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FAST midi Importance and needs

Discussion in 'Studio Techniques' started by Frank Stratton, Aug 17, 2011.


Hoiw important is midi?

  1. Have you used multi-port midi interfaces?

  2. Did you know multi-port midi interfaces were usb 1.1 instead of usb 2.0

  3. Are you going to actually try this?

    0 vote(s)
  4. Are you surprised?

    0 vote(s)
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Frank Stratton

    Frank Stratton New Member

    Hi all!
    I hope to enlighten and spark interest in the current problems and needs of midi users. I am talking to all users of Logic, Synthesizers, Sound Modules, Software midi editors (SoundDiver Vast Programmer - for Kurzweil, Unisyn, etc..
    For years midi transfer and control has been too slow for most people and in many cases doesn't even work. Most people thought is was the SOFTWARE and slow midi. GUESS WHAT! That is not the problem at all. Here are two things to consider:
    1) The current multi-port midi and all Stand-Alone midi interfaces are USB 1.1. They are not even usb 2.0.
    2) The fact is usb is the main connector for many midi devices and this results in bandwidth deviding and slows midi a lot.
    1) Fast midi transfer
    2) midi through Firewire, usb 3.0, thunderbolt.
    There are already single port midi interfaces built into many Firewire audio interfaces that work way better and much faster. This faster midi results in more reliable editing, better performance, and less recording delay. I have actually tried this with great results.
    I USE A KURZWEIL K2600XS, ROLAND XV 3080, AND A PROTEUS 3000. I ALSO USE A ROLAND PCR 800 MIDI KEYBOARD CONTROLLER, PADKONTROL, AND LOGIC 9. My computer is a Imac 21.5 Core 2 duo 3.06 Ghz with 4 GB RAM.
    I use a sifware program called VAST Programmer to operate most of the editing on the Kurzweil and SoundDiver for editing other Synths. Logic 9 is my DAW with a Mackie Onyx 400f audio interface. The Mackie has a Single port midi interface built in and is firewire 400.
    I was using various midi interfaces that result in a lot slower and often not at all midi performance. The difference really is incredible. The slower midi interfacesresulted in very slow and unreliable performance of
    vast Programmer and in-ability to even use SoundDiver. With the musch faster Macker intervace everything was great and fast.
    One other benefit, that is not even thought of by most people, is much better timing and a lot less delay in recording and playing back through Logic 9 (any DAW) really).
    Many users use multiple synths and sound modules controlled with midi. Multi-port midi interfaces are used by a lot of people. USB is way too slow. All currently available multiport midi interfaces are only usb 1.1, not even usb 2.0.
    We really need Firewire multi-port midi interfaces now and have needed them for a long time. I HAVE BEEN TRYING TO GET MANUFACTURERS TO DESIGN AND MAKE FIREWIRE midi interfaces, without good results because of all the red tape and lack lf knowledge and experience of the people making these decisions. I know this Firewire midi interface with multiple ports would really be beneficial to end users and a great selling point to the manufacturer of them. Try this yourself and you will be impressed and realize how great this would be.
    Thanks - please comment!
  3. pheitsch

    pheitsch New Member

    I really can't be persuaded that faster MIDI is anything close to a primary concern of Logic users. USB 1 has plenty of bandwidth to spare for what began life as a serial interface protocol.

    I am also not at all convinced that manufacturers are lacking in either knowledge or experience. For some time, now, the prevailing industry trend among users has been to chuck outboard synthesizers altogether, and use soft synths and samplers. Logic's inclusion of the ESX, ES, EV, Ultrabeat, and Sculpture virtual instruments, along with a comprehensive selection of processing plugins, is a clear indication that in-the-box music production is the defacto method of choice for the vast majority of end users. The musicians who use banks of hardware synths are fast becoming outliers, and so have little practical hope of influencing core business decisions made by the manufacturers' executive boards, many of which are populated by expert users themselves.

    Look, I used to be an acoustic purist. There way no way, I mean, no stinking way, that some box full of transistors could produce anything like real music. That attitude lasted precisely as long as it took for me to notice that I was losing work to guys who had DX7's, at which point I adjusted my views on the matter. My advice to you would be to stop beating your head against the wall. You'll feel better, and you'll have way more time and energy for your creative endeavors.

    - Paul
  4. Eddie Sullivan

    Eddie Sullivan Senior member

    As great as MIDI through Firewire sounds, there are several business reasons why you will probably never see this:

    1) Firewire has not been fully adopted by the Windows world.

    2) Most people who are using MIDI need it for control, and USB MIDI controllers are fine.

    3) Due to the proliferation of excellent virtual instruments and the advances in computing that makes running many of them possible, many people are no longer investing in a lot of MIDI modules, etc...

    4) Thunderbolt is coming, perhaps we will see some Audio/MIDI interfaces that use this connection in the near future.
  5. zerobeat

    zerobeat Senior member

    MIDI is still at version 1 from 1982 and is stuck at the incomprehensibly slow 31.25 KiloBaud (kilobits - not kilobytes - per second). Even in 1982 it was slow compared to the potential technology of the day. Roland and Oberheim had competing standards that blew it away, and many in the industry would have loved to adopt either of these instead.

    But the powers that be at the time didn't foresee MIDI as being of much use beyond having one keyboard trigger another, and didn't want to "force" manufacturers to spend more than about US$5 on the hardware, thus raising the retail price of a synth more than US$25. By the way, the original proposed name for MIDI was USI: Universal Synthesizer Interface. This might give some insight as to the limited scope of what they thought this standard protocol thing would be used for.

    So we ended up with the very inadequate MIDI hardware protocol, which hasn't changed one iota in 30 years (time code and GM were added a few years later, but that's only a software change).

    Even USB 1.1 at 12 MegaBaud has vastly more data throughput potential than MIDI does (12,000,000 bits/second versus 31,250 bits/second). That's 384x faster! The ancient Mac Serial port was "only" about 7x faster than MIDI.

    So using faster ports on the computer will not change the fact that the MIDI hardware protocol is very slow [even for 1982 standards]. Or it will not change potentially bad MIDI software on the computer that might be inefficient/slow.

    Yamaha's mLan (in development since the late 1990's) was touted as being "MIDI 2.0" essentially, but it never took off. That would require a new hardware protocol in the various devices obviously.

    And as hardware MIDI sound devices become more and more rare (software-only variations are in vastly greater usage nowadays), the motivation for a better hardware spec dwindles daily. And although the communication from host to softsynth uses MIDI data, it doesn't need to ever go through the MIDi hardware protocol so the speed is sample accurate with Logic (and with even the slowest other host, still way way way way faster than hardware MIDI).
  6. Eddie Sullivan

    Eddie Sullivan Senior member

    fantastic post zerobeat : )

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