I'd like to hear people's experiences in managing very large MIDI setups. As a bit of a collector who can never manage to sell gear, I have something like 40 MIDI synths, controllers and processors that I want connected so I can easily play any synth from any controller as well as playing them from my DAW running on a Windows PC.
At the moment I am relying on antique technology to do that as nothing else seems to have the capabilities: everything is connected to 3 networked Opcode Studio 5LX interfaces/patchbays, which are themselves hooked into an antique Power Mac G3 running OMS on MacOS 8.6. For those unfamiliar with these beasts, the Studio 5's each have 15 pairs of MIDI ins/outs but only antique Mac serial ports for connection with a computer. The Opcode software running on the PowerMac gives me total flexibility with regard to connecting anything with anything as well as allowing some quite complex MIDI processing (channel filtering, velocity tweaking, controller re-mapping etc). I am unaware of any modern hardware that offers these capabilities and number of MIDI ports. What's really nice is that the Studio 5's still work as standalone patchbays/processors without the Power Mac. I need to turn the Power Mac on only when I want to reconfigure the connections
In order to connect this rig to my modern DAW/PC I am using an iConnectMIDI4+ with its 4 DIN outputs plugged into the Studio 5's. That works but it's quite cumbersome to do any kind of recording: I have to turn both the PC and the Power Mac on, use the Power Mac to patch the synth I want to use to one of the iConnectMIDI4+ MIDI ports, then choose that port in my DAW etc. Not a good setup for spontaneous recording of impromtu synth jams, especially when I compare it to what was available back in the days of classic Macs and Studio Vision etc where the DAW could interface directly with the synths through OMS.
I am very aware that both the Studio 5's and the Power Mac are already way past their expected lifetime and are likely to expire any day, and am trying to think of something to replace them with that will work both with a computer but also as a standalone patchbay so that I can play the synths without having to turn the computer on. What are other maniac synth collectors using these days for something like this?