Fatar StudioLogic SL-880 Woes, need help/advice


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I recently acquired this keyboard/midi-controller, desiring good heavy-key real-piano feel action. Before, I always had a real piano, or an e-piano and did not have any sort of experience with having to plug it into a computer nor using DAWs or VSTi software.

Eventually, I sort of figured it out and ended up using Native Instruments Kontakt... and it worked quite well (once I figured out how to fix the latency problems). I also tried using Ableton, but never figured out how that is supposed to go into the mix - Kontakt seems to be doing everything I need. (Perhaps if I wanted to record the music? I did have a plan to try and layer different instruments on top of each other at some point.)

Then, something went wrong with the keyboard. I would press a key and the PC would get a whole array of MIDI messages, random keys turned on and off, creating a cacophony of sounds. Pretty much the same problem as this guy:
[I can't post links since this is my very first post. It's the first google result from searching "Fatar Studiologic SL-880 Keyboard MIDI issues (In excruciating detail...)"]

I tried different power supplies. I tested the keyboard on my PC and on my laptop (to make sure it wasn't the PC's fault).
I opened it up and cleaned up all the contacts as some other old forum post suggested. Nothing helped.

Eventually I brought it into a musical instrument repair store. The guy there replaced a bunch of bits and cleaned the keyboard up and says that now it's working perfectly. However, he is using a Keyboard Expander (which I'm not sure exactly what that is. Is this the same as a midi module? This is also all occuring in Germany, so perhaps it's a mis-translation) to test it, without any PC connections. When I came in to test it with my laptop, I was still getting the very same problem.. The repairman insists that the reason is that it's an old keyboard, and the laptop is "too new" and I need to use an expander to use the keyboard. I told him that it used to work perfectly, but he just shrugs, he doesn't know what the problem could be or how to fix it.

How can this be?

I know nothing of keyboard expanders, but I am actually consider it. All I want, in the end, is a nice clean piano sound. If I can accomplish this (without spending too much money) without having to plug my keyboard into my PC, that would be quite nice. I tried to research how the modules and expanders work, which one I should get to have a good piano sound, and was left rather confused and overwhelmed by the large amounts of information and options (some modules need extra hardware, and some are self-contained. Some are huge devices that cost a fortune, some are cheap and compact, etc.)

Tomorrow, I will be picking the keyboard up from the shop (with a hefty 50 euro "repair" bill). Maybe, once I get it home.. it will just work with my PC and the repairman's fiddling did accomplish something. If not... what should I do?

Is it really possible for the keyboard to fail with my PC but work with an expander? What is a good cheap expander that would give me a clean piano sound. Could someone suggest a simple guide to all these MIDI controller/expander/module/DAW stuff that would get me caught up?

Much obliged.
 
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happyrat1

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What you mean by "expander" is either "interface" or "hardware module." I'm not sure since Google translate obviously screwed up your meaning.

If we are discussing a USB to MIDI class compliant interface they are very cheap and might solve the problem of hooking up to your computer.

Is your computer an Apple or a PC?

Otherwise if you simply wish to hook up to a hardware module and not use the computer at all take a look at some of the SD modules from Ketron or the Peavey Musebox.

A little bit expensive but they will produce brilliant MIDI sounds and pianos with your Studiologic.

Gary
 

happyrat1

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Also check your studiologic manual and the very first thing you should do is perform a factory reset of the settings if it is possible with that keyboard.

Gary
 
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I'm actually American, and I don't speak German :) It's what the repairman (who is German) who called it an Expander (while speaking English to me).
 
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I did a factory reset. In fact, the keyboard actually sent "reset" signals randomly when it was broken along with other MIDI signals.

Thanks for your other tips, Gary. The Peavey Musebox is waaaay out of my price range :-/ I mean.. if I had a thousand to spend, I'd probably just buy a nice Digital Piano.

I am using a PC, with Windows 7 64 bit, good specs on everything, audio-card - Creative SB X-Fi .
 

happyrat1

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That makes things easier.

Like I said, "MIDI Expander" is not a proper English technical term so he probably either means a USB to MIDI interface or on an Apple iPad the Camera Connection Kit or else he is talking about a hardware module.

A couple of questions.

1) Are you using an Apple or an IBM PC?

2) Does your studiologic have a USB port?

3) Does your studiologic have a 5 pin DIN MIDI port?

4) Does your Studiologic list a Factory Reset Procedure in the manual?

Answer these and maybe I can help you?

Gary
 
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1) PC, self-built
2) No USB port on the studiologic, using a MIDI-to-USB converter
3) Yes, 2 outputs
4) Yes, tried it. Keyboard used to reset itself when it started bugging out as well.
 

happyrat1

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At this point I'd say try the USB MIDI adapter on the other port to see if that one's not forked.

Failing that I'd also say try a different MIDI adapter to make certain it's not just a blown interface.

If cost is a problem take a look at the Ketron SD1 and SD2 modules.

Gary
 

happyrat1

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One other idiotically basic question.

Do you have the MIDI OUT on the Studiologic connected to the MIDI IN on the interface? This is the correct hookup for this configuration. The MIDI OUT on the interface should NOT BE PLUGGED IN AT ALL.

This is a common mistake a lot of newbies make.

Gary
 
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Yes, keyboard out to midi in.
I actually did buy and test a second MIDI-to-USB cable (this is what you call "the interface"?) No difference.
They're both cheap though (compared to some of the others), the VicTsing USB IN-OUT MIDI Cable Converter.
 
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happyrat1

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Try it out with a different software. Your Ableton and Kontakt may be misconfigured.

http://www.studiotoolz.net/audio-software/vst-instruments/

Also study some Youtube video tutorials on your software and learn how to configure it properly.

It may be something as simple as an unchecked check box on a configuration page.

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=how+to+use+ableton+live+with+MIDI+controller

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=how+to+use+ableton+live+with+VSTis

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=how+to+use+ableton+live

Gary
 
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