I need help, but don't wanna start a flame war...

Trouble with Synthesia, your keyboard, or adapter? Think you found a bug?
When describing problems, always mention your OS and game version (shown at the bottom of the title screen).

If your keyboard has USB or MIDI ports, there is a tremendously high chance (>99%) it will work with Synthesia. See what you'll need on the keyboards page.
Post Reply
Posts: 27

Post by MatSher »

Hi Y'all,
Finally got my beloved old Technics Piano out of storage and was/am looking forward to getting reacquainted with her.
She used to work perfectly fine with my equally old Roland UM2 midi box (pic attached) and I loved using Synthesia
to learn piano pieces. Big props to Nick for creating it.

So now to the issue.

I have a 2015 Mac Pro with Catalina installed. After setting it all up like I remembered nothing worked at all. Only to find
out, after much digging, that it was Roland, the buggers, who hadn't made a driver that worked with Catalina. Which is kak depressing...

So I jumped onto my local online store (Im in South Africa) and bought the basic MIDI to USB interface without checking the
forum first. The generic one that looks exactly like the one in the picture Nick posted. The one he said was VORBOTTEN.
Screenshot 2023-06-29 at 17.13.35.png
Screenshot 2023-06-29 at 17.13.35.png (2.27 MiB) Viewed 1280 times
However, I didn't know this at the time... So today I plugged it all together and went to my mac midi studio app and it registered
the generic was there and all looked good. I pulled and dragged the attachment line to where I thought they need to go and tried
using Synthesia.
Screenshot 2023-06-29 at 17.13.35.png
Screenshot 2023-06-29 at 17.13.35.png (2.27 MiB) Viewed 1280 times
To its credit, Synthesia had no problem registering that it saw my midi piano, and when starting a song the OUT light was flickering on the generic. What didn't work was the IN light or any input registering from my piano to the Mac. The TEST button didn't make the crazy sound it usually does indicating that the piano received a signal for the Mac.
In fairness, this used to happen a lot even to the Roland, it was normally always my mistake like crossing in out wires or not restarting Synthesia after a change etc.

Thinking I just forgot how to set it up properly I got on the forum only to read Nick's post about the cheap generics...
Now before anyone starts yelling that its the shitty quality cable - could someone please just run me through how to setup
the mac midi util properly (which wires go where etc) so I can cross it off the list and which buttons to switch in the settings
to get the sound playing through my piano and not the mac.

It's a minute since I used Synthesia and it looks a little foreign.
Thanks in advance.
And again, Thank you Nick for making such a cool learning app.
Screenshot 2023-06-29 at 17.02.43.png
Screenshot 2023-06-29 at 17.02.43.png (3.17 MiB) Viewed 1280 times
Screenshot 2023-06-29 at 17.03.00.png
Screenshot 2023-06-29 at 17.03.00.png (2.39 MiB) Viewed 1280 times
Posts: 122

Post by Bavi_H »

In the screenshots of your Mac MIDI Studio, I see the Digital Piano properties say it is a Technics SX-PX336. Is that the model of your digital piano? Here is a manual for the Technics SX-PX336 that I looked at.

I agree you will likely have problems with the new USB MIDI interface you purchased, but I think you should at least be able to get both the OUT and IN lights to blink. I'm not familiar with the Mac's Audio MIDI Setup and MIDI Studio, but here are some other simple things to check that might help get the IN light to blink on the USB MIDI interface.

1. On your USB MIDI interface, the cable labeled "OUT" should be connected to your piano's MIDI IN port; the cable labeled "IN" should be connected to your piano's MIDI OUT port.

2. If your piano is a Technics SX-PX336, turn your piano off and confirm the COMPUTER switch on the back panel is set to MIDI.
  • In the manual, page 37 mentions "About the MIDI terminals [...] Exchange of normal data through these terminals is enabled only when the COMPUTER terminal switch is set to MIDI." Page 42 describes the COMPUTER port and switch. It seems to imply if the COMPUTER switch is set to PC2, PC1, or MAC, the COMPUTER port is enabled but the MIDI ports are disabled (or perhaps the MIDI ports will be using the wrong speed, so they will effectively be non-functional). It also says you should only change the COMPUTER switch while the piano is off.

I hope this helps you to get both the IN and OUT lights to blink, but you will likely want to use a different USB MIDI interface. From reading about that style of USB MIDI interface during various threads at the midi.org forum, the most likely problem will be it can only handle simple messages transmitted slowly. For example, if you slowly press and release one piano key at a time with a slight pause between each press and release, the cable will transmit the correct messages. But when you press multiple piano keys, or if your piano sends a stream of Clock messages or Active Sensing messages, or if you need to send System Exclusive messages, the interface will start to garble the messages.
Post Reply