Hey MIDI People,
this review is the result of me Tobias (tob_har) and Max from CYLVESTER testing MIDIhub together within our setup.
We recorded two videos on how we got issues solved with MIDIhub.
Feel free to take the shortcut by scrolling straight to the videos linked below
or read through some more details and thoughts on MIDIhub before watching them.
First Impressions and a brief description
MIDIhub is a rock solid (metal!) piece of gear for handling MIDI data in many different ways.
It connects to other MIDI equipment via 4 MIDI DIN IN and OUT ports and it can also act as a USB to MIDI interface at the same time.
MIDIhub is powered via its USB port and has its own dedicated power switch.
Eight bright and beautiful LEDs on the top give instant information on MIDI data that is being processed.
They also display the current active preset.
MIDIhub running DAWless
Within the MIDIhub Editor software it is super easy to choose and edit all functions, MIDIhub should perform standalone (!). So it is up to you to decide what MIDIhub is actually capable of.
By now, MIDIhub can perform merging, splitting, routing and various processing of MIDI data, like filtering and remapping.
8 different presets can be stored in the device. They are selected by pressing a button on the device (dialing through all presets) or via MIDI messages sent to MIDIhub.
Each preset represents a whole setup of MIDIhub which has been created in the Editor Software.
As a bonus: changing presets can be done on the fly without any interruption of current MIDI processing.
MIDI to USB to MIDI
MIDIhub can act as a MIDI to USB connector between DAW and MIDI gear.
But it still is a MIDI merger, splitter, filter and router at the same time!
So you can realize even the most complex routings between the four DIN MIDI IN and OUT ports and the USB port.
It can transmit 4 virtual USB MIDI streams over its single USB port, which can be very helpful when working on MIDI routings with multiple software and different hardware involved.
The MIDIhub Editor is easy to use because of its graphical and self-explaining interface.
The Editor features so called pipes. These are MIDI event functions, that can treat the MIDI signals in different ways.
Using these pipes, MIDIhub can perform advanced and stacked functions such as MIDI channel remapping, MIDI note remapping, clock division, MIDI data filtering, and many more.
… and there will be even more useful pipes to come in future updates!!!
How we use and test MIDIhub in our setup
My colleague and friend Max and me tested MIDIhub within the running live setup of our duo CYLVESTER. We play electronic music live without a computer, DAWless, so to speak.
Our setup consists of sequencers, synths, samplers, FX processors and a digital mixer all of which are interconnected within a complex MIDI network. Watch our CYLVESTER-Documentary to learn more, about our hows whats and whys.
After a lot of work, our whole setup is now up and running as is, but for this review, we chose to focus on two issues, that we still have with our setup and that we finally got solved with MIDIhub!!!
During testing, it turned out, that we could replace all our current MIDI merging and splitting devices by only one MIDIhub. We were surprised how fast and easy we got everything improved.
Problem 1: MIDIhub as MIDI Program Change Filter for Master-Keyboard
Have a look at how MIDIhub made Maxs life much easier during recording:
Problem 2: MIDIhub as MIDI Channel Remapper for Master-Keyboard
Here we want to show you, how MIDIhub made the MIDI live-recording process on Tobias part of the setup way faster, more failsafe and less annoying by using the MIDI channel-remapping pipe:
How could MIDIhub be improved?
USB port for class compliant devices - We would love an additional USB port for USB MIDI class compliant devices like controllers, pedals, master keyboards, etc. Using additional Midi-USB-Converters is simple, but adding such a port (like on the Axoloti) would change the way we can interact with our instruments entirely! It could change Dawless-Electronic music making.
Labeled Ports - It would be useful if all MIDI ports where labelled on the sides of the device. They are clearly labelled on the top… but we use to stack devices in our live rigs. Once the hub is covered with another piece of gear, you have to be very carefully where to plug new cables.
MIDI note dispatcher pipe - The most wanted new pipe in the Editor would be a MIDI note dispatcher, that would allow polyphonic spreading of MIDI notes received on one MIDI channel to multiple different MIDI channels and/our MIDI output ports. With that feature, we could use the Elektron Octatrack also as a polyphonic sampling-instrument, or treat multiple external monophonic synths as a polyphonic one.
Codable Pipes - It would be awesome if the MIDIhub team would find a way to let the community write their own simple code-functions for MIDIhub. Possibilities could be endless.
MIDIhub is an incredibly versatile MIDI router and processor which is developed by a very ambitious team that cares a lot about its users!!! And this really is one of the most important features.
120 - 150 € seems to us as a fair price for a tool that replaces splitter, merger, processor and a MIDI-USB interface.
We are looking forward to future versions and iterations. But for now, we already fell in love with the tiny grey box and its huge potential in the MIDI world. MIDIhub already is a killer tool to look out for!