Please help me hear my midi keyboard


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Hi there

Complete Midi novice here. I have two teens who want to play a keyboard. Years ago my ex used to have a Midi keyboard a Roland PC 200 MK II and so I've dug it out of the loft.

I know just enough to know that a Midi keyboard only sends information to a PC and that the PC needs a piece of software in order to convert that information into a sound that it can produce through its speakers and that is me done on midi knowledge.

I've bought the keyboard a midi to USB cable and I downloaded Midi-OX (which I read somewhere would show me if the Midi signals were getting through). If I connect the keyboard to my laptop and press keys on it loads of information begins to show on the Midi OX screen so I think Midi signals are getting through to the computer. The cable has two Midi ends and one USB, but the keyboard only has one cable output that matches the pins on the Midi end of the cable. I get the signals on Midi-OX with one of the Midi ends plugged into the keyboard, but not the other so I've made the assumption that it will all function with just that one cable end plugged in.

So if we assume that my Midi signals are making it through to the PC could someone here please help me hear them. We aren't going to get into laying down tracks and mixing music, the kids just want to use the keyboard as a 'piano' i.e. press keys and hear the music in real-time.

I've downloaded a couple of free Midi software things - Studio One 3 x64, Anvil Studio, but don't know enough about them to know if they will do what I want or how to make them work to hear a realtime note press on the keyboard.

I am trying on a Portable running Windows 7 (as this seemed the simplest system to make work) or also have a desktop running Windows 8.1 - instructions for either both would be great.

If I am unlikely to make such an old keyboard work then this would also be great to know hopefully whilst I still have some hair left!

With many thanks
 
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happyrat1

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It sounds like you have the keyboard properly hooked up if MIDI Ox is getting the signals.

What you need are a VSTi Host program and some VSTi plugins to make sound.

Google these and search on youtube how to use them.

There's plenty of free software out there to make these work for you for free.

Gary ;)
 
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Thanks happyrat1, I downloaded Mulab the other day is that a VSTi program as you describe above? I couldn't make that work at the time, perhaps because I haven't looked at any instructions and was trying to fathom it out from first principles - I did hope it would all sort of be self-explanatory as most computer software usually is. Perhaps I need to do the equivalent of RTFM
 
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Hi Gary, Thanks for the links. This grasshopper feels like she has been stomped on by a pair of size 10 boots though. I watched I listened, I replicated, the windows speaker setting are showing the VST host at 100% output, there are no headphones plugged in, other windows sounds are working, I've even added the .dll for a something called neo_piano_mini(x64).dll (portable is 64 bit), then if I run up the vst host I can't see the synthesiser like he does on the video, I can see a virtual keyboard, but even if I click on it I still can't hear the sound on the PC.

How difficult can this be................ At this rate I shan't need to visit a hairdresser for the next 6 months!
 
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SeaGtGruff

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Since you've already got Studio One installed, following are some written instructions on how to get started playing some sounds with it.

Make sure your Roland keyboard controller is connected to the computer and turned on (if it has a power switch).

Start up Studio One. On the "Start" screen, at the bottom center, look for the link that says "Configure External Devices..." and click on it. It should pop up the "Options" window with "External Devices" highlighted. I'm assuming you don't have the keyboard set up yet.

Click the "Add..." button and the "Add Device" window will pop up. If the manufacturer is listed, you can see if the device is listed; in this case, Roland isn't listed, so you'll need to add the device manually. There are three choices:

"New Keyboard" -- Use this for a keyboard that you want to use for MIDI input (i.e., to send MIDI to Studio One).

"New Instrument" -- Use this for a keyboard or sound module that you want to use for MIDI output (i.e., to receive MIDI from Studio One).

"New Control Surface" -- Use this for a non-keyboard control device that you want to use for MIDI input.

If you have a keyboard that can generate its own sounds, you can set it up as either a keyboard or an instrument (or both) depending on whether you want to use it for MIDI input or MIDI output (or both). In your case, since your Roland is just a keyboard controller and doesn't generate its own sounds, you want to set it up as a keyboard.

Click on the "New Keyboard" option. In the upper right, click in the "Manufacturer" field and enter "Roland," then click in the "Device Name" field and enter "PC-200 MK II" (or however else you want to see it show up in the device list). All 16 MIDI Channels should be selected (blue). Click on the "Receive From" field and choose the device (if it's turned on and its driver is installed, it should show up in the dropdown list, but I don't know what it will be called). Leave the "Filter" boxes unchecked, and leave "Send To" set to "None." You'll probably want to check the "Split Channels" box so you can play more than one sound by using a split, and you'll also probably want to check the "Default Instrument Input" box. Click the "OK" button when you're done.

The keyboard should now show up in the "Options" window. Click the "OK" button to close the window.

Now you can play with the keyboard. In the upper left of the "Start" screen, click on the "Create a new Song" link. When the "New Song" window pops up you can specify a "Song Title" and other options (e.g., "Tempo" and "Time Signature") if you wish, but for now just leave it on "Empty Song" and click the "OK" button to accept the defaults.

The next screen is where you actually create a new song, but in this case we'll just use it for playing some sounds. You'll need to add a MIDI track for each sound you want to play. Click on the "Track" menu and select "Add Tracks." In the "Add Tracks" popup window, click on the "Input" dropdown box, select your Roland keyboard, and select "CH 1." Next to "Output," select "New Instrument," then click on the dropdown box that says "None," select "Presence," and click on the "OK" button.

You can now play the PreSonus "Presence" instrument, but there's one small problem-- you need to select a sound to use. In the track info on the left side of the screen, click on the icon that looks like part of a keyboard (some white keys with three black keys) and it will display the screen for the Presence instrument. In the upper left corner of the screen is a dropdown box that says "default" (directly above where it says "Copy" and "Paste"). Click on that dropdown box and select "Artist Instruments," which will show a list of folders for different categories of instrument sounds. For now, select the "Keyboards" folder and select "Grand Piano," then click in the center of the screen to make the dropdown list go away. You can now close the "Instruments" popup window if you wish, or just leave it open.

Now you have sound! :) You can play the piano, or switch to some other instrument sound. Have fun!

EDIT: By the way, you will probably run into a thing called "latency," which is where you bang on a key on the keyboard but it takes a little while-- hopefully no longer than a fraction of a second, but that's too long-- before the computer plays the corresponding sound. If your laptop has a really nice sound card in it, it might be ASIO compatible. But if it isn't (which is likely), you can download and install a free utility called ASIO4ALL that will help reduce the latency. What you would do, after you install ASIO4ALL, is click on "Configure Audio Device..." on the Studio One "Start" screen, click on the "Audio Device" dropdown box and select "ASIO4ALL v2" from the list, then click on the "OK" button. Then you should be able to play the keyboard and get a virtually instantaneous response (there will still be some latency, but it should be so small that you won't be able to notice it).
 
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SeaGtGruff - those instructions went swimmingly well (and I thank you for the time it must have taken to write them) until it came to "
In the upper left corner of the screen is a dropdown box that says "default" (directly above where it says "Copy" and "Paste"). Click on that dropdown box and select "Artist Instruments," which will show a list of folders for different categories of instrument sounds. For now, select the "Keyboards" folder and select "Grand Piano," then click in the center of the screen to make the dropdown list go away. You can now close the "Instruments" popup window if you wish, or just leave it open."

I found the box that said 'default' but there are no other options to click when I drop the box open - it just says 'default' - no folder options to find 'keyboard' etc. in. So there the success ended - no instruments - no sound. Could this be because I have only downloaded a free trial copy of Studio 1? I'm more than willing to have another shot at it if you have a further solution to try. NB. I did already install Asio4all on the portable when I was investigating downloads earlier.

happyrat1 - I started to sort through the trouble shooting advice on that Google link you did for me. I got as far as downloading and trying something called vista_midi.zip. I ran that on the Windows 97 portable and selected the option it gave me. I then rebotted started to run through all the downloaded software from earlier. I got to Anvil Studio and ran up 'practice' mode and all of a sudden I had real time sound from a key press on the Roland keyboard :-D So that's given me an option on the portable. Now I guess I need to see if I can make it work on the 8.1 desktop. I will report back with success or failure in case it is useful to anyone.
 

SeaGtGruff

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Try the following: In the right-hand panel you should see "Instruments." Click on that and you should see "PreSonus." Click on that and you should see "Presence." Click on that and you should see "Artist Instruments." If you don't see it, you could try uninstalling the trial version and then installing the free version from the link below.

https://shop.presonus.com/products/studio-one-prods/Studio-One-3-Prime
 
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Just had a quick look at the thread, but a lot of keyboards etc need drivers to communicate with a computer. But unfortunately there doesn't appear to be any drivers for that particular keyboard on the Roland site, I noticed a number of people looking for drivers for the pc 200 mkii. Hopefully you find one.
 

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