Midi with External Synth

Encountering problems getting MIDI to work.

Synthesizer: Roland DS-88
USB Connection, internal USB set to Vendor.

I have successfully used Ardour with a USB audio (Digi Mbox 2) to produce several multi-track audio recordings.

But after two days working with what should be a straightforward MIDI setup, nothing works.

Have tried it on 2 systems: Ubuntu 17.04 and another laptop with Ubuntu Studio 17.10.

Ardour 5.5 / latest version with the distro.

I can sometimes get it to recognize the MIDI device / Juno DS-88. And once I got it to actually record MIDI note data. But none of the patch change stuff works.

I have tried with and without Jack / QJackCtl. According to the docs it isn’t supposed to work without Jack, but almost does.

In the Connect window of QJackCtl, under ALSA tab, Ardour never appears to connect the MIDI Output port to. QJackQtl starts Jack successfully.

Looking for any hints, troubleshooting guide, or docs to resolve this.

DAW setting set to default CUBASE.

If your are not going to use jack midi then you will need to run aj2midi, or tell jack to use alsa MIDI. I use fedora and ardour 5.12 which includes a device definition for Juno DS-106. moding this for your 88 should not be difficult. These XML definitions are in the patchfiles directory. You really only need this if you want the names to match up though.

What DAW setting are you referencing? Does the DS-88 have a VST you are using?

I use Roland RD-500, and Yamaha MX synths and a TC-electronics G-Major2 effects rack. I change patches and automate parameters of the g-major with a MIDI track in Ardour but I know it can be quite confusing and frustrating to get it to work.

You don’t need to use JACK at all.

The simplest solution is to use Ardour with its own ALSA audio/MIDI backend. All MIDI devices will just show up. End of story.

You only need JACK if you need to connect to other JACK-enabled applications. Otherwise, it serves no purpose for you.

If you are going to use JACK, then you are probably using Jack2 since that is what most distributions choose these days. That will require running a2jmidid -e to make external hardware MIDI visible. If you use Jack1, this isn’t necessary (but you almost certainly don’t have Jack1). Do not ever use JACK’s “alsa MIDI support” - the timing is unacceptably bad.

It will be just MIDI, without audio or any JACK-enabled application.

Modding the Juno DS-106 .midnam for the 88 - I am new to this. Any advice as to documentation? Are these made from the Midi implementation docs?

The DAW settings are within the DS-88 setup. It has CUBASE, SONAR, LOGIC and USER. Somewhere in the Ardour documentation it mentioned CUBASE DAW settings.

Ubuntu is recognizing the synth as an audio device JUNO-88. And I got the Midi partially working, except for patch changes. Will run further tests and post results.