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MIDI Thru, Merge, Clock & Sync
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laura woodswalker



Joined: Oct 06, 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 5:05 pm    Post subject: MIDI Thru, Merge, Clock & Sync Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Yay!! I finally bought a Korg MicroSampler. Now I now I have 3 devices in my studio: Korg Electribe EMX, Novation X-Station and the new MicroSampler. (still learning how to use it.)

I'd like to get them all to sync up via MIDI clock!

I tried a sort of daisy-chain with MIDI cables from Electribe (the controller) to the Xstation, then out to the Microsampler. Is that what they call MIDI Thru?

That didn't work and in fact the Electribe was making weird sounds like it was picking up something from the other instruments.

Then I tried this little MacMan MIDI Interface which has an In and 3 Outs. The clock data didn't seem to transmit thru that because the Arps didn't sync up. (It came from the swap meet. Can something like this stop working cause it's too old?)

When I googled "midi interfaces" it was about USB, which I'm not using. One site did mention "MIDI Merge", is that what i"m trying to do? One controller, 2 'slaves'.

I am not sure if MIDI channels have to be set for MIDI clock to work, because I never needed to set them before. Recall, I already do know how to MIDI clock/synch from the Electribe to just the Xstation.

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egw



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 8:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Midi clock is not a channel-based message. Daisy chaining might work, depending on what you need to send, and what ports are on each device. The midi OUT port usually sends only midi signals generated by the device, not what is coming into the IN port (Unless the device has an internal merge function). The midi THRU port sends an exact copy of what is received on the IN port. If you have two or more devices receiving the same midi stream, you need to set them to respond on different midi channels (This will not affect their ability to receive clock). If you need to get clock to more than one device, and you don't have anything with a THRU port, you can use a midi switch or a THRU box. If you need to merge the midi signals from two or more controllers (e.g. clock from one, keys from another) then you need a midi MERGE box. Any of these can often be found inexpensively on ebay, also available here:
http://www.midisolutions.com/
You might also be able to do these functions with your midi interface, but only while your computer is connected, and you might also have to run some midi routing software like midi-yoke.

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kkissinger



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PostPosted: Fri Nov 12, 2010 9:16 am    Post subject: Re: MIDI Thru, Merge, Clock & Sync Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

laura woodswalker wrote:
I tried a sort of daisy-chain with MIDI cables from Electribe (the controller) to the Xstation, then out to the Microsampler. Is that what they call MIDI Thru?
That didn't work and in fact the Electribe was making weird sounds like it was picking up something from the other instruments.

OK, Laura. Time to divide and conquer here.

First, connect the Electribe's MIDI OUT to X-Station. Set your Electribe to transmit MIDI CLOCK OUT. Set your X-Station to receive MIDI CLOCK (make it a slave).

Once you have this working, disconnect the X-Station and set it aside. Connect the Microsampler. Set up the Microsampler so that it receives MIDI CLOCK from the Electribe.

OK, if this works, connect the Electribe to the MacMan's IN and connect the MacMan's OUT to the Microsampler. Establish that the Microsampler syncs to the ELectribe. If that looks good, then disconnect the Microsampler and connect the X-station. Make sure that the X-station syncs to the Electribe.

At this point, you've established that the individual equipment works. Now, Plug the Microsampler into another OUT from your MacMan.

This should work ok.

If at any point, something doesn't work, swap the midi cable with another midi cable (a bad midi cable could be the culprit).

Work from one end of your setup to the other -- check each device's MIDI clock settings (the Electribe is the master, the others are slaves) -- make sure all your MIDI cables are ok, make sure you are using the proper power supplies (if the devices use "wall wart" supplies).

Just work the problem methodically.

Good luck!

p.s. -- I personally wouldn't recommend daisy-chaining -- In fact, I'm uncomfortable using MIDI thru. It is ok for non-rhythmic music, but the delay through the daisy chain will mess up an otherwise tight beat. Your idea -- to use a MIDI Splitter -- is imo the best way to go.

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nobody



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PostPosted: Fri Nov 12, 2010 6:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Why not use a computer as the MIDI master?
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kkissinger



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PostPosted: Fri Nov 12, 2010 6:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

audiodef wrote:
Why not use a computer as the MIDI master?


One of the issues of using a computer as a master is that a computer is pretty busy -- (literally, multi-tasking) and one is not assured of a steady clock pulse.

Of course, this depends on the computer, its configuration, etc.

Additionally, some devices are better than others for clock stability. For example, my Korg LP50's clock was so unstable that it was unusable whereas the clock from my Looperlative LP1 is rock steady.

Your point is well-taken though in that one will want to experiment to find the gear that puts out the best (most stable) midi clock.

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nobody



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PostPosted: Sat Nov 13, 2010 8:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I didn't mean a computer that was otherwise occupied. I meant a computer dedicated to audio and MIDI, the way I set mine up. I don't know how to tweak a Mac, but I know Windows and Linux, Linux MUCH more so, can be highly tweaked to provide a reliable clock and stay on top of things.

(Windows is "tweakable" in the sense that with a little digging for information, you can find out which services to turn off - IF you don't have a "sealed" "home" edition that won't let you touch anything. I've never used a version higher than XP, so I'm no expert on anything beyond that. Never will be, either!)
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laura woodswalker



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PostPosted: Sat Nov 13, 2010 4:35 pm    Post subject: Re: MIDI Thru, Merge, Clock & Sync Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Thanks Kevin!

>First, connect the Electribe's MIDI OUT to X-Station. Set your Electribe to transmit MIDI CLOCK OUT. Set your X-Station to receive MIDI CLOCK (make it a slave).

I already know that works. The Electribe controls the tempo of the arps on the Xstation.

>Once you have this working, disconnect the X-Station and set it aside. Connect the Microsampler. Set up the Microsampler so that it receives MIDI CLOCK from the Electribe.

This is where tje problem occurs.
The E. is set to Clock-Int.
The Microsampler is set to MIDI clock-Ext. MIDI.

But instead of receiving signals, it sends them...in fact it plays its whole bank of samples thru the Electribe! a bunch at a time!

So I wonder if something is wrong with its MIDI function.

Also, I wonder if a sampler is supposed to be able to alter the tempo of its samples once they are recorded. I have never used a sampler before and I thought it was possible to control the samples' tempo by syncing it with a controller. Not?

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laura woodswalker



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PostPosted: Sun Nov 14, 2010 9:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

audiodef wrote:
Why not use a computer as the MIDI master?


heh heh... everyone is always telling me that. My son is always going on about how great Ableton is, etc.

Computers would just make the problem worse, that's why!

Computers seem to give me a huge creativity block. There's always something going wrong... some MIDI driver doesn't work or the interface isn't cooperating or an app doesn't "see" the instrument. Everytime I sit at the computer & try to do music...I always end up wasting about 3 hrs & getting nothing done.

I work at the computer all day clicking tiny buttons. I'd like to get away from that!

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kkissinger



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PostPosted: Sun Nov 14, 2010 2:07 pm    Post subject: Re: MIDI Thru, Merge, Clock & Sync Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

laura woodswalker wrote:
But instead of receiving signals, it sends them...in fact it plays its whole bank of samples thru the Electribe! a bunch at a time!


Well... I suspect that the Electribe is sending program change and note data in addition to MIDI CLOCK. Your micro-sampler is being played from the ELectribe.

Try setting your Micro sampler to a different midi channel that isn't used by the Electribe.

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nobody



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PostPosted: Sun Nov 14, 2010 2:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I've never used Ableton, and I suspect it would hinder me more than help me. It sounds like the kind of software that's supposed to "make things easy". I actually prefer my software handle things in a rather minimalistic way, or at least be able to do so, which is why I use Linux. Rosegarden and Ardour can do as little or as much as I prefer them to do, and JACK lets me plug whatever I want into whatever else I want (assuming, of course, that the software is JACK-aware, but fortunately, much of it is on this platform).

But you gottta go with what works for you! Cool
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