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Will my iCM4+ handle MPE?



  • Should do. MPE is basically just a (pretty horrible) hack of standard MIDI 1.0. Here's the short technical explanation for anyone who is interested:
      --- Wherever possible, every sounding note is temporarily assigned its own MIDI Channel between its Note On and Note Off. This allows Control Change and Pitch Bend messages to be addressed to that particular note.
      --- A Registered Parameter Number is used to establish the range of Channels used for sending or receiving notes. Two messages control the division of MIDI Channel space into sub-spaces called Zones, so that multi-timbral playing is still possible using only one physical MIDI interface.
      --- When there are more active notes in a Zone than available Channels, two or more notes will have to share the same Channel. Under such circumstances, all notes will continue to sound, but will no longer be uniquely controllable.
      --- Each Zone has a dedicated extra Channel, called the Master Channel, which conveys common information including Program Change messages, pedal data, and overall Pitch Bend. These messages apply across the entire Zone.

  • Thanks, I just wanted to be sure. It's indeed quite a hack, not very useful for common controllers and synths, but interesting for "think outside the box" concepts. I just bought a small Roli Seaboard block "keyboard" and the bundled synths were developed specifically for MPE. Has not arrived yet, I'll let you know how that goes. Demos sound fantastic and being primarily a guitar player, the very tactile concept appeals to me.
  • I can confirm that Roli Seaboards work with iCM4+ in all modes.
  • Which Seaboard specifically did you test?
  • I tested the Seabord block but they're basically all the same. You need to plug it in a regular USB hub when you need to configure it via their "Dashboard" app, but the settings are saved in the device so it doesn't need to remain tethered. Once configured, it acts as a regular class compliant midi device. The configuration  is basically to change the operating mode from the default MPE to regular midi with some flavors as well as authorizing the device online and upgrading the firmware. It spits out an enormous amount of midi messages but the iCM4+ doesn't seem to struggle with that. Coupled with their Equator synth it's really a spectacular and innovative instrument!
  • I'm using a lightpad block at the moment.  It indeed works the same way as dirk described for the seaboard.

    Since you can't access the dashboard control software if it's connected through the iConnectivity host ports, I keep it plugged into one of my USB hubs.  The thing is, unless you have some of the other control blocks, you need the dashboard to be able to reconfigure the various control apps you're using, or even to effectively shift up and down octaves.

    This is a common issue I run into with the host ports.  Most dedicated software that you use with your MIDI controllers and instruments requires a direct usb connection.  So I end up not using the host port for much, although I am keeping an eye on the compatible products list when thinking about new gear purchases.

  • If a future iConnectivity MKII line would allow for regular USB to keep working I'll certainly upgrade.
  • If a future iConnectivity MKII line would allow for regular USB to keep working

    The problem is that it's an either/or proposition. If we built an interface with a regular USB hub instead then you wouldn't be able to use it without a computer plugged in, not to mention would screw up all of our direct routing stuff, port reservation etc. So since anyone can already buy a standard USB hub anyway, we choose to keep ours as a specialised USB-MIDI interface.
  • The expandable host port is a great feature.  I'm glad it's there.  I just seem to happen to have mostly incompatible gear at the moment.

    I've got my novation circuit attached to it at the moment.  It's the same with the circuit- it doesn't work with the editor software on the host port so I plug it in directly to a usb hub for some synth programming and then when I'm done with that I can connect it to my mio and thus to the rest of my gear.
  • We are investigating possible better ways to have our USB-MIDI Host port simply ignore the proprietary USB stuff that some devices send and just treat them as standard class-compliant USB-MIDI instead, but that's not easy. We will see what we can do, but no promises.

    Basically the issue is that we support class-compliant USB-MIDI, but some other people don't. It's not that we don't support them, it's that they don't support the specification correctly.

    I do recommend that people check our compatibility list on the Knowledge Base and take that into consideration before making a purchase. If having full class-compliant MIDI is important to you (and it should be IMHO) then make your choice accordingly.
  • This may be a little off-topic, but in case anyone else is using a Circuit and an iConnectivity device, or is considering it, I figured out that although you cannot use Novation's (newest) software editor with the Circuit while it's connected to an iConnectivity host port, you can use the older Isotonik editor.  Or, if you're using Ableton Live there are some good Max4Live devices found on the M4L site that can be used with the Circuit while it's plugged into a host port.  Both of these options offer similar functionality to the Novation editor.

    I'm not sure if this makes the circuit worthy of the compatible devices list, but it's working for me now.

  • That's great to hear. I should add that to the Knowledge Base. Thanks!
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