MIDI - beginner needs help

Right.

I'm a MIDI noob. I understand the basics - it's a protocol for sending control messages - but I don't really understand what hardware I need to make it work. 

Lets say I have four Korg Volcas (I currently own two but intend to acquire more). Each of these has a MIDI in, but no MIDI out. The connector on each is a five pin traditional DIN, not USB. 

If I want to control these from a software based sequencer (recommendations for a simple/cheap one welcome) what do I need to get to connect them to the PC? My machine is running Windows 10.

A quick look online suggests lots of options - midisports 4x4, getting some kind of midi through (how to connect that to a PC?) etc. I would like a solution that's cheap and relatively fuss free. 

Lets also assume that in future I will want to add a MIDI keyboard/controller - I guess a modern one will just connect to the PC via USB and then I can use software to route the midi out from the keyboard to control the Volcas? 
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Comments

  • RolandRoland Frets: 1680
    The midisport connects to your PC by usb.

    You could indeed connect a midi keyboard to your PC. If the keyboard doesn’t have usb then you’ll need the midisport to convert midi to usb, and back to midi for the Volcas. My midisport only has midi In and Thru. I presume there’s something which will have four outputs.
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  • octatonicoctatonic Frets: 17426
    As Roland says, you connect a USB midi interface to your computer and then midi out of the 4 ports to your 4 Volca's.

    Other devices sometimes have a midi out/thru.
    Say you had 4 x monosynths, with a midi out/thru on each, you could chain them serially (out of one into the in of two, out of two into the in of three... etc.
    As the Volca only has a MIDI IN you will need one port per device.

    You could get a USB midi keyboard or you could get a DIN one, going out of that into the midisport's input.

    I know you like the Volca but I've been down the path of buying multiples of cheaper synths myself.
    Consider not doing this.
    If you are new to this then you might reasonably expect to demand more from it as time goes by and imho there are some 
    some crazy bargains these days on synths from the 90's and 00's.

    Having some things with different synthesis methods (FM, analogy, sample based, wavetable, additive, subtractive) will give you a much broader palette.
    I am the juice of four limes.
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  • UnclePsychosisUnclePsychosis Frets: 4989
    Thanks guys.

    My provisional plan is to stick with the two volcas (keys, beats), eventually add a volca sample, and also acquire a better monosynth - probably a monologue. 

    Can anyone recommend a specific USB midi interface suitable for what I want to do? There's a "qiheng" one on amazon for £45 which looks like it does what I want but not sure if there's anything better for similar cash. 
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  • prowlaprowla Frets: 861
    Yamaha make USB-MIDI interfaces.

    My MIDISport 4x4 is a USB-MIDI interface.

    A MID Thru Box is a 1-to-many MIDI adapter.

    Generic MIDI allows items to be daisy-chained if they have a Thru port.
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