Wait wait wait, this can’t be used as a usb sequencer because the only usb is for power?

Oh my god, I thought I finally found an easy to use stand alone sequencer…no usable usb…wow. The ONE thing that all sequencers have…guess I’ll buy a computer to carry around with this…oh wait why would I need a stand alone sequencer if I wanted to carry around a computer?!?

Whut?
I use the USB for power and MIDI In & Out.

usb hub, bub!

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A USB hub alone wont do no good. You need a USB host -capable device on the other end for Pyramid to talk with it, and possibly a hub to expand. Numerous non-computer options exist, eg Bomebox, MIO4, Kenton USB host, etc. Some mobile phones can also be used.

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true. I was being a bit facetious, and elaborated in another post that a host is needed.

I’ve used a usb hub with an iphone and camera connection kit in a pinch. Lots of great midi software on ios.

You can also use one of the many cheaply available USB power splitters, they often have one red connector and one black connector, the red one is used for power the black one for whatever USB device you want to connect.

Like this one, although there are many other types with different gender USB connectors, check pretty much any online source such as ebay, Amazon, ali express, etc.

image

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So
My stand alone midi sequencer can’t use usb without a device that talks to other midi devices even though if I use 30 year old midi cables it can actually be a stand alone midi sequencer? So to use usb I get to spend a bunch more money? I can just plug in a powered hub and have it sync with other things plugged into the hub? Seems really ridiculous doesn’t it?

Doesnt sound ridiculous to me.
If you buy a guitar, does it come with the ability to play? Or a tuner? Or an amp? Or stompboxes?

But what if I used a new cable then I would need to buy two other things to get it to work but I if I used a cable from 1983 it would work fine? How is usb worse? How is a sequencer not a host? Why isn’t the ability to control other midi devices through usb built in when I can control other midi devices with a midi cable?

Its because there are USB midi devices which don’t require a host.

A good place to answer many of your questions might be here: midi.org

the rest will come with time and experience, perhaps

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USB is originally a computer-centric star topology design, MIDI is a design for musical instruments as equal and interchangeable peers in a daisy chain. It’s not surprising that problems arise when a design is used for something it was originally not intended for.

If you look at the connectivity examples in https://squarp.net/overview, none of them show instruments attached to the USB port, only a computer. There’s a reason for that.

Of course it’d be nice if Pyramid implemented USB on-the-go so it could act as either host or a device. The reason manufacturers tend to shy away from implementing USB host side (not to mention OTG) is cost and complexity, both of which are quite non-trivial. Managing USB devices is not the Pyramids core business so to speak, so from that perspective it’s not hard to understand why it was left out.

Manufacturers are cutting costs even in the MIDI side by leaving out dedicated thru ports, and those are MUCH cheaper and easier to implement.

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I have a BomeBox, and have an 8-port USB hub attached to it. Pyramid is powered by the USB hub, and also sends its data to all the devices on the hub. Yes, the BomeBox is “another device,” but it works fantastically. It also brings with it the ability to do really sneaky things like convert one kind of MIDI message into another, contextually.

pmatilai wrote:

Manufacturers are cutting costs even in the MIDI side by leaving out dedicated thru ports, and those are MUCH cheaper and easier to implement.

This. If any of the old-school MIDI DIN devices in your rig don’t have MIDI Thru, you’re screwed. This was actually the original reason I got the BomeBox, had nothing to do with USB. I find this flabbergasting, since Thru doesn’t require any microprocessor control - the Thru port is literally a hardwired duplicate of the input signal. Designs that omit this must be really close to the wire, cost-wise.

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Yay for the BomeBox crowd.
Are we boxers?
Bomers?
Psychos?
Insane?
LOL

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If performing live, having to haul two extra boxes (BomeBox and USB hub) and the additional cables and power supplies for each adds up quick, in terms of gear to pack, haul, and critically - to set up and breakdown before and after a set.

And none of this really gets to the heart of the matter - that a device as powerful as Pyramid and intended as the brain of a setup, implying no computer needed, should not rely on its only USB port for power. Optionally bus powered, fine, but give us a DC in jack so we don’t have to use weird USB cables or powered hubs. But I guess it is kind of a moot point since it’s not a MIDI host either.

In my setup, I use DIN only and the USB port is simply for power (because I have no choice). This is also because USB cables are unreliable as hell when traveling, esp when packed in a rush with a bunch of gear. I’ve broken more USB cables than I can count over the years. Ya know how many MIDI cables I’ve broken? 0. They are the most reliable cables I can think of, aside from basic mains power cables.

I’d like to chime in… I have an OP-1, and it has a usb in and out for midi. It is also needing a host. As technology advances, bridges become necessary. If I want to pump 5pin MIDI or CV clock to my OP-1, I use the OP-Lab as the bridge. The other pieces aren’t “missing” being a host, and the OP-1 isn’t “missing something” needing a host.If I want to pump Squarps midi to the OP-1, I can simplify this with a Kenton Midi host, of which I own 2.

So indeed it may seem hard to understand at first, and I can sympathize with your initial reaction when encountering this kind of impasse. But it is the result of the needs of the device downstream where the missing component lies, not with the squarp. Now, yes, there are now coming out devices that anticipate this relatively new “problem” like the OP-Z, which can act as a host computer. So there is technically an argument to be had that future versions of this sequencer could include the option to act both as a B device and an A (host) device. For now, you will have to buy an OP-Lab for two usb B devices to speak. To free your squarps USB connection for just power, Use one of the 5pin midi outs to a Kenton midi host. Now the midi will come from one of the A or B 5pin outs, to the Kenton 5pin in, and from there, midi will go from the usb A out of the Kenton, to the usb B side of whatever device you have, like an OP-1. If you want to go usb out of squarp, to a 5pin device, the 5v power that the Kenton uses will also travel to the squarp, eliminating the need for usb power splitting cable.

Another time these hosts are needed are for USB midi foot pedals, to take their USB foot pedal commands into the Octatrack’s 5pin input for handsfree sampling. This is just a fact of life one has to come to terms with.

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For anybody interested, I wrote a small USB MIDI hub utility to run on a Raspberry PI :


The Pi also provides both power and MIDI connectivity to the Pyramid, allowing it to receive and send to all USB instruments. Just add a USB hub if you need more than four USB ports.

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