Can't understand how to use external synth/drum machines properly
By - mccalli
How are all these connected? Are they all by USB port?
Or are you running physical MIDI (5 Pin) cables to some of them?
There are a number of things that could be going on so without troubleshooting it's hard to tell.
First, I would break it down to just 1 instrument. Forget about the MIDI Channels, forget about the auto demix.
Simply connect the DM12 only and use 1 controller.
Create an External MIDI track and set its destination to the DM12. Record MIDI onto it. With no other tracks you should be able to hear the DM12 through its own HP jacks at the very least. If its audio outs go to monitors that don't have to go through the DAW you should hear it there as well.
Rewind, press play, and make sure it plays to the DM12 and triggers it.
Now, to get that Audio back into the DAW if you need to, the DM12 needs to be plugged into 1 or 2 inputs in your interface and you need an Audio Track created with those inputs armed (say, Input 1 and 2) and then when you play it back the audio should come through there and show (assuming the input monitoring is correct).
>Note that wherever possible I'd prefer to record MIDI and have it trigger the external device to produce audio, as opposed to everything just being an audio track.
Really, what you should be doing is using External MIDI tracks only, and then use 1 Audio track just as a monitoring track, or a way to record the entire stereo mix if you want.
I'm not sure why you're creating software instrument tracks at all.
Are you using the thing when you create an External instrument that's like "Use as software plug in" or something? If so, don't!
If you can monitor the audio from just the DM12, create 1 External MIDI track, and set that as the destination, then record from which ever controller, and you should be able to hear through headphones plugged into the DM12 what you're recording and when you stop rewind and play back you'll hear it through the DM 12 again.
Start there and let me (us) know if that works...
I’ll give all that a try tomorrow but whilst I remember:
- They’re all connected via USB
- The software instruments are for *actual* software instruments, I’m not creating them to control externals. The idea is to use software sounds alongside the hardware ones
I’ll give the recommendations a go tomorrow, late here now. Thanks.
> They’re all connected via USB
My experience with this is, don't :-D.
Based on your other post I saw first and mentioning the Atari I'd say I'd totally get something like a MOTU MIDI Express 5x5 and use MIDI cables for these.
At least, I've found, for me, having the physical cables for in and out and being able to trace each device's path "in the non virtual world" as it were was important for me. Like you're wanting to keep Track 4 on Channel 4, that's another level of organization for me. I kind of "don't trust" the USB :-) (not to mention it eats up available USB ports on the computer!).
I did respond to the other post but I'd love to hear an update on what you discover.
My troubleshooting process is to just pull everything out and then focus on getting 1 device to work like I want it, then adding the next and so on.
Sounds like you're at least making progress though so that's good!
OK - thanks. Tried what you said, adding controllers along the way.
* I hadn't set the DeepMind's LOCAL to Off. That means it was locally triggering sounds via its keyboard as well as sending/receiving MIDI. Turn local off and the DeepMind sounded better - was in effect dual-playing each note before.
* I discovered an odd MIDI loop going on between the Roland and the DeepMind. Specifically a 5 pin DIN cable, which I use to sync drum machine/synth clocks while simple no-DAW noodling about, going out from Roland and in to DeepMind was still having an effect when I thought I'd turned it off in the DeepMind's settings. I unplugged and it's fine now, later I'll go back and see if I can do it the settings way.
* I've got the software instruments and the associated pure MIDI controller keyboards working with them, although see demix point below.
* I have discovered I utterly *hate* Logic's "receive input from everywhere except when you're recording and have selected a bunch of tracks" behaviour. "Auto demix by channel if multitrack recording" should just be either "Auto demix by channel" or just "Demix by channel". If I've set a track to receive on channel 4, I want it only ever to receive on channel 4 not just when I've select a bunch of other tracks for recording. Seriously, this was much more simple to understand on an Atari ST/Steinberg Pro 12 in the 80s than it is now. Set to channel 4? Only channel 4 works, not this weird "everything will work for input unless you've selected multiple tracks and are actually recording" thing.
I'm not quite done, but I'm aware the next problem is just pure understanding on my part. I can't get the Roland TR-6s to stop/start patterns automatically when Logic's transport is used, and I also get a weird issue where the Roland gets set to 300bpm sometimes when just doing standard playback - no idea what's happening there. Am pretty sure this last bit is 'just' me not knowing the instrument's MIDI behaviour well enough though.
Thanks for the help.
Well, I find many things about "Logic" "illogical"!!!!
I remember a quote from a very well written article by a respected author who was comparing DAWs that always stuck out to me: "Logic is the only one that makes me want to bang my head against a wall".
I've found Logic's support of External MIDI devices to be weak. It's almost as if they're intentionally trying to force you not to use it and only begrudgingly include it.
At any rate, I agree - I would set a Track to Channel 4, and my controller to Channel 4, and I would expect that to be passed on to the device on Channel 4 :-)
You're trying to use all the tracks simultaneously right?
I had a lot of trouble with Sync setup too. Also not as intuitive as I'd like it to be. IIRC I set it up the way I thought it should be and it didn't work. I did it the way the device's manual said and it didn't work. I tried all kinds of suggestions online and it didn't work. Then in a fit of frustration I just tried every combination I could think of it and one worked. Then I didn't know which one it was...I might be exaggerating a little bit but it wasn't as simple as just plug it in, turn on the switch and go.
The 300 BPM sounds like it's receiving an errant MIDI message. Check the Roland manual to see if there's a CC message that changes Tempo (or other such MIDI message) and then go through your sequence and see if that message is being sent somewhere. Things like that can be really frustrating to track down.
I had once set up a controller for Pan, and Pan was the last thing I touched. Up in the menu it said "set controller for Pan" or something like that.
But I would start a new project and Part 1 in my synth would pan hard left every time. It was driving me insane. There were no MIDI messages in the project yet. I had to go in and just delete all the controller assignments to get rid of it.
I've also had instances where clicking a Dialog box button will send a weird MIDI message.
My advice: once you get something working, save it as a Template!
Then use that template to try another thing and when you get that working, save it as another, different template.
That way if you run into any problems you can go back to an earlier, working template, and figure out what went wrong.
Yes, trying to use them all simultaneously. I've worked in just software for years, got a bit bored this year and decided to try some 'real' stuff.
Having fun with the DeepMind, but at the moment I haven't got my recording workflow together *at all*. Was going to give Logic Live Loops a try. With the Roland I've been less successful so far. Found it really easy to come up with decent rhythms, but I need to spend a day learning it e.g. learning accent beats, variations...that kind of thing. It can do them, I just haven't sat down to learn it as yet.
Agree on the MIDI thing. The Roland has a Pattern MIDI channel and a Kit MIDI channel. I need to learn the difference - don't know it right now. Also it presents itself in two ports in Logic - "Roland TR-6S" and "Roland TR-6S CTRL". I'd love to tell you why, but I have absolutely no idea right now...
> The Roland has a Pattern MIDI channel and a Kit MIDI channel. I need to learn the difference - don't know it right now.
The Pattern Channel just uses a MIDI message to change from one pattern to another. Like if you send a message "0" on that channel it go to pattern 1, and if you send a "15" it'll go to pattern 16 (depending on if it's 0-127 or 1-128). That way you can embed messages in your sequence on that channel to make it automatically advance to or switch patterns.
The Kit MIDI channel is to trigger the actual drum sounds.
Yeah - many controllers have the CTRL thing as well - usually this is transport controls or other controller functions. I've found you don't really need to mess with them unless there's a particular function tied to them you really need. But usually it's like Mackie Machine Control or things like that.
Ah - so if I wanted to prototype my drums in the TR-REC mode (step sequencer on the device) but then have them immortalised in MIDI so I don't overwrite them when bored - I'd faff with TR-REC, use the Pattern MIDI channel to stop/start, then when finished create a new external MIDI and record from the Kit channel then?
If I'm understanding you right, if I did that then at the end I'd end up with the MIDI equivalent of the pattern, stored in Logic. Not sure how the 'Motion' (Roland's name for effects/automation/sysex etc.) would record but seems like it can as well.
That's right - your drum pattern could be recording onto an External MIDI track or a Software Instrument track as MIDI.
The former would have to be sent to some other synth (or back to the drum machine) to make the sounds (Local Off if the same device or else you get duplicate sounds) or for the latter you could send it to any synth you put on the track - one of Logic's drum kits for example.
Not sure about the "motion" stuff either - SysEx messages will record on a MIDI track. If you make moves on a device and it's set up to send MIDI messages such as PC or CC messages, those will record as well.
Thanks. Had a bit of a sit down with the machine last night and understand a lot more about its native handling now. It's an interesting one - works great standalone but if I correctly map it it would also make e.g. a great controller for NI's Battery via MIDI without really losing *any* of the ease of use.
Will be trying some MIDI recording at the weekend, particularly the sysex bit, to see what happen.