Playing Back Midi through Roland TD-11 E Drums

dachay2tnr

One Hit Wonder
Not sure where to turn for this one, but I’ll start in the midi forum. Last night I recorded a midi drum track into Sonar using a Roland TD-11 set. The Roland has a Midi Out connection, as well as a USB connection. I recorded using the Midi Out connected to the midi in on my audio interface. It all went fine and the track was recorded with no issues.

Now however, I want to play that track back to the TD-11 and ultimately record it as audio. There is no Midi In port on the TD-11, so I assume I have to use the USB port. When I plugged the TD-11 into my computer‘s USB directly, I got a popup in Sonar telling me a new device was available (TD-11). I selected that as my output in the Sonar track and played the track. But I am getting absolutely no sound from the TD-11. The track in Sonar appears to be playing correctly as I see the meters moving. Both Sonar and the TD-11 are set to MIDI Channel 10. Any thoughts? It seems I am missing a simple setting, but for the life of me I can’t figure it out. Thanks in advance for any help.
 

rob aylestone

Well-known member
With Roland it's usually local on or local off plus the MIDI channel - Oddly, Roland often do NOT send drums on the normal channel 10, unless you actually go into the menu and set each channel to 10. I think the idea is so you can split the drum sounds up, so you have kick on 1, snare on 2 etc. It was always 10, but once things were connected via USB, the sharing restrictions eased. I bet you will just be sending to the Roland from the DAW on a MIDI channel it is currently ignoring!
 

dachay2tnr

One Hit Wonder
With Roland it's usually local on or local off plus the MIDI channel - Oddly, Roland often do NOT send drums on the normal channel 10, unless you actually go into the menu and set each channel to 10. I think the idea is so you can split the drum sounds up, so you have kick on 1, snare on 2 etc. It was always 10, but once things were connected via USB, the sharing restrictions eased. I bet you will just be sending to the Roland from the DAW on a MIDI channel it is currently ignoring!
Actually splitting the drums to separate tracks is the reason I’m recording in MIDI. Sonar has a feature which will take a midi drum track and put each drum on it’s own individual track. Very handy.

Thanks for input. I’m pretty sure I have tried it both with local control on, and local control off already. But I’ll double check that. I’ll also look at the midi channel selections. Although I did this before a few years ago and my scotch-addled brain doesn’t recall having to reset any channels. Appreciate the help.
 

dachay2tnr

One Hit Wonder
A little further update. As mentioned above, I recorded the midi via the Midi Out on the TD-11. However, the USB port is also supposed to also allow midi recording. I tried that and I'm getting bupkis. So the USB port does not appear to be either sending or receiving data. However, when the USB cable is plugged in, the computer allows me to select the TD-11 as both an input and an output. So the computer recognizes the USB cable, but best I can tell it is not transmitting any data over it in either direction. Also, if I understand correctly, with Local Control set to off, I should be able to route the signal to the computer and back and hear the resulting drum hit. But all I get is silence - more confirmation nothing is being transmitted/returned. And there is no reaction on the input meters - unlike when I use the Midi Out connection where I can see the input signal on the meters.

It's almost like I need to turn on a switch, but everything I've read is the USB is pretty much plug and play. I cannot find any settings to "turn it on."

TL;DR - My computer and Sonar recognize the USB cable, but no data appears to be being sent or received by it.
 

rob aylestone

Well-known member
Stupid question, but you did install the driver for the TD-11? Maybe you have the audio working but not the MIDI stream?
 

dachay2tnr

One Hit Wonder
Stupid question, but you did install the driver for the TD-11? Maybe you have the audio working but not the MIDI stream?
There are no stupid questions, but the answer is yes. (I even updated it, just in case the one already installed wasn't compatible with Win 10.) Also, I don't think I would have been able to select the TD-11 as an input/output choice in Sonar without it.

I did notice today, however, that I cannot select it as an audio source. It shows up in the audio preferences, but it's greyed out and can't be selected. Possibly that might be due to the fact that I had local control set to off at the time. I can check that later. Obviously I don't need to use the USB to record audio, but maybe it's related to my midi issue somehow. ???
 

rob aylestone

Well-known member
No - local control only impacts the note data. So when you hit a drum, the MIDI note goes to the DAW. Most then send it back to the Roland. This means that the slight delay going into the DAW then back again creates a phantom note. You hit the snare and you hear two!

The thing I am thinking now is that the Roland appears as two separate devices - the audio device gives you the drum sounds in the Roland itself as audio, but the MIDI output would come up in the DAW as a MIDI device, for the MIDI to be recorded. Is there any chance you are recording the audio, and not the MIDI?
 

dachay2tnr

One Hit Wonder
Is there any chance you are recording the audio, and not the MIDI?
Not likely. Sonar has a setup page for MIDI devices and a separate page for Audio devices. The TD-11 appears as a choice under MIDI devices and I can select it. (Unfortunately, although I can select it, I can't get it to actually work - hence this thread.) The TD-11 also appears as a choice under Audio devices, but at the moment it is greyed out and not selectable. Not sure why. I was thinking Local Control, since wouldn't that be the "audio" that would be sent to the computer, since when local control is OFF, no sound can be heard from the TD-11.

My assumption is the USB port on the TD-11 is theoretically sending both audio and midi information to the computer. The USB cable should also be returning midi data back to the TD-11 (as you noted, creating a loop). Not sure about audio return - since offhand I can't think of a reason why you would send audio to the TD-11.

Anyway, except for the MIDI return, all of that is moot to me. I have other ways to record both Audio (from the 1/4" output jacks) and MIDI (from the MIDI port). But there is no other way to RETURN midi data to the TD-11 except via the USB cable.

In the meantime, since I have the midi drums already recorded, I am using software drums as my audio source. Tbh, I think I prefer them to the internal sounds of the TD-11. I'd still like to solve the issue, just for peace of mind, but for now I have an acceptable workaround. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
 

rob aylestone

Well-known member
The USB audio is not impacted at all my the local feature - common to all MIDI gear, an annoying small issue that foxed people. If I understand correctly, you have managed to record MIDI data from the Roland, was this via a MIDI input, or via the embedded MIDI in the USB cable? These would show up as different devices. These are different routes in, so it would be interesting to know which MIDI input was the 'live' one? This would probably be the one in use to return it? I don't know if the audio gets returned? However, memory makes me think it does, because it can then be used to play along with, if you return a backing track, for example?

The MIDI cable from the Roland, is that going to your interface? As there isn't MIDI in on the Roland, is it possible you recorded via a real MIDI in (on your interface??) but the issue is the USB connection is just not working at all?
 

dachay2tnr

One Hit Wonder
There are multiple ports on the Roland. Two 1/4" ports for L/R audio out. A phone jack. A MIDI "OUT". And two USB ports (one is for adding memory or playing a flash drive, the other is for connecting to a computer). There is no MIDI "IN".

I recorded the MIDI track using the Roland's MIDI Out port. Yes, you are correct, this does not show up as a Roland in my recording software. It shows up as the MIDI interface on my soundcard (which is where I had the Roland plugged into). When I am connected this way, the Roland TD-11 does not show up anywhere in the recording software. Only my sound card shows.

I cannot return MIDI to the Roland in this same manner, since the Roland lacks a MIDI In port. IOW, I can plug into the MIDI Out of my sound card, but I then lack a way to plug into the Roland. (There are Rolands - the TD-15 maybe - that have both a MIDI In and Out. This one does not.)

So in order to return MIDI to the Roland I am trying to use the USB connection. When I plug a USB cable into the Roland and directly into my computer (not through my sound card), I immediately get the ability to select the TD-11 as a MIDI device - both for input and output. Because of this I "think" the USB connection is working - i.e., the computer not only recognizes the connection, it identifies it as a TD-11. Everything looks ok. Except it doesn't work. I select the TD-11 as the output device for my MIDI track, play the track, and get nada. :(

As noted, I also tried selecting the TD-11 as a MIDI input and attempted to record from it, and also got nothing.

My first reaction would be a bad cable - except for the fact that when it's plugged in the recording software recognizes that a TD-11 has been connected. And when I unplug it, I get a message that the TD-11 is no longer available. I guess it could still be a bad cable, but I don't have another one to try (the USB on the Roland is an odd one - squarish in shape rather than the normal rectangular one. I believe it's called a USB C and is typically used for printers.)

What I haven't tried yet is a different USB port on the computer - although again the fact that it recognizes the Roland when plugged in tells me it's working. I might try a different USB port in a little while and let you know what happens.
 

rob aylestone

Well-known member
I wonder if it is worth searching out an older driver to check it's not something Roland 'improved', but doesn;t work on your setup?
 

rob aylestone

Well-known member
To be fair I agree, as there are now so many excellent in the computer drums sounds, you already have a great system. I have a really basic rubber pad kit for those times I need to really hit something, but it’s a Yamaha and while the sounds sort of are ok, I’d never want to send anything back to it, it’s always the other way around. It is annoying though that you know it can do it but it wont!
 

dachay2tnr

One Hit Wonder
The odd thing is I’ve done this before, although a few years ago. Same drum kit, same computer, same cable, same recording software. 🤷🏻‍♂️

Not sure what may have changed in the interim. Perhaps a Windows upgrade (I’m on Win 10 now, not sure what OS I was using then). Can’t really think of anything else.

Oh well, c’est la vie.
 

Slouching Raymond

Active member
When plugging in usb devices, the name of that usb device is automatically detected, so can appear in software as a choice,
but that does not mean the software knows how to interact with the device.
I think you would need a driver installed, as already suggested, to receive and transmit midi over usb.
As for the standard midi cable, you can get free software tools to monitor midi data transmitted on the midi chanels.
It can be found at tucows.
 

dachay2tnr

One Hit Wonder
When plugging in usb devices, the name of that usb device is automatically detected, so can appear in software as a choice,
but that does not mean the software knows how to interact with the device.
I think you would need a driver installed, as already suggested, to receive and transmit midi over usb.
As for the standard midi cable, you can get free software tools to monitor midi data transmitted on the midi chanels.
It can be found at tucows.
Thanks for the reply. Driver is installed.

However (and I’m guessing here), there appears to be some type of conflict between my usb wifi adapter and the TD-11. I noticed yesterday that everytime I plug in the TD-11 it knocks me offline. The only way to get back online is to unplug the TD-11, and then unplug and replug the wifi adapter. Very strange, but it’s pretty consistent in happening.

As I think I mentioned, this same equipment worked properly a few years ago. I was trying to think of anything that had changed, and interestingly enough the wifi adapter is one of the few changes. I have another USB adapter on a different computer, but haven’t had a chance to use it on my recording computer to see if it resolves the issue.

Ever hear of anything like that? Very strange that two USB devices would conflict with each other. I even tried moving the wifi adapter to a different USB port (i.e., TD-11 in front of computer, wifi adapter in back), and the TD-11 still knocked it offline. 🤷🏻‍♂️

EDIT: So it turns out the wifi adapter on my other computer is the same model as the one on my recording computer. Ergo, short of buying another one, I can’t test to see if that’s the issue.
 
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