MIDI Schmidi!

Can anyone help me with this?

Hey All,

I’ve found myself involved in a new musical/theatrical effort. For the first time ever I’m playing keyboards/drum machines/general electronics. I realize, however that I don’t know enough about midi to cobble this system together.

Here’s what I have:

Casio 88-Key Keyboard with Midi in and out.
Roland Floor Pedal thingie with Midi in, out, and through.
PC Machine with Echo Layla with Midi in, out and through.

The plan here is to run synths on the PC driven by both of the keyboards - My thinking is that the Casio Crap-o-Matic 9000 Should drive midi channel 1 and the foot pedal dealie on channel 2 - That way i can have two sounds running at the same time. And control drum sequences on the PC screen.

How do I connect all this stuff together to make it work this way? Obviously, I have absolutely no clue what I’m doing on the Midi side, but at least nothing has caught fire yet…

I know some of you cats are well versed in the vagueries of Midi and do humbly request assistance…

Thanks in Advance, and have a fun, safe and enjoyable holiday…


Quiet out there, isn’t it…

I’ll take a stab at it…

1) MIDI controllers with an IN jack sometimes have some provision for merging the stream from the IN jack with their own data and both come out the OUT. You might need to enable something in the controller.

-or -

2) if you happen to have 2 MIDI inputs in your PC - eg the onboard sound’s MIDI plus your “studio” card’s MIDI, then you just go one to each input, and route them in the PC.

… and that about plumbs the shallows of my MIDI knowledge in that area. I only run one MIDI controller. Have a look at some of the MIDI basics - here’s one: http://www.borg.com/~jglatt/tutr/miditutr.htm

Thanks for the info Archimedes, I’m checking the link now. My basic problem was that I only have a single midi in on the computer - The onboard soundcard has no game port/midi port, so I was looking for a way to plumb them all together into a single cable.

The only other option was to buy a “midi merge” box, to the tune of $80 - Ouch!

Thanks again, have a great Xmas…


One of your keyboards might have a merge capability. Be sure to check that out. Archimedes mentioned that but you didn’t respond to that part.

In other words, you cable it Keyboard A -> Keyboard B -> computer.

Check the manuals to see if they support “merge”.


Isn’t merge the same as midi echo where the midi in port is echoed to the midi out port? AIUI anything with echo facility will not only output its own output but anything coming in on the input port as well, in which case you can daisy chain the devices. I’ve done this with a keyboard and outboard hardware midi sequencer before, but never really thought about it…

Thanks for the info gents, I searched the manuals for the Casio and the Roland neither of them seem to support merging, unfortunately. I was hoping that one of them would. But the Casio is, afterall, a Casio - It doesn’t have a thru port either. The roland is a better piece of gear, but purchased used and without documentation, I found some docs on the web, but still slim pickens, and no mention of merging.

I wound up having to suck-it-up and drop the cash for a merge box - I did find one for 69.00 - and it works great, it’s made my midiman and is passive (i.e. no battery or wall wart). So now I have a working rig, albeit messy and the floor is riddled with cables. I did find in the Casio documentation that I can split the keyboard and have them on separate channels, so now I have:

1 - Low end of the Keyboard - Synth Pad sound. (Zynaddsubfx)
2 - Floor Pedal - Bass synth sweep sound. (Zynaddsubfx)
3 - High end of the keyboard - Sample bank (specimen).

Okay, now…does anyone know how to play keyboards? :D

Awww heck, the gig isn’t until January 5th, I got plenty of time to learn keyboards. What have I gotten myself into…?


Glad you solved it.

You probably don’t want to hear that you might have solved the problem cheaper by sticking in a 2nd soundcard, like a SoundBlaster PCI 128 ($20) which would add a MIDI input. So I won’t mention it. :p

Anyway, the hardware MIDI merge will be more useful with your hardware.

Right, Maaszy – it would probably be called “echo” rather than “merge” in synthesizer documentation, because it’s not merging two external streams – rather, it’s merging the input stream with it’s own generated stream.

BTW, the device can’t be passive (not that it matters). It must be powered off the data itself, like the LEDs are on some breakout boxes. No problem with this, with two input devices there should be plenty of power to drive the circuitry – basically a USART and a buffer. (Is MIDI synchronous or asynch? Ah, who cares.) I remember back in the days when a USART was a honkin big chip and consumed a fair bit of power. Oh, the bad ol’ days!