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Setting up MIDI hardware; routing help please
Old 18th October 2013
Gear Head
andymac24's Avatar

Setting up MIDI hardware; routing help please

Hi slutz. So I need help with exactly how to route the midi in my studio. My gear is:

- iMac with Logic Pro X and Reason
- Roland Juno 106 (not multi-timbral i.e 16 channels but can only use one at once)
- Electrix Filter Factory (analog midi filter), 16 channels available (one at a time via selector on rear)
- Focusrite Saffire Pro 24 audio interface (has 1 midi in and 1 out)
- MIDI only controller keyboard

So I'm just trying to understand midi channels etc in a practical setting although I think I get the basics. I currently have the keyboard into iMac direct via USB, nice and easy. How do I configure the synth and the filter?

If I went interface midi out - Juno in, juno out - interface in, and then connected the midi thru from Juno to filter am I right I would be able to send and receive midi to and from the Juno as normal, but only send midi messages TO the filter but not receive them back because THRU only duplicates the outgoing message? (This would be alright btw as I only need to send messages to the filter, not receive them.)

Secondly I assume I would have to set the filter on whatever channel on the rear and then put the Juno on a different channel (in Logic or Audio MIDI setup or something).

And finally, would it then be reasonable to assume that you only need more MIDI ports when the total number of channels you would like to use goes from say 16 to 17 or 32 to 33? I.e above a multiple of 16 (as 16 channels per port).

Thankyou very much, hope you can help
Old 18th October 2013
Lives for gear
johnnyv's Avatar
I got to where you said you had the Juno patched with a USB cable ? then you lost me, Is this a re-issue or the original. The original would not have USB..

So instead of untangling your explanation I'll try and help with a few basics. I think you already understand most of this and possibly more than I do but I'll just do it cause I'm stuck here waiting for a bus..others might be enlightened

You interface converts a standard MIDI port into a USB connection to the computer. It is only DATA that travels through a MIDI cable, There is no sound. For sound you use the analog output of your hardware synths.

LOCAL device - the keyboard/ drum machine or hardware sequencer

MIDI IN- receives the data stream sent from the OUT port ( or THRU) from other MIDI sources (keyboard / Sequencer)- OMNI mode will receive all channels. If there is more than one receiving device select a different channel for each Device.

MIDI OUT- Sends MIDI data performed or sequenced by the Local device to another device. This can be into a DAW for recording.

MIDI THRU is needed if you have 2 instruments. It is for daisy chaining devices. You need to be careful as this can lead to Latency. If more than 2 or 3 instruments are chained a MIDI patch bay is a better idea (if you can find one these days)

Playback and receive channels are set within the Local Device, not from the DAW.

When working with MIDI it is a good idea to plan ahead and always use the same channels for certain instruments in your set up.
Channel 1 is sort of the default for most soft synths and Ch 10 for drums.
I use CH 1 for my keyboard controller input and CH 10 from my drum brain.

I use ch 1-9 for soft synths, CH 10 Drum Brain, CH 11 Drum machine, CH 12 -13 MY GR50, 14 a Korg sound module. 15 controls EFX rack unit.

Here is a example of a MIDI set up with 2 outboard MIDI devices

DAW MIDI OUT-USB-Interface-Interface MIDI OUT- Synth1 IN- Synth 1 THRU- Synth 2 IN.

Synth 1 OUT - Interface IN-USB- DAW MIDI INPUT
Synth 2 has no where to send out unless a MIDI patch bay or switch box is deployed.

Synth 1 is used to input MIDI to the DAW. Any Soft synth inserted in the DAW can be triggered /played and recorded. Even drums can be played from synth 1.
Synth1 is set to receive on Ch 12 so any MIDI track assigned to CH12 and it's output assigned to the interfaces MIDI output will play synth 1.

Synth 2 is for playback only and set to CH 13, so any MIDI track in the DAW set to CH 13 will play synth2 . Notes played on Synth 1 will not output via the THU port to synth 2. But it can be played via the in/out of the DAW if the track is assigned as such.

Of course the hardware synths are then recorded after you edit the midi data via their audio cables.
Old 18th October 2013
Gear Head
andymac24's Avatar

Cheers. I believe you confused my Juno for my controller keyboard. You're right my juno is of course not connected via USB. My controller keyboard is, and doesn't interact with my interface at all; just my Juno, filter, and monitors.

You answered my question that if I daisy chained interface - juno - filter I would indeed have to put them on different channels but I could only send to the filter, not receive. I assume if I swapped the order round so it was interface out - filter in, filter out interface in, filter thru - Juno in, the opposite would be true; the filter would send and receive MIDI but the Juno could only receive. Jah?

By extension, therefore, what I said about only needing one port per 16 devices is only true if you only want playback on the devices and don't want to send messages from them to the DAW / sequencer. That helps.

I don't understand what you meant by 'do not set the receive channel used for OUT'.
Old 18th October 2013
Lives for gear
johnnyv's Avatar
You were typing as I edited my post, I didn't understand half of what I said myself, so please re-read it I think it is clear now.

What I was saying is I avoid using Ch1 as a receive channel for 2 reasons. You can get double triggers on some instruments if send and receive are the same. Then read my little added note above about selecting channels.

A MIDI patch bay is a great thing for set ups like yours. Mine is a Yamaha YMM2

Old 18th October 2013
Gear Head
andymac24's Avatar

I understand everything you've said vis-a-vis the setup example and what in / out/ thru are used for. But I'm a little confused about how you use channels 1-9 for soft synths; I've never needed to configure midi channels for any plugins.

so you can have different channels for send and receive on the same device? My filter just has a rotary knob on the rear that goes from 1-16
Old 18th October 2013
Lives for gear
johnnyv's Avatar
OK to make it clear. For your Filter sound module I would choose a higher number as that just how I have always done it.
Example- If I load an old project and see a MIDI track Assigned to CH14 I know it was composed to play my Korg sound module.
I see A CH 11 track I know I had used my Drum Machine for sounds.
So you can come up with any method you like to keep things organized I'm just letting you know what has worked for me. I have 30? years of MIDI files to deal with so therefore my reasoning.

So I'm just suggesting you choose say, Channel 13, for the Filter and say, Channel 14, for the Juno as an example. You can use Channel 2 and 3 or what ever, but it is best to use the same assignment over time so you'll be able to load up a project file 10 years from now and it will play properly.

If a Soft Synth is a none multi channel sound source, then you can have dozens of synths all using the same channel because the MIDI track output determines what sounds the track plays, not the channel. BUT if the synth is multi channel then you need to use channels to keep each instrument separate. Otherwise you'll hear your piano playing drums.

Once again I have always used certain channels for each instrument. Ch2 Piano, Ch3 Organ,Ch4 Strings,Ch5 Bass etc.

And if you have outboard gear then you set the tracks output to (Interface name here) MIDI output and then require a different channel for each piece of gear. If you have a bunch of multi channel sound modules then things get complicated. All this needs to be sorted from within each device. Some MIDI patchbays can filter out selected channels to each port and then you can also go beyond 16 channels too.
Old 19th October 2013
Gear Head
andymac24's Avatar

I see, good tip on futureproofing. Ok thanks man, I've just got to wait on getting my Juno back from the repair guy. Then I'll try

Midi in / out to juno on channel 12 or something and midi thru to the filter on 13.

Ps when you say you use 1-9 for soft synths like piano etc i assume this means like on a multi-timbral plugin you have? If they were individual soft synths you wouldn't need to bother with channels right?
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