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Converting a 20+ year old setup... #3010555 10/01/19 06:07 PM
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Devon89 Offline OP
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In the 80s/90s, a friend of mine went around doing solo-gigs with his background music sequenced. He then took a 20 year break and has just gotten back into music and is looking to downsize the amount of equipment required for his live gigs. I, myself, am not a musician, but I know a fair amount about computers and am trying to figure out a way to convert his tower of equipment down to a laptop and whatever else would be required.

His current setup consists of a few different sound modules being fed data from an Alesis DataDisk that he loads 3.25" floppy disks into; I've attached a picture of his tower of equipment and what each part does...

I'm curious to know if there's anyone who'd be able to help me get all of his sequences transferred to something like Ableton Live and have it using the same sounds as he's used to. I know I could just play the sequence and record the audio output of the main sequence on one channel and the timing track on another channel, then feed one channel to the mains and the other to the monitors... but I'm looking for a way to keep the flexibility of having the sequence and sounds in an editable format.

I have Abletone Live, a Scarlett 2i4 (2nd Gen), and a USB floppy disk drive... I just need some guidance on how to get the MIDI data and the sounds from the Roland M32, ESQ-M, etc. into Ableton Live - assuming it's possible?

[Image] Equipment Tower

Last edited by Devon89; 10/01/19 06:11 PM.
Re: Converting a 20+ year old setup... [Re: Devon89] #3011021 10/04/19 01:30 PM
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DevonB Offline
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The easiest way is the what you said already; record the backing tracks to audio and just replay them live. That is the most effective way to downsize that rack.

Flexibility is always nice, but why is it needed? Unless you plan to edit the MIDI data and manipulate it during the show, I don't honestly see the point? The audio would be the same if you loop it, replay it, restart the song, etc from the MIDI sequence or from an audio track.If there is no editing needed, skip the major headache you're going to have to go through to get it all as MIDI data into your sequencer of choice.

Ok, next question - lets say you did get the MIDI data transferred, now what? You'd still need the gear with you to trigger the sounds. Again, record it to audio, and you don't need the gear. If he's wanting to downsize, transferring to MIDI is not going to help you at all. Record it.

Getting the sounds into Ableton Live? Ya, record the audio. There is no way to transfer the audio data from external synths into your PC unless there was a VSTi version of the synth. I know Roland has the SC-88 module which would be 'close' to the MT32.

All roads lead back to just record the audio.

Devon

Re: Converting a 20+ year old setup... [Re: DevonB] #3011033 10/04/19 04:30 PM
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J. Dead Offline
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Originally Posted by DevonB
I know Roland has the SC-88 module which would be 'close' to the MT32.


CC#0 Value 127 accesses the MT-32 sound set.

But that is a small fraction of his sounds. I, like you, would recommend just recording an audio track.


Dan

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.
Re: Converting a 20+ year old setup... [Re: J. Dead] #3011124 10/05/19 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by J. Dead
Originally Posted by DevonB
I know Roland has the SC-88 module which would be 'close' to the MT32.


CC#0 Value 127 accesses the MT-32 sound set.

But that is a small fraction of his sounds. I, like you, would recommend just recording an audio track.


Does that work on the Roland Cloud and/or iPad app? That's basically what I was suggesting out of his rack gear could be re-created.

Devon

Re: Converting a 20+ year old setup... [Re: Devon89] #3011146 10/05/19 04:14 PM
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I don't know for sure. It worked on all of the Roland Sound canvas products including the SC88. I assume it would work the same in the software version of the sound canvas. I don't know anything about the Roland Cloud. You should be able to find a list of sounds.


Dan

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.
Re: Converting a 20+ year old setup... [Re: Devon89] #3011740 10/10/19 02:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Devon89


... an Alesis DataDisk that he loads 3.25" floppy disks into; I've attached a picture of his tower of equipment and what each part does...

I'm curious to know if there's anyone who'd be able to help me get all of his sequences transferred to something like Ableton Live ...



Alesis DataDisk stores and plays back MIDI SysEx data and MIDI sequences.

When your DAW application is able to record and play back SysEx data (and MIDI sequences) too, you can sync DataDisk via MIDI-clock to your DAW application and record all the content of the floppydisks,- each file,- one by one and store to your DAW machine´s drive(s).
For direct import of the floppydisk´s content, you might need some older computer w/ internal floppydrive and a floppydriver like Omniflop supporting vintage floppydisk data formats,- and AFAIK, doesn´t work w/ USB floppydik drives.
We´re talking PC, not MAC.

Originally Posted by Devon89

and have it using the same sounds as he's used to.


What ???
The SysEx data files representing the "sounds" work only w/ the related hardware modules.
In software you´d need VI-plugins (VSTi / AU etc.) emulating the hardware machines accurately and being able loading SysEx files,- just like what is p.ex. "Dexed" for the vintage Yamaha DX7 or "PG8X" for the vintage Roland JX8P.
You might come close to the Ensoniq ESQ-M w/ S.Kullman´s SQL8 .

I don´t see you can replace the other modules in the tower w/ software, except loading SysEx from DataDisk into the modules and do sampling sessions w/ "Sample Robot" or such, automaticly (well,- half way ...) sample each single preset of each hardware module to get some "software-ROMpler" playing back the sounds of the hardware module´s presets being used for the MIDI sequences.


Originally Posted by Devon89

... but I'm looking for a way to keep the flexibility of having the sequence and sounds in an editable format.

I have Abletone Live, a Scarlett 2i4 (2nd Gen), and a USB floppy disk drive...]


See above ...

Conclusion:

You might be able to record all the data from DataDisk´s MIDI Output in realtime,- for the MIDI sequences feeding MIDI-Clock to it´s MIDI input, doing the necessary ajustments, then record in sync into Ableton Live.
Do you have a DataDisk manual ?
Just google,- it´s there on page 1 already.

Since you might have to do all in realtime,- be prepared for some time consuming work,- especially when the sampling sessions w/ Sample Robot come in addition.

But when you decide for such tasks and invest in Sample Robot or comparable software, you should get flexible, editable results.

smile

A.C.


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