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Midi sync question, ground control pro, sp16, voicelive rack

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1 year

how do synch my sp16 so that I can trigger loops via my voodoo lab ground control pro footswitch. I can't figure out how to set up my rig to trigger the SP 16 to stop playing with a midi command coming from the GCP foot switch. Any help is greatly appreciated!

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Member for

16 years

Kapt.Krunch Fri, 11/27/2020 - 08:23
Wow. That's a MIDI mess. I think part of the problem is the utilization of 'MIDI Out' and 'MIDI In', and underutilized 'MIDI Thru'...and the GCX unit, ironically enough.

This may get lengthy, but stay with me. I THINK I may see a big problem.

http://www.voodoolab.com/manuals/ground_control_pro_manual.pdf

The problem with only 'MIDI Out' connections is it passes ONLY one set of MIDI data (unless in OMNI mode...avoid that!), on one single channel, and every single device chained in that way must utilize, or ignore, any MIDI messages or data generated and sent by the initial device, which in this case, is the GCP foot controller. Ironically, the GCX rack switcher may be the bottleneck of all that. It does have a 'MIDI Out', but it will only echo what the initial data from the GCP sends to it.

A 'MIDI Thru' will pass ALL MIDI data incoming to a device's 'MIDI In', the receiving device responding ONLY to the particular data (that it is capable of), and ONLY the 'MIDI Channel' it is configured to communicate with from the sending device. The sending device MAY be capable of sending data on more than one channel at a time, and each downstream device MAY be capable of receiving a particular channel's data, ignoring all other not meant for it. The GCP states that is capable of sending more than one channel of data. Multi-channel specific data can ONLY be passed along to each subsequent unit if the device has 'MIDI Thru' capabilities. 'MIDI Thru' MAY have a separate MIDI connector on a unit, along with a 'MIDI In' and a 'MIDI Out' connector, OR, a unit may have only two MIDI connectors, a 'MIDI In', and a combined MIDI Out/Thru', which MAY be software configurable in the device.

From what I see, the Voicelive and the SP-16 both have a 'MIDI In' and a combined 'MIDI Out/Thru', which should enable them both to respond to a particular MIDI channel, each, and pass everything else. You'd have to look in the manuals to see if there are software settings to set them up for either 'Out', or 'Thru'. Those SHOULD happily play along with what you want to do.

If those were the only two things connected to the GCP, than I think you could probably control things. It looks to me, though, like the Voodoo Labs GCX switcher may be getting in the way, and I'm not sure how to correct that. That thing is designed specifically to switch, and it's using signals from the GCP to do it. It has only a 'MIDI Out', and no 'Thru', from what I can see. That means that anything downstream from it can only see the data sent to the GCX from the GCP, on only the specific one channel of which the GCX communicates with the GCP. Obviously, that data may be completely useless to any other device, except to program change, etc. I think the 'MIDI Out' on the GCX is meant pretty much MAINLY for connecting one or more GCX units to expand the switching capabilities, and some basic program/preset changes for other stuff...ON the same channel?

http://www.voodoolab.com/manuals/gcx_manual.pdf

The GCX ALSO states, on its 'Pedal In' connector that it's specific to connect 'Ground Control Only'. There's the problem. It APPEARS that the GCP CAN be used to control a bunch of MIDI devices from its 'MIDI Out' with multi-channel capability, OR it can control only one or more GCX switchers on one channel, but it may not be able to do both at once.

http://www.voodoolab.com/gcx_bg.htm

I wondered about running the GCP first to either the VoiceLive or the SP-16, then connect one to the other, setting up 'MIDI Thru' on each, and THEN to the GCX...but the label right under the 'Pedal In' specifically states that it is for "Ground Control Only", and the manual has a WARNING not to do that.

On page 10-11 of the GCP manual, it DOES state that it can "Start and Stop a MIDI sequencer", which the SP-16 could likely be considered (though not an actual 'MIDI sequencer', but a device that can respond to MIDI commands, anyway), and probably could start and stop with the GCP set to the specific channel the SP-16 is set to receive...except...the GCX appears to be in the way.

On pages 7-8 of the GCP manual, it DOES say that you can assign "Device Name/Channel" for up to 8 different MIDI devices, which would enable each to respond to its own channel...except...the GCX, again...appears to be in the way.

On page 9 of the GCP manual, the 'MIDI In' of the GCP is basically for responding to program change and preset changes sent from a MIDI sequencer, or another MIDI controller.

An important thing to read is on page 14 of the GCX manual:

Using the GCX without a Ground Control
Warning:The PEDAL IN jack on the GCX is not a standard MIDI In. It utilizes the two normally unused pins to provide 9 volts A.C. power for the Ground Control. Before connecting to a device other than the Ground Control, you must either use a cable without pins 1 and 3 wired, or verify that the MIDI Out of that device conforms to the MIDI specification which states that pins 1 and 3 are unconnected. Failure to do so can result in severe damage to your equipment. If you have any questions about this, please contact Digital Music Corporation's customer service department.It is possible to control the GCX from other devices like MIDI sequencers, some MIDI footpedals, or any device capable of transmitting MIDI Control Change messages. The GCX responds to MIDI Control Change messages sent on channel 16 only. A data value of 0 turns the loop off, a data value of 127 turns the loop on.

THIS is why I rejected running the VoiceLive and SP-16 from the GCP first, and then to the GCX. Can't be done. And, this is why the GCX is in the way. It can only pass through its data, and that data is apparently meant for only one or more GCX units.

On page 12 of the GCX manual, it states that OTHER different devices (other than more GCXs) can be connected from it's MIDI out. Those devices...such as the SP-16 and VoiceLive will probably respond to data sent from the GCP to the GCX , but I'm not sure I understand what good that it for anything but a program change or preset change. Those other units would have to be on the exact same channel, and since you are not sending a 'Start/Stop' message to the GCX (nothing to start/stop), then it does no good for your needs. And, putting every different unit on the same channel can cause chaos if you want 'this' unit to receive a particular thing, 'that' unit something else, etc.

On page 12:

Connection
(GCX specific)
Connect a standard 5-pin MIDI cable from the MIDI OUT of the Ground Control to the PEDAL IN of the GCX. Because the Ground Control will both send MIDI data to and receive power from the GCX, you must use a MIDI cable with all five pins wired (most are). Also, since the Ground Control's power is now supplied by the GCX, you no longer need to use the power adapter which comes with the Ground Control. If you have more than one GCX, connect the MIDI OUT of your first GCX to the PEDAL IN of the second GCX. Continue chaining additional GCXs in this manner.

(NOT GCX, such as VoiceLive and SP-16)
Now connect from the MIDI OUT of the GCX to the MIDI In of your first device. If you have additional devices, connect the MIDI Thru of your first device to the MIDI In of your next device. Continue to chain your devices, MIDI Thru to MIDI In until all your devices are connected. If you are chaining more than 3 additional MIDI devices, using a MIDI Thru box like the Digital Music MX-28S will eliminate data problems caused by generation loss.

There MAY be a way to configure each unit to ignore particular MIDI messages, and respond only to specific ones, which MIGHT be achievable using only one channel. The manuals should have a 'MIDI Implementation Chart' that should be able to tell you what MIDI data it is capable of using, and the manual should explain whether settings can be changed, certain data ignored, etc.

A MIDI configuration exists in many devices that allows EVERYTHING to pass to all units, depending on if the unit is capable of that configuration, itself. All data, on all channels, etc. That's the 'Omni Mode'...but that can create a nightmare of weird things happening. I avoid that!

Wrapping things up. What I DON'T know, and can't find in the manual of the GCX, is whether that's specifically a "MIDI Out", and can pass ONLY one channel, or if there is some way to configure it as a "MIDI Thru", in which multi-channel data can pass? THAT would probably allow what you want to be done. If it can't...you may be stuck.

If it can't, Voodoo Labs would have done a great service by adding a separate 'MIDI Out/Thru', and having the current 'Out' as GCX-specific, meant only for its 'special connection' to their switcher unit(s). But, from what I can see, you can use the Ground Control as multi-MIDI-channel controller, OR as a single channel GCX controller which passes one channel of data through, only...but it can't do both, simultaneously.

I may be wrong, but from what I know about the confusing world of MIDI (30 years worth of messing with it), this is what it LOOKS like, and I can't say how to remedy it.

Anybody?

Member for

16 years

Kapt.Krunch Fri, 11/27/2020 - 08:44
One other thing, but I don't know if it's possible. You may have to contact Voodoo Lab to see if my suspicions are correct, or if they have a work-around?

I don't know if a MIDI Splitter box would work. It would have to be designed so that at least one of the connectors used all 5 pins, and that one may be able to pass the GCP to GCX power through to the GCX unit along with the data, with the 'special connection', while the other may be, basically, paralleled to the 3-pin MIDI signal wires of the 5-pin, and allow the GCP to pass multi-channel signals through it to your other devices (VoiceLive and DS-16)? I have no idea if something like that would work.

Also have to remember that the more things MIDI signals pass through, and the more wiring it goes through, the data will delay and degrade, causing data errors, dropouts, lockups, etc. A simple splitter would likely weaken the signal since you're splitting the voltage, but some devices are designed to regenerate the signal to pass it further along.

Anyone?

Member for

1 year

THEGOOSE Fri, 11/27/2020 - 13:11
KAPT KRUNCH! You're amazing! Thanks. I'm able to change the channels on the voicelive. I think my main problem is that I don't know what the midi commands are for the SP16 or how to sync it. I thought there would be a list of commands in the manual but I couldn't find anything.

Member for

16 years

Kapt.Krunch Mon, 11/30/2020 - 05:18
OK, may need to experiment. A few baby steps, to see if you can ANYTHING to work from the GCP? BTW, I looked at the SP16 manual, and it woefully void of any real MIDI information, so you may have to search for more info, or contact. You may be seeing SOME kind of MIDI activity on the SP16, but it's impossible to know if it's useful.

FIRST thing is to remove the GCX, and try plugging the GCP into, probably, the VoiceLive. That may have info you can use in the manual? Since the GCP/GCX manuals state that the GCX communicates with the GCP on channel 16, set up the GCP and the VoiceLive to communicate on, probably, channel 1. Try sending the VoiceLive some patch or preset changes, or anything else both are capable of doing.

If THAT works, then, until you find any real info on the SP16, set that aside for now.

So, if you know the GCP can control the VoiceLive on channel 1, and the GCP/GCX communicates on channel 16, go ahead and plug the GCX into the GCP with the 'proper 5-pin cable', and then plug the the VoiceLive in from the GCX Midi Out.

If the GCX works, but the VoiceLive now DOESN'T, then the GCX may the bottleneck, as stated.

From the literature I found, I don't know for sure, and can't say how to set things up. If the VoiceLive doesn't work as plugged into the GCX, it probably is not passing the Channel 1 signal thru the GCX. You may then try setting the VoiceLive, also, to Channel 16, and SOMETHING may happen, but no telling what since it's two different units trying to interpret messages for different purposes...which would be useless.

I think it's still possible that they just designed that GCP to do either, but not both simultaneously?

Good luck.

Member for

1 year

THEGOOSE Mon, 11/30/2020 - 14:53
The GCX/GCP into the VoiceLive works fine, it's the SP16 that I'm having a hard time with. I have the midi thru going from VoiceLive into the SP16 midi in. I can see that the SP16 is receiving some sort of message but that's about as far as I can get. I don't know how to assign commands to the SP16, I would imagine that there's a way to assign different triggers/commands to the SP16 pads

Member for

8 years 9 months

pcrecord Mon, 11/30/2020 - 16:48
It's bad I don't have any of those units.. but what I know is that you need not to confuse midi instructions with midi notes and audio and also midi channels with audio mixer channels..
What I mean is, when you hit on that footswitch, it sends a midi instruction, probably not a note.. a start stop kind of thing.
When the SP16 receive it, it needs to have something assigned to the same midi channel that the voicelive transmit form..
Remember there is 16 midi channel that can pass in the midi cable. but units sometimes listen to just one channel at the time.. unless the unit is multitrimbal on which you can assing ch 1 to an instrument and ch2 to a different one and so on..
So somewhere in those menus there is a midi setting.
As for audio, your Sp16 can play many sounds and samples at the same time and they may be assignable to audio mixer channels. that is what you may show on the video..
A thing you could do is set a computer with an midi interface (included in some audio interface) and set the input of the DAW to midi input ALL .. and watch what it is recording..

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1 year

THEGOOSE Mon, 11/30/2020 - 17:53
AHHHH, I was thinking it would need to be a different channel.
pcrecord, post: 466148, member: 46460 wrote:
When the SP16 receive it, it needs to have something assigned to the same midi channel that the voicelive transmit form..
I'll give that a shot, but I'm still stuck on what I need to do in the SP16 to assign it to start/stop the .wav file that is assigned to a pad.


but what I know is that you need not to confuse midi instructions with midi notes and audio and also midi channels with audio mixer channels..
What I mean is, when you hit on that footswitch, it sends a midi instruction, probably not a note.. a start stop kind of thing The GCX/GCP are sending the correct midi instruction to the VoiceLive, the disconnect is the SP16. I'd rather not get any additional hardware or go thru my computer.

Thanks for your time!!

Member for

16 years

Kapt.Krunch Tue, 12/01/2020 - 05:29
THEGOOSE, post: 466149, member: 52128 wrote: AHHHH, I was thinking it would need to be a different channel.
I'll give that a shot, but I'm still stuck on what I need to do in the SP16 to assign it to start/stop the .wav file that is assigned to a pad.

You CAN run the SP16 and the VoiceLive on the same 'MIDI Channel", but I doubt you'd want to. The Voicelive is a vocal processor, which is very different than a sampler. if using the same MIDI channel, anytime you want to tell the VoiceLive to program change or change a patch, or possibly something else, than the SP16 will ALSO receive change messages. With enough futzing, you may EVENTUALLY get a message sent to the VoiceLive to have the SP-16 do something you intend. Thinking about it, a MIDI device will respond ONLY to messages the manufacturer designed into it. For instance, The VoiceLive obviously doesn't care about any 'Start/Stop' messages since it's not a recorder/sequencer, etc., and the SP-16 may ignore a lot of what the VoiceLive uses, so it MAY be possible to have them both on one channel and do a program change on both, with the start/stop being ignored by the VoiceLive and used by the SP-16.

That would mean you'd have to coordinate every single thing you wanted each to do. That would get very tedious and confusing. Ideally, you'd want to assign a GCP footswitch to do only start/stop for the SP-16, and possibly another to change samples...but on its own MIDI channel. Then, you could assign one or more footswitches, ON ANOTHER CHANNEL to to program changes/patches etc., and possibly use Continuous Controller messages (with the optional footpedal plugged in to the GCP) to control ONLY the VoiceLive.

That takes each with its own MIDI Channel, and you'd have to map out, then remember what footswitch does what to use it real-time.

MORE ideally would be the ability to assign switching to the GCX, which it says is only on Channel 16 with GCP and GCX connected, AND pass thru separate MIDI channels' data to go from GCX out to VoiceLive in (say, on channel 1), then VoiceLive 'THRU" (not 'OUT') to SP-16 in (say, on channel 2).

I still think that's where the problem is. The GCX specifies ONLY a 'MIDI Out', not a "Thru", which normally restricts the data out to the channel the device, itself, uses...in the GCX case, channel 16. It's MIDI out is meant MAINLY for connecting more GCX units for more switching capabilities, though it WILL send the same data, probably ONLY on channel 16, from the MIDI out of the end unit (which in your case is the single GCX.)

You MAY get the VoiceLive and SP-16 to do SOMETHING from seeing some kind of data, but probably only if ALL of them are on channel 16. And, since the data to the GCX is ONLY to trigger switching, who knows if...IF you send other program change or start/stop messages...will the GCX respond ONLY to the switching commands and pass everything else, then the VoiceLive respond to program change and ignore start/stop, and the SP-16 finally be able to ignore everything sent through all THAT and respond only to start/stop and possibly sample (program change)?

The lack of MIDI info on the SP-16 is an egregious oversight. Voodoo Labs' lack of explaining in detail exactly how the GCP, alone, can control "up to 8 MIDI devices" and claims channel-setting capabilities to control each seperately...AND...the lack of info explaining whether when adding a GCX unit if it can both do the switching for the GCX (it says on Channel 16) AND allow 'MIDI Thru' through its 'MIDI Out' to still have the GCP floor pedal send through multi-channel MIDI on to other devices is a serious oversight on their part. They should explain things better. IF it's what I suspect (but, admittedly, am not 100% sure due to lax information) then they have a "selling point" with the GCP as a multi-channel MIDI controller. AND, they have a "selling point" with the GCX switcher, as connected to the GCP, for its obvious desirable capabilities. IF it's what I suspect, then it's a frustrating thing for anyone to spend all that money on BOTH units expecting to get the full advertised capabilities of having a switcher, AND a multi-channel MIDI controller....IF the GCX unit, itself, nukes the GCP's multi-channel controller capabilities?

May be best to edit and compile some of my suspicions (leaving out the "why in the **** would they do THAT?" stuff) into some correspondence to Voodoo Lab, to see if they can give you answers? I'm only going on by what I can see in their manuals, and what I know about MIDI...and I COULD be wrong.

Just because something is "MIDI" doesn't mean it will be useful in every situation, playing along with others. The MOST USEFUL thing MIDI can play along with is a MIDI sequencer, or a DAW with strong MIDI capabilities, like Cakewalk/Sonar was best at doing over any other software, in my opinion. With a good MIDI interface, you could create tracks of data, with each on its own MIDI channel, and each going to ONLY a multi-timbral keyboard/sound-module or lighting system/whatever...or each going to its own destination, on its own channel, such as Channel 1 to the Roland keyboard, channel 2 to the Korg sound module, channel 3 to a vocal processor, channel 4 to a multi-effects unit, etc. That data is synced up as the sequencer runs to send whatever to whatever, automatically.

I have a main MIDI computer, an audio only computer, and a samples computer. With an external MIDI interface, I can create the barebones MIDI composition on the MIDI computer, just using the internal soundcard. It's the 'composition' I am after at that point, and not the sound quality. I get the tune down to the final arrangement with all the basic instrumentation I want, at the tempo I want, and the slight tweaks I make to tempo, etc. Then, I sync that to the audio computer and record guitar, vocals, whatever to audio. With the audio computer now the master, and the MIDI computer happily syncing along, I then start looking for MIDI sounds on keyboards, sound modules and even the internal soundcards...plus sounds on the samples computer to trigger...to start mixing and matching and even layering sounds. If I have a snappy snare drum I like, but it lacks some 'body', I find another snare to trigger from a copied track of that first snare, so it hits at the same instance. I have a trumpet I really like, but it needs some 'blats' at the start of the imaginary guy blowing into it...like a real horn player, I have 'blats' samples. Copy the original track, assign it to this keyboard or that module or that sample...pan it in the mix to the same space....the trumpet is now farting at the initial blast of air...just like a real horn player.

I have created projects with over 140 tracks of mix'n'match and layered sounds, all from no more than 16 tracks of the barebones composition. I widen horn sections, I make saxes sound more 'real'. Each track routed to a particular device, and each automatically playing, and each tweaked and tweaked some more to fit AROUND any recorded audio, until I finally run them all down to audio through the mixer, then final mixed.

THAT'S the most useful MIDIization. Another is to have one keyboard trigger other sound modules in performance, possibly using the sounds of both, etc. Keyboards even used to trigger samples in samplers, like on stage. Hit a C1 key, trigger this sample, D3 key, trigger that, etc.

I explained that to say this:

You are trying to do at least 3 completely different things from that GCP. Whether the GCP-to-GCX 'switching' is considered a 'program change' in the traditional MIDI sense...as in if it gets a MIDI-specification 'Program Change', I do not know. If it DOES, than it may be possible to send that onto other units. If you DON'T want another unit to respond to a 'program change', that other unit would need to be able to ignore it...but THAT would mean you wouldn't be able to send it ANY program changes. It would be quite a task to match up the exact program change that you want from one, and program in the exact response you desire from the other(s), which is what would need to happen if everything was on the same MIDI channel. BUT, from what I can see is that once the GCX is connected, and since the GCX has only a 'MIDI Out', and it specifies that the GCP-to-GCX works only on Channel 16, then it's reasonable to assume that ONLY Channel 16 data will be passed through?

Whether you can get the VoiceLive to respond according to your needs, IF it can only respond to Channel 16 because of the GCX, remains a mystery. Whether the SP-16 can respond on Channel 16, and respond only to start/stop commands and (possibly) 'program changes or patch changes' (to call up different samples, or something?)...I also don't know.

Pretty sure you could control the VoiceLive and the SP-16 separately from ONLY the GCP floor unit, but not sure at all if you can with the GCX unit between them.

You may have to research more, for yourself. Definitely, more MIDI info for that SP-16 is a must. Otherwise, you are flying blind. And getting answers to whether that GCX unit is creating a roadblock downstream of it is also a must. Until you get those answers, you're doing nothing but frustrating yourself more. And, you may find it CAN be done, carefully set up. Or, you may have to brace yourself for the fact that it just can't be done, with what you currently have.

Good luck.

Member for

16 years

Kapt.Krunch Tue, 12/01/2020 - 05:55
OK....why it wasn't in manual, I don't know, but here's more-useful info for the SP-16. (A PDF file). You probably want it set to "internal" for sync, since it's not being controlled by something else. This explains how to navigate the MIDI functions, and has the MIDI Implementation chart. Looks like Sample choosing IS done by 'Note' messages, as from a keyboard or sequencer, etc. It says something about a "Start" message (but don't know if that also stops it).

This may help SOME, and I'll try to find more MIDI info for the Voodoo Labs stuff, but you should also be able to search that.

https://www.pioneerdj.com/-/media/pioneerdj/downloads/firmwares/productions/toraiz_sp-16/tsp-16_addendum_ver160_en.pdf?la=en&hash=23ACEAD4A0020743045E77FE247AD63886781B4C

Good luck.

Member for

16 years

Kapt.Krunch Tue, 12/01/2020 - 06:15
It's maddening trying to find Voodoo Labs MIDI Implementation. I MAY be 'hung up' on the normal designation of "MIDI Out" vs. "MIDI Thru", and it's possible that the GCX unit's "MIDI Out" actually WILL pass multi-channel data from the GCP unit. It states right in all the literature that you CAN do what you are looking to do, so, I may be wrong...but it makes no sense, in the traditional nomenclature. Hopefully, it DOES do what it says, and you figure it out. But...I'm done. Hopefully, that SP-16 data is helpful.

Good luck.

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1 year

THEGOOSE Sat, 12/05/2020 - 18:27
Kapt.Krunch, post: 466155, member: 27145 wrote: It's maddening trying to find Voodoo Labs MIDI Implementation. I MAY be 'hung up' on the normal designation of "MIDI Out" vs. "MIDI Thru", and it's possible that the GCX unit's "MIDI Out" actually WILL pass multi-channel data from the GCP unit. It states right in all the literature that you CAN do what you are looking to do, so, I may be wrong...but it makes no sense, in the traditional nomenclature. Hopefully, it DOES do what it says, and you figure it out. But...I'm done. Hopefully, that SP-16 data is helpful.

Good luck.
Kapt Kruch, you're the best! I'm totally following you but now I'm stuck on how I actually assign trigger pad 13 to cc#21. I see how to assign a channel but not a note, Again, I'm quite the midi noob with this stuff.

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