Looking for midi software to add voices/sounds to my Kawai ES110

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Hi!

I'm looking to add voices to my Kawai ES110 for live performances. My mad scheme is to use the midi bluetooth of the ES110 to add virtual instruments to the keyboard (thus expanding it's sound bank). So far I've connect my macbook air to the ES110 through midi bluetooth, chosen the midi keyboard in Garageband settings and can generate Garageband sounds through my computer speakers from playing my Kawai. Good so far....

I know that I can take this win and run by outputing the signal from my mac's headphone jack through converters to 1/4" and into a PA. However, ideally I'd love to do this cleaner by sending the virtual signal BACK to the Kawai ES110's built in speakers. The bluetooth midi is stated to be both send and receive suggesting that this should be possible,

However, it's not possible in Garageband's settings which do not support sending the signal back to my keyboard.

So what I'm looking for is some midi software (preferably free because I don't need a massive amount of sounds, but will pay if software good enough) that:
- has a decent sound back of instruments (mostly I'm looking for a funky clav to start encorporating more funk into my playing!)
- connects to a midi instrument in both directions (keyboard signal to computer --> computer applies a virtual instrument to performed midi data --> computer sends signal back to keyboard to be played either over keyboard speakers or thru it's line out to a PA

Any suggestions? Does this sound doable?

Thanks!
Core
 

happyrat1

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Garageband is intentionally designed to operate with MIDI only as an INPUT device. NOT as a MIDI module output.

You get what you pay for :)

I just spent the last 6 months coming to grips with Logic Pro X and believe me, it's well worth the money and effort.

Lots of support on the web as well to get you up and running.

Other Utils worth having include MIDIfire, Audacity, Mainstage, and Magic Music Visuals if you want to do any movies.

Gary ;)
 
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Thanks Happyrat1! By recommending Logic Pro X, I assume that you're suggesting that any decent DAW would provide virtual instruments for me as well as midi traveling in both directions. I actually own Cubase (which I assume would be a highly equivalent option to Logic Pro X) but since I don't need all the recording features I figured that using a DAW for these purposes would be overkill and a way larger install than I'd need.

Is there anything lighter and smaller software-wise that could provide me with just virtual instruments and 2 way midi communication with minimal excessive other features making this a bulkier install that necessary?

I do use Audacity often (primarily to rip live shows into individual tracks) and would love that as a solution to this, but it appears that Audacity allows vst effects, but not vst instruments.

Core
 

happyrat1

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I believe mainstage can do what you wish, but I haven't really played around with it.
 
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Gig Performer is by far the best to fulfill your needs albeit with a limited number of sound modules included but you can add any other vst sound sources which it is designed to do.
It's not cheap but cheap usually means trouble or lack of features, there is a free trial available for you to try and see how easy it is to use and customise to your needs.
Designed by musicians for musicians ... give it a try:
 
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I know that I can take this win and run by outputing the signal from my mac's headphone jack through converters to 1/4" and into a PA. However, ideally I'd love to do this cleaner by sending the virtual signal BACK to the Kawai ES110's built in speakers. The bluetooth midi is stated to be both send and receive suggesting that this should be possible,

However, it's not possible in Garageband's settings which do not support sending the signal back to my keyboard.

You are correct that Garageband can't do it, but neither can Logic Pro, or Mainstage, or Gig Performer, or anything else. There are two fundamental problems with what you're trying to do: (1) The Kawai has no audio input facility, it is impossible to route any external sound into it, and (2) while it is possible to send MIDI to the Kawai (via bluetooth), MIDI has no audio. MIDI sent to the Kawai can only be used to trigger the sounds that are already in it, it cannot add new sounds.
 
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Sounds like I had the completely wrong perception of how this should go. Thanks for the clarification! Tested out outputing from my computer's headphone jack and works perfectly fine.
 

happyrat1

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The way I see it. You simply want to output MIDI to run a VST in the computer which plays back thru the audio input jack on the Kawai.

Is there such a jack on the Kawai? If so, easy peasy. All you need is a VST host on your computer or iphone.

If the Kawai has no input jack, then it gets complicated but doable.

Buy a small audio mixer and output to your home stereo or a pair of nearfield monitors.

Then play layers like a madman. :)

Gary ;)
 
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All good so far and got it working!

But now I'm wondering what are my best options for connecting a laptop to a PA system. I'm playing using bluetooth midi on my kawaii es110 to connect to my macbook air laptop where I'm applying virtual instruments via numa player (a stand alone vst player that adds some organs and clavinets). Last night at band practice I tried this with outputing from my laptop's headphone jack straight into our PA system using 1/8" to 1/4" converter. The signal was either distorting or too low of volume. It makes sense that the headphone jack wouldn't be line level - I'm suspecting that is the issue?

Any recommendations as far as outputing from a laptop to a PA system with adequate volume levels and a nice clean signal?

Thanks!
Core
 

happyrat1

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Spend as much as you want. They're all 44.1 Kbit DACs and one digital signal is as good as the next one.
 
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If that's true, then would you go one step further and say that instead of needing an external soundcard or audio interface, that even a cheap $12 digital to audio interface would just work just as well? If the digital to audio converter part sounds like all I need here?

such as something like this?

 
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happyrat1, thank you very much for everything.

I'm going with the Behringer UCA222 as the reviews seem very happy with the sound quality.

And mainstage is awesome! Holy crap that's a lot of instruments for $30!!! It's been downloading all afternoon and is instaling on a flash drive since my laptop doesn't have that kind of space. But they sound great.
 
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Last night at band practice I tried this with outputing from my {Macbook Air's} headphone jack straight into our PA system using 1/8" to 1/4" converter. The signal was either distorting or too low of volume.
That should have worked.

While an interface has advantages (inputs as well as outputs, other additional connectivity, hard volume control, maybe better sound quality), there's no obvious reason as to why you shouldn't have been able to get a clean, loud sound out of the headphone jack. While there are numerous places where a problem could occur, my first suspicion would be the 1/8" to 1/4" converter. Just to confirm, you should be using a TRS 1/8" that breaks out to a pair of 1/4" jacks (left and right stereo), is that what you have?
 

happyrat1

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On laptops these days it's TRRS if you want an input channel as well as an output.

And the input channel will be mono.

A simple interface presents you with separate, stereo in and out connectors.
 
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On laptops these days it's TRRS if you want an input channel as well as an output.

And the input channel will be mono.

A simple interface presents you with separate, stereo in and out connectors.
I wasn't sure about whether all laptops (and the Macbook Air in particular) had the audio in. But as you say, even if they do, they are mono. Regardless, he does not need audio in for this application.

Stereo out of a Macbook headphone should give him a perfectly good signal. Again, I'm not saying there aren't other reasons one might prefer to use an interface... but if he's not getting good sound out of the headphone out, he's got some other issue, that was my point.
 

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