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Topic: Interface Questions

  1. #1

    Question Interface Questions

    I'm almost ready to start building my Giga-Only PC and I'm trying to figure out the MIDI Interface thing.

    USB, non-USB?

    Why would I need something like an 8X8 interface?

    Any particular interface that's recommended by Tascam?

  2. #2

    Re: Interface Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by MayorPeete
    I'm almost ready to start building my Giga-Only PC and I'm trying to figure out the MIDI Interface thing.
    You might wait one month to see what manufacturers release GSIF-2 drivers.

    USB, non-USB?
    I am not aware of any "standalone" midi interfaces that use anything but USB. Some of the "combo" audio interfaces that have both audio inputs and a set of midi ports use a FireWire connection.

    If I were building a standalone GIGA PC you might want to consider some of the "virtual connection" products that use an Ethernet connection, like MusicLab's "Midi Over LAN CP" or the fXpansion adapter products (they have some that support both audio and midi)

    Why would I need something like an 8X8 interface?
    GS3 Orchestra has 8 midi input ports. Since a single midi port can provide 16 different midi channels, this is how a person could send up to 16x8=128 different "music parts" at the same time into GigaStudio.

    If you were "feeding" GS3 Orchestra midi tracks from a separate computer that had your midi sequencing/DAW software on it, and you wanted to use the "all hardware" approach, you would actually need 2 8x8 interfaces:

    - 1 8x8 going OUT of your sequencing computer
    - a set of 8 midi cables (each cable connected from a computer midi OUT port to a GIGA midi IN port).
    - 1 8x8 going INTO your Giga computer

  3. #3

    Re: Interface Questions

    Lee's right. No standalone GSIF-2 MIDI interfaces yet. Hopefully that will change over the next months.

    Regarding USB or not USB... Some say that USB has bad latency compared to the built-in stuff. I don't know. I've used a MidiSport 1x1 and now a 2x2 and they seem tight enough for me. If M-Audio ever releases a GSIF-2 driver for that line, it should be as fast as you could ever need. But again, I'm happy with the latency I have - and I use one channel from electronic drums into Giga. If the latency if fine there...

    So, why would you need an 8x8 interface? Two reasons: 1) you have eight keyboards/e-drums/midi-guitars to hook up, or 2) you are using an external sequencer and you want to drive eight ports for 128 channels of MIDI. Item 1 is valid - you need an input for every controller that you expect to own. Item 2 is questionable. Just go with MIDIoverLAN. That used to work for PCs only. Now it applies to Macs as well.

    So, count your (current and future) controllers and buy that many MIDI inputs. Get MOL for computer to computer connections.

    The older MOL+ works fine with GS3 for me. I can't comment on GS3 and MOL-CP.


  4. #4

    Re: Interface Questions

    Thanks for the input guys.

    Where can I find more info on MIDI Over Lan?

  5. #5

  6. #6

    Re: Interface Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Blaske
    AFAIK, there is no stand-alone interface, USB or serial, that supports GSIF2's kernel level MIDI. Perhaps some manufacturer will support the standard in the future, but at the moment, it's anybody's guess. GSIF1 interfaces will work, but obviously not with the timing tightness of kernel level MIDI.
    Tascam updated the drivers for it's 3 USB units last Friday and the docs now indicate GSIF2 kernel level MIDI support. I did the update to my US122 and it indeed shows the kernel virtual midi inputs in GS3, which when A/B'd with the normal ports, feel noticeably more "connected". I'll be giving it more of a workout this weekend.

    But I don't know that I'd recommend a USB1 unit if it was your sole interface. I use mine as a minimal live performance rig. I don't think there's a USB unit around that goes over 48K that's GSIF2. But there is firewire. I also use the Tascam FW1884 which is not only a stand alone wav/midi GSIF2 sound card but also a nice midi work surface. Another gorgeous sounding possibility is the RME Fireface 800 which goes to 192K. But I'm not sure if it's shipping yet.


  7. #7

    Re: Interface Questions


    You're right about not using USB for audio. For MIDI-only it's fine. Though some claim that the latency is longer than for built-in cards (and I don't doubt them), the latency is fast enough for my ears.


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