Help! Using Midi to send patch changes to multiple keyboards for live performance

Dec 27, 2009
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Hey everyone -

I'm somewhat new to incorporating midi functions into my keyboard setup, and I have a problem that I'm hoping some of you can help me with:

I am getting ready for live performances with my band, and I have three keyboards that I play live (a Korg Triton Extreme, a Triton Pro, and a Yamaha MO 6). Changing sounds on all three of my keyboards in between songs is time consuming. So I am looking for a more efficient way to incorporate midi into sending control changes to my keyboards, so that I basically can just hit a button or select a song name somewhere and all of my keyboards change simultaneously to the patches I need for that song on each keyboard.

I know this can be done, and obviously the pros do it. But I have no idea where to even start with his or how to set that sort of thing up. So my questions are as follows:

1. Is there a device I can purchase that can be used as a controller to send those control changes to each keyboard? If so, can you give me any recommendations?

2. Do I even need such a device, or can this all be done with on of my existing keyboards?

3. How do I go about doing this in a way that keeps my transition time between songs live down to a minimum? Is there a relatively easy way to have control changes sent from one unit to the next, and if so, how?

4. How do all of you keyboardists out there address this problem of having to change sounds on multiple keyboards between songs when you are playing live? There has got to be an easier, more efficient way to do this, right?

I'm also using Cubase to sequence certain parts for all of our songs, so each song has a Cubase sequence attached to it that I run from a computer and interface. Can I incorporate control changes into each Cubase file for each song I do? Or, is there a simple little device I can purchase that will allow me to do the same thing and bypass my Cubase sequences altogether?

I know these may be some basic questions, so bear with me. I'm just completely new to using midi in this manner, and I have no idea where to even start. All I know is that my setup is fairly complex now, and I don't want to have to spend precious stage time switching all the sounds on each of my keyboards for each song I perform.

Thoughts? Any feedback will be enormously appreciated. Thanks in advance!

Aug 13, 2008
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A programable midi patch bay is the easiest way to manage multiple keyboards and
program changes. You can find them used on Ebay at pretty reasonable prices.
One example would be the Akai ME80P, which accomadates multiple inputs for
controllers, and multiple outputs for keys/module management.
With a good patch manager, you can pre-set key zones, splits, layer, etc and change set-ups on the fly while preforming. You just need to program your set-ups in advance.

One trick I used was to change the name of the presets on my master keyboards
to match the names of the songs we performed. That way, I just selected the song name and my myboards and modules were ready for that performance.
Nov 5, 2008
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I send program changes from my Korg TR to my Nord Stage and laptop. One trick you can use is to have a combi or sequence (if you play live using sequencer mode) that contains nothing but a few tracks that will send out program change messages, so that you don't run out of tracks or timbres to actually create the sounds you want. Sending program changes this way will be near-instant (it won't take any keyboard longer to change programs via a MIDI program change than it will for the program to change after you type in the number of a program and hit Enter to make the change happen).

As for using a laptop for sequences, is the laptop making any sound? If not, why not export the sequences you have as MIDI files and import them into one of your Tritons? You can play live in sequencer mode along with sequenced material.

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