How do I use MIDIpal / MIDI Clock in a complex MIDI studio setup?

Hi there,

So I have a MIDIpal and it’s great. works like it should when i have a single keyboard go into it… and it out’s to some other device… as it stands things that don’t require MIDI clock are pretty much fine too because as long as notes go in… notes go out to whatever device / midi channel… awesome…

here’s where it breaks down:

I have Digital Performer 3 (go OS9!)… working with two MTP AV’s and a MIDI Express XT… all this works great.

my main controller is an Akai MPK25 which itself has a hardware arpeggiator as well so it needs a midi clock. it physically has 1 in and 1 out. again with things like chord memory and such this is pretty ok… but because the MPK25 is itself slaving to clock… it doesn’t “OUT” a midi clock… just notes from the device… even if it wasn’t slaved to midi clock… it still doesn’t “OUT” midi clock because it’s not the clock from the keyboard… it’s outside… a THRU option would be good for insuring the clock escapes the MPK25…

Now alternatively… we could say “well Caleb, use a keyboard that has IN/OUT and THRU…” and yes this would pass the midi clock on from the sequencer, but the point of the controller is that notes go into the MIDIpal for things like the step sequencer. and it seems like thru wouldn’t pass that on… thru doesn’t pass along notes from inside the synth… those go to OUT. That’s my understanding and experience in the past.

Lastly, I thought ok, I have all these dedicated IN and OUT ports on all these MOTU products… I’ll just give the MIDIpal a dedicated channel and add it like an instrument… now this i admit is untested so far, but i want to do it soon, but my concern is that if i were to treat the midi pal like an instrument… and route notes to it (with clock) the sequencer won’t understand to LISTEN to the notes its outputting which are different than what were put into the device. My though is that the sequencer is like “play your stupid notes Tina!” and doesn’t care beyond that… so the sequencer won’t know how to record all the amazing new musical information coming out of the midi pal…

I hope I’m not the only guy facing this kind of situation… but the MIDIpal is unique in my arsenal of stuff… most things are instruments that themselves instruments that make sound… or are designed to be a controller… where the MIDIpal is neither really… its slave device that doesn’t make sound. it transmits notes…


I think the main question is what do you want to use the midipal for? Different uses require a different position. Normally would be between a master keyboard and an instrument or behind a sequencer and an instrument.

THRU mirrors whatever comes from IN. So anything sent to IN should come out THRU.
Anything happening in the synth, or controller, comes out on OUT.

I’m also not entirely sure what you’re trying to accomplish? Update the sequencer on the MPK25?

ok so i guess this would be the question… if i just have the MIDIpal go direct to any instrument coming from the sequencer it’s fine… and ultimately this is what i may just end up doing… devoting it to one device… BUT I have 20+ midi devices i’d love to run this through and that’s a lot of wear and tear plugging and unplugging…

maybe this is simply not possible and I can accept that, but before I do I’d love to hear if anyone else has their MIDIpal or comparable products doing something like this.

“can the midipal be wired up to be routable to any device in a complex midi environment through a sequencer / midi hardware”

“if so how do people achieve this?”

I have MOTU MTP AV x2 and a MOTU MidiExpress XT… (24 in / 24 out) running with Digital Performer 3 and it can route any one of those instruments to any other through the software mapping of FreeMIDI which is so awesome… but the MIDIpal is the platapus of device species… its a little bit of both a module and a controller.

The MPK25 only has IN and OUT. it has no THRU or soft THRU (changing the OOU to THRU as some can, which makes some sense since it is a controller, not a sound producer in it’s own right)

So if someone had a MIDIpal setup in a larger configuration… how would others wire it up so a sequencer could both tell the MIDIpal what notes are coming into it and also be smart enough to listen to those notes and route those over to another specific device…

that’s where it gets weird… sequencers see things they send notes to as sound generators… but the MIDIpal isn’t… it’s more like a controller… but controllers don’t need notes typically sent to them… of course the MPK25 and MIDIpal happen to be rare beasts because they do in fact listen to MIDI clock… most controllers don’t… as they don’t need to sync the notes they produce or CC values they generate. I’m generalizing of course…

I will check about a firmware update for the MPK25… there might be something out there, i just noticed that the MPK25 doesn’t send clock IF it’s set to external which makes sense to me, but the out doesn’t “thru”.

But no… as I type this I want to say I disagree based on my experience about THRU. THRU does not pass EVERYTHING… because that’s the point of OUT… if THRU passed everything including what is coming out from the controller there would be no need for an OUT port…

try controlling another instrument going with THRU from your device to control another. it doesn’t work… THRU is a way to pass along anything that goes IN uneffected by the device it went into… out is the new midi data being generated by your device…

Can’t you use a MIDI merge box to merge the clock from your DAW and the notes from the keyboard?

But then for the price of the merge box, you could get a better controller…

Still not sure about your question but this maybe a partly answer:

I don’t know performer but on cubase i can set up something like this.

Connect the midipal to say like out 1 of the motu and in 2 of the motu.
An instrument is on Motu out 3.

Send a miditrack from your sequencer you would like to use the midipal to the motu output 1

Set up a miditrack listening to (ONLY!) input 2 of the motu. Ouput that midtrack to your instrument on Motu output 3.

You can now send any track thru the midipal. But you might also have created some latence going in and out of the computer. Maybe you can compensate that somewhere in performer.

Also be aware that this setup could easily create midi feedback loops if you’re not carefull what input is listening to what and sending it out to something.

I’m curious about this as well and understand where the OP is coming from. To be fully utilized, the midipal needs to receive notes and clock. I think an ideal setup is a midi out of your sequencer to the midi in of your master controller, out of the controller into the midipal and back in to your sequencer. This way you should be able to control all the synthesizers in your arsenal connected to your sequencer with the midipal.

It doesn’t seem like many midi controllers these days have an in and an out, only usb and an out. I assume many older midi controllers had both. I’m curious if the midi solutions midi merge box could accomplish this in the absence of an input on your controller. I may try and do this myself as I’m having the same issue. Out of the midi controller AND an out of your sequencer into the two inputs of the midi merge box, and out of the box into the midipal. Only complication I could see would be trying to find a way for the midi channel coming out of your sequencer to ONLY send clock and no notes. If this is doable, I think it’s a good solution.

now that sounds kinda naive, but have you tried to switch an actual midi interface in between? f.e. e a midi-man? because you could just hang the midipal into a loop on the device and most interfaces that do the trick come for below 150 quid damage. then you ll just take the interfaces through (or second out if 2 midi outs), into the midipal and from midipals midi out, feed it back via the interfaces midi in. you might need a rule to filter redundant midi channels (ipad midi interface + tbmidistuff f.e.) but that is what i would do.

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