USB (Multiple Exteneral Synths) and Cubase

I have a question that might sound silly so here goes.

I have a Yamaha Motif XF6 on order, and I currently own a Roland Integra-7. I am running Cubase 7 on a Macbook Pro. Most External Midi devices today do USB for MIDI in/out in addition to old school 5 pin DIn connectors.

Can a USB hub (let’s say a 4 or 5 port) be used for plugging in the Yamaha Motif XF6 and the Roland Integra-7 to do the MIDI, or do I need to buy an old school (5 Pin DIN, with a USB connection to the computer) to hookup up my external devices?


I don’t specifically know about your synths, but I connect both a Korg Triton Extreme and a Roland Fantom X7 through USB as midi devices. In fact, it’s via a 5m USB cable from my studio PC to a powered hub and then another 5m cable to each keyboard (because they’re on the opposite side of the room to the PC).

No problems at all with operation. Only problem I have is from the rather useless Korg USB drivers which always present a generic ‘USB Midi Device’ name so I continually have to guess which midi device to connect in Cubase (and they seem to appear in random orders so I can’t assume it’s always the same generic midi device!). But that’s another story…

Using the USB connection I can also share the keyboard’s memory (and/or memory cards) as memory stick devices, which means I can back up the sounds to my hard disk. This is a function on these keyboards, probably supported on yours too.


That is cool that it works for you. My concern was there may be Midi timing errors. I personally would rather hook up via USB then to have to mess around with an old school Midi interface (like the Motu Micro Lite or the interface from M-Audio).

It will be interesting to see what other users have experienced.

I’ve never suffered from midi timing errors but then I don’t play shred metal 190bpm, my stuff is more the performance than mechanical beats. I also tend to record anything that I play out via external keyboards before the mixing stage, so I know that it is set in stone and reproducible should my keyboards go awal.

In fact, I’ve often wondered if direct USB is actually faster because there’s no midi cable or legacy midi hardware involved, therefore theoretically you can transmit notes at the speed of USB and the keyboard handshaking, which is a lot faster than midi ever was/is.

I have suffered dropped messages usually due to chasing controllers or pitch bend, i.e. when there’s a lot of midi flying about. Can’t say whether this is the Cb or the USB drivers, or the keyboard. But careful programming and an understanding approach minimises these. No different with USB keyboards to my Midex8 via midi cable, or even using daisy chained THRU connectors.

The one problem with USB midi is the the devices disappear completely when you unplug them. This means that when if start Cb with your keyboards off then there’s no midi devices even if you turn them on - you have to restart Cubase! Whereas if you’ve to a midi device like the Midex8 or Motu, then you’d generally leave it plugged in and on, so it’s always showing 8 midi devices even if the keyboards are off. This gets me every time because don’t like to keep my keyboards powered up - a royal pita! Many people have petitioned for a rescan midi function but nothing yet.


As far as I thought USB is buffered and each buffer is equivalent to 1ms, so a round trip through a USB port take at least 2ms more than the reported latency.

So even with using an old school Midi interface (like the Motu Micro Lite) since you connect it to the computer via USB, you would have a least a 2ms latency delay?

I may be wrong and the USB buffering is included in the drivers reported latency, but with computers/digital, latency is something that has to be lived with, it’s all a matter of how much!

I do appreciate you insight and commentss

My whole thing is this. If I own a Roland Integra-7 Sound Module, and will be using a Yamaha Motif XF6, why go out and buy a Midi Interface (like a MOTU Micro lite, etc) if both the Roland and Motif have USB MIDI in/out. I have been controling the Roland Integra-7 with a Arturia Laboratory 61 Keyboard controller. It seems like I could plug all 3 into the powered USB Hub and it should work. The question will be if I end up with a big MIDI traffic jam. :slight_smile:



I would say unlikely too.

I’ve done a few gigs with USB midi, no probs. And in the studio I have my 2 keyboards and Midex8 on the powered USB hub that I mentioned. Then I’d be playing them using 2 small USB keyboard controllers on another unpowered hub next to my DAW, or my weighted piano plugged into the midex8, no troubles.