midi thru chain

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ross308
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midi thru chain

Post by ross308 » Mon Mar 23, 2009 7:38 pm

how many synths can i put in a midi thru chain without having delay or other problems ?

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Re: midi thru chain

Post by StepLogik » Mon Mar 23, 2009 8:39 pm

I would avoid MIDI thru. If its a software thru, you'll have delay after the 1st device.

Best to get a midi thru box. Midi-solutions makes 'em and there are usually older models on ebay.

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Re: midi thru chain

Post by nathanscribe » Mon Mar 23, 2009 8:46 pm

Another issue with Thru is having to switch power on for everything in the chain in order to only use one device. It's also less flexible for routing than using a multi-thru box/splitter, where the best thing is to have each instrument on a dedicated output.

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Re: midi thru chain

Post by StepLogik » Tue Mar 24, 2009 2:51 am

In other news, I've noticed that the prices for midi patchbays and thru boxes are going up on ebay. The old JL Cooper MSB's, Ensoniq's KMX-8 (my old patchbay), the Kawai one - all seem to be really pricey.

I wonder why? general inflation, my addled brain, or are ppl being going back to hardware?

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Re: midi thru chain

Post by ross308 » Tue Mar 24, 2009 6:18 am

thanks for your advice. i am looking around for midi thru boxes and midi interfaces. but for the moment i have to do with the two outputs on my computer. two chains of 3 synths. it cant be that bad . can it?

any sugestions for a good midi interface with at least 4 or 8 outputs .
as for trhu boxes i guess they are almost all the same.

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Re: midi thru chain

Post by Stab Frenzy » Tue Mar 24, 2009 1:32 pm

ross308 wrote:thanks for your advice. i am looking around for midi thru boxes and midi interfaces. but for the moment i have to do with the two outputs on my computer. two chains of 3 synths. it cant be that bad . can it?
It should be fine. I dunno what software you're using but I know Live and probably some others allow you to change the track delay for midi tracks to negative amounts to compensate for any lag.

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Re: midi thru chain

Post by madtheory » Tue Mar 24, 2009 1:57 pm

Hard MIDI thru does not give any delay. It is possible to get signal degradation with a lot of devices, or if one of them is cheaply done or faulty. This signal degradation can seem like a delay, with hung notes etc. because MIDI is a serial interface.

Software MIDI thru can certainly cause a delay.

I use an M Audio MIDI sport 4x4, 4 ins, 4 outs. They do an 8x8 which is good value at the mo from Thomann in Germany. That company does some cheaper brands of 8x8 too.

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Re: midi thru chain

Post by cornutt » Tue Mar 24, 2009 4:43 pm

ross308 wrote:how many synths can i put in a midi thru chain without having delay or other problems ?
Rule of thumb is 3. You can sometimes get away with more on chains that don't have much data; for example, chains that just have effects where the only data you send is program changes.
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Re: midi thru chain

Post by schmidtc » Tue Mar 24, 2009 5:25 pm

I've chained 5 or 6 and not had any problems with lag. I don't understand where lag would come from either. A midi thru should have a lag equal to the amount of time it takes the electrons to travel a few inches of wire. Perhaps some gear might not have direct internal connections from midi in to the midi thru jacks, like synths which merge their own midi messages with those incoming.

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Re: midi thru chain

Post by StepLogik » Tue Mar 24, 2009 7:54 pm

schmidtc wrote:I've chained 5 or 6 and not had any problems with lag. I don't understand where lag would come from either. A midi thru should have a lag equal to the amount of time it takes the electrons to travel a few inches of wire. Perhaps some gear might not have direct internal connections from midi in to the midi thru jacks, like synths which merge their own midi messages with those incoming.
The proper implementation of a MIDI thru port is thru an opto-isolator (on the midi in to prevent ground loop) and a buffer. Theoretically, you shouldn't get any tangible delay from that configuration.

However, a lot of companies implement a "software" thru that passes through the CPU. In that case, the CPU introduces the lag since you'll have to pass several cycles before the data is returned to the out/thru port.

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Re: midi thru chain

Post by madtheory » Tue Mar 24, 2009 9:59 pm

Right, I think that's what I already said... :roll:

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Re: midi thru chain

Post by cornutt » Wed Mar 25, 2009 5:14 am

schmidtc wrote:I've chained 5 or 6 and not had any problems with lag. I don't understand where lag would come from either.
It's not lag (as long as there's nothing in the chain that's doing soft thru); it's distortion of the waveform. That can cause reception errors at the far end of a chain with a lot of hops. That said, a lot depends on the length and quality of the cables used, and which opto-isolators are used in each piece of gear in the chain. The ones that were spec'ed in the original MIDI standard aren't available any more, and some mfrs have used cheap-a*s substitutes (I'm lookin' at you, Berhinger).
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Re: midi thru chain

Post by killedaway » Wed Mar 25, 2009 7:41 pm

i just got this wonderful device:

Image
(i believe it's discontinued, but there are similar products still on the market.)

it's one of those rare items that, once you own it, you wonder, quite literally, how you ever got along without one! i'm using two of the inputs for my MPC500 and EMX-1 (each set as master), and the third for my keyboard. using the switches on the front, i can instantly slave any of the 8 outputs to any of the 3 inputs, in any configuration. so for example, i can send my keyboard to the EMX-1 to play in new sequences, and then have my MPC sending different sequences to that same keyboard. flip a couple switches, and you can reverse the whole thing, and then quickly slave the MPC to the EMX, and run all 5 other Electribes as well.

i'm using more of my gear now because of it. i used to dread changing things around, and would flat-out refuse if it involved too much cable swapping. no more!


good times. :D
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Re: midi thru chain

Post by madtheory » Wed Mar 25, 2009 10:01 pm

That's pretty cool. A neat MIDI patchbay.
In other news- yesterday:
cornutt wrote: It's not lag (as long as there's nothing in the chain that's doing soft thru); it's distortion of the waveform.
Earlier in the thread:
madtheory wrote:Hard MIDI thru does not give any delay. It is possible to get signal degradation with a lot of devices, or if one of them is cheaply done or faulty. This signal degradation can seem like a delay, with hung notes etc. because MIDI is a serial interface. .
Deja Vu? :twisted:

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Re: midi thru chain

Post by masstronaut » Thu Mar 26, 2009 1:19 am

Lots of actual outs is good too - I've had too much sysex on one chain choke MIDIclock, for instance, it doesn't take that much.

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