[ Advert ]

> Home







> Issue 11







Pump it up!


The 12 Rows of


Tripping the MIDI


Tip of the day




Portfolio Story 1


Up for it?


Unconventional 2k1 Report





MyMail 1.50





Tripping the MIDI Fandango 

With the 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 explains


Now that 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

The 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:

  1. Go to Start > Control Panel. Double-click the "Add New Hardware" icon.
  2. Windows offers to look for Plug and Play devices. You can't over-ride this, so just click "Next".
  3. Windows then offers to look for new hardware. Choose "No" and click on "Next".
  4. A list of hardware types appears. Choose "Sound, video and game controllers". Click on "Next".
  5. Although 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".
  6. The next dialog indicates the directory you have selected. Click "OK".
  7. A list of the hardware found should appear, showing only Hubi's MIDI LoopBack. Go to the next dialog.
  8. Another dialog appears. Click "Finish".
  9. Hubi's LoopBack panel appears. Don't worry about this, you can go and adjust your settings later.
  10. The final dialog asks if you if you want to re-start your computer. Click "Yes".

Using 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.

With any 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.

If you have done the above, and still aren't hearing any sound, there are a number of things to check:

Make sure 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 driver).

And finally....
All 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.

Screen shot of STeem

Tim Wilson is a member of the Atari-MIDI mailing list.


Useful links

MyAtari magazine - Feature #4, September 2001

 [ Top of page ]



Copyright 2001 MyAtari magazine