Midi help! It's a bit more complicated than just Reason!

Hi, I’m wondering if anyone can point me in the right direction please?
I wanted to go external only for fun, but also DAW for normal production. We are moving soon, so for the first time in my 49 years, I will have a studio set up in a space and everything! So I have been buying stuff towards that goal (for 7months). But I am impatient, so have been trying to set it up in the little room (on a plank of wood on my decks).

I have been using Reason since no3 and haven’t used cubase since no4. I have a Roland TR8S, 2 TD3s, a novation K station in the loft, a novation sl mk3, a presonus 2418c and a eowave swarm (arrived today). I also bought a kenton thru5 and merge4. I am back on cubase when studio one didn’t work well (sort of why I bought the 2418c, and I discovered I could upgrade from cubase 4: 2009!)

After 3 weeks reading, rtfm, youtubing and struggling I eventually got cubase 12 working with the tr8s and td3sr and td3 mo. That took a clean install after 20 hours of struggling. I can play the td3s with the slmk3. Coolio. No idea what that issue was,because I created all the i/o’s the same way. Anyways.

How would you recommend I sync all this up please? I currently have it via usb midi (thanks nice man from novation) but there is a double kick when it loop, and it drifts at times, which I’m presuming is jitter. The clock is internal, not mtc and the 2418c is the master. Should I use mtc? I really am new to midi.
How would it be easiest to switch between cubase and no DAW? The slmk3 has 2 cv outs which I can use for the swarm; I have the td3s and tr8s on midi din when running with no daw, and the few jam sessions i have had were just fun. I’ve driven myself down an in and out cul de sac! Please help. I have 3 days hols left and am yet to play a note!
Should I use the slmk3 or tr8s as master? Should I go all midi din and if so how? Can I still use the cv/ gate to run the eowave swarm if the presonus 2418c is plugged in to the kenton thru and then in to the slmk3?
Too many ins and outs.
Thanks if you even read this babble.

Now, I am a little bit old fashioned and not familiar with all the modern ways of connecting external gear with each other. So if I am writing some outdated stuff here, hopefully somebody else is going to chip in.

In my opinion if you want to have a setup that works with and without a computer you should get yourself a MIDI interface that is also a MIDI patchbay. I think the MotU MIDI Express XT (not the Express 128!) would be a good choice. You’d have 8 MIDI ins and outs and additionally the USB connection to the computer. This device would replace both of your Kenton units. It allows you to route any input to any output, you can store 8 individual routing setups as presets and toggle them from the front of the unit without the need of a computer. One preset could be including the computer, another one could be without it.

In order to sync stuff you first have to find out what each device is capable of sending/receiving. Some units can read MIDIClock but not MTC. Cubase can only send MIDIClock but not receive it (thus it has to be MIDIClock master and everything else has to be slave).
Usually when syncing there can only be one master, everything else has to be slave. I assume you haven’t done this and that this is the cause for drifting (jitter would be something else). For your non-computer setup the master might be the SL Mk3.

I hope this helps you to get some ideas of how to set things up.

Thank you very much Johhny. It does indeed. A little bit gutted I need to spend more money, around £400 more for the Motu. Ouch.
I have just been looking in to midi interfaces and you’re right, it looks like an easily switchable method with the presets. I am assuming when I switch to a hardware only preset, all I have to do i set one of them (the sl mk3) as the master, send midi clock and i’ll be done. That sounds amazing, you know, just turning things on and it all works, as ooposed to 6 hours trying to figure out why Cubase isn’t playing nice and then doing a clean install (always user error).
On my search I did come across the iconnectivity mioXM. This is around £200 and has usb ports. So I could plug the TD3s and SL mk3 into those and this leaves the DIN for expadability. Anyone have any expereince of those?

Would this not work for a short term solution?
Right now the sl mk3 is the master as a non DAW setup and everything is syncing (as off 4pm yersterday). The Midi Din out goes to the kenton thru5 that feeds the other stuff. Could I not just plug the out from the 2418c into thew sl mk3 IN and set the sl mk3 to receive midi clock, then set the sl mk3 to receive teh clock? Apologies, I am sort of figuring this out as I type. I will try this later , but I am going to twiddle some knobs today!
Thanks for the help.

While this looks nice I suggested the MIDI Express XT to for one reason: You can switch presets without the computer being connected. I don’t see the mioXM being able to do that.
It is up to you whether that is important to you or not.

Just to jump in here , with the Td3’s i would use Din , usb can be a bit temperamental with the Td’s , something like the Motu Microlite will suit you just fine . Midi verus’s Usb ? Midi din wins everytime , with the TD’3 you only need the input to the Td 3 otherwise the way it’s configured you will get midi feedback using the out from the Td3 . My Td3’s sync perfect with midi and you’ll completely forget about the PITA programming with the Cubase sequencer

Thanks for the replies.
Thanks for the info on the stored presets of the motu xt Johnny - I definately would have missed that. I’ll have to have a think about where this might end up in the future in terms of gear.

@FilterFreq: Thanks for the info. When I first tried setting all this up I was getting a feedback loop that was crashing the sl mk3 - a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing!

It was this complicated with a soundblaster awe64! :stuck_out_tongue:
Or come to think of it expensive!

Hi. I just wanted to say thanks for the help. In the end I went withe mioXL. It was cheaper and still saved presets. So no need for a PC once they have been saved. Works a treat.
Thanks for putting me on that path. Cheers.

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