Creating A Two-Keyboard MIDI Setup

Discussion in 'MIDI' started by kanthos, Dec 29, 2008.

  1. kanthos

    kanthos

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    Two-Keyboard MIDI Setup, In General

    I've just recently gotten a second keyboard and have put some thought into how to get the MIDI setup I want. Since someone else was asking me about it, I'll describe the setup in general and then specifically for one or two types of keyboards. The idea is to have a good MIDI setup for live playing with two keyboards that can be extended to use other MIDI-controlled gear as well.

    The setup looks like this: both keyboards are connected via MIDI, and both are listening to different channels. One keyboard, which I'll call the master, has all the presets you need for a gig in order. When you pick a new preset on the master, it should send a *specific* program change to the other keyboard (which could be the same preset number as the one you've switched to on the master, but you're more limited that way). If your master keyboard allows it, you can use a footswitch to step through the program changes in order and have the other MIDI devices change programs accordingly. What you want to definitely avoid is having to change programs on more than one MIDI device and having to do it with mroe than one press of a button. You'll also want to be able to play on either or both keyboards and have either or both keyboards produce the sounds.

    Firstly, you need to pick one of the keyboards to be the master. This *doesn't* have to be the better keyboard to play on (in my setup, it's the opposite); the master keyboard should be the one that is best at controlling other MIDI devices. Ideally, you want your master to be able to send program changes to all the other devices.

    Next, MIDI connections. With two keyboards, connect the MIDI IN with each keyboard to the MIDI OUT of the opposite keyboard. If you have another MIDI-controlled devices (I use a Line6 PodXT guitar effects unit), hopefully one of the two devices other than the master has MIDI THRU, since that will be faster than a MIDI OUT A -> MIDI IN B -> MIDI OUT B -> MIDI IN C chain.

    Next, MIDI channels. Each keyboard should be set to listen to data on different channel, or possibly multiple different channels depending on how well each keyboard does layers and splits. This may be done by setting a global MIDI channel, by setting MIDI channels in individual combinations/programs, or both.

    What MIDI control data do you want to send to each keyboard? Obviously, knobs that send MIDI CC events on one keyboard may send them to another, and you don't want to tweak your synth pad and find out that you've also applied distortion to the piano sound playing on your other keyboard. In general, you don't want to send MIDI CC events at all, but there are exceptions.

    One is pedals. You can't use more than two pedals at the same time, and most people aren't used to using a sustain pedal with their left foot, so you probably want to set it up so that one keyboard has the sustain pedal plugged into it but also sends the appropriate CC messages to the other keyboard. You might want this with an expression pedal as well.

    The other exception is the pitch bend and mod wheels (or their equivalents, like the joystick found on most Korgs). This is less essential though if all of your keyboards have pitch and mod wheels. To use a pitch bend wheel means that one of your hands is not playing notes, so if you want to play on your master keyboard but have the sound come out of the other keyboard, why not use the pitch bend and mod wheel on the other keyboard, or just play the other keyboard entirely?

    So, hopefully you can prevent all your keyboards from sending CC events other than the sustain pedal so you don't have to worry about your keyboards responding in unexpected ways when you use knobs and sliders.

    So now that you have things set up in general, how do you make a specific sound? On your master keyboard, you'll want to make a set of programs/combinations with multiple voices in each. Each voice could either respond to external messages (which probably means setting it to a different channel from your keyboard's global channel), or internal messages (setting it to the same channel as your keyboard's global channel). To send notes from the master to another keyboard, you'll either set up MIDI sends separately from the combination itself (Yamaha keyboards do this) or using an extra voice on the combination (set to send externally but mapped to a region on the keyboard. Of course, use velocity switching, layering, or splits as you see fit. The second keyboard will be set up in a similar way.
     
    kanthos, Dec 29, 2008
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  2. kanthos

    kanthos

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    Example Setup: Nord Stage and Korg TR (also, any Triton or M-series)

    I've got two keyboards: a Korg TR-61 and a Nord Stage 73, as well as a Line6 PodXT for effects. The Nord Stage can play up to two organ voices, two piano/electric piano voices, and two synth voices at once. It has two "panels", A and B, each responding to their own MIDI channel, and each panel has an organ, piano/ep, and synth voice. Each voice can be mapped to a region on the keyboard or to no region at all (meaning that it could only be controlled by MIDI from another device). It also has Extern sections, one for each panel, which are also mapped to portions of the keyboard and are used to send MIDI data on a specific channel. The Korg TR-61 is 8-part multitimbral, and each part in a combi can be set to send or receive on a different MIDI channel. Parts in a combi can be INT (notes for that part are sent to the tone generator to produce sound) or EXT (notes for that part are only sent to MIDI OUT), or turned OFF if they're not going to be used. The PodXT can be controlled via MIDI, but to keep things simple, I just make a bunch of presets on the Pod itself and want to switch between them via MIDI program changes.

    I use the following MIDI Channels: the two panels on the Nord are set to receive on channels 1 and 2, the extern channels on the Nord are set to send on channels 3 and 4, the global channel of the Korg is channel 3, and the PodXT expects to get program changes on channel 5.

    To connect them, the MIDI Out from the Nord goes to the MIDI In on the Korg. The MIDI Out from the Korg goes to MIDI In on the PodXT, and the MIDI Out on the PodXT (it can be set on the PodXT to behave as a MIDI THRU so nothing I might tweak on the PodXT gets sent) goes to the Nord's MIDI IN.

    In this setup, the Korg is the master; it has 3 banks of combis while the Nord only has 1.

    For global settings, I set the Nord to disable sending all CC events besides pedals, and the Korg isn't sending any CC events at all. My sustain pedal is plugged into the Nord. On each preset on the Nord, I set up the Extern B (set to channel 3, the global channel of the Korg) so that the Extern section isn't mapped to any part of the keyboard but it is active. This means that, by default, sustain and control pedal messages get sent to the Korg on the Korg's global channel, so I can use one sustain pedal to work with both keyboards. I also set up the Extern A section (set to channel 4) on each preset, activated but not mapped to the keyboard, so that if I want to have the Nord control timbres on the Korg, I can map the Extern A section to part/all of the keyboard quickly (one button press to go from nothing to all; a bit harder if I'm working with splits). This also gives me a way to easily activate and deactivate Korg timbres when playing from the Nord without switching combis: set the timbres to channel 4 and toggle Extern A on and off on the Nord.

    Now, for sounds. If I want to play the Nord and have the Nord respond, I activate one or more of the sections (piano, organ, synth for panel A or B) and make sure that the section is mapped to some or all of the Nord's keyboard. If I want to use the Korg to play the Nord, the Nord should have one or more sections activated but not mapped to the keyboard, so that I can play the Nord and not trigger that sound. If I want to play the Nord and send note data to the Korg, I make sure that one or both Extern sections are activated and mapped to the keyboard. A word of caution: When actually making presets the other day, I discovered that if my Nord was sending data to an INT timbre on the Korg using the global channel, that timbre would also sound if I played on the Korg. Not surprising, so far, but if I set the key range of the INT timbre to nothing (G9-G9, for example; a note that I can never play), the timbre doesn't sound when controlled from the Nord. The point is that to have a sound be played from the Nord but NOT from the Korg, you MUST use a channel other than the global channel.

    The Korg is more complicated. On the Korg, I'm going to be moving through combis in order using a footswitch. Each combi has 8 timbres. If I want to play on the Korg's keybed and have the Korg sound, I only need to set the channel of the timbre to the global channel, and make sure it's an INT timbre. If I want to play on the Nord's keybed and have the Korg sound, I need to use an INT timbre set to channel 3 or 4 (channel 3 is the Korg's global channel so that timbre will also sound if I play on the Korg's keybed; this might not be desirable, which is why I can also use channel 4). I can send everything on channel 4 if I like, and use layers and splits on the Korg to figure out which timbre(s) to sound (each timbre is mapped to part/all of the keyboard and part/all of the velocity range). If I want to send data from the Korg to the Nord, I use an EXT timbre, set to send on channel 1 or 2 (panel A or B on the Nord).

    Lastly, how to send program changes. For a gig, I'd take combis I've already made and copy them in order of the setlist to a different bank on the Korg, so that I can step through them in order. That's great for the Korg, but I need to also send program changes to my Nord and PodXT. Also, the Korg only allows for 8 playable voices (less if I have to use EXT timbres to control the Nord from the Korg), and I really don't want to waste one using it just to send a program change to the Nord or Pod.

    The way to get around this is to have *two* combis for each song. The first combi isn't set up to play any notes at all; it will only contain two timbres, one on channel 1 (for the Nord) and one on channel 5 (for the PodXT). Those timbres will be set to send PC messages, and the program selected for those timbres will be the specific PC that is sent. So, if I want to tell the Nord to change to program 114, I set the timbre on the Korg to be program 114 in the current bank. This works since the Nord ignores bank changes (it only has one bank); the Korg can also send bank changes if necessary. The second combi is the one with the actual timbres that would sound.

    So, in my setup, I'd do *two* program changes between songs; one to set the programs for external devices and one to set the programs for the Korg and call up the MIDI setup.


    Hopefully all this is relatively clear; please ask if you have questions. I've also looked in detail about doing this kind of setup on a Yamaha MO6 instead of a Korg, so I could explain the Korg-specific details again for the MO6/MO8/Motif series.
     
    kanthos, Dec 29, 2008
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  3. kanthos

    kanthos

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    Bumping this to add more and point out that I made a few edits to the previous post. In particular, see the bolded A word of caution: it describes something I discovered yesterday that's worth noting.


    What to do with multiple pieces of gear

    In my setup, I've described using only two keyboards as well as the MIDI-controlled guitar effects. What if I want to add a third keyboard?

    For starters, hopefully most/all of your gear has MIDI THRU. You've only got two hands and can only play on two keyboards at once, so I suggest using the best two (with respect to playability) and treating one as the master, as I described earlier, to be the two keyboards you play on. You *can* play on all three, and for some songs, you might want to, but often, using two is plenty.

    You'll have to find another unused MIDI channel (or more) to use for the new keyboard. If you're not playing its keys, you don't have to worry about what channel(s) to send on, or worry about connecting its MIDI OUT to anything. Using it should simply be a matter of making presets on the new keyboard and calling them up from your master, and by using MIDI THRU correctly, making sure that it's playable from one or both of your main keyboards.

    If you add more and more gear, there are various MIDI racks to help make all the connections. I've never seen or used one (well, I have a 2x2 for my computer that's USB-powered, but that's not what I mean here), but I think the idea is that I connect every keyboard's MIDI OUT into one side of the rack, connect every keyboard's MIDI IN to the other side, and the box merges the signals so data from every keyboard can be routed to every other keyboard. There may be more to it than that, but since most of us here aren't using pro setups with a large number of keyboards, we probably don't have to worry much about it.
     
    kanthos, Dec 31, 2008
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  4. kanthos

    kanthos

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    Minimizing the number of presets

    Let's say I want to play a piano sound on one keyboard. Then, to make it more exciting, I want to add a pad that'll be played along with the piano, as well as adding an organ to be played on the other keyboard. In my setup, I'd want my Nord Stage to handle the piano and organ sound, and add the pad with the Korg; great, that's one preset. Now, I want to use a different pad, so I copy the first preset and change the pad. Say I end up with 10 different pads, so 10 presets. But now, I want to use piano and a different organ sound, and I also want the same selection of pads that I had before. I could copy all 10 presets, making 20, but that's going to start adding up really quickly. Also, say I want to change the reverb on my piano. That means changing all 20 presets.

    What we have, in general, is the case where we want to combine some random preset on keyboard A with some other random preset on keyboard B. (In my example, I also am combining two sounds on keyboard A, but there's no real way to get around that limitation on a single keyboard). It should be obvious that making a preset for every possibility is going to add up too quickly, so how do I get around it?

    What I did was to start making presets on my Nord. Before I did any of this, I had already made a bunch of organ presets (designed for two keyboards), and a bunch of presets for the pianos/rhodes/wurlitzers with effects, done so that one preset would have two rhodes sounds, for example (one in panel A and one in panel B). I took a small number of the presets I use most and combined them: 10 solo instruments with the other panel *disabled*, piano with about 5 different keyboards, piano with 5 common organ sounds (changing organ sounds slightly is easy; the Stage has drawbars), one rhodes sound (adding effects or switching between the 4 rhodes models is quite easy) with the same 5 organ sounds, and one wurlitzer sound with the same 5 organ sounds. Altogether, about 30 presets representing the bread and butter of what I play on the Nord.

    Obviously, I wouldn't want to make presets combining a pad with each of those; for only 10 pads, I'd use 300 presets on the Korg, which is more than 2/3 of the total number of combis.

    Instead, I made a preset on the Korg for each of the 30 presets on the Nord (and also made a preset on the Korg for each of the two-keyboard organ setups I already had). The Korg presets work so that I can use the Korg as the second keyboard, but the Korg presets don't play any sounds on the Korg at all; the Nord has better action so I want to use it for piano whenever possible.

    So far, if I want a solo keyboard played on the Nord, two different keyboards where one's played on the Nord and the other is on the Korg, or a two-manual organ setup, I'm good. What about the pads?

    Well, I can make a bunch of pads, set so that they'll be played from the Nord only, and add an EXT timbre on the Korg so that playing on the Korg's keyboard will cause Panel B on the Nord to sound. This EXT timbre is set so that it doesn't send program changes to the Nord. This means that when I call up my pad, everything on the Nord stays the same, but the pad sound gets turned on.

    To use this, I'd organize my combi bank so that for a particular song, I have two presets in order (moving through presets in order is much easier than looking around for presets on the fly). The first preset calls up the particular piano/keyboard/organ settings on the Nord, and the second preset leaves the Nord alone and adds the pad. So now, for 30 keyboard presets and 10 pads, I have a total of 40 presets overall, and my setup is much more flexible.
     
    kanthos, Dec 31, 2008
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  5. kanthos

    kanthos

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    Organizing Your Presets

    I suggest having two "types" of presets on your keyboard. When I got my Korg, I started by setting every factory combi to an empty combi (many of the Korg presets have drums, bass, etc, and are designed so one person can play a whole song, while my focus is playing live with a band that already has drums, bass, guitar, etc.). All the presets I made in the previous post ended up at the end of the last bank. The TR has 3 banks of combis, so I started by putting solo piano at combi C-127, solo wurlitzer at C-126, and so on. Whenever I add a new combi, I'll be adding it in the highest empty slot. These presets are to represent both my stock sounds (as in, "We're rehearsing a new song and I want a rock B3 organ sound with piano; how do I get to that quickly?") and combis for a specific song (as in, "We always play this tune with a pipe organ, synth lead, and percussion, so here's the combi named with the song name). I want to add to these presets, but unless there's something I don't like about one, I never want to change them. The more I play new music on the keyboard, the more I'm building up a bank of presets so that it's easier to find exactly what I want in the future.

    If your keyboard lets you assign a category for each combi, make sure to do so! You might also want to change your category names to suit your needs (I have two keyboard categories: one for solo keyboard sounds, and one for two keyboard sounds, one for each physical keyboard). Categories will be a great way to find a particular sound quickly without having to memorize its bank and program number, and using categories also means not having to keep your combis sorted. That can be really nice when you have 200 combis, your pads are near the highest slot, and you come up with an idea for a new pad sound. Want to move 150+ combis down a slot? Me neither.

    So far, this is all stock presets that aren't in any order. When you're getting ready for a gig, you can take the setlist and copy the combis you need from the stock area to the lowest slots: bank A, program 000 and building up from there. Keep in mind that you may need two presets or more for a given song; hopefully you gave them titles that indicate you need to copy more presets ("Song X, 1/3", for example). With some more modern keyboards, you can add some performance notes in a combi; you could use the note in the first combi to tell you which other ones to copy.

    You'll overwrite the lowest slots every time you have a gig, but that's not a big deal; copying the combis in order is pretty quick on most keyboards once you're familiar with the interface.

    So now, you can move through your combis in order, with a footswitch if your keyboard supports that or just by incrementing the combi number, and you don't have to reorder your stock sounds to do so!


    Switching between Combi and Performance Mode

    Normally, you'd want to stick to combi mode, or the equivalent, on your keyboard. There may be reason to switch to your single-part performance mode though. On some keyboards, like the Korg M3 and M50, you can use up to 5 insert effects for a single part in program mode, but in combi mode, you can use 5 insert effects in total for all parts, and only one insert effect for a given part. If you have a really good string sound that uses all 5 insert effects, and you *only* need to play that string sound, you'll lose 4 of the 5 potential insert effects by loading it into a combi.

    Most of the time, you're stuck. But what if that one sound is the only thing you'll play on and with that keyboard? (I say with because if you're not in combi mode, you only have access to the global MIDI channel on your Korg, and if no other device is receiving on that channel, you can't use the Korg to play anything on any other keyboard).

    In this special case, you could make a combi that does whatever setup is necessary with other MIDI devices, and have this combi do nothing on the Korg. Give it a name like "Program A-103". This means that once you've loaded the combi, sending program changes to any other MIDI devices, you see by the title that you want to play Program A-103. Switch into program mode and call up preset 103. This will take a number of button-presses (5 on my Korg TR), which is why you only want to do this between songs.

    When you're done with the song, go back to Combi mode, and you should be at the last combi you were using. You can now keep advancing through the combis in order.
     
    kanthos, Dec 31, 2008
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  6. kanthos

    kanthos

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    Switching Combinations on the Fly

    Very few keyboards have an effective patch remain feature. Patch Remain means that if I'm playing a note on a string sound with reverb and while holding the note, I switch presets to an electric guitar with distortion, the string sound with reverb should continue to be played until I release it. This is a really nice feature to have during a gig because it means I can make as many preset changes in a single song as I want, and they'll all be made cleanly.

    For the rest of us who don't have patch remain on our keyboards, here are some alternatives.

    1) Start a song with sounds generated by only one keyboard, then switch to another combi that adds sounds from the second keyboard. A perfect example of this would be the two-preset pad trick I mentioned a couple posts before this one. I could start out without a pad, and add or remove it by changing the combi, since the pad is played on my Korg and the keyboards/organs are played on my Nord. Of course, this means that I'm only adding or removing sounds from one keyboard, so this has a fairly limited purpose.

    2) Switch sounds between different keyboards: have one sound played on keyboard A, the next on keyboard B, the next on keyboard A, and so on. As long as the delay on the keyboard you're playing on is minimal, or you actually move your hand to a different keyboard as you switch the sound, there won't be any delay in the notes.

    3) If one of your keyboards lets you set individual timbres to ignore control changes, you can set some to ignore CCs and some not to, and use an expression pedal sending CC #7 (Volume) to add or remove the new voices. You might even be able to have a setup where some voices respond to CC#7 in reverse, so you can both add and remove voices at the same time. The trick is to remember that when you switch to this combi, the volumes of the voices probably *won't* be affected by the initial position of the pedal, so even though the pedal may be fully closed, those voices would still sound. To get around this, you could push the pedal down with your toe a bit and then back with your heel; the change in position would get the keybaord to notice the pedal position. Alternately, depending on how CC#7 works on your keyboard, you could set some voices to volume 0 and save them in the combi; this might lose the balance between voices though, so pushing the pedal all the way up might put all voices at full volume, which might not be what you want.

    You can accomplish this on a Korg keyboard by checking/unchecking the "Other CCs" checkbox for a timbre. On the Korg TR, this is found on the MIDI4 page, on the second tab. Anything checked off is affected by the position of the expression pedal; anything not checked off will always be on. By default, an expression pedal connected to the Korg TR will send CC #7.

    4) If you have hardware buttons to mute or unmute voices, use those. Even better if you can easily assign one button to mute and/or unmute multiple voices at once. Better still if you have several buttons to do so.

    5) If you own a Motif-derived keyboard (including the MO), your 16-part multitimbral mode is Song Mode (somewhat unintuitive, since the same mode for sequencing songs is used for live playback!) Songs and patterns have 5 scenes, each of which is a full capture of the mix settings for all songs. You can't change timbres between scenes, but you can mute some parts in one scene and not in another. There are 5 hardware buttons to switch between scenes.

    6) Start/stop transmission on a MIDI channel. In my setup, if I want to play a sound on the Korg while playing on the keybed of my Nord, I have an Extern section active. I can turn this on and off with a single toggle button, so I can easily disable timbres on the Korg from sounding because they won't be receiving the note on/note off messages (or anything else).

    7) For Korg users, here are three alternate ways of switching voices on and off in a combi. The first requires modifying individual programs so they respond to one of the two hardware switches by changing their volume. The second involves using a limiter in an effects slot so that when the limiter is activated, some sounds are muted or unmuted, and the third (Korg M3 only), is to use the Karma On/Off switch to mute or unmute parts.
     
    kanthos, Dec 31, 2008
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  7. kanthos

    evergreenthompson

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    This thread gets better and better! It's going to take a day to absorb it all, kanthos. Thank you!

    It'd be great if webmaster would add all this to the article section of the site.
     
    evergreenthompson, Dec 31, 2008
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  8. kanthos

    kanthos

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    Well, if that was going to happen, I'd want to reformat it. It was written like a bunch of posts, and when I did the first two, I didn't intend to add anything more. I have no problems doing so, however, if people wanted this posted.
     
    kanthos, Jan 1, 2009
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  9. kanthos

    jpscoey

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    Wow!!!

    Hi Mike - Happy New Year to you!

    Soon after I posted that question to you I looked in the general discussion area - where
    you said you would would post the answer - & was sort of expecting, if anything,
    a brief 'beginners guide'.

    But I couldn't find it, and I haven't had much free time for a few days, so when I just
    checked in & saw the work you had put in to all of this...

    Well it's hardly surprising it wasn't an instant reply, is it?!! - blimey!...

    I take my hat off to you - although I haven't had nearly enough time to digest it all, I've seen
    more than enough to know that it will be of invaluable help to me.

    So thanks loads, & when I have got to grips with it all I'll tell you where you've gone wrong, ok?!!
    (I suspect I may be wishing you a Happy 2010 by then!)

    Cheers, well done, & take care.
     
    jpscoey, Jan 2, 2009
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  10. kanthos

    kanthos

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    Well, I do have this exact setup working, so unless I mistyped something, I probably haven't gone wrong. Hopefully it's easy to understand, once you poke around your keyboard a bit and see the settings I'm talking about :)
     
    kanthos, Jan 3, 2009
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  11. kanthos

    jpscoey

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    I think the chances of me finding anything wrong are next-to-nil if your attention to detail is anything to go by! - you've done a grand job there mate.

    Following loads of research (& bargain-hunting) I've today acquired a Yamaha Motif Xs7.
    Obviously I've had little time to investigate it fully, but I very much like what I've been able to get out of it so far.
    So - mission one accomplished!
    This still leaves me looking for a second keyboard & having weighed up the
    pros & cons I have definitely decided the Korg M50-73 is winning so far...
    mainly because of the portability consideration (only 8.2 kilos), but also 'cos I love Korg sounds & I now have the aftertouch I wanted on the Motif.
    Are there any reasons for me to reconsider otherwise?
     
    jpscoey, Jan 3, 2009
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  12. kanthos

    kanthos

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    The only reason to consider otherwise is if you want better action than the M50-73 or XS7. Other than that, the M50's a great choice. I think the Motif series all has sampling too, so not having that on the M50 is no big deal.

    As for integrating a Motif into a MIDI setup, I have a pretty good idea of how to do that too. This is taken from the manual for the MO6/MO8, but from what I know, everything applies equally well to the Motif ES series and, I think, to the XS series. Sorry if I'm explaining some things that you already know; it'll hopefully help other owners of Yamaha keyboards who see this thread.

    There are 4 main modes on the Motif series: Program (or it might be called Part), that plays one voice at a time, Performance, which lets you layer/split 4 voices that are all played on the same MIDI channel, and Song and Pattern, which are used for sequencing and let you play up to 16 parts on any combination of MIDI channels. Songs and Patterns aren't stored in memory, but you can have them auto-load from a USB drive when you turn the Motif on. For the purposes of live performance, think of songs and patterns as being equivalent, and also of being the only way to get more than 4 parts at once, or using the Motif's tone generator from two or more MIDI devices (including the Motif itself).

    Songs and patterns also have the advantage of using Song Scenes. There are 5 of them, and they're used to save the complete state of your song's mix and voice settings at a given time. You can mute and unmute voices by a single button press by being in Song mode and switching scenes.

    There's also a pseudo-mode called Master Mode, which is where you get external MIDI control from. Each preset in Master Mode loads a Performance, Program, Song, or Pattern, and you can also set up MIDI output and send explicit program changes to up to 4 different external devices. When you're in Master mode, what you can play is governed by whichever other mode you're in (so if you've loaded a Performance in Master Mode, you can still only play 4 voices on one MIDI channel internally).

    I'd probably still use the M50 as your master controller, unless the Motif has more Master slots than the M50 does. You'll basically want to be in Master mode on the Motif though, to make sure you can play sounds on the M50 from the Motif's keyboard.

    The advantage, and drawback, of the Motif's architecture is that you can stay in Master Mode but still play back a program, performance, song, or pattern. This is an advantage because you can easily use *all* of the factory programs and performances without having to modify any of them, whereas on Korg keyboards, if you want to stay in combi mode but want to play a single program, you have to make a combi to play that program, which also means using only one insert effect for that program, even if there's only one program in the combi. This is a disadvantage though because it means you have to look in multiple places for a particular sound, and you have to remember whether it used one voice or more and/or one MIDI channel or more.

    Assuming you use the M50 as a master, you'll want to make a bunch of programs, performances, and songs/patterns as your stock sounds, make a bunch of masters to call them up, and use the M50 to switch between masters. Since the M50 will be your master controller, there's no need to keep your masters on the Motif in any kind of order; you can send the specific program change that you need to call up a specific master from the M50.
     
    kanthos, Jan 3, 2009
    #12
  13. kanthos

    jpscoey

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    I think that's pretty much conviced me to go for the M50 then...
    the portability, as I've said, is a prime concern & also having had the
    benefit of playing the Xs7 it makes me think that adapting to a non-weighted keyboard wouldn't be too difficult, 'cos when you've got that depth of sound available it definitely makes it easier to come up with a way of compromising.
     
    jpscoey, Jan 3, 2009
    #13
  14. kanthos

    kanthos

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    No point getting another Yamaha; you're best off diversifying your sound choices by buying from two different manufacturers. You could consider going with an "analog" synth instead of a second workstation though (Nord Lead, Korg Radias, etc.), but unless you really want that kind of sound, a second workstation will be good and being able to do strings and such on two keyboards will help you get around polyphony issues you might have when trying to do too much at once on the Motif.
     
    kanthos, Jan 4, 2009
    #14
  15. kanthos

    Ergo

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    I really admire your work there kanthos! I will read it as fast as I have got some time for it =)
     
    Ergo, Jan 6, 2009
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  16. kanthos

    Brett

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    Yamaha MO6 and Nord Stage

    Hi Kanthos,

    Excellent post. I have a subscription to several music magazines (SoS, Computer Music, MusicTech, etc) but none of them have ever published such a great hands-on and detailed description of a Midi set up as you did here. Well done !

    I have a Nord Stage EX 76 and will buy a Yamaha MO6 shortly (I used to have a S90ES but sold it recently to purchase the Nord Stage). I plan on using the MO6 as the master keyboard in my live and studio setups. In one of your posts above you offered to provide a midi setup description for the MO6. This would be really helpful. Thanks. :)

    Brett
     
    Brett, Jan 19, 2009
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  17. kanthos

    kanthos

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    Nice setup and good choice of keyboards! The Nord Stage is great, and the MO6 sounds *much* better than the S90es, in my opinion, despite them being somewhat similar. I love my stage, and if sampling wasn't important to me and I wasn't able to take advantage of a good sale, I'd have gotten an MO6 instead of my Korg TR.

    As for the MO6 in a two-keyboard MIDI setup, I posted a few posts back about the Motif. The MO6 is essentially the same (in fact, everything I wrote from the Motif was based on what I knew about the MO6 and that the Motif was similar), so start there and let me know if anything's confusing.

    Edit: Looking back at that post, I was speaking more for someone using the M50 to control the MO6.

    Basically, everything I said about parts/performances/songs & patterns is fine.

    To control things properly, you'll want to use master mode. Make a bunch of programs on the Stage and a bunch of parts/performances/songs on the MO6 (or use stock ones in both cases; doesn't matter). On the MO6, make a master for each setup. A master will let you pick one part/performance/song/pattern for the MO6, and will also let you use up to four zones for MIDI control. Each zone can optionally send a MIDI program change message and can be mapped to part/all of the MO6's keyboard. You probably want to use masters for each song in your set, moving through the masters in order. If you need to mute/unmute sounds or need to play some sounds on the MO6 from your Nord and some from the MO6 itself, use a song or pattern; if you need at most four parts playing at once from only one keyboard, use a performance; if you need only one sound on the MO6, use a part.
     
    kanthos, Jan 19, 2009
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  18. kanthos

    Brett

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    Thanks Khantos. I'll keep that in mind when I'll buy the MO6.
    I agree that the Nord Stage is a fantastic machine. The EPs and Organs feel like the real thing.
    Even the acoustic pianos sound excellent. I know this is a contentious issue. My (very personal) take on it is that the NS acoustic pianos sound great because they have (minor) defects that are musically pleasing, like any "real" piano would have, whereas acoustic pianos like Yamaha's S90ES are too clinically perfect to be credible. Don't know whether this makes sense :). My 13-year old daughter tried the NS recently (she's learning classic piano) and she couldn't believe how good the sound was. You know how much it takes these days to impress a teenager, right ? :rolleyes: She even said that the NS had a better action than our upright piano ... and I agree !
    But jeez the NS is expensive !

    Cheers,

    Brett
     
    Brett, Jan 19, 2009
    #18
  19. kanthos

    kanthos

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    Expensive but worth it :) I just have the classic Stage (128 MB of memory instead of 256), but when they released the Nord Piano Library and an update to the OS a couple months ago, I cleared out the extra piano samples I didn't really need, kept all the rhodes/wurly/clav, and moved to one of the high-quality piano samples designed for the Stage EX. I have less on the keyboard, sure, but it sounds so much better.
     
    kanthos, Jan 19, 2009
    #19
  20. kanthos

    jpscoey

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    Sorted!

    Hello Kanthos I would like to thank you for your advice once again.
    As you can see below I am now the proud owner of a new Korg M50-88.
    I think the fates may have conspired here, because the Motif got me thinking that the M50-73 would be an ideal companion.
    However, the 73-note version is unobtainable in the UK until mid-March, I'm reliably informed, but I was able (after a lot of groundwork) to locate an 88-note version.
    At the moment these keyboards are seriously hard to find (mines' serial number is in the mid 500's) and I've now got what I consider to be (for my purposes) an unbeatable 2-keyboard set-up.

    Unless anyone is can argue otherwise, that is!

    Here are the things I reckon are the strong points of my new set-up.

    1. Motif Xs7 provides pretty much all you'd want in terms of a workstation - plus its playability performance-wise is superb. Real-time control with nothing missing... 8 knobs & slide controls plus pitch bend/modulation wheels AND the added benefit a ribbon controller, which cannot be underestimated, AND aftertouch. It's good!

    2. Korg M50-88 has an excellent weighted keyboard - so I suppose you could almost consider it to be a stand-alone 'stage piano' especially when you also have Yamaha piano voices to hand. But take a look at everything else this keyboard has to offer & I can't see any serious rivals. This really is an excellent piece of kit.

    There you have it.
    I have to hold my hands up & say I played it a little 'dumb' in my first post, but I wanted simple answers & I got them!

    So thanks to this forum I have read and absorbed loads of stuff.

    As for your MIDI guide... well I reckon it should become standard reading for anyone wishing to combine one MIDI keyboard with another.

    What do you think about the other selection of keyboards I have at my disposal?... My thought is that I would not miss the Roland Fantom FA76 too much if I were to sell it (it may just be me, but I don't think it's very easy to navigate) - the SH201 is great fun though.

    My Kurzweil K2000VP is also not easy to get to grips with (is there anyone out there who understands Kurzweils' instruction manuals?...) but some of those sounds in there are special.

    That's me done for now. I'd very much like to hear any comments anyone has?
     
    jpscoey, Jan 22, 2009
    #20
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