Yesterday I finished up a few projects, freeing me up to work on my next – getting my gear properly connected. I’ve had a decent workflow, but the recent advances in iOS connectivity has prompted me to reevaluate my workflow – and exposed some blank spots. I’m hoping to draw from some of the expertise in my network to help me come up with a solution that meets my workflow expectations.
When I started yesterday – the 1st connection I wanted to test was using the CCK to connect my iPad Mini to the Novation Circuit. When I unboxed the CCK (which I ordered several months back) I realized I made the oversight of ordering the 30 Pin adapter – instead of the Lightning CCK I needed. I knew I’d have to go swap that out 1st – and as well needed a Powered USB Hub. These 2 issues of course are no big deal, but when I started to look into solutions I realized that the simple CCK + Powered USB Hub wasn’t going to cut it for my workflow.
Reasons for the inadequacy of the CCK + Powered USB Hub solution are several. This inadequacy is due to the overall musical ecosystem I have, and limitations I want to eliminate. And since I’m going to require some manner of CCK + XXX – I started doing research into the possibilities, which led me into some confusion, and to writing this post seeking help!
1st I’ll list my existing ecosystem – then some of the goals I have for interconnectivity etc., with the hopes of receiving some recommendations of an integrated solution to bring it all together.
Arturia Beatstep Pro
Novation Launchpad Pro
Novation LaunchControl XL
Korg MS-20 Mini
Audio Interface: Novation Audio Hub 2×4
Macbook Pro (Mid 2014 Edition) 16 GB Ram etc.
Dell Inspiron 7737 w/ i7 + 16 GB Ram + Nvidia GE Force 750 etc. (Touchscreen)
Monitors (Macbook Pro) – 2 External Dell 27″ 4K
Monitors (Dell Inspiron 7737) – 2 External 23″ 1080p
Both PC + Macbook run Ableton Live 9.6
Mobile + Tablets:
iPad Air (2 – as in 2 devices)
iPad Mini 2
iPad Pro 9.7
iPad Mini 4
Samsung Galaxy Note 2014 Edition
Mobile Connectivity Apps:
Midiflow w/ Controller Remapping + Controller Conditions (add-ons)
Mobile Music Production Apps:
Modstep (Preferred DAW)
My Current Macbook workflow Looks like this:
Audio Hub 2×4 – Connected to Macbook via USB
Launchpad Pro + Novation Circuit – Connected to USB Ports on Audio Hub 2×4
Simple 4 Port Anker USB Expander – Connected to 3rd USB Port on Audio Hub 2×4
BeatStep Pro + SQ1 + MS-20 Mini + Numark NV – Connected to Simple 4 Port Expander Hub (USB plugged into Audio Hub 2×4)
Logitech Z550 Sound System Connected to Optical (Headphone) port of Macbook Pro via Toslink Cable
1 27″ Dell 4K Monitor Connected to Displayport on Macbook Pro
1 27″ Dell 4k Monitor Connected to HDMI Port on Macbook Pro (this is on HDMI because when I try to connect both via the 2 Displayports the video is immediately aliased)
1 SD Card for Additional Storage in SD Slot on Macbook Pro
Apple Bluetooth Mouse/Keyboard
Ipad mini – Connected to remaining USB Port on Macbook Pro (2nd iPad ((Air)) is used with AudioBus Remote to run 2nd etc. Apps. I use the mini as Primary iOS device because I actually like the smaller size.
Current Remaining unused Macbook Pro Connections – 1 Open DisplayPort on the Macbook Pro
Issues + Limitations:
As you’ll have noticed Above – I didn’t talk Audio Connections, only USB. Currently because of my lack of connection knowledge (or hardware limitations) I can only connect 1 Audio Device at a time to the Novation Audio Hub 2×4.
The devices I have that output Audio are:
MS-20 Mini (Patchbay) – Keyboard is Midi
What I currently do when I want to use one of these devices is connect them via RCAs to the Line Input on the Audio Hub 2×4. Here’s where my knowledge is inadequate though – the Audio Hub 2×4 has 2 Balanced Outputs + 2 sets of RCA Outputs that are currently unused on my Audio Hub 2×4. I’ve tried to plug stuff into these – but I’m (perhaps incorrectly) assuming these are for connecting out to a Mixer – or something else, and aren’t going to help me in the manner I want.
And what I want is to have everything connected simultaneously – so that I can use any and all of the above devices without limitations (midi, audio or otherwise).
Also – I want to hook the PC + the Samsung Galaxy Note 2014 Edition into the workflow as well.
So this is where I’m at today – and as I was looking to replace my mistakenly purchased 30 pin CCK – I thought it was as good a time as any to see if I could bring this all together. So far, I have looked at the iConnectMIDI4+ as a potential fix – since it will allow PC/MAC interconnectivity – and seems fairly thorough on Midi-routing. However, I’m not sure if it will work concurrently with what I have – or will help me out with the additional audio inputs I have
So here are my final goals (and let me know if I’m missing any potential inhibitors):
I want to make sure whatever I end up with will transfer MIDI as robustly as possible. I’m very much interested in using MidiFlow to remap, split, reroute Midi including SysEx/NRPN etc.
I want to make sure everything is connected simultaneously (both Audio + Midi) + PC & MAC
And when I want to go Hardware only – I want to make sure I have Powered USB wherever I need it to Connect directly to iOS.
Very Important Requirement is NO unhooking/rehooking Audio/Midi cables when I want to work with whatever devices I choose.
If I’m not mistaken – I’m short 3 audio connections (if my above assumptions about the connections on the Audio Hub 2×4 are correct)
Ideally – I’d like a single interface to add-on that allows me to connect everything I have via USB + Audio + PC + MAC and that will work Concurrently with my Audio Hub 2×4 (mostly so I don’t have to buy an entire new interface) Perhaps this is the iConnectMIDI4+ – but I don’t know
If you’ve made it this far, and can come up with a viable solution – I’ll be glad to buy you a beer or 3, edit something for you, wash your car, or praise you far and wide on the interweb – you tell me!
Feel free to post in the comments below – on FB (if you’re here from the Circuit group) – Twitter @Ocsprey – or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org – same goes if you need any clarification. I tried to be thorough, but I’m not by any means an expert on connections – so please keep it simple for me!
AudioHub 2×4 Connection Pictures: