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Montage as the Centerpiece of a Home Studio

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 Mark
Posts: 0
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Topic starter
 

Montage 8 arrived yesterday; I am having a thoroughly good time exploring the instrument.

However, I've bumped into one (I believe resolvable) problem:

I purchased the Montage a) for the ramp up in technology and sound synthesis and b) to replace Kurzweil PC3 as a master control keyboard for multiple devices and computer in my home studio.

So what is the issue I've bumped into?

The PC3 has a control mode (Setup Mode) which is ideally suited to interfacing with multiple devices and computer. A zone in the Setup can transmit 1) Locally only 2) MIDI out only, 3) USB only, or any combination thereof.

So the PC3 controls computer/cubase with omnisphere (USB out port), Motif XF via MIDI, K2600 rack with MIDI, (both through MIDI out ports) and also a couple of other devices. All audio is then integrated into a mixer. This is probably not the most efficient way to manage midi;/audio flow, but I had the MIDI setup before I purchased the computer so I just added the computer via USB and kept the rest the same. The computer has an audio interface, Steinburg UR824, which has no MIDI ports.

Back to the Montage.

From the manual for setting the USB/MIDI output selection (pg 48):

NOTE
Either of the built-in interfaces, the MIDI terminals, or the [USB TO HOST] terminal, can be used for MIDI data transmission/reception; however,
they cannot be used at the same time.

So now I have a problem; I cannot control the computer/cubase via USB and MIDI devices via MIDI Out port simultaneously. Since the XF, for example, has a USB port I think there is a way to connect it to the computer, identify the XF as a device in Cubase, and route MIDI information to the XF.

However, I have a couple of devices that are not USB capable, meaning I have to communicate via a MIDI cable. So how can I operate the USB port and still have the ability to route, via a MIDI cable, data to those devices?

I'm looking at some intermediate interface like an iConnectMIDI4 or similar USB/MIDI interface, but wanted to see if anyone else has this issue and how it was resolved.

Last note, it seems, since the software selection as described in the Montage Owners Manual, it should be resolvable via software/OS update. I would like to suggest, that if possible and feasible, both ports be accessed simultaneously.

Thanks in advance,
Mark

 
Posted : 23/08/2016 4:18 pm
Bad Mister
Posts: 12304
 

There are alternate solutions, but in all of this you didn't mention what type of computer you are using. The options available vary based on the computer type. Since Mac folks always mention they have a Mac, I'll guess you have a Windows PC. (Let us know)...

The Montage and the Motif XF both have built-in MIDI interfaces, (the Montage has a 32-in/6-out USB Audio interface, the Motif XF has an optional 16-in/6-out FireWire Audio interface). You have a Steinberg UR824 as your audio interface... So if you're using that, fine.

If you plans on just using the UR824 for audio, then connect both the Montage and the XF to your computer via USB. If you have enough ports to do that, you can connect the PC3 to the Montage's 5-pin MIDI IN and OUT, and the K2600 rack to the 5-pin MIDI IN and OUT of the Motif XF.

Download and install the following drivers:
Yamaha Steinberg USB driver version 1.9.9 for your computer type (Montage will use this driver)
Yamaha USB-MIDI driver for your computer type (Motif XF will use this driver)

Cubase will identify the synthesizers as follows:
Montage = MONTAGE Port 1
PC3 = MONTAGE Port 3
Motif XF = Motif XF-1 Port 1
K2600 = Motif XF-3 Port 3

If you own Windows, the driver will be identify itself as "Yamaha Steinberg USB" rather than with the product model.

The quote you took from the manual, about MIDI ports not working, is taken out of context. They work! Here's how:

The way this works in the Montage and the Motif XF, when you connect the USB of the instrument to a computer, the 5-pin MIDI jacks are retasked as a MIDI interface for an external device. The computer simply sees them as PORT #3 of that device.

So for example... In Cubase you will set both the Montage and Motif XF as input devices: go to DEVICES > DEVICE SETUP > MIDI > MIDI PORT SETUP > in the final column "In All MIDI Inputs" mark with an "X" Montage Port 1 and Montage Port 3. The Montage itself is Port 1, the PC3 is Port 3. Mark also the Motif XF Port 1. Clear all others in this column.

Now when you set a MIDI Track to "All MIDI Inputs" you can use any of your keyboard as a controller, one at time or simultaneously!
The device that sounds will depend on what you select for MIDI OUT for the particular track.

MONTAGE Port 1 plays the Montage
MONTAGE Port 3 plays the PC3
MOTIF XF Port 1 plays the Motif XF
MOTIF XF Port 3 plays the K2600

Work with LOCAL CONTROL = OFF all routing takes place with the Cubase Track Inspector settings.

That should take care if your MIDI issues without having to purchase anything.

In the Montage, you'll want to setup and use the Master Zone function to setup as many as eight Zones. Some can be set to transmit to internal Parts, and you can create Zones to play your specific VSTi synths. You are able to create splits, layers and complex split/layer combinations with internal and external devices and VSTi soft synths. Once the Master Zone function is activated in UTILITY mode, you can setup Performances to address internal and external devices as necessary.

Hope that helps. Let us know.

 
Posted : 23/08/2016 6:57 pm
 Jeff
Posts: 0
Active Member
 

BM

I do have a Mac. [You were right, you said we Mac folks always mention that]. How would your PC instructions above be different for my Mac? Thanks a lot !!

 
Posted : 24/08/2016 2:21 am
 Mark
Posts: 0
Active Member
Topic starter
 

You were correct Bad, my computer is a PC.

Your suggestions look very viable and I will attempt asap.

Thanks much for the tremendous feedback.

Mark

Jeff,

Bad Mister can certainly clarify, but the starting point would be installing the correct Mac drivers instead of the PC drivers indicated. They are available from the same website:

http://www.steinberg.net/en/support/downloads_hardware/yamaha_steinberg_usb_driver.html

I would assume the Cubase functionality is unchanged; presuming you are using that as your DAW software.

 
Posted : 24/08/2016 1:01 pm
 John
Posts: 0
New Member
 

Bad Mister,

I'm facing a similar issue with connecting a new UR824 to my new Montage 7. Running Cubase Pro 9.5 on a Windows 10 PC. All connected via USB cables.

Seeing as this thread originated in August of 2016, wondering if there are any updates for getting these three singing together? I've tried the applicable steps above with no improvement.

Two specific issues:

1.How do I get Cubase to see both the Montage and UR824 at the same time? Right now it will only deal with one or the other.

2. Assuming this next one is related...unable to Mixdown midi data to audio (or Render in Place) in Cubase.

You've come to the rescue on a number of occassions for me over the past 8-9 years! Many Thanks for any direction you can provide on this!

Best

 
Posted : 10/09/2018 12:55 am
Bad Mister
Posts: 12304
 

Hi John
Happy to help when I can...

Two specific issues:

1.How do I get Cubase to see both the Montage and UR824 at the same time? Right now it will only deal with one or the other.

To see both at once you need to have a Macintosh - and build an "Aggregate Audio Device"
On a Windows PC you’ll need to use a single audio interface to transfer audio into and back out of the computer.

2. Assuming this next one is related...unable to Mixdown midi data to audio (or Render in Place) in Cubase.

In order to use EXPORT AUDIO MIXDOWN you must build an EXTERNAL INSTRUMENT routing scenario... This is available for users of Cubase Pro. This External Instrument routing allows you to return audio from the MONTAGE to Cubase Pro in the same fashion as a VSTi returns audio within Cubase. What you will do is create a routing situation where you are playing MIDI Tracks back from Cubase Pro, the MONTAGE then generates audio which is “returned” to Cubase Pro; it will be directed via the External Instrument setup to a set of special Inputs you will create, these special inputs can be monitored via an EXTERNAL VSTi plugin you will create; and like all VSTi plugins you’ll have an Audio Lane (a track with the “live” audio - the “virtual audio”. It is this virtual Audio that can be further processed by VST Effect plugins, and Exported as Audio Mixdown. (We can show you how to set that up).

If you are not using Cubase Pro, you cannot use the EXPORT AUDIO MIXDOWN or Render in Place. But you can still accomplish the goal of transferring your data to Audio Tracks... you just set it up a bit differently, is all. The difference is that by setting up the “virtual audio” routing scenario you can process your tracks with software plugins before they are printed as proper audio tracks.

MONTAGE has enough assignable USB Outputs for each Part to be returned to its own stereo track... you also can freely create routing scenarios as you may require, such as individual buses for individual drum sounds and so on.

You've come to the rescue on a number of occassions for me over the past 8-9 years! Many Thanks for any direction you can provide on this!

Glad I could do so... we can only help you further here with more information on your needs.. are you playing and singing? Are condenser mics involved? Is switching audio interfaces (recabling) going to be impossible?

Let us know your requirements in terms of simultaneous record and we'll spell out your options.

In general, the UR824 and the MONTAGE are both audio interfaces.
The computer and your external sound system, will need to choose one of these devices as your primary audio interface.
If you have a Mac you can set them both up and utilize all the outputs/Inputs (Although, obviously, still only one of them can connect to your speakers at a time). This means in either computer type, you’ll need to connect the Analog Outputs of one to a pair of inputs on the other - for Monitoring purposes.
If you have a Windows PC then only one of them can send audio to the computer at a time (this may not be as big an issue as it sounds - depends on your recording needs and what you need to record simultaneously).

Either way, rather than detailing all the possibilities, we feel it will be less confusing if we just write those for YOUR situation.... Let us know... particularly, your requirements for simultaneous record; and whether you desire to use the multiple audio Outputs available on the MONTAGE.

Edit: I see it may be time to update our LEARN area with info on this type of an advanced routing scenario (Cubase External Audio Routing). So, thank you for the question.

 
Posted : 10/09/2018 1:25 pm
 John
Posts: 0
New Member
 

Hello and apologies for the delay responding!

To address some of your questions:

- I'm running a Sweetwater Creation Station PC. Cubase Pro 9.5. And of course the Montage 7.

- As for my particular work process, I'm typically laying down core song structure with some bass and drum midi in Cubase using the Montage as the midi input device and sound generator. (Do also use Groove Agent but not a lot of other VST instruments at this time.) Then will add some audio; guitar, vocals, etc. With that as a foundation, usually go back to midi to tighten up and add tracks and then mix down to audio. Revisit / add more audio, rinse and repeat, etc. I do occasionally need multiple, simultaneous audio inputs plus really like the sound shaping options a UR824 or Focusrite offers.

Right now I do not have the UR824 audio interface connected and have just the one A/D Input on the back of the Montage.

As for the Mixdown / Render In Place issue, thanks to your direction above I've managed to create External Instrument enabled tracks that are connected to the Montage where I can copy original midi data and render in place and or mix down from the External Instrument track in Cubase.

However, I still face the problem of integrating the UR824, Montage and Cubase. As you note, (if I'm reading your comments above correctly,) PC's apparently won't handle audio from the Montage and UR824 at the same time. I have two work arounds in mind and hope you can point me in the right direction:

- Would purchasing a different audio face, say a Focusrite work instead of the Yamaha UR824? Is the issue that both the Montage and UR use the same Yamaha Steinberg USB ASIO driver but can't access it at the same time?? So using a Focusrite and its driver might allow for both drivers to be recognized and used at the same time?

- Or is the only work around unplugging the Montage USB - Computer connection and swapping in traditional midi cables and driver? This would allow the UR to function as the audio interface. Sounds good but not sure what functionality I would be giving up or how to make the proper settings for Montage or Cubase in this instance. And what midi cables and driver work with Montage??

Open to other suggestions too!

(As you note, having something in the LEARN area concerning these routing challenges would be really valuable and a great time saver! )

Many Thanks BM!!

 
Posted : 13/09/2018 7:39 pm
Bad Mister
Posts: 12304
 

Thanks for the visit and the question. There is no one way to proceed, but understanding the computer and audio interface issue is something that is a bit complex. Hopefully the following will help.

Would purchasing a different audio face, say a Focusrite work instead of the Yamaha UR824? Is the issue that both the Montage and UR use the same Yamaha Steinberg USB ASIO driver but can't access it at the same time?? So using a Focusrite and its driver might allow for both drivers to be recognized and used at the same time?

No, it has nothing to do with the brand of audio interface. Nor does it have to do with the driver. The issue is that Windows as an operating system does not allow multiple devices to be simultaneously configured as an audio interface. Windows computers will only recognize one audio interface at a time.

Macintosh computers allow you to create an Aggregate Audio Device... basically, it allows you configure things so multiple audio interfaces can deliver signal to the Mac simultaneously (each interface still uses its own driver) but the computer sees one entity, the aggregate audio interface... but this does not solve the monitoring issue. Even when using a Mac only one of the multiple audio interfaces can feed your speakers at a time. So you still need to connect the Analog Outs of one audio interface to a pair of inputs on the other in order to establish a “direct monitor” path to your sound system. One of the two interfaces becomes the defacto principal device.

The digital signal goes directly to the computer from both audio interfaces... but if you want to monitor yourself “direct” you must connect to the one ‘principal’ audio interface. This has nothing do with the audio interfaces you are using, or the drivers involved.

Or is the only work around unplugging the Montage USB - Computer connection and swapping in traditional midi cables and driver? This would allow the UR to function as the audio interface. Sounds good but not sure what functionality I would be giving up or how to make the proper settings for Montage or Cubase in this instance. And what midi cables and driver work with Montage??

No, this is not a workaround either.

I asked if you think you would be taking advantage of the 32-bus Outputs on the MONTAGE (and I’m fully aware that there can’t really be a definitive answer...) what I can do is give you an example of what I would do in this situation... which may not be absolutely ideal, but at least it will give you something to work from.

My Recommendation:
Install the Yamaha Steinberg USB Driver (both units use it for MIDI and Audio communication).
Connect both the MONTAGE and the UR824 independently, directly to USB Ports on your computer. This will allow either, when selected, to deliver audio to the computer for recording.
Connect the L&R Outputs of the UR824 to your sound system (making it the ‘principal’ audio interface) meaning you will select it in Cubase... and you would choose your monitoring settings in this device.
Be prepared to connect the Main L&R Outputs of the MONTAGE to a stereo pair of inputs on the UR824 (for monitoring when necessary)
Setup Cubase so that UR824 is the ASIO Device.
Setup Cubase so that the MONTAGE is the Remote Device via MIDI “MONATGE Port 2” for Transport Control, Mixing, etc.

This would allow me the best of both worlds. The UR824 is an audio interface, and that is all it is... so selecting it as the principal audio device makes sense. But I’m able, if and when necessary, to switch principal devices when I want to record using the MONTAGE’s awesome 32-bus capability. Cubase allows you to “hot swap” audio interface devices, mid Project, without shutting down the Project or the program (“hot swapping” means you don’t have to disrupt your project to change interfaces) so you can setup so that you can use either device when you wish.

I can avoid having to switch Speaker leads from the UR824 to the MONTAGE (when I want to use it as it’s own audio interface) because I would monitor recording of the MONTAGE through headphones (the MONTAGE Phones out are always the equivalent of the Main L&R Output). Because both devices are connected via USB, this configuration gives you the most flexibility.

A lot of what you will need will depend (as I was asking about) how you decide to use the USB out capability of the MONTAGE. If you don’t go full out and record separate outs for your synth tracks, then you will not have to worry about any major reconfiguring of your system just to accommodate things.

In some home studios switching cables from one audio interface to the other is logistically impossible. In others, it’s no big deal. But just remember, in order to avoid monitoring latency you need to have a direct path from each device to the sound system. This is accomplished by direct cabling (the principal device) or by cabling through the the principal device... (or use of headphones).

 
Posted : 14/09/2018 2:45 pm
 John
Posts: 0
New Member
 

Thank You Bad Mister. I will give this a try and report back!

 
Posted : 16/09/2018 12:34 pm
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