General Midi Question

Hey yall.

I currently own a Digitakt and Novation Bass Station II. I have the two midi linked together, so I can play melodic parts with the Bass Station’s keys, and then have the Digitakt’s sequencer play the Bass Station’s parts when I’m ready to record. I am considering purchasing a second synthesizer, a desktop module type thing with no keyboard. I’ve never needed to midi sync more than two pieces of gear before and I want to make sure I understand hooking up this stuff correctly to ensure that I don’t need any additional gear to do what I have in mind.

Am I correct in thinking I could set up the three pieces of gear like this with no additional midi splitter or anything like that?

Bass Station midi out > Digitakt midi in > Digitakt midi out > Module midi in > Module midi thru > Bass Station midi in

As long as each Digitakt sequencer track is set to the appropriate midi channel this should work without any kind of additional midi processing, yeah?


If you get too many devices in the chain you can start to have issues but your setup shouldn’t have any problems.



That’s not true, because this setup is not just a simple midi chain but one large midi loop. So all the problems related to midi loops may occur (depending on what messages get forwarded from IN to OUT by each device).

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Currently I have the Digitakt set up to not receive CC messages (learned the hard way, when tweaking patches on the synth wrought havoc on a beat), so as long as each synth patch I’m using simultaneously has it’s own midi channel, and these are all different from the channels the internal digitakt tracks are set to, I should be ok, yeah? If I’m missing something please let me know!

To get this out of the way first: it really depends on each single device and how it may or may not forward midi messages or some types of midi messages from IN to OUT.

In the worst case MIDI messages can loop forever. Adding more and more of these looping forever messages will sooner than later clog the loop. So you need to make sure that each message really terminates somewhere and don’t get send round and round.

Own midi channels are fine, but you need to be aware that there are midi messages which are not channel-based like transport, SPP, clock etc.pp.

IMHO the worst scenario with midi loops is that they can work without problems for years, but a single (innocent looking) config parameter change of one of the involved devices can break it. When the loop problem emerges immediately you can simply undo it, but try to find it when it emerges hours or days later … :wink:

In general MIDI loops are nothing to fear, but just keep in mind that it is a loop and not a simple chain.

Thank you for the info!

He already has it working without a midi loop, he’s just trying to add one more device in the middle of the chain.


No. He has a midi loop setup which causes no problems at the moment. That’s a fine, but important difference.

As I wrote before: the architecture itself (linking all devices in a circle) is called “midi loop” and not “midi chain”. MIDI was designed with chains in mind, which terminate at the last device and doesn’t loop back to the first device.

New users are often not aware of the difference and the problems they may get into with a loop setup. That’s why I have gone into the details.

Yes, he’s set up in a “midi loop configuration” but he isn’t currently having issues. So if you add a device in the middle of that chain, you still won’t have issues. He’s obviously not sending the midi through his bass station in a loop or he’d have loop issues. Stuck notes, etc…

The whole point is, yes, it can work.

I think your extra information is helpful in case he is in fact just getting lucky.


Out of curiosity: Why do you believe that? While adding a new device to the end of a chain is a no brainer, adding a new device to a loop may introduce problems. In a loop each “player” needs to behave well.

Think about new messages/message types getting sent by the new device which weren’t there before (for example: sysex messages which couldn’t be suppressed). There are all kinds of weird (not loop-aware) midi implementations out there.

You take me too literally. Let me re-phrase:

It’s very possible you won’t have issues.

Why make it more complicated than it needs to be. Try it, if it works, great! If it doesn’t then solve the problem.

It’s many times easier to retain what you learn through experience rather than remembering something you read on a forum once.

This is a circumstance where it won’t hurt anything to mess up. It “can” work and that’s all that matters at the moment IMO.

I’m not trying to say you’re wrong. Your information is valuable. I just have a different approach.

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On a forum you never know who is on the “receiving” side. That’s why I’m personally be cautious with sloppy answers do prevent others buying stuff which may not work as they want them to. Not everyone has the capability to solve problems afterwards or - god prevents - has OCD and cannot cope with workarounds.

So, yeah, I simply don’t want to be the guy who led them into such a situation.

Of course, for myself I’ll be all over the just try & fix later route, but that’s me being an engineer.


Your approach is a more thorough, preventative approach and probably more gentle and kind. I’m a promoter of constructive suffering because I think people avoid pain, fear, and suffering to their own detriment too often.

I just know it can be made to work (from experience and knowing the gear involved). Because I told him so, if he comes back here looking for the asshole (me) who told him it would work, I’ll be here to help him figure it out :slight_smile: .


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Knowledge is the best way to prevent issues and to evolve in this complex world.


So, I am really trying to avoid getting a dedicated midi keyboard because I like the bass station’s keys and I’m trying to expand my set up without it getting much physically larger if possible. It sounds like setting it up in a loop could possibly work, and if problems do arise I can just unplug and swap cables as necessary until I can sort a more elegant solution.

If you set the BS2 to ‘Local Off’ there will be no MIDI feedback loop problems in your proposed setup.


Excellent! Thanks!
When I was an MPC user I didn’t bother with learning how to midi sync stuff. I just played the synth parts into the MPC and then used them like any other phrase samples. The parameter locks have really opened me up to wanting to get everything midi synced together though. That and only having 8 channels to work with internal audio.