Propellerhead Software
  #1  
Old 2002-11-08, 16:58
BillyBlagg
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Audio or midi interface

Real newbie question - please no flames. Cant get my head around audio and midi interfaces/soundcards. If I buy an audio interface for my PC, can I play my midi keyboard through it and record midi data into Reason? Reason doesnt do audio, so do these interfaces work? Do they need special cables - SPDIF/TOS/Lightpipe? I know this is basic, but just want to check before I shell out hard-earned!
  #2  
Old 2002-11-08, 18:16
turntable turntable is offline
 
Join Date: May 2002
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Re: Audio or midi interface

:If I buy an audio interface for my PC, can I play my midi keyboard through it and record midi data into Reason?----------good question B.B. Yes, if you were to buy a combo unit that had both Midi and Audio Interface in one. Otherwise you have to buy a one midi interface (for the triggering and programming of Reason's devices) and an audio interface so you can hear it all.

About the digital interfaces: Not necessary unless you want to hook it up to other things in your rig that have digital in's ..like a dat, adat or other digital tape based thing-a-ma-jeeng (tascam da-##), digital mixer, a sampler or an Akai MPC that has digital in's .. get the idea?

If you don't have any of these..and you don't plan on it..then you can do without it.

SPDIF is(Sony Phillips Digital Interface) usually comes in the RCA style phono jack (a coaxial cable) Sometimes can come in the TOS Link format. (like w/ some of Terratec's cards.) Hosa makes some converters to..like SPDIF Coaxial to SPDIF Tos Link and vice versa ( i know more than u asked)

Ligtpipe looks like TOS Link (skinny fiber optic cable) but the jacks are different. (found in Adat's)


TDIF (Tascam digital interface in the format-computer style cable 25-pin)

AES (comes in a XLR Format stands for Audio Enginireeng Society)

her's some links:
http://www.aardvarkaudio.com
http://www.midiman.com
http://www.motu.com
http://www.edirol.com (these guys have something cool and new..450-600$$ it's audio and midi and fx and a mic and guitar amp simulator (roland's COSM technology)
http://www.terratec.net/
GoodLuck
  #3  
Old 2002-11-08, 18:25
turntable turntable is offline
 
Join Date: May 2002
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more souncard links B.B

  #4  
Old 2002-11-08, 18:38
BillyBlagg
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Re: Audio or midi interface

Thanks TT - however, what then is ASIO? How does that fit in Reason, and in the Reason manual, there are instructions of how to set up midi (which I now understand) but also audio driver set-up. Why have an audio driver set-up? If I were to buy say a Motu 826 (which as far as I know isnt a combo) then I would still need a midi interface to play my keyboard I guess? Your advice is very welcome.
  #5  
Old 2002-11-08, 21:14
turntable turntable is offline
 
Join Date: May 2002
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Re: Audio or midi interface

Thanks TT - however, what then is ASIO? How does that fit in Reason, and in the Reason manual, there are instructions of how to set up midi (which I now understand) but also audio driver set-up. Why have an audio driver set-up? If I were to buy say a Motu 826 (which as far as I know isnt a combo) then I would still need a midi interface to play my keyboard I guess? Your advice is very welcome.-----------------

ASIO (Audio/System/In/Out) all you and i really need to know is that this ASIO was developed by steinberg years ago..and that to us physically exsists in the form of a Driver.

A Driver is basically a little software program for a specific piece of hardware..like an Audio Card, Midi Interface, Video Card, or Printer, ect ect... What this driver does is tell the hardware how to work with the computer and its operaing system. It's the bridge between computer and the hardware.

So take microsoft's windows for example...when a prgram needs to use the computers audio capabilities it uses something called MME (mult-media extension) this again is like software within software ...MME works fine for tiny or simple programs that just require audio. But when you get into Professional Audio programs that require alot of audio channels In or Out (in Reason's case "out") OR the program has to be able to SYNC it's audio and midi together or sync the whole program to something else.. like an external digital multi-track tape machine, MME doesen't cut it! Also if you are monitoring what you are recording.

So Steinberg developed this widley accepted protocol ASIO. So when you buy an audio card...it comes with a couple of different drivers...MME (called wave drivers usually) Direct-X also a microsoft creation. Direct X is more solid than MME ..Microsoft needed something better than MME to handle today's video games and other multi-media thinga-ma-jeeng's.

Some Pro Audio Cards ship w/ all kinds of drivers ..mme, direct-x asio..wdwm (also microsoft..but for W2000 and WinXP..and you can switch between them freely.

ASIO will work best (usually) in an audio application (Reason) ..but let's say you have an arcade emulator (play's video games on your computer) and it doesn't support ASIO..but it supports Direct X ..well then you use the direct - x driver. get it?

So in Reason if you are using an mme driver and you have a high latency like 80ms (can be found in the Audio Card setup in Reason) So, when you press your midi-keyboard because you want to play the SubTraktor synth, and low and behold you don't hear anything until 80ms later..that's a pain in the ass for playing and trying to record something. That long delay from the time you press the key until you hear the sound. So NOW you select an asio driver instead ...and you're latency goes down to 10ms...ahh this is much better, so now when you press the key ..it's almost instant!! (buffer size also affects your latency no matter what driver you are using)

With a fast system and a well written driver and a good card...you can get down to 1 or 2 ms.

I have a motu card..and i have a windows machine..my partner has a mac...the motu has an asio driver and a mme ...motu cards work both for mac and pc.

What type of machine do you have...if it's window's ..chances are it already has a soundcard in there... and those home-style cards almost always have a midi interface in there too!! it's the joystick port in the back of the computer ..you can buy a and adapter (around 25 bucks) which is joystick port on one end and midi on the other ...this might be the way to go ...if you don't have any money left to spend after you get that motu. ..(Yes you will still need to get a midi interface if you get the motu) unless your mac or pc already has some midi capability in there...then u just get an adapter. Motu also makes cheap (under 100$$) basic 1in1out or 2in2out midi interfaces for mac and pc.

I'm no computer engineer and don't pretend to be...some of the very specific details, well i might be a little off..but that's the basic idea with audio drivers (what a musician or producer needs to know)

There is however a guy who goes by the name of
"blank" here ..his name is fred. He knows what he is talking about when it comes to audio apllications and what is required to make them work. he's worked for Propellerheads...and when something gets endlessly debated by a bunch of people here who know a "little about alot" he drops a message trying to dispell the crap from the fact...recent subjects have been "Why Reason doesn't or can't do audio" (a plug and a shout for Fred!) If you got some really tough questions in the future ..try him.

I hope that helps B.B ..if you got a pc and you need to find out wether you you have midi ready to go..let me know..

Maybe some of the mac heads here can help also.
Peace Out ~Turntable
  #6  
Old 2002-11-09, 00:23
jjames jjames is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 0
Re: Audio or midi interface

TT there are not enough words to say how useful those few paragraphs have been. Absolutely clear, basic information that I needed to know, that I couldnt find anywhere else. Not patronising either, just somebody taking time out to help a musician, new to this sometimes intimidating world. I thank you, and wish you the best. B.B.
 

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