MidiPal Dispatcher question (your assistance would be greatly appreciated).
  • Hello all, this is my first post here.

    Yesterday, I ordered a completely assembled MidiPal from the website and am looking forward to using the dispatcher function. Now, the following question may (or may not) sound crazy, so here goes…

    I have the following MIDI connections in part of my studio: MOTU Midi interface ——-> Moog Little Phatty Stage II ——-> Moog Little Phatty Tribute Edition ——-> Oberheim SEM. This constitutes a basic MIDI chain.

    To get a sort of polyphony I have a note priority scheme set up as follows: Stage II plays “Low Note,” Oberheim plays “High Note,” Tribute plays “Last Note.” Seeing as how this arrangement has its strengths and obvious weaknesses, I bought a MIDIpal in order to implement the polyphony described on the MIDIpal page where it briefly describes Dispatcher. My ideal setup with the MIDIpal is the following:

    MOTU Midi interface ——-> MIDIpal ——-> Stage II ——-> Tribute Edition ——-> SEM. (I’m not committed to this setup, it is just what I imagine as I just placed the order yesterday and actually don’t completely understand how the MP works yet… I’m just basing that scenario on the product description).

    The instruction manual I find on the MIDIpal page seems vague, especially regarding the use of Dispatcher: the function that allows you to play a rack of mono synths polyphonically. So, how would I make the necessary MIDI connections/settings for the MIDIpal to play these synths polyphonically?

    Lastly, if the MP does not do what I need it to, what is your return policy?

    Thanks in advance. =)

    Cheers,

    Xia

  • The MIDIpal settings would be the following:

    • inp = 1 (the whole “stack” will handle all notes played on channel 1)
    • mod = pol (true 3 voices note stealing)
    • out = 2

    As a result, notes played on channel 1 are dispatched on either channel 2, 3 or 4.

    The connections would be the following:
    Interface OUT -> MIDIpal IN
    Midipal OUT -> Stage II IN
    Stage II THRU or OUT -> Tribute IN
    Tribute THRU or OUT -> SEM IN

    The synth MIDI reception settings would be:

    • Stage II MIDI channel: 2
    • Tribute MIDI channel: 3
    • SEM MIDI channel: 4

    As a result, if you play a C E G chord, the C will be dispatched by the MIDIpal to channel 2 and will be played by the Stage II ; the E will go the Tribute (channel 3) ; and the G will go to the SEM (channel 4). If you release the C and play a B (Em inversion), the B will go to the Stage II.

  • edit : too late

  • Dear Pichenettes,

    Thank you for your reply. Your instructions for how to make the connections were exactly as I thought. The settings for the MIDIpal now make more sense.

    I just tried the following test on my Mac (running Cubase 4.5.2) just in case:

    MIDI track 1: Channel 11
    MIDI track 2: Channel 12
    MIDI track 3: Channel 13

    <naturally, these Channels all correspond to the same MIDI output on the interface that communicates with the rig in question>

    The Stage II is set to receive on Channel 11 and send on Channel 12
    The Tribute is set to receive on Channel 12 and send on Channel 13
    The SEM is set to receive on Channel 13 <end of MIDI chain>

    (the above synths do not send/receive on an omni channel)

    Then, I added a C# to MIDI track 1… an E to MIDI track 2… and a G# to MIDI track 3… altogether comprising a C# minor chord. I pressed play on the transport and the triad was played perfectly.

    So, if I understand Dispatcher correctly, the latter will essentially do the distribution for you, right? (I’m a firefighter, so bare with me… we’re not the smartest guys on Earth you know?) Once the MIDIpal is installed in my setup, I go:

    MOTU MIDI interface ——-> MIDIpal ——-> Stage II ——-> Tribute ——-> SEM... right?

    Then, I assign a MIDI track set to output on Channel 10, tell the MIDIpal to receive the note stack on Channel 10, then it distributes notes (in order of appearance) to Channels 11, 12, and 13.

    *Does that sound like a proper interpretation of your instructions?

    • Does the MIDIpal introduce significant or noticeable MIDI latency?

    *In this sort of setup, the main benefit of the Dispatcher function is that you can use just one MIDI track to enter intervals and chords, rather than having to use multiple MIDI tracks for each note you wish to enter in a “polyphonic” array, since the Dispatcher does that division of notes for you (e.g. instead of you having to do the division yourself by setting up a note per track). Am I right?

    • The Dispatcher also works extremely well when you have some sort of MIDI controller triggering these synths without a computer laying somewhere between the controller, MIDIpal, and modules. If I were to have:

    MOTU Interface ——-> MIDI controller (assuming it has what Moog calls “MIDI Merge” ——-> MIDIpal ——-> Stage II ——-> Tribute ——-> SEM

    ... then that would be the best of both worlds, since the controller would receive MIDI info from the computer when needed, pass it along to the MIDIpal do perform the above stated functions, and such a chain would allow you to shut off the computer and simply play your mono synths from the controller as it sends out notes to the MIDIpal for distribution to the rest of the synth array. Am I right?

    *Again, thank you for your explanation. And in the event that I test the MIDIpal in my setup and I deem that I would prefer to work another way, what is your return policy?

    Kind regards,

    Xia

  • and thank you too MicMicMan… I see you were going to provide an answer there. =) I appreciate the effort.

  • The dispatcher is fun to use with a multitimbral synth as well I’ve noticed. Use a copy of the same patch on a few channels and tweak each version slightly (pan, cutoff, detune etc), or why not different drumkits on each channel. Variations ahoy!

  • One last question…

    If I have the MIDIpal sending a note to Channels 11, 12, and 13 each, and I am playing a chord by arpeggiating it on the keyboard controller (instead of holding down the notes at the same time), does that mean that the MIDIpal allows me to arpeggiate through a chord if I play staccato? In other words, will it allow me to step through a chord such as C#, then E, then G# in order while playing staccato and prevent my staccato from re-triggering C#?

    Again, thank you very much for your help.

    Kind regards,

    Xia

  • tb323, you just blew my mind. man I just laughed thinking, “what an awesome idea!”

  • Yes, it looks like you got the instructions right. One thing, though: I don’t think you really have to bother to set the send/transmit channel on the Stage II and Tribute anyway. I assume this is for sending CC or whatever, and you don’t care about that. I’m pretty sure that those synths, no matter what, always forward on the MIDI out what they receive on the MIDI in. Or better: you can chain them through the MIDI thru, this is exactly what it should be used for.

    The MIDIpal does not introduce latency besides the time required to decode the message (1ms for a “Note On”), but chaining several synths through their IN and OUT might do. You’ll have better latency chaining through IN>THRU which is a direct electrical connection (while IN > OUT goes through the MIDI decoding, merging, and encoding loop running on the processor of each synth).

    If you had to manually assign notes to track, you wouldn’t need a MIDIpal in the first place! That’s the point of this feature. And yes, it can be triggered from a keyboard.

    As for returns, I accept returns, within 30 days, of products in the same condition as they were shipped to you (if you buy anything that requires self-assembly – kit, midipal with DIY plexiglas case – I can only accept it unassembled in its original packaging).

  • If you play a chord note by note, the first note will go to channel 11, the second note to channel 12, the third note to channel 13. That’s because you might have dialed on each synth a sound with a long release, and the MIDIpal prefers spreading the notes so that the releases of each note can overlap with the others (sending the 3 notes to channel 11 would make the second note “cut” the first one). However, if you play the same note repeatedly, it gets retriggered on the same synth. This is the behavior of any keyboard instrument – play an arpeggio on a piano with the sustain pedal on, and 3 different sets of strings will resonate ; but play C C C C with the sustain pedal on, it’s always the same set of strings that resonate and each new note “re-triggers” the same set of strings.

    I think you’re worrying it too much about the details. I’m reassuring you, it’ll “feel right” musically.

  • @Xia: the only problem is you’re probably going to want at least one more midipal. :)

  • Bonjour Pichenettes,

    You’re right, I am worrying about it a bit too much and I’m sure the MIDIpal will integrate with this array just fine. I have spent a long while trying to get this right before I found your website that I am thinking, “is this gadget too good to be true?” Apparently not, and it looks like your invention is exactly what the doctor ordered. Well done! =)

    Thanks for your help, for answering all my questions, and for taking the time to write back so soon. I sincerely appreciate your effort and look forward to finally having the polyphonic setup I have always wanted.

    Merci beaucoup. =)

    Kind regards,

    Xia

  • @tb323: lol it’s starting to look like it! =)

  • @pichenettes: Just noticed a bug I think (firmware 1.1).
    I’ve set inp=13, mod=cyc, out=13, num=3.
    When I send notes on channel 1 they will go through as they should, but at the same time the dispatcher also starts sending notes to 13,14,15.

    I’m using it with an Alesis qsr right now and the dispatcher is really nice with its drumkits. :)

  • Thanks for the report, I have published a fix

  • Wow, that was fast. Thanks!

  • Which of the files should be used for the Firmware update? the v 1.1 sysex, midi, or hex? If it is the MIDI file, can I simply send it over MIDI through Cubase 4.5.2 and over my MOTU MIDI Express 128?

  • The .hex file is for flashing with an AVR ISP programmer. The .mid file is for loading into a sequencer ; the .syx file for a SysEx transfer utility.

  • thanks chief. lastly, is there a sort of “receive mode” I would need to activate so that the MIDIpal is ready to receive the new midi file? thanks. =)

  • Yep, check the “updating the MIDIpal firmware” section in the manual

  • thanks buddy =)

  • Dear Pichenettes,

    I have followed the link you posted with the new firmware midi file. I click on it, but it does not download (it opens with Quicktime for some reason as a sort of media file…<?>) Is there a way that I can download it is a midi file so that I can just play it through Cubase?

    Thanks!

    Xia

  • Right click and Save?

  • OK, I think I got it now. I had to <option> <click> on my Mac so that it downloads instead of trying to play it like a media file (weird). If I experience an issue, I’ll post again.

    Thanks again.

    Xia.

  • 6581punk, yeah man, that was it. Thanks. =)

  • Browsers like to play MIDI files, people used to use them as background music at times.

  • ah, good to know. I never knew that. =)

    Since Mac mice don’t have the right button (love my Mac… hate stupid idiosyncratic “I’m so different from a PC” nonsense like no right clicking), you kinda have to wing it.

    Or, just buy a better mouse. And I am about to go for a nice Logitech.

    Xia.

  • I hate Apple mice, I have a Microsoft one attached to my Mac :)

  • Right Click works flawlessly if you click somewhere more right than your left finger. If you had a Mac with only one Button you are connecting to the Net with a Modem?

  • @fcd72: For the internet I use an older MacBook, so right clicking is a bit of a pain (oh well).

    All: So I received the MIDIpal a couple of days ago (very fast shipping by the way). The poly mode in Dispatcher does not seem to work right with my setup… I think it has to do with my setup, not the MP.

    So, cycling mode works VERY well, though. Wow. It simply distributes the notes it receives in the order in which they arrive to the channels you specify. Well done Pichenettes! Your invention has made me very happy! Finally, analog polyphony of the sort I have always wanted.

    Thanks buddy, and thanks for your excellent customer service.

    Merci!

    —Xia.

  • Can you explain what’s wrong with the “poly” mode?

  • Hi,

    I’m brand new to the community – but not new to Shruthis ‘n stuff.
    I’m about to order a MIDIpal, my main reason being the dispatcher mode, as I’m planning to play two six-voice polyphonic synths (Akai AX73 and VX90) as one twelve-voice polysynth.
    My question is: What about MIDI signals like sustain or expression pedal messages? These must be sent to both synths, on both MIDI channels. Is that possible?

    Cheers,
    Bert

  • CC messages are duplicated to several MIDI channels, but I warn you that the MIDIpal does not do what you want it to do: it dispatches each individual note to a MIDI channel ; not groups of 6 voices to 2 distinct channels. So it’s OK for playing polyphonically several monosynths, but not for “merging” the polyphony of several polys.

  • Thanks for the info – the first part sounds encouraging.
    But about the sad second half: if I ask the MIDIpal nicely to dispatch the first note to channel 1, the second note to channel 2 and the next one to channel 1 again, wouldn’t it do just that? And would the two synths even know that they are fed only half of the song?
    Don’t you think that would work?

  • You could use the “cyclic” mode to dispatch notes to 2 channels, but this would give a very different feel from the way polysynths usually work (no intelligent voice-stealing, repeated note not dispatched to the same voice).

  • Thanks for the info!
    I think I’ll just try the cyclic mode and see how it works.
    And if it doesn’t work I’m sure I’ll find other uses for the MIDIpal, no doubt about that!
    Up to now I don’t have the AX73 anyway…

    Cheers,
    Bert

Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

In this Discussion