best practices question: no stop or swallow or aliases

Though I look forward to messing around with its advanced uses later, I got the BomeBox for a very specific purpose: to use my favorite MIDI controller to play adjustable mixes of three sound modules. I'm curious how my setup meshes with BomeBox best practices and what I might be gaining or losing by doing things this way:

My controller plugs into the BomeBox's MIDI in DIN, and the box's MIDI out DIN goes to the first sound module, then its MIDI out to the next one's MIDI in, then that one's MIDI out to the last one's MIDI in. The last one has no MIDI out, by the way. Each of my three presets has no Stop processings or Swallow MIDIs. My input alias is for the controller on BomeBox - net, and I got rid of all aliases on the output as just not necessary: everything just goes to the MIDI out DIN. I could go back and delete the alias for the input, too, but why bother. So apparently for my purposes there's no reason to bother with aliases.

All three presets for all three sound modules stay activated, and I control the sound modules' layering on my hardware mixer. I guess there must be clever BomeBox techniques that would let me turn modules on and off (perhaps by toggling their on/off state via USB keyboard input), but that would do nothing for me because I use the mixer to cut things in and out.

Any comments on how I'm understanding things?


The pro's of your configuration is it is quite simple. No advanced routing, no special MIDI preset switching etc.

A few of the cons are below but there is nothing huge here that I can see especially if you want to use the KISS (Keep it So Simple) principle.

  1. All MIDI always goes to everything in the single MIDI chain you have. This increases MIDI traffic to your devices and at some point performance may suffer.
  2. If one device fails in the chain, everything downstream will fail
  3. Each device will need it's own MIDI channel for messages targeted for only that device. So for performance data, that is OK but say you want to do a program change on your first sound module and not on the others. The sound modules program messages would need to be on separate MIDI channels (or controlled by System Exclusive). Of course you can control all this with Bome MIDI Translator Project loaded but at some point, you may run out of channels. Having everything on different ports increases your options.
  4. Depending on your upstream controllers, there may be additional MIDI latency on the sound modules down the chain.
  5. MIDI DIN is not the fastest transport medium. USB is a lot faster.

With all that said, unless you are experiencing issues, don't try to fix what isn't broken.

Steve Caldwell
Bome Q and A Moderator and
Independent Bome Consultant/Specialist




I’m much more of a modular and acoustic instruments person than a MIDI person, and for my own music, I’m not interested in percussion lines that don’t groove and evolve with a 100% human or organic feel. Modular doesn’t do that well. The only way is via sample playback, or, better, by playing the drums with my own hands in real time. Aside from a utility polysynth MIDI keyboard (in my studio only under protest), my sole use for the BomeBox was to correct the problematic velocity response I experience between the only and best MIDI drum controller I’m willing to use and a particular sound module that will provide electronic drum sounds that can respond musically to full-range dynamics. I’m well covered for sampled acoustic drum kits (128 velocity layers with a zillion drum pieces), but for electronic percussion sounds that respond humanly to a human touch, there are only two, and the best one has an unusable velocity curve that can’t be modified. It’s fine with something like a KeyStep, but I guess the inventor didn’t foresee a quality drum controller. To correct this oversight, I had to spend further on the BomeBox to provide this basic capability because my lovely controller’s firmware is from the 90’s, and it only does one single thing well: trigger drums. It has highly touch-sensitive MIDI triggers on it and no other MIDI controls whatsoever. These super-sensitive triggers play with full dynamics and zero crosstalk, but choice of velocity curves in the firmware is too limited. We discussed this on Elektronauts, where I originally thought that MIDI velocity compression in a module didn’t yet exist. People there recommended the BomeBox, and I’ve now set up the BomeBox to remap velocity for that one module, problem solved.

I originally followed the models in the BomeBox’s documentation—which worked—but then came to realize my setup could be greatly simplified, so I tried that, too. I expect to only ever need one or two additional modules, so I won’t face the problem of running out of channels, making KISS the best choice. With percussion, I need MIDI latency less than 12ms, and there is no detectable latency in this configuration. Great, but for future reference I’ve posted here to make sure of what capabilities I might be excluding.

In that case, I have another question: you’re saying that configurations of the BomeBox allow it to output MIDI to specific modules instead of everything-to-everything. Can you explain that? I mean, if I have everything daisy chained, it looks to me like every MIDI message has to pass through every box because the BomeBox certainly doesn’t intervene past its own MIDI out. Do you somehow split the MIDI chains in hardware? See, I’m not a MIDI person.

One of my drum controller’s antique firmware’s other limitations is that program changes on it are relatively tedious: you have to stop playing, re-position the heavy instrument, then punch in codes that require some concentration and physical effort. These patch changes bring the music to a grinding halt. I guess, 25 years ago, the inventor figured players would settle on the best patch for a session, then set it and forget it without really needing real-time changes. That’s still reasonably practical, but my next project will be to enable the equivalent of program changes on the controller by creating presets of remappings of the MIDI outs of its 30 triggers. I’ll just leave the controller on its BomeBox preset, then remap its controllers externally with BomeBox presets.

My second question: I intend to activate and deactivate combinations of these controller remapping presets via a USB keyboard hooked up to the BomeBox’s USB port. The plan is to allow the instantaneous patch switching impossible on the controller itself. That will maintain the KISS configuration, right? Do you foresee any issues?

Looking over the manual, it seems the more complex configurations only come into play when using software modules and MIDI controllers that plug into the computer. If I'm completely computerless, then my current config is the only config. The workflow is to use Translator on the computer to develop, then transfer to the Box and take the computer out of the loop. Right?

From my other help thread, my latency with SugarBytes's DrumComputer couldn't be eliminated, and SugarBytes support couldn't fix it either. With MacOS Catalina, it looks like some devices just won't work well, namely my old controller that requires a separate MIDI interface. Controllers with built-in USB MIDI have worked much better, but I don't have any need to bring a computer into the mix these days.

The best way to separate ports is to put the on their own USB port with a USB hub (if your devices are USB enabled).  However a USB to 4 port MIDI conversion box might do the trick. You plug each MIDI device into a different DIN connector on the conversion box and the other end of the box exposes 4 USB devices to the BomeBox which can now differential between the different MIDI paths.

Any dynamic path remapping should probably be handled by loading an MT Pro project file on the BomeBox, so for that you will need to purchase MT Pro.

Steve Caldwell
Bome Q and A Moderator and
Independent Bome Consultant/Specialist

In my case, it would have to be a USB to 4 port MIDI conversion box because all three of my drum sound modules are MIDI DIN only, no USB. Any hardware to recommend, or are they all about the same?

I've purchased and have been using MT Pro all along.

Yep, develop on computer than move it to BomeBox for ultimate execution.