A short while ago I bought a USB 1x1 MIDI thing for my Alesis Fusion so it could "talk" properly to my computer via MIDI. My intention was (drum roll please) to try out external sequencing.
Mind you, I can use the Fusion's internal sequencer just fine. Some people gripe about it. I don't. It's suitable for the task at hand.
As a side note, no one did internal sequencing better than Ensoniq. Nobody. Their way of sequencing was the most ingenious thoughtful way of making a song lightning fast with no fuss and no muss. I compare all other sequencers to the old Ensoniq workstations. To date, none have come close.
Ever since I started using workstation synths, I have been vehemently against using external sequencing for one simple reason: To avoid clutter. I much prefer the "island unto itself" method of composition on a workstation, meaning to do everything on-board.
The only problem with this is that you can't mix'n'match recorded audio with sequences. Actually, that's not true. You can with the Fusion because it has an internal hard disk multitrack system. But the features of that multitrack recorder are limited compared to full-blown audio recording suites like Adobe Audition.
The solution is to have a multitrack recorder that's software based while at the same time a MIDI sequencer. Several software titles exist and I tried one today.
Not a pleasant experience.
It's not that the Fusion has any problem "talking" to software, it's that ALL the MIDI/Audio software titles are so unbelievably confusing and the documentation on them (even the ones labeled as "easy") sucks.
I was able to make a quickie song with MIDI and recorded audio in tandem just like I could internally on the Fusion itself.
I honestly don't know if sequencing and recording audio all on the PC is a good idea. Some guys out there are able to make it work very well, but it's definitely not my thing.
Still, it is the way to get the best control over your sound. No doubt about that.
Guess I'll mess around with this to see if I can come up with some songs that sound half-way decent. 🙂