MIDI Question

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dannyF
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Post 11 Aug 2019

In the past my setups were very simple. Now with near a whole corner of a room being filled with synths I'm running into midi questions.

I like the idea of having one midi controller ( keys ) and just point to the unit I want to play by selecting it by the MIDI instrument in reason. Easy when they are USB connected. However, as I have some analogue solutions stuff which is more old school its old fashioned 80s midi only.

So I am wondering what would I need to say control this synth or that synth with straight up midi? a "midi splitter" or what about the whole MIDI interface like MOTU stuff?

Thanks.

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selig
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Post 11 Aug 2019

I’m happy with my new SL mkIII as I can not only control Reason but also my MIDI gear AND my Eurorack modular gear. It gives you 8 instrument destinations instantly available ( or splits etc) plus everything you can access from Reason and MIDI echo.
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dannyF
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Post 11 Aug 2019

selig wrote:
11 Aug 2019
I’m happy with my new SL mkIII as I can not only control Reason but also my MIDI gear AND my Eurorack modular gear. It gives you 8 instrument destinations instantly available ( or splits etc) plus everything you can access from Reason and MIDI echo.
How does it connect?

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boingy
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Post 12 Aug 2019

You haven't said how many device you have, how many MIDI channels they support and what connections they have (e.g. do they have MIDI Thru?).

So, general advice: Get a multi-port MIDI interface and wire everything through that. If each synth supports a single channel and has a MIDI thru you can chain 16 of 'em on each MIDI port but it's better to spread them across all your ports. Things get a bit more complicated if you need to use the MIDI outs of any of the synths, perhaps because you have some librarian software or something. Hard to give specific advice on that. The easiest way is to dedicate a midi port to each one but that soon gets expensive and cable-heavy if you have more than a handful of synths. Whatever you do make sure you allow for the inevitable expansion. Synths tend to breed....

In Reason add an External MIDI Instrument (EMI) device for each of your synths. Each EMI can be set to use a specific MIDI port and a specific channel. Save this as a song template. Once it is setup you can control any synth with your (Reason connected) keyboard just by having the matching EMI track highlighted.

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bitley
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Post 12 Aug 2019

A very drastical but adventurous and creatively rewarding thing is to ditch midi entirely and just do everything in audio instead.

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dannyF
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Post 12 Aug 2019

bitley wrote:
12 Aug 2019
A very drastical but adventurous and creatively rewarding thing is to ditch midi entirely and just do everything in audio instead.
I get what you are saying and I agree. But....

I would still need an answer to my initial question to play these synths. Most of the synths I have, have no built in keyboard.

I think I only GOT what MIDI through was about and how to use it. OUT will duplicate the notes being played IN, whereas THROUGH will allow chaining of instruments....

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Boombastix
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Post 12 Aug 2019

Midi OUT from a synth is what the synth generates itself, e.g. notes played on its keyboard or Sysex trans. Midi THRU is used to daisy chain synths. So that is correct.

IF you daisy chain you obviously have to manage midi channels per chain so two synths don't play at the same time (unless you want layering). So you would have to set the midi both channel at synth and in Reason.

Most modern Audio/USB interfaces have only one midi port. If you have that and use a midi splitter, you still have the same isse as if you daisy chain.

The smoothest solution is what Boingy said, get more ports. Something like a MOTU micro lite can get you more ports if you want one port/cable per synth (and you already have an audio interface). Then you have no issues with synths playing on the same channel.

Just be cautious to buy second hand units, some older may no longer have sw that works with moden OSes and front panels access for channel assignments and re-routings can be absent.
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bitley
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Post 12 Aug 2019

Danny : Well but you could just have midi out to a synth to control it and only record the audio data.

I've done most of my synth multitrack demos that way, such as these;







Works perfectly & a very quick way of working if you (can) play all your parts manually

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