Apple MIDI Interface

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Has anyone ever used the "Apple Midi Interface" device with an Apple IIgs? The device claims to support the GS, according to the product description from Apple, however I have been unsuccessful in getting it to work. It works fine on my Mac SE/30, but on the GS, there doesn't appear to be any signal coming in or out. The only relevant instructions include a wiring diagram, but nothing further. It implies that simply plugging it in should be all that is necessary. I am trying to use it with synthLAB and MasterTracks Pro, and I have installed the "Apple.MIDI" driver that came with System 6.0.1. Is there some kind of port configuration I need to make in order for it to "just work"? I know the ports on the GS are good, as is the MIDI controller I am trying to use. I have tried both the Modem and Printer port, with the same results...

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Re: Apple MIDI Interface

I am not completely familiar with the MIDI interface you have. However, I am aware of two MIDI interfaces that work on the iie. One by Sentech electronics (this is a rare card, I have never seen it anywhere on the net) and the one by Passport. Both of these cards are the same electrically because they both have the same chips, just different traces.

I make music and I have used MIDI for a long time now.

Since your problem seems to be on the software side, we can deal with that.

1). Are you sure that the MIDI transmitting device is set to transmit on MIDI channel 1? Some synthesizers transmit on all 16 channels at the same time for some reason.

2). Have you checked the documentation on the devices you are using to see if there are any additional requirements for MIDI transmission?

3). Have you tried to use 8-bit MIDI software? There is a website that has two different programs and one of them has two different versions of the same program.

4). Have you checked to see if the device you are transmitting to can receive MIDI on the channel you are transmitting on? For example, the Roland CM-32P has to receive transmissions on channels 11-16 (I think) in order to get sound at all.

5). Are your MIDI cables too long? MIDI signals degrade when there is too much length or when there are too many devices that are set up in a chain configuration.

Perhaps these are dumb questions/assertions but I'm just trying to help...

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Re: Apple MIDI Interface

Not at all, help is what I need, indeed! So thanks. As to your question-assertions:

1) Pretty sure. The controller I am trying to use is an M-Audio Keystation 88es, and I have verified the ability to switch channels on the controller. It can drive a Pianobox II and GM control changes function as expected.

2) The documentation seems to imply that nothing unusual is required, and claims to be General MIDI compliant.

3) No, only synthLAB and MasterTracks Pro (GS versions).

4) Well, it appears to be able to, as there is an option to define the input channel, 1-16. I have tried using channels 1,2,3,4,6,10,11, and 16 (on both controller and computer). In synthLAB, there is another option called "MIDI Mode" and it has three options: Omni, Poly, and Multi. I have played around with this setting a bit, though still not getting any MIDI activity indication.

5) The cables are about 2 meters long, and no other devices are in the chain.

Everything behaves as if the adapter is simply not connected, but none of the cables appear to be damaged in any way; all seemingly in good shape. Which leads me to wonder if I just need to configure the serial port in some manner, or some other simpler error on my part. Otherwise, perhaps I have a power problem, or maybe something has failed in the MIDI adapter itself since it was last used...(?)

( ( See, this is why all adapters and break-out boxes should have at least one Power LED. Tongue ) )

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Re: Apple MIDI Interface

I am familiar with the M-Audio Keystation 88es because I own one.

To send data out via the MIDI connector you need to use a separate power supply.

And the bottom of page 7 of the manual says:

"Channel

MIDI data from the keyboard can be sent on any of 16 MIDI Channels. However, certain MIDI devices and MIDI software applications require
the keyboard to send data on a specified channel. If this is the case, you can change the channel the data is sent using the following
method:
< Press the Advanced Functions button to engage Edit Mode.
< Press one of the 16 Channel keys from D1 to E3, according to the Channel that you need.
For example, if a device specifies that you need to send data on Channel 10, press the Advanced Functions button, and then key F2 to select
Channel 10.
The Channel can also be assigned to the Octave “+” and “-” buttons. Once assigned, pressing “+” or “-” will increase or decrease the channel
incrementally. When Channel 16 is reached and “+” is pressed, Channel 1 will be selected. If the Octave “+” and “-” keys are selected to vary
the Channel, the lights above the buttons will not change, since it is not possible to have a Channel with a negative value. Pressing both the
“+” and “-” buttons together will recall Channel 1."

Please note that generally, there may be two ways to change the channel. If you are using a sound module that can sense program changes, then the instrument will inadvertently change the MIDI channel.

Now about general MIDI compliancy, as far as I know, that is irrelevant. It is only a system that will play similar instruments on any general MIDI compliant device using the same MIDI file/s regardless of which brand and make and model that you are using.

You should read through the documentation of your stuff. Some keyboards like one that I own (Roland XP-10) require a LOT of steps just to get it ready to work with most hardware standalone sequencers (I also have a Roland MC-50MKII)

And try the 8 bit MIDI software.

My only other idea is that the driver you selected is the wrong one and it is only supposed to work with internal MIDI cards like the two that I have indicated.

I would take out my iigs and try it but my stuff is in storage and cannot be taken out until my project is finished and everything is available to use.

If it were someone else trying to help you with this problem, they might tell you to look at the hardware side of things like the peculiar aspect of the iigs disabling onboard devices when you set stuff to "your card" in the control panel.

Again, these are stupid questions, and I am sorry to ask them, but I suppose it's the thought that counts. If you live in my area, I would go over there attempt to help you but the chance of you living near me is nil.

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Re: Apple MIDI Interface

Ha! Yeah, having you nearby certainly would make it easier. Believe me, I'm grateful for your participation, and all of your generous comments and thoughtful questions are certainly welcome and appreciated.

I'm cetain that I must have read every granule of documentation that I have been able to find. (Understanding all of said documentation is another matter entirely.) Furthermore, I also have used the Keystation for some years with several other (modern) MIDI devices, and it's truly a plug-in-and-go kind of device. It uses a standard 9V power supply and the MIDI port is very standard in its operation. I am experienced with issuing control changes and the like, and having used it in conjunction with the Pianobox II for live performances, I am quite certain that when I select channel 1 vs channel 12, that it is doing exactly that. So I have major doubts as to the keyboard being the issue. (Assuming, of course, that the MIDI protocol itself has not changed in the last 25 years or so.)

It's quite possible that it's the driver as you mentioned, but I have not been able to find any reference to any relevant driver other than the "Apple.MIDI" one that ships with System 6.0.1. Now, given Apple's history and track record, all logic suggests that this should be the correct driver, as this is an Apple device connected to an Apple computer running Apple software, all from the same era. Plus, we can verify historically that this is the only MIDI adapter for the IIgs that Apple made and sold. However, since it's still not working, I must surmise that there is some faulty logic involved, somewhere.

Also, I'd be surprised if all of these MIDI applications for the IIgs failed to work as advertised, though I'm willing to give the 8-bit route a try. My suspicion is that many older 8-bit applications won't be compatible since they are probably written for the II+/IIe which required an expansion card for just about everything. Since my adapter specifically states that it's made for the IIgs and Mac Plus, I am inclined to believe that my software options in the 8-bit arena are limited if at all. However, I believe that the IIc had similar modem and printer ports as the IIgs, so perhaps there are some applications that can drive it. Do you have any particular recommendations on 8-bit software?

Thank you so much for your time and help on this. Given your excellent feedback, I have confirmed that whatever is wrong is not something blatantly obvious, and am now more convinced than ever that it must be a hardware issue of some sort. I am not sure why or how, but I suspect that some sort of damage has befallen my poor MIDI adapter since I last used it. Or, it could just be that some component has failed due to age. I found an identical device listed on eBay, so I'm going to order that one and see if it works. I'm not really set up anymore to be able to test it on the Mac, but if the replacement proves good, then perhaps I'll have the wherewithal to crack the shell and do some multimeter testing. Otherwise, perhaps the Cosmos is telling me to give up any dreams of integrating the Apple II into my MIDI rig.

( Unless anyone happens to know, where I might acquire one of those nifty Passport cards for the IIgs I keep hearing about? Shock )

Thanks again!

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Re: Apple MIDI Interface

For my compliance, you must send me a PM. You will see why when I reply.

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Re: Apple MIDI Interface

Ok, I was wrong, and it's not the hardware either. I have absolutely without a doubt verified that my GS is in perfect working condition and that all ports are functioning correctly. I KNOW the several keyboards I have tried are sending correct MIDI signals. Guaranteed. I've tried 8 and 16 bit software. I've even tried deliberately wrong settings just in case. I have had others bring their MIDI stuff over and physically verify everything I've done.

This is driving me absolutely crazy. It should be working, but it's not. WHY?

Here is the relevant excerpt from the synthLAB documentation:

--
"Since MIDI signals are electrically different from computer signals, you’ll need to connect your keyboard through a special MIDI interface. Any 1 Mhz external interface (Apple MIDI for example) or an internal card interface (like Applied Engineering’s Audio Animator) will work. When using the Apple MIDI interface, you simply plug the MIDI cables into one end of the interface which connects to your MIDI keyboard. Then plug the other end into a MIDI port on your IIGS System (Modem or Printer ports).

Since synthLAB is both a synthesizer and a sequencer, you can do many useful things with your GS connected to a MIDI keyboard. Play notes on the keyboard, and your GS will track them by playing selected instruments. It will even respond to note velocity, pitch-bend and your volume and sustain pedals. Next, you can record your performances into an eight-track sequencer, recording each track separately, using different instruments. You can save these sequences on disk, building your own personal library. Finally, you can have synthLAB play your MIDI keyboard. If you run out of instruments or voices with synthLAB, you can assign any tracks to output their MIDI data out to your keyboard.

When creating instruments, the keyboard gives you more control in defining the various parameters. You can quickly test your instrument over the complete note and velocity range. Many instruments sound different when they interact with other voices, so you can play chords or octaves and hear this effect. If the instrument is multi-sampled (different waves for note zones), you can make sure that the transitions between Wave Lists are seamless and that each multi-sample is balanced correctly with the others.

Once you start synthLAB, you’ll need to enable the MIDI Port. Pull down the Setup menu and select the MIDI... item. Remember, if AppleTalk is active, the MIDI functions will not be available for your use. From the MIDI dialog box, click on the MIDI In Enable button to activate it (it’s the icon with the arrow pointing into the computer). Press a few notes on the keyboard, and you should hear them play from your IIGS. Notice that the MIDI In display on the top right corner of the screen lights up for every MIDI message received."
--

What am I missing? Which part of the English instructions am I not understanding?

I've been frustrated by troubleshooting situations before, but holy rotten apples this is infuriating!!

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Re: Apple MIDI Interface

quickthyme wrote:

Remember, if AppleTalk is active, the MIDI functions will not be available for your use.

Ok, I haven't heard a few clarifying details:

1. What have you done to test your printer and modem ports on your GS to ensure they're working?
2. Which port are you connecting your Apple Midi Interface to?
3. Let's assume you're using the Modem port... in the IIgs control panel, what is slot 2 set to? Modem port, or something else?
4. Back on the IIgs control panel, are the modem port settings set to anything besides defaults? I.e.:
Control Panel Settings: http://adtpro.sourceforge.net/images/iigsControl1.png
Modem Defaults: http://adtpro.sourceforge.net/images/iigsControl2.png

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Re: Apple MIDI Interface

Quite so, my apologies. I am terribly grateful for any assistance. Out of all the technical traps one might get ensnared in when working with an Apple II, I didn't expect to get stuck at connecting the MIDI adapter. Tongue

1. What have you done to test your printer and modem ports on your GS to ensure they're working?

I can make serial connections to a Macintosh using a null modem cable with no problems. I also use the modem port with ADT Pro quite frequently to transfer files back and forth between my GS and MacBook Air. (a truly wondrous and magnificent tool, BTW)

2. Which port are you connecting your Apple Midi Interface to?

I’ve tried using both ports, but typically the modem port.

3. Let's assume you're using the Modem port... in the IIgs control panel, what is slot 2 set to? Modem port, or something else?

Slot 2 is set to the modem port.

4. Back on the IIgs control panel, are the modem port settings set to anything besides defaults?

All of the settings are default (checked). Although I have tried changing to different baud setting to no avail.

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Re: Apple MIDI Interface

Any chance you have any bits of Appletalk installed as part of GSOS?

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Re: Apple MIDI Interface

Hello quiuckthyme,
reading this thread is like reading a ghost story......
while chasing the ghost some strange thought scolled along my internal eye.....
just for the complete documentation some questions that have not been made up till now:
Is the item you have really complete original ?
( reason for the question: if you have purchased this item from somebody else and this item is quite aged...
how sure can you be that every single part is original and has never been replaced by another person ?
I just perform a single speculation as example...:
someone bought the item... after several years he sold the item but did not find the correct cable....
he replaced the cable and sold it with a replacement he never tested...
next owner tried to use the item and it did not work...
so that owner again sold the item claiming every thing to be complete....
you are the next poor guy to now own the item but nobody ever told you about the replacement of the cables and
about the fact it was not working correct.... you examine the cable and it turns out one cable link to be bad ...
not used in standard configuration but important for use with the Apple.....
( for example the wire for special communication control not used by other hardware.... )
maybe just a ghost story ?
and setting up communication:
not only baudrate is important...
its also important to set correct amount of stop bits (2,1 or none )
and parity bit ( on or off )
if one of this 2 criteria is set wrong the communication will fail !
Just for explenation:
8N2 = 8 Bit No Parity 2 Stopbits
or
7P1 = 7 Bits Parity On 1 Stopbit

just my 5 cents....
speedyG

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Re: Apple MIDI Interface

david__schmidt wrote:

Any chance you have any bits of Appletalk installed as part of GSOS?

Uh... perhaps? Let me check...

ok, went in and turned off the "hide invisible files"...
now scanning system folder...
...CDevs...
......MIDI is present...
......Appleshare is NOT present...
...Desk.Accs,...
...Drivers...
......Apple.Midi is present...
......Card6850.Midi is present...
......Modem is present...
......Printer is present...
......Appletalk is NOT present...
......Atalk is NOT present...
......ATP1.ATROM is NOT present...
......ATP2.ATROM is NOT present...
......SCC.Manager is NOT present...
...FinderExtras,...
...Fonts (?)...
...FSTs...
......AppleShare.FST is NOT present...
...Sounds (??),...
...System.Setup
......ATInit is NOT present...
......ATResponder is NOT present...
...Tools...
......Tool026 'Note Sequencer' is installed...
......Tool032 'MIDI toolset' is installed...
......Tool035 'MIDI Synth' is installed...

From the looks of it, there doesn't appear to be. But I can't say for certain. I kind of doubt it though. But I also didn't find any additional MIDI related files than what I listed, so perhaps there is still something else I need? I definitely used the official GS/OS install script when I installed everything, just as another FYI.

speedyG wrote:

reading this thread is like reading a ghost story......

As in haunted? That might explain some things.

speedyG wrote:

Is the item you have really complete original ?

...not original, but decent condition. The c a b l e... hmm...
Could the original box maybe have included a special looks-like-but-is-not-necessarily mini-DIN8 cable perhaps? I suppose that could also explain a lot... might that be it?

I now have two roughly identical "Apple MIDI Interface" devices and cables sets, and neither of them appear to work with this here GS. Although, they are both from the same source, (which claims to have tested each of them successfully using a Macintosh). I personally have verified that one works with a Mac, although it was several months back. But I'm pretty sure I used the same cable. Unless I managed to mix them up myself. Which, if that's the case, might mean that I have inadvertently caused a similar problem for someone else!

speedyG wrote:

not only baudrate is important...

Well, I did kind of try changing some of those settings also, but everything else I've found so far seems to suggest the default settings. None of the official documentation even mentions port settings of any kind other than choosing one.

On a whim, I tried booting up in 1MHz mode to see if that might make a difference. It was something I hadn't tried before, but alas, the story remains the same.

Also tried Diversitune. It would appear to support this configuration, and even appears to expect it on either the modem or printer ports just like synthLAB. Still no MIDI interaction, (but did enjoy playing with Diversitune for a bit).

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Re: Apple MIDI Interface

quickthyme wrote:

"Press a few notes on the keyboard, and you should hear them play from your IIGS. Notice that the MIDI In display on the top right corner of the screen lights up for every MIDI message received."

Something about this statement doesn't sound right to me at all.

Does the iigs do this without your trying to record with the sequencer?

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Re: Apple MIDI Interface

quickthyme wrote:

The c a b l e... hmm...
Could the original box maybe have included a special looks-like-but-is-not-necessarily mini-DIN8 cable perhaps? I suppose that could also explain a lot... might that be it?

Of course... and is the first thing I suspected. But - you said it was tested working with a Macintosh already, so I started looking elsewhere. Is that not true?!?

The DIN8 cable can be either straight-through (i.e. for a modem) or a crossover (i.e. a null modem/for a printer). I don't have any idea which the MIDI interface required to the GS, but... that wiring diagram you have may have the answer.

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Re: Apple MIDI Interface

Well, thank you internet for never letting me forget that I am a clumsy idiot destined to wander the earth like a lost baboon. Yes, it worked on my SE/30 before, and now it works on my IIgs also! The person who I got the adapters from was not at fault. Once I realized my mistake, I was easily able to identify and track down the correct cords. Good grief, I can't believe I've never run into this before now. I have learned several lessons from this, the most important of which is, "Thou shalt not mingle thy DIN8 cables together." Where's a dunce cap when you need one? Thank you all so much for the kind help. You gave me eyes where I could not see.

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Re: Apple MIDI Interface

Hello quickthyme,

just happy to read that you got your ghost captured....
instead of locking him up in the dungeons ...
give him instead a nice room in the upper left tower with nice view to the baskerville swamps.....

and give a hint to the other buyer.... you might save him a bunch of time....
i hope you enjoy your setup now....

just by the way two links:
http://www.appleii-box.de/H212_0_AppleIIalphaSyntauriPage.htm
and:
http://www.appleii-box.de/
the very bottom part related to synthisizers....

sincerely speedyG

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Re: Apple MIDI Interface

I guess I should also mention that the correct cable bears no significant markings other than the ends have a flat side, whereas the other ones are round. Not sure if this is universal or not, but its the only visual indication that I can see between the ones I have.

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Re: Apple MIDI Interface

Hello quickthyme,
in some cases the sentence "a picture explains more than 1000 words" is valid....
maybe if you make a picture with handy or camera and place here a link to the place you uploaded such a picture
would be usefull.....
besides the fact that some users ( like me) that have not seen such a setup - are curious about how that
setup of hardware looks alike.... and would be pleased to get such a kind of "insight" ....
just an idea...
sincerely speedyG

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Re: Apple MIDI Interface

quickthyme wrote:

Where's a dunce cap when you need one?

I don't think you deserve one, but I've got like a billion left over from my school years...

I can send it to you on a mule so it will take about 7 months to get it to you.

I have to go find where I put them all first. I can do that once I locate my solar powered flashlight.

BTW: We should get the pinout for that cable for future reference.

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Re: Apple MIDI Interface

speedyG wrote:

maybe if you make a picture with handy or camera and place here a link to the place you uploaded such a picture would be usefull.....

I am in the process of building a new web site, which may be an ideal place for such things. I’ll have to give this some further thought.

insanitor wrote:

BTW: We should get the pinout for that cable for future reference.

Turns out that the differences in the physical description between the cables is inconsequential. So yeah, unlike an Ethernet cable where you can hold both ends up and visually identify if the transmit and receive pairs are crossed, there does not appear to be any consistent way of doing the same with Apple II serial cables. At least none that I can determine short of using some kind of electrical test.

I suppose the responsibility to label and/or mark the cables falls upon the end-user. Back when these machines were new (long before USB), and everybody had printers and modems attached, this might have been common knowledge. But today, we have grown accustom to idiot-proof cables, so one might easily overlook this possibility during troubleshooting. (Not that I would know, or anything. ;p)

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Re: Apple MIDI Interface

You don't know how to use a multimeter to find out the pinout of that cable?

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Re: Apple MIDI Interface

Fair enough... survey says...

<br />
The "Mini-DIN8" connector:<br />
/--------\<br />
| o o o  |<br />
|o o   o |<br />
| o  o   |<br />
\--------/ - outer ring</p>
<p>Variant 1 - Pass-thru, a.k.a. "Modem Cable":<br />
/--------\ /--------\<br />
| 1 2 3  | | 1 2 3  |<br />
|4 5   6 | |4 5   6 |<br />
| 7  8   | | 7  8   |<br />
\--------/ \--------/</p>
<p>Variant 2 - Crossover, a.k.a. "Printer Cable":<br />
/--------\ /--------\<br />
| 1 2 3  | | 3 2 1  |<br />
|4 5   6 | |6 5   4 |<br />
| 7  8   | | 8  7   |<br />
\--------/ \--------/</p>
<p>In both cases, the outer ring, and pins 2 and 5 are pass-thru.<br />

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Re: Apple MIDI Interface

It would seem that now we've got a pinout for:

a.k.a. "Modem Cable"

and a...

Variant 2 - Crossover, a.k.a. "Printer Cable".

I am pretty sure that your MIDI interface is not a modem or a printer.

Am I wrong or am I just clueless?

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Re: Apple MIDI Interface

Hello insanitor,
not wrong but rather clueless....
allthough the MIDI interface is neither a printer nor a modem....
but - it is treated as a serial device with serial communication....
speedyG

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Re: Apple MIDI Interface

Ah, yes. Again, my apologies for the lack of clarity. After the recent bout of research, I discovered that the serial cables for the Apple IIgs and classic Macs came in two varieties, "modem" and "printer". In other words, if you went to a computer store in 1987, that is likely what they would have been labeled as on the shelf. The more accurate nomenclature would be "pass-thru" and "crossover", respectively. Hindsight being 20/40 in this case.

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Re: Apple MIDI Interface

speedyG wrote:

Hello insanitor,
not wrong but rather clueless....

I agree. Even with the pinout he gave, I a, not 100% certain how I would go about creating that cable.

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Re: Apple MIDI Interface

The standard cables and the related pinouts for
straight through and crossover
at Mini8 DIN jacks are published in textfiles at asimov.
speedyG

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In early days I had a lot of money but no time - now I have no money but a lot of time....
the second part includes less friends but a lot more joy on life....