Powering Pyramid from Minitaur?

Hi guys, hopefully a quick question for today… can Squarp be powered by the USB out of a Moog Minitaur? I want to sequence the Moog but I’m running out of outputs on the Squarp and have had an absolute nightmare trying to get CV/Gate to work. If the Moog could supply enough power to run the Squarp AND be sequenced by it, that would be two birds with one stone. Could it work?

First, can the Minitaur act as a USB host? It doesn’t look like it has a type A port.

Thanks for replying! It’s a Type B port, can that not supply power? I’ve seen a video of someone powering the Squarp from a Korg Minilogue, so assume that it’s a similar story for the Moog?

Wow, interesting to know that the Minilogue is capable of that. But no, the Minitaur is just a USB device, not a host. It cannot power other devices and as far as I know, cannot even be powered via USB itself. It’s an analog synth so it requires a fair bit of juice, and only uses USB for MIDI.

The USB standard actually is clever enough to provide a de facto answer to this (kinda common) question around host vs device, but it may take some effort to uncover it. It starts with a scavenger hunt - try to find a cable with which you can plug one end into the Pyramid and the other into the Minitaur.

I don’t actually recommend wasting time on that snipe hunt, for the record. Unfortunately what you are hoping for just will not work. I do recommend, however, buying a cheap USB-mini-wall-wart power adapter and plugging your Pyramid directly into real power rather than a USB host or hub. I think I found one on Amazon with a pretty long cord for like $10-15.

But more importantly, if the issue is that you’re running out of MIDI output ports on the Pyramid, possible solutions include: (a) a MIDI thru box like the Kenton Thru-5, that will expand the Pyramid’s outputs (note that you should opt for a powered unit, not one that draws its power over MIDI from the sending device, as that puts excess load on the Pyramid’s port that can decrease its lifespan), (b) a MIDI router - this is probably overboard for your use case and the more expensive option, or © if you’re connecting to a computer you can use a USB hub and/or Ableton/some other DAW to facilitate the communication between the devices over the USB connection. I can’t remember for sure, but I don’t think the Pyramid is capable of being a USB host either, so you probably would have to involve some other device in order to facilitate USB-only communication between
the Minitaur and Pyramid.

Thanks for the reply. Yep - I’m currently powering the Pyramid from a wall wart and that works just fine. I’m trying to avoid using a laptop or midi thru box ideally, but it sounds like the only other option is sending CV/gate to the Minitaur, and I’ve really struggled to calibrate it correctly.

I think I’m going to have another crack at calibrating the CV/gate approach, I think I’ll post that as a separate thread!

Ah, right on. Sounds like you were already aware of most of my previous post. Out of curiosity, any particular reason you’re trying to avoid a MIDI thru box? I totally get wanting to avoid using a laptop for live performance, etc, but MIDI thru boxes typically don’t have any downside other than having another little box to haul around.

I have a Minitaur myself, and it happens to be a synth that really benefits from MIDI control. If I recall correctly, It has features that can only be accessed via MIDI (including USB MIDI via the dedicated vst) because they were added via firmware update after the device had already been released and Moog couldn’t really represent them with the knobs on the unit. The Pyramid is a great tool for controlling it because it facilitates full CC sequencing, but you’d lose that with CV/Gate, and without the knobs to control it manually, you’d not be able to access some of those features.

May not be a big deal for your use case, of course. And I’m sure you’ve already weighed the priority order of the devices in your setup. But just in case you hadn’t yet checked out the firmware features that are accessible via the Minitaur vst, it’s definitely worthwhile to check it out.

Personally I use a Mio10 MIDI router to let my Pyramid control many devices, and it’s fantastic. But it does add a nontrivial extra device to my rig, which is a bit of a pain to haul to gigs with my synths but absolutely worth it.

Thanks for sharing that info on the Minitaur.

It is on my list for acquisition eventually, so knowing that USB MIDI allows access to a few more parameters is good to know.

FYI, im not following all of this thread intently, and kind of busy impersonating a beached whale after an amazing dinner, but i power my Pyramid via a USB Hub that is plugged into a BomeBox, so i have routing and USB MIDI in addition to avoiding another wall wart.

Totally fair point and worth bringing up, thanks. I’ve read enough of your posts to appreciate that you know what you’re doing, to say the least. I admit that my tendency to avoid USB MIDI whenever possible is partially bias, but I have had some bad experiences with shoddy USB cables, underpowered hosts and/or USB gremlins causing significant problems at inopportune times. So I adopted a “fool me once” mentality and opt for DIN whenever it’s an option.

But it definitely varies device to device and cable to cable, so my experiences are certainly not universal. Clearly it works more often than not or it wouldn’t be the default connection type on most new gear.

I have a similar bias against USB MIDI. I was SO frustrated with latency that all seemed to revolve around USB. Plus im old and dagnabbit, if DIN MIDI was good enough for the 80s…!

However, i was forced into it because of how i wanted to route stuff around in/out BomeBox and as long as i dont have a computer, im good: havent noticed the nasty jitter or latency issues.

In OP setup, id def find a router option that will work with a hub. So much is USB MIDI because its cheaper (at least my old brain remembers something like that) and its easy to toss in an extra cheap controller by plugging into a hub and then a few updates to router definitions and done.

I have an eye on a Mio10, but so far im good with the BomeBox. I only have a few synths, tho: out of 6 onky 1 is caoable of USB MIDI

You’re absolutely right, the level of control and automation I can do with CC messages is a lot more powerful than I can achieve with CV/gate alone. My desire to avoid using a MIDI thru box is entirely borne of a desire to keep things as stripped-back and streamlined as possible. My setup is built into a flight case, and I think I’ll struggle to find room for another box inside the case… but it’s not impossible so I think it’s worth considering.

Like I said, I think I’m going to have one more crack at getting CV/gate calibrated on the Moog (quite a headache!) but I think I’m being nudged closer to simply using a splitter box by the day. I would way prefer to use one that’s passive (not-powered) but everyone has warned me against that!