Are software metronomes consistent?

I know pc's are not good at keeping time. Has anyone tried to verify a software metronome with a real one. I've used a couple, and they give me the feeling that they are inconsistent.
 
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TFITTING942

Guest
Interesting, I have Windows Vista at work on a new pc and one of the gadgets offered is a metranome.....it is totally off. So much it is noticeable by some of the guys here with no timing at all. I wouldn't trust a software one.
 

Naigewron

Platinum Member
Yeah, I've tried a couple of free ones, and they were noticeably off. It sounded like they kept the tempo somewhat steady over a period of time, but each click could be way off base. I'd get a dedicated metronome for sure.
 
PC's are inherently bad at keeping time, but I know some software makers for machine controls have been able to get around it. I was hoping the metronome makers figured it out too, but apparently not! At least I know now why I was having a hard time playing to it.
 

eddiehimself

Platinum Member
I don't think all PC metronomes are off, i've got cakewalk and i wouldn't say the built in metronome on that was off at all, well you'd hope it wasn't let's face it.
 

thelimpingtoad

Senior Member
The thing about computers and metronomes is that each "Tick" on a computer is 1/1000 of a second (1 milisecond) so when you create a metronome (which i did once) you can only get the intervals to be within 1/1000 of a second.
So looking at that math... if you have a beat at 60 BPM = 1 beat per second = 1000 ms between should hold steady...
However if you have your beat at 60 bpm and want a triplet subdivision... then you're looking at 60 BPM * 3 (1/4 note triplet) = 3 beats per second= 1000ms/3= 333 ms... the problem is obvious.... that would only be 999ms... OR would be 1002ms...

The other problem is that buffering the sound into memory or loading it each time the sound plays can cause it to lag too. And of course if there is too much system processes going on at the time, that can also make it lag a little too because the CPU and Memory might not keep the sound playing consistently...

SO point is... Computers can not reasonably be relied on for a metronome BUT it could be useful for practice since you could have all the features of a $200 metronome for free. :)
Download my Metronome if you'd like to try it out: Download Here
Requires the .Net framework download from here
 

drumhead61

Gold Member
My question is, why would you really want to use your computer as a metronome knowing its inherit issues? You could spend less on a decent met than you would on software. Just my thought.
 

thelimpingtoad

Senior Member
My question is, why would you really want to use your computer as a metronome knowing its inherit issues? You could spend less on a decent met than you would on software. Just my thought.
I agree... that you should have a real metronome based on the issues mentioned. I disagree that you can get one cheaper, considering all the free options like the metronome i created and posted and the link PQleyR posted (and thousands of other ones i'm sure).
you can't really get a good metronome that does subdivisions and stuff for cheap.
 
My question is, why would you really want to use your computer as a metronome knowing its inherit issues? You could spend less on a decent met than you would on software. Just my thought.
If you knew its inherit issues, then obviously you wouldn't want to use it. I have several that are free, and didn't realize for a while that it wasn't me losing time lol!

that being said, I am sure their is better software out there that is consistent. I am into CNC machine building, and I know the software I use for machine control figured out how to get around the windows problems. Something to do with locking into a certain chip. Anyway eddiehimself suggested cakewalk isn't off, so obviously they figured something out. But cakewalk isn't just a metronome.
 

eddiehimself

Platinum Member
If you knew its inherit issues, then obviously you wouldn't want to use it. I have several that are free, and didn't realize for a while that it wasn't me losing time lol!

that being said, I am sure their is better software out there that is consistent. I am into CNC machine building, and I know the software I use for machine control figured out how to get around the windows problems. Something to do with locking into a certain chip. Anyway eddiehimself suggested cakewalk isn't off, so obviously they figured something out. But cakewalk isn't just a metronome.
of course. There's no point in getting it if you're only going to use the metronome. You're probably better off buying a hard metronome. I think you're right, it is possible to get round the computer innacuracies with well designed software.
 

mind_drummer

Platinum Member
I use a software called "Professional Metronome" and what I noticed is sometimes when the computer (PC with windows XP) has some other process that need more CPU time that the metronome hang and lose its tempo for milliseconds. Maybe Linux or OsX would more reliable.
 
I once have coded a simple metronome. It was 100% accurate. I have buffered enough samples into the memory to eliminate any lags.

I have tried out also some other free metronomes. Alot of these metronomes were awful. But some were fine.

The thing about computers and metronomes is that each "Tick" on a computer is 1/1000 of a second (1 milisecond) so when you create a metronome (which i did once) you can only get the intervals to be within 1/1000 of a second.
So looking at that math... if you have a beat at 60 BPM = 1 beat per second = 1000 ms between should hold steady...
However if you have your beat at 60 bpm and want a triplet subdivision... then you're looking at 60 BPM * 3 (1/4 note triplet) = 3 beats per second= 1000ms/3= 333 ms... the problem is obvious.... that would only be 999ms... OR would be 1002ms...

The other problem is that buffering the sound into memory or loading it each time the sound plays can cause it to lag too. And of course if there is too much system processes going on at the time, that can also make it lag a little too because the CPU and Memory might not keep the sound playing consistently...

SO point is... Computers can not reasonably be relied on for a metronome BUT it could be useful for practice since you could have all the features of a $200 metronome for free. :)
Download my Metronome if you'd like to try it out: Download Here
Requires the .Net framework download from here
This is wrong. One tick is usally 1/44100 sec. You basically manage your sound-data at this waveform level which is then put via some interface into the soundcard buffer. If your buffer is big enough, you have no lag.

Sorry to say this, but you seemed to have programmed it the wrong way. (I haven't tried out your app)

Did you use the system time and instantly played sounds when the time reached some fixed point? Such a system is going to lag in any case. Use the soundcard buffer as clock and you are fine.



Edit: In other words: If the metronome is coded like my approach, it basically behaves like playing a soundfile. Such a metronome is consistent. Another question would be how to separate the good ones from the bad ones. You probably will hear it yourself.
 
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thelimpingtoad

Senior Member
This is wrong. One tick is usally 1/44100 sec. You basically manage your sound-data at this waveform level which is then put via some interface into the soundcard buffer. If your buffer is big enough, you have no lag.

Sorry to say this, but you seemed to have programmed it the wrong way. (I haven't tried out your app)
.
Interesting... I was always under the impression it was 1ms. but I guess I was wrong.

Don't worry about it... it doesn't offend me. I just wrote that app one morning when I was bored. And Yeah I never bothered buffering the sounds or anything like that. Like i said, i did it pretty quick. And I also did it more so I could use the "tap" feature to get tempos (relatively close to the tempo) for songs we were covering.
What language did you code yours in? C?
 
You don't still have the source code do you?

edit:

I just checked out your Rhythm Feedback program, looks nice! I think I will try it this weekend.
 

eddiehimself

Platinum Member
Interesting... I was always under the impression it was 1ms. but I guess I was wrong.

Don't worry about it... it doesn't offend me. I just wrote that app one morning when I was bored. And Yeah I never bothered buffering the sounds or anything like that. Like i said, i did it pretty quick. And I also did it more so I could use the "tap" feature to get tempos (relatively close to the tempo) for songs we were covering.
What language did you code yours in? C?
course not. If that were the case then you'd only be able to playback frequencies of up to 500hz. Because of the way it works, you have to be able to sample at least 2 points in the wave to add it to the music which is why it's 44.1khz as this is just over twice the regarded maximum audible frequency by the human ear which is 20khz, that's the theory anyway.
 

Anduin

Pioneer Member
I've recorded rough tracks using a Boss metronome and then imported them into my DAW only to discover that there is a very slight difference between them. So I recorded at 108 on the Boss, but when I put the tracks against the DAW's 108 they noticeably drift apart after a couple of minutes. Not sure which one is out from reality. Or maybe it's both.
 

eddiehimself

Platinum Member
I've recorded rough tracks using a Boss metronome and then imported them into my DAW only to discover that there is a very slight difference between them. So I recorded at 108 on the Boss, but when I put the tracks against the DAW's 108 they noticeably drift apart after a couple of minutes. Not sure which one is out from reality. Or maybe it's both.
yeah that happened with my. My wanker of an audio interface doesn't have a working midi synth so i have to use the dreaded microsoft GS wt synth and then import the midi track onto my cakewalk. There's a difference in tempo when the displayed the tempo is the same but i find with a bit of noodling i can get them to match pretty well.
 
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