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MIDI over USB


jackwagner
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I'm trying to use my Helix Rack as an audio/MIDI interface. I have an external MIDI controller (a Roland PK-5A) that I connected to the Helix Rack via a MIDI cable and the Helix is connected to my laptop via USB. My laptop is running Windows 8 and I am running an application called MIDI-OX to monitor MIDI data. So far, I am unable to get any MIDI data from my controller to the laptop. I am running Helix firmware 2.60 and the USB driver is v 1.91. When I substitute my other audio interface (Presonus AudioBox), I am able to see the MIDI data that I expect on MIDI-OX (I have been using the AudioBox for years.)

 

The "MIDI Over USB" global setting is ON.

I am certain that I have the MIDI cables connected properly.

When I turn "MIDI over USB" OFF and "MIDI Thru" ON, I get MIDI data out of the Helix - not to my laptop over USB, but rather out the Helix MIDI OUT port.

 

I have tried booting the Helix and then connecting the USB cable to the laptop, and also booting the Helix with the USB cable already connected (I read this is a thread here). The results were the same - no MIDI data over USB.

 

What am I doing wrong?

 

Thanks,

 

--jack

 

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sounds like you're doing things correctly. Are you sure you don't have any MIDI filters turned on in MIDI OX (other than, say, sysex or clock)? Also, I'm a Mac user so not sure how MIDI ports work on Windows, but make sure MIDI Ox is set to the correct MIDI port.

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I run the MIDI from my eDrums into the Helix. MIDI over USB ON, MIDI THRU ON. No problems.

Are you using your Roland on the same MIDI Channel as the Helix Base Channel? Try changing the Roland to a different channel, could be that there's no MIDI MERGE happening.

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39 minutes ago, soundog said:

sounds like you're doing things correctly. Are you sure you don't have any MIDI filters turned on in MIDI OX (other than, say, sysex or clock)? Also, I'm a Mac user so not sure how MIDI ports work on Windows, but make sure MIDI Ox is set to the correct MIDI port.

 

Hi, Thanks for the help.

 

I'm sure that MIDI-OX is setup correctly with no filters, etc. I have been using it for years with my other audio interface (AudioBox). When I swap out the Helix for my AudioBox, I simply change the MIDI input/output ports on MIDI-OX and I can see the MIDI data from my controller.

 

I read something here in the forums about Active Sensing that may be an issue. I'm certain that the Roland PK-5A is sending Active Sensing messages. I can see it with MIDI-OX when the AudioBox interface is used instead of the Helix. I will search for more info on that, but otherwise I'm stuck.

 

--jack

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5 minutes ago, rd2rk said:

I run the MIDI from my eDrums into the Helix. MIDI over USB ON, MIDI THRU ON. No problems.

Are you using your Roland on the same MIDI Channel as the Helix Base Channel? Try changing the Roland to a different channel, could be that there's no MIDI MERGE happening.

 

My PK-5A is transmitting on MIDI channel 1. I checked the Helix Base Channel and it is also 1. I changed the Base Channel to Omni and other setting with no change.

 

Thanks,

 

--jack

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I don't have a PK5 but I do run bass pedals into the helix, and then helix->usb->Apple MainStage with no issues.  I'll try to take a note of any global settings tonight.

 

Have you tried both midi over usb and midi thru on at the same time - that seems to be the most reasonable combination

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23 hours ago, jackwagner said:

 

My PK-5A is transmitting on MIDI channel 1. I checked the Helix Base Channel and it is also 1. I changed the Base Channel to Omni and other setting with no change.

 

Thanks,

 

--jack

 

Don't use OMNI, use a specific channel other than the BASE channel.

If the PK-5A is on Channel 1, either change it to Channel 2 or change the BASE Channel to Channel 2.

Set MIDI over USB ON, MIDI THRU ON.

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10 hours ago, arkieboy said:

I don't have a PK5 but I do run bass pedals into the helix, and then helix->usb->Apple MainStage with no issues.  I'll try to take a note of any global settings tonight.

 

Have you tried both midi over usb and midi thru on at the same time - that seems to be the most reasonable combination

 

MIDI Over USB is ON, but MIDI Thru is OFF. I don't want MIDI thru for this configuration. Any insight into your setting would be great.

 

4 hours ago, rd2rk said:

 

Don't use OMNI, use a specific channel other than the BASE channel.

If the PK-5A is on Channel 1, either change it to Channel 2 or change the BASE Channel to Channel 2.

Set MIDI over USB ON, MIDI THRU ON.

 

Ok, I will try that.

 

Thanks,

 

--jack

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Update:

I updated the firmware on my Helix Rack and Controller to v2.70.00. It changed things a little.

 

In Global Settings ->  MIDI/Tempo, I set MIDI Base Channel = 1; MIDI over USB = ON; MIDI THRU = OFF. My external MIDI controller (Roland PK-5A) is setup to transmit on MIDI Channel 1. I am running the MIDI-OX application on my Windows 8 PC and I have configured the Input device as "Line 6 Helix" and the Output Device as "LoopBe Internal MIDI." I chose "LoopBe" as the output because this is how I sometimes connect to my DAW and I just wanted to test whether I could receive MIDI data on my PC. In this configuration, when I press a key on the PK-5A, I get nothing in MIDI-OX. I also experimented with setting the MIDI Base Channel to 2 (and other values) and changing the MIDI channel my controller. No change in behavior.

 

If I change MIDI THRU to ON, I start to see Note On and Note Off data in MIDI-OX. However, it is very sporadic. At times I see the Note On and Note OFF data in MIDI-OX. Other times I will see only the Note On. Other times I see nothing at all.

 

When I set the Output Device to "Line 6 Helix" on MIDI-OX, I see a ton of MIDI Note On, Note Off data scrolling in MIDI-OX. I suspect there is a MIDI loop creating this result, but I don't understand why - MIDI THRU set to ON should not create this type of loop.

 

When I substitute the Presonus AudioBox in for the Helix, I get the results I expect: For every Note On/Off sent from my controller, I get 1 Note On/Off in MIDI-OX and then I receive the note at the device connected to the MIDI Out of the AudioBox. The behavior is as expected when setting the MIDI-OX Output Device to "LoopBe" or "Line 6 Helix" with no weird MIDI loop.

 

Based on this, my conclusion is that the Helix is junk - as far as being an audio/MIDI interface. This makes me sad.

 

--jack

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3 hours ago, jackwagner said:

Based on this, my conclusion is that the Helix is junk - as far as being an audio/MIDI interface. This makes me sad.

 

You're wrong about that.

 

In addition to my eDrums, I've also run a MIDI enabled synth through it. NO PROBLEMS, as long as the devices are on different MIDI Channels (NOT OMNI) and the Helix is configured as I described.

 

What you're describing is the reason I stopped using MIDIOX. For some reason, a while back one of the W10 updates broke MIDIOX. Apparently, it's also broken on Win8. Pi$$es me off, I've used MIDIOX for YEARS!  I've done the usual uninstall/reinstall to no avail.

 

What I do now is to use a VST MIDI Monitor called - get ready - MIDI MONITOR:

 

Great, the web site is down, and this @#$%^ forum won't let me attach it!

 

PM me an email address and I'll send it to you. Are you 32 or 64 bit?

 

It's nowhere near as powerful as MIDIOX, but MIDIOX is obviously broken, and for basic monitoring it gets the job done.

 

I'm not sure how Studio One (I assume that's what you're using with a Presonus, but whatever DAW) works, but in Sonar you put MIDI Monitor in an audio track, then point a MIDI track with it's input set to Helix at it. In Reaper you just put it on a track with a MIDI Input set to Helix.

 

DON'T GIVE UP! IT REALLY DOES WORK!

 

EDIT: That's hysterical! Just for kicks I ran MIDIOX. It's working fine again! Apparently, the problem I had with MIDIOX (which was as you described) was because of the way I had the drumkit wired into the system through the synth. It all works, but for some reason MIDIOX doesn't like it! Sometimes I hate computers!

 

ANYHOW.....setting it up simply - synth on ch1 > Helix on ch2 > USB to computer - MIDIOX tells me that all is well, with both devices sending consistently on their respective channels. That's with MIDI USB and MIDI THRU both ON.

 

The one thing you haven't mentioned - have you actually tried the PK-5A with a synth VST in your DAW? Maybe, as in the case I just described, it actually works, but there's just something about the combination that MIDIOX doesn't like?

 

 

 

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10 hours ago, rd2rk said:

 

You're wrong about that.

 

In addition to my eDrums, I've also run a MIDI enabled synth through it. NO PROBLEMS, as long as the devices are on different MIDI Channels (NOT OMNI) and the Helix is configured as I described.

 

I tried your suggestions - which I appreciate very much. Still does not work.

 

 

10 hours ago, rd2rk said:

 

What you're describing is the reason I stopped using MIDIOX. For some reason, a while back one of the W10 updates broke MIDIOX. Apparently, it's also broken on Win8. Pi$$es me off, I've used MIDIOX for YEARS!  I've done the usual uninstall/reinstall to no avail.

 

I have no issue with MIDI-OX on my Windows 8 PC or laptop. When I substitute the AudioBox for the Helix, MIDI-OX works.

 

 

10 hours ago, rd2rk said:

 

What I do now is to use a VST MIDI Monitor called - get ready - MIDI MONITOR:

 

Great, the web site is down, and this @#$%^ forum won't let me attach it!

 

PM me an email address and I'll send it to you. Are you 32 or 64 bit?

 

It's nowhere near as powerful as MIDIOX, but MIDIOX is obviously broken, and for basic monitoring it gets the job done.

 

I'm not sure how Studio One (I assume that's what you're using with a Presonus, but whatever DAW) works, but in Sonar you put MIDI Monitor in an audio track, then point a MIDI track with it's input set to Helix at it. In Reaper you just put it on a track with a MIDI Input set to Helix.

 

 

I use Ableton Live. I have been using it for years with my AudioBox, PK-5A and Juno-G. I started this experiment with the Helix in an attempt to simplify the actions that I have to take to change things for each song. This is a very basic test: can I get MIDI data from my PK-5A into my PC. The answer so far is no. BTW, I'm not even trying to send any MID data from my PC back through the Helix (USB) and then on to the Juno-G (MIDI Out) yet.

 

10 hours ago, rd2rk said:

 

DON'T GIVE UP! IT REALLY DOES WORK!

 

EDIT: That's hysterical! Just for kicks I ran MIDIOX. It's working fine again! Apparently, the problem I had with MIDIOX (which was as you described) was because of the way I had the drumkit wired into the system through the synth. It all works, but for some reason MIDIOX doesn't like it! Sometimes I hate computers!

 

ANYHOW.....setting it up simply - synth on ch1 > Helix on ch2 > USB to computer - MIDIOX tells me that all is well, with both devices sending consistently on their respective channels. That's with MIDI USB and MIDI THRU both ON.

 

That's cool. I have tried the configuration you suggest and I do see data at MIDI-OX. BUT, not consistently. And for my configuration, I cannot have the Helix's MIDI Thru ON. Because that will send the MIDI IN data directly to MIDI OUT, right? That's not going to work for me. And even in that configuration, I miss some MIDI data. I can press a pedal on the PK-5A and get nothing at the Juno-G and MIDI-OX. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. That's not good.

 

 

10 hours ago, rd2rk said:

 

The one thing you haven't mentioned - have you actually tried the PK-5A with a synth VST in your DAW? Maybe, as in the case I just described, it actually works, but there's just something about the combination that MIDIOX doesn't like?

 

I haven't tried the Helix with Ableton. I figured that I would start with a VERY basic test and go from there. The Helix as an audio/MIDI interface simply does not work for me. The AudioBox does. I plug it in and it works. Just like it should, no muss no fuss.

 

Thanks for all your help and suggestions, I really do appreciate it.  I might still try, but a basic test like this should really just work.

 

--jack

 

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30 minutes ago, jackwagner said:

I haven't tried the Helix with Ableton. I figured that I would start with a VERY basic test and go from there. The Helix as an audio/MIDI interface simply does not work for me. The AudioBox does. I plug it in and it works. Just like it should, no muss no fuss.

 

Thanks for all your help and suggestions, I really do appreciate it.  I might still try, but a basic test like this should really just work.

 

Like I said, I can duplicate your problem in MIDIOX - yet, in real world application, it works! Try it in Ableton, with an actual VST. I mentioned Sonar and Reaper, but I also use Ableton and, again, no problems. You've proven (with the Audiobox) that your pedal works. The configuration just LOOKS like it's a problem using MIDIOX. How long does it take to TRY it in Ableton, 10 minutes? Better than simply laying the blame on a piece of equipment that works for countless others!

 

If you can't get it to work in real world application - to an actual VST, then it might be time for a Support ticket.

 

As to what SHOULD just work, in 30 years of working with computers, as a tech, programmer and network admin, I've learned over and over that it's rarely that simple!

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8 hours ago, rd2rk said:

 

Like I said, I can duplicate your problem in MIDIOX - yet, in real world application, it works! Try it in Ableton, with an actual VST. I mentioned Sonar and Reaper, but I also use Ableton and, again, no problems. You've proven (with the Audiobox) that your pedal works. The configuration just LOOKS like it's a problem using MIDIOX. How long does it take to TRY it in Ableton, 10 minutes? Better than simply laying the blame on a piece of equipment that works for countless others!

 

I know I said earlier that I hadn't done that, but I have. In fact, that's where I started. That didn't work, so I decided to get the simpler configuration working and go from there. It simply doesn't work. And, if I have to turn MIDI Thru on to get MIDI IN data to go over USB to my PC/Laptop, then that's a deal breaker anyway.

 

Quote

If you can't get it to work in real world application - to an actual VST, then it might be time for a Support ticket.

 

Perhaps so.

 

Quote

 

As to what SHOULD just work, in 30 years of working with computers, as a tech, programmer and network admin, I've learned over and over that it's rarely that simple!

 

Well, maybe. The configuration I'm testing isn't complicated. Yet, it simply does not work.

 

I'm no MIDI guru, but I've been using it for many years to interface the equipment that I have. I saw an opportunity to improve on the technique that I use between songs to ensure that each piece of gear is properly configured for the next song on the set list. The Helix simply does not work in the capacity that I had hoped. Or even as a replacement for the AudioBox that I currently use.

 

I'm not going to spend any more time on it.

 

--jack

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Ok, gotcha!

 

I'd like you to do me (and everybody else who might come here for information) a favor.


I don't know why you can't get it to work in your application, but it works for me, and for MANY others who use it. Maybe it doesn't work in exactly the way you say you want to use it, but in normal usage for most people, it works. I've helped lots of people get it working, both on this forum and elsewhere, with all sorts of hardware and software configurations, so please, don't go around saying that "the Helix is junk - as far as being an audio/MIDI interface".

 

That's nonsense, in the truest meaning of that word.

 

Thanks, and Best of luck to you in your musical endeavors.

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On 11/3/2018 at 11:22 PM, rd2rk said:

Ok, gotcha!

 

I'd like you to do me (and everybody else who might come here for information) a favor.


I don't know why you can't get it to work in your application, but it works for me, and for MANY others who use it. Maybe it doesn't work in exactly the way you say you want to use it, but in normal usage for most people, it works. I've helped lots of people get it working, both on this forum and elsewhere, with all sorts of hardware and software configurations, so please, don't go around saying that "the Helix is junk - as far as being an audio/MIDI interface".

 

That's nonsense, in the truest meaning of that word.

 

Thanks, and Best of luck to you in your musical endeavors.

 

At this point I would revise my comment to "the Helix is junk - as far as being a MIDI interface."

 

I have opened a support ticket. We'll see what happens.

 

--jack

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1 hour ago, jackwagner said:

 

At this point I would revise my comment to "the Helix is junk - as far as being a MIDI interface."

 

I have opened a support ticket. We'll see what happens.

 

--jack

 

And I repeat, your comment is nonsense. It does EXACTLY what it claims to do, for most everybody else who uses it for MIDI.

Just because it doesn't do exactly what YOU "hoped" it would do, that does not make it "junk". 
Maybe you got a defective unit, support might be able to sort that out.

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The Helix platform is a flexible and powerful MIDI device. Way more so than any guitar device I've encountered.

 

The thing I've learned about MIDI is this: it follows rules exactly and precisely. The sending device must be set up perfectly and aligned with the receiving device, which also must be set up perfectly. There is no room for error. If there is a problem its normally because 1) you've set something up wrong, 2) you have a bad cable or connection. Oh ..... and old-school MIDI (5-pin DIN) is easier than PC USB MIDI because PCs introduce more chance of error due to drivers, USB hubs, ports, protocols, and software bugs.

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