One way to connect TriplePlay to MIDI hardware modules through a computer and a DAW

Some folks have written and asked how they can get MIDI information from TriplePlay through their computer and back out to a hardware MIDI device.  As with most setups, there are several ways to do it, but I thought I’d go over one method I used recently with a customer who contacted me.  The customer had a USB audio interface, which also had a MIDI input and output.  He wanted to use this MIDI output to get TriplePlay from his computer, back out to a 5-pin MIDI hardware device (in his case, a sound module, but a keyboard or any other MIDI device with a 5-pin input would be equally applicable).

This could be done with MIDI routing hardware (such as MIDIPIPE on the Mac) but I thought it would be easiest to do this with a DAW.  The fella wanted TriplePlay’s full possible MONO mode output, or, in other words, he wanted to be able to send the six strings as six separate MIDI channels, one for each of the two split regions available in the tripleplay software (purple and blue – the two regions that split the fingerboard by fret, rather than by string).  I suggested he could use the TriplePlay plug-in, with no actual instruments loaded, to create this fingerboard split and control settings such as string bends for each region.

Here is what we did:

1. We used StudioOne, because it was provided with the TriplePlay software and the customer did not have another DAW, but most digital audio workstations that can allow vst plug-ins would allow you to do something very similar.  So, open StudioOne.

2. Under StudioOne in the pull-down menus, go to options and click on the header External Devices.

3. Click on Add and highlight New Instrument.  Name the device, to avoid confusion.  Click on ALL so all MIDI channels are highlighted.  Select MIDI input and output device (in our case, an AudioBox USB device).  Click OK.

Step 3

4. Click on Add again, and highlight new Keyboard.  Create a new keyboard that receives from TriplePlay (or TriplePlay guitar – not the 2nd TriplePlay channel, which has control information) as the input, and set the output to none.   When you are done, click OK and OK to leave the external device windows.  Make sure split channels is selected.

5. Start a new empty song in StudioOne, under File, New Song and choose the empty song format.

6. Go to Track in the pull-down menus and add tracks, once the song is open.

Step 6

7. Set type to Instrument.  Set count to 16 and make sure pack folder is selected.  Set Input to the triple play new keyboard you created and named (in my case, I named it TriplePlay controller).  Make sure ascending is selected.  Set Output to Existing and select the instrument you created (in my case, I named it AudioBox MIDI).  Once again, make sure you have selected ascending.  Hit okay when you are sure you’ve gotten everything right.  This will take your TriplePlay signal in, and send it out to your MIDI output device.  Hit OK.

8. Make sure the track is record and monitor enabled, by pressing the red and blue buttons at the top of the track.  You can collapse the track to its folder by clicking on the folder icon.

Step 8

9. Now, we created a new set of MIDI tracks to allow the TriplePlay plug-in to set how the TriplePlay data was sent from your MIDI output.  Create a track as above, with the Input also set to TriplePlay Controller, BUT the output set to New Instrument, Tripleplay.

Step 9

10. Make sure this is also record enabled.  Click on the keyboard icon in one of the midi channels to expose the TriplePlay plug-in.

11. Remember the customer wanted to split his fingerboard at the 12th fret.  He wanted the purple region to be sent for the full length of the fingerboard and the blue region to be everything above the 12th fret.  For this setup, it means that everything in purple (the whole fingerboard) will go out to MIDI channels 1-6 and everything played above the 12th fret, in blue, will also go to channels 11-16. This is done by creating a fret split and clicking the show splits button at the bottom.

Step 11

12. Now click and hold for the synth regions where you want to work and load a Hardware Synth (in newer software releases this may be called External Synth).   Note that you must only use MONO rather than POLY, if you want fingerboard splits to work.  You could also use splits for synth 2 and 4 regions, if you want their settings to be different (pitch bends, etc.)

13. When you create a hardware synth setting for the channel, you can adjust the Parameter settings to the left of the dialog window, and these settings will translate through to your MIDI output device.  In this case, the customer has selected to transpose up 5 semi-tones and set his pitchbend for Smooth in the purple region.  This is a patch you’re creating, so if these settings are useful to you in the future, consider saving the patch to your user patches.

14. You should be done.  MIDI from your TriplePlay hardware is now being routed through the DAW and out to the AudioBox.  It is being altered by the settings you have created here.  Note that you could also load virtual instruments in these channels.  But, realize that any of the parameter settings you create will be carried forward to those MIDI channels being outputted to your hardware device.

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