MIDI DIN Vs MIDI USB Latency

A small article where I share you my user experience about the MIDI latency between the 5 pins DIN connectors and the USB plugs.

I want to compare the speed between a MIDI signal through the MIDI DIN vs MIDI USB. I want to be sure that USB is too fast that my “old-fashioned” MIDI DIN and not add latency when I play.

For the test:
A Nord Stage (master) controls a MOTIF (slave) :

nordstage2
MASTER –>

MotifXF

 


1: With the classic MIDI DIN (5 pins), we obtain the following result : 2 ms latency between the first signal generated by NORD STAGE and the second generated by the MOTIF.

midi-din
NORD STAGE — MIDI DIN –> MOTIF XF = 2 ms

2nd: With USB cable into a router. And using the small MIDI Patchbay software to route the USB MIDI signal between devices. The computer used, is a MacBook 2012. Same result : 2 ms latency between the two synthesizers. So there is no additional latency when using USB MIDI even through a small freeware.

midi-usb
NORD STAGE — MIDI USB –> MOTIF XF = 2 ms

3rd: With 2 different MIDI interfaces (EMU 1X1 and Iconnectivity MIDI4+), produces the following result : 5 ms latency. Probably due to the USB/MIDI Conversion.

emu-midi
NORD STAGE — Iconnectivity MIDI4+ Interface –> MOTIF XF = 5 ms

4th: But this latency is reduced to 3 ms when using the internal routing of the interface (Iconnectivity) between its various MIDI DIN plugs. Therefore, the interface latency is 1 ms.

din-to-din-via-interface
NORD STAGE — IConnectivity midi4 + (DIN) –> MOTIF XF = 3 ms

In summary :

  • MIDI DIN and MIDI USB have exactly the same latency.
  • But a conversion from one format to another will add a few ms (3 ms in my test)
  • The best thing you can do is to plug in all MIDI DIN or all USB MIDI.

by Stefpiano from Keyboardwaves

PS : The USB MIDI connection, after hours of test on OSX, is extremely stable, even through an extension and a passive USB router.

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Kevin
Kevin
6 months ago

This was very informative and exactly what I was looking for. Thank you so much.

Matt Milford
Matt Milford
6 years ago

Fun fact: sound travels 0.6m in 2ms. I can’t tell that the latency is higher if anyone moves my keyboard speaker, so most people can’t hear it!

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