling rates are basically screwed out of effectively using MIDI. I should also mention that I did test the data output with Cakewalk Sonar Platinum, and the data rate was very light, only 42 bytes per second at 96kHz sampling rate! Only 42 bytes, and it works properly!

At any rate, right now with version 10.1.17, I cannot effectively, and properly, use Live with any of my external synthesizers if CC data is involved.

I am asking for your help in confirming this problem. I have attached the test project in which to use, if anyone would care to run the project and send the MIDI track's output to LoopMIDI, which you can obtain here: http://www.tobias-erichsen.de/software/loopmidi.html. All you do is loop the clip in Arrangement View and see what the data Throughput/Sec value is. If you report back, please give that value and your audio sample rate. And if you have external synthesizers, try MIDI playback, and if NOT fine, please submit a ticket to Ableton.

Like I said, this appears to be a legitimate and egregious error, and IMHO, it needs to be fixed ASAP.
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Last edited by 2:43AM on Mon Jul 27, 2020 2:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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User avatar
KVRist

Topic Starter

189 posts since 30 Jun, 2016 from USA

Post Mon Jul 27, 2020 12:31 pm

I should also mention that I have uninstalled all versions of Live on my PC. Removed the "hidden" files as well. Performed a clean install of version 10.1.15 that auto-updated to 10.1.17 (latest version as of 7/27/20), and the problem still remains.
Telling stories in music: http://mothretra.bandcamp.com

User avatar
KVRist

Topic Starter

189 posts since 30 Jun, 2016 from USA

Post Wed Jul 29, 2020 11:59 am

Anybody have any feedback on this issue? Is it only my computer and/or my copy of Live for some unknown reason?
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KVRian
848 posts since 14 Dec, 2014

Post Wed Jul 29, 2020 2:02 pm

I played your project here (Windows 10 2004, Live 10 Beta 10.1.17b3), I got similar numbers as yours.

MIDI CC has only 128 values. They could make the output "steppy" behind the scenes, but that would make the smooth envelope a bit of a "visual lie", so (going by what support told you) maybe they made the decision that the envelope's output should match exactly how the envelopes was drawn by the user, so while the envelope changes inside a 1/128 value, it simply sends the same MIDI CC value repeatedly (at audio rate).

(Maybe Live could have the reverse of Simplify Envelope, like "Constrain Envelope to Values" or something.)

But besides waiting if/how Ableton fixes this, you can try using the B draw tool, instead of drawing smooth envelopes. You will see it draws a "steppy" envelope, fitting the 128 MIDI CC values. Recording using a knob should be "steppy" too. And avoid the "Simplify Envelope" with MIDI CC.

Note that what you want is the opposite of what other people want, some people are pretty obsessed with "audio rate modulation".

User avatar
KVRist

Topic Starter

189 posts since 30 Jun, 2016 from USA

Post Thu Jul 30, 2020 5:25 am

pottering wrote:
Wed Jul 29, 2020 2:02 pm
I played your project here (Windows 10 2004, Live 10 Beta 10.1.17b3), I got similar numbers as yours.

MIDI CC has only 128 values. They could make the output "steppy" behind the scenes, but that would make the smooth envelope a bit of a "visual lie", so (going by what support told you) maybe they made the decision that the envelope's output should match exactly how the envelopes was drawn by the user, so while the envelope changes inside a 1/128 value, it simply sends the same MIDI CC value repeatedly (at audio rate).

(Maybe Live could have the reverse of Simplify Envelope, like "Constrain Envelope to Values" or something.)

But besides waiting if/how Ableton fixes this, you can try using the B draw tool, instead of drawing smooth envelopes. You will see it draws a "steppy" envelope, fitting the 128 MIDI CC values. Recording using a knob should be "steppy" too. And avoid the "Simplify Envelope" with MIDI CC.

Note that what you want is the opposite of what other people want, some people are pretty obsessed with "audio rate modulation".
I really appreciate you taking a look into the problem and testing it yourself. Thank you. I am assuming you tested at 96kHz sampling rate? Is that your normal working/project SR as well?

Indeed, if I draw (B) an envelope, then the resultant data rate rate goes way down. However, it is steppy AF because the drawing tool is snapping to the grid, even if set to the most narrow width. Turning off the grid does keep the data rate down, but my lines are not straight nor smooth, and that is not desirable. Reversing the process (i.e. from the outside in) and recording a synth knob movement would probably work OK, but that is another step to take, and a work-around, in order to achieve something so simple. And some folks may not even have the MIDI OUT of their synth connected. The next part will seem like a rant, but it's justified, IMO. :lol:

All in all, I should be able to create an envelope (whether it's in a Clip or in Arrangement View) and have it work, period, no matter what my project's sample rate is. Cakewalk did it successfully for decades--I know that for a fact, and I'm 98% sure Cubase has successfully done it for decades as well.

In regards of sending audio-rate MIDI data, if indeed a conscious decision made by Ableton, I really don't get it at all. They completely cut off their nose despite their face. I know that people are indeed obsessed about "audio rate modulation," like you say, but it absolutely does not work for hardware synths, certainly not at SRs higher than 44.1kHz.

This problem extremely pisses me off. I guess it's time to submit a feature request! EDIT: Screw that. They need to fix the problem.

Anyone out there using external hardware synths, Ableton Live, and automation? Does this issue not render your playback completely FUBAR?
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KVRist

Topic Starter

189 posts since 30 Jun, 2016 from USA

Post Tue Aug 04, 2020 5:23 am

Ableton Support says that the issue/ticket is logged into their system, but the agent said that he does not know when or if the problem will be fixed. Anyone else out there care to test their systems and submit trouble reports? The more reports they receive, the more inclined they may be to fix the problem.
Telling stories in music: http://mothretra.bandcamp.com

User avatar
KVRist

Topic Starter

189 posts since 30 Jun, 2016 from USA

Post Sun Mar 07, 2021 9:09 am

Given that only one person replied to this thread, I can't believe that this egregious oversight by Ableton has not been reproduced by others. Is anyone using hardware? Ableton support gave me a workaround, and said workaround is to use a M4L device called the HenckeCC8 device. Apparently, this device is similar to the standard CC8 M4L device, but it does not excessively dump data across the MIDI connection. THIS IS THE WAY IT NEEDS TO WORK, ABLETON!

With that in mind, I doubt this has been fixed in the newest version of Live. If anyone can prove it otherwise, then that would be appreciated. Until Ableton fixes this f$%k up, I will not upgrade.

Also, because of the workaround, I cannot simply record my synth's CC data output--i.e. recording the knob movements into Live so it can be played back--because if I do, then the clip automation envelope causes the data-flooding. So is there a way to copy a clip's automation envelope and paste it into an Arrangement View envelope, assigned to a HenckeCC8 parameter? Thanks for any help.

EDIT: I don't know why it wasn't working for me at first--because I'm an idiot!--but I got the copy clip automation into Arrangement-View-automation lane-thing to work. Simple copy and paste from clip into the Automation Lane, but apparently I wasn't clicking into the track the right way...
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