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Having Trouble Sending MIDI Commands to Yamaha Motif Rack XS in USB Mode

Started by tonygardner, January 05, 2020, 07:48:29 PM

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I am unable to successfully get my Motif Rack XS to receive MIDI commands sent from BH when it is in USB mode. Allow me to explain...

The Yamaha Motif Rack XS can be set to either USB or MIDI mode (actually, there are other options but I didn't want to complicate the matter).

When in MIDI mode, you don't plug the Motif into your Mac/PC via USB. You're essentially committed to only using 5-pin DIN MIDI cables.

When in USB mode, you get a world of awesome software. And the best part is that Yamaha still allows MIDI to be sent/received using the 5-pin DIN MIDI ports on the back of the Motif.

So what's the problem?

If I send a MIDI program change command using my Arturia KeyLab 88 MIDI controller, the Motif immediately responds to the MSB/LSB/Value command.

But if I send the command via BH, it doesn't even blink. So here's my configuration:

My Arturia KeyLab 88 MIDI Out is going to an IK Multimedia iRig MIDI2 then Out to the Motif Rack XS. A proprietary cord lets me connect my iPad Pro 2nd Gen.

Note that the same problem also exists when using an iConnectivity MIDI4+ instead of the iRig.

BandHelper recognizes the device which is setup to use Port 1. The MIDI Status shows this as well as the commands that I am sending.

If I simply change the Yamaha Motif Rack XS to use MIDI mode, everything works.

Settings > Audio & MIDI > MIDI Thru is enabled if that helps.

Thanks for any insights on this one.


Do you mean you're connecting from the iPad to the keyboard with a USB cable, and the keyboard appears as a connected device in the MIDI Status window?


Not quite, Arlo. I must have explained my setup badly.

The Arturia KL88 is connected to my MacBook Pro via USB.
The Motif Rack XS is also connected to my MacBook Pro via USB.
There is a 5-pin DIN MIDI cable going from the Arturia to the iRig.
There is another 5-pin DIN MIDI cable going from the iRig to the Yamaha Motif Rack XS.
The iPad Pro is connected to the iRig via their proprietary cable.

I have programmed my Arturia KL88 to send MSB, LSB, Value when I push Pad 1. This works both when the Motif Rack XS is in USB and MIDI mode.

I have programmed my BH to send the same MSB, LSB, Value to a MIDI Preset assigned to the iRig device on Port 1. This works only when the Motif Rack XS is in MIDI mode.

I would ask Yamaha for help with this, but since the problem can only be reproduced using BH, I don't think they would be able to offer ant help.

Tony G.



O.K. I'm not 100% certain, but I think that the main problem with my setup was attempting to use the iRig to communicate via MIDI, when in fact, USB on my MacBook Pro was in charge. The real solution required me to get my iPad Pro to join the USB party, not be anti-social and try to march around with MIDI picket signs.

I've seen quite a few folks who use the USB MIDI "camera kit" to accomplish this task, but I've been trying every conceivable piece of HARDWARE to get the job done. You name it -- IK Multimedia, iConnectivity, MOTU, Presonus, Griffin, Yamaha were all attempted.

And the winner is...

SOFTWARE! Yes indeed, the solution was a handy piece of software that runs both on the iPad and on my MacBook Pro called musicIO, and only needs a standard USB to Lightning cable to connect my iPad to the MacBook. A pretty elegant solution if I do say so myself. It's what I like to call "Click, click, DONE!"


Okay, good. I wonder if this could also have been solved by routing between MIDI busses in the Audio MIDI Setup utility on the Mac. I don't know, but am posting this as a suggestion in case it helps someone in the future.