Avoiding MIDI loops / setup with kenton MERGER & THRU boxes


New to the Pyramid sequencer and starting to explore it’s great potential for our live project.

Just did some testing at home with this simple setup:

  • arturia keystep MIDI OUT to pyramid MIDI IN
  • pyramid MIDI OUT to SE02 MIDI IN

this works perfectly

But, when i want to add a connection from the SE02 back to the Pyramid (SE02 MIDI OUT to pyramid MIDI IN), so to be able to record CC parameter changes I make directly on the SE02, things go wrong.

The MIDI doesn’t sound accurate anymore, and I guess there’s some serious MIDI looping goin’ on. Unfortunately there’s no such thing like ‘local OFF’ on the SE02.

Is there a way to solve this?

Ultimately I want to be able to connect the MIDI IN and OUT from about 3 synths to the Pyramid sequencer, via Kenton MIDI Merger / MIDI THRU boxes.

The reason of this kind of setup is that I want to be able to record and play back notes as well as CC parameters from the synths directly.

Is this possible anyway, or always causing MIDI loops / bad MIDI timing??

Thanks a lot!

small edit on my request

the setup I want to have is:

  • AKAI MPC (from fellow musician): sending MIDI CLOCK to the SQUARP

  • SQUARP: playing back and recording NOTES and CC’s from all my synths on different channels

  • 3 synths with MIDI IN / OUT wich I want to play and manipulate live also

I have Kenton merge and thru boxes…

thanks a lot!!

Assigning CC’s to the knobs on the Pyramid and tweaking there isn’t an option?

I have an i connect midi, and it can remap the midi channel, so i would remap the out from the box (in in conect midi) to a different channel. After recording this channel, you can set squarps track back to your synth channel.


So lets solve this midi loop you got going.
First thing I would check is in Pyramid go to Settings -> Info and scroll down to Midi In monitor.
Have everything connected as you explained (Keystep and SE02 to Pyramid IN and SE02 to Pyramid OUT).
Have a track that outputs to SE02.
Now send a note from Keystep.
What happens?
You should get 2 messages. A note ON and a note OFF message.

PS! There is an ANTI ECHO in Pyramid -> MIDI IN.
If ON, received notes (midi in) are not transmitted to midi out, but they still can be recorded. Handy if your synth (connected to Pyramid via midi in and midi out) does not include the setting “Local Control = Off/On”
But this may not be the desired by some users as this will not allow you to send notes live to your from your controller to your synths.

I also looked at the SE02 manual. The only thing I found was the Step Sequencer either in Internal, External or Both mode.

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These control knobs are fixed cc’s, ans beceause cc’s are different for each synth, yo can’t program f.e. cutoff freq / lfo speed / decay / (and 2 remaining parameters) for each one of the synth. You only have 5 fixed cc’s for the whole setup. That’s why it’s more intresting to be able to play and record / play back live all the notes and automatisation of all the synths you use…

Mmm okay I also looked in that direction, but you need to switch channels afterwards. I’m looking for a solution to play a musical idea or a change in sound (cc) directly and have it played back directly

Yes, ‘midi Echo off’ helps to change most if the odd behavior. Notes are played like they should now. But when I change cc parameters on the se02, like cutoff freq, strange things still happen like having the length of the recorded track divided by two. Very strange! And as you’ve already mentioned, with ‘midi echo off’ you can’t use any controller to play the instruments indeed. Just record the data. Curious if the kenton stuff will work with the setup I have in mind…

Thanks so far!

Did you check your MIDI monitor to see if you have a loop going on? :slight_smile:

Thanks, great tool that on board MIDI monitor!

Yesterday I’ve tested this setup briefly:

  • 3 synths (LOCAL ON) sending MIDI and CC data to KENTON MIDI MERGER
  • KENTON MIDI THRU’s go back into the 3 synth’s MIDI IN in order to play live recorded tracks with notes en CC’s.

So far it seemed to work, but I want to be sure if it’s just okay to have LOCAL ON on all my synths (in order to play and tweak my sound live, and record notes and CC data into the pyramid).

I have ANTI ECHO set to on, to a avoid the note and CC signals I play / record go to the MIDI out of the PYRAMID directly. So if I understand well, there’s no need to switch to LOCAL OFF on my synths? (In that case I wouldn’t be able to tweak and play my synths live).

Are there any other settings / things I should consider?

What about the multitrack settings? Now when I have the track of ‘synth 1’ activated, but I just want to play on ‘synth 3’, I’m sending midi to the track of synth 1…

Thanks all!

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Exactly. You are on point 100%. You have come to all the right conclusions on your own!

If you turn local mode off and anti echo off. This means Pyramid will receive all the data but output it to the ACTIVE track output channel. So you could only tweak the acrive track. Want to tweak another synth, activate other track. Not very intuitive.

The solution is Settings -> Omni mode
- MULTITRACK OFF will play notes and CC on the current track, regardless of the controller channel.
- MULTITRACK BANK X will play channel 01 events on TR01X, channel 02 events on TR02X, …channel 16 events on TR16X.
- CH01 to CH16 will play events of the selected channel on the current track. Other channels are always sent thru MIDI A output.

Now this for me is just half a step in the right direction. Way too robust and rigid.
I have asked a “midi input channel” setting for tracls as a feature. As then I could set the incoming midi channel for the needed tracks manually. I still have hope!

Hope this helps :wink:

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Thanks for your answer, Joosep!

I’ve had so much fun with this setup already, although it’s not perfect yet indeed…

Dedicated MIDI input channel would be great, yes!

I’ve read some time ago they would not really update their software in the near future. Or maybe just fixing bugs, not adding user requests / new features?

Hope they still try to improve workflow / features a little bit of this already fantastic piece of gear!

Not there yet…

I don’t know why exactly, but if I choose ‘Multitrack ON Bank A’ for example, the midi data doesn’t get recorded on the active tracks anymore…

I see the midi input signal flashing, but there 's no data being recorded.

So at this time I’ve got MULTITRACK switched back to OFF.
Now I need to activate an empty track each time in order to be able to play all my synths live, without sending data (on an active track) from one to another synth accidentally.

If i want to record, i can record on that track and need to change midi channel afterwards to that one of the synth i want. Then selecting an empty track again for reason described above.

Or am I still missing something?

Live midi recording, together with te ability to play all the gear without sending data to the wrong track / synth, doesn’t look to be optimized yet. I think it should be made a little easier no?

Bon weekend!

Multitrack assumes that you are sending midi input on multiple channels, and that you have your tracks set up in a very specific way.

Multitrack, to my understanding, does not simply pass midi events thru to the selected channel. Instead, it routes midi channel 1 to track 1, channel 2 to track 2, etc., for the selected bank.

I understand multitrack now, but the problem is you just can record one ‘loop’ (or track) per channel.

For each song I play, and for each of the 3 synths I play, I like to live loop a couple of variations (loops) and 1 or 2 CC variations (loops).

“Patterns” ain’t the solution, as you can only activate one pattern at a time (so you’re not able to combine a ‘note pattern’ with a ‘CC pattern’ for example…)

In case of a polyphonic synth / keyboard, it’s often nice to be able to record a basic harmony pattern into one loop, and then adding another ‘layer’ in the form of some additional harmonies or maybe a melody, by means of another loop.

When you can play with muting / unmuting these loops live = big fun, but not possible with "multitrack BANK A … " on, you see …

Just trying to give solutions…

So you have multitrack A on. Play a synth on channel 1, record the loop. Now you want to make another layer on top. Just copy track 01 to an empty slot on bank B (or C/D). And go back and delete track 01. Rinse and repeat.

Point is. You can have multiple tracks outputting to the same channel :slight_smile:

Thanks for the help, Joosep, I really appreciate that!

Unfortunately your suggestion is not the way to go neither:

I try to lay out my ideas on one bank only, so I can record / loop on the fly in just a simple and quick way. Doing it this way I’m also able to play (mute / unmute) these ideas quick and easily.

here’s why your suggestion wouldn’t work for me:

  1. for recording a loop, followed by copying / pasting a track to another bank, you need both hands and quite a lot of actions again:
  • go to live mode to record
  • go to track mode to do the copy/paste thing
  • press 2nd / copy + track to copy from
  • press the arrow buttons to go to another bank
  • press 2nd / copy + track to paste on
  • going back to bank A or to live mode to be able to record next idea
  1. When you have your musical ideas (midi loops / CC track) for the same synth spread out on the 4 banks (only 4 banks so 4 ideas / CC tracks maximum per synth), you can’t play them creatively in an intuitive way. You always have to switch banks then in multichannel mode…

Pyramid really is a very nice tool with a lot of potential, great for pre-recording things and building songs. But some live-recording-friendly functionality still is missing, I’m afraid.

Some things are made up just too complex for this way of using the Pyramid (= as a live MIDI recorder / looper).

That’s my personal point of view, and maybe of some other live instrumentalists / musicians too, I don’t know…

Maybe my live setup as a keyboard / synth player, just wanting to catch quick and easily some ideas (loops) as they grow through a live performance, doesn’t match very well with the more ‘pre-sequencing’ or non-instrumentalists approach of the Pyramid.

Anyway, I don’t give the Pyramid up yet.

Still hope the Pyramid squad have ears for suggestions like these, but I understand it ain’t easy to please everyone who has suggestions / requests. Must be a hell of a job :wink:


They have over 350 suggestions to consider :wink:

And yes. A “midi input channel” would solve most of these issues. :slight_smile:
As with any device. You have to work around it :wink:

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I really have no problem to live with some limitations of a piece of hardware gear, and learn how to work around them and even take advantage of those limitations as well.

But in this case, I feel some things just could have been made a little easier. Sometimes things just get too complex for a given action / result. Especially MIDI recording / looping on the fly could need some extra attention by Squarp.

I hope that between those 350 requests there are also some suggestions about making things less complex / more straightforward and live-friendly. Although adding / changing features makes things more complex often, in some cases they also won’t :stuck_out_tongue:

It’s still hard to find a very good and reliable MIDI recording / looping device. I’ve tried the Future Artists MIDI looper. I really love it’s simplicity (= a lot of limitations) but unfortunately it was not reliable enough (both hard- and software / processing).

I think Pyramid is close, and could perform really great on the MIDI loop-recording aspect as well, but it just needs some well-thought changes, yes…

Thanks for this. Was beating my head against the wall: needed a THRU box plus a Merger; was trying to get away with the one MOTU Express XT “merge all”, but was getting nothing but mayhem.