Author Topic: Maximum MIDI Ports on MACOS?  (Read 446 times)

Offline macStuff

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Maximum MIDI Ports on MACOS?
« on: August 21, 2019, 01:12:54 AM »
dose anyone have any information abotu this topic?
or links to official documents?

Microsoft Windows versions of course were said to have a 10 or 11 MIDI port limitation;
win95 was said to have a "total of Ports Limit" and bluescreen + crash if u had more than 11; XP was said to have a "Device limit" of 10 devices;
SP2 was said to have bumped this limit up;

while this was happening in windows land;
im wondering about the limit in MacOS9.22?
the Roland UM880 was said to support up to 4 um880 units on a single Mac or PC
obviously the 4 limit was in reference to the mac; being that 95 or 2k/XP all could not have that many devices installed; apparently win98se was able to have more; which gave it a better reputation for Music Endeavours? so maybe win98se was able to have 4 of these um880s connected; but of course my question here + now is:

was MacOS8/9 able to have more than 32Midi Ports? (4 x 8 = 32)

the MOTU MIDI Timepeice manual also makes refernce to networking multiple MTPs of course; was that also up to a max of 4? if so why this max of 4? is there a real limit to the amount of MIDI ports a single mac can address? (32?)

Offline refinery

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Re: Maximum MIDI Ports on MACOS?
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2019, 02:22:07 PM »
The max 4 on MOTUs were not directly chained, that scenario is two separate chains of two, one to each serial/printer port.

I do not know of any actual practical limit... I know that the 15-port Opcode Studio 5LXs could be networked but I've no idea how many.
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Offline GaryN

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Re: Maximum MIDI Ports on MACOS?
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2019, 04:52:49 PM »
but of course my question here + now is:
was MacOS8/9 able to have more than 32Midi Ports? (4 x 8 = 32)

the MOTU MIDI Timepiece manual also makes refernce to networking multiple MTPs of course; was that also up to a max of 4? if so why this max of 4? is there a real limit to the amount of MIDI ports a single mac can address? (32?)

The first thing you have to do to solve this is define terms.
i.e. What exactly is a "MIDI port"?
If we define a "MIDI port" as the actual 5-pin DIN connection (passing for the moment on USB and that whole world) we must remember that each instrument / device connected in this way may require two of them - 1 in, 1 out.
The Mac (and PCs too, for that matter) do not have "MIDI ports". They do have serial or parallel data ports that can be used to handle MIDI data, provided there is a suitable MIDI interface connected there.
These ports cannot be parallel combined or daisy-chained like SCSI so the maximum number of devices they can "see" is one per port. The fact that you can connect more than one UM880 or Opcode Studio is due to the interface's ability to combine and route all their data that presents to the computer as "one" device.

So, the number of interfaces that can be connected at once depends on the interfaces themselves and the maximum data handling capability of the computer and its port(s).
By that I mean: While MIDI interfaces such as Roland, Opcode or MOTU units can be stacked / combined in such as way as to create a LOT of MIDI ports, there is then a practical limit as to just how much data you can stuff through the serial computer port(s) at any one time. There's also an issue with how many unique ports you can address at once which is where OMS and FreeMIDI come in but that's a different worm also.
The total amount of MIDI data flowing to and from the computer at any given moment is of course, one bit…lol.
The total amount of MIDI data flowing to and from the computer at any given time is highly variable and depends both on:

1) The number of devices connected.
2) How many are active.
……and finally
3) How complex the data is.

Obviously, a simple say, drum pattern sends a LOT less data than a two-handed piano part or a complex synth part with continuous controllers and pitch bend. In a given sequence, the data rate varies constantly depending on the track count, music genre, types of instruments used and a dozen other variables.

Just because you can connect x number of ports at once doesn't necessarily mean you can really use them simultaneously.
There is a maximum amount of data you can pass and process in real time but there is no fixed number of ports that can "equal" that rate.
Opcode, for example, suggested you can stack six Studio Fives - two groups of three on each of two Mac serial ports for a total of ninety unique in/out MIDI pairs.*
Opcode also made a point that the MIDI data stream can easily get "clogged" at a certain (unspecified) point and may require "thinning" measures to be taken and/or the port data rate adjusted to keep things flowing because the serial port has a maximum transfer rate and the computer has a processing limit dependent on proc clock speed, software quality and a dozen other factors.

So…
There are no "official documents" or specs regarding this because of the infinite variations of individual setups. It like: how much traffic can you handle on a freeway? It depends on the speed limit, the types of vehicles (cars vs trucks) number of lanes etc etc. You can only estimate a nominal amount. Now, translate that to MIDI hardware / interfaces / ports. Opcode, for example, seemed to pick 6 x 15 = 90 total as a practical limit.

Conclusion: This is clearly a classic example of "Your mileage may vary"

*Each one of those can be theoretically multiplied by 16 channels for a total of 1440 addresses.
I seriously doubt anyone has a real use for that many destinations of that an OMS setup window or a SVP instrument window could be readable with that much content.


Offline macStuff

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Re: Maximum MIDI Ports on MACOS?
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2019, 02:24:02 AM »
i understand its not as simple as it sounds to ask the question;
trust me ;)
im just seeking definitive answers (backed up by referencable sources)
for my own info and to be able to answer the question authoritatively (ha!)
in the future;

you know; basically desiring "The truth" to be able to "know what im talking about"
as much as humanly possible; lol!  ;D

I wonder if there are people out there with multiple Keyspan/megawolf Cards running
multiple AMT8/Unitor networks combined with MOTU MTP networks / Opcode 5LX Networks
id love to see someone post some crazy shit like that here (With pics + Video to back it up)
are u listening trent reznor? lol

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTFwQP86BRs" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTFwQP86BRs</a>

Offline IIO

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Re: Maximum MIDI Ports on MACOS?
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2019, 03:39:45 AM »
i.e. What exactly is a "MIDI port"?

i believe  that is relatively clear and needs no redefinition.

Quote
The fact that you can connect more than one UM880 or Opcode Studio is due to the interface's ability to combine and route all their data that presents to the computer as "one" device.

the main reason is the driver layout. some drivers are single client, others are not. for example the steinberg midex-8 usb supports 4 units in OS9 but only 2 in OSX.

Quote
There's also an issue with how many unique ports you can address at once which is where OMS and FreeMIDI come in but that's a different worm also.

that is the main bottleneck. what is been limited in OMS, will not be compensated by anything else.

Quote
Just because you can connect x number of ports at once doesn't necessarily mean you can really use them simultaneously.

such scenarios can happen, but i dont think it would be the wanted behavior. both serial and usb are fast enough to support 8-16 ports (most interfaces only have about 8 ports) and the buffer in the midi interface is also per port.

the ability of the most receiving devices and of the midi protocol itself should be always lower than the other side (computer & co)

OMS itself uses internally codenames for the first 24 ports which are going from a-z (excl the IACs and virtual IOs from apps). but it supports far more than 24 ports. i just dont know how many, that information seems to be missing in the manual.

i´d also like to know how to adress the port coming after z from an app.
"It is true that the "pre-emptive multitasking" advantage present in OS X can be illustrated by downloading CD-ROM ISOs and rendering chaos theory formulas while simultaneously instant messaging and posting on FaceBook what you ate... but in reality, what did you create?"
- DieHard, random forum troll at macos9lives.com

Offline refinery

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Re: Maximum MIDI Ports on MACOS?
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2019, 07:36:05 AM »
are u listening trent reznor? lol

I know Trent used a bank of 8 networked Unitor 8s. I've seen pics of a big blue square of them in older studio pics. I don't think he uses as much midi gear now, he's a big modular guy now.
Charlie Clouser would probably be the better person to ask, he's a super gear nerd and he hangs out on Gearslutz all the time and is really great with answering questions
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Offline GaryN

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Re: Maximum MIDI Ports on MACOS?
« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2019, 04:03:42 PM »
i.e. What exactly is a "MIDI port"?
i believe  that is relatively clear and needs no redefinition.
That's what I love about you IIO… you can always be counted on to insert confusion into any discussion.

Anyone should be able to read Macstuff's question and my answer and recognize that I was asking "What exactly is a "MIDI port"?
  for the purpose of this discussion

I was trying to make the distinction between:
A: How many MIDI holes can you connect to a computer
and
B: How many can actually be used

im just seeking definitive answers (backed up by referencable sources)
for my own info and to be able to answer the question authoritatively (ha!)
in the future;

There are NO definitive answers to this for the exact reasons I described;i.e. TOO MANY VARIABLES
Stuff: There's no such word as "referencable" Your English teacher would call you out even if you used a hyphen (reference-able)


I wonder if there are people out there with multiple Keyspan/megawolf Cards running
multiple AMT8/Unitor networks combined with MOTU MTP networks / Opcode 5LX Networks
id love to see someone post some crazy shit like that here (With pics + Video to back it up)
are u listening trent reznor? lol

Trent Reznor can stack all the feffin Unitors he likes as long as he has patch cords but it don't mean shit.
Just because there's a picture…
I've included a picture below for you to contemplate

I honestly don't know why I fuckin bother…

Offline IIO

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Re: Maximum MIDI Ports on MACOS?
« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2019, 10:22:30 AM »
Quote
you can always be counted on to insert confusion into any discussion.

it is impossible to bring more even confusion into something you are already busy with. :D

Quote
Anyone should be able to read Macstuff's question

i do not read his posts since 5 years.

though this is at least seems to be on topic. :) the question was reasonable and as you can see noone among us know the exact answer.

Quote
I was trying to make the distinction between:
A: How many MIDI holes can you connect to a computer
and
B: How many can actually be used

i got that part. and my answer was "there is no difference". any port you can create or recognize with a PC can also be "used".

i think we all know that it is usually not possible for example to send 25 controller movements from one synth to another. so you could argue that you can not even use 1 port in this certain real life situation. so that is nonsense, dont you notice? :)

Quote
TOO MANY VARIABLES

that´s your opinion. in my opinion OMS is the bottleneck and that is where to look.

Quote
Trent Reznor can stack all the feffin Unitors he likes as long as he has patch cords but it don't mean shit.
Just because there's a picture…

of course they could theoretically be connected to two different computers. but how likely is that?

and how likely is that emagic and steinberg wrote drivers for 4 clients when computers cant adress them? (beside the fact that i have done it myself.)

however, i can only approve that 4*8=32 does work. and it is probably irrelevant if MacOS9 has a limit of 4 or 8 or 100 interfaces when there are no MacOS9 users which want to control so many devices anyway

if you ever find out that it is for sure 8*8 that would be good news - but it is not on top of my priority list.
"It is true that the "pre-emptive multitasking" advantage present in OS X can be illustrated by downloading CD-ROM ISOs and rendering chaos theory formulas while simultaneously instant messaging and posting on FaceBook what you ate... but in reality, what did you create?"
- DieHard, random forum troll at macos9lives.com

Offline GaryN

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Re: Maximum MIDI Ports on MACOS?
« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2019, 02:42:49 PM »
I rest my case.

Offline refinery

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Re: Maximum MIDI Ports on MACOS?
« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2019, 01:58:51 PM »
it's definitely 8x8 per port, as stated in the Unitor 8 manual:

G4/MDD 1.42 (9), G4/GB 500DP (X), Beige G3 400 (upgraded) (9), PBG4Ti 1Ghz (X), PBG3WS 300 (9)

got my mind on my scsi and my scsi on my mind