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Setup advice: Minilab>>iPad sync to Keystep Pro>>Digitone

Hi everyone,
Would love some advice on an interesting challenge:
I have a Keystep Pro controlling a DigiTone (via MIDI DIN)
I also have a Minilab Mk2 controlling an iPad (via thunderbolt/USB.)

I'd like to add the Minilab/iPad into the setup with sync, so that I can press play on the KeyStep Pro and the iPad will trigger and be in sync (e.g. if I wanted to run a Drambo drum machine).

Any ideas? I'm a bit stuck on connections because of the iPad only have one thunderbolt in, which I'm using for the Minilab.

Cheers

Comments

  • You'll have a little easier time if you let the ipad be the clock source. Just plug everything into a (powered preferably) usb hub and plug the hub into your ipad.

  • Yeah. So iPad into the hub, then out of the hub into the Keystep Pro, and then Keystep to whatever?

  • What about this Korg unit?
    https://www.pmtonline.co.uk/korg-plugkey-ios-mobile-audio-midi-interface-black

    Keystep Pro OR Digitone to Korg PlugKey (via MIDI DIN)
    Korg Plugkey to Ipad via camera connection kit (via thunderbolt)

  • If you have an iPad with a lightning port, you'll need a powered hub. Everything you have will do USB MIDI, so just plug everything into the hub and they will all show up on the iPad. Just set the Digitone to receive MIDI via USB. The Digitone will also act as a midi interface and an audio interface.

  • More like this?
    https://www.thomann.de/gb/esi_m4u_ex.htm
    So connect the iPad to the host connection? Or the USB 3 connection?

  • @jameslondon74 said:
    More like this?
    https://www.thomann.de/gb/esi_m4u_ex.htm
    So connect the iPad to the host connection? Or the USB 3 connection?

    You would connect the iPad to the Host connection. It can only be a USB master, never a slave. It will "see" all your connected gear and it can route MIDI between them using AUM or MidiFire.

  • (just to add, I really don't want the iPad to be the brain of my setup. I'm trying to go DAWless, but want to include iPad apps while I save for my hardware synths/drum machines!

  • My advice is use powered USB hub, use iPad as host, open up AUM, use AUM’s MIDI routing function. and plug all your gear into the powered USB hub.

  • Thanks. Do you have an example of the hub?

  • edited May 18

    @jameslondon74 I've done a similar setup with Keystep, Digitakt and Drambo.
    My MIDI link of choice is a Bluetooth MIDI dongle, simply because it's wireless, keeps the iPad USB free for audio/charging/whatever and Drambo's MIDI clock offset correction will allow you to fix the (already minimal) Bluetooth MIDI latency.
    No need to have the iPad be the master - I always preferred the hardware transport buttons on the Digitakt.
    I have Drambo running on an old iPhone 6 Plus here, works great as an advanced drum machine.

  • @rs2000 said:
    @jameslondon74 I've done a similar setup with Keystep, Digitakt and Drambo.
    My MIDI link of choice is a Bluetooth MIDI dongle, simply because it's wireless, keeps the iPad USB free for audio/charging/whatever and Drambo's MIDI clock offset correction will allow you to fix the (already minimal) Bluetooth MIDI latency.
    No need to have the iPad be the master - I always preferred the hardware transport buttons on the Digitakt.
    I have Drambo running on an old iPhone 6 Plus here, works great as an advanced drum machine.

    Amazing, this is the kind of thing I'm thinking. Please can you provide a link for the Bluetooth unit you use?

  • I'm using two different ones, both work well:

    • Quicco mi.1 (needs one-time activation on MIDI Clock forwarding)
    • Yamaha MD-BT01
  • this is an amazing solution thank you.

    So I just shove one of these into the back of Keystep pro, and send control info to the iPad / drambo?
    Drambo is slave to KeyStep Pro?

    May I also ask - as I can't see the info on their pages, where does it draw power from? Batteries? Or the unit it's plugged into?

  • edited May 18

    @jameslondon74 said:
    this is an amazing solution thank you.

    You're welcome 😊

    So I just shove one of these into the back of Keystep pro, and send control info to the iPad / drambo?
    Drambo is slave to KeyStep Pro?

    Yes. As soon as they're plugged in and the KSP powered on, you can pair them with Drambo usng the "Connect Bluetooth Devices" menu item.

    May I also ask - as I can't see the info on their pages, where does it draw power from? Batteries? Or the unit it's plugged into?

    From the MIDI port directly.
    It usually only provides 20 milliamps for the current loop normally driving the LED in an optocoupler as specified in the MIDI standard.
    That consequently means that these dongles don't support the full MIDI rate for the lack of power - for simple arrangements and MIDI clock though that's no problem.

  • @rs2000 said:

    @jameslondon74 said:
    this is an amazing solution thank you.

    You're welcome 😊

    So I just shove one of these into the back of Keystep pro, and send control info to the iPad / drambo?
    Drambo is slave to KeyStep Pro?

    Yes. As soon as they're plugged in and the KSP powered on, you can pair them with Drambo usng the "Connect Bluetooth Devices" menu item.

    May I also ask - as I can't see the info on their pages, where does it draw power from? Batteries? Or the unit it's plugged into?

    From the MIDI port directly.
    It usually only provides 20 milliamps for the current loop normally driving the LED in an optocoupler as specified in the MIDI standard.
    That consequently means that these dongles don't support the full MIDI rate for the lack of power - for simple arrangements and MIDI clock though that's no problem.

    I recently re-discovered Drambo due to the version 2 update, which was incredible. Do you use Keystep Pro's drum sequencer with Drambo without Drambo's sequencer? It seems like a great way to create my own bespoke drum tracks, but use Keystep Pro to drive it. I want to avoid using the iPad screen as much as possible.

  • edited May 19

    @jameslondon74 said:

    @rs2000 said:

    @jameslondon74 said:
    this is an amazing solution thank you.

    You're welcome 😊

    So I just shove one of these into the back of Keystep pro, and send control info to the iPad / drambo?
    Drambo is slave to KeyStep Pro?

    Yes. As soon as they're plugged in and the KSP powered on, you can pair them with Drambo usng the "Connect Bluetooth Devices" menu item.

    May I also ask - as I can't see the info on their pages, where does it draw power from? Batteries? Or the unit it's plugged into?

    From the MIDI port directly.
    It usually only provides 20 milliamps for the current loop normally driving the LED in an optocoupler as specified in the MIDI standard.
    That consequently means that these dongles don't support the full MIDI rate for the lack of power - for simple arrangements and MIDI clock though that's no problem.

    I recently re-discovered Drambo due to the version 2 update, which was incredible. Do you use Keystep Pro's drum sequencer with Drambo without Drambo's sequencer? It seems like a great way to create my own bespoke drum tracks, but use Keystep Pro to drive it. I want to avoid using the iPad screen as much as possible.

    I've only used the Digitakt as a clock source plus the Keystep (not Pro) as a keyboard, both with BT MIDI dongles attached.
    The good thing with BT MIDI is that you can connect multiple dongles to the same iPad/iPhone.
    You could of course also use MIDI Thru and just use one pair.
    The Digitakt has its own 8 MIDI tracks but I prefer to use Drambo's sequencer for multiple reasons: Up to 16 voice polyphony instead of 4 on the Digitakt, P-locks easier to set on-screen, a proper piano roll, a clip launcher thta is much more flexible than chaining patterns in the DT etc etc.

  • @rs2000 said:

    @jameslondon74 said:

    @rs2000 said:

    @jameslondon74 said:
    this is an amazing solution thank you.

    You're welcome 😊

    So I just shove one of these into the back of Keystep pro, and send control info to the iPad / drambo?
    Drambo is slave to KeyStep Pro?

    Yes. As soon as they're plugged in and the KSP powered on, you can pair them with Drambo usng the "Connect Bluetooth Devices" menu item.

    May I also ask - as I can't see the info on their pages, where does it draw power from? Batteries? Or the unit it's plugged into?

    From the MIDI port directly.
    It usually only provides 20 milliamps for the current loop normally driving the LED in an optocoupler as specified in the MIDI standard.
    That consequently means that these dongles don't support the full MIDI rate for the lack of power - for simple arrangements and MIDI clock though that's no problem.

    I recently re-discovered Drambo due to the version 2 update, which was incredible. Do you use Keystep Pro's drum sequencer with Drambo without Drambo's sequencer? It seems like a great way to create my own bespoke drum tracks, but use Keystep Pro to drive it. I want to avoid using the iPad screen as much as possible.

    I've only used the Digitakt as a clock source plus the Keystep (not Pro) as a keyboard, both with BT MIDI dongles attached.
    The good thing with BT MIDI is that you can connect multiple dongles to the same iPad/iPhone.
    You could of course also use MIDI Thru and just use one pair.
    The Digitakt has its own 8 MIDI tracks but I prefer to use Drambo's sequencer for multiple reasons: Up to 16 voice polyphony instead of 4 on the Digitakt, P-locks easier to set on-screen, a proper piano roll, a clip launcher thta is much more flexible than chaining patterns in the DT etc etc.

    Sure. But then I guess you would be interacting with the iPad screen along with the Digitakt. I actually have a Minilab mk2 which offers tons of control for drambo. With BT MIDI I can still have that connected to the iPad to control drambo (sound design control, clip launching etc. but have keystep run the whole thing.

    I’d say all my options are covered! And I love the idea of throwing drambo in as a drum computer while I save for my Syntakt!

  • hey @rs2000, I have a follow up question(s) for you!

    I'm trying to find a way of connecting all my gear together but it's a bit of a puzzle. Would love your thoughts if you have a few mins to spare:

    DigiTone - MIDI DIN in/out / USB in
    Ipad (drambo primarily) / USB only
    Proteus 2000 sound module - 2 x MIDI DIN in/out

    M-Audio controller keyboard (USB out + MIDI DIN OUT)
    Arturia Minilab Mk2 controller (USB only)

    I can't for the life of me workout how to connect all these together.

    I'd like to use the iPad as a brain, but also one of the keyboards to add keyboard/hardware control for the iPad.
    The iPad's and Minilab's limited connections are causing me a headache, but you mentioned the WIFI midi connectors which seem good. So maybe I ditch the minilab altogether, but then I wouldn't know how to control the DigiTone and Proteus with that same controller. Maybe a MIDI splitter is needed?

    Any thoughts would be amazing. You seem to know a lot more than me!
    thanks

  • @jameslondon74 said:
    hey @rs2000, I have a follow up question(s) for you!

    I'm trying to find a way of connecting all my gear together but it's a bit of a puzzle. Would love your thoughts if you have a few mins to spare:

    DigiTone - MIDI DIN in/out / USB in
    Ipad (drambo primarily) / USB only
    Proteus 2000 sound module - 2 x MIDI DIN in/out

    M-Audio controller keyboard (USB out + MIDI DIN OUT)
    Arturia Minilab Mk2 controller (USB only)

    I can't for the life of me workout how to connect all these together.

    I'd like to use the iPad as a brain, but also one of the keyboards to add keyboard/hardware control for the iPad.
    The iPad's and Minilab's limited connections are causing me a headache, but you mentioned the WIFI midi connectors which seem good. So maybe I ditch the minilab altogether, but then I wouldn't know how to control the DigiTone and Proteus with that same controller. Maybe a MIDI splitter is needed?

    Any thoughts would be amazing. You seem to know a lot more than me!
    thanks

    Powered usb hub. Plug everything into it. Plug the proteus into the keystep via DIN

  • @AlmostAnonymous said:

    Powered usb hub. Plug everything into it. Plug the proteus into the keystep via DIN

    Thanks, but I don't have the key step yet :) Just the M AUDIO and the Minilab.

    MIGHT be able to bypass getting the key step. But either way, the powered USB hub could connect to the proteus right?

    So basically, everything in and out of the hub?

  • @jameslondon74
    I'd use the iPad as the centerpiece and sequencer.
    Midi out via USB to Digitone and its 5pin MIDI Thru to the Proteus.
    If you really need to connect the Minilab, you'll need a USB hub.
    The M-Audio controller keyboard or Keystep can be attached via Bluetooth MIDI dongles.
    That would be my first setup to try.

  • @rs2000 said:
    @jameslondon74
    I'd use the iPad as the centerpiece and sequencer.
    Midi out via USB to Digitone and its 5pin MIDI Thru to the Proteus.
    If you really need to connect the Minilab, you'll need a USB hub.
    The M-Audio controller keyboard or Keystep can be attached via Bluetooth MIDI dongles.
    That would be my first setup to try.

    You make it sound so simple! Great, thank you so much.
    Yes, using a keyboard with the iPad is only possible with the MIDI dongle, and that rules out the minilab because I need the USB connection for iPAD > Digitone.

    If I connect the M-Audio to iPAD with the MIDI Dongle, do you think I will be able to route the MIDI so that I can play the Proteus on the M-Audio, through the iPad, through the Digitone, and to the Proteus?

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