Studio One 3, multi instruments, plug-in delay compensation and sync problems

Listen to the audio examples at the end of this post to hear the issue.

Update 3
I realise I never actually updated this post, but the issue has been fixed. It got fixed in the very first update for version 3. As expected PreSonus was on it and knew that this issue was one of the bigger ones, so they got it sorted quickly.

Update 2
PreSonus is sending the issue to the software team as per their tweet:

I didn’t doubt they would – PreSonus after all seem to take customer concerns quite seriously. Thanks, PreSonus! 🙂

Update 1
Added a sound example where the multi instrument has been created the way you would do it before, meaning 3 separate tracks routed into a bus.
It has all the same plug-ins and is 100% identical to the multi instrument, except it’s not using the multi instrument feature.

Original post
A few days back while working on the lead melody for Surge I noticed something. I’m using Studio One version 3 now, which is a pretty awesome update to an already great DAW.

This new version introduces “Multi Instruments” which basically allow you to stack a whole bunch of instruments within one, meaning you don’t have to create a bunch of separate tracks for each instrument, but can play it from a single track. It allows for other fancy stuff to be done too (check out this article on Studio One Expert to learn more), but for this example all I’m doing is playing 3 instruments at the same time. For Surge I have 2 instances of u-he’s Hive and 1 instance of reFX’ Nexus 2.

The problem I noticed was that it seemed like my lead melody, the only thing in the track using the multi instrument feature, was slightly ahead of everything else in time. This also contributed to the melody tripping over itself, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts. While some of that I believe was the melody timing itself (while the notes were quantized properly, they just didn’t fall in the best manner), compared to the rest of the track, it’s still a problem after I’ve fixed that.
I suspected a bug with the PDC (plug-in delay compensation) and multi instruments, but I didn’t really look much more into it after having briefly talked to Matt from Studio One Expert about it.

Then yesterday I saw a post on the PreSonus forum where other people brought up this exact issue, meaning I apparently wasn’t crazy thinking there was an issue, so I tested a bit more, and best I can tell there is a bug with PDC and multi instruments.

I put an Analog Delay (a Studio One built-in effect) plug-in first in the inserts chain of the multi instrument, turned BPM sync off and delayed the lead melody a few milliseconds. I also made a somewhat similar sound to what I had using a single instance of Reveal Sound’s Spire, meaning that would get the correct PDC as it wasn’t a multi instrument.

Below are some audio samples and I do think you can hear the different from the normal non-delayed one to the ones I have delayed. The 16ms (just a random number I picked) is probably the one closets to what it should be, but not quite fully there. The Spire version is obviously being synced up properly without issue (but it does feel a little staggered, which is more to do with the sound itself and that it’s hitting the notes rather hard).
Listening to all 4 of them playing right now, I can easily tell when it’s the non-delayed version that is playing – it just sounds a bit off.

Anyway, here are the sound samples!

Surge (WIP 048) – No delay on the multi instrument

Surge (WIP 048) – 10ms delay on the multi instrument

Surge (WIP 048) – 16ms delay on the multi instrument

Surge (WIP 048) – Multi instrument re-built the old way (separate tracks routed to a bus)

Surge (WIP 048) – Single instance of Spire, no multi instrument

Obviously all of this is a bit unfortunate because the multi instrument is a great tool, but with it being out of sync due to PDC it makes it hard to really use at this point. Regardless I’m sure the PreSonus software team will sort this out as quickly as possible!


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