Using midi metronome to control effects....can it be done and how?

Discussion in 'Tracking / Mixing / Editing' started by rectifryer, Feb 17, 2012.

  1. rectifryer

    rectifryer Active Member

    Hi guys. I am looking to use a midi setup with a live 5 piece band. I am trying to use some form of programmable midi tempo/time signature track to also control effects for all the instruments. The effects may be rackmounted hardware or vst(i). I will probably use hardware for the effects and just use a vsti for the drummer's triggers.

    How can I go about doing this? The songs regularily change tempo and timing.

    Should I just build a rackmount pc for this? What are my options here? I am trying to build the midi metronome/control PC for under 500. Thats not including software or rackmount hardware, just the actual box itself.

    Whats the most efficient DAW for this since I dont actually want to record it live? I would just want the software to have a programmable midi metronome that can also switch midi devices to control external hardware.


    Not sure what I need. Just know I want a midi metronome setup that also controlls effect switching. How are midi??? HALP!
  2. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    I've been working on a similar idea for a band that may need to play with tracks without the supervision of a sound person to perform the effects cues. The only difference is that you just need metronome in the monitors instead of drum tracks in mains and monitors.

    So far I've found a couple of things that might do it, starting with a sequencer program called Temper. The metronome could be a previously created audio track or probably generated in real time within Temper. On another track you could record and edit MIDI commands to control your effects. For than matter you could use a digital mixer and control pretty much all mix parameters including fader moves etc., which is the direction I'm heading. So far I've managed to import my backing tracks and record some MIDI input, then trigger the MIDI commands during playback.

    The idea occurred to me that I could probably use the computer as the effects unit. I added something called MIDIYoke, a MIDI router for inside your computer. But while looking into that I also learned about SAC, a software based live mixing environment that could probably replace your mixer and effects rack entirely. The software is $500, but considering the hardware it replaces it's not a bad deal. You still need an audio interface with sufficient I/O. This will probably be the eventual solution for me.
  3. rectifryer

    rectifryer Active Member

    I am using cakewalk sonar 8.5 pe right now as my sequencer. I think its a little less efficient than I would like for simple midi control of outboard effects based on a metronome track. I will give temper a try but I am still unsure as to what the ideal setup is for you and I. SAC just sounds like DAW automation.
  4. Kapt.Krunch

    Kapt.Krunch Well-Known Member

    Shouldn't a used or new multitrack sequencing keyboard be able to do that, if it had the ability to input and transmit MIDI Program Changes and CC data? Of course, it would also need to be able to transmit on more than one channel to control each effect, unless you arranged everything meticulously so this will ignore that, etc.

    You could just use one track for the metronome drum sound, and have the keyboad's audio out play a internal triggered sound through the monitors, while the inputted/recorded MIDI data just follows along silently when you hit "Play", controlling your stuff?

    As a bonus, you could also actually choose some keyboard sounds to play back through the mains and monitors for an added mystery musician?

    I think some of those Roland's even have a separate "metronome" output, so you could run that to the monitors, and the mains to the mains/monitors. Of course, with panning, you may be able to just run, say, left to the mains/monitors for an (some) additional sounds, and the right for the metronome to the monitors.

    Or, maybe something like this Roland U.S. - BK-7m: Backing Module would work? If you can simply record data into MIDI tracks, and it's capable of transmitting on every channel? I think it is. I know it's capable of Transmit/Receive of all the Program Change/CC data parameters, looking at the MIDI Implementation Chart.

    Just some stuff to consider. May be better than bouncing hard drive all over the countryside, waiting for the computer's inevitable lockup/crash//breakdown/smoke machine act?

  5. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    I was considering doing this with a laptop. They seem to handle being moved around, and you can get one brand new for $400. One of those palmtops with flash memory instead of the hard drive would be even less prone to shock damage and easier than a keyboard to carry.
  6. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    I did this professionally for 18 years and if I was going to do it again the last thing I would use is a computer and VSTi to run the programs for this but some people take their chances or know no better or may have great luck these days. But, I'm passionette about the exact things you mentions and grew up in the 80's music scene when MIDI was at its best. Times do change and new ways are always improving, however, I just haven't seen it improved from what I suggest below. I never knew what latency was until I got a computer and tried to interface it with music.

    That being said, All the pros I know, live or in studio's use MPC's professionally however, there are other programs that work, they just aren't that cool and what I would use or trust in a live show. Nothing touches them for stability and functions in all aspects but, its not cheap. Depending on what type of MPC you choose, you will need to invest in a sampler or two and/or a stable PC to host your library's etc.
    Buy a used MPC 4000, MPC 2000 or wait for the new MPC Renaissance that will have a big library and it will also interface with a PC now. I am buying one this summer for exactly what you are hoping to do plus, for composing.
    Another option is the New MPC Studio that uses the computer to interface the sounds. I'm just touching on all this but do yourself a favour and check out the history and what coming this summer from Akai MPC's.

    A second option would be a professional keyboard workstation by Korg called the Kronos. I am getting one of these later this year.
  7. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    To add, the MPC's have 2 in and 5 MIDI outs that will control light shows and dozens of MIDI processors with hundreds of tempo changes including system exclusive and MIDI DATA dumps in real time. There really is nothing close to what these are capable of MIDI automating in real time.
  8. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    I'm also looking into MPC but they have a ton of features I don't need and don't have enough memory to host the backing tracks.

    The group I'm working with is used to using a laptop for playing backing tracks, and their interface has MIDI I/O. All I want to do is turn on and off an effects box. The OP seems to be in a similar position. He doesn't even need to trigger VSTi sounds if he prerecords the metronome sound.
  9. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    The OP can even use an MPC to trigger drums. Its a sampler so you can load your drums into it and then trigger them via your drums or any midi controller.

    Boulder, Why do you need a laptop? In most cases, you don't even need a laptop. I never used a computer once I had an MPC. It replaces the need for one and out performs the best sequencing software by a long shot. They're especially great for a live band because you program a song to do everything you want and then follow it. There are quite a few versions but the basics are what you need and available in all versions.
  10. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    Do MPCs have enough memory to host a couple of hours of backing tracks? As far as I can tell most of them can store about twelve minutes of audio.
  11. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Yes and No, I thought we were talking about MIDI and controlling effects etc, including the need for something to trigger sounds ,samples and tempo changing. The Newer MPC's however, can access a PC to do amazing tasks but that's another topic.

    Beside being incredible drum machines, MPC are the king for MIDI control centers (sequencing, midi composing and controlling data). Until you own one, you can never know all they do or what you have been missing and struggling with in the world of all electronic music.
  12. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    The OP wants a metronome with changing tempo and he wants to send MIDI commands to change effects parameters. An MPC seems like a good option.

    What I want to do is very similar but requires a couple hours of 2-track audio playback. Adding MIDI control of effects parameters is just a bonus, and it wouldn't be a show stopper if it failed. Computer based playback/sequencing seems better for my situation.

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