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HomeGrown! Got cool synth patches, presets and banks to share? - here's the place..

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Old 17th January 2011 , 10:46 AM
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Default MIDI App programming recommendations

Wasn't sure which section to put this in, but since it's related to a home-brew project I'm putting it here.

I've built a shallow rackmount PC with a built-in touchscreen that I can rackmount directly onto my main keyboard for live work, the Korg M3-88. I'm intending to write an app that allows me to control my rig for scene changes between songs in the way I want it to... there's nothing out there that does what I want in the way I want it to... believe me, I've checked!

The answer is to write it myself. I'm a code-monkey by trade,m so that's no problem, but it's been a very long tie since I did any coding with MIDI. My preferred route is to try and make it cross platform by developing it using Adobe AIR 2.5 and utilising a socket connection to an OS specific app that will communicate with the MIDI ports. The option is to not go cross platform and build it in DotNet for Windows only. Either way, can anyone suggest an available MIDI object library that will allow me to shortcut the MIDI port handling and communication coding? Ideally something like a DotNet assembly or library.
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Old 18th January 2011 , 12:02 PM
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Stickie'ng this for you Dave to keep it high up and visible.
Best of luck with getting this off the ground
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Old 18th January 2011 , 12:05 PM
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Thanks Modz!

So far, from the research I've been doing, it looks like the best option will be Adobe AIR 2.5 using a socket connection to a Java MIDI proxy app whereby the Java app does the MIDI connection and communication handling and ther AIR app does all the GUI work.
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Old 18th January 2011 , 12:10 PM
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However it pans out Dave, pls keep us informed
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Old 18th January 2011 , 12:44 PM
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Thought I'd show the hardware build so far:



The eagle-eyed amongst you may have spotted that the screen is physically upside-down. I've got the desktop rotated by 180deg via the VGA chipset. It turned out that the screen had great vertical viewing angles from above, but rubbish from below.. so swapping it round means great viewing angles from below which is the position it'll be in when mounted on my Korg M3-88 for gigging.



It's powered by a laptop style PSU. Currently it's an ITX motherboard running a Pentium mobile CPU as it was a bargain off eBay for 29. I've installed 2Gb of RAM and a 2.5" 60Gb HD. If it proves successful I can warrant an upgrade and will probably go for a new ITX mobo that'll take a Core2 Duo. I've also mounted the front USB panel from an old Acer PC on the back as it provides 5 USB sockets, CF and SD card reader slots, mobo audio and a mini firewire socket. Next to that is a 50mm case fan and the 4 holes to the right will be populated by 1/4" jack sockets. They will relay stereo input and output connctions from the Edirol UA-1EX USB soundcard mounted inside. Network connectivity when installing stuff or patching windows is achieved by plugging in a USB WiFi dongle.

The ultimate aim is to have my own GUI running on top for scene switching but also run a VST host underneath to use a few carefully chosen VSTi plugins.
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Old 18th January 2011 , 02:24 PM
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Search on codeproject or maybe sourceforge for MIDI .NET or similar - there is a library with roughly that name. Not tried it - allways rolled my own Win32 MIDI code - even for .NET (Just have my own wierd ways of doing things :P)

Another obvious option might be MAX/MSP?
Also may be worth having a look Bomes midi translator software (google).
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Old 18th January 2011 , 02:34 PM
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Thanks Khazul. I've just been a-Googling. I don't think the Bomes midi translator is really what I need for this project. I did think of MAX/MSP, but the price rules that one out, especially given that I'm a coder anyway.

I've been Googling for MIDI libraries and I think I've already seen the one you mentioned. I think I'm going to at least start the project off in Adobe AIR with the Java MIDI proxy in an attempt to make it cross platform and see how far I can get with it.
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Old 18th January 2011 , 02:55 PM
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Sounds like your basically building one of these - http://www.openlabs.com/nekoxxl.html
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Old 18th January 2011 , 03:05 PM
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Sort of, but the main thrust of my app is to make life easier for the gigging musician, especially for thoise situations where the band leader changes the set list and calls for a different song on the spur of the moment. I'm not all that interested in anything else beying VSTi hosting... no reall need for complex controller routing, sequencing or anything like that at all in this situation.
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Old 18th January 2011 , 03:33 PM
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There is actually some software specifically for managing programme changes etc around song transition - cant remember what its called - Might only be for mac as well - sorry a bbit useless but alot of bands do use it.

Another contraption that comes to mid is a behringer FCB1010 foot controller - basically you can programme each of 10 banks of 10 footswitches with programme changes and some CC changes even notes as well as re-assign what the pedals do etc.

I actually used one of these once to control scene changes on my 01x+i88x mixer, UM-880 midi router (to dswitch its current routing preset) and keyboards for a live gig. They are obviously intende for doing the same thing with V-Amp/Bass V-Amp etc, but hey its midi

Anotyher option if you happen to have pretty much any version of ableton live around, midi clips support programm changes - launch clip to change programme. Can even label the clip with name of song etc. (Just in case you ever got Live intro or Live lite with some controller or other).
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Old 18th January 2011 , 04:35 PM
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Yes, I've seen plenty of software for handling scene changes, but none that actually address calling up a randomly called song with a minimum of fuss... the design I have devised will allow any song from a list of hundreds to be called up within 2 or 3 keypresses or to simply progress through a predefined set with single keypresses but allowing you to jump in and out of the setlist at will.
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