Midi Quest and MIDI Interfaces
If you are reading this manual in page order then you have just finished up reading about everything that is necessary to configure correctly in order to have a MIDI system that handles SysEx well. The previous section dealt with MIDI interfaces in general but on this page, we wish to make some specific suggestions regarding the MIDI interfaces to use with Midi Quest or more specifically, those not to use.
Midi Quest will stress your MIDI hardware probably more than any other application in your system. The reason is that the DAW you use sends small 2 and 3 byte MIDI messages out to your hardware. Midi Quest, depending on your MIDI hardware, will send single SysEx messages up to 1MB in length. As a result, there is no guarantee that an inexpensive MIDI interface that works well with your DAW is going to work well with Midi Quest.
As has been discussed previously, if Midi Quest is not receiving SysEx. The problem is usually a result of the MIDI hardware not being configured properly or the MIDI interface not working correctly. (For a full discussion see Midi Quest and MIDI Communications)
For this reason, Sound Quest recommends that you choose and use name brand MIDI interfaces: M-Audio, Edirol (Roland), and MOTU (with some exceptions) are highly recommended. If you are having difficulty establishing communications between Midi Quest and your MIDI hardware, one of the first things Sound Quest will ask is what MIDI interface you are using. If you aren't using one of these, it is likely that we will ask you to try one.
Regardless of the MIDI interface that you use, make sure that you have the latest drivers installed and check the internet for reports of problems with the MIDI interface(s) you use.
Following is a history of known issues with MIDI interfaces. Some of these issues will be time sensitive and have since been corrected. Unfortunately, we do not have the resources to track every MIDI interface issue we discover to the time of its resolution (assuming it is resolved). Consequently, if your MIDI interface is listed here it may be fine as the issues have already been corrected however if you have problems with Midi Quest, the cause is likely the interface.
MIDI Interfaces and Management Software You Should Not Use
"No Name" or "Chinese" MIDI interfaces selling for less than $35 are probably fine for standard MIDI messages but do not expect them to work reliably with System Exclusive messages or Midi Quest. Sound Quest has extensive experience with these interfaces not transporting MIDI information properly. There are also numerous online reports stating the same thing.
This group includes: MIDIPLUS 2x2 T-BOX, most MIDI interfaces selling for $15 and under.
Manufacturers with MIDI interfaces with known issues include:
MOTU has a reputation for offering excellent MIDI interfaces. However, over the years there have been some problems and because these issues are in firmware, they can continue to exist today. For MOTU interfaces which have issues, attempting to send SysEx through them can result in a number of problems including: damaged SysEx sent to instruments, damage/modification of internal settings of the MIDI interface, and failure to send SysEx. This can cause MIDI devices to crash. If you are using a MOTU interface and it does not appear to be transmitting SysEx properly to your MIDI hardware, you should immediately switch to a different MIDI interface.
MIDI Xpress XT
see http://www.motunation.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=49907 for more information.
MIDI Express 128
The issues with the Express 128 are identical to the Xpress XT with loss of SysEx bytes and corrupted transmissions causing serious problems.
MIDI Time Piece
There have been similar reports as for the MIDI Xpress XT.
In addition to the above noted problems, Sound Quest has seen the following problem. When an older serial MPT is networked together with a newer USB MTP which is connected to the computer, the serial MPT will never successfully receive SysEx and may interfere with the USB MPT receiving SysEx. At a minimum, stop using the serial MPT and verify that the USB MPT doesn't have the firmware issues discussed above.
There have been similar reports as for the MIDI Xpress XT.
Micro Express ROM v2.01
Extensive communications problems reported.
MOTU Clockwork Software
This software has been known to damage SysEx transmissions and internal MOTU hardware settings. This software should be turned off when running Midi Quest.
If you must use the Clockwork software, the best reported configuration is to mute the input on EVERYTHING except: notes, controllers, program changes, aftertouch, pitch bend, and SysEx.
MOTU MTP AV
There have been reported problems with the AV receiving SysEx messages on MIDI IN Port #4. The solution is to use a different MIDI IN port on the unit.
Unitor 8 interfaces with RS-232 or RS-422 interfaces are usually unable to reliably transfer SysEx to the computer. Only a USB interface should be considered reliable.
While individual Unitor 8 interfaces continue to work reliably, when two interfaces are connected together the second interface is often not able to transfer SysEx to the computer.
iRig MIDI 2
The iRig MIDI 2 interface when tested with an iPad (July, 2018) produced duplicates of all incoming SysEx messages and submits them twice to Midi Quest. This breaks Midi Quest operation and communication timing for many instruments and, as a result, this interface shouldn't be used with the program. Please note, the hardware may not operate this way with Mac or Windows systems and may be a valid choice. In addition, it should be possible to use this interface with Midi Quest's auto dump recognition functionality, however, these options are not able to receive all of the SysEx that Midi Quest supports.
The mio has issues transmitting SysEx to an Ensoniq SQ-1 series instrument from a Windows platform. The SQ-1 has specific MIDI timing requirements which the mio may not be capable of fulfilling. However, if there are MIDI transfer issues, the problem is likely the interface. As noted below in the "firmware" section, ensure that you have the latest firmware installed.
iConnectivity MIDI interface hardware is known to have issues handling "large" SysEx messages. As of firmware v2.05, this issue still isn't addressed for the largest SysEx dumps. For example, The mio interfaces still aren't able to correctly transmit Trinity and Triton bank SysEx back to the instrument.
Sound Blaster Audigy 4 sound card/breakout box
This unit has been known to stop receiving SysEx messages in situations where other interfaces function correctly. Failures are inconsistent and frequently require a computer reboot in order for the interface to start functioning properly again.
Audio Kontrol 1
This MIDI interface has been reported as unreliable in situations where one SysEx request results in multiple returned SysEx messages. An M-Audio interface running on the same system had no issues.
While the MIDI Merge hardware is not a MIDI interface, it is MIDI hardware that it external to Midi Quest. This hardware takes to MIDI cables as input and merges this to create a single output. For SysEx, this unit has limitations. As described by MIDI Solutions. The two inputs each have a 140 byte SysEx buffer. Should both inputs receive a SysEx message larger than 140 bytes at the same time, the message which is received second is dropped.
We have a one time experience where the 8x8 would not transmit SysEx to an instrument (other MIDI events were transmitted correctly). To fix this, a hardware reset of the unit was required as described here:
1. Unplug all Midi cables from the 8x8
2. Unplug the USB cable from your computer.
3. With the power ON, unplug the power cable
4. Turn the Power switch OFF and let the MIDISPORT sit disconnected for 10-15 seconds.
5. Plug the Power back IN
6. Turn the Power back ON
7. Plug the USB cable back IN
8. Plug your MIDI cables back IN
9. Turn your computer ON
This was an issue at one time, it may no longer be so: If more than two M-Audio interfaces are being used, all of the units must be connected to the same USB controller in order for them to work correctly.
This interfaces appear to be unable to handle large SysEx messages
WaMi Audio Interface
Sound Quest has received multiple reports of the MIDI port on WaMi audio interfaces not receiving SysEx data correctly in a Windows 7 x64 environment when running the 32-bit version of Midi Quest.
Akai Advanced Keyboards
Sound Quest has received reports that the external MIDI ports on these keyboards are capable of transmitting SysEx sent from the computer to an external instrument but are not capable of receiving SysEx from an external instrument and transferring it to the computer.
If there are any issues with transferring SysEx from Midi Quest to an instrument, ensure that the latest firmware and drivers are installed. Users have experienced issues that have been addressed with an update. This includes:
Alyseum interfaces have a known issue. It can send SysEx back to an instrument so densely that the instrument is unable to receive it properly. This problem is most frequently found in older instruments. Midi Quest is usually able to address this problem by sending a block a SysEx out as a series of smaller chunks. This allows the instrument's processor to keep up with the incoming data. The Alyseum is different in that it collects all of the SysEx chunks into a single packet and transfers that packet to the interface to send. This removes the spacing that is intentionally introduced and the instrument is unable to accept its own SysEx back. This is typically only a problem found with instruments release in the 1980s. Instruments known to have issues are:
Korg Poly 800 II
Sound Quest has received reports that the T4 does not transmit SysEx properly, at least under the condition where there are a large number of small SysEx messages being sent. In short, some bytes of the SysEx messages are not being transmitted. Depending on the instrument this will result in checksum error messages, failure of the instrument to respond to transmitted SysEx, or in the case of older instruments with insufficient error checking, bad sounds or hardware crashes.
This issue may have been corrected by the manufacturer. Ensure you have the latest firmware and drivers installed for the hardware. If this does not correct the issue, speak wit the manufacturer about resolving the problem but you may need to switch to a different MIDI interface.
Other Known Issues
Following is a list of known issues which has been compiled over the last few years. Hopefully all issues described here have been addressed by the manufacturers but we will list them in case an older hardware or drivers are being used.
Focusrite Saffire LE
driver version(s): 1.2, 1.3, 1.4 (beta)
Interfaces do not properly receive SysEx
Focusrite 18i20 Scarlett 3rd Gen interface
This interface was dropping large numbers of bytes in SysEx data messages which were of reasonably small size (266 bytes). If the issue persists, this interface is not usable for SysEx communication. Apparently the problem is the Focusrite control software. Disabling/uninstalling this software will allow the interface to function properly. At the time of writing, Focusrite was working to rectify the problem.
LynxONE dual port Interfaces
Interfaces do not properly receive SysEx
MIDI Interfaces and USB Power
While it is rare, it is possible for any MIDI interface that draws current directly from the computer's USB ports (instead of having its own dedicated power supply) to be under powered. Simple MIDI interfaces generally require a minimum of 500mA to run properly. Some USB ports will provide less current that this. In these circumstances, the under powered MIDI interface is usually able to receive standard MIDI events. However, receiving SysEx requires more current and this can result in a failure to correctly receive data. If a name brand USB MIDI interface is having difficulty receiving larger SysEx dumps, try connecting the interface to a powered USB hub instead of directly to the computer. This may solve the problem.