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No MIDI. Is it possible?
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Author No MIDI. Is it possible?
fac
I had a hard disk crash last week and I had to reinstall Windows. I was still on WinXP, but it wasn't a legit version.... the last non-legit piece of software I had, so I decided to "upgrade" to Vista. Now, I think Vista sucks but I do have a legit copy of it and don't want to spend money on Win7 right now.

Anyway, the process hasn't been fun. I spent a full day updating Vista to SP2 (my DVD is pre-SP1). But I have finally made almost everything work under Vista.... I updated my Nord G2 drivers & OS and it worked fine, and even my old GadgetLabs soundcard is working with Sonar 7PE, so at least I'm happy I can record my modular noodles again.

Everything working fine.... except for my M-Audio Midisport 8x8 interface. Fucking piece of crap. I could never get it to work in USB mode under WinXP, but at least it worked (most of the time) in serial mode. But serial mode is no longer supported under Vista/Win7, and the model has been discontinued, so I'm basically fucked unless I want to go back to XP (*if* I could find a legit copy to start with). And because of space restrictions, I have quite a few rack synths (Waldorf Pulse & XT, Prophet 08 rack, Yamaha TX81z & EX5R) which are nearly useless to me without a MIDI interface.

I thought this would be a good time to upgrade my MIDI interface, but there doesn't seem to be many 8x8 models available. There's the MOTU one but I've read it's not too reliable under Windows.

So, witnessing my options being reduced, I've come to a simple conclussion: fuck MIDI.

Well, I wish it was *that* simple, but I really like being able to sync gear to my DAW (Sonar) and I still need some way to route MIDI data from my master keyboard to my DAW to any of my rack synths.

I'm currently contemplating the following paths and I would like to read someone else's opinions:

1) Back to the basics! Sell all that rack gear and buy more modular stuff. Get a basic 2x2 interface just to sync specific gear (e.g. Mobius or MPC) to the DAW.

2) Downsize! Sell some rack synths but keep a few special pieces (XT, Pulse, and Prophet 08). Get a 4x4 MIDI interface to handle them and don't outgrow it.

3) Replace! Sell that Midisport POS and try the MOTU interface, or maybe a couple 4x4's.

4) Fuck MIDI all the way! Use the DAW only as a multitrack audio recorder. Sell all that rack crap and get a couple nice keyboards. Play the damn things by yourself.

I'm seriously leaning towards #1. Lately, I've been only noodling with the modular and haven't really used any other synths, so it kind of makes sense to exchange unused synths for more modular gear - especially if it doesn't require MIDI. I can imagine myself adding a nice euro system to go along with my MU rig and sacrifying most other synths (Waldorfs, Nords, etc) in the process. I would just have to keep a nice polyphonic and a couple drum machines, but that would be it.

Any suggestions?
andrewF
the options are up to you
but to answer the question of the subject

yes it is easy to live without midi.

I never use it, used to have a midi-cv converter but it sat rusting so i sold it, that was back in about 2001.

my friends that use midi seem to spend a lot of time trying to get it to work and bitching about it.
mamonu
sorry to hear about your troubles.

try a MOTU Microlite interface (5x5) if you dont want to spend more
and perhaps a couple of multi-midi throughs

like

[url]
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=160337191723[/url  ]


i have 3 of these and a MOTU Microlite and a MOTU midi express 128 and they all work without a hitch
(for midi that is... sometimes timing accuracy leaves a lot to be desired but thats what cv/gate/sync/din etc are there for...)








[/url]
giorgio
i don't use midi all that much but i still find myself needin my motu midi express XT usb which has 8x8. i use most of the outputs to send sync only (modular, 303clone, midi808, 909, MPC) and a few for midi modules (vermona DRM1mk2, TX81Z, rack sampler) that I really can't seem to replicate or aren't worth it. now if my motu were go down, i have another 4x6 or something that i'd probably use, and ditch some stuff like the TX81Z, DRM1

so I'd have to say 2 or maybe 3 if you can find something within your budget. midi does kinda suck but I find it a necessary evil. I doubt I'll be ever be able to use my modular without my flame clockwork, which only runs from midi clock...
sascha.victoria
Ugh, computers are the worst when they aren't working right. It really makes you appreciate when things were running smoothly.

Personally, I wouldn't say fuck MIDI. It sounds like you have a lot of MIDI going on. While fucking it would be great, I'd think a gradual approach to that would be more sensible. Try picking up a used MOTU box and seeing if it works. If not you can always sell it for what you paid.
fac
mamonu wrote:
sorry to hear about your troubles.

try a MOTU Microlite interface (5x5) if you dont want to spend more
and perhaps a couple of multi-midi throughs


Yeah, I was checking the Microlite as well. I also have an old Roland A880 MIDI patchbay that can work as a midi-thru box... I bought it just to send MIDI clock to all my gear from a single source, but haven't even set it up for that.

May I ask which OS are you using?
bar|none
If you are only using midi from the computer to sync midi devices to midi clock, then you might be interested in this. Expensive but oh so accurate and tight and fool proof.

http://www.innerclocksystems.com/New%20ICS%20Sync-Lock.html
(There is a v2 coming soon that looks interesting and will sync multiple midi devices + lots of interesting groove features.)
http://www.innerclocksystems.com/New%20ICS%20Sync-Lock%20GT.html

If you are only driving the modular then it is easy enough to lose midi and use your audio interface via Expert Sleepers Silentway or Volta.

If you do want a full midi interface, the MOTU micro express has been really reliable for me. I'm on OS X though.


Personally, my ideal setup is Expert Sleepers combined with the SyncLock as a midi device clock. Reason being that the modular and midi devices will then be tightly locked at audio sample accuracy and there is no adjustment for latency, drift etc between audio and midi clock.
dkcg
I've got a motu 5x5 ultralight midi interface that I'm not using. Ironic thing is I have the maudio 8x8 midisport as well that works great for me under osx.

I have no idea what it's worth, but if you're interested PM me, I'll do the 5x5 ultralite cheap. It's usb powered, and no wallwarts if I remember correctly.. Mr. Green
bar|none
One more option.

Use something like a FLAME clockworks to drive midi clock devices + modular. Lose the computer entirely. I actually have my MOTO microexpress setup so it can be driven either by the computer OR via the FLAME. That way, I can use my modular with midi devices without the computer on at all OR with the computer sending clock. either way. The MOTU is very flexible and has saved presets which is handy.
bwhittington
Option 5) Cheap MIDI interface + MIDI patchbay
fac
bar|none wrote:
One more option.

Use something like a FLAME clockworks to drive midi clock devices + modular. Lose the computer entirely. I actually have my MOTO microexpress setup so it can be driven either by the computer OR via the FLAME. That way, I can use my modular with midi devices without the computer on at all OR with the computer sending clock. either way.


I can already do this with my FR Mobius. Besides a sequencer, it's a great tie-it-all unit. I rarely use MIDI with my modular anymore, except when synchronizing the Mobius to the DAW. My problem is with the other 10 MIDI synths I have laying around. Mr. Green
mojopin
That innerclock stuff is pricey...I have always run midi off a pci card so I have never had latency or jitter issues that I can notice. I would stay away from usb shit. My controller is usb and it is always off but since I quantize I don't care. My midi out is from the pci card..(don't ask why I don't use the midi in as well..just lazy). Actually, the card is an old creamware dsp card but I stopped using it for anything but midi. I run audio through a lynx card so it became obsolete but I have read online that running midi through the pci bus is the best. Unfortunately, they don't seem to make them anymore. You could get something off of ebay but you would probably need to go back to XP. XP4EVA!
mamonu
fac wrote:
mamonu wrote:
sorry to hear about your troubles.

try a MOTU Microlite interface (5x5) if you dont want to spend more
and perhaps a couple of multi-midi throughs


Yeah, I was checking the Microlite as well. I also have an old Roland A880 MIDI patchbay that can work as a midi-thru box... I bought it just to send MIDI clock to all my gear from a single source, but haven't even set it up for that.

May I ask which OS are you using?


xp sp2 ! dont want any troubles from my music computer....

also have a nice imac that i use for other things but not yet for music but probably going to do soon

(try numerology for example.....).
fac
bwhittington wrote:
Option 5) Cheap MIDI interface + MIDI patchbay


That's probably the most painless solution. A 4x4 interface plus my A880 patchbay should be enough to drive all my gear. Choices again seem to be the M-Audio Midisport 4x4 and MOTU MicroLite. I don't trust M-Audio anymore, so I think I'm going to give MOTU a chance.
Cybananna
I rarely use MIDI anymore. I could live with out it for sure.

Anyway, I've had nothing but good luck with MOTU (macOS) I never had an trouble with the interface it was always the synth / configuration.

I was one of those people always battling MIDI. With CV, I'm always happy.
fac
This seems to be a good choice:

http://www.cakewalk.com/products/hardware/default.aspx?Prod=UM-3G

It's from Cakewalk/Roland so I would expect it to work well with Sonar. They are quite cheap ($90), and one can daisy chain up to three and rack'em up. I could buy one to try and it wouldn't hurt the wallet much.
stk
Option 6: Get yourself a legit version of XP.
Vista is balls. Pure rat-infested balls. Dipped in liquid shit. zombie

I'm no anti-warez crusader, but I reckon if you're going to go legit with anything (and as much as I hate to flow money to the microsofts and apples of the world), you should probably start with your OS.

Think about it, it's like running 5k of top-shelf modular off a jerry-rigged car battery.
Which would be totally hot, I know, but still kinda silly.
fac
stk wrote:
Option 6: Get yourself a legit version of XP.
Vista is balls. Pure rat-infested balls. Dipped in liquid shit. zombie

I'm no anti-warez crusader, but I reckon if you're going to go legit with anything (and as much as I hate to flow money to the microsofts and apples of the world), you should probably start with your OS.

Think about it, it's like running 5k of top-shelf modular off a jerry-rigged car battery.
Which would be totally hot, I know, but still kinda silly.


Yeah, I know. Things kind of fell off that way. My DAW is a home-built 5-year-old PC. Before I built it, I had been using Win98 (legit) for quite a while, but it didn't support some of my new hardware, like a dual core CPU. A friend gave me a copy of XP to try and see if that worked, so I installed it and it did. After that, I never bothered to get a legit version and I didn't want to backup and reinstall everything again. I now wish I had bought an XP CD. Dead Banana

Actually, I do have a CD with the XP Home edition which came with an old laptop, but my wife still uses that laptop, and it's so old (~2003) that it probably wouldn't run Windows 7 or Vista properly.

I work at a university, so it's very likely that I can find an old copy of XP that no one is using anymore, but on the other hand, I also want to move on from XP.
Babaluma
i had no midi and no keyboards in my studio for about 5 years. didn't hold me back at all!
fac
Babaluma wrote:
i had no midi and no keyboards in my studio for about 5 years. didn't hold me back at all!


I don't think that not having MIDI would hold me back at all.... like I said, for the past year I've been mostly noodling with my modular and grooveboxes. But I do have a few nice rack synths that I would have to get rid of if I went MIDI-less all the way.

I'm still considering that option, though. With the modular, I've been using my other synths less and less each year. I can't remember the last time I recorded something from my Waldorf XT, and it's one of my favorite synths. I just can't bring myself to sell it.
robotfunk
I found MIDI fine for hardware to hardware, but MIDI + computer = hell.
Esp. on Windows the timing is all over the place. Not just with MIDI. I had to port a solfege app from Mac to Windows and met major hurdles because the timing was all over the place, unlike on the Mac where it was rock solid. The only place where timing works right on Windows is in an audio stream (otherwise every mp3 you played would stutter). That's where I moved my timing code.

The only computer I've used that has MIDI timing on par with hardware was the Atari ST. Odd that computers have been getting exponentially faster and timing went the other way...
Chuck E. Jesus
fac wrote:
This seems to be a good choice:

http://www.cakewalk.com/products/hardware/default.aspx?Prod=UM-3G

It's from Cakewalk/Roland so I would expect it to work well with Sonar. They are quite cheap ($90), and one can daisy chain up to three and rack'em up. I could buy one to try and it wouldn't hurt the wallet much.


i've thought about that unit or another Cake box as i am also PC/Sonar...i use a Roland MPU 101 midi>cv interface, and i also have a Pulse which i just started using again...and i have a Nord Micro Modular which needs a dedicated midi i/o port for programming, and along with a few other bits i figure i'm stuck with midi for now...i'm using the 2 i/o midi port on my Emu 1820 interface and it works fine, but even with a midi patch bay it's not enough...i've experimented using audio click tracks from the DAW to drive my euro sequencer bits, but i've found using midi 16th notes (or whatever) driving the gates on the MPU 101 works fine (especially one track at a time) and is simpler to set up...

so i guess i'm either option 2 or 5 hihi
axm311
for what it's worth, I have zero problems with the MOTU 8x8 on windows xp
carynrich
you might want to try out a midisport 4x4 as i've read the 8x8's have major issues. i found this out when looking for an 8x8 interface and went with steinberg midex, which is so solid i got another one (16 midi I/Os!). i had been using a midisport 4x4 under xp for years and its pretty solid too (once you get past the install hiccup - for some reason you have to install the driver, uninstall it and reinstall and it seems to work each time).

i'd suggest getting a valid copy of xp pro (still using it), try out a midisport 4x4, if it works well, get another one and you have 8 midi channels. or go the midex route. both options are relatively inexpensive on ebay.

one thing to note - the midex has a bit sloppier timing than the midisport, and i run cubase (i didn't see a difference between hooking up one midex versus two).
falafelbiels
Get AN MPC (Or MMT-8 or such-like) for the midi stuff.
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