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Wayne Shirley

MIDI Connections

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My setup is a cheap Yamaha Keyboard (PSR-290) into a Sonar V-Studio 100 interface.  Both the keyboard and the interface have MIDI in/MIDI out and that's how I have it hooked up - KB out -> V100 in // KB in -> V100 out.  I am considering replacing the keyboard with a MIDI controller.  While looking at controllers I noticed that the least expensive ones don't even have MIDI connections.  They hook up via USB.  The next price level does have a MIDI connection, but just one (out).  Can I use a MIDI controller with just the MIDI out jack?  Is the other connection KB in -> V100 out irrelevant,  or superfluous?

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Hi Wayne,

You can definitely use the single MIDI output from the controller to your V100.  That should be sufficient to record MIDI.  However, a USB controller will have the advantage of a driver and, for most, have the added capability to utilizing controls in CbB much for efficiently.

Kind regards,

tecknot

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Also, MIDI controllers don't have sound modules, thus no need for a MIDI input.
Keyboards with modules will have one.

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My advice is to purchase a controller that 

1- you like the action and feel

2- comes with a midi driver 

3 - has the correct amount of keys you need 

4-fits on your workspace 

A lot of the off brand controllers use cheap plastic keys that are the equivalent of playing a guitar with bad action. 

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14 hours ago, tecknot said:

However, a USB controller will have the advantage of a driver and, for most, have the added capability to utilizing controls in CbB much for efficiently.

Thanks tecknot - I don't have a driver for the keyboard I use now. It just plugs in and the V100 reads it fine.  The ability to control CbB would be nice although I can do that with the V100 as well or use the mouse, albeit not as effeciently.  My biggest concern is that I have so many things hooked up via USB.  I somehow feel like hooking up the midi via keyboard or controller through the interface (V100) via MIDI cable is more effecient/has more capabilities/less latency???  I don't know, but thank you for your input.  I will look at all options.  Truth be told, I don't really need a new keyboard.  The current one works fine.

Edited by Wayne Shirley

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2 hours ago, 57Gregy said:

Also, MIDI controllers don't have sound modules, thus no need for a MIDI input.
Keyboards with modules will have one.

Ahh..... that clears up a few things.  Thank you!

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2 hours ago, John Vere said:

My advice is to purchase a controller that ......

All good advice.  Thank you!  Here's another issue I am having that you or someone else can help me out with.  I will be playing or recording using a virtual synth and all of a sudden, the notes are scrambled.  The notes no longer make sense - they are random.   I have to change the synth and change it back or delete the track.  I know there has to be a simple solution to this.  What is happening and what can be done to prevent it?

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To be clear the 5 pin DIN connector is going to be much less efficient than a proper USB, the transmission protocol for that MIDI connection is a small fraction of USB. Most contemporary MIDI controllers are designed to use USB primarily and have the DIN only for backward compatibility. The only legitimate concern about USB is that the drivers (if they are not class compliant) will stop working with some future OS update and will be abandoned by the manufacturer, while anyone still putting a DIN socket on the machine will likely make it compliant with old MIDI protocols.

As to the need for MIDI input for a controller without a sound module, my SL88 Grand has DIN MIDI in, out and through in addition to USB, which will allow old school daisy chaining and control over the firmware in the keyboard from another MIDI device without USB in the very unlikely event that I cannot connect that way. MIDI is not just for notes. But you do not need those MIDI sockets to do everything they are capable of if you have the right software running in the computer connected by USB except connect directly  to a sound module that has no USB, and I have never plugged anything into the DIN's.

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I actually don't think there is any difference between using DIN and USB midi. I can use both with my controller ( Roland A49) and it's one reason I bought it. It has both USB and DIN outputs.  I certainly don't notice a difference when I use either. But boy do I notice a difference if a W10 update overwrites my driver. 

Using the USB directly to you computer would seem the most efficient because it's only one connection.  But it's not that simple.  Where the latency comes into play is what technology was used to create that data in the first place, and how your USB system poles that data. This is why the midi driver is important and  why class compliant drivers are usually inferior. 

A DIN midi set up from a quality controller running through a quality midi interface  using a manufactures midi driver can theoretically have lower latency than a budget USB set up that uses Windows midi drivers.  

Another point about class compliant midi is those are the controllers that CbB will usually ignore if you turn it on with a project open.  A controller using a midi driver will most times be recognized and CbB will ask you if you want to use it. 

https://www.midi.org/forum/3502-midi-latency-in-2018

https://link.springer.com/article/10.3758/s13428-018-1042-7  

Edited by John Vere

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1 hour ago, John Vere said:

I actually don't think there is any difference between using DIN and USB midi. I can use both with my controller ( Roland A49) and it's one reason I bought it. It has both USB and DIN outputs.  I certainly don't notice a difference when I use either. But boy do I notice a difference if a W10 update overwrites my driver. 

Using the USB directly to you computer would seem the most efficient because it's only one connection.  But it's not that simple.  Where the latency comes into play is what technology was used to create that data in the first place, and how your USB system poles that data. This is why the midi driver is important and  why class compliant drivers are usually inferior. 

A DIN midi set up from a quality controller running through a quality midi interface  using a manufactures midi driver can theoretically have lower latency than a budget USB set up that uses Windows midi drivers.  

Another point about class compliant midi is those are the controllers that CbB will usually ignore if you turn it on with a project open.  A controller using a midi driver will most times be recognized and CbB will ask you if you want to use it. 

https://www.midi.org/forum/3502-midi-latency-in-2018

https://link.springer.com/article/10.3758/s13428-018-1042-7  

There's a couple of important differences between USB and MIDI 5pin DIN:

- USB runs at full USB speed, whereas MIDI 5pin DIN runs at 31250 Baud. This isn't normally a problem for using USB as a MIDI In, but when using it as a MIDI out, it can cause a bottle-neck as it is receiving data from your DAW at full speed but pumping data back out at 31250.  This requires it to be stored in a buffer while it's waiting in the queue. Cheaper USB interfaces have a very small buffer, which typically leads to loss of MIDI messages.

- USB MIDI interfaces require a driver... and yes, even if you're using a DIN socket, it's probably going to be connected to a USB MIDI interface, but the difference is that dedicated MIDI interfaces (e.g. M-Audio MidiSport, MidiTech, MOTU etc - or the MIDI interface on your audio interface) have drivers that tend to work for a long time. Drivers that come with keyboards or keyboard controllers do not tend to get updated when Windows goes to a new version, as those keyboards get replaced by newer models far more often.
 

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