Monday, April 14, 2014

RedBoard Tutorial 1: How To: Set Up SerialThing in OS X

This tutorial series is intended for people that attended the Arduino / RedBoard Beginner's Workshop at Square Sounds Festival in Melbourne in April, 2014 (though it may be of use to others). This particular tutorial deals with how to set up the SerialThing app in OS X.

The idea with SerialThing is that it can act as a MIDI routing pathway between virtual MIDI bus devices (such as the OS X native IAC Driver Bus) and serial port / communication port devices (such as the Arduino FTDI chip).

A serial port / communication port device has both a transmit / receive pathway, which appears as an output and an input.

SerialThing takes the received data from the serial port device and simply passes it on to a defined MIDI bus device. Conversely, MIDI data that is received on a defined MIDI bus device is simply passed on as transmitted data to the serial port device.

Note that the term 'simply' here is meant literally; SerialThing performs no changes to the data that is sent and received, and assumes that all data is formatted and scaled correctly for the MIDI protocol. More information regarding MIDI formatting can be found here.

SerialThing is useful, for example, when acting as a software between a native Arduino device and a music application - allowing the Arduino to format MIDI bytes but send the information along a serial port.

Download SerialThing here.

How to: Set Up :
• Launch SerialThing
• Select the Arduino / RedBoard serial connection port e.g. usbserial-A603AW70
• Set to a suitable baud rate e.g. 57600
• Make sure "Connection is Open" is set to enabled
• Set "From MIDI Bus" to a suitable virtual MIDI bus e.g. "to SerialThing 1" or "IAC Driver Bus 1"
• Set "To MIDI Bus" to a suitable virtual MIDI bus e.g. "from SerialThing 1" or "IAC Driver Bus 2"

In the music software of choice:
• Set up the "To MIDI Bus" selection above as a remote control device / MIDI controller input
• In the video, this is demonstrated in Ableton Live
• Go to Live > Preferences
• Go to the MIDI / Sync tab
• Find the input device that refers to the same bus as selected in the "To MIDI Bus" menu in SerialThing