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Help me find a cheap midi patchbay
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> General Gear  
Author Help me find a cheap midi patchbay
rkilman
I've got 5 midi controllers and 4 midi destinations (All 5-pin DIN) and I'd like a patchbay that would easily allow me to route any controller to any destination, plus would like to route midi to and from a computer. I can do that via usb or separate midi converter. Would like to be able to control routings from the patchbay and not have to use the computer to do it.

What would you recommend?
khyber
MOTU MIDI Express XT. Routings aren't as detailed as you might like but they can be reconfigured without using a computer
rkilman
Thanks! That looks like a great device, but from reading the manual, you can't actually reconfigure the routings without a computer, you only have access to 8 user presets. If this isn't the case, please let me know, because it looks like just what I need otherwise!
Dave Peck
Something like an Edirol (Roland) UM-550 or UM-880?
teleport
The JL Cooper MSB midi router boxes will do all that except the computer uplink part.

(I guess the "easy" part is relative, you punch in the destinations using inc/dec buttons and the display is in hexadecimal - (hey, there's 16 characters per 7-segment display unit!)

They're really not too bad for an all hardware setup once you absorb the logic, the lack of computer dependency is gold imoh. Have had two in my studio over the years, both the rev I and II, (which had some bug fixes) - oh, they also can only merge 2 inputs to any particular combinations of outputs at a time due to the limitations/costs of UART's of that era.
tioJim
I have been round this block a number of times. Believe it or not but the best solution remains the venerable MOTU MIDI Timepiece MTP AV.

There's a USB version and a parallel port version. You'll have some luck configuring with a computer with the former, less so with the latter (but it can be done).

Either way all the important bits can be set from the front panel without a computer, nor does it need to be tethered to a computer to operate.

They pop up on eBay pretty often. You shouldn't have to pay more than £75 fo the parallel version, maybe £125 tops for the USB.

I've had one or two with noisy/failing power supplies so ask, "Is the transformer buzzy?", as replacements are unavailable.

Despite being 20 years old it remains a brilliant option for connecting a pile of MIDI boxes to one another without using a computer and if you're on a budget it's about the only option.



euromorcego
there are also a few non-computer solutions, like the kawai MAV-8.

4 inputs, 8 outputs, very easy to operate (but no 'midi merge' function). It should not be too expensive (or rather, only worth it if you get a good offer).
rkilman
Thanks, everyone! Lots of great options here. Now to find the best deal on Reverb.
DiscoDevil
I use a JL Cooper that is pretty feature rich but I've had issues with using the merge functions on it. I've had hung notes and had the unit lock up several times if it's overwhelmed with data. Could be my set up or just a faulty unit. It is over 20yrs old. I also use a MAV-8 that is dead simple and rock solid but lacks merge and presets.
pricklyrobot
Digital Music Corp MX-8
http://www.synthmanuals.com/manuals/digital_music_corp/mx-8_midi_patch bay/owners_manual/mx8_manual.pdf

They come up used pretty regular and for not too much
I’ve had mine for 10+ years. Had to swap the internal battery (common coin-cell type) once, but otherwise it’s been rock-solid.
Red Electric Rainbow
Casio TB-1
HerrX
Roland A-880

8 in, 8 out, and a fairly decent workhorse of a patcher/mixer/filter too.
pricklyrobot
Red Electric Rainbow wrote:
Casio TB-1

I’ve got a TB-1 as well, and it’s handy for what it does (basic 2-In 8–Out Thru box), but it doesn’t really meet the requirements the OP has laid out.
Red Electric Rainbow
pricklyrobot wrote:
Red Electric Rainbow wrote:
Casio TB-1

I’ve got a TB-1 as well, and it’s handy for what it does (basic 2-In 8–Out Thru box), but it doesn’t really meet the requirements the OP has laid out.


I guess I’m not familiar enough with how anything really works lol. I literally don’t have any “midi controllers”...... just a sequencer, some synths and a mountain of drum machines. I manage to get everythibg working at once though. Sorry if I derailed the OP at all.
ranix
this is what I use my Atari for. I've got an SMP24 and Unitor and configure the routing from Cubase 2.06

the MOTU Midi Timepiece looks really similar to what I've got. My setup only has 5 inputs and 7 outputs though. I did actually run out of inputs and have to get creative. The Midi Timepiece looks awesome.
Unborn Gore
pricklyrobot wrote:
Digital Music Corp MX-8
http://www.synthmanuals.com/manuals/digital_music_corp/mx-8_midi_patch bay/owners_manual/mx8_manual.pdf

They come up used pretty regular and for not too much
I’ve had mine for 10+ years. Had to swap the internal battery (common coin-cell type) once, but otherwise it’s been rock-solid.


There is a used one of these it Squarewave Sound in Salt Lake City. Like $50.
Unborn Gore
*repost
dkcg
I used a midisport 8x8s for a long time, still works, but the software no longer works on any of my computers, so changing routings would need a legacy computer.

If anyone wants something new with a warranty, the connectivity Mio10 has a 10x10 midi patchbay with filtering and lots of other things I never use (like midi over ethernet). I'm not sure if the smaller midi interfaces have a computer less patchbay, but the Mio10 was a great replacement for my outdated midisport.

But the Mio10 is a bit more than all the ones listed in the thread.

Is anyone is local to LA, you can have the midisport if you pick it up, or pay for shipping if you're not in LA and you can have it. Ha! Avoided the BST rules by giving it away. grin
rkilman
Yeah, I'm learning that just because a midi patchbay has USB doesn't mean it will work with modern computers. Particularly confusing with the MOTU MTP AV USB since some versions will work and some won't, depending on the firmware/USB chipset. Not a deal breaker, but a bit disappointing since I started to get excited about programming the presents via computer.
CF3
There’s also the Ensoniq KMX 8 and KMX 16. I’ve owned the KMX 16.

Solid and can be had for under $100. In fact theres a KMX-8 locally for $20 right now.
rkilman
CF3 wrote:
There’s also the Ensoniq KMX 8 and KMX 16. I’ve owned the KMX 16.

Solid and can be had for under $100. In fact theres a KMX-8 locally for $20 right now.


Wow, that's a great deal. If I hadn't just paid for an MTP that likely won't work with USB, I'd be all over that. I really like the simplicity of the interface of those Ensoniq units. And that KMX16 is a beast.
rkilman
My MOTU MTP AV arrived today and I was pleasantly surprised to find that the one I got will work with Mac OSX. Will make programming it a breeze.

I have noticed it can lag when sending lots of multiple notes over multiple channels, which was never an issue when I was using MIDI Thru to daisy chain everything, but hopefully this is just user error and not a defect or a shortcoming of the MTP.

Also, heads up to anyone interested in it, the knobs are way stiffer then I was expecting. I was hoping to take advantage of the fact that they can be programmed to send CC data, but they seem too stiff/slow to be useful. Maybe the original owner didn't use them much and they will loosen a bit over time.

All in all though, it is a quality unit that solves a lot of midi routing issues for me. Thanks for the strong recommendation, tioJim!
tioJim
Quote:
Also, heads up to anyone interested in it, the knobs are way stiffer then I was expecting. I was hoping to take advantage of the fact that they can be programmed to send CC data


Yeah mine have been the same. Always felt to me like maybe that feature was an after thought! Back when it was new perhaps people weren't so hot on twiddling knobs?

Quote:
All in all though, it is a quality unit that solves a lot of midi routing issues for me. Thanks for the strong recommendation, tioJim!


no worries! smile
Just me
CF3 wrote:
There’s also the Ensoniq KMX 8 and KMX 16. I’ve owned the KMX 16.

Solid and can be had for under $100. In fact theres a KMX-8 locally for $20 right now.

This. I have a KMX16 I picked up for $50. 100 setups. Merge. 15 in and 16 out/through.
Program in seconds from front panel. No menu diving.
Sammymyman
If you are still looking, try a midiman 3X8. It has 0 computerness. 3 inputs-8 outputs with 3 way switches, so each out can select from 3 inputs. Very usefull. They pop up on feebay all the time.
xonetacular
tioJim wrote:
I have been round this block a number of times. Believe it or not but the best solution remains the venerable MOTU MIDI Timepiece MTP AV.

There's a USB version and a parallel port version. You'll have some luck configuring with a computer with the former, less so with the latter (but it can be done).

Either way all the important bits can be set from the front panel without a computer, nor does it need to be tethered to a computer to operate.

They pop up on eBay pretty often. You shouldn't have to pay more than £75 fo the parallel version, maybe £125 tops for the USB.

I've had one or two with noisy/failing power supplies so ask, "Is the transformer buzzy?", as replacements are unavailable.

Despite being 20 years old it remains a brilliant option for connecting a pile of MIDI boxes to one another without using a computer and if you're on a budget it's about the only option.





so is this easy to setup and use as a merger? can it work as two separate 3-4 to 1 mergers?

I just want to connect a couple different sequencers and ableton and be able to route them all to whatever synth/device I want. I don't want something complicated to mess with, just want to be able to have everything hooked up and select which sequencer I want to run what synth.

I'm thinking maybe I don't need a patch bay and can just run the outs of every sequencer to a merge box and just turn off tracks on the sequencers I'm not using, but maybe there are drawbacks of this I'm not thinking of and it would be better to have more control.
Rex Coil 7
tioJim wrote:
I have been round this block a number of times. Believe it or not but the best solution remains the venerable MOTU MIDI Timepiece MTP AV.

There's a USB version and a parallel port version. You'll have some luck configuring with a computer with the former, less so with the latter (but it can be done).

Either way all the important bits can be set from the front panel without a computer, nor does it need to be tethered to a computer to operate.

They pop up on eBay pretty often. You shouldn't have to pay more than £75 fo the parallel version, maybe £125 tops for the USB.

I've had one or two with noisy/failing power supplies so ask, "Is the transformer buzzy?", as replacements are unavailable.

Despite being 20 years old it remains a brilliant option for connecting a pile of MIDI boxes to one another without using a computer and if you're on a budget it's about the only option.






So SO totally agree. I picked up one of these on eBay a couple of months back on a recommendation from one of our most helpful members, paid $150.00 for it shipped. Mine is in the picture below.

I dug up the PDF operator's manual, it may be able to answer questions you (the OP) have.

MOTU MIDI Timepiece AV USB Manual LINK = https://cdn-data.motu.com/manuals/midi/MIDI_Timepiece_AV_USB_User_Guid e_Win.pdf



Bath House
Not the absolute cheapest, but the one to beat as far as I'm concerned: https://www.iconnectivity.com/products/midi/mio10
rkilman
xonetacular wrote:
so is this easy to setup and use as a merger? can it work as two separate 3-4 to 1 mergers?

I just want to connect a couple different sequencers and ableton and be able to route them all to whatever synth/device I want. I don't want something complicated to mess with, just want to be able to have everything hooked up and select which sequencer I want to run what synth.

I'm thinking maybe I don't need a patch bay and can just run the outs of every sequencer to a merge box and just turn off tracks on the sequencers I'm not using, but maybe there are drawbacks of this I'm not thinking of and it would be better to have more control.


Yes, it can do what you want. Just make sure you get a USB version that is running the latest firmware. It is very easy to change routings or define presets for whatever routing you want. After looking at all of the recommendations here, I think the MTP AV has the perfect combination of price, features, and ease of use.
xonetacular
Bath House wrote:
Not the absolute cheapest, but the one to beat as far as I'm concerned: https://www.iconnectivity.com/products/midi/mio10


damn that looks nice, and not that terrible at $300. looks like it needs computer to configure settings, but might not be that bad since the software is modern.


the motu looks interesting for half the price but I've had bad experience buying vintage motu before
xonetacular
I cant find it but I thought I saw a video from superbooth where kenton was showing some new super midi patchbay
xonetacular
it wasnt a video it was a gs post, kenton just released info

Quote:
You're welcome to share these photos online, although please be aware that we retain the copyright.

I'd also like to reinforce that these are pictures of a prototype unit
and do not necessarily reflect the complete feature set or fit and
finish of the final shipping product.

Here's some more information about the product. Again, this is how it is
at the moment and things may change in the shipping product.

- 8x DIN MIDI inputs and outputs. All 8 I/Os are on the back panel, but
I/O 7 & 8 are also duplicated on the front. Whether the unit will use
the front or back inputs for 7 & 8 is set in the options.

- 4x USB 'host' ports - much like our Midi USB Host product, these can
host a class-compliant USB MIDI peripheral. The Interchanger supports up
to 4x USB MIDI devices at once.

- 1x USB 'device' port - this allows the Interchanger to be connected to
a computer and appears to the computer as 4x pairs of MIDI inputs and
outputs, which can be used in the Interchanger's routing matrix.

- 16x16 internal routing matrix. Any combination of inputs can be routed
to any combination of outputs; with merging, filtering, and MIDI
transform operations.

- Fully programmable on the unit itself (as well as via a planned editor
program). Up to 128 programs can be stored and recalled, as well as 128
scenes. The current program / scene number is displayed on its own
7-segment display for maximum visibility.

- Unit can send out a full set of program changes for each scene.

- Dual assignable footswitch inputs, can be configured to step through
scenes for example.

- Names can be assigned to programs, scenes and maybe MIDI ports.

- The ability to link multiple units together to expand the routing
matrix is something we plan to implement, however we are not yet fully
decided on how multiple units will connect together. This may be an
additional port on the back of the unit.

- 1U rack unit with removable ears.

There will no doubt be other things it can do, but these are the main
things we were telling people at the Superbooth show. We're hoping to
have these in production in 3 months time, and the price is currently
somewhere in the region of £350 + VAT.

Kind regards,








pricey but beautiful
submute
Why are all these things so old? Doesn't anyone make any of these kinds of devices any longer? They are so helpful and versatile. I don't get why you have to buy some piece of gear from 15 years ago to do MIDI routing..
JankySwitch
Mio4 and Mio10.

The 4 has 4 pairs of Din Midi in/out and the 10 has 10 pairs.
They both support USB midi too (one directly or many with a powered hub)
They both support Ethernet midi too...
You can connect two computers at one time too.
They are class compliant and work with Linux too (and there is an open source editor for them too).
CF3
submute wrote:
Why are all these things so old? Doesn't anyone make any of these kinds of devices any longer? They are so helpful and versatile. I don't get why you have to buy some piece of gear from 15 years ago to do MIDI routing..


Because we are currently living in the MIDI Dark Ages. Have you seen the MIDI spec on current synthesizers (sequencers, drummachines, etc)? not this shit again

Gotta say though, that new Kenton patchbay is looking nice. iConnectivity does a decent job too, but I’ve had some issues with the software side of their products.
CF3
I also wonder what generation of USB the new Kenton supports? Hopefully USB 3.0 coming from a computer. I know the Alyseum U3-88c does.
UnderDriven
Another recommendation for the iConnectivity Mio series. I have the mio4, which only has 4 pairs of DIN, but it also has a USB host port so any class compliant USB device can be attached--and up to 8 USB devices with a compatible hub (a powered one is preferred for multiple devices). I have my Beatstep Pro, Microbrute, and Tomcat connected to the host port via a hub so I can free up the DIN ports for my other synths.

Dual computer USB ports means that the Mio can communicate with a PC and an iPad at the same time, so it's very flexible in connecting all my devices to each other. I guess you would need the Mio10 with so many DIN devices, unless you have some class compliant DIN-to-USB adapters which would allow you to use the host ports for DIN connectivity (and then you would also need a hub, of course).
MacroDX
I am wondering why nobody has mentioned the Miditemp MP44 or 88 yet. They should be no more than 200 bucks used and they can do anything that is possible regarding routing and filtering.
Although I find the announcement of the Kenton Interchanger quite promising I personally have no need for another MIDI router since I got my MP88.
Panason
xonetacular wrote:

I just want to connect a couple different sequencers and ableton and be able to route them all to whatever synth/device I want. I don't want something complicated to mess with, just want to be able to have everything hooked up and select which sequencer I want to run what synth.



You don't need a patch bay...

The Mio sucks... This doesn't help the OP but if you're using a computer I recommend the ESI 4 in/4 out MIDI Interface ( no need for the new USB 3 version). Just plug your sequencers to the inputs and then select which one you want to use from the DAW. The ESI has better timing than the MIO in my experience. It uses a chip that supports MIDI time-stamping , which Live also supports.
beautyofdecay_
I use Roland A-880 and Yamaha MJC-8 MIDI patchbays.
Both have 8 inputs and 8 outputs and are very easy to configure.
However, they do not have a USB interface for direct connection to your computer.

The A-880 has 2 MIDI IN/OUT on the front panel. The MJC-8 has all MIDI connections on the back.
You should be able to find them for about $100 max.
xonetacular
Panason wrote:
xonetacular wrote:

I just want to connect a couple different sequencers and ableton and be able to route them all to whatever synth/device I want. I don't want something complicated to mess with, just want to be able to have everything hooked up and select which sequencer I want to run what synth.



You don't need a patch bay...

The Mio sucks... This doesn't help the OP but if you're using a computer I recommend the ESI 4 in/4 out MIDI Interface ( no need for the new USB 3 version). Just plug your sequencers to the inputs and then select which one you want to use from the DAW. The ESI has better timing than the MIO in my experience. It uses a chip that supports MIDI time-stamping , which Live also supports.


Oh no I don't want to run my hardware sequencers into ableton and don't plan to do most sequencing with ableton. I want to be be able to sequence with ableton as a 3rd/4th sequencer occasionally.

The Squid can drag and drop patterns to your DAW so I would just like the option to do that and have it running along in sync with my other sequencers.

So I would want midi out from ableton (synced through erm multiclock), midi outs from SE engine, and midi outs from Squid all be able to be routed/merged to any of my synths.
gminorcoles
Edirol um550 or um880 no computer needed solid timing
oldgearguy
There's another potential solution on the horizon.

The guys that made the NDLR have come up with a MIDI patchbay with a lot of DIN, USB, and 1/8" connectivity:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/thendlr/mrcc?ref=user_menu
sutekina bipu-on
opcode systems midi interfaces sell for pennies all the time and work fine as thru boxes
jules
New kid on the block:

https://blokas.io/midihub/

Really multifunction.
zenbob
oldgearguy wrote:
There's another potential solution on the horizon.

The guys that made the NDLR have come up with a MIDI patchbay with a lot of DIN, USB, and 1/8" connectivity:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/thendlr/mrcc?ref=user_menu


The Conductive Labs MRCC - MIDI Router Control Center funded on Kickstarter, we're makin' this thing and we can't wait to have it in our studios!
fac
I'm currently using a Roland A880. No computer needed and it's very easy and fast to program from the front panel. However, it cannot be used as a MIDI interface, so it's more adequate for a fully-hardware rig.

I also have one of the old Midiman Midisport 8x8/s, which, as others have said, cannot be used in any modern OS, but it does have a standalone "thru" mode which routes every input to every output. I hang on to it because often it is all I need to share a MIDI clock with multiple grooveboxes, or the output from a single sequencer to multiple synths.
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