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Reply to "DMX Operator Pro and MIDI"

I've been asked to jump since I did a LOT of testing with MyDMX and MIDI and had documentable and repeatable results.

Issue 1: Does MyDMX respond to MIDI triggers? Yes, it does. This has been resolved and in the latest version, you can use MIDI triggering, so we can just move forward from that.

Issue 2: How easy is it to trigger MyDMX? Well, it really depends. Overall, the answer is yes, since most people are going to use MIDI NOTE ON commands for triggering scenes. Once a triggers are learned, you're ready to put them into production.

Issue 3: How many MIDI triggers can you have? How many do you need? Assuming we limit ourselves to 128 note notes, and 16 MIDI channels via a single MIDI channel bank, that's 2048. Is that enough? It's probably more than enough.

Now, your idea of having a DMX console/controller as back-up in case MyDMX ever tanks on you, that's a wise idea. I had a show a while ago where MyDMX just went and crapped on me. Under the gun, I failed over to my DMX Operator. So, it's definately good to have a back-up.

Now, the complexities of running MyDMX and a MIDI sequencer on the same machine with an objective of triggering MyDMX(and running your sequence being another objective):

I don't recommend this, but it CAN be done. I highly recommend a MIDI interface that supports multiple banks of MIDI channels. A very basic MIDI interfance that supports this is the M-Audio MIDISPORT 2X2. I mention this one because I have it. It is a 2-bank MIDI interface(A and B banks, for 32 MIDI channels total). However, any MIDI interface can work, provided you accept the limitations you may impose upon yourself going with something that only has one bank of MIDI channels, such as wiht my M-Audio Firewire 410 audio interface that has one MIDI IN and one MIDI out. Some features I like about the MIDISPort 2X2 is that is's small, USB Bus powered, yellow so it won't get lost, and all metal construction.

Now, I'm using different software. This isn't a matter of "better", it's a matter of "that's what I got", and what I got is Sonar Home Studio 6 for my MIDI sequencing, which I can also use with audio tracks. You should have high familiarity with your sequencing platform of choice.

So, if you need to use a track for your MIDI triggers to feed to MyDMX, by all means do so, use as many as you may need. I'm unfamiliar with Ableton Live, so I don't know how it's configured. You'll need to assign the MIDI output to a DEDICATED MIDI output. This is why it is so essential to have a MIDI interface with multiple out ports. You'll need to take a short MIDI cable from that dedicated OUT, to an UNUSED input(any). You also want to set Ableton Live to NOT listen to any incoming MIDI input because it may cause a MIDI loop which will lock up your sequencer.

MyDMX does not support software bridging, so it doesn't act as a device on the MIDI chain. MyDMX merely "listens" to all the inputs for the triggers and then responds to them as programmed.

So, what you're doing earlier is SENDING out MIDI trigger data, and then bringing it back into the MIDI interface. This presents the triggers as true triggers, and that is how MyDMX works, by responding to actual MIDI events, not internal sequencer data.

Is this making any sense? I mean, I got this to work.

MyDMX MUST be the application operating in the foreground. This will NOT work if MyDMX is operating in the background. You will need to program a blank measure or two for each sequenced song to leave yourself ample time to switch applications to get MyDMX to the front.

I still have the PDF I made documenting my efforts, so you should contact me via my web site if you want it.

My honest suggestion:
In a show, reliability matters. Ideally, two low-end laptops should be able to handle this task properly and with less problems and greater reliability. One would be sequencing, the other MyDMX. Wiht decent laptops able to be had for under $400 for a reputable brand name, cost doesn't become as much of an issue, but yes, it is a cost. You would also need to have 2 MIDI interfaces, which shouldn't cost that much either because now you can buy reall inexpensive ones, at least a really inexpensive one for MyDMX.

I could go on endlessly about possible problems of 2 computers. Both could fail, leaving you stranded. Of course, one computer doing both can fail and leave you equally boned.

If I HAD to do this(and it may become true sooner than I may like to want to think), I'd do it two computers. My MacBook Pro running XP Home or 10.5.4 with Pro Tools as my sequencer since I'd need more horsepower. This funky Dell D410 would be my MyDMX platform under XP Pro. Put the Firewire 410 on the Macbook Pro, put the MIDISPORT 2X2 on the Dell, link up via a short MIDI cable and it's good to go. Rock solid, reliable and in case of MyDMX failure, there's the DMX Operator nearby and quickly able to be patched in.

Hope this helps.