MIDI switching reliability?


Hi all,

How reliable is your MIDI switching? Is it totally 100% rock solid for you?

I use an RJM PBC, and did use an RJM Mastermind LT. I often find that at least once about every maybe 5 hours I'll get at least one time my Hagen doesn't switch patch. I'm saying that because it averages about once per practice (sometimes not for a few practices, sometimes more than once). Same thing happens with my Herbert. Generally a mild annoyance, but obviously it has/can occasionally happen at a gig live.

I've pondered if it's the RJM and could be a bug in that. But it's only ever the Diezel that doesn't switch patches. The amp is usually near the end of the chain. But as well as happening when coming straight from the Strymon BigSky to the amp, more recently it's now coming from a MIDI splitter box before the Strymon Timeline and BigSky, so that's not an obvious reason. I have pondered maybe the sheer amount of MIDI info on multiple channels and MIDI clock is a bit much for the amp and it occasionally gets confused on the big burst of data. Don't know.

Recently I tried using my Herbert for the first time in a while and it didn't seem to switch at all. I found the MIDI lead from my rack was all tangled up in the mains leads amongst other things. When I untangled it all it then seemed to work, so did wonder if this could be caused by mains interference being induced on it. I also found the Hagen wasn't responding before unplugging and reconnecting at another practice.

So, although currently not a "bad" quality midi lead I was intending to replace the MIDI cable from my rack to amp with the best quality I can find. Maybe improved shielding and a less worn out connector from regularly plugging and unplugging it from both amps will improve reliability. Hopefully that'll fix it. But I figured I'd just ask here if anyone else has had any reliability issues when controlling theirs with lots of MDI messages on the cable or there's electrical noise about. If so did you find a way to improve it.

Hopefully it'll all go away with a higher quality and better shielded MIDI lead, but this is an issue I've noticed for years, not months, and all my other stuff always switches fine. It's just always been more of a mild annoyance than a big one.

I did ask Diezel if I could try using the Columbus port if it was just basically MIDI with power on it, but apparently not, it's a bit more proprietary. But if it makes it more reliable, I was also pondering maybe modding both amps to disconnect the wires to the columbus port and bridge the 3 active MIDI pins to it so I could do MIDI over XLR if it's a more reliable connection.

But in short, is your MIDI always 100% rock solid and this is only me who ever regularly (or irregularly) experiences this issue?

FYI: Current path to amp is RJM on pedalboard -> Dtronics MIDI Split box on pedalboard (Powered by isolated 9V PSU) -> long MIDI cable to rack (in bundle with filtered mains and audio) -> FAMC phantom power box (so I can phantom power other MIDI controllers if not using the pedalboard) -> MIDI Solutions Splitter (Powered by MIDI voltage from previous box) -> Diezel.
I've never had any particular issue with my Hagen, but it's the first in the chain, in a much simpler chain.

My midi controller is a Disaster Area Design DMC-6 with an old Rocktron midi cable with 7 pins on 1 side and 5 pins and a 9V DC in on the other side. Then it's only Cordial midi cables to my other midi devices. The Rocktron cable is quite long and usually passes between the power cables powering the amp and my effects.

I've always read that midi can be a bit finicky so I've always chained my devices from the most critical (amp switching) to the least critical, but I can't say I remember having issues.