The MIDI Forum

  Sunday, 11 February 2018
  5 Replies
  15.7K Visits
MIDI Frustrated 25 years.
I have some equipment and software but burned out many times trying to get the software to control the MIDI device consistently. Been on my own for years til I found this site ! Started with Cakewalk 3.0 thru Sonar, Cubase, Ableton (seemed to work the easiest but kept crashing). Was told to buy better computers (only used PC's) so even had one PC special made with tons of memory and RAM. Still didn't seem to help. I'd like to continue to use my Korg Triton Extreme, Yamaha Motif and Roland 50/50 Kontakt Native Instruments. Have been told to switch to MAC and use Protools but seems all I've done is spend money with no lasting result. I just want equipment that can converse together civilly. I plan to start playing live again so would like to do from a laptop. Any suggestions ? Don't want to start a war but does MAC w ProTools work more intuitively ?
4 years ago
Dear Frustrated, (sounds like an agony aunt!) ;-)

I've been using non Mac equipment successfully since about 1988.
Additionally, I've been using used laptops, I'm fairly selective with what though, for more than ten years.
The critical things in the set up, in my view, are getting a good interface with the equipment where there is no USB port on the keyboard (etc.) and the right piece of software, called a DAW these days, but which I still refer to as sequencing software.

Expect to pay a sensible amount of money for the interface, the cheap stuff has faults in my experience.
Next look for a piece of software that handles sysex messages well. Not all sequencers do, by any means.

Meanwhile I soldier on successfully with a used Lenovo running Win XP, an E-MU cardbus 02 with its 1616m breakout box, and sequencing software from the early 2000s. A later version of Yamaha's XGworks called SOL2. Not sold in the west so imported from Japan. So far, so good. I use it all virtually every day.

My own preference has been for the better Lenovo Thinkpad laptops.
The X61 was good, with a cardbus port, but the T420 in either i5 or i7 form are good machines.
I go for a Win 7 machine with a fast hard drive and 8GB of RAM.
Get one that's been refurbished and has some sort of warranty from the seller (not a third party warranty).
I've bought a few off ebay, from suppliers with good feedback.

Any help?
John G.
4 years ago
John G. !!!

Thanks so much for the reply.

I have a Lenovo 300-171SK Idea Pad - (bought new about a year ago) Looked up the difference between the Think Pad and Idea Pad and the one I have seems more suited for multi media just not as durable.
Not a very pricey laptop but I bought for Office use

It has:

Intel Core i5 6200U CPU @ 2.30 GHz, 2.40 GHz
64 bit operating system

Running Windows 10

I can't find any info on the sound card installed originally by Lenovo

Do you think this is sufficient ?

RE: Interface
I have used many but the one I still have is a Pre Sonus

RE: Software: I still have a copy of Ableton but probably needs to be upgraded.... think it's Ableton 6 ?

In my MIDI recording I was having latency problems when I used Virtual Instruments but am happy to just use the KORG Triton Extreme I have.

Do you think I'm OK to go? Have not tried MIDI on this Lenovo I have ? Just figured I'd have to buy more expensive stuff.
3 years ago
If you are anywhere near downtown Orlando, Florida, I recommend that you check out the Orange County Public Library.

Almost six years ago, they got a one million dollar donation, that they invested in a technology center, called the Melrose Center, on the second floor.

Among a whole bunch of other things, they installed a professional audio recording studio, and purchased a number of iMac Pro computers. Audio software (DAW) installed on the computers include Ableton Live, Avid Pro Tools, Logic, Adobe Audition, and Garage Band. The studio has an Avid C-24 mixing board, a Yamaha MOTIF rack-mounted system, and a MIDI keyboard.
All of this is available for the general public to use.

I have been attending a music composition class, held at the Melrose Center, on Sundays, and was introduced to the MuseScore software. In addition to composing my own songs, I have been downloading existing MIDI files, and creating my own mixes of favourite songs.

One of my current projects is learning how to assign different instrument sounds on the Yamaha MOTIF to multi-tracked MIDI files I've downloaded.

Good luck to you, and I hope you get a chance to visit our top-notch facilities.

3 years ago
Here is my DEAR JOHN letter...

I say give a try to an OS from 1991 called Linux and in particular new Audio Handbook for Ubuntu Studio.
Very little has changed and there are software tools maintained that do MIDI and more.
I like Rosegarden the most.

Oh, and it is free.
Runs on lots of old and new computers.
I have DIN 5 and USB devices connected.
You will need to meet JACK and CARLA !
They are real tools.

Enjoy the ride...
Lee at Cool Games Network
3 years ago
Hi all,

began to play around with LMMS today on an 11-yr. old Dell Latitude E6400 laptop (under Puppy Linux, but should be just the same thing in any version).

LMMS seems to be a very well designed project (although I badly miss the all-track Piano Roll I had in Jazz++, with which I could edit one track at a time with all other tracks synced and playable together in the background). The plus point with LMMS is that any MIDI track can be played with a different soundfont, effect choice etc. without having to resort to another program: up to now I had to use Synthfont for this.

One can even save one or more tracks as an audio track, which may then be mixed to other audio or MIDI tracks at will: a given song can be saved in subsequent progressive project files that may be used for later remixes. Great!

I've not yet tested all LMMS's MIDI editing possibilities, but judging from the online manual they seem quite complete and easy to use.
Will post other impressions here: for the moment, LMMS seems an excellent candidate to become my everyday MIDI editor *and* audio renderer/mixer. The learning curve isn't too steep...

Personal suggestion: be sure to download all good soundfonts you find online and test each one carefully, now there's a huge choice of excellent and free sounds.
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