DXi's are plug-ins that generate audio through your sound card when receiving MIDI data from another track or through live input, like playing your MIDI keyboard. Some DXi's can be programmed to generate rhythmic patterns or sequences and do not require MIDI input from SONARTM. You may control and play DXi's in real time using their internal interface or external MIDI devices like keyboards, guitar synths, or wind controllers. You can automate the controls of some DXi's. Note that not all DXi's are tone generators, but can be used as MIDI-controlled audio processors, such as vocoders, intelligent pitch shifters, or tempo-based delays. Of course you can also patch audio effect plug-ins to synth outputs for additional sound flexibility.
A common cause of this problem is in conjunction with a Virtual Synth such as the Roland VSC. Since all software synthesizers rely on the digital audio portion of the sound card, playing MIDI and digital audio together can sometimes be a problem.
Go to the Control Panel | Multimedia -or- Sounds and Audio Devices | Audio. Select the same audio playback device as is showing in the recording preferences. Click the MIDI tab (Windows XP: Look in the MIDI Playback area) and select your sound card's synth, rather than the VSC88/3 (or other software synth). This will give a lesser quality for Windows playback but the VSC can be selected internally by the software rather than allowing Windows to be the default.
USB: There are many MIDI interfaces available that connect to this port on your computer. MIDI In and Out cables connect from the interface to your synth, and you may have to purchase the cables separately.
Sound card (Joystick port): The joystick port (game port) on your sound card has a built-in MIDI interface. The cable that connects to the joystick port is commonly called a Universal MIDI Sound Card Connector. Some sound cards have MIDI in and out ports so you don't need to use the joystick port. In either case, MIDI cables connect to your synth's MIDI In and Out.
The manufacturer is referring to the number of sounds the module can play at the same time. A 64 voice module can play 64 sounds all at the same time. Some synths use more than one sound/voice to create a fuller sound for some patches. The number of partials (combinations of sounds) a patch uses will determine how many voices will be used for a single note. For example, if you press one note on a patch that has 3 sounds in it (like a layer of piano, strings and brass), you would use up 3 voices of your 64 available. Add a Bass track, (1 note, 1 voice) Drums (4 notes in some places) Guitar (3 notes) ..... well, you get the picture. You are using up the available voices as you add layers to your MIDI song. Remember, this is fluid; as notes are released, more voices become available. It is really only an issue when all tracks play all notes all at the same time. A 64 voice module has a fair number of voices to use so running out of sound is not really an issue.
Polyphony refers to the number of notes the unit can play simultaneously. A trumpet is monophonic, while a guitar can have up to 6 note polyphony (six strings). Your synthesizer might be 16, 32, or 64-note polyphonic. Sometimes, in a complex MIDI file, there are more than 64 notes sounding at a time. In this case, a smart synth will use an algorithm to determine which note to suspend playing so that it might continue.
A synthesizer is Multitimbral if it can produce more than one type of sound at a time. This is usually set to the number of channels the unit has. For example, on a 16 channel unit with 64 note polyphony, the synth can play 64 notes at a time, spread out over 16 different instruments.
Note: If you won't be recording MIDI from an external MIDI synth it is usually ok if you don't have a MIDI Input driver, as long as you do have a MIDI Output driver. To avoid getting a warning that there are no MIDI Input drivers installed in PowerTracks when you are trying to record audio, press the microphone (record audio) button to start recording, rather than the other record button.
You are most likely using a software synthesizer such as the Microsoft GS Wavetable or the Roland VSC as your MIDI output device. One characteristic of a software synth is that it takes some time for it to express the MIDI data it receives as sound. In other words, there is a delay between when a note is sent by PowerTracks Pro Audio (and other MIDI software) and when you hear the note played. This delay is called latency, and is normally a fraction of a second.
For recording or playing live from an external MIDI synth, the solution is to use a MIDI Output Driver with no noticeable latency. This could be the built-in MIDI synth on your computer's internal sound card, or your external MIDI keyboard or sound module. If you prefer the sound quality of the soft synth, you can record using a no-latency driver, and switch back to the soft synth for playback when you have finished recording.
The Roland VSC is a software synthesizer based on the sounds from the Roland Sound Canvas hardware sound modules. The VSC's latency, or "Response Time", is adjustable. By default, the Roland VSC has a response time of about 430 to 450 ms (a little less than half a second). This is a safe setting, and will avoid audio drop-outs and glitches even on older and slow computers. If you select the Roland VSC as your MIDI Output Driver and press OK in the MIDI Driver Setup dialog, PowerTracks will automatically offer to set the latency to 430 ms.
On most modern computers, you can reduce the VSC's latency by a fair bit without experiencing any problems. Depending on how fast your computer is, you may be able to reduce this to about 100 ms or less. This is still not ideal for live playing, but is much better than 430 ms. Follow these steps:
The Microsoft GS Wavetable is a software synthesizer included with Windows. The sounds are somewhat similar to the Roland VSC, but they are lower quality sounds, and there are fewer of them. The latency of the GS Wavetable varies between different computers with Windows XP - it is usually about 120 ms. On Windows Vista, the latency is higher, about 210 ms. As far as we are aware, there is no way to reduce the latency on any particular computer. Unfortunately, many new computers don't include a sound card with a built-in MIDI synthesizer, so choosing a "no-latency" MIDI output driver for recording may not be an option. In many cases the GS Wavetable is the only MIDI output driver choice, aside from purchasing a sound card, using an external synth/sound module for output, or using a DXi/VSTi synth and ASIO drivers.
Recent versions of Band-in-a-Box® (2006 and higher) and PowerTracks Pro Audio (10 and higher) added support for ASIO drivers. One of the main advantages to using ASIO in PowerTracks is that it allows you to play live from an external MIDI keyboard through a DXi synth with almost no latency. Previous versions of PowerTracks supported DXi synths, but you couldn't play through the DXi synth from your keyboard because there was too much latency. If your sound card supports ASIO and you have ASIO drivers installed on your computer, you can use ASIO by selecting this audio driver type in Opt. | Preferences | Audio. See the PowerTracks help file and manual for further information on setting up the ASIO audio driver dialog. If the manufacturer of your sound card doesn't have an ASIO driver, OR if you are having trouble using a specific ASIO driver, you may be able to use the ASIO4ALL driver.
Note that PowerTracks Pro Audio doesn't include a DXi synth. However if you also have Band-in-a-Box®, which comes with the Roland VSC-DXi, you have the option of installing this DXi synth and using it for MIDI output through an ASIO driver. As long as you choose a sufficiently low latency/buffer size in the ASIO Audio Driver's Control Panel, this would resolve your latency problem.
To use more than one MIDI output device at the same time, you first need to select all of the output drivers that you want to use. In the MIDI Driver Setup dialog (Options | MIDI Devices), you can choose more than one MIDI Output Driver at the same time. The top MIDI driver that you have selected is considered to be port 1, the second is port 2, and so on. In the Tracks window, click on the Track Info field, point to "Port", and select the port that you want to use. You will note that it is possible to send different tracks to different DXi synths as well as different hardware devices. For more information on this, see this FAQ topic.
You might be using a software synthesizer such as the Roland VSC or Microsoft GS Wavetable for MIDI playback (check this in Options | MIDI Devices). Software Synthesizers usually have noticeable latency because the sound is processed by your computer's CPU before being sent to your sound card. This means that there is a delay between when PowerTracks sends the MIDI data and when you hear it played. There shouldn't be a problem if you are consistently using the same MIDI Output Driver, but if you are having trouble syncing audio and MIDI there are a couple of settings in PowerTracks that you can use to correct the problem:
The Audio I/O Delay setting in Options | MIDI Devices. This will delay the start of audio playback and audio recording, which is useful if you want to attempt to keep audio playback/recording in sync with MIDI, especially if you are using a software based synth for MIDI playback. Normally, you will set this to match the Synth Output Latency Delay. If you are finding that the audio comes in before the MIDI (MIDI is slower), increase this setting. The audio will be delayed by the amount in milliseconds that you specify. You may have to experiment a little to find exactly the correct delay. Note that while the Synth Output Latency setting should normally be set to the same value as the Audio I/O delay, the Synth Output Latency setting is quite different; it is only for keeping the visual display, such as displayed times and highlighting of notes, in sync with MIDI playback. It doesn't have any effect on what you actually hear. 2b1af7f3a8