New to Forum - MIDI Controller or MIDI Keyboard

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Hello! I'm new to this forum and MIDI controllers, so I decided to ask for help here so I can better understand how to select the most appropriate MIDI controller or keyboard for myself.
Currently, I have a YAMAHA Portable Grand DGX-230 and I am looking into the Novation Launchkey Mini mk3 Keyboard Controller. My goal is to be able to easily input a variety of instrument effects (e.g. piano, drums, guitar) into a DAW, such as Ableton Live. Is there any benefit or disadvantages to using a MIDI controller over a keyboard? The keyboard that I have currently has a "voice" button that allows you to choose from a variety of different instruments. Do these different instruments input into DAWs like Ableton, or does Ableton have instruments that change what plays on your keyboard (without you changing the voice button)?
To sum up these questions into two main questions: Should I be looking into the variety of instruments available on the controller/keyboard, or will my DAW have instrument options that will connect to the MIDI device? Would it be a waste to get the Novation Launchkey Mini mk3 knowing I have the YAMAHA Portable Grand DGX-230?
And is it preferable to have drum pads along with keys to play different instruments? Thank you so much!
 
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Welcome.

Have you read up on MIDI by perusing some of the thousands of online articles:-


MIDI signals are purely Digital, info like note played, pressure, duration etc are transmitted to the DAW, no digital voice info (WAV, MP3 etc) is sent to the DAW.

The DAW of choice will have VST’s incorporated or added to it, a VST is a virtual instrument sound.

The advantage of a MIDI keyboard controller over using a keyboard with MIDI capabilities is the controller has its controls mapped out for different functions with the DAW of choice.

Do take note, learning MIDI is a very steep learning curve.

Others here are far more knowledgable than I regarding MIDI so I’ll leave it to them to advise further.
 
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Hello! I'm new to this forum and MIDI controllers, so I decided to ask for help here so I can better understand how to select the most appropriate MIDI controller or keyboard for myself.
Currently, I have a YAMAHA Portable Grand DGX-230 and I am looking into the Novation Launchkey Mini mk3 Keyboard Controller. My goal is to be able to easily input a variety of instrument effects (e.g. piano, drums, guitar) into a DAW, such as Ableton Live. Is there any benefit or disadvantages to using a MIDI controller over a keyboard? The keyboard that I have currently has a "voice" button that allows you to choose from a variety of different instruments. Do these different instruments input into DAWs like Ableton, or does Ableton have instruments that change what plays on your keyboard (without you changing the voice button)?
To sum up these questions into two main questions: Should I be looking into the variety of instruments available on the controller/keyboard, or will my DAW have instrument options that will connect to the MIDI device? Would it be a waste to get the Novation Launchkey Mini mk3 knowing I have the YAMAHA Portable Grand DGX-230?
And is it preferable to have drum pads along with keys to play different instruments? Thank you so much!
Note: I did not read the article Biggles advises, but I've tried to teach others MIDI some 25 years ago. :)

MIDI is a set of commands. The obviously most important ones are Note On and its antagonist Note Off.
"Note On" says: have note <number> on channel <channel number> sound with attack force <velocity number>. It doesn't do or contain anything else, so the result can differ. Like when you order "one coffee" somewhere. What you get served will depend on the establishment, and "an espresso" may have been mapped to "a pot of tea". Or an unflavored lobster. ;-)
Translations (including transpositions) may take place on the keyboard, in the DAW, or maybe on the sound source (which could run within a DAW).

Technically, there won't be a difference between input devices. (I do know exceptions.) However, some may be more suited to a given task than others. Like: you can enter your guitar parts using a piano keyboard, but your tone intervals and timing will be those of a keyboard player, vice versa. Drums provide another challenge: drum kits are mapped onto a range of tone numbers on a slightly altered channel. You may want to provide yourself with clues on a piano keyboard., or you may prefer an array of pre-mapped pads on a more extensive keyboard, or you may want a MIDI drum kit (or a device in between those). If you happen to have a mobile device by Apple (iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch), you can try to drum kit(s) in GarageBand.
Anyway, there are loads of MIDI devices, even lots of types, but still it seems a niche market.

Your DGX-230 is a MIDI device (actually the combination of two: a keyboard and a sound source, not counting the amplifier and loudspeakers), but (judging from the manual) without the DIN-5 connectors commonly used for MIDI communication, just the USB-B connector that will be useful in conjunction with computers.
So you may be right in looking for another device anyway.

So far from me, for now... ;-)
 
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Hello! I'm new to this forum and MIDI controllers, so I decided to ask for help here so I can better understand how to select the most appropriate MIDI controller or keyboard for myself.
Currently, I have a YAMAHA Portable Grand DGX-230 and I am looking into the Novation Launchkey Mini mk3 Keyboard Controller. My goal is to be able to easily input a variety of instrument effects (e.g. piano, drums, guitar) into a DAW, such as Ableton Live. Is there any benefit or disadvantages to using a MIDI controller over a keyboard?

No, there is no inherent advantage/disadvantage. In general, a "full" keyboard as you're talking about is basically a MIDI controller that also has built-in sounds (which you can choose to use or ignore). Some "keyboards" have far more MIDI controller functionalities than some "MIDI controllers" have. So it's a matter of looking for the specific functionality you want, more than which category of keyboard. That said, as a rule, MIDI controllers tend to be less expensive than "full" keyboards with comparable MIDI functionality.

As for specific functionalities one might want for DAW recording, you might care about things like having some number of programmable knobs/sliders/buttons, certain types of expressive controls like aftertouch or your preference of pitch/modulation controllers (wheels, ribbons, joysticks, levers), trigger pads, or conveniently located DAW transport controls (e.g. if you prefer that to using the keys of your computer). If a given controller/keyboard has most of what you want but not everything, you can also look at supplementing with a small control surface, like one of the Korg Nano-devices, so you don't necessarily have to find a keyboard that already contains every single one of these things that you may care about.

The keyboard that I have currently has a "voice" button that allows you to choose from a variety of different instruments. Do these different instruments input into DAWs like Ableton, or does Ableton have instruments that change what plays on your keyboard (without you changing the voice button)?

Although you can use a keyboard's built-in sounds (and record their audio directly into your DAW so you'd be able to hear the parts even when you're not connected to the keyboard), if you're using DAWs like Ableton, you'll usually prefer to use sounds you load into that. You typically will not use the voice buttons of a keyboard to select your VST (Ableton/DAW) sounds. (Though selecting your VST sounds directly from your keyboard again gets back to a keyboard having programmable buttons.)
 
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I have a similar question- I know very little about midi. I want to use my Yamaha P-125 to control the piano sounds on my Vox Continental 73? They both have USB connectors but only the Vox has a midi port.
 

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Method one >>> use a computer as a MIDI Router.

Method two >>> Get a standalone USB MIDI Host adapter.

IFF Your Yamaha is NOT USB MIDI CLASS COMPLIANT see Method one...
 
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Yup. More specifically, for method one, you can connect the P125 and the Vox to a computer, running an app like Cantabile (Windows), Mainstage (Mac), Gig Performer (Mac or Windows), Keystage (iPad), or Camelot Pro (Mac, Windows, or iPad), and that will allow the Yamaha to trigger the piano sounds from the Vox (as well as letting you trigger other sounds you may have on your Mac/PC/iPad). For method 2, you can get a host adapter like the one at https://kentonuk.com/product/midi-usb-host-mk3/ or similar. P125 should not be an issue as far as class compliance goes. As that site says, Yamahas since 2012 are class compliant.
 

happyrat1

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I seem to recall a recent thread disputing the class compliance of a certain low end yamaha piano.

Caveat emptor.
 
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Method one >>> use a computer as a MIDI Router.

Method two >>> Get a standalone USB MIDI Host adapter.

IFF Your Yamaha is NOT USB MIDI CLASS COMPLIANT see Method one...
Thanks. Looks like I have a steep learning curve at any rate.
Your channel of music is crazy, in the best possible way.
 
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Yup. More specifically, for method one, you can connect the P125 and the Vox to a computer, running an app like Cantabile (Windows), Mainstage (Mac), Gig Performer (Mac or Windows), Keystage (iPad), or Camelot Pro (Mac, Windows, or iPad), and that will allow the Yamaha to trigger the piano sounds from the Vox (as well as letting you trigger other sounds you may have on your Mac/PC/iPad). For method 2, you can get a host adapter like the one at https://kentonuk.com/product/midi-usb-host-mk3/ or similar. P125 should not be an issue as far as class compliance goes. As that site says, Yamahas since 2012 are class compliant.
I am drawn to the stand alone USB midi host method. This way I wouldn't need to drag a computer to gigs. Not sure what the class compliance issue is but it seems like the P-125 is made for USB midi. There are manuals for download on their site. If by chance it wasn't 'class compliant' would it result in the USB midi box not working for me? Or is it some legal thing, like a radio being FAA compliant? Good to be sure of before I plunk down the cash.
 
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I am drawn to the stand alone USB midi host method. This way I wouldn't need to drag a computer to gigs. Not sure what the class compliance issue is but it seems like the P-125 is made for USB midi. There are manuals for download on their site. If by chance it wasn't 'class compliant' would it result in the USB midi box not working for me? Or is it some legal thing, like a radio being FAA compliant? Good to be sure of before I plunk down the cash.

It's class compliant. Google and you'll even see that lots of people use those host boxes (or an iPad, which similarly requires class compliance) with the P-125/P-121 and other modern Yamahas, don't worry about it. But to answer your question, its simply a matter of whether it works or not, nothing legal. The issue is that things that are not class compliant require installing drivers, and there's no way to install a driver on an iPad or one of these standalone host devices.
 
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It's class compliant. Google and you'll even see that lots of people use those host boxes (or an iPad, which similarly requires class compliance) with the P-125/P-121 and other modern Yamahas, don't worry about it. But to answer your question, its simply a matter of whether it works or not, nothing legal. The issue is that things that are not class compliant require installing drivers, and there's no way to install a driver on an iPad or one of these standalone host devices.
Thank you. You're not just another Scott to me. You are a scholar and a gentleman. And thanks for the link. Those devices seem somewhat scarce. I saw that the same device is on Amazon for $150 but the British company sells it at about 79 English pounds. Do you think it's about the same when you figure out exchange rates, shipping, and VAT?
 
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I don't know what the price difference would be, but there are cheaper ones from other companies. Kenton is kind of king of the hill on these things, with products that are reliable, updated, well supported. But if you're in the U.S., you can try a cheaper one from Amazon where, if, for whatever reason, it ends up not working for you, you can return for free, so I guess it couldn't hurt to try one of those first.
 
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I don't know what the price difference would be, but there are cheaper ones from other companies. Kenton is kind of king of the hill on these things, with products that are reliable, updated, well supported. But if you're in the U.S., you can try a cheaper one from Amazon where, if, for whatever reason, it ends up not working for you, you can return for free, so I guess it couldn't hurt to try one of those first.
Ooh! Thanks for the link! I looked around on Amazon and didn't see that one. I'll give it a try.
 
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Do you have an iPad?

If you do then buy a genuine Apple Camera Adaptor for it c$40 or £40 and connect that up to your existing keyboard.

I did just that with the Yamaha P121 that I had for a couple of years, it worked well and there are hundreds of music Apps available for an iPad.
 

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