Setting up multiple synths, sequencer and drum machine no pc

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clegg
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Setting up multiple synths, sequencer and drum machine no pc

Post by clegg » Wed Jan 22, 2014 7:53 pm

I'm relatively new to Midi and I'm slowly starting to see how many possibilities there are.

I'd like to hook up a live setup with no computer, but I'm struggling to figure out how. Hopefully someone can guide me in the right direction.

Gear:

- Juno 106
- Poly 800
- Poly 800 MK2

- Drum Machine (not purchased yet but am open to suggestions)

- multitrack sequencer (probably an Alesis mmt-8).


Ideally, I'd like to hook everything up to the sequencer... the three synths through different channels (if that's how it works), and clock in the drum machine so they all work at the same tempo.

Computers get a little too complicated and I think a setup like this will work easier for a live setting, with a more hands on approach.


Unfortunately I have no idea how to physically connect the midi cables between machines for this to be possible. I heard that a Midi router is a possibility, but even with one, I'm a little confused.

Can anyone help me out?

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Re: Setting up multiple synths, sequencer and drum machine n

Post by Z » Wed Jan 22, 2014 9:02 pm

You've pretty much got it figured out. One item you'll want to consider is a MIDI Thru Box. Yes, you can "daisy chain" your MIDI gear running the MIDI THRU from one synth to the next synth's MIDI IN and so forth in series, but with a MIDI Thru Box, you'll send the MIDI OUT from the sequencer into the Thru Box's MIDI IN and then connect each of your synth's MIDI INs to the THRU ports on the Thru Box.

That's how I rocked it back in the late 80s/early 90s and rock it right now sans computer.

I guess you'll be using the Juno 106 as your master controller. Run the MIDI OUT from the Juno into the MIDI IN on the sequencer, MIDI OUT from seq to MIDI IN on Thru Box and then connect all the MIDI INs on your gear, including the Juno and drum machine, as I described above. The sequencer will provide the master MIDI Clock, so you'll need to set the drum machine to external MIDI clock.
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Re: Setting up multiple synths, sequencer and drum machine n

Post by BaconTastesGood » Wed Jan 22, 2014 9:14 pm

You have a lot of options depending on how you go. Thankfully with the older synths you'll have MIDI THRU available, but I'm not sure how much latency would be incurred with that (it's dependent on the synth's implementation).

So you could easily run a straight chain like:

sequencer => IN : drum machine : THRU => IN : poly 800 : THRU => IN : 106 : THRU => etc. etc.

In theory your timing might go off a bit, but if it's a live situation then room acoustics will cancel all that out and I wouldn't stress about it (unless you have a lot of big chords/pads/controller messages going out all the time, at which point timing may go to h**l).

MMT8 is great and inexpensive, but you could look into something that combines drumming and sequencing. This will give you fewer parts/power/cabling; tighter drumming; and more outputs. For example, an MPC1000 w/ JJOS would be great, and it has two MIDI OUTs so you could put the 106 on one and then chain the two Korgs, etc.

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Re: Setting up multiple synths, sequencer and drum machine n

Post by clegg » Wed Jan 22, 2014 10:10 pm

Z wrote:You've pretty much got it figured out. One item you'll want to consider is a MIDI Thru Box. Yes, you can "daisy chain" your MIDI gear running the MIDI THRU from one synth to the next synth's MIDI IN and so forth in series, but with a MIDI Thru Box, you'll send the MIDI OUT from the sequencer into the Thru Box's MIDI IN and then connect each of your synth's MIDI INs to the THRU ports on the Thru Box.

That's how I rocked it back in the late 80s/early 90s and rock it right now sans computer.

I guess you'll be using the Juno 106 as your master controller. Run the MIDI OUT from the Juno into the MIDI IN on the sequencer, MIDI OUT from seq to MIDI IN on Thru Box and then connect all the MIDI INs on your gear, including the Juno and drum machine, as I described above. The sequencer will provide the master MIDI Clock, so you'll need to set the drum machine to external MIDI clock.

Awesome! Thank you. So when you say the Juno is the master controller, what does that mean exactly? That I program all the sequences on the Juno (into the sequencer), set the juno and the other synths to recieve midi on specific channels, then assign those channels on the sequencer, and we're good to go?

I sketched it out to make sure I'm understanding it all.

Image

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Re: Setting up multiple synths, sequencer and drum machine n

Post by clegg » Wed Jan 22, 2014 10:18 pm

BaconTastesGood wrote:You have a lot of options depending on how you go. Thankfully with the older synths you'll have MIDI THRU available, but I'm not sure how much latency would be incurred with that (it's dependent on the synth's implementation).

So you could easily run a straight chain like:

sequencer => IN : drum machine : THRU => IN : poly 800 : THRU => IN : 106 : THRU => etc. etc.

In theory your timing might go off a bit, but if it's a live situation then room acoustics will cancel all that out and I wouldn't stress about it (unless you have a lot of big chords/pads/controller messages going out all the time, at which point timing may go to h**l).

MMT8 is great and inexpensive, but you could look into something that combines drumming and sequencing. This will give you fewer parts/power/cabling; tighter drumming; and more outputs. For example, an MPC1000 w/ JJOS would be great, and it has two MIDI OUTs so you could put the 106 on one and then chain the two Korgs, etc.

Thanks.. More options the better. lol . Except, I don't know where I would connect the last synth ?

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Re: Setting up multiple synths, sequencer and drum machine n

Post by synthroom » Thu Jan 23, 2014 2:20 am

This would work, if you have the MIDI Thru box.
clegg wrote: I sketched it out to make sure I'm understanding it all.

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Re: Setting up multiple synths, sequencer and drum machine n

Post by synthroom » Thu Jan 23, 2014 2:24 am

On this one, you want to redraw it so that the Out of the sequencer goes to the In of Drum Machine. The Thru of the DM > Juno IN, then Juno Thru > Poly800 In, then Poly 800 Thru > Poly800II In. The Out of the Juno goes to the IN of the Sequencer.

I would not worry about the dreaded MIDI Thru lag on any of this. We're talking microseconds for the electronics in these to send the In to the Thru, and your ears can only hear things down to millieseconds.

clegg wrote: Except, I don't know where I would connect the last synth ?

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Re: Setting up multiple synths, sequencer and drum machine n

Post by synthroom » Thu Jan 23, 2014 2:34 am

clegg wrote: So when you say the Juno is the master controller, what does that mean exactly? That I program all the sequences on the Juno (into the sequencer), set the juno and the other synths to recieve midi on specific channels, then assign those channels on the sequencer, and we're good to go?
Master Controller - you play all the notes on the Juno - for all instruments, even the drum machine. You record the sequences in the Sequencer, not the Juno.

Each instrument is set to a separate MIDI channel, and the let the Sequencer translate the channel the Juno is transmitting on to the channel that the intended synth is on.
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Re: Setting up multiple synths, sequencer and drum machine n

Post by clegg » Thu Jan 23, 2014 4:09 pm

synthroom wrote: Master Controller - you play all the notes on the Juno - for all instruments, even the drum machine. You record the sequences in the Sequencer, not the Juno.

Each instrument is set to a separate MIDI channel, and the let the Sequencer translate the channel the Juno is transmitting on to the channel that the intended synth is on.

Got it, thanks. The drum machine, is it necessary to create a sequence of it through the Juno on the sequencer? Can't I program the drum sequence on the drum machine and clock it in with the sequencer to get the right timing? Basically can I use the drum machine on its own where the only link between all devices is the timing?

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Re: Setting up multiple synths, sequencer and drum machine n

Post by synthroom » Thu Jan 23, 2014 7:40 pm

Yes - you can let the Drum Machine run it's own sequence and drive it's timing from the hardware sequencer.
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Re: Setting up multiple synths, sequencer and drum machine n

Post by BaconTastesGood » Thu Jan 23, 2014 10:28 pm

Minor caveat (and which is why I recommend integrating the drum machine and sequencer) is syncing the start/stop/reset between the sequencer and drum machine.

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Re: Setting up multiple synths, sequencer and drum machine n

Post by Stab Frenzy » Fri Jan 24, 2014 1:22 am

If I were you I'd make the drum machine and sequencer an MPC (you can get a 2000 for not much these days) and then you don't have to worry about syncing the seq and drum machine, don't have to worry about midi through boxes and can save all your tracks in one place.

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Re: Setting up multiple synths, sequencer and drum machine n

Post by clegg » Mon Jan 27, 2014 9:57 pm

Great.

Thanks again.

I'll probably do that then. I still have my Roland MSQ-100 at home, so I'll plug a couple of synths through it to get a feel of how everything's supposed to work.

Those MPCs look perfect for what I need. I'll keep an eye out on the 2000. There are a few local sales for the MPC-500 going for aabout 260, but I'll wait and look for a 2000.

Also quite interested to see what the newly anticipated Roland Aira will include and at what price.

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Re: Setting up multiple synths, sequencer and drum machine n

Post by BaconTastesGood » Mon Jan 27, 2014 11:43 pm

I would not get the 500, that would likely be more frustrating than it's worth. A 1000/2500 or 2000 with JJOS would hook you up pretty well though.

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Re: Setting up multiple synths, sequencer and drum machine n

Post by sequentialsoftshock » Tue Jan 28, 2014 1:19 am

BaconTastesGood wrote:I would not get the 500, that would likely be more frustrating than it's worth. A 1000/2500 or 2000 with JJOS would hook you up pretty well though.
Seconded on avoiding the 500. You should be able to find a 2000xl for just a hundred more.

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