STeem and MIDI under Windows

A forum for anything about the Steem Engine STE emulator, comments, problems, bug reports etc. Steven Seagal regularly provides updated versions of the original STEem code. The current version is v3.9.4.

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macrodx
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STeem and MIDI under Windows

Postby macrodx » Tue Jan 05, 2016 3:04 pm

Hello everyone,
first post on this forum, so hi all!
I recently had two STFs break down on me with sudden floppy-A-does-not-respond errors. After a good clean of the drives didn´t help I tried my luck with STeem. My main goal is to use my good old synthesizer editor programs, so solid MIDI is my main concern.
After a good deal of trials and errors I am hoping to find help and suggestions here :cheers:

So here it goes: I managed to get STeem to work with my MIDI interface, even two different ones, so no general problem here. Using a MIDI monitor utility I can read any kind of data being sent to STeem, for example a manually triggered SysEx dump from my synth. I also could send a simple program change message (C0 xx) to the synth and it would respond. So no MIDI issue in general.

What does not work, with any of the programs tested, is to initiate a data dump from within the programs bank manager and then receive the data dump. The problem here: Timeout!
I can see that the dump request is being sent to the synth alright, and the synth display says it´s dumping data. But the programs immediately run into timeouts saying the synth didn´t respond. In one out of ten times the dump works, but the data in the bank manager looks all messed up. It is definitely a timing issue of some sort.

I´ve tried the following with three different versions of STeem, on three different Windows versions:
- STeem 3.2
- STeem SSE 3.6.x
- STeem SSE 3.7.2

- Win8 64
- Win10 64
- Win XP

In STeem, I´ve played around with
- MIDI input speed (various settings from 1% to 100%)
- Emulation speed (slower and faster than 100%)
- Number and size of MIDI input/output buffers
- Memory (1 to 4 MB)
- ST Model (STF/STE)

No change whatsoever. The result is always the same.
I also tried the SSE option C1, as I was hoping that might solve the MIDI timing issue, but whenever I activate that option, the mouse inside STeem doesn´t work anymore. Again, in all afore mentioned Versions of Windows and STeem SSE, although I think this is a subject for a seperate thread...

Thanks for reading this far! Any suggestions? Or should I rather look further into fixing my hardware STs...? :angel:

stephen22
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Re: STeem and MIDI under Windows

Postby stephen22 » Mon Jan 11, 2016 4:54 pm

I can only speak for the original Steem (3_2)

It's to do with Windows - apparently it will only transmit proper full MIDI messages. And it doesn't start to send a message until it has received it in full. Sysex messages are of unlimited length, and after the initial $F0 it won't start to send until it receives the final $F7 - if it's a long message (such as a dump) your program may well timeout before it's finished. (It's also why MIDI transmission is slower than a real ST)

The problem was mentioned to the authors and they added a shortcut called "Pause until next SysEx (MIDI)" which I think will do the business (it's at the bottom of the list). I've never used it myself so you'll have to experiment. Basically I think it suspends Steem while the transfer is going on, so your program doesn't know there has been a delay.

macrodx
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Re: STeem and MIDI under Windows

Postby macrodx » Tue Jan 12, 2016 1:02 pm

Thank you for these insights, stephen22! That explains alot! For example why it works with one of my programs, which apparently has a higher timeout value. Also it works for small dumps, e.g. a single program. Unfortunately the "Pause until next SysEx (MIDI)" isn´t an option in my case, because the MIDI transfer is initiated by the program. If I select "Receive from device", it sends a dump request to the synth and awaits dump data within the timeout period. So this would be the timeframe to select "Pause until next SysEx (MIDI)".
The bad news is that i was hoping to set up an entire virtual synth editor environment based on STeem, but I can see now that this won´t work :( .
But at least now I am not digging in the dark anymore and know that I better find a replacement drive for my real ATARI.
Thanks again :cheers: !

macrodx
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Re: STeem and MIDI under Windows

Postby macrodx » Wed Jan 13, 2016 2:52 pm

I did some more digging and it appears that you have control over the input buffer under windows using the low level MME API.
stephen22 wrote:Sysex messages are of unlimited length, and after the initial $F0 it won't start to send until it receives the final $F7 - if it's a long message (such as a dump) your program may well timeout before it's finished.

I did a test again with an editor program under STeem that has a MIDI monitor function. Your point is prooven by the fact that the monitor only displays the SysEx message after it has been completely received! For reference I used the common windows tool MIDIOX to receive the same data dump and MIDIOX displays the incoming data each time the buffer is full. The standard buffersize here is 256 bytes so you get blockwise output of 256 bytes until the entire message is received. So my guess here is that STeem uses max buffer size, which would be DWORD length and thus could capture any SysEx Dump completely. If STeem would uses this API, the input buffer size could be synchronized with the setting of the STeem MIDI in buffer size, and that could probably fix the problem. Just guessing from observations though...

stephen22
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Re: STeem and MIDI under Windows

Postby stephen22 » Wed Jan 13, 2016 4:03 pm

macrodx wrote:The bad news is that i was hoping to set up an entire virtual synth editor environment based on STeem, but I can see now that this won´t work


That's a bit sad - Steem is so much easier to use than the real ST (and will probably outlast it). I've done quite a bit of sequencer/editor programming with Steem - what exactly are you trying to do?

macrodx
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Re: STeem and MIDI under Windows

Postby macrodx » Thu Jan 14, 2016 9:21 am

stephen22 wrote:I've done quite a bit of sequencer/editor programming with Steem - what exactly are you trying to do?

Thanks for asking. I want to use the ATARI editors for my Wavestation, K4, M1 and D-20 again. Putting it politely, available windows equivalents do let me miss a certain degree of professionality and integrity :).
For me, an essential part is to receive a full dump of the synth data and go from there. For example, the EMC Kawai K4 Editor/Librarian lets you handle single sounds and assigned effect patches very well, but it needs the current data to provide integrity of course. Also the program shows you which Multis a selected Single sound is assigned to. I like and use features like that, but these require data dumps to work :cry:

stephen22
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Re: STeem and MIDI under Windows

Postby stephen22 » Fri Jan 15, 2016 3:51 pm

Not familiar with any of those.

Doesn't the Steem shortcut worK?

macrodx
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Re: STeem and MIDI under Windows

Postby macrodx » Sat Jan 16, 2016 7:13 pm

stephen22 wrote:Not familiar with any of
Doesn't the Steem shortcut worK?

No it's not really an option. If I may quote myself:
MacroDX wrote:Unfortunately the "Pause until next SysEx (MIDI)" isn´t an option in my case, because the MIDI transfer is initiated by the program. If I select "Receive from device", it sends a dump request to the synth and awaits dump data within the timeout period. So this would be the timeframe to select "Pause until next SysEx (MIDI)".

That timeframe in one case is 500ms...

stephen22
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Re: STeem and MIDI under Windows

Postby stephen22 » Sun Jan 17, 2016 5:00 pm

Doesn't give you much time, does it? (Who programmed that?!)

You can of course slow Steem down to 10% or less, with another shortcut.

And one of the (many) nice things about Steem is that, once you've got your dump loaded, you can save a snapshot so you don't have to load it again next time.

Or I guess you might be able to persuade one of the new authors to provide the option of pausing Steem automatically during a SysEx message.

beel1
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Re: STeem and MIDI under Windows

Postby beel1 » Mon Feb 01, 2016 10:31 pm

Hello,

Is your Wavestation librarian also from EMC ? I am too planning to use STeem to replace my dying STEs since there are no Windows decent equivalent to softwares like Synthworks...

macrodx
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Re: STeem and MIDI under Windows

Postby macrodx » Wed Feb 10, 2016 2:53 pm

beel1 wrote:Hello,

Is your Wavestation librarian also from EMC ? I am too planning to use STeem to replace my dying STEs since there are no Windows decent equivalent to softwares like Synthworks...

Well, under the given circumstances I have decided to fix my ST and I have just purchased a complete edition of C-Lab Polyframe 1.2, which includes the best editor for the Wavestation I have yet seen. Mainly because it does not mess up the program structure everytime you switch context! And from what I could learn about the structure of Polyframe so far I think it would run perfectly under STeem. But here comes the culprit of original versions: the dongle doesn´t fit :shrug:
I guess all the EMC editors are dead set to a 500 ms timeout, so STeem (or Windows for that matter) will give you hard times here. The owners manual of my EMC Editor for K4 for example does not mention any option to change it.

Gus
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Re: STeem and MIDI under Windows

Postby Gus » Fri May 20, 2016 10:34 pm

Does anyone here use STeem v3.8.1 with (the emulated) Master Tracks Pro v3.6 and Midi in/out to USB Cable know the correct Midi Setup parameters for Windows 7 64 bit? - I'm having a Big problem with Midi Phantom-Notes (Not created by me) being played along with my Music output - (Yes, the Neewer Brand Midi Cable Does work on other DAW's i.e., Tracktion4, and the emulations were tested as being good by a friend) Connections as follows: Ensoniq DSK Out to USB PC/STeem then back Midi Out to Yamaha YME8 Midi Expander IN for my other instruments (including back to IN DSK) - Inside the emulated MTPro, thinking there might be some Midi overload, I turned off all Midi commands (except notes) like Mod wheel, etc. which did not help - I "think" I'm just missing the correct PC, STeem and/or emulated MTPro settings to be made? - Any help would be appreciated and sorry sooo long!


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