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Topic: Midi Ports: What are they, and how do I get more?

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  1. #1

    Cool Midi Ports: What are they, and how do I get more?

    Hi again,

    I've put Sibelius 5 and GPO on my shiny new PC and marvelled at how it handles it with such ease. (Old PC had single core 3 GHz processor and only 1 Gig of Ram - tut, tut, tut...)

    However, I still have the issue that I only seem to be able to apply samples to sixteen instruments. I'm pretty sure why. When I open up Kontact 2, it has all sixteen channels in midi port A in use, and midi ports B to D are 'not available'. I would rather like to make them available, but am unsure as to how.

    The first question will be, "What exactly are midi ports?" I can make an educated guess, but I'm a little unsure none the less.

    The second is, "Are they to do with the soundcard?", meaning that if I bought an external soundcard and plugged it in, would I have more ports available to me?

    I think (if I've understood the search results correctly) you can use Midi-Yoke and its 'virtual midi ports', so the third, fourth and fifth questions will be, "Will using Midi-Yoke solve the problem?", "Would it be any less efficient that an external soundcard?", and, "Which option would be most worthwhile?"

    The fact that you have to pay for external sound cards, and that you can download Midi-Yoke for free, suggests two things; that there is some sort of catch, or that I've totally misunderstood the whole concept.

    Thank you for your time. Bonus points to whoever can answer all five questions in the same post.

    Kindest regards,
    Tom

  2. #2

    Re: Midi Ports: What are they, and how do I get more?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom P View Post
    Hi again,

    I've put Sibelius 5 and GPO on my shiny new PC and marvelled at how it handles it with such ease. (Old PC had single core 3 GHz processor and only 1 Gig of Ram - tut, tut, tut...)

    However, I still have the issue that I only seem to be able to apply samples to sixteen instruments. I'm pretty sure why. When I open up Kontact 2, it has all sixteen channels in midi port A in use, and midi ports B to D are 'not available'. I would rather like to make them available, but am unsure as to how.
    This is because of how the VST2 standard is defined. Each loaded instance of a VST (such as Kontakt) can only receive and transmit from one port (see below). The easy solution is to insert another instance of Kontakt.

    The first question will be, "What exactly are midi ports?" I can make an educated guess, but I'm a little unsure none the less.
    MIDI Ports allow different midi devices to communicate with each other. Think of them as telephones on a telephone network. You'll also need MIDI cables to transmit the information between 'phones.' Each port has 16 channels that can transmit and receive independently.

    The second is, "Are they to do with the soundcard?", meaning that if I bought an external soundcard and plugged it in, would I have more ports available to me?
    Yes and no. If the external sound card you buy comes with MIDI I/O, you'll usually get an additional MIDI IN and one additional MIDI OUT port. These are hardware ports used to communicate with external midi devices, such as hardware synths or midi controllers. They will not affect the port situation with Kontakt loaded in Sibelius.

    I think (if I've understood the search results correctly) you can use Midi-Yoke and its 'virtual midi ports', so the third, fourth and fifth questions will be, "Will using Midi-Yoke solve the problem?",
    Not within Sibelius. However, you can use the MIDI-Yoke virtual cables to communicate with external midi-capable applications from Sibelius. So what you could do is run the standalone version of Kontakt (which supports all 4 ports because it doesn't have to adhere to the VST spec when it runs standalone) and route your sibelius output to that. Unfortunately, recording the output will be a little trickier and you might run into delay problems if you use both the Sib VST and the standalone.

    "Would it be any less efficient that an external soundcard?",
    From the data transmission standpoint, MIDI DIN5 cable is limited to 31.25kb/s and USB is limited to 480Mb/s (burst), but virtual cables can move more data even faster, so MIDI-Yoke is technically more efficient

    "Which option would be most worthwhile?"
    You don't need an external soundcard.

    Hope I've cleared a few things up!
    Best,
    Reegs

  3. #3

    Smile Re: Midi Ports: What are they, and how do I get more?

    Apologies for not posting back last night.

    Thank you both very much for your answers. I have to say I'm very relieved; I thought the sitaution would be really complicated or that I'd have to spend money that I don't have.

    I started a score using the 'Orchestra, Romantic' preset, loaded a couple more instances of Kontact 2 in the devices, and it worked great - all instruments using GPO sounds.

    Thanks very much! I'm going away now to study some harmony technique, and then perhaps I'll start posting some things in the Listening room.

    Regards,
    Tom

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