Midi transmits at 31.25 kbaud which is painfully slow compared to other digital transmission standards in use today. When too many commands are sent you will develop latency. This usually happens with cc messages (twiddling knobs). I would expect that you would experience the same thing with the scenario you describe. If the gates didn't overload the midi cable the MFB's envelopes probably wouldn't be fast enough to handle them. I don't think you would cause any harm to your equipment.
I am not a technician but never heard of real damage. Some units might hang themselves up (Little Phatty and Sunsyn come to mind - or any DAW if you have a midi feedback loop and twist some knobs ;-). Just "restart" the OS of the synth by switching the unit off & on and it is all well again.
It's a good way to indeed test midi implementations with SW and various rigs but trust me, you won't burn the gear to pieces with too many MIDI events. As mentioned, the MIDI spec has a clock in its protocol so that will dictate how fast data arrives at each end. And if over USB, USB also has a clock speed in its specs.
Seriously, MIDI is not like a car that you can drive too fast. MIDI will only transmit data as fast as it is designed to do. If the receiving device/synth is overwhelmed with data, it will crash, lookup, or start ignore messages. I never heard that there was actual physical damage to anything.
i've tried using alternating pitch bend messages, into the audio range.. to try and get FM into an otherwise un-FM-able synth.. it didn't work.. I was going from -100% to +100% on the pitch bend, waaaay faster than audio rate by editing the control lane in cubase (make it as fast as you can, then timesquashing the element).. but.. my midi could not spit it out fast enough.. (i5 PC running cubase USB to midi)
it didn't work. I assumed because I was trying to send information fundamentally faster than midi
If you know a way of doing that over midi, please share!
I've tried to make people's head explode with too much MIDI data, but all I can manage is to crash Cakewalk Sonar. Like someone above says, you might crash your DAW or some synth, but you will never damage anything.
Do not take too much MIDI if you take nitrates, often prescribed for chest pain, as this may cause a sudden, unsafe drop in blood pressure.
Discuss your general health status with your doctor to ensure that you are healthy enough to engage in too much MIDI. If you experience chest pain, nausea, or any other discomforts during too much MIDI, seek immediate medical help.
In the rare event of too much MIDI lasting more than 4 hours, seek immediate medical help to avoid long-term injury.
If you are older than age 65, or have serious liver or kidney problems, your doctor may start you at the lowest dose (25 mg) of too much MIDI. If you are taking protease inhibitors, such as for the treatment of HIV, your doctor may recommend a 25 mg dose and may limit you to a maximum single dose of 25 mg of too much MIDI in a 48-hour period.
In rare instances, men taking PDE5 inhibitors (oral erectile dysfunction medicines, including too much MIDI) reported a sudden decrease or loss of vision. It is not possible to determine whether these events are related directly to these medicines or to other factors. If you experience sudden decrease or loss of vision, stop taking PDE5 inhibitors, including too much MIDI, and call a doctor right away.
Sudden decrease or loss of hearing has been rarely reported in people taking PDE5 inhibitors, including too much MIDI. It is not possible to determine whether these events are related directly to the PDE5 inhibitors or to other factors. If you experience sudden decrease or loss of hearing, stop taking too much MIDI and contact a doctor right away.
If you have prostate problems or high blood pressure for which you take medicines called alpha blockers, your doctor may start you on a lower dose of too much MIDI.
too much MIDI should not be used with other ED treatments. too much MIDI should not be used with REVATIO or other products containing sildenafil.
too much MIDI does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV.
The most common side effects of too much MIDI are headache, facial flushing, and upset stomach. Less commonly, bluish vision, blurred vision, or sensitivity to light may briefly occur.
Be careful with first generation MIDI instruments.
I hooked up my brand new Kurzweil MIDIBoard to my Memorymoog Plus years ago. I inadvertantly left polyAT on, which can generate a torrent of MIDI traffic. After some playing from the MIDIBoard, the Memorymoog locked up. After power cycle I discovered several Memorymoog patches had been corrupted. The dense MIDI traffic overran the cpu stack, the firmware didn't have a stack pointer watchdog, and the cpu put the stack data into memory where the patches were. Ouch!
Heh....maybe cause cpu and latency issues after doing to much. Im a big fan of printing the vst to audio as soon as possible and just saving a back up...usually record it to another channel instead of bouncing or in live freeze tracking it and droping it into a audio track. i import the chain over to the audio file to not commit that part. Midi is cool but i like to get it to audio asap and commit for a number of reasons...also i may record mono tracks through a neve style pre to print which gets me way more excited to commit