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interconnecting 3 keyboards at once MIDI Processors
Old 8th March 2018
  #1
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Acidizer's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
interconnecting 3 keyboards at once

i don't know if this is possible. i have a system-8, JDXI and nord electro 5.

is there some way i could connect them all up so that i can use the arpeggiator of the JDXI on the system-8 and nord electro. but i also want to use the nord's 5 octave keyboard on the JDXI and system-8.

is there any way to get this working so i don't need to keep plugging/unplugging cables?

i would (eventually) like to record audio and MIDI from all the keyboards into DAW.

is it also possible to use the nord full size keys to play the nord or system-8 or JDXI, but at the same time be using the JDXI's arpeggiator on any of them?

my brain hurts even trying to think about it

currently very simply, i have MIDI out from JDXI going into system-8 MIDI in, and i can arp the system-8 from the JDXI mini keys. i would like if possible to interconnect them all to be used as described.

what do you think?

i can buy a suitable interface if needed, thanks.
Old 8th March 2018
  #2
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usedtohaveajuno's Avatar
Possibly, you need some midi splitters / mergers and it will depend on the JD-XI and whether it supports local on/off for the sequencer etc (bet it does)

1) JDXI out -> midi splitter to take that input and send it to multiple outputs -> in on Nord, in on System 8
2) Nord will have local ON, so when you hit the keys it plays the Nord, plus it's midi out -> in on JD-XI

If you can't do that second bit (use Nord to play JD-XI whilst it arps), you can definitely do the first bit, using something like this
MIDI Solutions Quadra Thru V2 – Thomann Ireland
Old 8th March 2018
  #3
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CathodeRay's Avatar
I recommend getting a JL Cooper MSB+ , they are not made anymore but of all the ones i have used over the years these are the best. I could not do without mine. They pop up on ebay.
Old 9th March 2018
  #5
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zerocrossing's Avatar
Another possibility is to use a MIDI arpeggiator. Your DAW may already have one. Mine (Bitwig) does. I was using it to add an arpeggio to a Tempest.
Old 9th March 2018
  #6
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Yoozer's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Acidizer View Post
is there any way to get this working so i don't need to keep plugging/unplugging cables?

i would (eventually) like to record audio and MIDI from all the keyboards into DAW.
If it's not a hard requirement that you want this without starting your DAW, then any 4 or more port MIDI interface will do. Once your DAW switches on, you can choose any input and route it to any output.

If you insist on being able to do this while your DAW is switched off as well - then it gets a bit more expensive. A MOTU MIDI Express XT can act as a standalone patchbay.

You can use a MIDI splitter to duplicate the signal and a MIDI merger to well, merge the signal. Any keyboard that should accept multiple inputs needs a merger. Any keyboard that should send out to multiple keyboards needs a splitter. However, you may run a serious risk of getting MIDI loops, and every thru hop gives headaches with multitimbrality.
Old 10th March 2018
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoozer View Post
If it's not a hard requirement that you want this without starting your DAW, then any 4 or more port MIDI interface will do. Once your DAW switches on, you can choose any input and route it to any output.

If you insist on being able to do this while your DAW is switched off as well - then it gets a bit more expensive. A MOTU MIDI Express XT can act as a standalone patchbay.

You can use a MIDI splitter to duplicate the signal and a MIDI merger to well, merge the signal. Any keyboard that should accept multiple inputs needs a merger. Any keyboard that should send out to multiple keyboards needs a splitter. However, you may run a serious risk of getting MIDI loops, and every thru hop gives headaches with multitimbrality.
The iconnect ones I linked to are pretty badass.. they have a piece of software where you can create different setups with all KINDS Of mapping/filtering/etc.


Old 13th March 2018
  #8
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Acidizer's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
thanks for the replies. i am still in the process of building my setup so nothing is finalised yet.

currently i am using headphones, so i need to keep plugging them into whatever keyboard i am using, don't have an audio interface, and i record audio over USB.

is there an all in one audio interface/MIDI merger thing that i can get? i don't want to keep unplugging MIDI and headphones all the time. and using one unified interface is much better than using the keyboard as the audio interface/soundcard in the DAW.

to complicate matters i want a TR8S too. not sure what i need to use that with a DAW, but i don't want to use the individual outs. if everything is done on the TR8S, surely i just record it as audio into DAW? (letting the sequences/patterns run and tweak on the fly)
Old 13th March 2018
  #9
Gear Guru
 
fiddlestickz's Avatar
Why use the JDXi arp when System 8 has one, just need to send it clock and then hold down keys on System 8 and it will sync up.. there are any number of ways to set those three up but personally I wouldn't bother and just play each synth on it's own accord and sync them to clock.
Old 13th March 2018
  #10
Gear Guru
 
Yoozer's Avatar
An audio merger is a mixer Most audio interfaces come only with one MIDI out and one MIDI in, which is why you need a separate MIDI patchbay.

With an audio interface it only functions as a mixer if you enable the channels in the DAW.
Old 13th March 2018
  #11
Gear Maniac
+1 for the iConnectMIDI4+. With a mixer, MIDI Thru box - I easily control the setup for three hardware synths, + soft synths on my Mac, and a Beatstep Pro. No unplugging / rerouting audio or MIDI. Audio goes through a Mixer, and back to my DAW from it's USB audio out. Sounds close to what you're setting up.
Old 13th March 2018
  #12
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Acidizer's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
damn... all of this is WAY over my head. you may as well be speaking a foreign language.

the JDXI arp has 150 patterns or motifs or whatever they are called built into the arp, the S8 arp is bog standard.

well having spent time with the nord keys, i don't want that as my master keyboard anymore. i vastly prefer the S8 keys, even if it means 1 less octave.

if it wasn't for the need to do filter sweeps with MIDI i would just use a looper or something and forget the DAW entirely. the S8 doesn't even have foot pedal capabilities for anything other than volume or that could have solved that
Old 13th March 2018
  #13
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Yoozer's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Acidizer View Post
damn... all of this is WAY over my head. you may as well be speaking a foreign language.
You want to hear multiple synths playing at the same time, you're going to need a mixer. You can have a cheap mixer for a few bucks already; if you know for sure you're only going to hook up 4 devices or so, just get something like a Behringer Xenyx 1202FX or something like it. Plug everything in, plug your headphones into the headphone input, and you still have some room to spare if you decide you want even more toys, and it's got on-board effects so you're good in case you want to have something real analog without FX.

A computer's audio interface can act like a mixer, but doesn't do this by default. First, it won't do anything without your DAW. Second, in your DAW, you have to enable all the inputs for each track you want to hear simultaneously. After that it's smooth sailing.

Unless... you have an audio interface with not enough inputs for your equipment. Then you can again choose to put a mixer in between. You then can record single instruments one at a time by muting all the other channels (or soloing a single channel), but you can still hear everything at the same time. An alternative (which won't let you hear everything at the same time but will let you record single tracks at a time) is a patchbay. In that case you'll be saving wear and tear on your equipment and you don't have to reach at the back of your 19" effect rack, because you've routed everything to the patchbay.

If you want to record your future TR8, you have to indeed record everything as audio.

Some people prefer to have a big mixing desk with all their instruments plugged in at all time. The problem then usually arises - how do you get all of those channels separately in the DAW? Some mixers combine their mixing function with an audio interface.

Cheap ones will only send what's coming out of the stereo outputs to the computer. These also may not have great latency numbers, which means that using hardware synths + plugin effects is not fun.

More expensive ones will record every channel separately, but may ignore the on-board faders and EQ.

None of these mixers will have more than a MIDI input and output - if they even have that.

I have tried all these approaches, and I've been doing this for 20 years. I ended up with an 8-port MIDI interface and a big audio interface with enough inputs and outputs for all of my stuff. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.

If you wanted to do this all with hardware, you would need:

- a sequencer with lots of MIDI I/O (think Akai MPC at least)
- a set of MIDI thru boxes if you want to hook up more equipment than the sequencer has MIDI ports
- a mixer to hear everything at the same time
- anything that can record audio

and this is basically how things worked in the late 90s for lots of people. Everything was done in MIDI, you carefully choose one single master keyboard, you record your arpeggiated output in the sequencer and -then- send it to your device of choice - so no realtime stuff, and if you want to change things, re-record! You compose and mix until everything sounds perfect, and then you record the stereo outputs of your mixer. If you had the funds, you'd have a harddisk recorder with several tracks, or ADAT, or a 24-track tape recorder that recorded each track separately, and if you wanted to have effects, you'd "print" them (i.e. the recorded track would contain reverb by itself. Not happy with the reverb? Re-record!)

Things haven't changed that much, except that working with audio is just so much easier and so much more in reach for the average bedroom producer because it doesn't cost anything anymore.

Instead of a harddisk recorder you have audio interfaces with lots of I/O. You can record a track as audio, and then apply effects with plugins - big advantage there, since you no longer have to be a miser with "okay I have one rack unit that gives me delay and reverb, I need to carefully consider what I'm going to apply these on".

Does this help, or do you want me to make some drawings? Bottom line: if you want to connect everything with everything so you can send anything to anything, you need a MIDI patchbay. If you want to hear everything at the same time you have a set of solutions that depend on your budget and desires, because that cheap Behringer is not going to be useful if you want a bigger audio interface.
Old 13th March 2018
  #14
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Acidizer's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
hey thanks for all that! kind of surprised it is so complicated, i thought there would have been an all in one solution. pretty disappointing.

i suppose i don't need to hear everything at once, i just didn't want to need to keep pugging/unplugging headphones in and out.

right now i am thinking... could i simply plug the three keyboards into three USB ports on the PC, choose whatever keyboard i am working with as the soundcard in the DAW settings, then record using the audio and MIDI over USB? - all while having the headphones permanently plugged into the PC?

if that would work it seems a lot less complicated to me, and free!
Old 13th March 2018
  #15
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Acidizer's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
or maybe the roland MX1 could be useful? it has multiple audio inputs, i'm sure it has a built in soundcard, and the USB inputs can take audio/MIDI from roland (maybe only specifically aira) gear. the S8 is aira, JDXI not. nord obviously not. but there is one physical MIDI I/O.
Old 13th March 2018
  #16
Gear Guru
 
Yoozer's Avatar
No - USB does not imply audio interface. It is for MIDI in and out. For the Nord it's also file transfer.

An MX1 only works in the Aira ecosystem.

See Roland - MX-1 | Mix Performer

The System 8 is not listed, but should work with USB audio.
Old 13th March 2018
  #17
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Acidizer's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
i have recorded audio over USB with the system-8 at least. i'm sure the JDXI can do this too. if the nord doesn't maybe i could plug it into the inputs on system-8 and record that way?
Old 13th March 2018
  #18
Gear Guru
 
Yoozer's Avatar
Yes, that should work. No idea if it’s going to play nicely when both instruments make sound.
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