iPad: MIDI Setup and Troubleshooting

Patch Base uses Apple's built-in MIDI support for communication with your synthesizers. So, any MIDI interface that works with your iPad or Mac will work with Patch Base. This can be a MIDI interface connected by USB using the Camera Connection Kit, or it can be a connection to your synth via a computer, using Bluetooth or Network MIDI. These options are discussed below.

Selecting your MIDI Interface

First, if you haven't already, please watch the Intro/Setup video on the first page of this manual, which covers the basics of selecting your MIDI ports.

You select which MIDI interface(s) Patch Base uses on the Settings tab, under MIDI Inputs and MIDI Outputs. MIDI Inputs are how data gets from your synth into Patch Base, and MIDI Outputs are how data gets to your synth out of Patch Base. Both must be successfully connected for Patch Base to work fully. The MIDI Outputs let Patch Base send patch and parameter change info to your synth, as well as to send the request to your synth to fetch its current patch. The MIDI inputs allow your synth to send data about its current setting to Patch Base.

Everyone's MIDI hardware setup is different, so the interfaces you select will depend on that. In general, most people will be selecting the same input and output from the list.

Network MIDI

Network MIDI allows Patch Base to use Wi-Fi to send and receive data with your computer. This feature is used when you have your synth connected to your computer instead of directly to your iPad. A more thorough explanation of this and how to set it up is covered in this blog post: Using Wireless MIDI to Connect Your iPad or iPhone to Your Computer and Hardware Synths

Bluetooth MIDI

Bluetooth MIDI is another wireless MIDI connection option. If you have a Mac that supports Bluetooth MIDI, you can use this feature as an alternative to Network MIDI (and Bluetooth will generally be faster as well). Also, if you have a Bluetooth MIDI interface connected directly to your synth, you can use this feature to talk directly to it.

You can set up Bluetooth MIDI in two ways. Use the "Connect to Device" button to search for another Bluetooth device and connect to it. Or use "Wait for Connection" to set your iPad to allow other devices (such as your computer) to initiate the connection.

MIDI Connection Troubleshooting

Because everyone's MIDI setup differs, it can be difficult to give general help on what to do when things aren't working. Some general pointers follow. But you can also check the specific help page for your synthesizer on this site for specific help with your hardware.

I can play notes on my synth from Patch Base, but I can't edit parameters or fetch patches!

This is the most common problem I hear from people. When this is happening it means that note data is getting transmitted to your synth, but sysex data is not. The culprit is often a cheap USB MIDI cable that doesn't support sysex correctly. Or, someone is using a computer to connect the iPad to the synth, and the computer is not transmitting sysex data correctly. More details...

Some MIDI interfaces just don't send sysex data correctly. Sysex is the type of information Patch Base uses to communicate with your synth. In general some of the cheaper USB-MIDI cable interfaces don't work correctly. There are also problems with the Alesis I/O Dock. We're working on a more complete list of problem hardware, but we have limited access to everything that's out there. Here are our Recommendations on MIDI Interfaces.

If you're connecting from your iPad to a computer (and then to a synth), make sure you're using our "Better Live Routings" software to forward MIDI data from your computer to your synth. Otherwise your MIDI data may be getting corrupted, or not sent to/from your synth. Running programs like Ableton Live or Logic on your computer at the same time can also mess with what your computer is doing to MIDI data, but it totally depends on what you're doing in those programs. So if you're troubleshooting, try quitting any other programs on your computer that use MIDI while you try to get your setup to work.

Make sure that you have MIDI cables connected to both the In and Out ports of your synthesizer.

Depending on your synth, there might need to be specific settings configured on your synth for Patch Base to work correctly, such as MIDI channel or "write protect" being turned off. See the specific page in this manual for your synth to see if there are settings you need to check.