The tutorial will take you through a number of the more common procedures in Midi Quest. The intent is to get you comfortable with how the program operates along with some of the features you will use most often. After this, you can begin to explore the program more fully. The following is a basic outline of what we will be doing:
We will begin by loading the contents of one of your instruments into Midi Quest. This will not only provide your first view of how SysEx is stored in Midi Quest, it will also allow you to verify that the Studio has been properly configured to speak to your instruments.
For the first test, you should begin by choosing a full synthesizer that Midi Quest has editors for. Try not to select a drum machine, effect box, patch bay, or other MIDI device. If you have a number of different brands of instruments to choose from, try choosing an instrument not made by Roland (if you are using a Roland D-series instrument). If you have only Roland products, choose the newest instrument you own. We are not anti-Roland here, however, Roland D-series products have substantially more bugs in their instrument ROMs than any other manufacturer and we would prefer that you get Midi Quest up and running as smoothly as possible.
Now that you have selected an instrument module in the Studio Window, make sure that the Default Set is chosen in the set-list. click on the Get mini button on the instrument module or click on the large rectangular Get button in the Studio window's toolbar and Midi Quest will create a new Set and begin the process of loading SysEx from the instrument into the new Set.
Understanding MIDI I/O
During bulk SysEx loads from an instrument into a Midi Quest window, that window will display SysEx transfer information including the type of SysEx being loaded, the MIDI ports being used for the transfer and the number of bytes received. A completion bar will also fill as bytes are received.
If you have set all of the instrument parameters correctly using the Settings dialog and you have properly set up the instrument to receive and transmit SysEx (see the instrument's Fast Tips help for instructions), you will see the bar at the bottom of the window fill as SysEx is transferred.
Providing that everything proceeded without a problem, you have now saved a system backup. To send this snapshot from disk back to your instruments, simply choose MIDI/Transmit Set/Collection from Disk to Instrument..
Errors and Communications Problems
If there is a problem communicating with the instrument, the MIDI I/O Window will sit and wait. If you wait for more than 30 seconds, you can assume there is a problem somewhere in the system which needs to be corrected.
I'm not getting any SysEx
Following are some of the more commonly encountered problems when first trying to receive SysEx from an instrument. Work through each of the listed problems and follow the recommended suggestions. Retry the dump after each change you make,
1) If you have a patch bay, it may not be configured properly. For the moment, remove your patch bay from the loop and connect your instrument directly to the MIDI interface. Once you have the program talking with the instrument you can reattach the patch bay and configure it.
2) The MIDI cables between the computer and instrument are not connected properly. Ensure that the MIDI OUT cable from the instrument is connected to the MIDI IN of the computer and the MIDI OUT of the computer is connected to the MIDI IN of the instrument. Your reaction may be "of course they're connected" but over the years we've talked to many MIDI savvy people who have forgotten to connect the output of their rack instrument (or module) back to the computer.
3) The SysEx Channel set for the instrument is not the channel that the instrument is currently listening to for SysEx commands. Verify that the instrument's SysEx Channel is the same as that set in the software. Read the instrument's Fast Tips to find your instrument's SysEx Channel.
4) The instrument is currently ignoring SysEx dump requests because SysEx recognition has been disabled on the instrument. Read the instrument's Fast Tips to determine how to enable SysEx reception, if necessary.
5) You are sending the dump request to the wrong MIDI ports. Verify that the MIDI IN and MIDI OUT ports selected for the instrument are the ports that the instrument is actually connected to.
6) Try the request again and while the MIDI I/O window is waiting, go to the instrument and manually dump the SysEx to the computer yourself. If SysEx is received by the program, you are still having a problem sending the dump request to the instrument. If the computer displays a "SysEx Missing Bytes!" error message then the program did not receive the SysEx it was expecting. The problem, however, is basically the same. You need to determine why the instrument is not receiving or acknowledging the dump request message from the computer. Recheck the Fast Tips..
7) If the program does not appear to receive any SysEx in step 6, cancel the MIDI transfer window and go to the Utilities menu and choose Monitor Window. Return to your keyboard and begin playing notes. You should see numbers displayed in the window which correspond to each note you play. If you see numbers, proceed to the next step, otherwise you have some sort of hardware/software problem and the program is not receiving any MIDI messages. You should shut down Windows and power down your computer. Turn the computer back on, run windows, then run Midi Quest. Make sure that there are no other MIDI applications running. Next make sure the necessary MIDI port is open in the program by choosing MIDI/MIDI In Ports. Retry step 7 from the beginning. If the program still fails to receive SysEx, try a different MIDI cable. If you continue to have problems, try working with a different instrument. If that fails as well, it is time to contact Sound Quest for tech support by email, phone, or fax.
If you are receiving SysEx from your instrument but are frequently receiving "SysEx Missing Bytes" error messages the problem can be due to one of the following:
1) You are using a patch bay that is echoing the SysEx dump request that is intended for the instrument back to the program. Midi Quest's receives its own dump request and interprets this as an error. The receiving window will usually show that it has received a small number of bytes, usually less than 15. To fix this problem, you will need to alter the programming of the patch bay so that it does not route SysEx coming from the computer back to the computer. Try bypassing the Patch Bay and connect the instrument directly to the computer's MIDI interface.
2) You have a MIDI device which is capable of echoing SysEx that arrives at its MIDI IN port out its MIDI OUT port. An example of this is the Oberheim Matrix 1000. This problem is similar to that listed in problem 1 only this time it is the instrument which is echoing the dump request back to the program. To correct the problem, you will need to change the instrument so that it no longer echoes MIDI events arriving at the MIDI IN port and out the MIDI OUT port.
3) If you own a Patch Bay (note: a Patch Bay is not a multi-port MIDI interface), try connecting the instrument directly to the computer and bypass the Patch Bay. We have seen a substantial number of cases where a Patch Bay will loose part of the dump while it is being transferred. If this fails to fix the problem then continue.
4) Try the suggestions in the online help. Choose Help/Contents and pick MIDI Communication errors to obtain additional help.
The program crashes only on large SysEx dumps
If you are successfully receiving smaller SysEx dumps from an instrument but not large Bank dumps then the actual problem is an incompatibility between your MIDI hardware, MIDI driver software, and your computer hardware. You should make sure that you have the latest Windows MIDI drivers for your interface and if the driver allows you to set the size of the SysEx buffer, increase this buffer size substantially, by as much as ten times. Additionally, there are a few other tricks you can try to get the program working.
1) Open the MIDI/MIDI In Ports dialog and change the SysEx "Buffer Size" from 2000 bytes to 5000 bytes. Retry the dump.
2) If step 1 is not successful, return to the Midi/Midi In Ports dialog and substantially increase the "Buffer Size" to 50000. You should also reduce the number of buffers to 3 instead of 15. Retry the dump.
3) If step 2 fails, it is time to contact Sound Quest's tech support. From time to time manufacturers will change the format of their SysEx dumps. It may be necessary to obtain new drivers for the instrument.