How to synchronize Gig Performer’s tempo to an external MIDI clock or Link-enabled products

How to synchronize Gig Performer’s tempo to an external MIDI clock or Link-enabled products

In this article we explain how to synchronize Gig Performer’s tempo to an external MIDI clock or Link-enabled products.

Gig Performer is a versatile audio plugin host that provides you with variety of ways to manage your tempo. As of version 1.6, Gig Performer can sync its tempo to an external MIDI clock, adjusting tempo automatically based on the rate at which MIDI clock events are received. Gig Performer also supports Ableton Link, a technology that keeps Link-enabled products time synced over a local network.

Let’s get started!

How to synchronize Gig Performer’s tempo to an external MIDI clock

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Clock synchronization itself in Gig Performer is not global but rather it is enabled on a per rackspace basis. To enable MIDI clock synchronization, double-click on a rackspace, and turn on the Sync tempo with external MIDI clock toggle button in the Rackspace Properties dialog:

Sync tempo with external MIDI clock, Rackspace Properties in Gig Performer

The next step is finding a source that generates MIDI clock events; the source is usually a special hardware MIDI clock device or a MIDI keyboard that can act as the MIDI clock master.

Alternatively, the source can be produced by applications such as MaxMSP, Ableton Live, or any other application with MIDI clock generating capability.

For the purposes of this article, I’ll use an open source and cross-platform application MidiClock, a simple MIDI Clock generator, and send generated MIDI messages through virtual MIDI devices. Mac users have an advantage as macOS already includes the built-in IAC port that can be used with this kind of applications; Windows users will need to install a free virtual MIDI driver such as LoopBe1 (which is used in this example).

So the steps are:
– Install the MidiClock application,
– If you’re on Windows, also install a virtual MIDI driver,
– Start Gig Performer and enable tempo synchronization with external MIDI clock,
– Start the MidiClock application:

MidiClock, simple MIDI clock generator, Windows and Mac screenshots with Gig Performer

Above are screenshots of Gig Performer running on Mac (A) and Windows (B). In MidiClock application, simply type in the desired BPM (1) (alternatively, select the desired range and use the slider), and select the desired MIDI out device (2) (IAC Driver on Mac or LoopBe on Windows). MidiClock will immediately start generating MIDI messages and you’ll see that Gig Performer synchronizes with that tempo (indicated with the yellow rectangle). Gig Performer updates its tempo very frequently, according to generated MIDI messages, that’s why you see the different tempo value on every screenshot (also note the MIDI indicator activity in Gig Performer):

Gig Performer MIDI indicator

But why does Gig Performer show different values than the value in the MidiClock application? This is where the quality of MIDI clocks comes into place. While dedicated hardware MIDI clock devices are very precise, simple applications like MidiClock have difficulties maintaining perfect sync. Feel free to try out different applications for PC or Mac and compare the results. Visit our Community to see experience of our Community members with different MIDI clocks and Gig Performer.

Bonus point: if you have a MIDI-enabled smartphone or tablet (like a Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 Android smartphone), you can use it as a MIDI clock. To do so:
– Connect your smartphone with the USB cable to your PC and select MIDI mode; Gig Performer will automatically register it as a new MIDI device (you don’t actually need to insert the MIDI In block, as indicated with the yellow rectangle below. This is only to test whether your device is recognized in Gig Performer).
– Install an app on your smartphone that supports MIDI clock synchronization (like MIDI Looper in this example, see (A)). Depending on your app, you might also need to configure MIDI In/Out ports in your app.

MIDI Looper and Gig Performer MIDI clock, tempo sync

You can see that this setup more accurately synchronizes Gig Performer’s tempo to an external MIDI clock (B).

How to synchronize Gig Performer’s tempo to Link-enabled products

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Ableton Link is a technology that synchronizes musical beat, tempo, phase, and start/stop commands across multiple applications running on one or more devices. Applications on devices connected to a local network discover each other automatically and form a session in which each participant can perform independently: anyone can start or stop while still staying in time. Anyone can change the tempo, the others will follow. Anyone can join or leave without disrupting the session.

Gig Performer fully supports Ableton Link:

Gig Performer is an Ableton Link enabled audio plugin host for live performance
There are more than 200 Link-enabled products; check this list to see them. For the purpose of this article, I downloaded a free Android app G-Stomper Rhythm:

G-Stomper Rhythm is an Ableton Link-enabled app, and it works perfectly with Gig Performer

Simply long tap on the Play button, set the desired tempo (e.g. 110 BPM) and tap on Enable Ableton Link:

G-Stomper Rhythm, enable Ableton Link. When Gig Performer connects, it states Connected Links: 1

It doesn’t matter in which order you enable Link; if you first enable it in this app, it will state “Connected Links: 0”. If you first enable Link in Gig Performer and then in this app, the app will automatically recognize Gig Performer and state “Connected Links: 1”.

All that matters is that all devices are on the same local network (in this example, both this app and my laptop are connected on the same Wi-FI network).

And what about the tempo synchronization? You can see that before activating the Link, the tempo in Gig Performer was 100 BPM, before activating the Link, and afterwards it was fixed at 110 BPM:

Gig Performer tempo change, before and after Ableton Link is enabled.

In Gig Performer, you can see the number of connected Link devices inside the brackets, e.g. LINK [1]. Note that there are no frequent tempo updates like you saw in the previous section of this article.

Any new device is almost immediately available in the Link session, you only get the notification about the connected link in the App:

Indicator when a new Link product is connected in G-Stomper Rhythm app.

As you can see, Link is really hassle-free, there is virtually no configuration needed, it just works, and it works well.

Note: Link has higher priority in Gig Performer; if you enable the Sync tempo with external MIDI clock option in a rackspace and then turn on Link, you’ll see that the Sync tempo option is disabled until Link is turned off.

If you like this article, please share it. 🙂

Own the Stage® with Gig Performer® !

Nemanja Pudar



Scaling curves allow you to control the shape of the output of a widget or convert an incoming note velocity to a new velocity. Various predefined curves are available and they can be tweaked as necessary. You can also just draw your own curve as well to achieve the effect you require.

 

MIDI File Player Plugin


You can load up to 128 MIDI song files in a single plugin instance. Switch from one song to another, mute tracks and/or change their channel numbers. Tempo can be controlled by individual songs or you can use the global tempo and tap tempo to control the BPM interactively.

 

Favorites and Presets


Create a sound by placing and interconnecting your desired plugins, such as a synth, some effects and perhaps a mixer. Select them all and then save the selection as a named favorite. The favorite will subsequently show up in all plugin insert menus, making it easy for you to recreate that configuration whenever you need it again. This feature is also very powerful for creating your needed sounds on your studio computer and then transferring them to your touring laptop.

 

Probabilistic Sound Designer


Parameters you select in an open plugin are captured into the Probabilistic Sound Designer dialog window. When you click Randomize, you're only adjusting those selected parameters. Each entry in the PSD dialog has a curve but unlike widgets where the curve controls scaling, in the PSD the curves are used to define the probability of particular values being selected. Make sure the filter cutoff never gets too slow so as to block all sound. Perhaps adjust the max range of the VCA attack parameter so that the sound doesn't have too much delay. Constrain the octave ranges of the oscillators, perhaps ensuring that 1/3rd of the time we select 8' and 2/3rds of the time we select 4'. The possibilities are endless.

 

More Widgets


Numerous new widgets are included in Gig Performer - a new sustain pedal, plastic knobs, drum pads and more colored sliders. Shapes can be colored with different borders and fill colors and morphed from rectangular to circular. Your creativity is now the limit to creating fabulous front panels in Gig Performer.

 

MIDI Message Helper


Select MIDI devices by name. Choose the MIDI message type and adjust the appropriate parameters for the specific type

 

  

Layout management


Gig Performer supports arbitrary resizing. Layout your widgets the way you want - resize the main window and the widgets will grow or shrink as necessary to maintain the same interrelationships. No matter what size screen you have, your front panels will still be neat and usable.

 

Undo Support


If you move your widgets around and/or resize them, or even delete them by mistake, the Undo facility will correct your mistake. Minor moves to a widget by mistake will no longer spoil your design

 

Plugin Channel Count


Some plugins support a large number of outputs and they depend on the traditional channel strip to control how many ports should be available.   When you only need a stereo pair, it is convenient not to have a large horizontal block. In Gig Performer, the number of available ports  is controlled by the channel count override, which can be applied to individual plugins and will be remembered when the gigfile is reloaded or if the plugin is saved as a favorite.

 

Input muting and output fading


Rather than a single audio length tail, Gig Performer 4 gives you the ability to control input muting and output fading separately. Input muting controls how much time it takes for audio input to be silenced when you leave the rackspace. Output fading controls how much time will be taken for audio to fade out when you leave the rackspace.

 

Faster Plugin Finder


Instead of searching through menus of perhaps hundreds of plugins (you know who you are!), the Quick Plugin Finder makes it easy to find the plugin you need by simply typing partial strings. For example, as shown here, to find the Modartt Pianoteq 7 plugins, it's enough to type pia mod 7 (in any order, by the way)  to restrict the list of available plugins to those matching your query. The Quick Plugin Finder also knows about manufacturers, presets and favorites.

 

  

Touch Friendly Input


Any entry field can be changed by either dragging your mouse (or finger) up or down, or by using the large popup touchpad where you can just tap on the squares to enter a value. The large popup keypad also does validation so you can't enter an invalid value. You can also just tap the BPM field to pop up a larger view where you can quickly change tempo, tranpose, trigger Tap Tempo and enable Ableton Link, the last allowing you to synchronize Gig Performer with any other application that also supports Ableton Link.

 

New Tuner Display


The tuner view makes it easy for guitarists to quickly check and adjust their tuning. You can toggle into the tuner view from any other view and toggle right back as soon as you're done. All output will be silenced automatically while you're in tuning mode. You can adjust the concert reference pitch from its default of 440 Hz to suit your own needs. The tuner view fills the entire screen so you can easily see it from a distance.

 

GP Script Enhancements


GP Script adds new language improvements such as multiple initialization sections, initialization with declarations and enhanced callbacks. The WidgetValueChanged callback now supports multiple widgets. Sysex messages are now built-in with numerous supporting functions. String array handling is much faster. Integer bit manipulation is now built-in. A new global GigScript allows incoming MIDI messages to be modified and redirected on the fly. It also allows you to define keyboard macros for your computer keyboard to control Gig Performer itself. For complete information, please review the GP Script Language Manual available through the Help menu.

 

Scriptlets


Scriptlets make creating custom MIDI processors easy. You don't have to be a programmer to use them - you can just download scriptlets from our ever-growing collection on our website and drop them right into your rackspaces to use them. Use scriptlets for simple operations such as turning your single notes into chords, modifying, duplicating or converting one kind of message into another, automatic chord latching (AutoSustain), threshold detection, sysex manipulation... imagination is the limit.

 

Other Improvements


  • System Actions plugin
  • MIDI Out to OSC converter
  • Comment plugin
  • New GUI dialog to define MIDI events to send on song part change
  • MIDI Out blocks can automatically send multiple MIDI events
  • Open/close a plugin editor from a widget
  • Choose default startup view
  • Quick find for plugin parameters
  • Large collection of startup hints
  • OSC Patchbay mode
  • Plugins now default to stereo I/O
  • Dragging presets into the wiring view will automatically create the required plugin
  • Numerous other minor (but nice) usability and workflow enhancements

Numerous other enhancements and optimizations serve to make Gig Performer 4 a superb platform for performing artists.

 

Songs and Setlists


You can organize your rackspaces into songs and your songs into setlists and then just select the setlist you need for a show. Then simply cycle down through the parts, or use your control surface or a MIDI Guitar pedal controller to select individual parts directly.

 

Predictive Loading


Predictive Loading™ is an advanced feature that reduces your RAM and CPU resources by only loading rackspaces (or songs) as needed.

 

 

The Global Rackspace


The Global Rackspace can receive audio from whatever rackspace is currently active. Instead of inserting effects in every rackspace, simply insert them once in the Global Rackspace and all your local rackspaces will have access to them. The Global Rackspace can also send audio to the currently active rackspace. So you can insert a looper that receives audio directly from your guitar (say) and then send the looped audio to different effects in different rackspaces. If a particular instrument such as a piano or organ is needed everywhere (or almost everywhere), put it in the Global Rackspace.

 

   

Zoomable Wiring View


Gig Performer 4 provides a virtual view allowing you to spread out your blocks and connections to make them easier to see and manage, even if you have a very small screen. You can zoom in or out and you can use the Auto-Fit option to position your blocks to fit in the available space.