One of the benefits to doing a project like this one is that I’m not the first one to do a project like this, so there is much to learn from other people and the way they went about designing their rigs. While that is the case, each artist has their unique vision in which they use their devices. As you can imagine, I’ve spent quite a bit of time watching videos and looking up sites on the interwebs on how to accomplish the goals I have set for myself. Even then, I still manage to have an issue for which I can’t seem to find a solution.

You may be asking, “Brian, why are you sharing this today, what does this have to do with apps or even this particular topic?”

I’m glad you asked.

Since my last post, I had a commentary dialogue with Benjamin Weiss, the developer for Modstep. He clued me in on a whole bunch of ways I can use Modstep with the Volcas. He gave me a brief overview pertaining to the X/Y controls and the ability to automate many of the parameters of my Volcas. Benjamin also told me that Modstep will also work with my Volca Sample, which I’ve not hooked up yet. I have only skimmed over the list of templates in Modstep, so I need to go back and see if there is a template for the Koss Pad 2, and if there isn’t, I’ll need to create one(I have since gone back into Modstep and looked, there isn’t a template, which means I’ll be creating one and perhaps, a tutorial on that will happen). Needless to say, he got me thinking of a lot of possibilities. This means I have a lot of work to do in order to really show off what this app can do with these machines.

Adding the Sample to the current setup presented me with two problems. I only have one MIDI port out and am using a MIDI thru box with four outputs. I have all four slots used up on the thru box with the other four Volcas, meaning I have no place to plug in the Sample. I tried to use the sync out from the Beats to hook up the Sample for keeping it in time with the other four Volcas, but that didn’t work. I’m going to need more ports. So with that, I ordered another splitter box today, along with some more cabling. My hypothesis is that I can further split one of the thru ports on the first MIDI splitter and give myself a total of seven thru ports available to me(that’s three on the first box and four on the second). I have no idea if this will work, though my theory is, if you can split one signal into four, then you could split it again off one of those four. I guess I’ll find out in a couple of days when my thru box arrives.

The other problem I face with incorporating the Sample into this setup is that the Sample was designed to transmit one sample per MIDI channel. Since the Sample has ten sample slots, I will be using up ten channels. Is this a problem? Well, yes and no. In the current rig, I am using all five Volcas, my Microbrute and the KP2 for effects. If I hook up the KP2’s MIDI, that means I’ll use all seven of the MIDI ports on the splitters(the Brute uses one too).If I did my math correctly, that means the Bass, Beats, FM and Keys each use one channel; the Brute uses one channel, and the KP2 uses one channel, but the Sample uses ten. There are sixteen available MIDI channels.

Device = MIDI Channel
Bass = 1
Keys = 2
FM = 3
Brute = 4
KP2 = 5
Beats = 10
Sample = 6,7,8,9,11,12,13,14,15,& 16

As you can see, that uses all available MIDI channels. This means I have no room to add more anything, even if I wanted to. I’m pretty sure I will be okay with this set up, that is unless Korg decides to make another Volca synth of some kind, then I’m pretty well screwed. Okay, so not really. I mean, I don’t HAVE to plug IN THE KP2’s MIDI, so that would free up a port, but the more I think about it, the more I want it to be plugged into the box, allowing me to sync up the tempo for the effects. The other option is the Retrokits RK-002 MIDIator MIDI cable. Among other things, this cable will allow the Sample to run on one MIDI channel, thus freeing up nine channels for use with other devices. This may be an option down the road, but for now, I think I could live with the current issue as is.

Well folks, that’s all I have for you today. Be sure to check back for part five, when I report back on whether or not you can split a MIDI splitter’s fourth port. I’ll also start sorting out things like sub-mixes, using other synths, like the DX27 or even my Yamaha FB-01. If all the routing of audio and MIDI gets sorted, then I’ll be building the cabinet in which all the devices will be installed.

Thanks for reading and as always, happy apping!