Midi boxes vs USB for triggering keyboard in a DAW

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Midi boxes vs USB for triggering keyboard in a DAW

Post by Glenn Bucci »

I have a Roland Jupiter X and Roland FP 90-X keyboards. Both have USB connections and they seem to work just fine connected to Cubase when I record midi through the USB. On my older Roland D50 I of course have to use my Motu box.

It seems the big advantage of staying with the midi boxes is you can run multiple keyboards through the one box while with the USB, you would need enough empty USB slots on your computer to run all your keyboards through them at the same time.

Has anyone found any advantage using Midi boxes to trigger a keyboard or using USB and being connected into a DAW? Cubase recognized both of my keyboards with the USB connection
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Re: Midi boxes vs USB for triggering keyboard in a DAW

Post by James Perrett »

I would have thought that MIDI is slow enough to not worry about working through a USB hub which would allow you to add quite a few more USB MIDI connections. You may need to be careful about connecting via a USB hub with certain audio interfaces but MIDI interfaces should be fine.
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Re: Midi boxes vs USB for triggering keyboard in a DAW

Post by t-sun »

USB based devices often require specific drivers or similar to actually fully work with the computer, while basic MIDI devices adhere to a 40 year old standard. Even 'class-compliant' USB devices often aren't fully usable without a driver and have only basic functionality in my experience.

Roland in particular is infuriating about this, with their Boutique series being not even class compliant but requiring drivers, and the JD-08 and JX-08 that I have are both only able to update or work fully with a Windows 10 machine, while most of what I have runs 7 or earlier due to other compatibility reasons.

In basic terms, USB is a moving target, where MIDI has not changed except to add features.
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Re: Midi boxes vs USB for triggering keyboard in a DAW

Post by MarkOne »

I'm currently running 4 keyboards through a USB hub with no issues whatsoever. (And a Q-Con Pro G2 control surface, and a Softube console 1)

For a while I also had a MOTU MicroLite Midi hub and 4 more keyboards off that but I've been seriously downsizing in anticipation of moving soon
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Re: Midi boxes vs USB for triggering keyboard in a DAW

Post by The Elf »

I've moved nearly all of my MIDI activity to USB. I find it more convenient to have fewer cables around the room especially using a trio of 20-port hubs at strategic positions. Most USB gear comes ready-named, making tracking it down a tad simpler.

A lot of gear requires USB access for updates and editing, so often its connection is not optional.

There are disadvantages of USB. Most annoying is not having a piece of gear switched on when my DAW starts up, which then generates an error in the DAW, requiring a shut-down/re-launch.

Even worse, the computer will sometimes determine that it has never before seen a piece of USB-connected gear, and allocate it a new name - which can also break DAW connectivity. My stage laptop was at one time convinced that I had 5 Jupiter-80s, and I had to address all of them to ensure that one connection still worked!

I have a few USB/MIDI adapter cables to pull a few non-USB items into the fold, but unless each cable is from a different manufacturer they once again result in duplicate names and confusion.

So it's a choice. For me the plusses of USB outweigh the minuses.
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Re: Midi boxes vs USB for triggering keyboard in a DAW

Post by Glenn Bucci »

The Elf wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 3:00 pm
There are disadvantages of USB. Most annoying is not having a piece of gear switched on when my DAW starts up, which then generates an error in the DAW, requiring a shut-down/re-launch.

I have a few USB/MIDI adapter cables to pull a few non-USB items into the fold, but unless each cable is from a different manufacturer they once again result in duplicate names and confusion.

So it's a choice. For me the plusses of USB outweigh the minuses.

Yes I found Cubase looking for the connection to my keyboard by USB annoying everytime I open up a song that had it connected previously. Once the keyboard part is correct and all the sustain and notes are correct, I record the part to audio through my mic pres' into Cubase. (I like the Neve mic pre character added to the sound vs just line ins.) It adds a little weight to the sound.
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Re: Midi boxes vs USB for triggering keyboard in a DAW

Post by fatbenelton »

Some of the more modern ‘midi boxes’ now include usb alongside din midi so you can connect both to a single midi interface.
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Re: Midi boxes vs USB for triggering keyboard in a DAW

Post by t-sun »

As long as it's not the accursed mini-jacks it's probably fine. Although, having only a USB port means it's a single connection dead end as opposed to being able to chain MIDI thru, either with the third port or just a software switched MIDI out echo.
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Re: Midi boxes vs USB for triggering keyboard in a DAW

Post by adamburgess »

Regularly run a few DIN MIDI things at once thru my USB interface plus another few straight USB connections. Works just fine. MIDI is not a burden for any computer these days.

USB does have the great advantage of having stuff named properly rather than just HST PORT 1, or DIN PORT 3 - which my iConnectivity interfaces spit out. You can rename them, but my setup does change!
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