Needing help getting started, somewhat new to midi keyboards


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Ok, so Iv used my digital piano before as it also functions as a midi keyboard...but it was very basic. Somehow, I was able to get it working with my East West Quantum Leap Symphonic Orchestra software. It did what I wanted, I got my pc to play the instrument I selected, when I hit the keys on the digital piano/midi keyboard.

But it was basicly luck, as I didn understand too much. I still dont, I dont know much about anything relating to midi or how it works.

Now, I have recently bought a M-Audio Keystation Pro 88...thinking I could figure it out. But Im completely stuck, Iv messed with the functions and all for about an hour or so, and I cant figure out how to make my instruments make noise on the computer, when I use the keyboard.

I am more then willing to learn, I just need some help figuring out how an where. If anyone can point me to some resources that might be helpful, or can help me on here it would be GREATLY appreciated. Thanks all
 
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SeaGtGruff

I meant to play that note!
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Is there a driver that you need to install for it?

Do you have a basic MIDI monitor, such as MIDI-OX, that you can use to verify whether the computer is getting any MIDI messages from the keyboard?

Do you have your software set up to listen for the keyboard?

Which channel(s) is the keyboard sending on, and which channel(s) is the software listening/receiving on?
 
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There's no driver necessary, it's a plug in play I think the site said, I know my computer is detecting it.

Not sure if my software is setup for it or not, I'm not sure how to setup my keyboard in the software.

And about the channels, I don't really understand too much about that, the keyboard has to be set to whatever midi channel I have the instrument loaded to right? If I want to hear it correct?

I do have a question though...do I need the midi cables for this to work? On my digital piano, I was able to use it as a midi keyboard without them, all I did was hook it up thru usb to my computer, and go into the digital piano settings and turn a few things on...I wasn't sure I needed to connect this midi keyboard with midi in/out cables or not
 

SeaGtGruff

I meant to play that note!
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If you need to use MIDI cables, you'll generally know it, as there won't be any other option. MIDI keyboard controllers don't create any sounds on their own, so they don't have any audio out jacks. Some controllers have only MIDI ports, some have only a USB port, and some have both. If it has a USB port, that will be the best/easiest way to connect to a computer-- otherwise, if you use the MIDI ports, you'll probably need to connect to an audio interface device first, then connect the interface to the computer.

As far as channels, I think most MIDI keyboard controllers send their output on a single MIDI channel-- unless they have an option to split or layer the keyboard, which makes sense on a keyboard that generates its own sounds, but not so much on a controller-- so whichever channel you've set up the controller to send on is the one you'll want the software to receive on. But you also need to have the software listen to the desired MIDI port, because different instruments/controllers can send on the same channels. There are only 16 MIDI channels per port, but you can have several ports at once.

Are you running the EastWest/Quantum Leap Symphonic Orchestra software as a standalone program, or inside of a DAW as a plugin?

A DAW can work with several tracks at once. You need to set up the MIDI port in the DAW-- some DAWs may automatically see whatever MIDI devices are connected to them, but in other DAWs you may need to actually configure the device before you can use it-- but then you also need to select the desired MIDI device and MIDI channel(s) for each track. And for each track you also need to select where you want the output to go-- i.e., which virtual instrument (or external device) should be used to generate the sound.
 
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Not sure about the split or layering of the keyboard, as I'm not 100 percent sure what that means, but it does have 4 zones, that I believe can be assigned an instruments each. The zones can be configured and turned off/on.

I know that something has to be wrong, or that I'm doing sometthing wrong.
Because, when I play the keys on the midi keyboard, it's not showing the keys being hit on the keyboard in the east west quantum leap software. I'm using the stand alone version of it. But it's like it's not registering or something. It's not showing anything or playing any sounds thru my PC.

I'm not sure how to set the channel, at one point I thought I selected channel 1, and I set my instrument in the software to channel 1. But still nothing. The manual says something I think about having to set a controller to one of the assignable buttons, but I have no clue which controller number to set.

I'm lost, is there anyway you could tell me step by step what I have to do...like from the very beginning to the end?
 

EdK

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Regarding MIDI channels, think of it this way- each device (whether its an actual keyboard or just software) is on a unique channel. Think of it as an address. The MIDI standard supports 16 channels (or up to 16 devices) but in reality it's only 15 as Channel 10 is for drums (an entirely different topic).

I'll use real keyboards (synthesizers) as examples

Let's say you have two synthesizers and also a MIDI ONLY keyboard/controller (no internal sound banks) for a total of 3 unique devices. You can play sounds contained in each synthesizer from the MIDI keyboard/controller without ever touching the synthesizers. All 3 devices are connected to each other with MIDI cables. To do this you will need to run a MIDI cable from the MIDI keyboard/controller "MIDI OUT" port to the "MIDI IN" port of synth #1, another MIDI cable from the synth #1 "MIDI THRU" port to the "MIDI IN" port of synth #2. The "MIDI THRU" port simply a "pass-thru". MIDI information being sent from the keyboard/controller to synth #2 "passes thru" synth #1 and on to synth #2. Each device must be on a unique MIDI channel. In order to do this, you need to go into each device 'setup' or 'global' menu and change it there. It's usually called the GLOBAL MIDI CHANNEL. By default, most manufacuters have their GLOBAL MIDI CHANNEL as Channel 1.

So, let say you leave your keyboard/controller as Global Channel 1, assign Global Channel 2 to synth #1 and Global Channel 3 to synth #3. Now each device has a unique 'address'.

In order to play a patch on synth #2, the MIDI commands (note on/off, patch change commands, etc) being sent by the keyboard/controller must specify the channel number the command pertains to. In the example I provided, the commands being sent by the keyboard/controller will first be sent to synth #1. Synth #1 will recognize the command does not apply to it and will "pass the command thru" to it's MIDI THRU port. Synth #2 will see the command belongs to it and execute the command.

This is a very very very basic explaination of how MIDI works. Depending on what exactly you're trying to do, it can get far more complex. For example, lets say you only have 2 keyboard/synthesizers that have their own internal sounds but only want to play on one of them but want to use patches that are on the other one or perhaps a combination of both at the same time. This is possible but now you need to go into the 'combination' patch 'edit mode' on synth #1 and tell it to use a patch from synth #1 and synth #2 or even perhaps adding 3rd patch that is only located on your computer and perhaps only from a certain range of keys. Setting this up gets more complex. All of this is possible but it also depends on the capabilities and design of your synth's. All of my synths are "workstations". Some of what I described will probably not be possible from simpler keyboards such as 'digital pianos' or 'arranger' keyboards.

Keep in mind that some gear does not have 'MIDI THRU' ports and there are alternative ways of connecting all the gear together.

All of my gear is older (Korg Triton Studio Workstation and Korg M1 Workstation) and only has MIDI ports (no USB ports) but from my understanding, the USB ports provide the same functionaltiy (MIDI IN, MIDI OUT, MIDI THRU) as real MIDI ports.

Most of the manucturers also build 'rack' versions of their most popular keyboards where you get everything their real keyboards can do minus the actual keyboard playing surface.

Hope this help somewhat.

Ed
 
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SeaGtGruff

I meant to play that note!
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One thing you might need to double-check is the type of USB cable and ports. USB 3 ports are becoming more common on computers, but some keyboards might not be compatible with USB 3. Check the documentation for your computer and your keyboard to see what they use/require. A few months ago someone on another forum was having trouble getting their computer/DAW to see any MIDI data coming from their keyboard/audio interface, and it turned out to be because they were plugging the USB cable from the audio interface into a USB 3 port on their computer. As soon as they plugged it into a USB 2 port (apparently their computer had both types of USB ports) the MIDI data suddenly started going across to their computer/DAW.
 

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