Updates: July 2016
MIDI Speed Tests Info:
MIDI Speed Tests
Data Summary
Notes
Raw Data

Midi Speed Tests

Below are the results of speed tests comparing various vintage and new synthesizers. I played open strings, fretted at the fifth fret, and the twelfth fret. I recorded the direct output from the 1/4” jack on the guitar and the output from the synthesizers. I recorded the audio tracks into Digital Performer at 44.1kHz. I edge edited to the start of the sounds, and I then wrote down the actual sample number of the start of the sound. The difference in sample numbers was converted back into the more understandable millisecond unit.

Data Summary

Overall Model Time (ms) Guitar Pickup Manufacturer Year Notes
1A G50 11.08 Roland G-303 BX-13-VX Yamaha 1996  
1B G50 11.54 Parker PM-10 GK-2A Internal Yamaha 1996  
1C G50 11.58 Fernandes Dragonfly Elite GK-3 Internal Yamaha 1996  
1D G50 11.66 Schecter Stiletto Classic GK-3 Internal Yamaha 1996  
2 GI-20 15.96 Parker Nitefly GK-2A Internal Roland 2003  
3 GI-10 18.58 Parker Nitefly GK-2A Internal Roland 1995  
4 GR-55 19.01 Roland G-303 BX-13-VX Roland 2011 External MIDI
5 Z3 20.11 Ibanez IMG2010 BX-13-V2 Korg 1989 Internal FM
6 GR-55 20.31 Roland G-303 BX-13-VX Roland 2011 Internal PCM
7 GR-700 Turbo 28.54 PRS SE Custom GK-3 External Roland 1984 V1.5 Software
8 GR-700 29.87 Roland G-707 Internal Roland 1984 V1.4 Software
9 MC1 33.62 Ibanez IMG2010 Internal Ibanez 1985 V1.1 Software
10 GM-70 40.39 Roland G-707 Internal Roland 1987 V1.2 Software

Overall Model Time (ms) Bass Guitar Pickup Manufacturer Year Notes
1 GR-77B 32.13 Roland G-77 Internal Roland 1987  
2 GI-20 39.54 Roland G-77 BX-13-VX Roland 2003  
3 GM-70 45.64 Roland G-77 Internal Roland 1987  

Overall Model Time (ms) Signal Processing Only Pickup Manufacturer Year Notes
1 GR-500 1.14 GS-500 Internal Roland 1977 Polyensemble
1 GR-300 3.32 Ibanez IMG2010 Internal Roland 1980  
1 GR-500 3.65 GS-500 Internal Roland 1977 Solo Synthesizer
2 VB-99 3.76 G-77 BX-13-VX Roland 2008 MusicMan Sim
1 GR-500 3.89 GS-500 Internal Roland 1977 Bass Section
3 VG-88 7.34 Ibanez IMG2010 SBC+ Roland 2000 Polyphonic Pitch Shift
4 GR-33B 13.00 G-77 Internal Roland 1980  
5 VB-99 14.40 G-77 BX-13-VX Roland 2008 GR-300 Sim

Notes

Here is a breakdown of how I did the tests in more detail. For example, with the GM-70, the guitar sound was recorded at sample number 4470612, and the synth output was recorded at 4473326. So 4473326 minus 4470612 equals a delay of 2714 samples. 2714 samples divided by 44100 samples equals 0.06154. Multiply by 1000 to convert to milliseconds: 61.54. Or a 61.54 millisecond delay for a GM-70 to play a low "E." Ouch! Compare that to 5.8 milliseconds for the GR-300!

For the MIDI only modules, like the GM-70 or GI-10, I used the output of a Yamaha CS6R. It was the factory piano patch, with the attack time set to zero. The CS6R is a few years old, and is a fairly "middle-of-the-road" module. So, when you see that the average response time of the GI-10 is 21.99 milliseconds, this is the total time from when the guitar is picked to when a note is actually heard from the module. I felt this was more of a real world test. Also, depending on the MIDI module you use, you may have a slower or faster response time.

And 20 ms is not a bad response time at all. In 1995, there was a lot of discussion about "MIDI delay." This was a term for the delay between when a MIDI note on is sent to a synthesizer, and the time it takes the synth to respond. I did a test on a Kurzweil K2000R, which was considered to be a pretty good synth in 1995. It took the K2000R around 20 milliseconds to produce a sound from the time that a MIDI note on command was received. To consider that guitar synthesizers like the GR-55 are working in the same time frame is pretty impressive. Perhaps the problem with guitar synthesizers is that the player can hear the note produced by the guitar and perceive the delay in the MIDI sound, even in the small time delay of 20 ms.

I have also included the Roland VG-88 and GR-300. At an average response time of 3.3 milliseconds, you can see that the GR-300 deserves its reputation as the "world’s fastest guitar synthesizer."

For the VG-88, I used polyphonic pitch shifting, with each string being individually pitch-shifted. The result was similar to putting a capo on the third fret of the guitar. In addition to the pitch-shifting, there is the additional guitar and amp modeling.

Unfortunately, I do not have any of the Axon pitch-to-MIDI converters. As of 2012, the company is out of business, which is really unfortunate. The Axon gear was always pretty hard to find in the United States. However, I was able to pick up a Yamaha G50 pitch-to-MIDI converter, which licensed the Axon technology. From what I have learned from searching the web, the Yamaha G50 has the same design as the Axon NG-77. The Yamaha G50 smoked all the competition in the Pitch-to-MIDI speed tests, scoring an average amazing 11.47 millisecond response across all the strings.

Just to make sure I was not imagining things, I did the Yamaha G50 test with four guitars, two with a whammy bar, two with a fixed bridge. I used both Roland GK-2A and GK-3 pickups. And the results were consistent, 11 milliseconds average. If you want fast Pitch-to-MIDI, find yourself a Yamaha G50 or an Axon converter.

I would note that the web pages I referenced indicated the Yamaha G50 would not be a good choice for use with piezo MIDI pickup guitars, since the Yamaha G50 does not have a software update issued by Axon to deal with the different attack waveform of the piezo systems. I would note slight speed differences between the guitars using the G50 is insignificant. I cannot say that my pick attack is precisely the same, or that I struck each note with the same intensity. Either way you look at it, the G50 is significantly faster.

And, many of you may be wondering about the GR-100! It basically has no delay. The GR-100 is six fuzz circuits with a low pass filter and chorus. So, in light of the tedium required to measure the MIDI timing/tracking of all these synths, I skipped the GR-100.

Raw Data

Setup Guitar Synth Delay (ms)
GR-55 with GK-3 Internal Sounds GUITAR SYNTH AUDIO DLEAY
E1 137806 139145 30.36281178944
A1 337791 339007 27.57369614336
D2 490706 491687 22.24489795776
G2 648774 649663 20.15873015744
B2 781453 782329 19.86394557696
E3 917735 918493 17.18820861568




A1 1083961 1084983 23.17460317312
D2 1226210 1227192 22.26757369472
G2 1359034 1359866 18.86621315072
C3 1481548 1482356 18.32199546368
E3 1599270 1600033 17.30158730048
A3 1707912 1708600 15.60090702848




E2 1831956 1833173 27.59637188032
A2 1945135 1945999 19.59183673344
D3 2052309 2053188 19.93197278784
G3 2152613 2153319 16.00907029376
B3 2258915 2259594 15.39682539584
E4 2357999 2358621 14.10430838912


AVG 20.3086419740089




Test Date: 03-14-2011

Custom Square Wave INTERNAL





GR-55 with GK-3 External MIDI GUITAR SYNTH AUDIO DLEAY
E1 70764 72384 36.7346938752
A1 138891 140051 26.3038548736
D2 192789 193740 21.56462584896
G2 244541 245425 20.04535147264
B2 339490 340190 15.873015872
E3 386085 386662 13.08390022592




A1 468128 469176 23.76417233408
D2 520120 521086 21.90476190336
G2 563153 563838 15.5328798176
C3 612037 612702 15.0793650784
E3 656445 657064 14.03628117824
A3 699398 699999 13.62811791296




E2 763987 765198 27.46031745856
A2 802220 803089 19.70521541824
D3 831493 832333 19.0476190464
G3 862921 863627 16.00907029376
B3 895215 895726 11.58730158656
E4 928225 928706 10.90702947776


AVG 19.0148652041244




Test Date: 03-14-2011

Yamaha S80 Preset 01


Ibanez MC-1 with IMG2010 GUITAR SYNTH AUDIO DELAY
E 2456723 2458807 47.25623582464
A 2549949 2551715 40.04535147136
D 2645790 2647162 31.11111110912
G 2735307 2737162 42.0634920608
B 2833615 2835037 32.24489795712
E 2925316 2926463 26.00907029312




A 3085390 3087548 48.93424035968
D 3179239 3180948 38.75283446464
G 3263531 3265297 40.04535147136
C 3349252 3350572 29.9319727872
E 3440147 3441428 29.04761904576
A 3532322 3533458 25.75963718656




E 3683749 3685642 42.92517006528
A 3770416 3771915 33.99092970304
D 3860146 3861324 26.71201813888
G 3946532 3947728 27.12018140416
B 4033428 4034369 21.33786847936
E 4124588 4125550 21.81405895552


AVG 33.6167800432




GR-700 V1.4 with G-707 GUITAR SYNTH AUDIO DELAY
E 147834 149918 47.25623582464
A 290606 292329 39.07029478208
D 421575 422658 24.55782312768
G 545726 546967 28.14058956736
B 668461 669455 22.53968253824
E 794883 795870 22.38095237952




A 1045027 1046510 33.62811791168
D 1153847 1155163 29.84126983936
G 1264318 1265433 25.2834467104
C 1372097 1373294 27.14285714112
E 1481709 1482862 26.14512471488
A 1593429 1594597 26.48526076928




E 1715733 1717283 35.147392288
A 1809154 1810618 33.19727890944
D 1910751 1911908 26.23582766272
G 2010665 2011861 27.12018140416
B 2108370 2109810 32.6530612224
E 2210799 2212161 30.88435373952


AVG 29.8727639184711




GR-700 V1.5 Turbo with GK-3 GUITAR SYNTH AUDIO DELAY
E 97146 98652 34.14965986176
A 159656 161130 33.42403627904
D 218747 220126 31.26984126784
G 276442 277746 29.56916099584
B 327768 329009 28.14058956736
E 379923 380695 17.50566893312




A 468340 470032 38.36734693632
D 522346 524016 37.8684807232
G 571629 572702 24.33106575808
C 616440 617693 28.41269841088
E 660071 661400 30.13605441984
A 702404 703273 19.70521541824




E 795298 796606 29.65986394368
A 840482 841540 23.99092970368
D 883776 885094 29.88662131328
G 925715 926942 27.82312924992
B 968957 970153 27.12018140416
E 1009368 1010355 22.38095237952


AVG 28.5411942536533




Korg Z3 GUITAR SYNTH AUDIO DELAY
E 134912 136334 32.24489795712
A 249328 250464 25.75963718656
D 358547 359459 20.68027210752
G 460327 461067 16.7800453504
B 548816 549439 14.12698412608
E 641108 641593 10.9977324256




A 849650 851451 40.83900226496
D 949386 950406 23.1292516992
G 1051283 1052223 21.3151927424
C 1142229 1142960 16.57596371776
E 1240473 1241196 16.39455782208
A 1344740 1345296 12.60770974976




E 1517650 1519050 31.746031744
A 1625720 1626581 19.52380952256
D 1722071 1722932 19.52380952256
G 1821640 1822350 16.0997732416
B 1925438 1926057 14.03628117824
E 2029968 2030395 9.68253968192


AVG 20.1146384466844




GR-300 GUITAR SYNTH AUDIO DELAY
E 122279 122535 5.80498866176
A 252172 252440 6.07709750528
D 347024 347099 1.700680272
G 443657 443925 6.07709750528
B 575120 575222 2.31292516992
E 710205 710291 1.95011337856




A 876601 876892 6.59863945536
D 960577 960863 6.48526077056
G 1040160 1040348 4.26303854848
C 1115908 1115977 1.56462585024
E 1194384 1194465 1.83673469376
A 1276050 1276130 1.8140589568




E 1380882 1380916 0.77097505664
A 1458445 1458713 6.07709750528
D 1534849 1534918 1.56462585024
G 1605457 1605502 1.0204081632
B 1676714 1676817 2.33560090688
E 1759586 1759650 1.45124716544


AVG 3.31695641198222




GI-20 GK-2A with Parker NiteFly GUITAR SYNTH AUDIO DELAY
E 93481 94973 33.83219954432
A 230759 231833 24.35374149504
D 362261 363101 19.0476190464
G 487953 488639 15.55555555456
B 598820 599396 13.06122448896
E 701456 701950 11.20181405824




A 997797 998951 26.16780045184
D 1102248 1103113 19.6145124704
G 1188772 1189491 16.30385487424
C 1284516 1285072 12.60770974976
E 1381243 1381699 10.34013605376
A 1473736 1474049 7.09750566848




E 1873361 1874206 19.1609977312
A 2838245 2838906 14.98866213056
D 2050192 2050752 12.6984126976
G 2130806 2131458 14.78458049792
B 2222245 2222646 9.09297052096
E 2311691 2312017 7.39229024896


AVG 15.9611992935111




GI-10 GK-2A with Parker NiteFly GUITAR SYNTH AUDIO DELAY
E 152634 154147 34.30839002048
A 539813 540975 26.34920634752
D 654332 655202 19.7278911552
G 775912 777086 26.62131519104
B 888103 888722 14.03628117824
E 996800 997331 12.04081632576




A 1215453 1216611 26.25850339968
D 1348012 1348915 20.47619047488
G 1459197 1459895 15.82766439808
C 1555908 1556553 14.6258503392
E 1655625 1656260 14.3990929696
A 1750603 1751127 11.88208616704




E 2016452 2017583 25.64625850176
A 2117818 2118675 19.43310657472
D 2206954 2207621 15.12471655232
G 2291146 2291869 16.39455782208
B 2372719 2373193 10.74829931904
E 2458419 2458882 10.49886621248


AVG 18.5777273860622




GM-70 with G-707 GUITAR SYNTH AUDIO DLEAY
E1 4470612 4473326 61.54195010944
A1 4581622 4583999 53.90022675392
D2 4694906 4696746 41.7233560064
G2 4814867 4816817 44.217687072
B2 4922194 4923655 33.12925169856
E3 5023657 5025408 39.70521541696




A1 5185757 5188244 56.39455781952
D2 5279092 5281077 45.0113378656
G2 5375167 5377134 44.60317460032
C3 5469532 5471032 34.01360544
E3 5561485 5563066 35.85034013376
A3 5664636 5665980 30.47619047424




E2 5793350 5795134 40.45351473664
A2 5893536 5895309 40.20408163008
D3 5988539 5990099 35.3741496576
G3 6074416 6075817 31.76870748096
B3 6159228 6160707 33.53741496384
E4 6240884 6241988 25.03401360384


AVG 40.38548752576




G-77 GR-77B GUITAR SYNTH AUDIO DLEAY
E1 94165 95969 40.90702947584
A1 291965 293821 42.08616779776
D2 454645 456606 44.46712017856
G2 590430 591819 31.49659863744




A1 792717 794541 41.36054421504
D2 914185 915641 33.01587301376
G2 1013735 1015132 31.67800453312
C3 1120143 1121219 24.39909296896




E2 1282311 1283559 28.29931972608
A2 1374550 1375556 22.81179138176
D3 1470295 1471312 23.06122448832
G3 1573575 1574542 21.92743764032


AVG 32.12585033808
       
GM-70 with G-77 GUITAR SYNTH AUDIO DELAY
E 74872 77899 68.63945577792
A 164923 167419 56.59863945216
D 245467 247379 43.35600906752
G 332554 334668 47.93650793344




A 504944 507302 53.46938775168
D 573422 575249 41.42857142592
G 649421 651343 43.58276643712
C 722997 725068 46.96145124416




E 849066 850999 43.83219954368
A 913136 914548 32.01814058752
D 975666 977461 40.7029478432
G 1051866 1053151 29.1383219936


AVG 45.6386999214933




GI-20 with BX-13-VX + G-77 GUITAR SYNTH AUDIO DELAY
E 192800 195683 65.37414965568
A 287518 289717 49.86394557504
D 371610 373267 37.57369614272
G 475411 476797 31.42857142656




A 670967 673261 52.01814058624
D 760030 761862 41.54195011072
G 830985 832538 35.21541949888
C 1007940 1009294 30.70294784384




E 1192090 1194175 47.2789115616
A 1267794 1269542 39.63718820608
D 1336177 1337204 23.28798185792
G 1495327 1496232 20.5215419488


AVG 39.5370370345067




GR-33B with G-77 GUITAR SYNTH AUDIO DELAY
E 136979 137677 15.82766439808
A 281277 282070 17.98185940928
D 441051 441672 14.08163265216
G 603785 604215 9.7505668928




A 776405 777286 19.97732426176
D 945289 945971 15.46485260672
G 1115417 1115846 9.72789115584
C 1269948 1270439 11.13378684736




E 1453860 1454581 16.34920634816
A 1598065 1598541 10.79365079296
D 1740319 1740664 7.8231292512
G 1884374 1884688 7.12018140544


AVG 13.0026455018133




VB-99 with BX-13-VX + G-77 GR-300 Sim GUITAR SYNTH AUDIO DELAY
E 38967 39435 10.61224489728
A 144684 145052 8.34467120128
D 245494 246246 17.05215419392
G 340624 341007 8.68480725568




A 491104 492246 25.89569160832
D 586135 587093 21.72335600768
G 671260 672364 25.03401360384
C 750557 750810 5.73696145088




E 852617 852993 8.52607709696
A 928045 928681 14.42176870656
D 1001073 1001356 6.41723355968
G 1074484 1075381 20.34013605312


AVG 14.3990929696




VB-99 with BX-13-VX + G-77 Music Man GUITAR SYNTH AUDIO DELAY
E 38837 39105 6.07709750528
A 100036 100143 2.42630385472
D 150119 150296 4.01360544192
G 199459 199658 4.51247165504




A 263349 263559 4.7619047616
D 307744 307859 2.6077097504
G 346711 346826 2.6077097504
C 384873 385057 4.17233560064




E 442745 442906 3.65079365056
A 480908 481099 4.33106575936
D 516609 516747 3.12925170048
G 551521 551644 2.78911564608


AVG 3.75661375637333
       
VG-88 Polyphonic Pitch Shift GUITAR SYNTH AUDIO DELAY
E 99402 99669 6.05442176832
A 213273 213880 13.76417233472
D 296830 297223 8.91156462528
G 380399 380612 4.82993197248
B 467090 467241 3.42403628096
E 556168 556360 4.35374149632




A 768112 769065 21.60997732288
D 850741 850966 5.102040816
G 934025 934414 8.82086167744
C 1018476 1018752 6.25850340096
E 1106693 1106869 3.99092970496
A 1201777 1201957 4.0816326528




E 1384660 1385391 16.57596371776
A 1465391 1465834 10.04535147328
D 1540275 1540471 4.44444444416
G 1615906 1616090 4.17233560064
B 1701285 1701406 2.74376417216
E 1784469 1784599 2.9478458048


AVG 7.34063995921778




Yamaha G50 w/ Fernandes Dragonfly Elite GK-3 GUITAR SYNTH AUDIO DELAY
E 154691 156175 33.65079364864
A 306414 307095 15.44217686976
D 460349 460905 12.60770974976
G 606170 606654 10.97505668864
B 740202 740584 8.66213151872
E 883777 884113 7.61904761856




A 1091447 1092174 16.48526076992
D 1237160 1237721 12.72108843456
G 1394390 1394895 11.4512471648
C 1525329 1525635 6.93877550976
E 1656131 1656542 9.31972789056
A 1789886 1790166 6.3492063488




E 1979301 1979837 12.15419501056
A 2091114 2091571 10.36281179072
D 2197380 2197734 8.02721088384
G 2302408 2302937 11.99546485184
B 2406468 2406766 6.75736961408
E 2511387 2511698 7.05215419456


AVG 11.58730158656




Yamaha G50 w/ Schecter Stiletto Classic GK-3 GUITAR SYNTH AUDIO DELAY
E 87613 88510 20.34013605312
A 169024 169737 16.16780045248
D 241320 241879 12.67573696064
G 307661 308115 10.29478457984
B 372250 372615 8.2766439904
E 432353 432702 7.91383219904




A 591691 592441 17.00680272
D 648539 649134 13.4920634912
G 701782 702280 11.29251700608
C 755398 756102 15.96371881984
E 807446 807792 7.84580498816
A 891549 891854 6.9160997728




E 998967 999589 14.10430838912
A 1058005 1058463 10.38548752768
D 1115134 1115552 9.47845804928
G 1171010 1171557 12.40362811712
B 1227569 1227899 7.4829931968
E 1286632 1286979 7.86848072512


AVG 11.6616276132622




Yamaha G50 w/ G-303/BX-13-VX GUITAR SYNTH AUDIO DELAY
E 41343 42281 21.26984126848
A 116926 117655 16.53061224384
D 179041 179602 12.72108843456
G 237479 237936 10.36281179072
B 289518 289907 8.82086167744
E 346119 346453 7.57369614464




A 458913 459642 16.53061224384
D 514709 515322 13.90022675648
G 564061 564550 11.08843537344
C 611333 611703 8.3900226752
E 658493 658843 7.936507936
A 712027 712345 7.21088435328




E 803551 804111 12.6984126976
A 849184 849616 9.79591836672
D 891606 891997 8.86621315136
G 933624 934096 10.70294784512
B 975748 976105 8.09523809472
E 1020139 1020448 7.00680272064


AVG 11.0833963207822




Yamaha G50 w/ Parker PM-10 GK-2A GUITAR SYNTH AUDIO DELAY
E 78819 79779 21.7687074816
A 163280 163975 15.7596371872
D 236282 236860 13.10657596288
G 302533 303014 10.90702947776
B 366832 367532 15.873015872
E 432976 433324 7.89115646208




A 560542 561206 15.05668934144
D 628725 629318 13.44671201728
G 691230 691792 12.74376417152
C 756208 756576 8.34467120128
E 816281 816623 7.75510204032
A 886048 886396 7.89115646208




E 1029707 1030285 13.10657596288
A 1087403 1087822 9.50113378624
D 1140944 1141337 8.91156462528
G 1193656 1194029 8.45804988608
B 1246211 1246574 8.23129251648
E 1304796 1305194 9.02494331008


AVG 11.5432098758044