Sunday, 21 August 2011

Using Symphonix Evolution with Network MIDI

Did you know that if you have a Mac, you can connect Symphonix Evolution to it using Network MIDI?  This means that you can use Symphonix Evolution as a MIDI input or output for other applications thanks to the Core MIDI support in iOS.

Here's how to get it running:

1. On your Mac, go to Applications and then Utilities.  Locate the Audio MIDI Setup app and open it.

2. When the Audio setup screen appears, go to the View menu and choose the Show MIDI Window option

3. You'll now see a screen that shows the MIDI devices connected to your Mac.

4. Now double-click the "Network" icon to show the Network MIDI Settings.  In the top right corner you'll see a box labelled "Sessions".  Click the + button under this to add a new session so that your screen looks like this:

5. Now start Symphonix Evolution on your iPad.  If all is well, you should see the iPad listed in the "Directory" panel like this:
(Note this is notoriously fickle the first time you try it, so if you don't see the iPad in the list you may need to look at your network setup.  In my case, I had to add it manually first with the + button and then remove it before the Mac showed it with the green light indicator.  If you don't see it at first, try rebooting both Mac and iPad).

6. Once the iPad shows up, highlight it and click the Connect button.  You should now see it in the "Participants" list in the "Session" box to the right, like this:

7. Now you're all connected.  Try pressing some notes on the Symphonix Evolution virtual keyboard.  You should see them appear in the "latency" box, which will confirm that everything's working.

8.  Now start any application that uses Core MIDI, to try it out.  I'm going to use GarageBand, and create a new "Loops" composition:

9. GarageBand opens an empty screen ready for me to add tracks.

10. Click the + button in the lower left corner under the track list, and select a virtual instrument so it appears like this:

11. Now start playing the Symphonix Evolution keyboard.  GarageBand detects the MIDI input automatically and plays it using the software instrument, as if you'd connected a real MIDI keyboard!

This is an excellent way to add more instruments to the standard set in Symphonix Evolution.  It's also a great way to extract any performances you might have created on the iPad while on the road, without having to sync MIDI files through iTunes.  Enjoy!


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