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New(ish) to MIDI...how to route signal to two synths

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New(ish) to MIDI...how to route signal to two synths

Postby gregims » Sun Jan 03, 2021 10:59 pm

Hello all, I was looking around the forum and couldn’t find a topic on this. My MIDI needs are expanding and needed some guidance on the best way to connect a couple of synths. I currently have a 49-key controller that is USB that I’d been using to control software synths in Logic. I recently picked up an FM synth and a drum machine that both have MIDI in and I’d like to control them as well with my controller. My initial thought was to get a USB to MIDI converter cable and run that into a MIDI interface—something like a quadra thru. So basically one USB/MIDI in to several MIDI outs that go into the synths. Wanted to check here if that was a good way of doing things. Another thing I was thinking of is how to incorporate my audio interface. It has MIDI in and out but not sure how to utilize that or if I should in this scenario.

Thanks!
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Re: New(ish) to MIDI...how to route signal to two synths

Postby BJG145 » Sun Jan 03, 2021 11:47 pm

gregims wrote:Another thing I was thinking of is how to incorporate my audio interface. It has MIDI in and out but not sure how to utilize that or if I should in this scenario.

Yes, I'd probably start with that. What are the interface and synth/drum modules, and are you planning to keep things based around the computer...? (Just checking if you were wondering about a way to connect up the equipment without it.)
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Re: New(ish) to MIDI...how to route signal to two synths

Postby gregims » Mon Jan 04, 2021 12:27 am

The interface is a presonus 24c with two mic/inst/line inputs and MIDI in and out. The synths are a Volca FM and a Volca Drum, both with MIDI in. And yes, planning to keep things totally in the computer—Logic for now and maybe Ableton in the future, so not concerned with a setup that goes outside of the DAW. Thanks!
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Re: New(ish) to MIDI...how to route signal to two synths

Postby BJG145 » Mon Jan 04, 2021 9:42 am

In that case, you should be able to use the Presonus for one of the Volcas, and a MIDI/USB cable or separate MIDI interface for the other. (I don't think a Quadra Thru is going to be useful here; it's more of a MIDI splitter than a standard MIDI interface. I've never really trusted MIDI/USB cables but I think they're OK if you get a decent one.)
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Re: New(ish) to MIDI...how to route signal to two synths

Postby nickle15 » Mon Jan 04, 2021 9:48 pm

If it helps any I hooked up two Volcas last night for the first time and made a short track with them in Pro Tools. I use a Focusrite 18i8 interface. I connected the MIDI out port of the Focusrite to a MIDI box (Korg KMT-60) that has one input and six thru ports. I connected the Volcas to a couple of the thru ports on the MIDI box. Then I assigned each Volca its own MIDI channel which I then matched in Pro Tools on the tracks I was using. So then when I played the song each Volca was assigned its own part and played only that part. It worked really well and that was my first attempt at this kind of setup.

As a side note - I've used two MIDI/USB cables in the past with good luck - though I might have just been lucky in the ones I chose. I can get you a link if you're interested.
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Re: New(ish) to MIDI...how to route signal to two synths

Postby gregims » Mon Jan 04, 2021 10:29 pm

Huge help, thank you both! I think I might just forgo the usb/midi cable and go straight out of the presonus’s midi out and into something like the Korg you mentioned. Thanks again!
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Re: New(ish) to MIDI...how to route signal to two synths

Postby gregims » Fri Jan 15, 2021 8:50 pm

Hi thanks again for the pointers, and wanted to update that everything is working. I ran a cable from the Presonus’s midi out to a Quadra and then from there into the midi in of each device. I made individual external device channels on separate midi channels and the keyboard midi controller within Logic triggered them. One curious thing was that when the FM synth was set to midi channel one and the drum synth (on a separate track) was set to midi channel two, both devices were triggered. But when changing the midi channels to one and three (both on the devices and in Logic) they triggered separately.
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Re: New(ish) to MIDI...how to route signal to two synths

Postby BJG145 » Fri Jan 15, 2021 9:13 pm

Great! Glad you got it going. :thumbup:

(Hmm, dunno what was going wrong there...but I take a pragmatic view to these kinds of things these days. If it works for some reason, that's good enough for me.)
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Re: New(ish) to MIDI...how to route signal to two synths

Postby gregims » Fri Jan 15, 2021 9:18 pm

BJG145 wrote:Great! Glad you got it going. :thumbup:

(Hmm, dunno what was going wrong there...but I take a pragmatic view to these kinds of things these days. If it works for some reason, that's good enough for me.)
Ha, exactly! Works for me.
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