The Amiga Monitor MIDI Room

Getting the most out of your Amiga with the right software and hardware

By Fred Ericksen, Music and MIDI Editor,

Hello, and welcome back to The Amiga Monitor MIDI Room!

Actually, this isn't a room, but we do talk about MIDI, and my favourite part, the one and only AMIGA!

If you've read any of the previous articles on MIDI and the Amiga here in The Amiga Monitor, you've seen that I've given a brief description of some Amiga music programs available, and a bit of MOD programs and such (thanks to Sidewinder last month). If not, go ahead and get the last few AM's and read 'em, but it's not a requisite.

You may have noticed I have no "real" or "Official" name for my article, until this month. Did you catch it? Kinda lame catch name, (it's _not_ a room :).

Anyway, how 'bout a good and ol' fashioned play the Name Game for a big fat PRIZE!! That's right! We'll give away a brand new A4000 w/ a 4 port serial interface, complete with MIDI ports for each if your name WINS! Just write me with _favourable_ suggestions for a _flattering_ name I could use here on my AM MIDI page. Maybe second prize could be Mike Webb's slightly used A500, complete with a GVP Hard card and homemade 16-channel interface!

We can submit them to Mr. Webb, and let him pick!

Well, Mike, what do you think? Is the A4000 within this month's budget? I'm pretty sure we could get our hands on the second prize, but that grand prize might put us out of business :)

We'll let Mr. Webb think it over <g>.

I've touched a little on what this article is about this month, and have been receiving some mail on the subject. >Multiple MIDI ports.<

When the first MIDI spec went into effect in about 1985, it had originally called for 16 complete channels, each polyphonically addressable from one port. The thinking then was that 16 different sounds from one keyboard or MIDI module would be fantastic! Now some twelve years later many people are using 2 or more multitimbral synthers and find they would like to access each one without having to strip them down to the confines of an outdated MIDI spec.

First hand experence tells me I don't want to use my equipment that way. I want to be able to plug in my Ensoniq KS 32, use it in mulititimbral mode for channels 1-8, using 9 for the internal drums. I want to use 10 for my Roland R-5 drum machine, and 11 thru 16 for the Sequential Multitrack.

That uses up 16, but what about my 4 other keyboards, or my 5 sound modules and how 'bout my effects units??

It gets pretty ugly.

Here's one letter..........

from: Brian Jansen 

Hi Fred!

Great reviews!  I have two A4000's and do video production professionally.
I bought my second A4000 as a spare (just in case) but want to start
producing music with it. It has a Studio 16 board, and One Stop Music Shop
installed. I just bought a Roland XP-80 and am trying to find Bars & Pipes Pro.
I'll have to find someone on CompuServe to snag a copy for me. Is there any
info on getting a manual for the program as well? Also, where might I search
for the Triple Plus MIDI interface?

Brian Jansen

WELL BRIAN!!  I can see to it that you get someone on CompuServe to send you 
a copy. How 'bout if you donate your _extra_  A4000 to the contest!? <g>
   We could send you with a plaque or something too! <gg>

   It could say you're a swell kinda guy, and aided the great Amiga cause!

 No? O.k.  Understandable.

Here's another letter........


You certainly seem to know much about Amigas and sequencing, so
perhaps you can help me in my quest.  I am in need of sequencing
software which supports 32 MIDI channels (actually 2 subgroups of 16,
I imagine). I currently use Dr. T's KCS which only supports 16.  I
definitely need decent timing resolution (400 and something ppqn is
sufficient).  Also I would like to find sequencing software with some sort
of "groove" quantizing feature, but my first concern is 32 MIDI channels.
I would really hate to be forced to start sequencing with my evil bastard PC.
Thanks for any help you can give me.
   Gregg Zauner>>

So it seems I'm getting the idea people want to use more than 16 MIDI channels at one time, do they?

Here's my reply to Gregg......

    I know of only 2 solutions for you at this time, Gregg. Blue Ribbon used to
make an interface called the Triple Play Plus that had 1 MIDI in and 3 MIDI 
outs. You could use it with any sequencing package like Dr. T's KCS via the 
software that was included, but you still only had 16 total channels. Using it with 
Bars & Pipes Professional, however, you could access each out individually. This 
way you had 48 complete MIDI channels. I believe Bars & Pipes Pro 2.5 is still 
available for free on CompuServe in the BlueRibbon libs, if you have access 
to it. 

   Also look for their address or phone # there. They were bought out by 
Microsoft and no longer sell Bars & Pipes, but I was able to get one of the Triple 
Play interfaces about  8 months ago. Call them to see if you can locate the Triple
Play, or look around for used gear. This would have been a pretty common 
package, and perhaps you can find an Amigan who's turned colors and would like 
to sell this package. 

   The other option you'll have is to get Music-X, a second serial interface,
and a second MIDI interface to hook to the second serial interface. Music-X 
is a  very good sequencing program, and I still see the 2.0 package advertised 
with a notation program called Notator-X for around $70.00. Music-X can access 
a second serial port and MIDI interface to give you a total of 32 MIDI channels. 
You didn't mention what Amiga you're using, so this solution will only work if 
you have a big-box Amiga with Zorro-II slots. I own both Dr. T's KCS and Music-X 
and find I like using Music-X more. Check it out!

BTW, Both Music-X and B&P have swing quantize!

That's all for this month; remember to play the "Name Game" <g>