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How to SEND midi notes on all channels? Keyboard Controllers
Old 18th November 2012
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Thread Starter
How to SEND midi notes on all channels?

A little long winded, but hopefully I explain my question clear enough to get a good answer.

I realize this is not the normal way to do things, judging by the lack of information I've been able to find on it, but can I have a master keyboard send its note/sustain/etc. messages to all 16 channels at once - or is there a box that can change one channel to all? My Roland RD700 NX can't do this. Each of its four "zones" can only send to one channel at a time, for a total of 4 midi channels going out of its 1 or 2 MIDI ports. I like the sounds and action on the RD, so I'd like to keep it as the master if I can. I also have a CFE UF-80 dedicated controller but it doesn't do more than one note channel either (although its faders can be assigned to different channels). The reason I need all channels is for my unique setup, as I'll try to graph below and explain here:

I have more than four MIDI sound modules that I want to be able to control live. My church is pretty well-known for its music and the way the worship leaders put the band through its paces trying to keep up with changes on the fly. So, I don't usually have time to find and change patches, and the set is too unpredictable to have a program change set up ahead of time (and I also like being able to fade gently between pad and strings, which requires two different modules on two volume channels being played at the same time). My EP is a real SY-77 (an early descendant of the DX-7), so an all-computer based system won't work, but I do want to incorporate some VSTi soon. My other modules are Roland VX-3080's and an XP-80 keyboard. I want the other channels available to to control individual VSTi's. I guess the normal method is to mix the audio in a small analog console, but that cuts off the reverb/delay trails which is a pet peeve of mine when X-fading, and I certainly don't want to deal with outboard effects on every patch! Plus, audio mixers can be pretty bulky.

I've worked with my RD-700's four channels quite successfully like I want for years, but I think I should be able to expand to more channels. I'm putting the ch1-4 signals through a JL Cooper Fadermaster Pro. Each fader injects a cc 07 volume control signal on its respective channel. I like using the Fadermaster, and it can successfully control the volume of 8 modules, the problem is that I can't actually send notes to all the modules with the keyboard/controller I'm using. If I still had my old Roland A-90 I think it could do omni out, but it's discontinued. What options are there now? I tried the Midi Solutions Router, but after I tried to program it, found out changing note channels to ALL is one of the few things it can't do. Maybe because it can only change a single MIDI message into another single MIDI message, and there is no MIDI convention for an omni-channel note message? If I could have a box that duplicated all types of MIDI control to all channels, that would still work because the only thing that needs to be unique for each module is the volume control, and if I put the channel changer before the Fadermaster, it will still do its job like it's supposed to.

Current daisy chain setup:

Master KB (Roland RD-700 NX) outputs notes on channels 1-4
Fadermaster midi mixer
Module 1 (XV-3080) Ch 1
Module 2 (XV-3080) Ch 2
Module 3 (SY-77)

Related post:
Old 19th November 2012
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foamboy's Avatar
Sometimes midi limitations can be a bummer!

I have read your post several times,but I am still confused about WHAT it is that you are trying to achieve.

I don't understand why you want/need to do this......

but can I have a master keyboard send its note/sustain/etc. messages to all 16 channels at once - or is there a box that can change one channel to all?

Perhaps if you could give a specific example of how you need to implement the above scenario, I might be better able to give some advice. I have worked with midi for quite some time,so I might be able to lend a hand.

Sorry,that I don't have a more definitive soultion,but help me understand a little more.

Old 19th November 2012
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foamboy's Avatar
Old 19th November 2012
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Thread Starter
Thanks! That other post was asking almost the same thing, the big difference was in his application. He was wanting it to control multitimbral parts in one MIDI'd keyboard (scary to me if something goes wrong in a live situation). I am wanting it to daisy chain to multiple keyboards, each on their own MIDI channel so I can use MIDI messages (cc07) to adjust their volume independently. They'll still be played all the time, you just won't hear the sounds I'm not using because their MIDI volume is down. It's worked great so far, I just didn't know how to get my master controller to trigger notes past MIDI channel 4, for keyboards 5-8 (or 5-16 for that matter).

I'll check that out and hopefully it can duplicate messages. That's what I thought the Midi Solutions Router was going to do, but it couldn't duplicate, it could only change completely to another midi channel and lose the original channel. It dawned on me I can keep my hardware down to a maximum of four, and the channels I'm having trouble with can be VSTi, which means an in-the-box solution would work fine. I'll just have to stay with master controllers that can put out at least 4 channels!

I tried Cubase (in 32bit mode, apparently) and it overloaded the ram when I loaded Kontakt in it (and I thought Mac's don't do stuff like that...) I bet it was because Kontakt's samples were opened under Cubase's memory allocation. I'll try again in 64bit, but do you have any other recommendation for a host?
Old 19th November 2012
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Thread Starter
Oops! Except, if the modifier is in the computer, it will also change the volume cc to all the same channel.... Maybe I can filter that one out to not be changed, still looking at MidiKarval
Old 19th November 2012
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kpsiegel's Avatar

A MOTU MidiExpress XT USB can take midi messages on any input and map them to any channel you want. It has 8 ports. If you need more you can link them together. I have 3 linked together in my studio. Using the ClockWorks software here is what you would do:

Take the input stream from your controller and route its input to every other channel except the one the controller is on. Make sure you only use one zone in your controller so you are sending out to the same channel on each of the ports you are sending to.

Go to the mappings page and then use that to take midi channel 1 from your controller (for example) and use the output to map it to the actual midi channel that the device on that physical midi port is mapped to.

A few observations on your current setup....I would avoid using multiple zones at once cause all that does is make the keyboard controller send out floods of controller messages for every zone active. Think about how much is going on just by using aftertouch for example.

I would also avoid daisy chaining too much. With the MOTU setup I suggest you don't have to daisy chain at all. Anything on a daisy chain is only going to receive the messages on a single physical port at the head of the chain and that is going to be getting messages on a single channel ideally.

I hope this helps.

Last edited by kpsiegel; 19th November 2012 at 06:12 PM.. Reason: minor correction for clarity
Old 19th November 2012
Gear Head

Another midi patchbay that's worth mentioning is the Audio Architecture Function Junction. It can do all kinds of tricks. Sadly, they are very rare. Maybe a Miditemp patchbay perhaps?

But I see were you coming from. For myself I've wrote a program in Max that allows you to drive 8 synths simultaneously where you can switch each synth on and off without note hanging, set keyboard zones, transpose, filters for sustain, modulation, pitchbend and aftertouch and set up bank/program changes and store all those settings in one of the sixteen scenes. You can even record short sequences and loop them.
Old 19th November 2012
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If you want to control multiple midi modules on different midi channels from a single keyboard map, the best solutions is IMO to pick up an ensoniq SQ-R. It will reroute a single midi channel to multi timbral zones and send the split data out on multiple channels. Other ensoniqs do this, the SQ-R is just cheap.
Old 21st November 2012
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Thread Starter
Thanks, kpsiegle, that's exactly what I've needed all these years! I learned a lot yesterday on Midi Solutions' website about MIDI bandwidth, and I understand I could eventually get some squirrely stuff going on if I try to daisy chain all 16 possible instruments with notes and volumes and expression going on every channel, so the MidiExpress would take the load off, only one MIDI channel has to go through each cable. I assume the cc07 on channels 2-16 could pass through to their respective keyboards, so I could put my Fadermaster between the controller and the MidiExpress?n I'll check out the other solutions too.

For my VSTi's, I learned that I can assign any cc# to control a specific instrument's volume in Kontakt (oddly enough, MIDI channel is ignored). I'd had my mind stuck on cc07 this whole time, and didn't ever think about that. All the different "channel" volumes could come over channel 1, with different (otherwise unused) cc#'s for different instruments (to be assigned to each instrument within Kontakt with a click and drag operation). Now I just need the MidiExpress for my hardware synths.
Old 21st November 2012
If you are going the computer route, consider ableton live.

You can do a lot of midi routing in there.

Just make 16 channels in ableton(or however many you want). And set their input to the RD700NX channel 1.

Now you will be transmitting the Roland's notes to 16 midi tracks. You can then send the midi from those tracks to Ext instruments or vsts as needed. (Make them divided by channel or however you like).

The Motu would be a good flexible hardware option.

Good luck! Sounds like quite a production!

If you want to control cross fades you can map the cc's from your midi controller to the faders of each channel. If you want to keep effects tails then put your reverbs on busses. If you want your synths decay and release sound to keep playing after you program the midi controller to activate and deactivate the channel strips.
Old 21st November 2012
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boreg's Avatar
If you're going the computer route, getting Ableton Live just for this is an overkill. Reaper and MIDI routing matrix plugin will do the job. Also check out MIDI-OX (free, PC only), it's a very powerful utility and possibly will do what you want.
Old 21st November 2012
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mildheadwound's Avatar
CME UF-80 has keyboard split.
Old 21st November 2012
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Thread Starter
By keyboard split, do you mean one half of the keys can be routed to a second midi channel?
Old 21st November 2012
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mildheadwound's Avatar
Yup. You can pick which midi channel is on either side. There is no crossover though, so the point you split the key bed to, is it. There is also a dual mode, but you will have to look up what this means. Possibly simultaneous midi channels at once.
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