Recording latency w/ MIDI sync- USB audio vs analog audio

Hey everyone,

Just wanted to get a discussion going about recording tracks into the DAW. I’ve been experimenting with both USB audio and analog audio.

Once the S2400 is MIDI sync’d with Ableton via USB:

  • Analog audio recording- I get nice tight timing as seen here however the signal is significantly lower, and the signal-to-noise ratio is way worse.
  • USB audio recording- I get nice loud audio signal, but the timing has much worse latency as can be seen here.

Analog audio is seemingly fine on some channels, others give me lots of noise. I’d imagine this could be due to my cable, but I’m recording one channel vs the next with the same main stereo output, and the same input on my audio interface.

It’s not the samples themselves- they’re all coming from a high quality sample pack.

I’ve tried adjusting the MIDI latency -10ms on the S2400 and sometimes it records on beat, but other times it lags by an entire 1/32nd note.

Anyone know if there’s a way to get the USB audio sync to be tighter?

Latency is not really an issue in Ableton, right? You can just compensate the recorded material and everything is spot on?

Lag is a different subject however. At least when you use it in terms of jitter.

I mean yeah, I can realign in Ableton but it sort of ruins the natural swing and timing of the S2400. I don’t mind doing that to a few odd hits, but time aligning every track isn’t ideal.

I can highlight them all and adjust the clip start, but often times the S2400 takes a second to “catch up” to Ableton meaning the first kick/hat/clap might be a bit behind the grid.

To be clear, this is not a problem exclusive to the S2400- most hardware drum machines and sequencers deal with a bit of timing delay. Some DAW’s and hardware deal with it better than others.

I was a bit surprised to see the delay compensation not doing all that much in Ableton, but there is the chance I’m not doing it correctly.

You are right about the catch up, that’s a general issue. Just add an empty pattern in front of your song.

I don’t understand you here. You should apply the same track delay to every track to align it in the grid. Or are the separate tracks shifting???

Are you sure you are using these:


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I sync to the daw using this:

I went through months of hair-pulling trying to get tight sync to Logic. There are a few boxes like this that convert audio pulses to sample accurate midi clock. Set it up and never think about it again.


I was actually using the delay compensation in the MIDI window in preferences but I’ll try using the track delays instead. Also the extra bar in front is a great workaround.

Overall it’s not too big of a deal. In fact, I’m starting to think that the S2400 parts lagging just a bit behind everything else in Ableton is giving my songs a bit of extra flavor so I may just leave it.

Sort of having the snare ahead of the rest of the drums makes it feel rushed and exciting, having the drums and bass parts lagging a bit makes it feel… I dunno… just extra groovy. Time aligning things makes it feel more static lol

I’m about to get an Expert Sleepers USAMO. Jitter and time wasted aligning recordings ultimately puts me off regularly re-recording (from any source) which impacts a lot of decisions in producing.

For the S2400, the most vital part of the recording for me is to retain its amazing groove and not permit Ableton to warp /manipulate the groove. I’ve got all analog outs setup to my soundcard, I created a full song template from the S2400 to record a full song in 2 takes…first 8 tracks = drums, 2nd 8 tracks = instruments, all on separate outs. To avoid Ableton manipulation I turn warping off. S2400 is master clock. I was saddened to discover that the tracks were not sticking to a 125 bpm timing, there appears to be some drift. This seems to occur after 8 bars or so of recording. Is this due to jitter?

Sadly it means I can’t utilise song mode as instead I am better off recording smaller sections (e.g. 4-8 bars) otherwise I have to resort to warping.

I’m hoping if it is jitter the USAMO will solve this prob. If you have an USAMO is it better to use the DAW or S240p as master clock?

Sorry lots of questions but this is a really useful topic!

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DAW won’t follow external sync. There’s too much going on in the software. I just went all out and got this…

got an USAMO yesterday. im close to things playing nicely. with USAMO sending midi out clock only - the actual clock seems rock solid. then, as others have noted, recording back into the DAW there is some latency, but marginal. if i set the offset in the USAMO software i can get bang on the grid for recording, but the offset setting causes the trigger to start 1 bar after the DAW. so annoying!

tried to offset via the ext audio plugin that ive put just after the USAMO plugin and also addjusted the offset on the audio track receiving the audio from the S2400 (just starting with one track - a kick to get things right). but it doesnt seem to do anything. im sure its a setting issue my end.

also, does have warp on in Ableton change the recorded swing from S2400? i can much easier set the slight lag to the grid using warp, but im also scared it will somehow set the swing to Ableton’s internal swing rather than correctly capture the actual swing from the S2400. maybe im over thinking this, hehe.

I believe I remember Brad or Mickey saying that the clock input on the S2400 should be the tightest. Also I’ve noticed that on some gear I get better clock timing via MIDI DIN vs USB, but on the S2400 they’re both… a bit off lol

With Ableton as the master clock, my drum hits are usually as much as 1/64th behind the grid which is a lot.

USB audio vs analog outputs doesn’t seem to make a difference in timing.

I tried making the S2400 the master clock and Ableton the slave and it had about the same performance or worse than vice versa.

I’m really hoping the team can tighten up sync in this thing as I think the sync timing is it’s biggest flaw. Conversely maybe we can all figure out a workaround, but I’d really rather not have to buy a 3rd party clock just to get tight sync out of the S2400.

I think you’re over-thinking it. The MIDI sync function just keeps the two machine’s (Ableton and the S2400) master clocks in sync. All swing functions will remain unaffected.

Now if you record the audio into Ableton and then start quantizing audio and adding swing, then you’ll start to lose the added S2400 swing.

Great! Sounds like the usamo is working - that’s half the issue. The second sounds like recording latency. Sounds like you’re DAW is Live? What interface are you using? What is the recording buffer set to? You should be able to get it bang on with a couple settings.