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Old 2012-05-31, 19:11
Posts: n/a
Involved MIDI question for Reason 6

Hello all, I'm a composer who is looking for a good package of synths and Reason seems like a good solution, so I downloaded the demo but I've run across a problem that might make me consider a different route if we can't figure it out.

Here's my setup: I run a Macbook Pro, OSX 10.7.4. I work with microtonal music, where I run MIDI from Sibelius 7 using IAC busses to a microtonal MIDI program called Microsynth (it was recently developed and can be downloaded from the Mac App Store). What it does is remap MIDI notes to a certain microtonal scale and outputs MIDI notes with pitch bends. The catch is that it has to use an entire MIDI device (that's right, all 16 channels of, say, IAC driver bus 1) for each MIDI "track" (i.e. one staff of music in a music notation software, like Sibelius). This is a common work-around for anyone who works with MIDI and microtonal scales that might have upwards of 205 or so notes per octave(!).

Long story short, in Reason, I need all 16 channels of a particular MIDI device to go to one synth. I can't use the "advanced MIDI" for this because it automatically forces MIDI channels to route to individual synths (which is a pretty inconvenient feature in my opinion). So, the only option that I can see is to set up the IAC busses as "control surfaces" and use them to control one synth at a time by locking them to the synths I want to control.

Whew! Alright, here's my problem: it would appear that Reason doesn't handle the MIDI pitch bends as it should when dealing with polyphony. So, for example, let's say I send a C major triad that has the 3rd slightly flat from 12-tone equal temperament (approximately a just-intonation triad). What happens is I make a normal C chord in Sibelius; this gets routed to Microsynth; Microsynth then detunes the chord according to the scale it is set to; then each of the notes get sent on their own MIDI channels down the same device (IAC Bus 1 for example) with the 3rd pitch bent slightly flat according to the scale set in Microsynth; these three pitches arrive in Reason and are routed to the synth that I have locked the IAC Bus 1 to; the synth should play back each of the unique MIDI channels with their own pitch bend information and the result should be a triad with a slightly flat 3rd. But, what my ears hear is that the pitch bend either affects the entire triad or is ignored, which tells me that the synth couldn't handle the individual pitch bend information for each channel.

My experience is that synths generally handle MIDI channels uniquely, that is, if a pitch bend occurs on one MIDI channel, it doesn't bend the notes on the others out of tune. My question is, is there any possible way to get the synths in Reason to behave like this? I know this is a tricky one and any thoughts are greatly appreciated!