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bottom line: MIDI SUCKS


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I've been at the studio engineering/music production trough for about 20 years now.

 

For 15 of those years, MIDI has been a thorn in my side. This is why I never use it...IT NEVER WORKS. 15 years ago, I had marginal success getting two machines to talk to each other; 7 years ago, zero success getting ONE keyboard (XP-80) to work with ONE piece of software (StudioVision).

 

Because my XP-80 fucked me out of three days' work, I figured it's time to give MIDI another go; I mean, SURELY by now MIDI and computers would be a relatively simple procedure, right? So I go out and get a FastLane USB MIDI interface. It's made by the people who make my software; I figure, 'no brainer'.

 

My blood pressure is so sky high right now I'm surprised I'm not in a clock tower somewhere.

 

ALL I want is to hook ONE goddamned keyboard to ONE goddamned computer and use ONE goddamned piece of software to redo the MIDI tracks that my XP-80 hosed.

Just ONE.

 

ONE.

 

Why is this so *()@^%&*($^ hard!!??!?!?!?!??! :evil::evil::evil:

I've upped my standards; now, up yours.
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I think your blood pressure's been a little high in the last week. Ack!

 

I don't use MIDI at all, and when I did, it was only for live performance, for triggering keyboard modules from one keyboard and changing patches.

 

For that, it worked fine. But I've never used it for anything else. For recording, I just record the keyboards in a few passes. That way I know it's there, I know I have the sound (I sometimes record keyboards by recording them through a P.A. anyway), I know it's all there. I just don't trust such a rinky interface.

 

And anyway, I think we established that MIDI sucked somewhere around 1984, right? I remember seeing old magazines of people grumbling about how badly MIDI sucked back then.

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Originally posted by Ken/Eleven Shadows:

I don't use MIDI at all, and when I did, it was only for live performance, for triggering keyboard modules from one keyboard and changing patches.

WTF were you thinking?!?!? LIVE?!?!?!
I've upped my standards; now, up yours.
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I cocur with Weasal Mon'...

 

A few checks o' the system (If already done forgive such a suggestion)...

 

The computater, is it set to see MIDI, in stsyem?

 

Is it newer, XP with open archeticture or a more flavored 2000, or 98?

 

Off chance, if it's a 98, and not SE, it will be burpin up...

 

Newer? turn off all gadgets, reconnect (it's the cable sometimes) and fire up, with a reload of the drivers, although XP should not need them.

 

I agree MIDI can complicate things but, it's amoung the most essential tools we have today.

 

R

Label on the reverb, inside 1973 Ampeg G-212: "Folded Line Reverberation Unit" Manufactured by beautiful girls in Milton WIS. under controlled atmosphere conditions.
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Originally posted by offramp:

Originally posted by Ken/Eleven Shadows:

I don't use MIDI at all, and when I did, it was only for live performance, for triggering keyboard modules from one keyboard and changing patches.

WTF were you thinking?!?!? LIVE?!?!?!
I'll tell you what I was thinking...

 

"Hmmm, do I want to carry these tiny little modules in one rack, or carry four keyboards, each in their own cases, to the gig? Hmmmm....lemme think now...." :D:D

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I guess you and I must be polar opposites Dave because Midi has been one of the cornerstones of my musical experience since about 1985. I've had a few issues with it over the years but on the whole it's been a good friend to me. Live (five keyboards multiple rack devices and a live pad kit triggering more devices with two separate but synced midi brains at the height of it in the early 90s), in studio (everything I have written has started out as a midi file of some sort since about 1989) and in some other odd places (a few lighting configurations run from an old MMT-8 sequencer). Once you sort out the basic stuff and see what can be done with it you start to see a lot of things in a different light.

OTOH it can be a bear when it's not working as you expected it to. The thing is you just gotta keep plugging away at it till the screen with the function you need with "off" is ticked to "on". Hint: It's almost always buried somewhere other than anticipated.

Best of luck.

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It worked fine with my live setup. But again, it was simple. Playing modules, switching programs. For everything else, call it whatever you want - paranoia, mistrust, whatever - when I record something, I don't want to have to hope that it's still there the next time, and then think, "Okay, which keyboard, which patch, which effect, which EQ???" And since I'm a pretty good keyboard player, by the time I have hooked up my MIDI stuff, I could have already recorded the keyboard part in one pass.

 

The only other thing I've noticed about MIDI is that if you daisy-chain several keyboards together, there seems to be slight delay. This has never been a problem for me since I don't daisy-chain that many keyboards, but I've noticed it in other people's studios when they have a whole rack of the stuff and they are triggering it from one keyboard. But there's ways around this, too, by wiring the MIDI differently so that it's NOT daisy-chained.

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I should mention this fun story...

 

A few years ago, two of us were recording in my studio. We needed to set up a keyboard at the far side of the room & trigger one of my modules from the other side of the room. No problem. I trotted out one of my 15 ft. MIDI cables, plugged it in, and everything was cool.

 

We were laying down some keyboard tracks, everything was sounding great, and then...POOF! The keyboard stopped sounding. Looked around, checked the MIDI cable, fine; audio cables, fine.

 

Looked down at the floor, and my puppy gazed innocently up at us, wondering what all the fuss was, MIDI cable drooping from her mouth... :D

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dude offramp dave dude, chill. midi aint so tough.

 

in fact the hardest thing i have ever had to deal with midi-wise is with protools chasing a sequencer like vision did. protools WILL NOT CHASE A SEQUENCER. this blows, because midi sequencers clocks are not accurate. therefore to track a sequence into prottols, you have to sync the sequencer to the clock MBC (midi beat clock) in protools. this aint as easy as it sounds with a sequencer made in 1985.

 

vision just chased it no prob.

 

get a korg, ensoniq, etc and some midi software and go to town. cant help ya on that roland crap. cant stand it. sounds good sometimes, but they implement everything ass-backwords so no wonder your having a tough time.

 

try a name-brand keyboard.

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Originally posted by Jeff Da Weasel:

Did you troubleshoot the real basic stuff (i.e. how is the keyboard transmitting MIDI... Omni on, etc.)?

 

Whenever I have MIDI problems, it's usually a really simple, forehead-slapping solution.

 

- Jeff

I'm with Jeff on this one. It's usually a forehead-slapper.

 

I never used MIDI back when I was out in the world in op's studios. But once I set up my own small project studio I suckered myself into syncing my first ADAT to MIDI (using the premier OS of the early 90's, Windows 3.1 [shudder]) using a JL Cooper box (anyone need one? How about a vintage BRC?) I was a complete MIDI neophyte and it was nightmarish (as so much was in those days; now I'm thoroughly spoiled).

 

But after Win 95 MIDI on a PC became a much more usable proposition. I mean, it's still MIDI, and a complicated rig can still be a hassle to trouble shoot, but at least the OS tends to hold up its end, often better than the wiggy, idiosyncratic internal architectures of some of the synths I've used.

 

(I'm still trying to figure out if my old Alesis QS6 is dead or just got mis-switched, since the LCD panel stopped dislaying any information at all long ago, though it always lights up. For a year or so everything was fine, and I controlled it by sending system msgs to the synth, shooting into the dark, as it were. Now, nothing seems to work and I'm thinking the synth's CPU finally followed the display into the cybervoid.)

 

Good luck!

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I don't have/use any thing (OS, SW,Instrument) You have, but I know that usually there are a couple things that can disturb midi operations.

 

One thing to check is wether your keyboards sends continous (midi) clock messages (probable as it is a workstation, no?) and active sensing messages that very often engulf midi communication. I know that some people cured midi disfunctions and bad midi timing eliminating or filtering this stuff.

 

Also system exclusive type of messages can heavily disturb some midi interfaces, but they shouldn't be sent out if not requested.

 

Anyway, midi is very useful, but it's an old system, a 7bit protocol, a-sync (unrelated to digital clock), sucky by nature...

 

But your problems seem typical of an over-fatigued system, or because of too many data, or software settings (audio vs. midi resource allocations, Steinberg products have such settings, no idea for what you use), or underpowered cpu and devices conflicts...sorry but I never used macs, and have no idea how to tweak them.

 

See what happens if you can eliminate those clock messages and, if you can, active sensing, you could try to use a masterkeyboard controller only to get tracks recorded and connect your keyboard only to receive midi...

 

I only use synths from my dsp environment, and have no problems, but I've heard that also people using Cubase and other apps have hard time with midi timing on outboard gear.

 

I hope it helped a little...

Guess the Amp

.... now it's finished...

Here it is!

 

 

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I cannot think of a single time when a MIDI problem took more than 5 minutes to figure out.

 

I think it is a rock solid spec.

 

There is a piece to this puzzle missing. I wish one of us were close enough to help you. (i.e. physically look at the rig)

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Originally posted by deanmass:

I cannot think of a single time when a MIDI problem took more than 5 minutes to figure out.

 

I think it is a rock solid spec.

 

There is a piece to this puzzle missing. I wish one of us were close enough to help you. (i.e. physically look at the rig)

Dude. If that's the case, I'd like to humbly request that you turn your attention to The Unified Theory of Everything, as Hawking seems to have hit some rough spots.

 

_____________________________

 

PS... the issue of too-fat MIDI streams is one a lot of folks don't think about, and doesn't come up that often -- until you hit a piece of gear (like the old ADAT BRC) that spews out MIDI msgs like a gattling gun.

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What I want is really simple.

 

I want it to record. I want it to play back.

 

One port in on the Roland, one port out.

One port in on the FastLane, one port out.

 

Of course, after I posted, it decides it's going to work; I record stuff in, it plays it back. But it doesn't play it properly...it doesn't play chords, it arpeggiates them. Sometimes, it plays more than one voice (?). Whatever it feels like doing, it does.

 

Someone, please, tell me an optimum setup for something so fucking simple. What channel do I need to send MIDI out on? What channel do I need to get MIDI in on? Sysex? What data should be where?

I've upped my standards; now, up yours.
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MIDI works great and is very easy to set up. You just need to get a better explaination (which I never got, myself!).

 

It really is too bad. After 20 years, relatively few players have ever taken advantage of it. Keyboard setups alone can be eons ahead of the yesteryear keyboards with a few simple MIDI implementations.

 

I think your problem is in the sequence. See what the clock is syncing to. It sounds like it is set to sync to an external clock when there isn't one. That same file needs to have channels assigned for separate instruments. This may have to be manually tweaked for a software program.

 

As for computers live, most of the programs aren't set up for a live musician. They are made for the armchair approach.

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Originally posted by offramp:

Of course, after I posted, it decides it's going to work; I record stuff in, it plays it back. But it doesn't play it properly...it doesn't play chords, it arpeggiates them. Sometimes, it plays more than one voice (?). Whatever it feels like doing, it does.

 

Someone, please, tell me an optimum setup for something so fucking simple. What channel do I need to send MIDI out on? What channel do I need to get MIDI in on? Sysex? What data should be where?

There's gotta be some sort of bizarre malfunction with the sequencer, or there is something like an arpeggiator that's mistakenly turned on or something? I've never heard of such a thing before. Does anyone have any experience with this?

 

And now, a warning: I am a MIDIot . I am no expert with this at all.

 

When I was using MIDI for my live rig, I set everything to the Global Setting, or whatever it's called where the MIDI master keyboard spews out everything on all of the channels. Some people called it Idiot Mode, but since I wasn't targeting any particular keyboard, but instead all of them, this seemed to work. I set the master keyboard for the global setting, and then all of the modules to receive the incoming MIDI signal in that same Global Mode. MOst of the keyboards, in fact, defaulted to this setting. So did the Quadraverb, which I used MIDI on only to switch patches.

 

So what's the master? I dunno. But for at least the time being, try setting everything to Global Mode (or Omni, or whatever it's called) and see if it works. And then, if you need something to only trigger on specific things, you can assign that a specific MIDI channel #.

 

And if I'm just completely talking out my you-know-what, someone correct this. I know that this isn't always the best method of using MIDI, but for some applications, at least to get started, it's not really all that bad at all. I gigged for years doing it this way without a glitch, after all... :D

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Originally posted by deanmass:

I cannot think of a single time when a MIDI problem took more than 5 minutes to figure out.

 

I think it is a rock solid spec.

 

There is a piece to this puzzle missing. I wish one of us were close enough to help you. (i.e. physically look at the rig)

I concur. I've never had a MIDI problem that didn't take just a few minutes reading/thinking to solve. My setup has 16 MIDI ports with all but two of them hooked up to a module/keyboard/control surface. Some ports have more than one sound module chained to them. Most are one-to-one though. All work just fine, and I use program change/CC's from my sequencer (Cubase SX) all the time.

 

Offramp - I suspect, as others have suggested, that you have a MIDI clock issue in your rig or there is a software or setup issue between the USB MIDI interface and your music application. This is on a PC, right? WinXP?

 

Are you using new MIDI cables? Just a thought, but maybe, if you're using the same cables that you had 7 years ago, they could have been defective then and now?

 

:DTR

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Sorry Off. MIDI is great. It works like a champ for me and has for 15 years.

Whenever you find that you are on the side of the majority, it is time to reform.

Mark Twain (1835-1910)

--------------------

Reporter: "Ah, do you think you could destroy the world?" The Tick: "Ehgad I hope not. That's where I keep all my stuff!"

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That came out wrong. MIDI isn't inherently bad and you're a smart guy, so I can't tell you what's going wrong.

 

SYSEX. Now that shit sucks.

Whenever you find that you are on the side of the majority, it is time to reform.

Mark Twain (1835-1910)

--------------------

Reporter: "Ah, do you think you could destroy the world?" The Tick: "Ehgad I hope not. That's where I keep all my stuff!"

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Offramp: I use a MOTU Micro Express with very little problem - like once a year, I have to hit the panic button for a stuck note.

 

I concur with the following suggesions of others.

 

On the keyboard, turn "MIDI local" off. Since it's just one instrument, set the receive channel to one.

 

Make sure your sequencer and interface are using "Patch Thru", and the track you are playing is assigned to receive from the cable socket you are using on the interface, and the transmit channel matches the keyboard receive channel (i.e cahnnel one).

 

Check your PM's too :wave:

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I've used midi for ages with very few problems.

 

If your keyboard is responding with single notes instead of chords, it sounds like your keyboard is set to mono mode where it will only play one note at a time. Keep in mind that what you send and the way the play back part of the synth is set can be very different.

 

Read the manual offramp.

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Offramp -

 

Consider posting this in the Keyboard forum. We have a few XP80 guys - I'm sure that one of them (Marino?) will help you. I'm inclined to agree from your description that the problem lies with the synth....

 

BTW - MIDI does not suck. It's a tool, that's all. Like any other tool, you've just gotta use it the right way. :thu:

 

Come on down - we won't hurt you... :D

 

dB

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It's interesting that there seem to be two camps here, the MIDI haters and the MIDI lovers.

 

I guess maybe MIDI is a little bit like math. Some people take one look at math, consider it to be as confusing as kanji, and swear that they'll never have anything to do with it. Other people see the possibilities of math right away, work with it for a while to develop some skill and then use it to build bridges and highways and cathedrals and MRI machines and spacecraft.

 

Personally, I feel BLESSED to live in the age of MIDI and the personal computer. I even owned the first MIDI synthesizer (Sequential Circuits Prophet 600) and two of the first MIDI sequencers to be commercially available. I saw the potential right away. These tools have been a godsend for me and my music. I can't imagine my life in another era when these technologies didn't exist.

The Black Knight always triumphs!

 

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Originally posted by offramp:

Mac. OSX.3.5

 

Same cables, but test good.

OHHHhhhhhhh!!! On a Mac, eh? That solves that problem. :P

 

{Running from thrown cabbages and beer in styrofoam cups}

 

Something weird happened here. Someone has hacked into Dansouth's member account! He sounds so lucid in speaking of the various MIDI factions! :D (Just kidding, Dan! ;) )

 

I've used MIDI for about a dozen or more years and most every problem I've encountered (and I'm no expert here, to be certain) has either been my own fault (and the "local on/off" issue has been a common source of shortlived misery. :freak: ) or a gen-u-ine electronic lockup of a piece of equipment. (Restored by a reboot, naturally.) The latter has happened to me many times. But the former has been the cause of most of my MIDI woes.

It's easiest to find me on Facebook. Neil Bergman

 

Soundclick

fntstcsnd

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