how's your midi studio setup

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spektRe
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how's your midi studio setup

Post by spektRe » Thu Nov 22, 2012 6:22 pm

firstly happy thanksgiving.

building my first studio. i'll be using a good amount of hardware and want my computer to be my main sequencer. right now i have a 1 in/out via firewire by Focusrite. i had two things in mind on how i should do my midi cabling.

i was going to go with a MOTU Midi Timepiece AV non usb. Use channel 8 in/out on the MOTU to the 1 in/out on the Focusrite, plan on upgrading to a RME HDSP when i get the funds.

or

get a Timepiece with usb or an Express and route it the same way just use usb in/out vs the the 1 midi in/out.

Question to you all. Which would help with latency? I view it as both ways the traffic is going from a 1 lane bridge to an 8 lane highway. However i've read that people avoid midi to usb at all costs, not sure why. Is there any other options i could be over looking? The patchbay is a must as i got some racks and would like 1 keyboard to control them without having to unplug/replug cables.

thanks in advance for any advice or help.

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sonicboomboy
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Re: how's your midi studio setup

Post by sonicboomboy » Sat Dec 01, 2012 7:25 pm

Hmmm yea I'd be interested to hear peoples experiences too.

Myself I have an M-Audio Fast Track Ultra (8x8 audio with 1 x midi i/o) and an Akai MPK61 (1 x midi i/o)
I have a Philip Rees 8 way through box, so I split each of my two midi outputs into 4 outs each - 8 midi outs.
I'm using Ableton on a music-only WinXP laptop.

I have a consistent 30ms of midi delay on everything, and that gets larger using a big midi lead round to my synth rack. In recording audio I set a 30ms pre-delay on the midi track so the incoming audio is almost perfect. Generally this works fine, but playing live keyboard parts from my USB master keyboard to the most distant synths has noticeable latency and is not good enough. I never had this problem with my Atari!

I'd been wondering if I should get a Kenton midi interface, or maybe like you said, USB is just not good enough?
Synths: Jupiter 6, Juno 106, MC-202, SCI Sixtrak, Matrix 1000, Waldorf Pulse, DX7 etc
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somebedroomdj
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Re: how's your midi studio setup

Post by somebedroomdj » Sat Dec 01, 2012 11:11 pm

spektRe wrote:firstly happy thanksgiving.

building my first studio. i'll be using a good amount of hardware and want my computer to be my main sequencer. right now i have a 1 in/out via firewire by Focusrite. i had two things in mind on how i should do my midi cabling.

i was going to go with a MOTU Midi Timepiece AV non usb.
I have this exact MOTU piece and it was the best $30 I have ever spent. My advice would be:

1) Get the non-usb version and use the Focusrite running midi out to the MOTU

or

2) Get the non-usb version and pick up a PCI soundcard with hardwired midi in/out and just run that out to the MOTU. You could probably get both pieces on Ebay for under $150, which would still be quite a bit cheaper than the USB version with the added bonus that you won't have to use midi via USB if that is something you want to avoid.

If you're planning to go big later, I'd say you might as well keep it as cheap as you can for now, as long as the performance is not terrible. Or, just go big now if you can and be done with it. :)
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Re: how's your midi studio setup

Post by _seph » Sun Dec 02, 2012 3:50 am

I've had a MOTU MIDI Express XT USB for years and I'd really suggest just picking one up. They aren't pricey and they should be reliable secondhand. If memory serves, the Timepiece is really only helpful if you are syncing to video, otherwise the Express should be fine.

if you aren't planning on using Digital Performer, then I'd also suggest possibly considering other manufacturers (not because there is anything bad about MOTU (there isn't) it just might save you money). MOTU's DP plus their interfaces work beautifully, but I also have an M-Audio MIDIsport 4x4 and it performs just as well as the Express with Ableton. I'm not running DP any longer so I can't say whether there is any actual difference these days.

my personal philosophy with gear is to just buy what it is you actually need rather then temporary compromises. If you plan on using your computer as your main sequencer, then why bother with an interface that cannot interface with your computer?

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Re: how's your midi studio setup

Post by cornutt » Mon Dec 03, 2012 8:23 pm

sonicboomboy wrote: Myself I have an M-Audio Fast Track Ultra (8x8 audio with 1 x midi i/o)
I know of at least one DAW vendor that says that the 8x8 version of this has unsolvable timing problems, and refuses to guarantee timing results with it.
I'd been wondering if I should get a Kenton midi interface, or maybe like you said, USB is just not good enough?
It shouldn't matter if the DAW and the interface are communicating properly. During playback, the DAW sends sequences of MIDI strings to the interface with time tags attached, and the interface sends them out at the tagged time. If the time synchronization is working properly, that takes the DAW->interface communications out of it. Of course, this does not help during recording or real-time playing. However, USB 2.0 should be plenty fast enough provided that the bus isn't too loaded with data from some other device.
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Re: how's your midi studio setup

Post by sonicboomboy » Mon Dec 03, 2012 11:31 pm

Rite ok thanks for that,.. hopefully I'll get to test the equipment before I buy it this time, looking to do live music with a laptop n keys so cannot afford any issues. Spending more money doesn't always ensure quality either, I have several complaints with my Akai MPK61, not least the bottom C# requires a hammer to make it sound.
Thanks for the info/advice.
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Re: how's your midi studio setup

Post by fredbongusto » Sun May 12, 2013 5:26 pm

hi,
just one thing i managed to build after months:
my problem is that i own a prophet 5 wich is omny midi mode (no slecting channel midi possible) so receiving all midi channel.
i have others synth midi
so i was obliged to buy a motu micro express.
and i'm very happy !!
no more problem with midi thru channel receive etc...
all keyboard controlled by a different midi cable ...

really cool stuff

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Re: how's your midi studio setup

Post by winningatlife » Wed Jul 10, 2013 8:15 pm

I really like the Kawai MAV8 for a general MIDI patchbay. The sliders on the front make it really easy to change the setup on the fly and send MIDI to different synths especially if you have instruments that only work in omni mode preventing you from using different channels and daisy chaining.

For example, I can have one master keyboard (or sequencer) plugged into a number of synths and then cycle through them or layer them using only the sliders to enable different outputs on the back of the patchbay. Also they are usually very cheap.
Some keys I have: Yamaha CS20M, ARP Axxe, Chroma Polaris, Roland Juno 60, Vermona DRMMKII, Roland R8, Sequential Circuits Pro-One, x0xbox, Terratec MB 33 II Superbass, Kurzweil SP88.

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