Audio CV vs MIDI

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jomomobobo
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Audio CV vs MIDI

Post by jomomobobo » Tue Feb 11, 2020 10:43 am

I'm saving up for a new AD/DA converter, and one of the possibilities I'm looking at is getting something that can do DC coupled output so I can control CV gear externally. I'm also slimming down my hardware to just the stuff I really like using, which happens to all have pretty flexible CV input as well as MIDI.

So I'm trying to decide if I should stuck with MIDI. This would be working with Live 10, so I could take advantage of the CV Tools utility.

Disadvantages:
-No MIDI CC. Of the 4 pieces of hardware I intend on using this with, only 2 really have extensive MIDI CC implementation, one doesn't accept MIDI at all. But, it's kind of tiresome to look up the specific CC code and route it. I could always just physically patch it.
-Limited channels. In my case, 8 dedicated CV outputs for this vs. more than I'll ever need with MIDI.
-More expensiver.

Advantages:
-Audio spec latency vs MIDI. Not that it matters that much, this is all home studio and correcting for latency isn't a big deal.
-Easier to get modulation where I want it.
-More funner.

Anyone do anything like this? Love it or hate it or somewhere in between? I'm sure there's something obvious I'm missing.

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Yes Powder
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Re: Audio CV vs MIDI

Post by Yes Powder » Tue Feb 11, 2020 11:03 am

Why not keep both?
I wouldn't consider CV a replacement for MIDI, nor would I necessarily consider it more "fun". IMO the ideal way to go would be to control notes on your synths with MIDI when possible (unless you're doing something really clever), thus freeing up those DC-coupled audio-outs for more control voltage shenanigans.
Also worth noting that some interfaces that can send DC can't necessarily do it accurately enough for proper V/Oct scaling. Better look into that before you go ahead and abandon all MIDI.
I get wanting to slim down your hardware setup, but is MIDI really taking up that much space?

jomomobobo
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Re: Audio CV vs MIDI

Post by jomomobobo » Tue Feb 11, 2020 11:22 am

Yes Powder wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 11:03 am
Why not keep both?
I wouldn't consider CV a replacement for MIDI, nor would I necessarily consider it more "fun". IMO the ideal way to go would be to control notes on your synths with MIDI when possible (unless you're doing something really clever), thus freeing up those DC-coupled audio-outs for more control voltage shenanigans.
Also worth noting that some interfaces that can send DC can't necessarily do it accurately enough for proper V/Oct scaling. Better look into that before you go ahead and abandon all MIDI.
I get wanting to slim down your hardware setup, but is MIDI really taking up that much space?
Fair question and a good points. Space isn't too much of a concern. I would potentially have to get a new MIDI interface, since I plan on selling the Scarlett 4i2 I'm replacing, but they're not expensive.

I could see having to add in latency compensation if I'm sequencing with MIDI and modulating with CV, but I don't see that being a bid deal and only in rare circumstances, if ever.

Mostly, it's just my own weird need to go whole hog into whatever hairbrained scheme I'm hot and bothered about at the moment.

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Blairio
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Re: Audio CV vs MIDI

Post by Blairio » Tue Feb 11, 2020 10:21 pm

I have two dedicated midi-cv interfaces for eurorack, one for controlling an old analog synth, plus a couple of my semi-modular synths take in midi and output cv and gate. In a lot of cases, the semi modular's cv/gate capabilities are all that is required.

It is horses for courses. The thing with cv is that you need a different feed for each set of instructions - you cannot multiplex cv. So if I want real time control of my eurorack from a controller keyboard I will need 5 dedicated CV feeds:

note value
velocity
pitch bend
modulation depth
aftertouch

Add to that lot trigger / gate feeds for clock, instructions for sequence start/stop and so on, and midi starts to look like a very elegant solution. You can send a lot if info down a midi cable. So basically I use midi when I can, and CV/gate when I can't.

Blair edit - actually some midi cv/gate interfaces are pretty clever. my MI Yarns applies pitch bend and modulation to the CV pitch voltage, without needing dedicated CV feeds for pitch bend and modulation.

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Re: Audio CV vs MIDI

Post by Analog Prophet » Wed Feb 12, 2020 4:08 am

As mentioned earlier, you can go CV and MIDI simultaneously in a hybrid CV/MIDI setup and that’s what I should do.

Everybody has slightly different workflows, so here is how I work with my hybrid CV/MIDI setup:

Issue: To implement Roland System 100m (CV/gate) to my DAW setup together with MIDI equipped instruments, operated from the control surface of my mixing console (it control my DAW and vice versa):

Solution one (present):
- From the DAW via MIDI USB (with clock) to Unitor 8 (MIDI patch). MIDI to Doepher 16/3 sequencer. From Doepher 16/3 one gate and three CV out to System 100m.
- From the DAW via USB MIDI to Beatstep Pro. From there clock out (MIDI clock from my DAW) to clock in as well as additional CVs to System 100m.
- The Roland 181 (CV/Gate keyboard) connected to System 100m for additional CV “live” control of the filters.

Solution two (earlier):
From the DAW via MIDI USB to Unitor 8. MIDI to Moog Voyager. Further with CV/gate to the system 100m via the Moog VX-351 (CV expander out box). About anything can be programmed in the DAW and translated to CV via the Voyager that act as MIDI to CV interface. I went this route before the last move-around-everything-in-the-small-studio-space-to-fit-a-new-mashine.

Some of the synths in my setup has CV as well as MIDI but I mainly go with MIDI to save the CVs for the System 100m. Well, I can use the Voyager and VX-351 now when it is free... hmmm....

I have a sound card to my portable setup that can DC couple CV but I have never implemented it to my stationary studio setup as I have what I need for now.

The bottom line is that MIDI and CV is not contradictory, it works great together. Good luck with your MIDI/CV Blairio!
The best beat of any music
is the beat of your own heart


http://www.analogprophet.com

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ersatzplanet
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Re: Audio CV vs MIDI

Post by ersatzplanet » Wed Feb 12, 2020 11:26 am

Keep both. Use MIDI for the things it does well, like notes and gates and Sysex patch changing etc. Use the audio interface for what it does well, Complex CV modulations and long time CV control. You can get into DC audio interfaces for really cheap in the used market. Many older audio interfaces may not be up to snuff for the audio crowd but work great for somewhat less demanding CV uses. I bought a couple of 8-channel MOTU828 interfaces a while back on eBay for less than $75 a piece. There are plenty of units like that out there that work just fine.
-James

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Synthwerks is a proud member of the Mostly Modular Trade Association (http://www.mostlymodular.com).
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