USB / USB>MIDI / ROLI and Eurorack Connectivity

Hello guys, I just got my Pyramid and I was wondering how the hell I can apply my connectivity ideas.

I have an Expert Sleepers FH-2 and a Squarp Pyramid. Unfortunately I learned that the Pyramid is only powered via one single USB port and does not have a separate power input, which is infuriating because now if I want to connect it to my FH-2 I would need a breakout, or to power it through my Eurorack PSU.

First question: What is the absolute power draw of the Pyramid in mA? I know the USB standard supports up to 500mA, that’s an irrelevant upper limit.

Second question: I have a ROLI Seaboard which is a USB > MIDI device. How would one go ahead with connecting it to the Pyramid, which in this case the USB port would be occupied with power? Do I get a MIDI to USB converter? Would MPE be supported in this case? And which converter should I get?

Does anyone working with an FH-2 know how to route a keyboard through its USB hub into another USB device connected to it?

Feedback for Squarp: Definitely a bad idea using USB to both power and provide connectivity as it just creates a need for 1,000 converters to get everything patched up and actually creates impossible scenarios in some cases, which I am afraid might apply in my case.

I dont have an FH2 , but all the answers are in the FH2 manual…

I host my pyramid (so power and midi) from a variety of usb hosts (organelle, hermod, rPi,mioXM), so Id suspect the FH2 would be able to host it - the FH2 manual (p8) says it will provide 500mA, pyramid is quite a bit less than that - so given it a go.
(usb devices requests power from host, if they required to much, then the host will reject them and not power on)

Roli, is a USB device so cannot be plugged in to the USB of the pyramid (as its also a usb device, not host) - you just need a cheap USB->midi din converter, or alternatively you should be able to route it thru your FH2

FH2 forwarding midi from usb device to host, see p16 of FH2 manual

MPE - how you connect is irrelevant, so yes mpe will work.
that said, I don’t find mpe that useful with pyramid, since you would end up spreading a lot of data over a lot of tracks, it’s wouldn’t really be that editable.
bare in mind only a few daws have decent mpe editing facilties - so unsurprising that no hardware sequences have it (afaik)
in a dawless setup, I therefore tend to record audio when using mpe enabled instruments/controller.

I disagree… I actually have found this very useful, it means usually I just have one cable plugged into the pyramid which keeps things very tidy.
as shown above its just a matter of reading manuals to figure how to set things up.

thats not to say, having a DC input as well wouldn’t be a nice option… but reality is, its never really been an issue for me.

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Your assumption regarding FH-2 supporting ROLI + Pyramid is based on two more assumptions:

  1. FH-2 can route MIDI from the USB-C port (device, unpowered) to the USB-A port (which would be required to power the Pyramid in this case, get why I complained about it?)
  2. FH-2 can hub several devices on the USB-A port, and route between one device to the other device (does not appear in the guide)

In case 1. I am lucky the ROLI happens to be powered by itself, and would need to charge all blocks from my computer constantly

In case 2. this would generate massive 500+ load on the power supply

I would love both cases to work, in which case I would still be lucky that they do, it is just caused by the sore lack of Pyramid being able to serve as USB host.

We will find out once the FH-2 arrives here and I’ll get everything hooked up.

Okay so all of the equipment is here and after a lot of fiddling, and some lucky findings that led to hacking my Intellijel 7U case for some MIDI sockets, it worked like this.

The FH-2 cannot route communication from two devices plugged into its USB-A port. It does not power devices from its USB-C port either. This means if I plug the ROLI or the Pyramid, which are both classified as USB Devices, into USB-C of FH-2, they will not communicate.

My solution was hacking my Intellijel 7U Performance Case’s MIDI IN and OUT jacks to plug into exposed pins on the back of my FH-2 which serve as DIN in and out sockets (all of the elctronics are already in the FH-2 thus only sockets and wiring are required to make this configuration work). Thus with the additional MIDI sockets as well as the USB-A, I was able to use the Pyramid’s MIDI IN and OUT ports into these, power it via USB, and plug my ROLI into the FH-2’s USB-A port, which serves as a USB Host, powering the ROLI and routing incoming MIDI signals into the FH-2’s MIDI OUT which goes into Pyramid.

Pyramid MIDI OUT into FH-2 and expanders, sequencing the rack with 15 MIDI channels, of which 8 serve as MIDI>1V/Oct/Gate channels, 2 of which as Aftertouch, 2 as Velocity and 4 as direct MIDI CC>CV conversion.

ROLI USB into FH-2 for USB to MIDI DIN conversion

FH-2 MIDI OUT feeds back into Pyramid for CV>MIDI CC and USB>DIN conversions to play notes and send CV into Pyramid.

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