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Why are most of the user contributions for older tech? - MIDI Designer Q&A

Why are most of the user contributions for older tech?

0 votes
asked Mar 14, 2022 in How does MIDI Designer work with X? by janpeek (150 points)
recategorized Mar 15, 2022 by MIDI Designer Team (Dan)
I'm not really seeing how hobby vs. pro lines up with hardware vs. newer software. A lot of these older synths are well-loved and NOT well-supported in software. Everybody who has tried to support them has eventually run out of road for a variety of reasons.

Are you asking if MDP2 is pro for... live performance? Absolutely YES, but usually not over wi-fi for the connection.

Are you asking if MDP2 is pro for... studio tweaking? Absolutely YES.

Are you asking if MDP2 is for fun? Yes.

Should you build on MDP2? We've been out since 2012 and have been updating multiple times a year since then. Are you asking about our bus factor?

I’m not sure what you mean by bus factor. It is possible that there are a lot of users employing Midi Designer for newer VIs but they aren’t sharing their work which is a drag. It would be great if there were designs available for, for instance, Spitfire BBC Orchestra. It’s quite a bit of work to setup for a big complex package like that. I would be glad to share my work with other users. Y’all ought to figure out a way to incentivize users to share because it would help expand you user base.
Thanks for this. So basically if we can "figure out a way to incentivize users... it would help expand [our] user base." That sounds great. How would you go about doing that? We'd love to do both of these things!

1 Answer

+1 vote
Best answer

How do MDP2 Layouts Appear in Q&A?

Seems there is a set of occurrences necessary for a layout to appear in Q&A.

  1. The target device has to be controllable by MIDI
  2. The MIDI documentation is available, or someone is dedicated enough to puzzle it out
  3. Someone invests time to build the layout
  4. They are willing to share the layout

This natural filter seems to favor older boards, especially ones that provide complete documentation.  Roland still provides extensive sysex control and detailed documentation for many new products, for example.

We got a request for a layout for a a particular device.  Unfortunately, the documentation is almost non-existent.  None posted on the mfr website.  One found by searching just says it will send Sysex messages to store and real presets, and panel controls send Cc messages which can be recorded and played back.  I have built layouts cold, never seeing the target hardware, when they are well documented and I am familiar with what the mfr really does (vs what the documentation says).  Ain’t happening here.  Someone may eventually document the messages, and maybe post them.

Jupiter X(m) and RD-88 are two current boards.  I have built layouts for both.  But now Roland have released an editor for the X(m)s.  If they had not waited 18+ months after releasing the board, not provided complete Sysex documentation and control, and if lockdown had not provided endless free time, I would not have built the layout.  I am still working the RD-88 layout, at least until Roland realizes their X(m) editor only needs minor changes to control the RD-88. 

And once you start in a product family, it fairly easy to go forward.  Big portions of the RD-2000 layout go directly into the X(m) layout.  Then the RD-88 is just a mash-up of those two.  Roland never throws away code that works.

With so many boards coming out with software tools, no need to invest time in building an MDP2 layout.  But that is also why older boards do get MDP2 layouts - the mfr software only runs on Windows XP, and the last machine died.  They like the board, so now is the reason to invest the time.  MDP2 is really good at giving old boards new life - in some cases providing ability to control even when some of the front panel controls or display have died.

Another change is that mfrs used to rely exclusively on the MIDI for remote control.  There is some shift to direct computer communications via USB or wireless, which takes away ability to control via MDP2 MIDI.

We have detects of layouts on the Facebook pages, Q&A, and help desk that never get posted.  Look full featured and useful, but folks just don’t share them.  I have messaged a few, and they are reluctant for some reason to share.  I have had folks post extremely derogative comments on my layouts, so I understand.  You do all the work, share for free, and some internet commando who would not know a Cc from sysex, even if it bit them on the rear end wearing a name tag, decides to trash it, and tell you how much better they could do, if they could be bothered to actually do it, which is beneath them.

And I know of three users that do layouts commercially - their product is not posted to share on the Q&A site.  But MDP2 is mostly a labor of love, not sure anyone makes money.

The MDP2 team tries to help get past these hurdles as they arrive.  As Dan has said, he has been doing this for 10 years, and it has come a long way, and keeps getting better.  Many apps and even OSs have died during this time.

answered Mar 15, 2022 by jkhiser (16,210 points)
edited Mar 16, 2022 by jkhiser
Thanks for letting us in to a bit of how this all works. As a master author and Community Lead, you offer quite a full picture. Thanks for sharing.