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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2007 8:00 am 
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Mr. Electonica Dude
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The Midi Ports

Let's review for a moment the 3 most common midi ports. The IN , OUT and THRU ports. They are usually on the back of the midi device.

The midi in receives data sent from another midi device

The midi out sends data generated by the device to other devices. Remember the midi out port sends only the data generated by the device itself. No upstream data is passed on.

The midi thru port forwards data presented to it's midi in port. Upstream data is passed on to the next device. Also note the midi thru does not add data of the device it is passing through.

How to turn your computer into a midi device.

Probably the most powerful midi device is your personal computer ! With the correct software , a computer play any role discussed in the earlier lessons. It can be a sequencer , even without a sequencer it can playback a midi sequence using Windows Media Player. (WMP can also be used to send SysEx messages to other devices as well) Just make sure the volume slider is turned up on the SW Synth area of Windows Master Volume control. In my studio a computer sequencer controls my hardware sequencers. Very powerful stuff.

How to connect all this stuff.

Special cables called Midi cables are used to interconnect devices together.They consist of a 5 pin DIN cable. (Did you know only the center 3 wires are used by midi ?) Some software like MIDI-OX has virtual midi patching. Unfortunately the manufacturers don't all follow a standard orientation of the ports so it is wise to double check the labeling of the ports between the devices. Sometimes I've had to "poke and hope" in the dark recesses of a rack.

Midi cords come in all lengths to keep our discussion as brief as possible , just try to use the shortest cable you can.

In a Midi system the device controlling the others is called the "Master" and the other devices are called "Slaves". You can have more "masters" than "slaves". More on this later.

Image


Figure A shows the first keyboard device as the master and the second as the slave. The cable is connected to the midi OUT of the master and the midi IN of the slave. The arrow shows the direction of data flow. So any note data , pitch bend, bank changes , aftertouch , velocity etc. of the master is sent to the second keyboard and both will play together.

Figure B shows a slightly more complicated setup. Connect the midi OUT from device #1 to the midi IN of device #2. Now we use the midi THRU from device #2 to the midi IN of device #3. Now device #1 controls both #2 and #3. This setup works fine for 3 or so devices (I have gotten away with 5 before) but if they are separated by long cords then we must go to Figure C.

Figure C shows how to use a midi thru box to control as many devices as one has ports for. The example shows the master midi out to the thru box's midi in. The thru box will have several thru ports and no out. Connect each out to the midi in of each slave.

Image


Figure D shows a combination of both B and C setups. You won't see this one in any books but it is the most common in my studio.

I also use a variation of C where one midi out of the thru box is sent to the midi in of a second thru box.

Two other things to note here is don't use a 5 pin din Y-cord. This screws up the data enough to be unusable. Also beware of midi loops. Midi out to the wrong midi in can cause midi feedback.

Image

One other fairly common connection method is wanting to combine two different sets of midi data. Like I said earlier a Y cord doesn't work . you need a midi merge box. These usually come with at least 2 midi in and 2 midi out ports. This way you can have two masters and one or more slaves. One useful application is a sequencer as one master and a keyboard controller as the other. Figure E

next ? midi channels

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2007 3:31 pm 
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Why would you need so many devices connected? Could you describe all the gear in your studio that's connected via MIDI?


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2007 4:26 pm 
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why?
because you can. :lol:

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2007 10:08 pm 
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Mr. Electonica Dude
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My midi setup consists of a couple of dozen sound modules. I use a Dave Smith Poly Evolver as Master for most of the rack gear. My Yamaha ES is also set up to master controller for all the things in the rack as well. I use a merge box to accomplish this. The Motif and a Triton are used as the upper and lower manuals of my Hammond XM-1. The bass pedals and drawbars are also connected. There is a third setup I use being an Alesis Ion controlling a Micron and a Nord Lead2x. I use an FCB 1010 foot controller to change patches on my Behringer effect units , Voiceworks , and the Hammond 2010 Leslie speaker. These are also often controlled by a sequencer in my notebook computer. The Fender Cyber-Twin now has it's own dedicated midi controller pedal. There is also a Yamaha breath midi controller I use in the VL horn board of the ES. I run everything to midi thruboxes and a third Motu 16 input serves as the studio's master clock.

Why so many connections ? As you can see , the actions of patching midi would consume too much time . I pretty much have it the way it works now for convenience sake. Besides we gotta find time to play and program the sequencers.

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