Table of contents

Introduction to offset (top)

osu! is a rhythm game – as a result, tapping to the rhythm is very important!

There is a nifty graph that appears, at the end of every song – if you highlight it, it will show you some important stuff. One of these is the unstable rate – but what about the numbers above it?

Eg; -10.41ms – 11.43ms?

If you go into your options, under “gameplay”, there is an option that is not set by default – it is called Score meter type: Hit error

Enabling this will make the bottom of your screen, during any song you play of osu!, display a bar at the bottom that will correlate with how “accurate” you are tapping to the rhythm the song is mapped.

As you may know – osu! has (4) types of hits you can get…
Other than a miss – you have a 50, 100, or 300. These correspond to the timing window set for the overall difficulty of the song you are playing.

More about the bar! (top)

Here is what the bar looks like in game (if it was hit perfectly on time by auto):

  • Yellow is a 50 (meaning you were between 67.5ms and 109.5ms early or late)
  • Green is a 100 (meaning you were between 25.5ms and 67.5ms early or late)
  • Blue is a 300 (meaning you were between 25.5ms early or late)
  • Notes that appear in the yellow are 50s, green are 100s, and blue 300s.

Hitting the note, perfectly, means you can’t see anything – that white bar, and arrow, is always there – it’s the perfect time to hit the note.

As a result – the unstable rate is perfect – 0.00
and the “Accuracy: Error” is 0.00ms – 0.00ms

So – as we can tell, the supreme being that is AI can hit notes perfectly on-time – but what about us mere mortals?

Here is an unstable rate bar that I got on this map on an FC…

What does it mean? (up)

Remember how I mentioned above that the white bar is always there – and that’s the perfect place to hit?

Each line, on the hit error bar (commonly called the “UR bar”) is a single note I pressed – obviously there are some early (to the left) and late (to the right) because I can’t hit perfectly.

The values here, under “Error” have two values – it’s a good measure to see, on average, how early you hit the notes and how late.

  • -9.13ms – 11.36ms avg
  • This means I hit, on average, 9.13ms early – and 11.36ms late.
  • As a result – I am hitting about ~2ms later than perfect, over the entire song.
  • You want these numbers to be very close together (lower numbers – eg , -8ms – 8ms avg) and similar.

We now know that this means, in a nutshell, how accurate we’re hitting – early, vs late.

So what is offset? (top)

In order to get a lot of 300s (aka, a nice high accuracy Full-Combo!) you need to be able to hit at the same time that you hear the rhythm – this will ensure you are in the +-25.5ms window, in the above example, to get a 300!

However – you can have the audio/video be out of sync, or potentially the map is not mapped at the same rhythm to the song.

There are two types of offset… (up)

  • Local Offset
  • This moves the maps hit window – aka, there is no audio/visual sound. If all maps are OK, and you aren’t hitting consistently early or late (you can use the graph above to see – if you are hitting at the same time as the rhythm, but you see a time such as -28.43ms – 9.41ms – this means you are hitting on average 19ms early – a HUGE amount when you only have a 25.5ms hit window to hit a 300!
  • You can see if a map has a pre-defined offset (some older maps commonly will show “Online offset: +5ms – this means the map is consistently +5ms off… more on this value later).
  • This makes it so – if you are consistently hitting 25ms late, but the audio/video is fine – adjusting this essentially can make it so that the map’s expected hits are +25ms later.
  • Almost all ranked, loved, and officially evaluated and approved maps have consistent, good timing.
Local offset
  • Global Offset
  • This is the opposite of above – it is used when every map, song, etc feels off – you tap to the rhythm, yet you simply cannot hit the map on time.
  • This should not be adjusted lightly – it is usually OK (usually) at the default of 0ms.
  • Let’s say, in an ideal scenario, both a beatmap (the notes / hit window beginning) and the mp3 for the song start at 0:00:00 (0 minutes, 0 seconds, 0ms)
  • If you are hitting 20ms late, adjusting the global offset will make the beatmap and song mp3 itself start to compensate for this 20ms offset. AKA – It will keep the song starting at 0:00:00, but it actually delay the notes 20ms so your +20ms late lines up with the visuals and the song’s mp3 itself.

What does a bad offset look like? (top)

Here is a disgusting example…

Sample of offset being incorrect

As you can tell – the UR at the bottom is perfectly fine, but the global offset is set to +200ms. Nothing lines up – and it just is… weird.

How do you adjust offset? (top)

Local offset

  • In-game, press + or –
  • + will give you a +5ms offset
  • – will give you a -5ms offset
  • You can repeatedly hit + or – to get a value such as -15ms, or +10ms. If you need more fine-tuning, you can do Alt + or Alt – to adjust it in increments of 1ms.

When adjust local offset, you can use the bar at the bottom (see here below) to adjust. If the majority is to the left (as it is below), you’re hitting early.

When you are hitting early, you want a negative local offset – so you would hit – to begin with -5ms and add more if necessary. As you adjust your offset, the average of the notes should begin moving towards the middle.

  • + is if you are hitting late
  • – is if you are hitting early

Global offset

This is trickier. Let’s begin with an important part…

Values are the opposite of a local offset. A positive number (15ms) means it’s essentially the equivalent of doing -15ms for a local offset.

You can adjust the global offset in your settings, under the “Audio” section of your settings.

Why would I need to adjust my offset? (top)

If your gameplay resembles the above video, you need to adjust it! Although extreme, that is essentially why – you can’t play correctly if you can’t hear the rhythm/tap correctly due to desync.

Your global offset is usually the one that presents audio/video being consistently out of sync throughout the entire game.

Common causes (up)

Here are some examples of things that can cause a slight audio/video desync:

  • USB headphones
  • USB AMP or DAC
  • Wireless headset / headphones
  • Soundcard (even a PCI-E soundcard!)
  • Delayed output to your monitor (eg; if your monitor is connected through multiple adapters, or through a docking station on a laptop, etc).

The most common one here is the headphones – the best way to play osu! is with the analog (green 3.5mm stereo connector) directly to your motherboard, if possible. USB devices, DACs, USB headphones, soundcards, etc all add an extra step in your audio reaching your ears – even if it’s a small amount, fixing it might help a lot!

Is there anything else? (up)

Yes – software modifications to your sound (eg; some virtual sound cards, such as VoiceMEETER) or virtual sound effects (such as software-oriented 5.1/7.1 surround, software-driven Dolby Atmos, etc) will also add a delay that you should correct by adjusting your offset if you aren’t able to disable these.

It is also possible that the driver/software for your audio device can have affects in there – YMMV will vary on what works best for you.
My PC uses Realtek HD Audio – and the software can be used to add some effects, as seen below…

Offset Wizard (top)

The offset wizard is one of the best ways to find the correct global offset.

There is a link on the ppy website (here) that gives basic walkthrough.. but I’ve also recorded a video of what it can look like to do this.

You can download the offset wizard beatmap here.

Now what? (up)

After you’ve downloaded & installed the above beatmap, navigate to it in your song list.

Now, go to your main menu (It should be playing in the top right, as above).

The offset wizard will always load the current playing song – so if it goes to the next one, simply rewind it!

Now you can watch the following video to get an example of what you’ll see…

This doesn’t do much on it’s own – but, you should essentially here a single sound. You can adjust it to +200 or -200 and you’ll notice the difference -a the song sound plays differently than the offset wizard sound.

Offset wizard is grayed out! (up)

My “offset wizard” button is grayed out!

(don’t use CTRL + O to open options – it will be greyed out – you have to open the settings from the main menu for it to be visible).

This didn’t tell me much – I need numbers! What else can I do? (up)

If this doesn’t help, you can follow the instructions found in the guide from peppy above – this is not technically the offset wizard, but it does give you an actual idea of a value to put in instead of guessing. However, this means you need to ensure you’re tapping on-time (as you try to do).

  1. Turn Effects volume down to 0.
  2. Navigate to the offset wizard beatmap (this is important – you need to close your eyes and play by sound)
  3. Hit F3, then 5 (editor for the map).
  4. Hit “Test” at the bottom”
  5. Line up your cursor with the circle, wait for the 3rd sound, and then tap 16 times
  6. Observe the timing in the top left (It will say if you are early, or late)

Here is a video tutorial on getting numbers to use for your offset (up)

Turn Effects volume down to 0.

Good luck getting your offset ironed out – it makes a huge difference!