the MIDI Fandango
advent of Steem, the Atari emulator for
PC, Atari MIDI programs can now be run in
tandem with other PC applications with a
little help from the Hubi as Tim Wilson
computers have significantly advanced in
terms of performance the once dreamt of
possibility of running soft-synths alongside
sequencers all on the same machine is distinctly
possible. Even on my crummy AMD 500 MHz
machine I can run a sophisticated MIDI sequencer
(KCS Omega) alongside several soft-synths.
This article describes how to use Hubi's
MIDI loopback device in order to run a sequencer
alongside a separate soft-synth within the
same machine. If you don't yet have Hubi's
MIDI LoopBack, you can find it at http://members.magnet.at/hubwin/midi.html
most difficult thing about Hubi's MIDI LoopBack
is installing it, not because it is intrinsically
tricky, but because the accompanying documentation
is somewhat cryptic, and because you need
to install the application as if you are
installing a new piece of hardware. So here's
how you do it:
- Go to
Start > Control Panel. Double-click
the "Add New Hardware" icon.
offers to look for Plug and Play devices.
You can't over-ride this, so just click
then offers to look for new hardware.
Choose "No" and click on "Next".
- A list
of hardware types appears. Choose "Sound,
video and game controllers". Click
you don't have a disk, choose "Have
disk", in the dialog. Now use the
"Browse" function to find
the path to Hubi's MIDI LoopBack on
your hard disk. Once you've found it
"oemsetup.inf" will automatically
be recognised. Click on "OK".
next dialog indicates the directory
you have selected. Click "OK".
- A list
of the hardware found should appear,
showing only Hubi's MIDI LoopBack. Go
to the next dialog.
dialog appears. Click "Finish".
LoopBack panel appears. Don't worry
about this, you can go and adjust your
final dialog asks if you if you want
to re-start your computer. Click "Yes".
Hubi's MIDI Loopback
The purpose of installing
Hubi's MIDI LoopBack is to add virtual MIDI
ports to your computer. Once it is installed
you will be able to route MIDI around in
a variety of ways. Perhaps the most useful
way of doing this is to route the MIDI out
of a sequencer application to a seperate
soft-synth. I use Hubi's MIDI LoopBack to
route MIDI out of the KCS Omega sequencer
to the Orion virtual studio. As KCS Omega
was designed for the Atari I run this under
the STEEM Atari emulator (see link below).
This gives me the advantage of being able
to use KCS Omega's considerable sequencing
capabilities (not least of which is algorithmic
composition) to drive Orion's creditable
generators, thus affording me the best of
both worlds, sequencing in a manner way
beyond Orion's capabilities, whilst having
access to as many different virtual instruments
within Orion as my computer can handle.
The way this
is achieved is the MIDI Out is routed to
one of the loopback ports. Your sequencer
of choice should have an option somewhere
that enables you to do this. This is normally
found lurking in the menu somewhere, under
something called "MIDI", "configure",
"Settings" or whatever. Having
done this it is time to fire up the soft-synth
(or, indeed virtual studio). Providing the
soft-synth accepts MIDI, it is now a matter
of setting the MIDI In so it is on the same
MIDI loopback port (that is, LB1, LB2, LB3
or LB4) as the sequencer's Out setting.
luck, if you've done the above you should
find when you play a MIDI file on the sequencer
it will now play back on the soft-synth.
you have done the above, and still aren't
hearing any sound, there are a number of
things to check:
the sequencer is playing! Most sequencers
and soft-synths have a useful MIDI activity
light that might be of help here.
Is the sequencer
transmitting on the same channel as the
soft-synth is set to receive on?
So all of
the above is hunky-dory, and still no sound?
It's time to return to the settings of the
soft-synth. This time select a different
sound driver for the output of the softsynth
(this sorted out the Omega/Orion arrangement
described above. I presume there was some
sort of conflict, with both applications
simultaneously trying to access the same
of the above may sound tricky, but I can
assure you once you have the installation
sorted, you should be able to get up and
running in no time. I got the KCS Omega
and Orion arrangement to work within 15
minutes, including the time taken to install
Hubi's MIDI LoopBack, and figuring out Orion's
sound output options. Some soft-synths,
such as Reaktor and SynC Mod will appear
as an option when you fire up your sequencer
and look at the MIDI routing options. I'd
like to see more of this level of user-friendly
functionality, but in the meantime let's
hear it for Hubi.
is a member of the Atari-MIDI mailing list.