Basic software for midi keyboard


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I am looking at a Samson Carbon 49 so I can practice when I'm away from my piano. I will be connecting it to a Surface Pro. What is the minimum software that needs to be installed to recognize the midi device? I don't think I will ever get into multi track recording so am trying to stay away from cakewalk or audacity. I just need piano and maybe a few other instruments.
 
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happyrat1

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All you'd need is a VST or two to supply the sound and a VST Host Software to enable the keyboard to play them in standalone mode.

Both are available as multiple freeware downloads if you google them.

Gary ;)
 
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So is the VST host the main program and the VST file the instrument? Any ones you recommend?
 

happyrat1

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There are literally hundreds of free VSTs out there. Your first few hits in google will lead you to dozens.

I'd suggest test driving some of the more popular ones.

Personally I don't use software instruments and I don't run Windows so I can't really recommend anything specific.

Gary ;)
 
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VST hosts that are not DAWs would be GigPerformer and Cantabile. Cantabile is free for its basic version. You can then load your desired VSTs into either of them. Also, some VSTs include "standalone" versions that don't require a host, if you're just playing the one VST. (Hosts allow you to play multiple VSTs.) So depending on which VST instrument you select, you may not need separate host software at all.

You may also need to download and install the ASIO4ALL driver and/or possibly add an external audio interface to avoid latency issues on your Surface Pro (i.e. if you find too much delay between when you hit a key on your Carbon and when you hear the sound). Since your Surface Pro has only one USB port, I'd look for an audio interface that also doubles as a MIDI interface, otherwise you'll need a USB hub to have enough USB ports to connect your Carbon and your audio interface at the same time. There are not many of these. The one I use is the Alesis Control Hub.
 
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Scott, thanks for the response. For a newbie this can all be overwhelming. I have done some research and ran across a product called Mini Grand by Air. It looks like a good place to start if I don't find any freeware.
 

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SeaGtGruff

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I have several virtual instruments from AIR, as well as some from Arturia, UVI, and others. AIR makes a couple of general purpose instruments, sort of like collections of General MIDI instruments but expanded. They also make more dedicated instruments, like acoustic piano, drawbar organ, virtual analog soft synths, etc.
 

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