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Cubase question (connecting hardware synths)

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Cubase question (connecting hardware synths)

Postby Kevin Nolan » Wed Jan 15, 2020 3:07 pm

Hi -

I wasn't sure where to post this as there isn't a DAW Forum, and since I'm a Mac music user, thought I'd post here.

I'm currently a Logic Pro user but because of it's MIDI Arrange Page horendous (and 30 year out of date) limitations I have no option but to crossgrade to another DAW to try to manage a large number of synths via MIDI - and am hoping Cubase can do what I need.

So the situation will be: Project studio with:

- 20+ hardware synthesizers, workstations and drum machines
- MOTU MIDI Interfaces (Express and Express XT) - with each synthesiser having its own dedicated port on a given MIDI interface - so I'll be using 3 MOTU MIDI interfaces in total
- Mac running the latest release of Cubase.



Here is a scenario I am hoping to be able to achieve and wonder if this is possible in Cubase:

Simultaneously play several hardware synthesizers layered - all triggered from one designated hardware synthesizer keyboard as controller - and capture that MIDI performance on the designated MIDI track for the controller keyboard. Simultaneously in the same live MIDI recorded performance - be able to play other synthesizers singularly from their own keyboard, and to record the MIDI performance for each of those synthesizers on their own individual tracks. All of this live, and at the same time.


For example - from an EX5 Workstation, for its keyboard to MIDI trigger (though Cubase) a Karma Workstation, a TG77 and a JD990 (each of those acting monotimbrally) to hear a layered performance of all 4 of those instruments and to capture the MIDI for that on the MIDI track of the EX5 (and for playback to trigger all 4 synths involved too of course); while simultaneously be able to play, say, a JD800 on it's own MIDI track, an SY77 on it's own MIDI track and an AN1x on it's own MIDI track. All recorded at the same time.

And for any combination of layering of synths via MIDI and simultaneous single instrument MIDI performances (and MIDI play back) to be configured on the fly in Cubase alone without the need to change any MIDI settings on the instruments themselves.

Overall, I'm aiming for a scenario where, through Cubase (or the DAW I choose) I can mix and match what instruments are MIDI layered, and which play singularly, without having to affect any MIDI setup on the synth itself (in other words to leave every synth on, say MIDI channel 1 forever) - and to be able to set up on a case by case basis the MIDI connectivity of layering, and individual MIDI synths, all to be recorded live within Cubase.

Is there anyone who can advise on this ?

Thanks,
Kevin.
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Re: Cubase question (connecting hardware synths)

Postby The Elf » Wed Jan 15, 2020 5:41 pm

Kevin Nolan wrote:Here is a scenario I am hoping to be able to achieve and wonder if this is possible in Cubase:

Simultaneously play several hardware synthesizers layered - all triggered from one designated hardware synthesizer keyboard as controller - and capture that MIDI performance on the designated MIDI track for the controller keyboard. Simultaneously in the same live MIDI recorded performance - be able to play other synthesizers singularly from their own keyboard, and to record the MIDI performance for each of those synthesizers on their own individual tracks. All of this live, and at the same time.
Short answer - yes.

Longer answer - you will need to create your template with everything routed as you like, but you should have it down in 5 minutes. My power-up Project sees several of my instruments in local-off playing their own sounds, and a couple of my controller keyboards playing specific modules. I also create Folders of such settings and switch them in/out with one click as I need. It's all pretty simple stuff.

Cubase will allow you to split and combine MIDI in almost any way you can think of - it's just down to you to keep it manageable.

If you get stuck you know where I am.
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Re: Cubase question (connecting hardware synths)

Postby Kevin Nolan » Wed Jan 15, 2020 7:10 pm

Fantastic! If Cubase has such MIDI combining and splitting capabilities then it should be possible, and means avoiding having to do that on the interface itself. Sounds like you have this sorted for sure.

Thanks so much for you insight here and offer to give pointers. It’s a while off before I’ll be at that configuration stage - I’m assembling the room at the moment and still need to buy Cubase. l’ve been a Logic user but unfortunately have run out of time waiting for Apple to fix Logics diabolical midi implementation so have to move over to Cubase, but composer colleagues and friends using Cubase say I’ll never look back! We’l see :-)

Really appreciate your answer - thanks.
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Re: Cubase question (connecting hardware synths)

Postby desmond » Wed Jan 15, 2020 7:53 pm

This workflow has been a strength of Cubase for a long time - I think you'll find it works well for your needs - but do let us know how it works out.

(Of course, having switched DAWs, Apple will release the next major Logic version a week later, which will finally correct the MIDI bottleneck issue, no doubt! :lol: )
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Re: Cubase question (connecting hardware synths)

Postby Kevin Nolan » Wed Jan 15, 2020 9:14 pm

I will Desmond. I know I've been very critical of LPX on this one point (and irritated the hell out of your good self on more than one occasion on it too) - but for this one aspect of things, I need something like Cubase. I'm just too hardware orientated of live with the Logic Sequencer Object bottle neck any longer.

However - I am not abandoning Logic. I love every other aspect of it - so (Cubase people don't be too hard on me :-) ) - my intention is to record MIDI in Cubase and then use Logic as appropriate for other aspects of a piece / project.

That might be naive on my part but we'll see. I also agree that I can't imagine Apple not resolving this issue ultimately - imagining that perhaps the reason they haven't is because it's not a priority for most users; and would mean major surgery to what is, otherwise, an amazing "Environment" (if they change that they'd have a line a mile long of complainants for having affected the Environment).

But what with a plethora of emerging technologies from MPE to MIDI 2.0 (now, now - give it a chance :-) ), and then the likes of the Roli Seaboards, Omnisphere Hardware support and on and on - surely it is only a matter of time before Logic users will start to notice the bottle neck and call for a more generalised access to MIDI from the arranger page (?)

So there will be no happier person than me to see Logic 'grow' in that way - and there's no harm in knowing / using several DAWs in any case.

The 'cross grade' price to Cubase is very good too :-)

Very best,
Kevin.
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Re: Cubase question (connecting hardware synths)

Postby The Elf » Thu Jan 16, 2020 10:34 am

I tried to make the switch to Logic from Cubase a couple of decades ago. I persevered for a couple of weeks, but by that time I was ready to throw the Mac through the window. I well recall trying to get a multi-timbral module tamed in Logic and finally giving up in exasperation. Happily Cubase didn't hold a grudge and welcomed me back with open arms!
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