Configuring a New External MIDI Output Device

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Configuring a New External MIDI Output Device

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The most common example of an external MIDI output device is a MIDI keyboard. You might think of a MIDI keyboard as just an input device for recording; but many MIDI keyboards can also serve as output devices, playing back MIDI sent to it from the computer. This topic describes how you can set up your MIDI keyboard as an output device if it has extended sounds or "instrument patches" available in multiple or extended banks.

Another type of external MIDI output device is called a "sound module", which is hardware that specializes in playing back MIDI that is sent to it.

When you install a new external MIDI sound module, you will need to help Composer learn the names of the instrument sounds that this device can produce. The procedure below, for configuring a new external MIDI device, applies equally to MIDI keyboards and MIDI sound modules.

prcarrow To configure a new external MIDI sound module:

1.Determine whether your MIDI device offers only the General MIDI (GM) sounds, or whether it offers a different set of sounds.

A fairly good way to determine whether your device offers the GM sounds is to explore sound options using the front panel of the device, or refer to its documentation. Note whether these arbitrarily listed GM sounds match those of your instrument:        

Patch #1 (or 0) -- Acoustic Grand Piano

Patch #7 (or 6) -- Harpsichord

Patch #23 (or 22) -- Harmonica

Patch #41 (or 40) -- Violin

Patch #57 (or 56) -- Trumpet

If your MIDI device has the standard GM sounds, then you can just refer to the Quick MIDI Device Setup to set up your device and you're done!

If your MIDI device does not have the standard GM sounds, or it has extended sounds that you wish to use, then you'll want to continue.

 

2. Choose the MIDI Device Configuration command in the Setup menu.
    Composer will display the MIDI Device Configuration Window, such as illustrated here:MIDIOutputDevice
3.Identify the external output port to which you wish to connect the external device. All of the external output ports on your Windows system are indicated with the combination of "Out" and "External Port" in the second and third columns of the window. In the above example, there is an external output port, named "1. Internal MIDI" that is the current default MIDI output device.
4.Note whether there is already an external output device listed below the external output port. In the above example, the external output device "1. Internal MIDI" is listed below the external output port with the same name.

When Composer first initializes a MIDI device configuration, it assigns placeholder devices to each external port. A placeholder device initially as the same name as the corresponding port. It is a good idea to rename the device to that of the MIDI keyboard or external MIDI sound module that you are connecting, such as "Yamaha Keyboard".

5.If you noted in step #4 that there is already an external device listed below the external output port, then do one of the following:
(a)If you determined in step #1 that your device uses the General MIDI sounds, then rename the device to something meaningful to you, such as the manufacturer and model of the keyboard or sound module. To rename the device, select it in the window, then choose Device Properties in the Device menu. In the Device Properties window, enter the new name for the device. After that you do not need to follow any additional steps in this procedure.

-- OTHERWISE --

(b)Remove the device listed below the external output port by selecting it and choosing Remove from the Device menu. Skip to step #7 and then connect the device to the external output port, as described in step #8.
6.If you noted in step #1 that the device you are adding uses the General MIDI set of sounds, then do the following:
(a)Choose the New External Device command in the Device menu.

    Composer will display the Device Properties dialog:

    DevicePropertiesDlgForNewDevice

(b)In the Device Properties dialog, enter a name for the device, such as the manufacturer and model of your MIDI keyboard or sound module.
(c)For almost all external (hardware) General MIDI devices, the default values for the rest of the options in the dialog box are appropriate. You can review the purpose of each option in Specifying Properties of a Device.
(d)If "General MIDI" is not listed under Banks, then click the Set General MIDI button.

    Composer will display "(000)* = General MIDI" in the Banks list., and will display 10 in the Drum Channel Number(s) field.

(e)Click the OK button in the Device Properties dialog.

    Composer will add the new device at the bottom of the MIDI Device Configuration Window, under the heading Unassigned Device(s).

(f)Skip step #7 and continue with step #8.
7.If you noted in in step # that the device you are adding does not use the General MIDI set of sounds, then do the following:
(a)Attempt to import the device description from a Cakewalk Instrument Definition (.ins) file, or from a Notation Software MIDI Device Description (.mdd) file. This will save you a lot of effort that you will otherwise spend manually entering the names of the sounds for your device. If you are able to import the device description, then skip the rest of this step.
(b)Follow the instructions in step #6, except skip step #6(d), since your device is not a General MIDI device.
(c)If your MIDI device has multiple banks, then use the Add Bank button in the Device Properties dialog to add each bank.
(d)If your device has only one bank, then use the Add Bank button just once. You can give that bank any name you want, such as "Instruments". Leave the bank value as 0.
(e)For each bank, you can enter the MIDI patch names, that is, up to 128 instrument sound names. Click the name of the bank in the list, and then click the Edit Patch Names. Composer will display the Patch Names dialog. Read the names of the instrument sounds off the front panel of your device, or from the manufacturer's manual for the device, and enter them into the Patch Names dialog.

For further instructions, see Assigning Bank and Patch Names to a MIDI Device.

Also, for each bank, optionally enter drum note names, as described in Assigning Drum Note Names for a MIDI Device or Bank of a Device.

8.To connect the newly added device to the external output port:
(a)At the bottom of the MIDI Device Configuration Window, under the heading "Unassigned Devices", click the name of the newly imported or added device to select it.
(b)Choose the Connect to External Port command in the Device menu.

    Composer will display the Connect External Device to Port dialog box.

(c)In that dialog box, choose the external port to which you wish to connect the external device.

For further instructions, see Connecting and Disconnecting Devices from an External Port.

9.If your device relies on System Exclusive Events, you can check the appropriate boxes ("Record" if you will be using the device to record into Notation Composer; to "Send SysEx to this Device".  Checking this box will also make sure that any MIDI files that you export contain the proper Sys Ex events as well.
10.  If your device relies on SysEx Events, then for optimal performance of sounds for your device you should check the following parameter values, which you will need to get from your device manual:
SysEx Buffer Count
SysEx Buffer Size (bytes)
GM Reset adjustment time (msec)
GM2/GS/XG Reset adjustment time (msec)
Delay between SysEx packets (msec)