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Author Topic: Roland BK-7m MIDI integration  (Read 308 times)

treceveu

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Roland BK-7m MIDI integration
« on: May 04, 2018, 10:16:40 PM »
For what it’s worth, I’m using BH on an iPad Pro and a Roland BK-7m arranger/backing module, not a Beat Buddy, but face the same issues.  I’m able to select song styles via BH MIDI presets, but can’t seem to make my ideal situation work, which would be to populate the BK7m tempo from the BH song selection while theBH MIDI preset selects the style, and then start the accompaniment via foot switch connected to the BK-7m.
  Perhaps it’s possible to use a Bluetooth switch with BH to start the accompaniment by simulating the push of the BH tempo icon/button after I’ve selected the song and MIDI pressetted style from the set list...?

arlo

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Re: Roland BK-7m MIDI integration
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2018, 09:45:05 PM »
The BeatBuddy does support setting the tempo (without starting it) from a MIDI message, so BandHelper can do that, you would just have to create a MIDI preset for every tempo you're using. Most devices don't have a way to set the tempo without starting it. Does the BK-7m?

treceveu

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Re: Roland BK-7m MIDI integration
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2019, 02:54:12 PM »
Further to my inability to prepopulate the BK7m with tempo info so I can stop/start it with its foot switch: Arlo, as to your response/question, it doesn’t appear the BK will accommodate that - so I’m back to using the BandHelper tempo button to do my starts. After everything is running on BH’s MIDI clock (which can take a bar or two to “catch up” it seems...), I can use the BK’s foot switch to successfully stop and/or restart the beat, but not to do the initial start as it will start at the default tempo programmed into its pattern selection.

My question: is there away from use a foot switch to toggle the BandHelper tempo button on/off so I can start the auto drummer that way rather than taking a hand off the instrument to touch my iPad screen?  I’ve had no experience with Bluetooth switches but would go that route if applicable.  I’m wondering if there are potential latency issues that would affect a clean and synchronous start and stop?

arlo

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Re: Roland BK-7m MIDI integration
« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2019, 03:53:10 PM »
With an iPad Pro 10.5" and an AirTurn BT-200 in mode 2, I just measured the time from button press to first tempo click as about 225 ms.

treceveu

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Re: Roland BK-7m MIDI integration
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2019, 08:36:38 AM »
Arlo, thanks for the quick response.  225ms seems a bit long for the purpose.  I don’t want to belabour the subject, but one more question: I’m guessing that if I configured a MIDI switch to start/stop the BH tempo button (and it looks like BH is capable of accommodating this) I’d achieve better results wrt latency, repeatability, and reliability of results. Your thoughts?

arlo

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Re: Roland BK-7m MIDI integration
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2019, 10:06:20 AM »
If you used a Bluetooth MIDI interface, I'd expect the performance to be about the same, but a wired MIDI interface should be faster. IIRC, clicking a button on the screen starts the tempo in about half that time, but I don't remember how much of that time is from processing the button click (which wouldn't be included when using a foot switch) and how much is from the audio actually starting up (which would be included no matter how you trigger it).

treceveu

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Re: Roland BK-7m MIDI integration
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2019, 08:57:11 PM »
Just can't seem to resolve this one. 
The BK7m arranger doesn't allow me to prepopulate the tempo field (like BeatBuddy apparently does), so it's using the BandHelper clock to provide the correct tempo when I push the tempo/metronome screen button in BH.  With the exception of having to free a hand up for the start/stop, this works very well and it's so easy to change tempos within my BH repertoire (and building a myriad of different presets to cover every rhythm pattern and tempo doesn't work for me)
 I thought I could set up a wired "MIDI Baby" footswitch to start/stop the BH tempo.  The MIDI Baby is quite configurable, but I can't find anyway to connect it so it actually toggles the tempo icon.  I can use it to MIDI-trigger the BK7m start/stop (which is not the desired result as per this note trail discussion), but it did allow me to observe latency... which frankly seems too high for this application.  I have no way of measuring it, but I suspect it's at least a couple hundred ms.

Tapping the BH tempo icon on my iPad, however, gives seemingly instantaneous results, which is curious because it's still using USB MIDI to talk to the BK7m, so perhaps the latency is introduced elsewhere.

Does anybody know a logical way to connect and use a wired MIDI switch to the iPad to force BH to simulate the tempo icon push?  I'm tongue-in-cheek considering building a mechanical linkage to use a foot pedal connected to a stylus that will tap the icon on my screen when I step on it...

iguana

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Re: Roland BK-7m MIDI integration
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2019, 10:26:54 PM »
I do this using a Morningstar MC-6 foot controller, but any programmable controller should work, including the MIDI Baby.

In your BH project, go to Settings->Remote Control and look for the Start/Stop Tempo option. There, set BH to receive whatever MIDI message you've programmed the controller to send.

And if you've set BH to receive MIDI on a specific channel/port, make sure the controller sends to the same.

arlo

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Re: Roland BK-7m MIDI integration
« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2019, 10:46:09 PM »
Are you trying to start the tempo after the song has started? You mentioned taking your hand off the instrument, and you're concerned about the transmission time of a wireless foot switch. Normally starting the tempo would be the first thing you'd do, and then you'd sync your playing to the tempo rather than vice-versa.

treceveu

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Re: Roland BK-7m MIDI integration
« Reply #9 on: December 08, 2019, 08:35:02 AM »
Thanks gents.  Arlo, I play with a 4 piece group and it’s common for the band to play an intro of one or more bars before we kick in the drums on the downbeat.  My experimentation with the MidiBaby was using it to send the MIDI start/stop command directly to the BK via DIN cable. There was a small but noticeable delay from switch press to audio start that gave the drums a “lazy” start.  No such problem when I touch the BH tempo icon to start the drums.

I thought maybe I could give the BH icon a quick tap on & off to initiate sending the BH MIDI clock to the BK7m (and give the band a brief tempo preview) and then start the drums with the BK7m footswitch after the intro, but weirdness happens.  The BH automation feature successfully selects the correct drum pattern on song selection, but as it doesn’t prepopulate the BK7m with the desired tempo, the arranger is sitting there displaying its default tempo for that pattern ready to go.  Let’s say that’s 120bpm, but the desired tempo programmed in the BH tempo field is 84bpm: if I trigger the start with the BH icon, the drums immediately start up following the BH MIDI clock at 84bpm, BUT, the BK7m display still shows 120bpm.  Over the space of at least one full drum cycle, the display slowly decreases to 84 and then settles in at 84 (all the while, despite the display, the drums are playing nicely at 84). If I use the BK7m footswitch to stop and restart before this declining cycle on the display has completed, it restarts the drums wherever it left off in the declining tempo cycle, say 98bpm ors something.  After the BK7m has completed this weird little routine, I can correctly stop/start the drums however I wish.

So, I though I could use the MIDI Baby footswitch to send the start/stop command directly to BandHelper on my iPad Pro, but I don’t know how to connect it and make that happen.  The iPad is connected via USB midi with an Apple camera adapter on the iPad going to the USB1 jack on the BK7m.  The BK7m also has a DIN MIDI in and out, but no through.  And even if I can physically connect the MIDI Baby, I understand the advice from Iguana to select the right command, channel etc. but that seems to be decision-after-next till I get the hardware sorted.  And I’m a MIDI newbie so I still stumble around.  Thanks for your patience...

arlo

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Re: Roland BK-7m MIDI integration
« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2019, 08:42:38 AM »
You would need a USB MIDI interface to connect MIDI in (the foot switch) and MIDI out (the drum machine) to the iPad. Examples are on this page:

http://www.bandhelper.com/support/hardware.html

Were you sending MIDI Beat Clock from the foot switch when it was connected directly to the drum machine, or were you sending a single message to start the drum machine, as you would be to trigger the tempo function in BandHelper? If the latter, then it seems like you would still have the same delay that you're trying to avoid.

I still feel like the ideal option is to have the drum machine starting before the band does. Can you program the drum machine to just play clicks during the intro section, so you're playing the intro at the exact tempo and the full drum part can make a seamless entry? Or maybe it can play clicks for a count-off, then drop out while you play the intro, then come in with the full drum part. Even better would be to route the clicks to in-ear monitors so the audience doesn't hear it.

One more option that bypasses the foot switch issue is to use automation tracks in BandHelper. With this approach you would start an automation track and the automation track would start the tempo (visual flashes or audio clicks or both), then you'd play the intro to that, and then the automation track would start the drum machine at the end of the intro. The only downside of this is that you'd need to play the same arrangement every time -- you couldn't shorten or lengthen the intro during a performance.