Old 05-20-2016, 11:02 AM   #1
a1s2d3f4
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Default 32 hardware midi inputs

I have a classroom with 21 Roland keyboards that can send MIDI through the standard port. (They can also send out through USB). I want to connect all those keyboards to my computer so that I can capture the MIDI data from each keyboard to a separate track in the sequencer.

I thought I would be able to find maybe a "x16 input ports" midi interface, get two of them, connect them to the computer via USB thus getting two midi devices on my machine, and assign each track in my sequencer to a separate input (MidiInterface1:Port1, MidiInterface1:Port2, etc etc) to gather and record all that data.

But I can't find such interfaces. At most I found 8x8 interfaces. (I would need to get 3 of them, I guess), but these cost around 200 each, and I want to see if there might be something cheaper than that. Again, I only need input, I don't care about MIDI OUT on the interface.

Now, mind you, because my keyboards are only going to send out data on only one channel, maybe there might be some kind of "MIDI Merger", but I couldn't find those either.

Does anyone know something about these issues?

Thanks,
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Old 05-20-2016, 01:30 PM   #2
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But I can't find such interfaces. At most I found 8x8 interfaces. (I would need to get 3 of them, I guess), but these cost around 200 each, and I want to see if there might be something cheaper than that. Again, I only need input, I don't care about MIDI OUT on the interface.
I don't think you're going to find any of these devices with just Midi in.

Another possibility would be a USB hup. Something like this, 7 ports for $20 so you would need 3 of them.

https://www.discountelectronics.com/...d-usb-2-0-hub/

Then you would need the midi to USB cable things and I'm not sure what they are, although I think I've seen them for around $10.

So that would $60 for the hubs and $210 for the cables.

Quality might be and issue.
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Old 05-21-2016, 06:59 AM   #3
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I don't think you're going to find any of these devices with just Midi in.

Another possibility would be a USB hup. Something like this, 7 ports for $20 so you would need 3 of them.

https://www.discountelectronics.com/...d-usb-2-0-hub/

Then you would need the midi to USB cable things and I'm not sure what they are, although I think I've seen them for around $10.

So that would $60 for the hubs and $210 for the cables.

Quality might be and issue.
Thanks for your suggestions. My concern with USB is that, in the past, I bought a 10 port USB hub, connected it to my laptop, and then started plugging in all my different hard drives (granted, not midi interfaces). At one point, maybe with the 6th hard drive, I got a message on my windows machine saying, not enough USB controller resources, or something like that. (I already had another 7 port hub connected, too). So, I am skeptical about USB now, but I am certainly willing to give it a try.
Another concern would be the 25 foot USB cable length for some of the more distant keyboards. I have never connected so many USB extensions together to see if that wouldn't be a bottleneck.

So, likely, I'll just have to keep looking for used 8x8s on ebay.
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Old 05-21-2016, 07:19 AM   #4
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I guess you've been looking at something like this:
http://www.thomann.de/gb/motu_midi_express_128.htm

Quote:
Originally Posted by a1s2d3f4 View Post
At most I found 8x8 interfaces. (I would need to get 3 of them, I guess), but these cost around 200 each, and I want to see if there might be something cheaper than that. Again, I only need input, I don't care about MIDI OUT on the interface.
Contact their manufacturers, explain what you want to do and see what they suggest. mention that's it's for educational purposes and you might get better prices.

Or, can you daisy-chain the keyboards together and set each one in the chain to use a different MIDI channel? Then you would only need two chains and therefore two MIDI devices enabled in Reaper. Each track in Reaper could be set to receive a particular device and channel. I've no idea what that might do to the timing, though.
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Old 05-21-2016, 08:22 AM   #5
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Definitely chain them if the keyboards allow this. 3 or 4 devices in a chain should work fine.
Then get two old motu interfaces like this one: http://www.ebay.com/itm/VINTAGE-MARK...0AAOxyXzxTJgJA
They donīt connect to a modern pc but still work great as stand-alone 8in/8out splitter merger devices.
And finally get 2 cheap usb midi interfaces for 32 channels of midi.
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Old 05-24-2016, 07:45 PM   #6
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Definitely chain them if the keyboards allow this. 3 or 4 devices in a chain should work fine.
Then get two old motu interfaces like this one: http://www.ebay.com/itm/VINTAGE-MARK...0AAOxyXzxTJgJA
They donīt connect to a modern pc but still work great as stand-alone 8in/8out splitter merger devices.
And finally get 2 cheap usb midi interfaces for 32 channels of midi.
Just to be clear, if I get that old MOTU interface in your link, how exactly would I program it to "merge" the channels from the keyboards? Can it really be done by pressing the right combination of bank/select buttons without needing the mac?

I'll think about this solution, although at this point I am almost resigned to getting the more modern 8x8 USBs for extra $$.

I am not sure if those Rolands can be "chained". They only have IN/OUT ports on them: I need to get hold of their manuals to see if they can do "pass thru" in addition to spitting out keyboard data. Yes, I definitely wouldn't want timing delays in addition to those introduced by the regular 31250kbps cable rate.
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Old 05-25-2016, 05:21 AM   #7
Junke
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No pc needed, itīs one of the factory presets, called 'merge all'.
I just noticed the version i linked only has 4 inputs, this is the one i use: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Midi-Express...3D310899585323

If the keyboards have an input chaining should be possible, probably best to see if you can find the manual online (or contact roland). Or try and fiddle with the menus.
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Old 05-25-2016, 06:06 AM   #8
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No pc needed, itīs one of the factory presets, called 'merge all'.
I just noticed the version i linked only has 4 inputs, this is the one i use: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Midi-Express...3D310899585323

If the keyboards have an input chaining should be possible, probably best to see if you can find the manual online (or contact roland). Or try and fiddle with the menus.
Yeah, once I get back to that classroom next week some time, I'll have a look. Certainly, if your solution works, and no major timing delays are introduced from chaining, it would be the cheapest solution.

What also surprised me, is that apparently MIDI is getting much less support these days from manufacturers. All 8x8 interfaces are legacy items. (Or maybe I am just not finding something new). It appears that all these great 8x8 devices (like midiman, motu express, Roland um880) are retired and not replaced by something else that has manufacturer's support (like up-to-date drivers).
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