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  • The MIDI Messages Forum  Ask and you shall receive

    The MIDI Messages Forum
    Ask and you shall receive

  1. Bruno Gaeta
  2. MIDI Connections
  3. Sunday, 13 March 2016
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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?
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Bruno Gaeta Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
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This is what my setup looks like now
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  1. more than a month ago
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Bruno Gaeta Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
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This is what my setup looks like now
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  1. more than a month ago
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Bruno Gaeta Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
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This is what my setup looks like now
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This is what my setup looks like now
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  1. more than a month ago
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Bruno Gaeta Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
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Sorry for the multiple posts - the attachment kept on being rejected and I didn't realise the comment was still being posted!
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  1. more than a month ago
  2. MIDI Connections
  3. # 25
Hans-Peter Henkel Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
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Hey Carl,

Carl wrote:

Please contact me via this site if you want to know more about it. I would love to see what you can do with it.

Carl


... I really like your idea, sounds interesting. A few years ago I used one of these "hire a developer" platforms to start a project for something similar. I am probably one of the longest time user of MIDITEMP MIDI matrix systems. Bought my fist one in my hometown where they started after leaving the university.

On what platform are you working? What hardware will you support?

Don't know if it is possible to writ a PN on this board, would like to hear from you ...

Bests,

hp
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  1. more than a month ago
  2. MIDI Connections
  3. # 26
Frederic PARISET Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
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You should look at the new iConnectivity MIDI interface MIO10
I also have a collection of vintage synths I could not manage easily I first bougt a iconnectMIDI4+ and I will order soon a MIO 10 MOI10 able to manage 56 user-configurable 16-channel MIDI ports connect PC and Mac together and have MIDI over Ethernet it also provide a USB Host Port supports a USB MIDI Class-Compliant device (add your powered USB hub and connect up to ten devices such as Controlers and Master Keyboards)
They also have power to Route, Filter, remap MIDI signal ... and can bu used with iPad, iPhone easily
Hope i helps
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  1. more than a month ago
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Bruno Gaeta Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
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Frederic PARISET wrote:

You should look at the new iConnectivity MIDI interface MIO10
I also have a collection of vintage synths I could not manage easily I first bougt a iconnectMIDI4+ and I will order soon a MIO 10 MOI10 able to manage 56 user-configurable 16-channel MIDI ports connect PC and Mac together and have MIDI over Ethernet it also provide a USB Host Port supports a USB MIDI Class-Compliant device (add your powered USB hub and connect up to ten devices such as Controlers and Master Keyboards)
They also have power to Route, Filter, remap MIDI signal ... and can bu used with iPad, iPhone easily
Hope i helps


I have replaced the two iConnectMIDIs with one MIO 10 and it does work great. Still not enough i/o for my setup so I still have to use the old Opcode Studio 5lx's as MIDI THRU boxes and routers.
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  1. more than a month ago
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  3. # 28
fredscal Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
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Hi.

This may not be what you'd like to hear, but it looks to me as if it would be much simpler for you to manually connect the synth you want to use when you want to use it, rather than using a patch. That would probably be the quickest way to start recording when you feel inspired. It's the solution that worked for me finally anyway, after havung tried more complex setups.

Just my 2 cents.
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  1. more than a month ago
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  3. # 29
zxc Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
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Forget USB MIDI interfaces, even the best interface will not be able to manage this amount of gear with a correct timming.

Your problem has two sides, each one of equal importance:

1) The new computers that relay in a PCIe architechture (it doesent matter if they are PC or Mac)
2) The MIDI interface itself.

With the first problem there is not a satisfactory repply, the newer computers will give you a noticeable worst timming than your Mac G3, so dont replace the computer until it would be strictly necessary.

For the second problem, the replacement interface, there are new solutions that are not widly tested but the look that would be possible solutions.
This interfaces are generally called LAN interfaces an are connected to the computer via the Ethernet port, (RJ45 connector).

The Ethernet base protocol is widly more efficient than the USB and supports better asynchronic comunication of MIDI.

There is a condition that´s necessary to consider: The Ethernet bus can be connected, in general, directly to the south bridge of the chipset, that´s the best option, or it is usually connected to a PCIe bus, many times sharing the bus with other peripherials of the motherboard.

In any of both cases for a stable and gapless comunication it is very important that the LAN Ethernet connection DO NOT SHARE its direct connector with other device (like USB or SATA, etc) and/or not have its PCIe bus shared with other devices (like USB or SATA, etc). So you will need to search a motherboard that acomplish this requirements

This is the only way to be sure that the hardware will have a REAL IRQ (not a virtual a REAL like in the old machines) only for its own usage not shared with anything else.

The advantage of LAN Ethernet interfaces is that you can reduce the ASIO or Audio Units buffers to really very small sizes, which implies low latencies and better MIDI timestamp.

The two marks of LAN interfaces that I know run under different and uncompatible enviroments and both support Mac and PC and 64bit drivers.

One works with Copperlan (http://www.copperlan.org) that is free, is the one I use and works incredibly well. It is used by the Alyseum AL-88 and AL-88c http://www.alyseum.com

The other works with rtpMIDI from Tobias Erichsen, it is easy to find it in the web, and it is used by the iConnectivity interfaces Mio 4 and Mio 10.
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  1. more than a month ago
  2. MIDI Connections
  3. # 30
Bruno Gaeta Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
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Thank you for the info about MIDI over LAN products. I am a big fan of the Copperlan spec but I've never used it as it seems not to have gained traction in the industry sadly. There are very few products that use it, and out of these only the Alyseum AL-88c seems to be not outrageously expensive (but still pricey given I'd have to buy 4). But more importantly Alyseum has now ceased supporting Copperlan and has ditched the AL-88c. I don't know of any other product that supports it now.

I have a mio 10 but haven't played with rtp-MIDI. The limitation is that you can only access 4 MIDI ports over rtp-MIDI, compared to 16 over USB. So I've stuck with USB MIDI at the moment
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  1. more than a month ago
  2. MIDI Connections
  3. # 31
Carl Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
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Midi~Kuper allows you to connect anything to anything MIDI and create scenes of these connections. You can use all your synths and route any controller to any synth at the touch of a button. The scenes can be assigned to songs that can be organized into set lists. When you perform live, Midi~Kuper walks you through each song in its scenes at the touch of a button on a tablet or phone, and smoothly switches between synths. And it does it seamlessly with smart transition features.

You can create massive layers with many synths on a single keyboard, create splits, transpositions, do control filtering and more. You can also merge MIDI sources onto the same MIDI output. Check the website mdikuper.com. They have video tutorials on YouTube too. This is software. You have to have the hardware with enough MIDI ports for all your instruments of course.
References
  1. http://www.midikuper.com
  2. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCjbYzoy5e-vdGt6kGr8u4w
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  1. more than a month ago
  2. MIDI Connections
  3. # 32
Carl Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
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Hey Hans-Peter,

Hey Carl,

Carl wrote:

Please contact me via this site if you want to know more about it. I would love to see what you can do with it.

Carl


... I really like your idea, sounds interesting. A few years ago I used one of these "hire a developer" platforms to start a project for something similar. I am probably one of the longest time user of MIDITEMP MIDI matrix systems. Bought my fist one in my hometown where they started after leaving the university.

On what platform are you working? What hardware will you support?

Don't know if it is possible to writ a PN on this board, would like to hear from you ...

Bests,

hp


The product is already released, so you can get your own free 30-day trial copy that is fully functional and try it out. Just go to muckuper.com, register and download it.

It currently runs on any PC with Windows 7 and above. I even tried it on an inexpensive (<$180) Windows 10 tablet and it ran great. Working on a Mac version next. It comes with a file to integrate with SONAR, instructions on how to integrate with Ableton Live, and a Lemur template to remote control your performance from your iPhone or iPad. If you have a touch-screen PC or tablet then you probably will not need the iPhone control because the performance mode buttons were designed for a touch screen.

You can use any MIDI hardware, MIDI bridge like LoobBe30, and connect to anything that can send or receive MIDI. You can use it with as many physical synths and virtual synths as you want, (in case of virtuals, as many as your computer will handle), And you can layer and split any of those synths onto the same keyboards or pads, make chords out of notes, make intervals, transpose, convert control messages, and lots of such goodies. You can even merge MIDI from different sources to the same device (for example a separate pad controller and keyboard). In the end, it lets you organize all these layers, splits, etc.as scenes that you assign to songs. You then assign songs to a setlist, launch performance mode, and the program will step you through each scene like you have a new gear setup for every song. And it does it smoothly with no glitches, so long as you are mindful of the limitations of the synths you are using.

If you follow the YouTube link on the site you can view demo videos. My playing is mediocre, but you will get the idea of what can be done. Let me know what you think!

Carl
References
  1. http://www.muckuper.com
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