Thinking Backwards: Multiple controllers for one source?

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Miles Powerhouse
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Thinking Backwards: Multiple controllers for one source?

Post by Miles Powerhouse » Fri Sep 19, 2014 6:24 pm

I've seen many different ways to set up a live setup using MIDI controllers, workstations, and synthesizers. One setup I haven't seen (or can't remember seeing) is using multiple MIDI controllers hooked up to one central sound module. Whether it's a computer, a rack-mount sound module, workstation, synth... can't say I remember seeing such a setup.

For instance, say you have multiple keyboardists in a band but they don't have the means to get multiple synths (mostly a money thing, but also a space thing). Instead, they plan on using one computer with all the sounds they need and hooking two or more controllers up to that computer.

So... is it even possible?


Speculation:

In the case of a computer, you would need an interface to handle the different controllers (whether it's USB or MIDI or both), enough power in the computer to host multiple plugins, and then an audio interface with multiple outs to send the signal to different locations (FX or up to FOH for mixing).


For workstation/sound modules, you would need a way to combine the MIDI signals into the MIDI IN and hope that you have multiple outs, even if it's just 2 stereo/4 mono.

(Of course, the controllers would be transmitting on different channels)


So is this possible, or am I still dreaming out loud? If it is, are the ways I described the right solution, or are there better/easier solutions.

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meatballfulton
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Re: Thinking Backwards: Multiple controllers for one source?

Post by meatballfulton » Sat Sep 20, 2014 12:32 am

Yes, it's possible. As long as everyone is on different MIDI channels, you're limited only by the receiving instrument(s).
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pflosi
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Re: Thinking Backwards: Multiple controllers for one source?

Post by pflosi » Sat Sep 20, 2014 2:55 pm

I do this all the time. Well, "both" ways at the same time: my main midi sequencer is routed to my midi patchbay, where it is merged with midi from a Dark Time, and then out to all different synths on different channels...

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Z
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Re: Thinking Backwards: Multiple controllers for one source?

Post by Z » Sat Sep 20, 2014 3:50 pm

Yes, I can be done. You would need a device that will MERGE multiple MIDI INs into one or more MIDI OUTs. I know there are several MIDI patchbays with MIDI merge. There was a company in the late 80s and early 90s called Anatek that made these cool little "pocket" boxes that were different MIDI solutions that were powered by the small voltage carried within a MIDI cable. They made one called "Pocket Merge" that could merge 2 INs into one OUT.
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meatballfulton
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Re: Thinking Backwards: Multiple controllers for one source?

Post by meatballfulton » Sat Sep 20, 2014 4:23 pm

MIDI Solutions in Canada makes mergers.

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Re: Thinking Backwards: Multiple controllers for one source?

Post by pflosi » Sun Sep 21, 2014 10:15 am

Those Anatek boxes were awesome, I have the pedal and filter. Very useful!

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Re: Thinking Backwards: Multiple controllers for one source?

Post by ninja6485 » Sun Sep 21, 2014 3:15 pm

Some gear, like the akai s5000, comes equipped with two sets of midi in/out/though as standard, and others have optional cards that can add a second midi port.
This looks like a psychotropic reaction. No wonder it's so popular...

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