What MIDI interface?

Hi there,

I need some advice in choosing a MIDI interface.
My setup with MIDI interface is a simple plug&play USB to MIDI cable.

There are tons of more professional interfaces on the market but will it
really improve your MIDI connection or interaction?

Has anyone of you experienced better results by changing from a plug&play
cable to a professional MIDI interface?

And of course, which professional MIDI interface is best compatible with
mac and Cubase 8? (MOTU MIDI devices?)

What problem do you see? I think ESI M8UXL is great. But still midi is ancient. And it was not even high tech when it arrived in early 80’s. .

My external Korg Z1 synthesizer doesn’t receive the MIDI commands correctly from Cubase.

Commands are skipped, note on commands keep hanging, latency issues, etc.

Can a profesional MIDI interface fix this problem? (since i have a cheap MIDI connection)

Amongst my minions I have a Z1, that I am using with Cubase.

The synthesizer is old, but there should be no problems using it with MIDI. What kind of a MIDI interface are you using now? What kind of MIDI cables are you using? Are the cables old, or long, etc.

MIDI is simple (I mean to utilize it, hardware wise and software wise) so there is no reason for your experience, other than typical issues. E.g. Just like MIDI is easy, it is also slow. The longer cables you use, the longer the MIDI messages takes to reach its destination. Older or inferior (though you do NOT need expensive) cables will affect quality of transport, and since MIDI is digital there is no “distortion” per se, but missed messages, on the receiving side.

Do you have a way to test another MIDI device (synth or otherwise) with your current interface? Do you have the ability to test a shorter, newer or a “thicker” MIDI cable?


USB MOTU interfaces have been rock solid for me (and Cubase) and the industry benchmark for many years. Make sure you have the latest MIDI USB drivers from the manufacturer installed for the computer OS you’re using. I didn’t notice if you are on Mac or PC. I know for Mac, plug-and-play is a no-brainer and MIDI is the most antiquated part of any set up. If you’re having problems, it’s most likely in your Cubase or device settings. Cheap cables shouldn’t make a big difference unless your running distances over 20’. 50’ is said to be the limit with premium cables.

Thanks for your response,

I have 2 USB to MIDI cables hooked up. Bespeco and Miditech new and both 1.5 meters long. Not sure it has anything to do with the cables so i will give a little background:

I have this problem for years :open_mouth: but i used to have a slow pc using Cubase 3 with only 2g memory. My MIDI performance was limited, although that’s what i thought and i didn’t expected much with a slow computer on Cubase. Today i have a totally new setup. Mac 3.5ghz i5, 16G memory and Cubase 8 Pro. I recently bought a second Z1 as a backup because my old Z1 had minor unexplained errors.

The problems on my old computer or my new Mac are very identical.
I control the Z1 from Cubase and assigned the CC controls of the Z1.

To me, it looks like Cubase sends false MIDI commands. Notes keep hanging, velocity changes or it effects the modulation wheel from the Z1. Sometimes\rarely it triggers the arpeggio on.
This happens when i haven’t even assigned any cc lanes (besides velocity) in the MIDI track in Cubase.
When i assign the ADSR or mod Wheel commands in Cubase then i can get around this problem.

Furthermore, when i make quick adjustments in the cc commands or use 2 cc lanes simultaneously then the Z1 will skip commands or the commands get received a few seconds later.
I can control the Z1 from Cubase but it’s very limited.

This might be a “dumb” question but is it necessary (or even possible) to install the Z1 in Cubase? I know the Z1 didn’t came with any kind of driver or no driver was ever released by Korg for the Z1. My plug&play MIDI interfaces also didn’t came with any driver and was not mentioned by the manufacturers.

I am quite sure my computer performance or both of the Korg Z1 synthesizers are not the problem.
So it must be Cubase or the MIDI interfaces.

Have i been doing something completely wrong for years :smiley:
I hope you can knock some sense into me

Thanks for your response,

I’am on a Mac Retina 5k and my plug&play USB MIDI interfaces didn’t came with any kind of driver. I also get the feeling my MIDI issues are Cubase related. How can the problem be related to the device settings in Cubase?

What is the brand of interface are you using? Oh, I see them now… Go online to the manufacturer’s site and look for the latest driver download(s). Make sure you are running the most current version for Mac.

+1 for the ESI M8U XL

I’ve had mine over three years and it’s been solid. I run 6 different MIDI devices though it (two rack synths, two keyboard synths, an external fx unit and an iTrack Dock to drive an iPad) and having them all on their own pair of inputs has proved reliable.

Actually, now that I am thinking about it, back when using the Z1 as part of the MIDI controller setup (nowadays I only use it to play stand alone and as a MIDI sound source) I seem to recall something about something that couldn’t be turned off or did not behave like one expects, and I think it was about the arpeggio on the Z1. I am not entirely sure, but that is what comes to mind. Do you have the manual for the Z1 (I’ll try checking my stack one of these days and look it up).

There is no requirement to install the Z1 MIDI Device in Cubase, no. MIDI is just a bunch of commands that can even be built manually inside of Cubase. The reason why a MIDI Device might add value is because someone already defined a set of MIDI messages that can be used with the Z1.

MIDI cable interfaces uses a built-in general driver, which is why no specific branded one is required.

Also, a driver is not needed for communicating via MIDI when a device already comes with a MIDI port (like the Z1 in this case).

I don’t have problems with Cubase (latest) and the Z1 and if you can confirm the two MIDI cable interfaces, then it seem logical that the trouble maker somehow is the Z1 (that does not mean something is broken, in the sense that it was once working, but that it deliberately works that way).

I am not sure you have done anything wrong all these years, and if your problems exists with both of your Z1’s in conjunction with two different computer systems, it seems to point back to the synthesizers.

Please remember that some of the MIDI synths back-in-the-day had issues with MIDI implementations and some had no way to implement features that was not part of MIDI and sometimes tweaked or omitted certain aspects of its usage on the MIDI front.

Big thanks Elektrobolt!
Much appreciated and this helps me a lot.

It would be more likely that the problem lies within the Korg Z1, it’s midi functionality
or compatibility issue with Cubase, instead of Cubase being the main cause.

On the other hand.

When i send the basic MIDI commands (Note on, note off and velocity) from cubase to my Z1, without sending ADSR effect changes or modulation, it can cause the Z1 to change these settings.

When i hit the reset button in Cubase the ADSR values change back to normal.
If i send the ADSR commands along from Cubase then no changes occur.


  • i setup a sound on the Z1 with the built-in setting of the Z1
  • Cubase plays the sound with note on, note off and velocity commands
  • after a minute or two the sound starts changing (adsr or mod wheel changes)
  • i hit the reset button in Cubase
  • the sound of the Z1 changes back to normal

So, the question still bothers me whether Cubase resets the MIDI commands being send
from Cubase, or the reset button is a MIDI command itself which resets the Z1.

If the problems are related to Z1, you must also have the exact same MIDI issues when controlling the Z1 by Cubase.

  • ADSR changes during playback
  • Quick changes with values in controller lanes will be skipped
  • Using multiple controller lanes simultaniously will also distort or suppress the values
    Can you confirm any of this or does your Z1 run smoothly?

I might just consider the fact the MIDI connection with the Z1 and Cubase is some sort
of compatibility issue, which can not be resolved in any way.

Is there any other way to “use” the sounds of the Z1 and control it’s effect?
Is it possible to copy a program sound from the Z1 to another device, such as, a MIDI
keyboard or Korg Triton for example?