Very Basic Noob Questions

Discussion in 'MIDI' started by kmonroe99, Aug 23, 2018.

  1. kmonroe99

    kmonroe99

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    I'm just getting started with digital keyboards and MIDI, for home playing, not gigging. I've seen keyboards that have the ability to layer multiple sounds and split the keyboard with different layers in each split... or maybe it's just one sound for the left hand and 2 sounds for the right. The sound is output to either internal speakers or external monitors. My basic question is can I do same with MIDI only using VST instruments and sounds?

    I'm *very* generally familiar with some VST stuff like NI Kontakt and Pianoteq; I've worked a little DAWs like Reaper and Garageband. I use an iMac and already have powered monitors. I have Mainstage 3 installed but I'm clueless about it's use at the moment - I'm trying to find good videos/tutorials. Are there other software products that maybe I should check out? For example, if I like a lot of the NI instruments, can I just use the Kontakt player to layer stuff?

    I'm also in the process of evaluating new keyboards, including MIDI only. I think I prefer a keyboard that has it's own sounds so that I can just sit down and play when I feel like it. I supposed if I have my MIDI stuff setup correctly maybe I could do the same just with MIDI. I've seen some keyboards that say you can assign up to 4 MIDI zones on the keyboard. I assume this might be helpful when playing multiple instruments?

    Thanks
     
    kmonroe99, Aug 23, 2018
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  2. kmonroe99

    happyrat1 Destroyer of Eardrums!!!

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    The multiple zones are generally assigned to splits and layers each zone on it's own MIDI channel.

    As for panning? I know I can do it in my ancient Cakewalk HS 9.01 just by setting the PAN parameter for any channel to any value between 1 and 127.

    Other than that though, I'm strictly a hardware synth guy. I tend to find VSTs crash if you look at them wrong, especially under Linux.

    Gary ;)
     
    happyrat1, Aug 23, 2018
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  3. kmonroe99

    Biggles

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    There are a few different types of keyboard.

    Of these two are probably of more interest to you.

    Arrangers and Workstations.

    Arrangers range from cheap Yamaha PSR E models up to their Genos with its eye watering cost.

    Arrangers basically split the keyboard in two with the left hand playing chords that initiate an automatic playback of the selected Style of song, with the fight hand playing a melody or accompanying score, usually the keyboard split is in two allthough the split point can be moved you can be limited to the two split. This type of keyboard is very popular with beginners since it means you can produce readonable music very quickly.

    Workstations are more the instrument for a more creative player and a keyboard can be split into multiple zones with a different instrument voice in each zone. A gogging player will tend to use a Workstation.

    That said there is considerable overlap with many Synth features also existing on both types.

    Whilst not suggesting that either these two keyboards are for you if you do look at the video tutorials then they will help give a grounding on the fatures you can get and their format is better than other manufactures since they are sequential in how they sould be viewed. So do have a look through two or three of the videos related to each keyboard, they can be found in Google via Korg Video Manual PA700 and Korg Video Manual Kross 2. Or via links below.

    Arranger


    Workstation/Synth


    Whilst I am relatively new myself to MIDI it is obvious to me that a dedicated controller keyboard would be less problematic than using an Arranger or Workstation as a controller with the likes of a controller by Novation being fully integrated out of the box with Ableton Lite DAW.
     
    Biggles, Aug 23, 2018
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  4. kmonroe99

    SeaGtGruff I meant to play that note! Moderator

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    Yes, you can do that. As is usually the case when trying to solve a problem, there are a few different ways you can do it.

    For instance, some keyboards can do splits and layers-- or the more general approach, zones for which you can assign ranges of keys thereby letting you use them for splits or layers or both. But other keyboards might not have that ability, or might be more limited in how many you can use, etc.

    The approach I like to use requires only one MIDI channel on the keyboard controller. In the DAW you can create as many MIDI tracks as you plan to use, assign each one to use the same MIDI Input Device and MIDI Input Channel, but then use the DAW's MIDI effects functions to filter the incoming events based on the Note ranges. For instance, you could have one track accepting Note events ranging from 0 through 48, another accepting Notes ranging from 49 through 72, etc. You can have two or more tracks accepting the same range of Notes, which would layer those tracks together. Or you can have two or more tracks accepting different, non-overlapping ranges of Notes, which would create splits.

    Then you assign each track's to go to a different output, whether it's a specific channel on the keyboard or a specific virtual instrument in the DAW.
     
    SeaGtGruff, Aug 23, 2018
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  5. kmonroe99

    kmonroe99

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    Are there DAW's/software that's better or worse at doing this? I'm just starting to get familiar with Mainstage to see how it handles this.
     
    kmonroe99, Aug 23, 2018
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  6. kmonroe99

    SeaGtGruff I meant to play that note! Moderator

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    My favorite DAW for this sort of thing is Acoustica Mixcraft, mainly because I can use a single MIDI track to play several different MIDI channels on my keyboard and/or several different virtual instrument plug-ins, splitting and/or layering everything together as desired-- and then I can save the track's setup as a preset. Mixcraft even has a Performance Panel which is similar to Ableton Live's clip-launching mode.

    In most other DAWs, I think you would need to use multiple MIDI tracks to do the same thing.

    On the other hand, Mixcraft doesn't handle SysEx messages natively, and its MIDI filtering and processing functions don't seem to be as comprehensive and powerful as, say, the MIDI effects plug-in that's in Steinberg Cubase.

    But the 64-bit version of Mixcraft lets you use either 32-bit or 64-bit plug-ins, whereas most 64-bit DAWs won't let you use 32-bit plug-ins unless you set up a third-party "bridge" program for that purpose (such as jBridge).

    However, Mixcraft is available only for Windows, and I gather that you're using a Mac, so it would be of no use to you unless you've got a virtual Windows machine running on your Mac. But I think that most commercial DAWs should be able to do this sort of thing-- it's just a question of how easy or difficult it is to do so, as well as how simple or sophisticated the MIDI filtering capabilities are.
     
    SeaGtGruff, Aug 23, 2018
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