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Big MIDI patchbay


marino

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Hi folks, if someone could give me advice about this I'd be very grateful.

In fact, the idea came while responding to the topic about gear... :)

 

Since I need to upgrade my computer in the next few weeks/months (I would already done that if I had not bought the Andromeda :) ), I'm thinking to replace my old Roland A880 8X8 MIDI patchbay, which I bought when my Digital Music MX8 went berserk about 7 years ago.

 

My rig has grown quite a bit during the years, so 8 MIDI ins and 8 outs are not enough anymore. The soundcard adds a few more, but it's still not enough. What I would like to have is a single MIDI in and out for every synth in my rig. I also would like to get a stand-alone unit - I mean, one which is not linked to a computer. Quite often, I start playing without switching the computer on, and I would find it a bit annoying being forced to do that.

 

My only other requirements would be programmability (I don't need a lot of memery locations), and the possibility to merge a couple of ins into any out.

 

I remember there were a couple of 15X15, or 16X16 MIDI patchbays in the market ten or twelve years ago, but I've lost sight of them, I think one was made by Waldorf, but I'm not sure.

 

As an alternative, I would settle for a model which only works with a computer - but I would much prefer a stand-alone model.

 

Any ideas, or experience? Judging from the gear thread, I'm not the only one with a rig big enough to need this! :)

 

Thanks a lot in advance!

Carlo

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I could not find more then 8x8 in one unit, but products from MOTU web page allow adding another unit so then you can have 16x16 with two and also first model is designed to be used as standalone. I'm considering buying one for my self:

 

MOTU MTP AV (USB/serial)

 

MOTU MIDI Express XT (USB)

 

Hope this helps

 

Faruk

Fat But Fast
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Thanks Faruk! And good morning... :D:D

 

I had considered those models. The MPT AV is designed to work without a computer, but to network two units, you *do* need the computer (it's done via USB). Plus, I don't need all those ADAT ports and added functionality. MOTU stuff is usually quite expensive in Europe... :(

 

I'll keep considering the MOTU anyway, in case there's nothing else. But I really would like to trace one of those 'older', big models... or to know if there's some newer one on the market.

 

Anyone?

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Carlo,

I have two such units, made by KMX, but I've also seen the exact unit on e-bay also made by Ensoniq.

Mine are 8x8's, they also made 16x16's, but I've not seen them anywhere. I have them midi'd together... Before I found my second one on e-bay I tried to find one new with no luck, don't know if they're still being made... I just wrote myself a note to find the literature on them when I get home, I'll get back to you...

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had considered those models. The MPT AV is designed to work without a computer, but to network two units, you *do* need the computer (it's done via USB).
Not true. The correct way to set up 2 or more of these interfaces is to have one connected via USB to the PC and a serial cable (RS422 or another) between the 2.

 

check this out

 

MTP-AV

 

I had 2 MTP-AVs configured in this fashion Carlo and once programmed, they worked fine without turning on the PC. I also like to just turn my boards on and play without having the audio sequencer booted up. The problem I found with the MTP_AVs (I'm sure the MTP Express would behave the same way) is that if you are using a PC, the console software used to program the MTP only can handle one unit. This may have changed since then but the link above indicates it hasn't. I heard this was not true for the MAC but you would need to check into this further. The units would get confused depending on which order they are turned on and I would get varying results. I never did determine how to reliably program each MTP so this wouldnt happen. It was cluncky and sometimes very frustrating but once each one was programmed I wasnt changing it very often.

 

I now use the Emagic Unitor MkII and AMT for 16 ports and these are extremly reliable (The MTPs did not work with Sounddiver so I sold them). You need the PC to program them (unlike the MOTU stuff which can be programmed from the front panel if you're bold) and the software (I use Sounddiver but it comes with a stand alone editor) works very well. They definitely operate with out the computer and again they are USB but have a RS422 cable between them.

 

I hope this helps.

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Carlo:

JL Cooper made the Synapse, which was 16x16. I got mine off eBay for $129.00 US. I see them there from time to time.

 

..Joe

Setup: Korg Kronos 61, Roland XV-88, Korg Triton-Rack, Motif-Rack, Korg N1r, Alesis QSR, Roland M-GS64 Yamaha KX-88, KX76, Roland Super-JX, E-Mu Longboard 61, Kawai K1II, Kawai K4.
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Hi Carlo

 

I don't know if it's any help, but I remember a unit that was available a few years back called the 'Function Junction'. I think it came in two versions, 8 x 8 and 16 x 16. It was a pure hardware rack unit, with (I think) a remote control unit thingy.

 

I know Tony Banks used one back in 'those' days.

 

Cheers!

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Don't you have to worry about the availability of drivers for the current crop of op systems when you buy these less well-known patchbays?

 

Hate to see you buy one and find out there are no drivers for your new computer. Like my problem with my old Opcode 64X, for which I have to keep a Win98 machine going to use.

 

M Peasley

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Thanks a lot everybody for your responses! :)

 

Jonboy:

Yes, KMX/Ensoniq is the one I was thinking about. In fact, I've just found a 16x16 KMX for sale, right here in Rome! :) Unfortunately, it has no manual. I'll try to find one online, but for now, I'm going to ask you a couple of questions... :D

 

- I seem to remember that it can only merge a couple of pre-defined channels, like 1 and 2. Is that correct?

- Do you use it for transmitting sysex as well as performance data? Do you ever experienced crashes, glitches, or other types of MIDI mishaps?

- Any other issue to be aware of?

 

Thanks... and welcome to the forum!

So many new members lately... :)

 

Mark:

Thanks for the info. I may have misinterpreted something I read on the MOTU web site. On the other hand, from what you posted, it seems like the MTP-AV has the 'opposite' problem: You can't use two of them *with* the computer. Is that correct? BTW - If you also consider the price of *two* of those, I think I'll pass up.

 

Joe and Andy:

Thanks for the suggestions. I'll search for a Synapse and a Function Junction too, as I still have a couple of days before having to decide about the KMX.

 

M Peasley:

One of the reasons I'm trying to get a stand-alone unit is precisely because I don't want to deal with drivers and computer OS. My plan is to get a soundcard with 3 or 4 MIDI ins and out, and link those with the big patch bay. It's just what I'm doing now with the A-880, and it does work very well for me. If I need extra flexibility, my Fatar Studio 2001 master keyboard has four MIDI out and four merging MIDI ins, so I believe I'm covered. :)

 

Any other ideas, or advice?

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Hi Marino,

 

Check out the JLCooper Synapse. These are the bomb.

 

Massive I/O : 16x20.

 

Two Synapses can be connected together to make a system with 16 inputs and 40 outputs. If you know what you are doing you can use up to 32 inputs.

 

I have two of these in my studio. They have 3 Midiprocessors and allow you to shape Mididata in a number of ways.

 

L

WT
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On the other hand, from what you posted, it seems like the MTP-AV has the 'opposite' problem: You can't use two of them *with* the computer. Is that correct?
You can use 2 of them. I was trying to expain the complication of configuring 2 of them with the software on PC. If you have 2 MTPs, you have to program which ever one the PC happens to recognize with the software. Then you have to turn that one off and turn the other one on and possibly reboot the software so it now recognizes # 2. Once you program that one you can turn both on and they work together fine.

 

@#$% -Let me try this again:

 

HEY CARLO - DONT BUY 2 OR MORE MTV_AVs FOR USE WITH A PC. :D

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Carlo,

I actually have one of each, an Ensoniq KMX-8 and the other says KMX 8x8 but not Ensoniq on the front, the Ensoniq is black & the other is gray.

I thought they were identical, but after studying the manuals to answer your questions I've found that there is what appears to be only one difference between the two. The Ensoniq will merge inputs 1 & 2 only as you thought, the other unit will not merge. They both will transmit sysex. So far I've only used them for transmitting performance data, as soon as I get a suitable editor/librarian program I'll know more,

but I've had no problems with either of them yet.

The Ensoniq manual states that all its info applies to both the 8x8 and the 16x16, so I could fax you a copy if you want, I have no way to scan it, sorry... if you have any other questions, fire away...

jonboy

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To me, it really is the Merge capability. A true 16x16 matrix should be able to merge all 16 inputs to one, or all, outputs.

 

Was there enough processing horsepower even 5 years ago to do this in a (cost-effective) stand alone unit? Ensoniq is old enough that I wouldn't think so (even for a 8x8).

 

I'm going to look at the units made by companies that are still in business. I'd assume JLCooper is in that category.

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Thanks Jonboy - that's very useful info. I'm trying to locate a Synapse for sale, but they seem quite rare here. (Well, I did locate one in the USA, but it suffered from the dreaded "Will ship to the USA only, no exceptions" syndrome :D ))

On the other hand, I have to check that KMX - I can live (roughly) with merging only two channels, but not with no merge at all.

 

I guess what I'll do is this: If the seller of the KMX gives me a few more days, I'll keep looking for a Synapse, otherwise I'll settle for the KMX if it does merging.

Anybody happen to have a Synapse for sale?! :D:D

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Was there enough processing horsepower even 5 years ago to do this in a (cost-effective) stand alone unit? Ensoniq is old enough that I wouldn't think so (even for a 8x8).

Way before 1995: Opcode Studio 5 (LX). This was probably the most powererful midi I/O ever made and it worked(works) great.
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I love the Motu MTP/AV and have two versions. One older serial that will no longer recognize my computer connection, and a new USB version that I purchased after spending some time with a non-MOTU product. There was a time when Windows would not recognize 16 MIDI ports and this may have something to do with the lack of 32 port devices. The MOTU MTP/AV's have a link device that supposed to allow them to chain together with only one computer connection but this seems to be a Mac only feature.

 

My solution was to use one MIDI port of the USB device to connect the older MTP/AV. This gives me 7 ports with 16 channels. And one port that is seperated into 7 more connections. It actually works very well this way. I have a rack with the old MOTO device and a collection of devices that do not need full 16 channel connections. My VA's, Wavestation SR, drum machines and FS1R all go to this rack. Then I break things up like this. Nord Modular channel 1-3. Novation KSR channel 4-6. Kord Wavestation SR channel 7. Yamaha FS1R channel 8. Yamaha A5000 channel 9-11. etc...

 

You get the idea. The primary MTP/AV USB is highly programmable and I can still route anything to anything, even within port seven which is now split among several devices. The primary device ports are reserved for devices that may actually need a lot of channels; ROMplers, secondary computer, etc...

 

Look at your system and see how many devices really need 1 to 4 channels at most. This system may work for you. The nice thing is I can actually use a sub mixer and UPS for this rack along with the old MOTU device. It makes for a portable rack that can be turn off when not used.

 

Robert

This post edited for speling.
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Hi guys - just a little update.

 

I got the KMX 16x16 (it's called the "Midi Central") and although it's a little rusty, it seems to work perfecly. Very easy to program - I ordered a manual from a Dutch site, but I have no problem to handle all functions without it. I'll keep the A880 for a little while, in case of problems, then I'll sell it.

 

FYI: It's the original KMX, not Ensoniq, and it *does* merge.

It has an external power supply, but it's the "lump-in-the-middle" variety, so it's not too horrible.

 

Also, I've checked the Synapse and it seems fantastic, but it's very rare in Europe. Checked the JL Cooper site and they don't make it anymore. I'll keep an eye on it for the future...

You know, I got the KMX from a guy a few 'blocks' from my place! Really painless.

 

Thanks again everybody for your advice. KC rules!! :D:)

 

Carlo

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