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  1. Martin
  2. Sherlock Holmes
  3. MOXF Series Music Production Synthesizers
  4. Tuesday, 05 January 2016
Hi all,

just a quesion to a specific "configuration paradoxon" I'm currently experiencing in conjunction with my MOXF and external MIDI gear.

Lately I was setting up an external MIDI controller which is connected directly to the 5-pin DIN "MIDI IN" connector of my MOXF synth. In fact it's a Korg nanoPAD2 device in conjunction with a small class-compliant "USB MIDI Host" box which requires no separate PC/MAC connectivity and is able to perform "USB-to-Legacy" MIDI conversion (and vice versa). That setup allows me to trigger any MOXF-internal drum sounds via external trigger pads and it also adds the "missing" Ribbon Controller functionality (via own X/Y-pad) to the MOXF which is functionally supported by the synthesizer but physically not available there. As long as the MOXF and the mentioned external MIDI controller are used exactly that way - namely without being connected to PC/MAC via USB - the described setup works fine and is very convenient to play with - especially in live situations - as no additional computer system is required for operation.

However, whenever the MOXF is additionally connected to a computer - e.g. for recording purposes, for operating Karma Motif, or for triggering virtual instruments on the PC - the MOXF's MIDI setting in the "UTILITY" menu has to be changed from "MIDI" to "USB", otherwise no MIDI messages can be exchanged between MOXF and PC. Unfortunately that change will also cause that no "Legacy" MIDI messages (via 5-pin DIN "MIDI IN" port) can be received anymore by the MOXF, even if this still might be required in the studio. In other words: "The cat is chasing its own tail", as you can only choose between "MIDI" and "USB" setting on the MOXF, but not select a "mixed" mode.

Therefore I'd like to ask if there is any hidden "hybrid" setting available (or maybe any other possible way) to let the MOXF continue receiving incoming MIDI messages via 5-pin DIN "MIDI IN" while establishing USB MIDI connectivity towards a computer in addition.

What I'd really like to avoid is having to change physical connectivity for my external controllers each time, e.g. by swapping connections back and forth between MOXF and PC, depending on the use case.

Thanks in advance for your advice.
Responses (4)
Bad Mister
Yamaha
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
It is not hidden - but an important FEATURE of the MOXF.

When you set the MOXF's MIDI IN/OUT = USB, the MOXF communicates with your computer on 5 MIDI PORTS. A Port is the equivalent of a MIDI IN and a MIDI OUT. Each PORT has a specific role to play.

Port 1 is MIDI IN and OUT for the MOXF itself. This allows MIDI data to travel from the MOXF to your computer program, and any track in your computer program routed to OUT on PORT 1 will trigger the MOXF tone engine. When using the MOXF to do MIDI on a computer you would turn LOCAL CONTROL = OFF - this disconnects the MOXF keybed from the MOXF tone engine. This way you can route the keyboard to any external PORT you desire (see port 3 below).

Port 2 is MIDI IN and OUT for the MOXF to act as a REMOTE CONTROL SURFACE for DAW software (Cubase, LogicPro, Digital Performer, Sonar). When you place the MOXF in DAW REMOTE mode the front panel and screen will show you activity in your selected DAW software. You can control VSTi synths, start and stop the recorder, arm tracks, MUTE, SOLO tracks, etc., etc., etc See the DATA LIST booklet for all the functions that REMOTE CONTROL allows.

Port 3 is MIDI In and OUT for any device you connect to the NOW unused MIDI Ports on the back of the MOXF. you can connect any external device to the MIDI jacks of the MOXF and when play on that external device it arrives in the computer on PORT 3, any track routed out of the computer on PORT 3 will be sent to the 5-pin MIDI OUT jack of the MOXF's back panel. So when you want to play that external synth connect to the 5-pin MIDI OUT of the MOXF, you would play the MOXF keys (local control = off) the computer software will echo the signal OUT on PORT 3 and trigger you external device.

If you want to play the external device and trigger the MOXF - simply set the MIDI Track to receive (IN) from Port 3 and to send back out or PORT 1. Make sense?

Port 4 is reserved for the MIDI IN and OUT communication to the Yamaha MOXF Editor Standalone/VST

Port 5 is MIDI IN and OUT for the MOXF Remote Editor (for creating control templates for various VSTi that you may have).

So when you are using the USB ports of the MOXF to communicate, the 5-pin MIDI jacks can still be used... you simply have to route the data with your computer application. It is not a limitation - it is FEATURE!
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Thanks for your detailed explanations, Bad Mister.

I fully understand the concept of the 5 available Yamaha MIDI port distributions and their main purposes. That's why I'm also aware about the fact that these "virtual MIDI ports" only come into play when USB MIDI connection is established in order to perform external sequencing/triggering, audio/MIDI recording or whenever the MOXF needs to be controlled remotely. However, these virtual MIDI ports don't help very much whenever "internal" MIDI routing is required INSIDE the MOXF - namely between its built-in 5-pin MIDI IN jack and its own tone generators. Unfortunately this "direct" mapping seems to work only as long as USB is generally not used in addition.

Let me describe a little bit better what I initially wanted to achieve:

In case no USB connection is in place, the MOXF will ALWAYS send incoming MIDI messages from an external MIDI controller (connected to MOXF's 5-pin DIN MIDI IN jack) directly to the MOXF tone generators, regardless if MOXF's LOCAL CONTROL parameter is set to "ON" or "OFF", and also independently from the current MIDI IN/OUT parameter setting which can show "USB" or "MIDI". In fact, as long as no USB connection is established between MOXF and PC, triggering the MOXF-internal sounds in such a way - via directly connected MIDI controller (and also via the built-in keybed in case LOCAL CONTROL is set to "ON";) will always work perfectly.

However, from the moment on USB connection towards a PC is established (requiring MIDI IN/OUT parameter to be set to "USB" and LOCAL CONTROL to be set to "OFF" according to your advice), any incoming MIDI messages (still generated by the same controller directly plugged into MOXF's MIDI IN jack) won't be sent anymore directly to the MOXF tone generators. As you explained in your reply, all related MIDI events will now be re-routed to USB instead - namely as a logical stream on virtual MIDI port #3 towards the PC application, from where these data can then be re-routed back to the MOXF port #1 if required.

Fair enough, but that implies that the PC application (which might only act as a simple MIDI sync source, as a sound playback/editor/backup library etc.) MUST always be capable of performing such additional MIDI re-routing mechanisms (in our case re-mapping port #3 back to port #1) which cannot always be achieved just like that. Therefore I was hoping to find any MOXF parameter setting which would have allowed me to decide what to do with those physical MOXF MIDI ports in case USB connectivity is also used. My intention was to look for an option that keeps the "direct" MIDI mapping between MOXF's MIDI IN jack and the built-in tone generator alive while still letting PC applications access the MOXF in their usual way (as most of them will only use ports #1 and #2 anyway, sometimes ports #4 or #5 are occupied in addition). That approach would have been much easier instead of re-routing the whole MIDI stream from MOFX-connected devices back and forth via PC application.

In other words, I was looking for a solution to operate any directly connected MIDI controller exactly the way as if I was using a built-in MOXF MIDI controller, regardless if USB is established or not. If you will, like an additional foot pedal or breath controller which can be just plugged to the synthesizer which then will treat the controller as it would be part of the device itself ("in the box";). However, what I've learned so far from your answer and from my tests is that my request cannot be achieved as long as USB is activated, as in this case always external PC routing mechanisms/resources must be used to get the required result - or the MIDI IN/OUT parameter is set back to "MIDI" which will then break the USB connection again.

Thanks anyway for your help.
Bad Mister
Yamaha
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Yes, the fact that the MOXF is a synthesizer plus an audio/MIDI interface does come with some priorities to do what it does. (The computer has all that power - it is not that difficult to let it do something). Most software will allow you to THRU the data so that you can easily re-route your signal for convenience so you don't have to swap cables). Obviously in the arrangement as setup in the MOXF it has the priority when MIDI IN/OUT = USB is selected - that is, working as primarily an audio interface, an A/D connected device and for itself... primarily as a MIDI interface for itself and one external device using the (otherwise unused) 5-pin MIDI jacks.

Most software allows you a switch or setting to reroute the signal as I described. And since your priority is a matter of convenience (not wanting to have to swap connections for a particular use case). I recommend looking for the software switch or setting within your computer application.
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Okay, thanks. Then my final approach will be to find a midi mapper/patchbay application that always runs on the PC in the background which does the required mapping by merging the incoming port #3 MIDI messages back into the outgoing stream on port #1, so that the MOXF will finally receive these events as required. Hopefully this approach will not add too much delay. Thanks a lot, Bad Mister!
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