Playing tracks AND sending midi live

PhilF

Member
Messages
568
So I'm looking to send both some audio (mostly click track, maybe a few small samples) live along with midi commands to a synthesizer. I know I can do this with a DAW, laptop, and say a scarlett 2i4. I would rather do it with a rack unit or single other unit.

One thing I know exists is the FAMC Liquid Tracks. I bought one off of reverb after asking this on the fractal forum. It was looking to be exactly what I needed. Now the problem is that this thing has been a nightmare. Getting midi tracks exported from reaper and onto this thing with the click track and getting them to play at the same time has been horrific. Also, there are very few people that have them, and customer support at FAMC seems to be non existant. I have tried emailing and using their support ticket system with 0 reply.

Is there anything else that can do this? How do most bands, especially touring acts do this kind of thing?
 

Tone_Terrific

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
32,981
I'd like to find the same thing.
I.e. a MIDI playback module with a simple interface that will read from a USB drive.
I can't believe that it cannot read and play a MIDI file if that is what is intended.
Are you saving your file as .mid type 0 or 1 and with the standard track configurations, like drums/click on Ch 10?
 

PhilF

Member
Messages
568
The manual states it's only able to read type-0 midi files. That's fine, and I'm pretty sure that's exactly what i'm exporting from reaper. I'm giving this thing another go tonight.
 

stevel

Member
Messages
14,655
Phil, I'm not quite clear on what you want to do.

Are you trying to send CC messages to a Synthesizer from the DAW?

For example, are you automating a CC# like one for Filter Cutoff so it changes the Filter of a sound in the Synth?

Why are you sending Audio to the Synth?

When I do this, what I do is record a Sequence. In the Sequence, I put one extra track in where I literally record a Click Track - tick tick tick tick on the track for as long as the song. Used to do 8 counts so the drummer got 4, then he'd click 4, and then we'd all come in. This was sent to MIDI Channel 16, and I'd assign a drum kit sound and play the correct key for the click sound (I worked with the drummer to find sounds that wouldn't annoy him but he could still hear well).

I would work on these on a Sequencing Program in my computer, then export them to a hardware Sequencer which fed to a Synth module to play the sounds (I could set up all the sounds from the computer to the Synth module ahead of time and just store the patch info in the sequence).

Now I have a workstation synth where I could do all this in the synth.

Here's the issue with Type 0 - while it maintains the individual MIDI Channels, everything is on one Track.

Now, what I would do is, take my however many MIDI tracks in the Sequence, and pan them Left, then I'd take the Click Track (Track 16, Channel 16) and pan that Right.

I ran two outs to the mixer. The Right was not assigned to the Main Mix and only went out the Aux that fed the drummer's in-ears. The Left was also sent to the drummer, but it was also assigned to the Main Mix so the audience could hear it (but not the click).

So the key here is, you need to be able to separate the Click Tracks output from the rest. In my new workstation synth, I could do the same thing with L/R outptuts, but mine also has a "Sub Out" (not subwoofer!) that lets me assign the sounds from the first 15 tracks to the synth's main outs L/R, and then the Sub Out has only the Click on it - but then it takes THREE channels on the console :) So I still usually only do it in mono.

But you have to have some way of sending the click to the Mixer separately from the rest of the sounds, which means a separate output on the back of the synthesizer is your only option (L vs. R, or other multiple output options).

If I work in software and export to the synth, I still have to do it as Type 1 and not Type 0 becuase when I load it on the workstation I need Track 16 separate so I can assign it's channel/part to a separate output (which the workstation lets me do).
 

PhilF

Member
Messages
568
Steve,

What I am attempting to do right now is run an audio track (just click for now) to the mixer which would be sent to the drummer, and a midi track full of note information to the synth. In this case big sweeping arpeggios. The reason I want an audio click track is that I want to be able to run the midi to my axe-fx to do some automated midi CC messages as well.

The Liquid tracks is supposed to be able to do all of this in a 1U rack unit.

What I did is record a click track in reaper and exported as an mp3.
Then I exported the midi track which was perfectly lined up with it in reaper.

The first problem i ran into is that reaper only exports in type 1 despite what I read on their form and this unit only reads type 0. As you mention there can be limitations with type 0 but in my case it works just fine. To get the midi file into type 0 i downloaded a midi converter online and poof! Type 0 midi track.

So now i have a preset on the liquid tracks with both an audio click track and a midi file being sent to the synth. Well, turns out somehow the unit is fairly unstable and now these are at completely separate speeds. It does have a way to match speeds by ever so slightly changing the start time of the midi track and the speeds of both the midi and audio track. I am also having issues with this thing basically freaking out and hanging up and causing the midi track to go out of sync. I actually can't believe I'm having this much trouble with the product. Unfortunately the guys at FAMC (the liquid foot controller makers) are completely MIA on the help.

I don't really know how else to do this besides something like ableton.
 

Tone_Terrific

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
32,981
Sounds like a latency issue between audio and MIDI.
That happens with DAW's, too. There is a compensating adjustment.
Try a MIDI file with the click on Ch 10. You gear downstream should be able to only read/react the channels you want even if it requires muting there.
 

sventvkg

Member
Messages
365
You're overthinking it. Everyone that does this uses a laptop and something like abelton, logic or DP. You need a multichannel interface or use the FireWire or Thunderbolt on a MacBook Pro and go directly into your mixer like a presonus or Behringer.
 

PhilF

Member
Messages
568
You're overthinking it. Everyone that does this uses a laptop and something like abelton, logic or DP. You need a multichannel interface or use the FireWire or Thunderbolt on a MacBook Pro and go directly into your mixer like a presonus or Behringer.
It's starting to sound like a laptop running ableton or similar is my best bet with this. I'd like to be able to run 2 channels of audio later (left without click to foh, right with click to iems) along with midi commands so I think it's just the way to go. A single 1u rack unit just really simplifies setup but it doesn't look like it can handle the job
 

sventvkg

Member
Messages
365
It's starting to sound like a laptop running ableton or similar is my best bet with this. I'd like to be able to run 2 channels of audio later (left without click to foh, right with click to iems) along with midi commands so I think it's just the way to go. A single 1u rack unit just really simplifies setup but it doesn't look like it can handle the job
We were using Live but now we run our entire show, audio tracks, video and lights via Qlab. MIDI patch changes, DMX, even settings on the board. Killer setup and lots of Broadway type productions use this. For your needs however Live is perfectly suited.
 




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