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Beginner questions - H/W & S/W integration, MIDI chain
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Production Techniques  
Author Beginner questions - H/W & S/W integration, MIDI chain
Workflow. MIDI Chain. I'm so lost. This is my first foray into integrating hardware and software --- OK I'll do my best to explain my current gear and see if you guys can help me get to the point where I can develop some sort of workflow because as it stands I have none.

First off I have three hardware synthesizers --- #1 - Arturia MatrixBrute #2 Novation Peak (should note here that I also have a Novation Launchpad Pro run to the MIDI-IN of the Peak for triggering purposes instead of a keyboard...more on this later) #3 Elektron Analog Rytm MkII --- I also have a Windows based DAW (run this type of machine for about 9-10 years now) running Ableton live 8 with VSTI instruments and a PreSonus FireStudio Project audio interface as well as a Roland A-30 MIDI controller. Last but not least I have a MacBook Pro attached to a PreSonus Studio Live 16.0.2 firewire mixer running the freebie included Capture software.

So I dunno how to get started. I mean I could just run audio signals from each of the hardware instruments into the DAW's interface and lay down tracks in Ableton via audio recording...but this is clunky in my opinion and not what I had in mind.

Ideally what I would like to do is create a MIDI chain of the DAW, and the 3 hardware synthesizers, and then sequence MIDI from the DAW to each of the hardware instruments that way I can modify MIDI data, all on the DAW, to have ultimate control of each hardware synthesizer, as well as automation of various parameters if I choose. This would also serve to integrate the VSTI instruments on the DAW with my compositions. Also I could twist knobs on the hardware synthesizers while a song is running to create on the fly adjustments and improvisations during a "live P.A." performance. I know this is kind of vague and general but does this make sense?

In thinking about the MIDI chain I think I could pretty easily utilize MIDI-out of the DAW to MIDI-in of the MatrixBrute, THRU from the MatrixBrute to the Novation Peak MIDI-in, THRU from the Novation Peak to the Elektron Rytm Midi-in, and finally THRU from the Elektron Rytm to MIDI-IN back to the DAW. IS THIS A REASONABLE WAY TO SET UP THE CHAIN PROPERLY?

I guess I can put the Novation LaunchPad Pro and the Roland midi controller in the MIDI chain too --- gonna have to as the Roland A-30 doesn't have USB and I'm not yet interested in using the Launchpad over USB in Ableton YET.

Then since all the instruments and the DAW are running through the mixer I could track the entire mess in multi-track audio from the Firewire mixer's interface into the MacBook for recording. NOTE: I am not attempting to record anything of studio quality, just for demo purposes and soundcloud stuff...nothing serious.

I just spent roughly $12K on a 7000W all QSC P.A., computer upgrades, studio monitors (basic ones but good enough), computer displays, the synthesizers, stands, and various other bits (microphones as I play the saxophone as well) and cables so SOMEBODY PLEASE TELL ME I DID OKAY AND EVENTUALLY I WILL BE ABLE TO TAME THIS BEAST AND DO SOMETHING WITH IT. Right now it's just a bunch of independent instruments with no integration.

It's scary that I might've screwed up BIG despite putting a LOT of thought into it all. I'm sure it will be adapted and need changes as I figure out what the heck I'm doing but hopefully I can develop something with what I've chosen.

Thank you all. Sorry so long winded. I appreciate any help!
It's been suggested elsewhere I just get a 4x4 MIDI interface and connect each of the synths to my computer that way. Then route each of the ports to each individual synth and sequence away in Ableton.

I hadn't thought of that. Probably simpler than the chain I had in mind.
I'd get a dedicated MIDI interface and the just connect each synth independently by MIDI in/Out rather than us the MIDI Thru option.

MIDI only has 16 channels, if you use Thru you're sharing those channels between each synth - if you have a dedicated MIDI port per synth you get 16 channels per synth, and that giver you much more flexibility.

Actually I don't know how Ableton maps MIDI ports/devices so this may not be applicable! but still, 1 set of I/O per synth is always going to be a better option IMO.......
If you're "new" to MIDI then there's some good info here
free to join smile
Thank you so much. Yes it has been suggested in another Facebook group that I do just as you suggested.

Also been recommended I get one that allows preset storage so that I can save all routings.

Ableton lets you do whatever you want with the MIDI routing (any USB to MIDI interface plugs right into Ableton) but it would be nice to be more or less independent of it and put all that routing complexity in the interface and just point Ableton MIDI channels to each synth and be done with it on the software side. I think...sounds good anyways...
I use L9 with HW synths - Modular, Emu sampler, Q rack, and a Novation SN2. I've got a MIDITech 4x4 interface. £47 from Thomann. It's really easy once you get one of these. As per above using Thru ports is asking for all sorts of aggro, generally of the intermittent type which will drive you insane.
For the cost it's s no brainer.
Even better, but for more is a MIDI interface that has patch bay abilities. This avoids any re patching, although Live is good at routing MIDI if you RTFM. hihi
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