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MIDI Interface for £2 !

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deWaverley

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MIDI Interface for £2 !

PostTue Aug 25, 2009 2:51 pm

Well I was looking on ebay for a new MIDIsport 1x1 interface, which costs about £40...and I found these little things for sale with "Buy it now" prices as low as £2!

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so I bought one - not expecting much - but you just plug it in (Mac or PC) and it just seems to work perfectly. I don't know if I'm missing something, but I can't see the catch. Of course it probably won't last forever, but you can buy 20 for the cost of one MIDIsport...and obviously the reason I needed it in the first place was that my MIDIsport itself had broken!

deW
Last edited by deWaverley on Tue Aug 25, 2009 6:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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gingercat

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Re: MIDI Interface for £2 !

PostTue Aug 25, 2009 2:57 pm

Wonder if it would work on Vista-64?
I'm always amazed by how much MIDI interfaces cost, given they're little more than a serial port with a non-standard baud rate!
Regards,
Chris Blaylock
i5 4670k, 32GB RAM, Win7, 2xELO 1280x1024 Touchscreens, Focusrite Saffire, MIDISport 4x4
4 Manual Console, 32 R&C Pedalboard, 3xExpression, Solenoid coupler tabs

amateurorganist

Re: MIDI Interface for £2 !

PostTue Aug 25, 2009 6:47 pm

I got one of them! Works perfectly in my setup! :)
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deWaverley

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Re: MIDI Interface for £2 !

PostTue Aug 25, 2009 7:01 pm

Chris....There's nothing in the documentation (a small slip of paper!) that mentions 64bit, but at £2 it might be worth a punt. It just says "class compliant for true plug & play..." There were no drivers to install, I just plugged it in, started Hauptwerk, and there it was.

Oh actually, come to think of it I might still have a Vista64 partition on my mac. If I have, I'll try it for you tomorrow and let you know.

Like you, I have always been puzzled by how much 'MIDI to USB' devices cost, and also at how few people make them.

Still, now the Chinese seem to have got involved at last!

deW

EDIT: There's now someone selling them for 99p! ...The plugs are worth more than that!
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engrssc

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Re: MIDI Interface for £2 !

PostTue Aug 25, 2009 10:29 pm

There is a bit of a catch, that being if you flood that little thing with a large amount of MIDI messages, it will give you problems. The reason, it doesn't have enough buffering for large scale MIDI pass thru. A small amount, no problem, load it up and you could have "un-explained" issues. They are all over and super cheap, but they don't deliver. :o The problems are most evident when playing fast with large chords also.

Rgds,
Ed
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Don

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Re: MIDI Interface for £2 !

PostWed Aug 26, 2009 4:17 am

They don't support the full midi protocol and won't work to configure the Artisan uMidi system. Ask me how I know! :oops:

Artisan have advised me that the Edirol USB interface is the only one to support the full protocol and should be used with their system.

Cheers,
Don.
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Re: MIDI Interface for £2 !

PostWed Aug 26, 2009 4:26 am

They do work with Windows 64 (I use one to connect my Behringer FCB1010) but whilst they are fine for a limited number of messages - as from this expression pedal / preset unit - they are soon swamped by complex MDI messages, as others have said. They seem to have little or no buffering.
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engrssc

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Re: MIDI Interface for £2 !

PostWed Aug 26, 2009 9:08 am

Unfortunately,something too good to be true just is that way. Having said that, there are still some very good deals on ebay from time to time of high quality MIDI/USB interfaces. I've had to "upgrade" my M-Audio 8 X 8 for a MOTU 128 (8 X 8). The M-Audio didn't "like" the change to Vista 64 bit even with a new "correct" driver. Worked fine with Win XP. May be just my unit as I've heard others having no problems. I thought maybe my "problem" was, in part, due to the fact my organ computer "lives" 30 feet (downstairs) away from the console. (I use amplified USB cables). But, no. Bringing the 'puter up right next to the console, the M-Audio box wouldn't cooperate either. The MOTU has no problem with the 30 foot USB cable, go figure.

Rather than continuing to be annoyed all the time, I bit the bullet. The MOTU works flawlessly - for a price.

Rgds,
Ed
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deWaverley

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Re: MIDI Interface for £2 !

PostWed Aug 26, 2009 10:28 am

Interesting to hear people's experiences. As I'm not planning to play many large chords on my pedalboard, this unit is perfectly fine for me!

Actually, I've just rerouted a keyboard through it and played a long tremolo between two five-note chords as fast as I can, and it copes fine. So as far as I can see it can handle as much as one keyboard can throw at it (assuming you are not using pitchbend/mod wheel/aftertouch etc), so to say it 'doesn't deliver' is a bit harsh on the little thing - one each for three keyboards and one for the pedalboard, and you'd still have change from £10!

deW
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engrssc

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Re: MIDI Interface for £2 !

PostWed Aug 26, 2009 1:33 pm

Have fun. I threw mine away.

Rgds,
Ed
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deWaverley

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Re: MIDI Interface for £2 !

PostWed Aug 26, 2009 6:12 pm

Well I don't know what you were hoping it was going to do for you - it simply sells itself as a way of connecting one MIDI keyboard to a computer, and achieves that faultlessly...i.e. it "does exactly what it says on the tin".

...for £2.

deW
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mdyde

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Re: MIDI Interface for £2 !

PostThu Aug 27, 2009 6:54 am

We've had many, many support requests in the past concerning lost/stuck notes, almost all of which have turned out to be due to use of very 'lighteweight' MIDI interfaces with little or no buffering losing MIDI messages in times of high CPU load (especially relevant for Hauptwerk since it's a very CPU-intensive application) and/or times of high MIDI traffic. The M-Audio MIDISPORT UNO is a particularly common culprit (the larger MIDISPORT models work fine), as are budget USB/MIDI keyboards connected via USB (hence the recommendation in our documentation to avoid such devices).

So the acid test is probably whether the interface ever loses any messages in times of maximum CPU loads over a reasonable period of time.

If it works reliably over a period of, say, a month of intensive use, then it would certainly be useful to know.

P.S. Maybe the reliability of lightweight USB-MIDI interafces also depends to some extent on the motherboard's USB ports.
Best regards, Martin.
Hauptwerk software designer/developer, Milan Digital Audio.
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polikimre

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Re: MIDI Interface for £2 !

PostThu Aug 27, 2009 8:47 am

I think one possible cause of flooding could be bouncy contacts on the keyboards/pedal, or a swell pedal "stuck between two levels" and transmitting two alternating CC messages in quick succession.
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engrssc

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Re: MIDI Interface for £2 !

PostThu Aug 27, 2009 9:08 am

A little off the subject of that cheapy interface, but I think that contact bounce is very possibly a good theory, Imre. In my case, my MIDI interface "waits" for 6 clock cycles (de-bounce circuit) before sending a MIDI message. Only if the contact is still closed at the end of those 6 cycles, does the message go thru. No jitter.

Now OTOH, I had been helping a friend who was at the time using a cheapy keyboard (an ebay $10 unit) and he had all kinds of problems even when he borrowed my MidiSport 4 X 4. Using MidiOx, we couldn't see a flood of MIDI messages "going out" either. Some misc junk was going out when he used the 1 X 1, but as I said even with the 4 X 4 he was getting missed notes, etc. When he switched to a better keyboard, the problem went away (while using the 4 X 4). Still had problems with 1 X 1 which he also threw away. So there can be several issues leading up to similar problems. The trick is to find out which one(s) are the culprits and there may well be more than one at any given time.

Rgds,
Ed
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deWaverley

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Re: MIDI Interface for £2 !

PostThu Aug 27, 2009 2:41 pm

Well I was going to just use it for the pedalboard, but I'll put one of the keyboards through it instead, give it a good workout for a couple of months and see if I can break it!

And report back here either way.

I suppose, as it's going into a mac pro, the CPUs will cope with most things, so the buffering might not be such an issue - ironic that such a cheezy interface might work best with a good computer. (I know, it's sacrilege to plug something like this into such a noble beast, but I couldn't resist giving it a try!).

deW
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