Search:
Submit Search


Hardware box to send groups of MIDI messages?

Connecting Hauptwerk to MIDI organs, sequencers, ...

Hardware box to send groups of MIDI messages?

Postby organsRgreat » Tue Jan 31, 2017 8:35 am

Theatre organs often have three swell pedals – to control the Main and Solo chambers, with a separate control for percussions. I sometimes find myself needing to change all three settings quickly between sections of a piece, so I'm wondering whether there's a hardware box that would store the appropriate MIDI messages, and send them in sequence each time I press a button. Typically each set of messages would consist of MIDI volume data – Controller 7 – different numbers on each of three channels.

I currently use one of the control wheels on my Casio VZ synthesiser keyboards as swell controls; a potential problem is that if one of these moved slightly after I'd sent MIDI messages from the hardware box, the setting could be altered. So a box including assignable MIDI controls might be best – then all the volume functions could be controlled from there. Because of the way my set-up is configured traditional MIDI - via DIN sockets - would be preferable to MIDI-over-USB. I'm wondering if something like the Behringer BCR2000 would do this? All suggestions welcome – thanks!
organsRgreat
Member
 
Posts: 359
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2012 6:30 am
Location: England

Re: Hardware box to send groups of MIDI messages?

Postby johnh » Tue Jan 31, 2017 11:16 pm

If you defined exactly what you wanted this is something that an Arduino could handle without too much trouble.
It's the kind of thing I might be interested in working on. Please PM me if that sounds interesting.

---john.
User avatar
johnh
Member
 
Posts: 696
Joined: Sat Mar 15, 2003 7:51 pm
Location: Monterey Bay Area of California

Re: Hardware box to send groups of MIDI messages?

Postby organtechnology » Tue Jan 31, 2017 11:24 pm

organsRgreat wrote:Theatre organs often have three swell pedals – to control the Main and Solo chambers, with a separate control for percussions. I sometimes find myself needing to change all three settings quickly between sections of a piece, so I'm wondering whether there's a hardware box that would store the appropriate MIDI messages, and send them in sequence each time I press a button. Typically each set of messages would consist of MIDI volume data – Controller 7 – different numbers on each of three channels.

I currently use one of the control wheels on my Casio VZ synthesiser keyboards as swell controls; a potential problem is that if one of these moved slightly after I'd sent MIDI messages from the hardware box, the setting could be altered. So a box including assignable MIDI controls might be best – then all the volume functions could be controlled from there. Because of the way my set-up is configured traditional MIDI - via DIN sockets - would be preferable to MIDI-over-USB. I'm wondering if something like the Behringer BCR2000 would do this? All suggestions welcome – thanks!


Here is an idea. Since each pedal has two inputs that can be set to respond to a CC value, set the input-2 on all the pedals to a single CC and range so that moving that control would move all three pedals. Input-1 would respond to the individual controls as normal.
Complete VPO systems powered by Hauptwerk™. Real Wood Consoles, PC or MAC Computer Sound Modules, Audio for Home or Church.
info (at) organtechnology.com http://www.organtechnology.com

Authorized Hauptwerk Dealer; Milan Digital Audio Dealer..
User avatar
organtechnology
Member
 
Posts: 1798
Joined: Sun Aug 02, 2009 5:58 pm
Location: DFW, TX USA

Re: Hardware box to send groups of MIDI messages?

Postby organsRgreat » Wed Feb 01, 2017 2:12 pm

Thank you for both replies. It's good to know that forum members are willing to help with such an unorthodox query.

To johnh: Thanks for your offer – yes, I'll send you a PM. However a PM failed to reach another forum member last week, so if you don't receive one from me around the same time as this post appears, please let me know here and we'll communicate by email.

With all the MIDI-oriented gear which exists to serve the Pop world, I was hoping that there might be something already out there which would do the job – for instance a simple hardware sequencer. Those must be able to store MIDI controller data as well as note data, and are designed on a start / stop basis. I already have two computers linked to my Hauptwerk system, and ideally I wouldn't add another!

Since my original post I've realised that the need to move swell pedals usually coincides with piston changes. As I mainly use the Sequencer Generals, a good system would be to have a device that would wait for a “piston advance” message, and would then send a group of MIDI messages to readjust the swell boxes. A refinement would be for the software to look for a “piston decrement” signal, and respond by sending the previous group of messages.

To organtechnology: I don't think your suggestion would achieve my aim . . . let's state it another way. Taking MIDI values for volume as running from 0 to 127, I'd like to be able to press a button and send, say, 30 on Channel 3, 110 on Channel 2, and 60 on Channel 1. For the hardware box to then wait for my next button press when I next need to alter the balance.

This is more important on a theatre organ because everything is enclosed. On a church organ at least one division is usually unenclosed, and the other divisions can be balanced to that. On a church organ, if I choose the Great Diapason chorus at 8, 4 and 2ft I know what level of power and brightness I'm going to hear. On a theatre organ those parameters depend entirely on the position of swell pedals. I could of course use the voicing controls in Hauptwerk to create an unenclosed division, but that would destroy the flexibility which makes a theatre organ such a versatile instrument.

When listening to professional theatre organists one can sometimes hear that they are struggling to get the balance right. When I look at consoles with several swell pedals I wonder how the organist remembers which pedal needs to be in which position. I presume that one pedal is set as the Master, with the others adjusting relative levels. But that was 80-90 years ago, and with modern electronics we ought to be able to achieve more precise control.

The MIDI specification is already overkill – I doubt that most people could hear a change of one 128th in the position of a swell pedal; though as a pianist accustomed to producing dynamics by touch, I’m delighted to have such control on an organ. In this respect virtual organs are probably ahead of real pipe organs, where the number of swell pedal positions is more limited?
organsRgreat
Member
 
Posts: 359
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2012 6:30 am
Location: England


Return to Audio / MIDI interfacing

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests