DIN MIDI interfaces to Dwarf via USB?

I have ordered a Mod Dwarf a while ago, and I am eagerly waiting for it. I was wondering though if it’ll be able to do the following:

I have two MIDI devices for now that I wish to use (Aodyo Sylphyo and Roland Fantom X8), and in order to switch the different configuration, I am planning to order a MIDI foot pedal (such as the Harley Benton MP100, but not settled yet). That plus the Dwarf mean 4 MIDI devices to manage.

I then looked at Blokas’ Midihub as a means to connect them all, but I dislike that I would need to use a computer in the setup to do any changes (I plan to use an Android tablet for the light changes on the Dwarf).

I was then wondering if I could use a MIDI interface such as the ESI M4U Ex to hook up all the DIN MIDI devices (except the Dwarf of course), route them over USB MIDI to the Dwarf, and do all the “wiring” in the Dwarf (with use of plugins such as MIDI filters to do conditional routing and triggers from the MIDI foot controller, and all) and send back the output via USB MIDI to the M4U and onwards to the devices ?

Alternatively, would it be possible to put on a USB Hub (connected to the Dwarf) a number of DIN-to-USB MIDI cables, and expect to have all the MIDI interfaces showing up on the Dwarf ?

As a side question, I also have a Zoom R24 that can be used as a USB audio interface with 8 input/2 output channels. Would it be able to be hooked to the Dwarf to receive more audio channels over USB Audio (I think I saw somewhere that it is not possible – in any case, it is not necessarily in my plans so far, since I would like to use the Zoom as a 24-track recorder, and AFAIK it is not possible to do so when used as a USB audio interface). I’ll probably want a second Dwarf by then anyway :slight_smile:

I assume you want to connect those 3 devices (Sylphyo, Fantom, foot ctl) to the Dwarf and not the 4 of them to a computer?
In that case you won’t need any hubs or MIDI interfaces. Just get a MIDI TRS-DIN adapter (the Dwarf has standard MIDI in/out but uses 3.5mm TRS instead of DIN ports) and connect everything as follows:

  • Sylphyo USB → Dwarf USB
  • Fantom MIDI out → MIDI TRS-DIN adapter → Dwarf MIDI in
  • Foot controller MIDI out → Fantom MIDI thru
  • (optionally) Dwarf MIDI out → MIDI TRS-DIN adapter → Fantom MIDI in

MIDI thru ports usually just forward everything to their MIDI out port without processing or playing it but it can depend on the Fantom’s configuration. You’ll probably want to configure different MIDI channels for the foot controller and the Fantom because they’ll share the same port. But most devices let you set a custom channel.
Of course you can still use a standard USB hub if you want to connect more MIDI devices or if you need a MIDI connection in both directions for all your devices.

I’m not sure if USB audio interfaces like your Zoom are officially supported by MOD yet but in theory there’s the possibility for Linux+JACK to use zita-a2j/j2a to integrate sound cards other than JACK’s main device as extra input (zita-a2j) and output (zita-j2a) ports. You might however have to cross compile it yourself and somehow integrate it into the Dwarf (probably SSH and some hacking in the system) and even then there might be unexpected issues. But hey, it’s all open source :tada:

p.s. btw. how do you like the Sylphyo? Have you played any acoustic brass/woodwinds before and would you recommend it to someone who hasn’t? :smiley:

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Thank you very much for your message, which has been very helpful, and sorry for the delayed response – it’s been a hectic month at work, and I didn’t have the time to sit down and progress on this.

However, I read your response, and I got to do a lot of thinking.
The first thing is that chaining the devices would mean that I’ll have to be careful of what I feed to each device (esp. the Fantom). Also I considered doing some manipulation when receiving CCs. So I will instead use a USB midi interface (I bought a midiface 4x4 for that). Not sure yet if I will hook it up to the Mod Dwarf (I have read since then that it should be capable of handling up to 16 MIDI interfaces), or to my next idea:
What you told me on the USB audio made me a bit worried about having to play with the internals of the MOD Dwarf – while I’m using Linux for almost 25 years, I tend to break things, and I would rather not break the Dwarf :confused: so I have decided instead to repurpose a RaspberryPi I have with Modep to hook it up to a USB audio interface and use it as an audio patchbay – if I break anything, I can just reinstall. I could then probably use it also as a MIDI patchbay with the MIDI interface, leaving the Dwarf to be the effects Pedal it is intended to be. If USB Audio gets officially supported, and if my setup works well, I could later on invest in a ModX to replace the Pi, and run effects there as well [another good thing with this is that I get to play with the MOD UI on the Pi while waiting for the MOD Dwarf].
In the end, I want to keep the Zoom R24 as a multitrack recorder, so it’ll just receive the audio outputs.

[off-topic] Regarding the Sylphyo, I really love it. While I took a few flute lessons 20 years ago, I am just a beginner there (I learned the piano), and I found it is very easy to get started with just a few memories of playing the recorder at school (you can choose among many fingerings, depending on your background, or lack of it). Of course, to be proficient, like for any instrument, you have to train (esp. the breathing - it’s open air breathing, like a recorder). Anyway, I’m very happy of my choice :slight_smile: and more and more as they continue to add instruments regularly.

When operating several audio/MIDI interfaces, they all have to be synced to one master clock.
Whats the best implementation for multiple USB interfaces?
I would, if officially supported by ModDevices, use the jackd powered “audioadapter”. I have used it reliably and synced with a desktop computer.