[MIDI 2.0] Hardware MIDI IN, back from a MIDI 1.0 device?

I tried emailing them the other day to ask, but I didn’t receive a quick reply, so I found this forum and decided to ask here. I do not own an Erae, but I’m on the fence at the moment.

How do you get hardware MIDI input to this device? As I believe I understand MIDI 2.0 devices have two way communication… So would you use buy a dual MIDI din to mini TRS to get back into the Erae and it would know how to handle both streams of data?

Or is the hardware MIDI out on the Erae MIDI out only when it comes to connecting to MIDI 1.0 devices, say a Elektron Digitone? If that’s the case, I assume you’d need a USB MIDI host to get MIDI in functionality to the Erae?

Also, where is the Erae manufactured?

Well, to be honest I have still only used it with an iPad and have now by mistake left the PSU on another continent. I will let someone else answer the USB/TRS question with certainty! :slight_smile:

I think, though, that it is manufactured in China. I base this on that I remembered an email with shipping details from Embome during the Kickstarter campaign.

This, if course, is not a 100% fact that is was manufactured there but perhaps pretty close! :slight_smile:

All in all, I am very happy with the Erae Touch if you are interested in an opinion about it.

(And if anyone can recommend a good replacement PSU until I get mine back, I would be very happy! :slight_smile: )

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Read a bit further into the discussions here, also! There are quite elaborate topics about both very good things, potential issues and issues that has been solved.

It is probably a quite good place if you are thinking about one yourself! :slight_smile:

interesting questions…

k, so first off… there isn’t MIDI 2.0 support yet…
the idea I believe is that @embodme can simply add this into the firmware.

which is kind of ok, as theres very little midi 2.0 support with any hardware at the moment… so testing midi 2.0 would be pretty difficult for them :wink:

as for TRS…
hmm, so TRS would usually be uni-directional (and iirc, we got a TRS → midi din in the box) , so is output only .

however, it does mention its a TRS mini jack 2.0…

I’m wondering if its really a TRRS jack, and perhaps that could be bi-directional…but thats pure speculation, as i can’t remember seeing any other device do this. (most have 2 TRS jacks for IO)

note: midi 2.0 allows for midi 1.0, so doesn’t have to be bi-directional, but you obviously won’t get things like MIDI-CI if its not.

anyway for now, TRS can be used as midi output to midi 1.0 devices, like your digitone.

the USB connection IS bi-directional,
I suspect by the time we get to widespread midi 2.0 adoption, usb will be the dominant connection type (at least initially… bound to also see BT, Network etc)
Midi 2.0 is also about high res data, which means higher bandwidth requirements that midi din/trs will comfortably handle.

whilst I have used the Erae TRS for direct connection to synths, I generally tend to use it over USB connected to a midi router (*)… primarily because I can then easily control multiple synths with it.

(my other use is connected to a midi->cv->midi converter for eurorack, and that also has USB … so easy, less cables, etc )

manufactured, I think main boards are fabricated in China … which is very common (costs etc) , then they assemble them in France.

at least, I think from at the time of crowdfunding that was the case… as I kind of remember status update abbots shipping etc.
but I may be wrong… and it may have changed.

(*) these days there are quite a few midi routers with usb hosting ,and some are pretty reasonably priced… so non-issue I think.

Yes, there is an email from the company saying they are waiting for the components to arrive in Paris to be mounted there.

I was thinking it could be be-directional with TRS w/ some sort of midi queueing, but I’d imagine if that was even possible it would need to handled by a special dual midi din splitter.

But if that unicorn is not the case, a USB host (Kenton, etc.) seems to be the way for dawless use.

To be honest coming here and reading about the numerous issues regarding sensitivity dead spots etc. has taken me from having a unit in my shopping cart to putting a halt on my interest in purchasing. I don’t know if was people who don’t know how to calibrate the units properly, durability issues, or if there was a bad batch of units. I don’t know how many units have been shipped, so I have no clue about the scale of said issues, but reading about someone who had 3 units already with the same problem, and others having the problem, has me concerned.

The partially(?) made in China element is a bit of a let down for me personally, as I actively try to avoid that where possible, but it wouldn’t stop me from purchasing given the unique nature of the device.

I’m still on the fence here.

nope TRS, is just really a different connector on DIN - simple wiring

(this is TRS B as it was clearest picture , TRS A is the same but 4/5 reversed)

as you can see to have a bi directional cable we’d beed 5 connections, so a TRRRS connector.
this would allow for 2x current sink/source and a shield (ground which could be shared)

Erae, Ive only seen I think one report on dead spots (and that sounds like shipping damage, as multiple units to the same person?!) , but there are talks of uneven pressure by others.

I think uneven pressure, hopefully is a matter improved firmware for the calibration and also more control over response rates (pressure curves) … this is why I think @embodme need to continue work in this area… I think, whilst their initial release was great, its not perfect.

for now, it works better for some of us than others, I think partly because of variations in units, but also partly down to how WE use the Erae (MPE controller, drum pads, generic slider controller) .

but Im a bit fearful about lack of updates, and also that they might have spread themselves a bit too thin.
e.g. is MPE a priority for them… or do they feel more of their user use it as a controller for a DAW?

I really hope @embodme sort this out… it actually is a good MPE controller and drum pad controller , and is really flexible for other use-cases - but with a bit or work could be excellent
and I think if they want to sell at their current retail price… they need to take it up a level.

but only time will tell !

china, as I said, we don’t know this is the case… but frankly, most (not all) music tech has been partially manufactured in china… its why the prices have been going down…
but thats your choice.
(note: we’re not going into politics of it on this site )

Though, the unit comes with a TRS breakout cable and the diagram says the unit itself is TRS inside, even though it says “Mini Jack MIDI 2.0” & “MIDI ⅛” TRS."

Either way, no big deal, it just would require a USB Host for Dawless operation, unless a another MIDI 2.0 device (when something is out there) works over TRS somehow.

Wish they’d be more specific on the website and/or manual about this.

I wouldn’t be using one as a drum pad, but if it’s advertised as such and isn’t durable enough for it that’d be one thing.

I would like to know more from any users that have had this resolved or if they have given up.

Yeah, the price is probably just about right, but when you figure in that it’s right over the duties limit (USA Code 9207.90) and have to pay an extra 5% at $800+ on top of that.

Yep not going there here, just a personal thing.

well it is TRS, and TRS is uni-directional… and midi 2.0 does not have to be bi-directional.

the only thing Im not quite sure about is why they labelled it Mini Jack midi 2.0… Im not sure what that means - @embodme ?

edit: ok, I think I understand why… (having looked at another company saying similar)

so TRS was not really a standard in midi 1.0, we had TRS-A and TRS-B… different manufactures used each. but for midi 2.0 , the midi association has said TRS-A IS the standard.
so for a mini jack to be midi 2.0 compliant is has to be TRS-A

therefore : Midi Jack midi 2.0 = (the old) TRS A

(TRS is still useful in your spec though, since when you buy cables , you’ll want to know its TRS aka stereo)

Embodme have regularly been showing it being played with drum sticks, so they seem confident its durable enough.

… but thats not the same as shipping companies abusing packages :wink:
(it was designed for one, and not the other !)

as for how many people have issues…
its hard to say, there are a few of is here with them , and most seem ok with it… and a couple not.
but, theres probably only 10 (?) of us here with them, so its not a very representative sample.

Embodme don’t have their official forum yet, which is where you’d expect to see a higher percentage of owners be present.
so really I don’t think its easy to judge

also, lets remember forums are not always a fair indicator anyway…
users are much more likely to post IF they have problems (since they are looking for a solution) , than if it works as expected.
so its posts are tend to be skewed … you’ll find that with pretty much any product.

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I still find it a very difficult time to have deep or even simple discussions about MIDI 2.0. Because of a lack of real-world devices and also the large number of different parts that comprise MIDI 2.0.

From what I read and understood of the official spec last time it was updated, I dont think any discussion about MIDI 2.0 via MIDI DIN (or TRS equivalent) actually lead anywhere useful. Because according to various official spec documentation:

For a device to claim that it supports MIDI 2.0 it must implement MIDI-CI.
MIDI-CI Protocol Negotiation requires the device to use a transport that supports UMP (Universal Midi Packet)
Documentation says things like " At the time of writing this specification, there is no plan to use the UMP Format on the MIDI 1.0 5-pin DIN transport. Unless/until that plan changes, 5-pin DIN will only support the MIDI 1.0 byte stream data format."

Put those things together and I still believe that unless they change the plan regarding UMP supporting old DIN transport, forget about MIDI 2.0 and traditional MIDI cables or their TRS equivalent.

There are plenty of ways this detail gets lost from peoples minds, for example a lot of the documentation talks about backwards compatibility. However they are mostly talking about backwards compatibility with MIDI 1.0 messages, not MIDI 1.0 DIN transport. People have easily picked up on the ‘needs to be bidirectional’ issue for MIDI 2.0, but often not this other stuff that I’m going on about.

It is also possible that if they change plans with regards DIN transport, I may not hear about that news quickly enough. But I’ve certainly not found any big hints about that so far.

In practical terms for real world users, if the DIN plan doesnt change and MIDI 2.0 actually catches on, then I expect compatibility with old stuff will be achieved via bridging devices. But the old MIDI 1.0 devices (DIN/TRS, Im not talking about USB) will not be able to take advantage of new stuff in MIDI 2.0, although the bridging device itself could still do something clever if its thoughtfully designed.

Given what I just said, I dont know what you are referencing @thetechnobear when you spoke of which TRS standard they included in Midi 2.0?

As far as I know the actual story was that manufacturers started using either A or B TRS connectors before there was any standard at all from the MMA. The MMA eventually decided to play catch-up by approving one standard for this about 4 or 5 years ago, but they were too late to stop the two different sorts (A & B) already emerging, and even then they decided to be out of step with established reality by saying that 2.5mm should be the standard plug/socket size rather than 3.5mm! And this spec from them stands on its own, it isnt linked to MIDI 2.0 unless I have missed some other document on the MMA website. It would be strange for them to mention it in relation to MIDI 2.0 given that DIN type transport was not envisaged by them to be a useful part of the MIDI 2.0 future at all. There is still a chance they will change their mind about that one day, but I’m not convinced they will.

Someone on another forum helped me realise that I made a big error when trying to interpret the numerous MIDI 2.0 specification documents.

My modified understanding is that there are 2 parts of MIDI 2.0 which can actually be used over MIDI DIN so long as 2 cables are used to offer bi-directional communication:

MIDI-CI Profile Configuration.
MIDI-CI Property Exchange messages.

So the easy/auto config/discovery aspects of MIDI 2.0 can actually be used over traditional DIN transport if any manufacturers actually bother to implement this stuff. What doesnt come to DIN is all the other MIDI 2.0 stuff such as anything that relies on Universal Midi Packets. If I’ve got the detail right this means we dont get more midi channels, jitter correction, higher resolution, or a greater quantity of per-voice messages over DIN.

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