21 March 2008

AtmoSphere Studio Tech (Part 7)

Another very important thing in my studio is the Midi protocol. Midi is used to transfer the notes you play on a synthesizer to the computer and also play remotely on a synthesizer. I have a lot of synthesizers and that means a lot of Midi connections. Almost all of my synthesizers are connected with both Midi-in and Midi-out to a dedicated port. The reason I do this is that in this way I can use all keyboards to play on and record in my sequencer and also program sounds on all synthesizers remotely through a program I use called 'Midi Quest'. This software can also backup sounds from the synthesizers and put new sounds in them with a click on a mouse button. Very convenient.

As you are used from my by now you see a simplified version of the studio schematic on the right. As you can see I use 5 Midi interfaces with 8 inputs and outputs each divided over two different computers. I didn't plan to do this, but the problem is that I also have a lot of synthesizers that emulate midi over a USB connection and all the drivers together wouldn't run on my main PC. So I decided to hook up all the modules in my rack to my mastering PC and use that as a Midi router. I use a little freeware program called 'Midi-OX' to make the connections. The midi interfaces I use are all from the Motu brand. I like them a lot. Very straight forward. I just hate Windows XP for not being able to support everything in the same time.

For the stuff I don't use Midi on a lot, like my FX equipment I use two Roland A880's. These are Midi patchers. They also have 8 inputs and outputs and with the buttons on the front you can determine which port is connected to which. And also you can store setups as a preset. I recently also bought a Roland UM-550 that is basicly a USB midi interface, but I use that one stand-alone as well as a midi patcher. The last Midi device I use is an Roland A220. This is a midi splitter. It has multiple outputs and basically I use it just to split up one midi output to several midi outputs.

Like my audio setup I tried to keep the midi interfaces as close as possible to my equipment, so I can use short Midi cables and transport USB to the PC over the longer distances. So far this setup works fine for me. But I would like to connect everything to one PC in the future. With Windows Vista it is possible. I already tested that, but unfortunately there is no support on Vista for a lot of my older equipment.

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