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#2908961 - 02/12/18 09:22 AM I Hate Bluetooth
ITGITC? Offline
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I hate Bluetooth.

It's the latency.

When I connect my computer to a Bluetooth speaker and play a video, the video and audio are never synced. It bothers me to see someone speaking or singing when the audio doesn't match up.

And what about other sources of latency? Do Bluetooth controllers like the CME Xkey Air do a good job in this regard? CME states that this controller adds only 7ms of latency. I haven't played one, so I don't know if this would keep me from buying it. I'd like to hear your opinions.

Dave Ferris commented in another post how, during a demonstration of Ravenscroft 275 at NAMM, the representative told him that, because of latency, individual notes had a delay. This is a deal-breaker for me.


Dave wrote, "I have to pass along that when I played the VPC-1 controller at NAMM that was set up, I was told specifically for the Ravenscroft - there was a serious latency issue for single note Jazz linear type playing. This was coming through the Focal monitors they had set up.

The chords sounded excellent ! No problems at all there. But when I started playing lines, it was very noticeably behind.

And the VPC-1 is being sold as a Ravesncroft product I believe."



When I play an acoustic piano, there is no latency. Hit a key, get a sound. Immediately.

And I've never had a problem with keyboards when playing their internal sounds.

However, I am leery of using soft synths. I've tried reducing latency in the software settings, but it still doesn't work for me. And when there is notable latency, I tend to subconsciously slow down the tempo. I've tried using my Windows machine as well as my MacBook Pro. Both machines have good enough specs that latency shouldn't be a problem. I am currently using a Steinberg UR22. However, other interfaces have also been problematic.

I would like to hear what other players have to say about latency problems. As I've pointed out, these can come from Bluetooth connections, or speaker DSP, or MIDI interfaces, as well as other sources.

Is latency a problem that you have overcome? How did you do it?

Tom





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#2908962 - 02/12/18 09:26 AM Re: I Hate Bluetooth [Re: ITGITC?]
Sven Golly Offline
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Please edit your thread title. You hate Bluetooth Audio. Bluetooth for MIDI is fine, IMO. My Roli Seaboard Rise 49, my Roli Seaboard Block, my Korg MicroKey Air, and my CME Xkey Air all work just fine over Bluetooth for MIDI. For me. YMMV, obviously. I'm not playing jazz piano over Bluetooth, nor would I ever think to. Bluetooth is for convenience, as far as I'm concerned.

Bluetooth audio is for consumers to listen to audio, not audio sync'ed to video. It's a known 'issue'.

I can't speak to Dave's experiences, but as you well know, MIDI messages don't give a damn if you're playing block chords or melodic runs. Something's fishy in that quote, if you ask me.

Of course, at the end of the day, if you're hypersensitive to the 'connection' between keypress and sound, you must hate having onstage monitors be 10' away from you, because that's a 10ms delay from speaker to your ear.

Oh, and hiya Tom! wave


Edited by Sven Golly (02/12/18 09:29 AM)
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#2908964 - 02/12/18 09:39 AM Re: I Hate Bluetooth [Re: Sven Golly]
mate stubb Offline
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Try playing pipe organ in a large church, where one manual controls an organ with pipes maybe 20' from you, and the other manual controls pipes 100' away from you at the back of the room.

Then during the hymns, you have the congregation lagging behind with the singing another half second. You have to turn on your inner metronome and plow ahead, regardless of what your ears hear.

Latency sucks! At least with organ, you are usually not trying to play with other instruments.
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#2908979 - 02/12/18 10:06 AM Re: I Hate Bluetooth [Re: mate stubb]
Toano88 Offline
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Yes Bluetooth isn't great for playing audio. I have tried using the iLoud Monitors as output for my computer. It works fine for playing iTunes but as an output for plugins there is way too much latency.
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#2908982 - 02/12/18 10:18 AM Re: I Hate Bluetooth [Re: ITGITC?]
Dave Ferris Offline
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Originally Posted By: ITGITC?
Dave Ferris commented in another post how, during a demonstration of Ravenscroft 275 at NAMM, the representative told him that, because of latency, individual notes had a delay. This is a deal-breaker for me.


Dave wrote, "I have to pass along that when I played the VPC-1 controller at NAMM that was set up, I was told specifically for the Ravenscroft - there was a serious latency issue for single note Jazz linear type playing. This was coming through the Focal monitors they had set up.

The chords sounded excellent ! No problems at all there. But when I started playing lines, it was very noticeably behind.

And the VPC-1 is being sold as a Ravesncroft product I believe."


When I play an acoustic piano, there is no latency. Hit a key, get a sound. Immediately.

And I've never had a problem with keyboards when playing their internal sounds.


Tom, I have to clarify that it was me that noticed the latency on the jazz linear playing and commented on it to the Ravenscroft guy at their booth.

He didn't really say anything about it. Even as I was playing, I think it was Dolphin Dance and Whisper Not, I'd be blowing over the changes, I'd play a line, stop and ask, do you hear that ? It's slow. He didn't say anything. I'd play some some more, stop and say, now that's not right, what's up with that ? He said, I don't hear it. What can I say ? I think I know when there's a delay.

Again, for the chords, it was perfect, I wasn't experiencing any delay. It sounded really good! Maybe it was a glitch or something in the way they had the VPC-1 set up. idk

I'm like you, I play the piano, play the electronic keyboard's default piano sounds and everything is as it's supposed to be.

I don't get it but then I don't get most tech stuff. wink


Edited by Dave Ferris (02/12/18 10:49 AM)
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#2908987 - 02/12/18 10:32 AM Re: I Hate Bluetooth [Re: Dave Ferris]
J. Dan Offline
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Even wired MIDI only transmits at 31250 bps. Bluetooth can certainly handle that rate. Audio must be pretty heavily compressed to be transmitted over Bluetooth. Compression/Decompression takes processing time on both ends.

Per the Bluetooth core specification:

The Basic Rate system offers synchronous and asynchronous connections with data rates of 721.2 kb/s for Basic Rate, 2.1 Mb/s for Enhanced Data Rate and high speed operation up to 54 Mb/s with the 802.11 AMP.


Edited by J. Dan (02/12/18 10:43 AM)
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#2908991 - 02/12/18 10:49 AM Re: I Hate Bluetooth [Re: Dave Ferris]
Dave Ferris Offline
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Just to add, I recall playing this set up when it was first shown at NAMM. I thought it was '15 but the video says '14...man does time go by or what ! Anyway, it was a long time ago but I can't recall experiencing the same Jazz linear lag as I did a few weeks ago. I'm pretty certain I would have remembered that issue. Stuff like that sticks with me. That leads me to think something might not be perfect with their customization of the Kawai controller.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7izCMqIIPc
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#2909001 - 02/12/18 11:09 AM Re: I Hate Bluetooth [Re: Dave Ferris]
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Bluetooth is fine for listening to audio books. ... Not much else.
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#2909022 - 02/12/18 12:18 PM Re: I Hate Bluetooth [Re: RABid]
OB Dave Offline
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I'd be happy if they just ironed the kinks out of pairing devices in the handsfree profile. I have yet to encounter a bluetooth device that didn't randomly connect or disconnect at inopportune times. I've given up on bluetooth earpieces. My last two cars have had bluetooth integration, and when it works, it's great. But it only works correctly about 30% of the time, so I never know where an incoming call is going to get sent. I've given up and went back to using wired headsets which do the right thing 100% of the time.

Quote:
The chords sounded excellent ! No problems at all there. But when I started playing lines, it was very noticeably behind.

That's pretty strange. Data has to get packetized before sending over the air. I wonder if the OTA segment is trying to be efficient by waiting for enough data to accumulate or time to elapse before sending off the packet. It's the only thing I can think of that would cause latency when there's few events occurring but no latency when there's many. In other words, it kinda sounds like they're trying to do a realtime job using a non-realtime protocol.

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#2909030 - 02/12/18 12:30 PM Re: I Hate Bluetooth [Re: RABid]
Throbert Offline
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Most audio PC people know to disable bluetooth
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#2909041 - 02/12/18 01:17 PM Re: I Hate Bluetooth [Re: Throbert]
Delaware Dave Offline
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My TV does this and everything is wired. I try to watch a concert on AXS TV and the lips and music are constantly out of sync. It seems that the audio lags behind the video. On my TV there is no adjustment to sync them.
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#2909048 - 02/12/18 01:21 PM Re: I Hate Bluetooth [Re: OB Dave]
J. Dan Offline
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Originally Posted By: OB Dave
I'd be happy if they just ironed the kinks out of pairing devices in the handsfree profile. I have yet to encounter a bluetooth device that didn't randomly connect or disconnect at inopportune times. I've given up on bluetooth earpieces. My last two cars have had bluetooth integration, and when it works, it's great. But it only works correctly about 30% of the time, so I never know where an incoming call is going to get sent. I've given up and went back to using wired headsets which do the right thing 100% of the time.



I've used Bluetooth pairing in my last couple cars as well as all the time in rental cars (almost every week) and have never had a problem. However, I don't use any Bluetooth headsets with it - so maybe that's where you're problem goes. It can only pair with one Bluetooth device at a time so if it's paired with your headphones, your car is out of luck. Maybe make sure your not paired with anything before you start the car.
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#2909056 - 02/12/18 01:49 PM Re: I Hate Bluetooth [Re: J. Dan]
OB Dave Offline
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No, I haven't used a bluetooth headset in years. The only device my phone was paired to is the car. Phones have all been iPhones. Maybe this is another iOS bug?

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#2909059 - 02/12/18 01:53 PM Re: I Hate Bluetooth [Re: OB Dave]
J. Dan Offline
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Originally Posted By: OB Dave
No, I haven't used a bluetooth headset in years. The only device my phone was paired to is the car. Phones have all been iPhones. Maybe this is another iOS bug?


Hmmm. iPhone user here as well....no idea. Only problem I've had is trying to make a phone call when my car is warming up and forgetting that the audio's getting routed to the car, LOL. One time I had the kids in the car and went into a hotel to pick up a co-worker who was in town. I tried calling him to tell him I was in the lobby. He had a nice conversation with my kids in the car. "um...Daddy went inside..."
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#2909139 - 02/12/18 07:07 PM Re: I Hate Bluetooth [Re: J. Dan]
MurMan Offline
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Edit: After writing the below post on MIDI over BLE, I went back and re-read the posts of ITGITC and Dave Ferris. Oops ... The Ravenscroft controller is connected by USB, not BLE. I'll let my post stand, but realize that it only applies to MIDI over BLE. Whatever Dave experienced, it wasn't caused by MIDI over Bluetooth.
------------------------------------------------------------

I've read through the BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) specifications. I'm clearly not an expert, but I do have some observations.

The spec allows a wide latitude in how devices communicate. The lowest theoretical latency between devices is based on the "connection interval", the periodic interval during which devices can exchange data. The minimum interval is 7.5 mS. If this was the note latency, most of us wouldn't notice it.

However, each connection interval allows a max of four small data packets (20 bytes or less) to be exchanged, This means a maximum MIDI event rate of 4 per 7.5 mS connection interval or 533 notes ON or OFF events per second. (266 note repetitions per second.) Controllers have to serialize notes, so the max instantaneous note rate is more important than the sustained rate.

Comparing this rate to the original wired MIDI support of about 1000 events per second, the max theoretical note rate of BLE is only half of the 5-pin DIN MIDI event rate.

Achieving the theoretical max rate isn't easy. Vendors like CME achieve it only if they control both sides of the BLE connection. The BLE rate of MAC or iOS devices is about half of the theoretical. In practice, the link rate is determined by the slowest device. If you also consider that BLE is a radio link, you have to allow for missed packets in a noise-rich environment like NAMM which can seriously degrade throughput.

My conclusion is that this rate seems low for transmitting controller data. A player can overrun the max rate on an instantaneous basis which means that note On/Off messages are buffered for several connection intervals until they are transmitted. It seems believable that a fast player like Dave could overrun a real-world BLE connection and create noticeable latency.

Another comment on using BLE for media, i.e. audio / video. Most of the latency we experience with media is due to buffering. Since media needs to be played at a constant rate, the media is buffered to eliminate jitter in the arrival rate of media packets. This buffering does exactly the same thing as buffering in our audio interfaces: it adds latency. The problem with BLE is that the user interfaces are not as sophisticated as pro audio interfaces and the buffering is whatever the vendor picked.


Edited by MurMan (02/12/18 09:52 PM)
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#2909140 - 02/12/18 07:11 PM Re: I Hate Bluetooth [Re: J. Dan]
DulceLabs.com Offline
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Check out "Low Latency Bluetooth"

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#2909143 - 02/12/18 07:23 PM Re: I Hate Bluetooth [Re: DulceLabs.com]
MurMan Offline
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Originally Posted By: #%$(#
Check out "Low Latency Bluetooth"

If you're talking about Qualcomm's aptX technology, I did read about it.

aptX doesn't solve the MIDI event latency problem that I was referring to. It solves the media latency problem (the second issue due to media buffering) by using a more efficient codec. aptX has an inherent latency of 40 mS which makes things worse for sending events.
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#2909156 - 02/12/18 08:36 PM Re: I Hate Bluetooth [Re: MurMan]
DulceLabs.com Offline
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Originally Posted By: MurMan
Originally Posted By: #%$(#
Check out "Low Latency Bluetooth"

If you're talking about Qualcomm's aptX technology, I did read about it.

aptX doesn't solve the MIDI event latency problem that I was referring to. It solves the media latency problem (the second issue due to media buffering) by using a more efficient codec. aptX has an inherent latency of 40 mS which makes things worse for sending events.


No I was thinking more about that Yamaha device that was being discussed a while back.

https://ask.audio/articles/review-yamaha-ud-bt01-and-md-bt01-bluetooth-to-midi-interfaces

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#2909161 - 02/12/18 09:12 PM Re: I Hate Bluetooth [Re: DulceLabs.com]
MurMan Offline
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Originally Posted By: #%$(#
No I was thinking more about that Yamaha device that was being discussed a while back.

This type of device is exactly what I was talking about. It doesn't achieve the 7.5 mS theoretical max. Here's a quote from the link you provided:

Quote:
MIDI over Bluetooth has the potential for exceptionally low latency. It’s fast and reliable, and the low data rate of MIDI allows it to communicate back and forth with your device in the sub-20 ms range.

And they don't explain that the sub-20 mS latency applies to a burst of four or less MIDI events.
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#2909162 - 02/12/18 09:17 PM Re: I Hate Bluetooth [Re: MurMan]
ElmerJFudd Online   content
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Bluetooth ain't for the faint of heart. wink

I may not want it for my MIDI controller when playing seriously or even casually. And I definitely wouldn't want it compounded with a MIDI controller at some distance from the computer and then user bluetooth audio to speakers to monitor.

BUT - it's pretty neat to find a tune on my phone i like and bluetooth it over to a speaker in the room for all to enjoy. like
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#2909176 - 02/12/18 11:49 PM Re: I Hate Bluetooth [Re: ElmerJFudd]
SynMike Offline
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BLE MIDI is very usable for many applications, in spite of latency that is much higher than a wired connection such as USB.

I was the Chairman for the BLE MIDI Working Group of the MIDI Manufacturers Association. The official Bluetooth LE MIDI specification is slightly modified from Apple's original design. You can find the BLE-MIDI spec at MIDI.org.

The latency of a BLE MIDI connection is determined by the service interval of the Bluetooth host. A Mac has lower latency than an iPad or iPhone because it polls the Bluetooth connection to send/receive data more often. The service interval of Android devices is more unpredictable, because Android runs on so many different platforms. But the best current Android phones and tablets have BLE MIDI latency similar to current iOS on current devices.

Total latency of BLE-MIDI includes latency in the sending device (such as a MIDI controller keyboard, bus latency (based on BLE service interval), latency in the host OS, and latency in the receiving device (such as a software synthesizer). The Bluetooth transport is often about 1/2 of total latency.

Then there is audio output latency. Playing the resulting audio back out via Bluetooth will add a lot more latency, often to the point of being unusable. I would not try to use Bluetooth audio output from a softsynth.

Total throughput on current devices is about equal to MIDI 5pinDin's 31.25Kbaud.

With good devices, BLE MIDI latency and performance is quite acceptable, making for a very playable experience. But overall latency is still probably double the latency of the exact same components connected by USB. Any experienced player will almost certainly feel the difference.

I hesitate to put real numbers on this explanation for a couple of reasons:
1. I don't remember whether any of the details of OS performance are protected by NDA
2. Numbers are quite variable depending on the products chosen


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#2909185 - 02/13/18 03:48 AM Re: I Hate Bluetooth [Re: SynMike]
Markay Offline
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Re audio pairing. Like J.Dan I have had no issue with phone pairing on Gen 2 Bluetooth in our own vehicles GM (Windows CE embedded) and MB, or Gen 3 in vehicles like current model rentals. Once paired it just works.

Gen 1, in my BMW is flakey, inconsistent and a PITA. Needs an OS update which BMW will not provide, rather sell you a new car, dream on.

As far as Midi over Bluetooth is concerned it works fine for on off events like an Air turn pedal for Set lists, for controller communication I wouldn't bother, same range as a USB cable and vastly inferior performance.

Sometimes just because you can, doesn't mean you should.
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#2909259 - 02/13/18 08:53 AM Re: I Hate Bluetooth [Re: SynMike]
MurMan Offline
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Originally Posted By: SynMike
I hesitate to put real numbers on this explanation for a couple of reasons:
1. I don't remember whether any of the details of OS performance are protected by NDA
2. Numbers are quite variable depending on the products chosen

Thanks for your comments. Apple did document their recommended and minimum connection parameters in the "Bluetooth Accessory Design Guidelines for Apple Products". Minimum connection interval of 15 mS.

Predicting performance by reading the specs like I tried to do is an interesting exercise (to some), but you're absolutely right in that it depends on the specific products.
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#2909274 - 02/13/18 09:59 AM Re: I Hate Bluetooth [Re: MurMan]
Sven Golly Offline
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FWIW, my experiences with MIDI over Bluetooth were to my MacBook Pros primarily, and some 'fooling around' (showing stuff to friends/colleagues/clients) with my iPad Air 2 and iPhone 6. Guess the explanation from SynMike above re: polling frequencies would explain my lack of hatred for the small amount of latency I experienced.

twothumbs
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#2909308 - 02/13/18 11:44 AM Re: I Hate Bluetooth [Re: OB Dave]
Joe Muscara Offline
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Originally Posted By: OB Dave
I'd be happy if they just ironed the kinks out of pairing devices in the handsfree profile. I have yet to encounter a bluetooth device that didn't randomly connect or disconnect at inopportune times. I've given up on bluetooth earpieces.
I haven't had this problem with my AirPods nor my Beats Solo3 Wireless. idk
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#2909402 - 02/13/18 07:20 PM Re: I Hate Bluetooth [Re: MurMan]
ITGITC? Offline
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Originally Posted By: MurMan
Edit: After writing the below post on MIDI over BLE, I went back and re-read the posts of ITGITC and Dave Ferris. Oops ... The Ravenscroft controller is connected by USB, not BLE. I'll let my post stand, but realize that it only applies to MIDI over BLE. Whatever Dave experienced, it wasn't caused by MIDI over Bluetooth.
------------------------------------------------------------


MurMan - I apologize. My post was somewhat confusing. I was questioning the various origins of latency within MIDI and/or audio data.

Sven Golly, there can be latency that causes sync problems when watching a video and sending the audio to a Bluetooth speaker. Although this problem is described in various Google searches, I have never found a warning about it when reading manufacturers' descriptions of various Bluetooth speakers.

I often use my iPad to view a video with audio being played through my Bose SoundLink Mini Bluetooth Speaker. There are times that this works fine. However, there are other times that video and audio are not in sync. Since I have never read of this problem described in the manufacturers' literature, let the buyer beware.

As I stated, I have never used the CME Xkey Air, so I don't have hands-on experience with MIDI data transmitted via Bluetooth. I have read that latency increases substantially compared to using a wired USB connection. You state that you don't have problems with MIDI transmission using Bluetooth. However, it is combined latency that can result in obvious delays. As you mentioned, some of these can be a simple as the distance between the performer and the monitor. Therefore, to keep latency to a minimum, I'll be sticking with a wired connection for MIDI transmission.

Upon further reading I discovered that there can be multiple reasons for latency within MIDI and/or audio applications. From Presonus:

In practical terms, the amount of roundtrip latency you experience is determined by your audio interface’s A/D and D/A converters, its internal device buffer, its driver buffer, and the buffer setting you have selected in your digital audio workstation software (Mac®) or Control Panel (Windows®).

Below is a link to Presonus' website that details the origins of these various latencies and why a Thunderbolt connection is faster than either FireWire or USB.

https://www.presonus.com/learn/technical-articles/Digital-Audio-Latency-Explained

My primary concern and impetus for originating this thread is that Dave Ferris wrote that he experienced latency at NAMM on the setup they used to demo Ravenscroft 275, and that it may have been the powered monitors (Focal brand). I wanted to query the forum to determine if others had experienced latency with powered monitors, as this was new to me.

In conclusion:

Audio transmitted via Bluetooth can certainly have latency issues and may or may not successfully sync with video. Let the buyer beware as this isn't mentioned in the sellers' ads for their product.

MIDI and/or audio latency when recording with a DAW can be caused by many factors. The article I have referenced sheds some light on this.

Digital Signal Processing (DSP) may certainly contribute to additional latency in the audio chain. However, the jury is still out whether or not a given powered speaker presents perceptible latency.

Tom
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#2909403 - 02/13/18 07:26 PM Re: I Hate Bluetooth [Re: ElmerJFudd]
DulceLabs.com Offline
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Originally Posted By: ElmerJFudd

BUT - it's pretty neat to find a tune on my phone i like and bluetooth it over to a speaker in the room for all to enjoy. like


You can also be pranky. I've commandeered a store's or waiting area's bluetooth more than once. You can't shut off their music and replace with yours, but using a sound effect app you can spice it up a bit. The baby crying sound effect is a fun one. thu

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#2909418 - 02/13/18 09:34 PM Re: I Hate Bluetooth [Re: Markay]
davedoerfler Offline
KCFF League Champion 2017
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 12/27/12
Posts: 7285
Loc: thin ice
Originally Posted By: Markay

Sometimes just because you can, doesn't mean you should.


my wife told me this. wink
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In all seriousness, whatever works for you is absolutely the way to go.
dB

Quite simply - If you can't play Jump on it, you don't want it.
MojoGuyPan

The Voyager is a Minimoog.
Bob Moog

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#2909428 - 02/13/18 10:31 PM Re: I Hate Bluetooth [Re: ITGITC?]
MurMan Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 11/17/03
Posts: 929
Loc: San Diego
Originally Posted By: ITGITC?
MurMan - I apologize.

No apologies needed, Tom. Should have read more carefully, but glad that I got to learn about BLE details in the process.

Buy me a beer, and all is forgiven! cool grin
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#2909439 - 02/14/18 03:21 AM Re: I Hate Bluetooth [Re: MurMan]
Markay Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 01/28/12
Posts: 2956
Loc: Australia
Ya know every time latency comes up here, there are lengthy technical discussions, opinions formed and decisions made on a 2ms difference in latency.

In the real world I live in latency is a fact of life. It all comes down to how we perceive latency. I sit more than 10' away from our TV and therefore there is at least 10ms latency between what I am seeing and what I am hearing. I don't notice it.

When I go to the pictures I sit half about half way where my eyes are level with the screen. Ignoring effects the dialogue is all coming from the front. At least 40ms latency here. I don't notice it - no lip sync issues.

And I don't notice any difference in the latency between my XK3c or my controller > MainStage rig into the same mixer and PA.

So either I have an incredibly adaptable brain that lines the planets up for my viewing and listening pleasure or I am incredibly insensitive - a long list of independent referees available on request.

Just 'cause its in the air doesn't mean you will feel it - even on Feb 14 - with apologies to Jackson 5.

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MainStage | Axiom 61 2nd Gen | Pianoteq | B5 | XK3c | EV ZLX 12P
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