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Author Topic: 19" Emagic Unitor8 Mk1 (Early 1998) - SERIAL - PC/MAC MIDI Interface  (Read 2429 times)

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Offline chrisNova777

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requires macOS 7.5.3+
requires Windows95+
http://web.archive.org/web/19990827143954/http://www.emagic.de/german/products/hardware/amt8_u8_3.html
https://web.archive.org/web/20150609073558/http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/apr98/articles/unitor8.html



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The Unitor8 is a multi-port MIDI interface designed for use with either Macintosh or PC computers and combining an 8-In, 8-Out format with MIDI merging and patching capabilities, plus SMPTE reading and generation (both the usual LTC Linear Time Code and VITC Vertical Interval Time Code). There's also a Click input that allows the user to input tempo information or send MIDI messages using a footswitch. Multiple Unitor8s may be connected to a single port when more Ins and Outs are needed, and Mac users can connect up to eight units via the modem socket at any one time, and eight more via the printer socket if required. PC users are currently less fortunate, as Windows 95 can only address up to 11 MIDI ports, but a fix is promised for this bug in Windows 98. Windows NT support is also expected later in the year.
http://www.prosoundnetwork.com/archives/emagic-unitor-8-midi-interface/25688
specs: http://web.archive.org/web/20020602002002/http://www.emagic.de/english/products/hardware/u8mk2.html
osx preference pane: http://www.potm.org/software/Unitor/
DRIVERS HERE: http://web.archive.org/web/20020603152527/http://www.emagic.de/english/support/download/toolsmac.html
as per manual; units can be stacked up to 8 daisy chained via the mac serial connection!!!
article http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/apr98/articles/unitor8.html
http://web.archive.org/web/19981203014746/http://www.emagic.de/english/products/hardware/unitor8.html
X REQUIRES WALLWART PSU
ebay search: http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_trksid=p2050601.m570.l1313.TR4.TRC0.A0.Xunitor8&_nkw=unitor8&_sacat=0&_from=R40

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FEATURES:
Mac compatible: Directly supported via Logic Audio and SoundDiver, OMS, MTP emulation.
 
Windows 95/98 compatible (MME):
MME compatible multi-client MIDI driver
(multiple MIDI programs can use different MIDI ports simultaneously),
Drivers for Windows NT and Windows 2000 are now available.
AMT in conjunction with AMT compatible software (e.g. Logic Audio)
 
8 independent MIDI Inputs with Activity LED
8 independent MIDI Outputs with Activity LED
RS-422 serial connection for Macintosh
RS-232 serial connection for PC
 
USB connection
 
8 units per port* (mixed AMT8/Unitor8/Unitor8 MkII systems possible)
Stand alone operation with 32 Patches
Connection Activity LEDs (Mac/PC/Network)
Panic/Patch button
Unitor8 Control software for Mac/Windows 95/98 included
External Power Supply included
LTC/VITC Generator and Reader with extremely short lock times
LTC sync at 12-1000% original tape speed Ö also during rewind!
VITC synchronization during single frame advance forward/backward
Timecode Video Burn-In Ö also during LTC Sync
Timecode Refresh function, adjustable Freewheeling, Jam Sync function
Adjustable MTC Full Frame Message (e.g. for ProTools or Paris)
Operating system can be updated via SysEx
Input for audio trigger signal or single/double foot switch
LTC/VITC read and write control LEDs
LTC In and Out, 1/4 in. jacks
VITC In and Out, S-Video connectors

>> Back to top
TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS:
System Requirements Windows
Serial operation: Windows 95**/98/98 SE/Me/NT 4.0/2000
USB operation: Windows 98 SE/Me* and a USB 1.1 compatible computer connection
K6/Pentium or better recommended
Free COM port (1-4) or USB port

System Requirements Macintosh
Serial operation: Mac OS 7.5.3 or higher
USB operation: requires Mac OS 9.0.4 or higher and a USB 1.1 compatible computer connection
Direct connection to Logic (4.04 or newer) and SoundDiver (2.08 or newer) without OMS
Power Mac with 3 MB free RAM or better
Free modem, printer or USB port

Offline chrisNova777

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Re: Emagic Unitor8 Mk1 (Early 1998) PC/MAC Serial MIDI Interface
« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2019, 10:29:22 PM »
https://web.archive.org/web/20150609073558/http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/apr98/articles/unitor8.html

Quote
EMAGIC UNITOR8 CROSS-PLATFORM MIDI INTERFACE
As well as providing eight independent sets of MIDI connections, the Unitor8 features comprehensive synchronisation facilities and even supports video timecode. PAUL WHITE explores the Ins and Outs of it.
The Unitor8 is a multi-port MIDI interface designed for use with either Macintosh or PC computers and combining an 8-In, 8-Out format with MIDI merging and patching capabilities, plus SMPTE reading and generation (both the usual LTC Linear Time Code and VITC Vertical Interval Time Code). There's also a Click input that allows the user to input tempo information or send MIDI messages using a footswitch. Multiple Unitor8s may be connected to a single port when more Ins and Outs are needed, and Mac users can connect up to eight units via the modem socket at any one time, and eight more via the printer socket if required. PC users are currently less fortunate, as Windows 95 can only address up to 11 MIDI ports, but a fix is promised for this bug in Windows 98. Windows NT support is also expected later in the year.

CONNECTIONS
Housed in a 1U rack case powered by an external adaptor, the Unitor8 has seven of its MIDI In and MIDI Out sockets on its back panel, with In and Out number 8 located on the front panel. This is a practical arrangement meaning that there's always an In and Out you can get to easily whenever you want to patch something in on a temporary basis. All other connections, apart from the above-mentioned Click input, are also on the rear panel.

Eight LEDs show MIDI In activity, with a further eight registering MIDI Out activity, and both the Panic/Patch button and the Mac Thru button have associated LEDs, as does the Power switch. Pressing the Panic/Patch button kills stuck notes, whereas pressing and holding it puts the unit into patch mode, where up to 32 different patch setups can be accessed via MIDI Program Change messages, even when no computer is connected. Mac Thru allows a Mac peripheral, such as a modem, to be chained in via a rear-panel connector, so that it can be used without the need to repatch when the Unitor8 is not in use. There are fewer physical controls and buttons than you might expect to find, but that's because most of the clever stuff is handled by the unit's support software. Interestingly, the operating software of the Unitor8 itself can be updated via MIDI, so future upgrades will be possible without having to send the unit away.

If you're a Mac owner, you can use the Unitor8 in its most basic way without any additional software -- all that's necessary is to connect it to the modem or printer port via the supplied RS422 cable. PC users will need to install the MME driver that comes on disk with the Unitor8 package. A 9-way RS232 cable is provided to connect the Unitor8 to the PC's COM port, though a 9-pin to 25-pin adaptor may be needed for some computers.

SOFTWARE
To use the more sophisticated features of the Unitor8, including the routing options, you have to install the Unitor8 Control software that's provided (in both Mac and PC formats) on the enclosed disk. Installation is straightforward and is clearly explained for both platforms. Unitor8 emulates a MOTU MIDI Time Piece as far as most music software is concerned, but there's the option to use Opcode's OMS (Open Music System) if that's what you'd prefer. The Windows driver supplied is multi-client compatible, so it's possible to run Unitor8 Control at the same time as another MIDI application, such as a sequencer or editor.

With the supplied software the Unitor8 can be used as an 8 x 8 MIDI patchbay, where selecting the appropriate point on an 8 x 8 matrix establishes a MIDI connection. If several Unitor8s are being used at once, similarly numbered input ports are merged, so there are never more than eight independently addressable inputs, though all outputs remain independent.

SYNC
A Unitor8 patch contains not only routing information, but also the sync status of each device, and in the software's SMPTE menu it's possible to select the type of timecode format to be recognised. There's a choice of LTC SMPTE (30 frames per second, or fps), LTC AES/EBU (25fps), VITC or Off. The frame rate can be selected via a flip menu, and various options are available for burning the VITC reference into picture. For audio-only projects it doesn't really matter what frame rate you choose, as long as you stick with it. VITC can only be used with a video recorder, as this particular timecode format is an integral part of the picture data, whereas conventional LTC SMPTE can also be used to stripe audio tapes. A Refresh option is also available to generate a new timecode from the timecode input, so that weak or marginal signals can be restored to their former glory.

A potential problem with timecode is the occasional unreadable section caused by tape dropout or some similar gremlin. If this goes on for long enough, the sync'ed-up sequencer may stop. Unitor8 allows you to set a 'freewheel' period that will cause the system to carry on regardless at the present rate for a preset period of time, in the event of a code-read error. The hope is that you'll soon pick up good code again. Freewheel time can be set to any value, but if it's too long it will become annoying -- for example, a five-second freewheel time means that the sequencer will carry on running for five seconds after you've stopped the timecode source.
Those not needing to work to picture can often get by with MIDI Time Code (MTC) or even MIDI Clock, and the Unitor8 lets you specify which output ports should carry the MTC signal. If systems such as Digidesign's ProTools are to work properly with MTC, they need a 'Full Frame' message from time to time, due to the fact that MTC is transmitted only with quarter-frame messages, and several consecutive chunks of MTC data are required before the full timecode location can be deduced. If this seems over-technical, don't let it bother you -- just look in your software manual, and if Full Frame messages are required, it will tell you the information you need to enter in this section. In order to avoid MIDI congestion, it's also possible to selectively filter MTC, SysEx, Active Sensing, Tune Request, Real-time, System Reset and Song Select messages from any MIDI In or Out port. Finally, you can select on which MIDI In port and channel Program Change messages will be recognised, for switching the Unitor8's patches.

The software initially opens in Memory Manager mode, where different patching setups created in Patch mode may be stored and later recalled via MIDI Program Change command. A front-panel Panic button sends an All Notes Off message to kill stuck notes, and this is followed by discrete Note Off messages on all channels, just to make sure the job is done. In Computer Mode, the Unitor8 can also generate timecode for striping tapes, and the timecode can be set to start at any time reference. Other options are provided specifically for VITC sync striping.

No digital wordclock facilities are provided, but, rather cheekily, the manual uses this as an opportunity to push the Emagic AudioWerk8 PCI card, which can continuously resync audio to a fluctuating timecode without relying on wordclock. The digital output of the AudioWerk8 card may then be used to sync other pieces of digital equipment.

IN USE
Unitor8 is easy to connect up, and the software installed without fuss on my Macintosh Centris 650. Once the software is installed, you have to decide what you want to do with the interface. Most of the time you'll probably be using one MIDI input from your master keyboard, and the MIDI Outs to feed your sound modules, and if this is all you want to do you needn't even bother with the software. However, the additional MIDI Ins will come into play when you want to edit your synths or use SysEx dumps for saving and restoring patches (the Unitor8 package is designed to integrate closely with Emagic's Sound Diver editor/librarian, but there's no reason it shouldn't work perfectly well with other systems). You may also want to have the option of switching between two or more MIDI controller devices.

For use with a separate audio recorder, LTC (SMPTE/EBU) will enable you to stripe an analogue or digital track so that your sequencer can be made to run in sync with the recorder, but if you have one of the more modern digital disk-based recorders, or something like an Alesis ADAT with a BRC (Big Remote Control) which outputs MTC, you can use that for synchronisation without having to tie up a valuable track of tape (or disk). VITC is only going to be of use to those people working with video, and its main advantage over LTC is that it can be read at any speed, even when the video machine is in pause.

The supplied software provides a clear interface for the Unitor8, and even though a number of features that might appear as hardware switches on competing products are in software only, that usually isn't a problem, as you're going to be using the Unitor8 with a Mac or PC anyway, and it's often easier to pull down a window than to move over to a rack. Once I had set up the unit and the software, everything worked boringly well, with no stuck notes and no obvious MIDI delays.
I'm still intrigued as to why nobody has built a MIDI interface that takes in ADAT 9-pin sync to generate an MTC lock without the need for a BRC or third-party converter. One of the biggest gripes I hear from ADAT users is that they have to buy extra hardware to use MIDI sync, and while you can record SMPTE to a spare track using the Unitor8, you can't sync directly. With so many ADATs around, you'd think the first manufacturers to build an interface with this capability would be on to a winner.

SUMMARY
Though it's not the cheapest multi-port MIDI interface around, the Unitor8 has a very comprehensive feature set. The utility software is simple to install and use, and the front-panel displays leave you in no doubt as to which input or output is active. The variable Freewheel function is useful if you're dealing with a dodgy timecode source, as is the ability to generate fresh timecode from the timecode input, and the ability to stack multiple units also adds to the Unitor8's flexibility for Mac users. Sadly, PC users don't yet get the same benefit, thanks to the 11-device limit in Windows 95. Furthermore, if you have a soundcard, its MIDI ports (presumably both real and virtual?) are counted towards the maximum, so you could end up reaching the limit with just one Unitor8.

If you're an Emagic software owner, the Unitor8 makes a lot of sense, as it also integrates well with Sound Diver, but there's no reason not to use it with other sequencer packages if you want to, especially if you need the extra sync facilities the Unitor8 offers.