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Sending MIDI from KB-1 to Xequence...

Having my problems with the Xequence keyboard, I wanted to use KB-1 instead and simple record it's MIDI and also use MIDI Through to control come Synths.

I have 3 instruments in Xequence, pointing to Gadget, Channels 1, 2 and 3.
I also have three tracks, each pointing to one of those instruments.
This works fine and by selecting a track, I can select the instrument played by the Xequence keyboard.

But now, I wanted to use KB-1 instead (to no always need to fiddle around with the Xequence keyboard size).
This does not seem to work.

I set KB-1 to send to Xequence Destination and enabled MIDI for only this source, also enabling MIDI Through to play the Synths.

This works.
Somewhat.

But when I then try to change the channel, KB-1 is sending to, from 1 to 2.
I would expect this to be handled by the track that listens on channel 2, which in turn would be a different Synth.

But it continues to play the Synth at channel 1, not 2.

What am I missing here?
This is not a multichannel recording.
I am correctly sending MIDI from KB-1 to Xequence Destination, Channel 2.

If need to manually select the second track in Xequence instead, as when using the internal keyboard, I would expect producing no sound at all, without changing the track.
But the original Synth is happily playing.

This is quite confusing.
What did I wrong, please?

Comments

  • tjatja
    edited June 8

    As it seems, Xequence reacts the same with KB-1 as with the internal keyboard:

    You need to select a different track as current, to be able to change the instrument played!
    This is totally unexpected by me :o

    Finally, each track has a configurable MIDI source and it is set to different channels for all of them.
    That seems to mean, that the MIDI source for tracks simply does not work?!

    Now I am even more confused.

    EDIT: Enabling Multitrack does not seem to change the behavior. I cannot select a different output channel from KB-1

  • edited June 8

    Yes. MIDI Thru in Xequence ignores the channel information on the incoming MIDI data and always reroutes to the channel of the current instrument. To change the instrument you would like to play, you can just select a different track in Xequence as you noticed.

    The Multitrack Recording settings currently only affect recording, not MIDI Thru. How Multitrack Recording and MIDI Thru could somehow be unified and coordinated better is on the list to investigate though.

    Regarding the unexpectedness: At least for me, this is really how MIDI Thru always worked as far back as I can remember from the 1996 Cubase days! 😎 It may work differently in some DAWs of course.

    In Xequence in particular, the MIDI channel is tightly bound to the instrument anyway, so IMO it would not make sense to use the incoming channel information.

  • @wim said:

    Yep, I have it this way, for three instruments, tracks and channels.

  • tjatja
    edited June 8

    @SevenSystems said:
    Yes. MIDI Thru in Xequence ignores the channel information on the incoming MIDI data and always reroutes to the channel of the current instrument. To change the instrument you would like to play, you can just select a different track in Xequence as you noticed.

    Ah.
    OH.
    Somehow, this did vanish from my brain.
    And maybe I thought that MultiTrack recording could help....

    The Multitrack Recording settings currently only affect recording, not MIDI Thru. How Multitrack Recording and MIDI Thru could somehow be unified and coordinated better is on the list to investigate though.

    Somehow, I had the hope that at least MultiTrack recording would fix this.

    Regarding the unexpectedness: At least for me, this is really how MIDI Thru always worked as far back as I can remember from the 1996 Cubase days! 😎 It may work differently in some DAWs of course.

    In Xequence in particular, the MIDI channel is tightly bound to the instrument anyway, so IMO it would not make sense to use the incoming channel information.

    Now, when I use an Instrument that allows to switch channels, of course I want to be able to switch to the instruments that I have configured to use those channels.
    This seems to be something basic, IMHO.

    Without Xequence in the middle, this works just perfectly!
    Why should Xequence destroy such a valid Setup?
    I see no reason to handle MIDI in such a destructive way, to be honest. (Or any other App, this is not Xequence-bashing!)

    I need something that can record MIDI in between my instruments and Synth Apps.
    But please without modifying or ignoring my selection of MIDI Port and channel :smile: :smile: :smile:

    It should also record in the track that is bound to the selected channel, so record to different tracks.
    I would be happy if Xequence could support this.

  • tjatja
    edited June 8

    Let me give an example:

    Having some instrument that allows to play a piano keyboard (channel 1) or a drum set (channel 2), proper recording would allow to select each of those and play a lead Synth or a drum App.

    But pressing record, should of course record the MIDI on it's respective track!
    The Piano notes from channel 1 to the Piano track, which points to the Lead Synth.
    And the drum notes from channel 2 to the Drum track, which points to the drum App.

  • Curious as I am, I did the following:

    Loaded three Synths in Cubasis, input set to Virtual MIDI, channels 1, 2 and 3.
    Then started KB-1 again, and as expected, changing the channel in KB-1 selects one of the Synths and tracks in Cubasis!
    As it should be.

    Pleaseeeee, @SevenSystems, fix this in Xequence and / or Xequence 2.

  • edited June 8

    We basically have two different scenarios here that should be discussed separately:

    • MIDI Thru. The main purpose of this feature is to allow using an external (hardware) MIDI keyboard / controller to control any of the instruments of the current Xequence project, selectable by just tapping on a track in the arranger. It is much easier to select the target instrument visually by its name in Xequence, rather than by adjusting some arbitrary channel number on your keyboard, that's why it's done this way. Also, as said earlier, the MIDI channel is an integral part of the Xequence instrument and thus it cannot depend on input data. It's just the way the system is designed.

    • Multitrack Recording. This should of course honor the sources and channels selected in the respective track menus. If you're seeing incoming MIDI data being recorded to the wrong track(s), it could be a bug and it would be great if you could send me the malfunctioning project and give me a few details on the setup (and MIDI sources).

    • Hope that helps!

      Regarding Cubasis: that is also different because there's no MIDI Thru involved -- you're sending MIDI from your keyboard DIRECTLY to the instruments hosted in Cubasis, which listen each on their own MIDI channel.

    Fun fact: Cubasis in fact used to work like you suggest, i.e. it simply passed thru the incoming MIDI channel number in its old MIDI Thru implementation. The Cubasis forum is rife with complaints about that behavior (including one from myself!), and Steinberg acknowledged that this was a bug and finally fixed it after several years.

    So, essentially, you're asking for the behavior that has been considered a bug by most Cubasis users and Steinberg themselves!

    P.D. No offense intended! I'm just trying to explain why it's designed this way.

  • No app links?

  • @reasOne said:
    No app links?

    I was not promoting a new App, or? ;)

  • @SevenSystems Thanks for the reply. I need to think about this. Will report back.

  • edited June 9

    @tja said:
    @SevenSystems Thanks for the reply. I need to think about this. Will report back.

    I think it really is just about two different concepts. I do appreciate any input on how to possibly improve features or make them more clear, though!

    There's also a good explanation on how MIDI Thru is intended to be used in the manual:


    MIDI Thru

    MIDI Thru is a feature that lets you use Xequence as a central "hub" for your MIDI setup.

    If you enable MIDI Thru, all MIDI notes and controllers that are received by Xequence are immediately forwarded to the instrument on the selected track, and thusly, to the MIDI destination configured in that instrument.

    This means that if you setup your MIDI source (hardware MIDI keyboard, Arpeggiator app, etc.) to only send MIDI to Xequence and not to the actual synth apps or external synths, while enabling MIDI Thru in Xequence, you will never have to change any MIDI connection again, because your keyboard, Arpeggiator etc. will always automatically play the instrument on Xequence's selected track.

    Needless to say, Xequence will of course also record the notes received as well.

    So, to recap:

    Setup your MIDI source (hardware keyboard, Arpeggiator app, generative music tool etc.) to only send its MIDI Out to Xequence.
    Enable MIDI In in Xequence, and either enable "Xequence Destination" in the "Sources" panel, or disable it and select your MIDI source explicitly, whichever works.
    Enable MIDI Thru
    Now, your external keyboard or app acts as the "Master controller" for all of the other synths/instruments configured in Xequence. Select a different track, and your keyboard plays that track's instrument. Boom!

  • Yes, thanks.
    You see Xequence as the central instance, which also will be open on the device so that you can manually select tracks.
    For this setup, I can kind of understand your choices.

    But or me, the world is a bit different.
    For me, the MIDI controller is open on the iPad, not Xequence.
    So I need a way to change tracks from the controller, which is normally done by changing the MIDI channel.
    And this, BTW, is totally the same when working with a hardware controller!
    Here, you also can switch channels.

    And in this world, the current MIDI In and MIDI Through policy of Xequence just does not work, IMHO.

    You wrote something about Cubasis, that I did not understand.
    Cubasis does it totally perfect:

    You configure a track to receive MIDI on a certain port and channel.
    And then, you can also select a target for MIDI Through, on any other port and channel.
    This works just perfectly.

    And of course, you can select the target tracks with your controller, by simple changing the channel you are sending to. And therefor, you can not only select the track, but also the instrument that gets played. Of course, if you wish to change the instrument of a given track, you need to change the MIDI Through target. And this also works with separate Apps, not only those that are loaded as instrument on a track.

    I don't know how Cubasis did work more early, as it was buggy as you wrote - but right now, it is a perfect implementation of MIDI for controllers and tracks an instruments.

    I still do not understand your arguments towards the current implementation of MIDI recording and MIDI Through in Xequence, to be honest.
    I just don't see any usage that this would work with - beside the way I described above, where Xequence is always open and ready to select tracks manually.

    To say it frankly, currently Xequence just ignores the selected channel in a confusing way.
    You can have tracks listening on channels 1,2 and 3 - but those tracks simply ignore this and just catch whatever is incoming when one of them is selected.
    This is kind of defeating the purpose, for me.

    To be honest, I never got how multitrack recording works in Xequence.
    Maybe it can help in this scenario, will give it a new try.

  • tjatja
    edited June 9

    As i tend to not communicate things that i feel as obvious, let me add the following:

    Why have a setting for receiving MIDI on a certain channel at all, in Xequence?

    This kind of implies that the channel is honored, which it is not!

    Only for MultiTrack recordings?

    Cannot test how Xequence behaves without that IAP. That would be interesting.

  • edited June 9

    Yes, the channel filter on the track settings is only honored for Multitrack Recording currently.

    And also yes, Xequence is designed with the "central hub" idea in mind. It's called "MIDI Workstation" after all :)

    It may not be suitable for every style of workflow, but which app is? :)

    But again, the MIDI Thru implementation in Xequence works just the same as every one I've seen in desktop DAWs (mostly Cubase and Logic) between ca. 1996 and 2012. It may have changed since those times...

  • Many thanks for the explanation, @SevenSystems

    Do you see any chance for a toggle in the settings in Xequence or Xequence 2 to change the default behavior? So that tracks just honor the configured port and channel.

    So that later it may be possible to use Xequence as transparent MIDI recorder and not only as central MIDI workstation...

    I would very much appreciate this :) :) :)

  • @tja that is entirely possible once MPE support is added (in an update after Xequence 2 is released), because in that case, channels change their meaning anyway from "Filter by instrument" to "Filter by note", so that requires some infrastructural changes in MIDI channel handling anyway.

  • Great to hear!
    Manx thanks

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