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Dedicated keyboard for keyswitches
Last post Sat, Aug 22 2015 by Cyril Blanc, 16 replies.
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Posted on Thu, Aug 20 2015 14:48
by AberforthD
Joined on Sun, Oct 21 2012, Posts 12

Hello,

I am using a keyboard of the brand Novation Impulse with 61 keys so it ranges from C2 to C7. The reason for not having an 88-key version is that I simply don't have enough space for such a wide keyboard. This worked fine so far because most instruments only use 3 or 4 octaves so I have 1 octave left over to assign keyswitches. For example, the violas start at C3 so I have C2 to B2 to assign keyswitches. The cellos start at C2 so I assign the key switches from C6 to B6. For very low instruments such as the bassoons and the double basses I transpose the midi track an octave down so I can press the C2 key and hear C1 while the keyswitches are on the highest octave. Similar for high instruments such as the piccolo, but the other way round.

Having 12 keys for the keyswitches worked fine until now. For most instruments I work with 2 matrices of size 5x5 so I assign C to E for the horizontal switch, F to A for the vertical switch, Ab and A for the A/B switch, and Bb and B to switch between the 2 matrices.

However, I'd like to add more matrices, possibly of larger size than 5x5 so I don't have enough keys anymore. I know I can switch matrices with program changes, but I don't like to use program changes. I also don't like to use other CC to move through the matrices themselves. Keyswitches are my preferred way to work. So, I am now considering to buy a small 25 key keyboard which I will put on a small desk next to me, perpendicular to the larger keyboard. Does somebody have experience with such a set-up? Would it be best to connect both keyboards to a separate USB slot, can I use a USB splitter, or would it be better to connect the small keyboard with a MIDI cable to the large keyboard? (in case it's relevant to know: my DAW is Cubase)

As I will only use it for keyswitches and not for actual playing I don't need weighted keys or things such a pitch or modulation wheel. Nor any other CC. Just the 25 keys and the possibility to transpose octaves up or down would be sufficient. My eye fell on a cheap AKAI LPK25. Can somebody recommend this or another keyboard for my purpose? Any other advice for this set-up is welcome.

Thanks,

Arnold

Aberforth D
www.thesoundofopera.com - Backing tracks to opera music
Posted on Fri, Aug 21 2015 03:39
by Cyril Blanc
Joined on Thu, Dec 19 2002, Paris France, Posts 2682

Hello

I was also looking for a solution ; I want to be able to play VSL instrument live with my band.

I have find this  :

KOMPLETE KONTROL S-Series keyboards

at : http://www.native-instruments.com/en/

 

They are working on improving the software and a new version is promised for "end summer" 

The big question : Is it possible that VSL sends the instrument range, the keyswitches places to the Komplete Kontrol ?

 

Because today it is a mess to play the instrument live as you have to remember what is the instrument range and where are it's keyswitches and if you use Dimension instruments it is even worse as you have the extra keyswitches.

Imagine the problem if you play with two keyboards !

I have ask to VSL to have a set of VI to play live where keyswitches are always at the same place 

Let see if they can 

MacBook Pro 2019 16" + 2 x Odisseey G9 49" Big Sur
MacPro 2010 12 core 2.93 ghz 64 GB Mac OS X 10.11 2722 Rocket Raid Sata III card with 8 x ssd
VSL lib on a Raid 0 of 4 x 256 GB ssd Sata III - Raid 0 of 4 x 64 GB for other libs
System on a 1 TB ssd
Audio Motu PCI system 84 ins / 64 outs
Kbd : P80 Yamaha, S88 and S25 Komplete Kontrol, DX7
I-Controls Pro, 2xMidi expression pedals
Synth : many....
---
Macbook pro Retina 2.7 ghz 16 GB
---
Mac Mini server 10.10 (server, Itunes, WEB, and Backup )
--
Logic X , Dorico, Band In A Box, ORB Composer
VSL : MIR PRO, Appassionata Strings I, Solo strings , Wind and Brass Complete, Dimension Brass, Big Band Orchestra series
Kontakt, Omnisphere, QLSO, QLSC, CS 80, Arturia V5, Maximo, Realivox Blue. CS 80 V3, The Orchestra 2, Art Conductor 5, Genesis Children Choir, Lunaris, Lacrimosa

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Posted on Fri, Aug 21 2015 08:12
by AberforthD
Joined on Sun, Oct 21 2012, Posts 12

My hope is that the 2nd keyboard (the one with only 25 keys) will actually make things less messy. The keyswitches can then be assigned to sub-bass notes (MIDI keys 0 to 20) which is below the lowest instrument in the normal playing range, so the keyswitches can be in the same place for all instruments. I am designing a set of matrices that are as consistent as possible across all instruments. So I'd like to hear other people's experience with such a set-up (if technically feasible in the first place).

A.

Aberforth D
www.thesoundofopera.com - Backing tracks to opera music
Posted on Fri, Aug 21 2015 09:41
by westwoodi
Joined on Tue, Feb 28 2006, UK, Posts 24

Hello

It's rare that I post, but I saw your question, and for once I can offer some experience! I use a Novation Impulse 49 as my main keyboard for playing at my computer (a PC). I map all of my VI matrices starting at the lowest note (C-1), and over time, have tested two small format 25 key keyboards that I use for keyswitching only. Namely the Akai LPK25, and the Korg MicroKey25. Here are the pros and cons as I see them:

Akai LPK25 Pros:

  • Very compact (Both in area and height)
  • You can create four presets which can be accessed from the front panel buttons. Importantly for me, the preset can define the octave offset. I only use one preset, but when the unit powers, that reset is restored.

Cons:

  • The octave Up/Down buttons are single colour. They are both off when there is no octave offset, but lit when there is. It is therefore not possible to see whether the offset is 1, 2, 3 etc. This is not a problem the way I use it though since I use the preset to control the octave offset.
  • The buttons/LEDs are very bright when lit! In fact, I have taken mine apart and made a hardware modification to dim them.

Korg MicroKey25 Pros:

  • Slightly more rugged construction than the Akai (but not significantly so though)
  • The keys feel a bit nicer, they are not as springy as the Akai. For the purpose of key switching though I don't think this is an issue.
  • Octave offset has tri-colour LEDs
  • Has a decent (though small) joystick which can be useful at time (Not for keyswitching though obviously)

Cons:

  • Although the octave buttons are tri-colour, when set to start at the bottom note I use, the LED flashed red since three colours are not enough. I find this very annoying.
  • There is one stored configuration which can be set from the editor, but this does not include the octave offset. I found myself always forgetting to set the correct octave every time I turned it on.
  • More expensive than the Akai
  • Takes up more desk space than the Akai

So I prefer the Akai for this function. I just feed it into a USB hub and leave it connected all the time. I have been happy working that way and not experienced any down sides when using it with Cubase.

I hope that helps

Ian

Posted on Fri, Aug 21 2015 10:04
by DG
Joined on Wed, May 12 2004, Posts 8608

Originally Posted by: AberforthD Go to Quoted Post

My hope is that the 2nd keyboard (the one with only 25 keys) will actually make things less messy. The keyswitches can then be assigned to sub-bass notes (MIDI keys 0 to 20) which is below the lowest instrument in the normal playing range, so the keyswitches can be in the same place for all instruments. I am designing a set of matrices that are as consistent as possible across all instruments. So I'd like to hear other people's experience with such a set-up (if technically feasible in the first place).

A.

I used to use a second keyboard for keyswitches and it worked very well. However, as my template grew in complexity I moved over to using a Lemur instead (a proper Lemur; not that iCr*p). It still sends KS MIDI data, but has just allowed me more options.

As far as what KS I use, they are pretty much the same for all instruments. Obviously somethings don't translate, but most settings do, so I know, for example, that anything on C is legato, C# sustain, D staccato etc. I thine use KS an octave above in order to select what variation or the particular articulation I want.

DG

Nuendo 6.03, 4.3
2 x Intel Xeon x5675 3.07GHz Hex Core
48GB RAM
Windows 7 (x64)Pro
RME Multiface II
Intensity
ATI HD5400 series graphics card
Posted on Fri, Aug 21 2015 11:28
by westwoodi
Joined on Tue, Feb 28 2006, UK, Posts 24

I experienced a similar issue to DG in the limit on accessing the extensive articulation choices in VSL. I therefore use a kind of two tier approach; also using Lemur, (but not a proper one, just the iCr*p  )

I have each matrix selected via the keyswitch. Like DG I always use the same mapping, eg Legato on C-1, Sus on C#-1, Stac on D, etc. I then control the X-axis with a CC. I put the main patch associated with the articulation in the first cell of the matrix, and then alternatives along the X-axis (different lengths, perf reps etc).

Assuming the x-axis CC is set to zero I can play live and use the second keyboard to switch articulations. I can then tweak the CC afterwards in Cubase to select alternative patches or use my Lemur template. That is set up to show all patches, and when I select a particular patch it sends out both the keyswitch and the CC value.

I hope that makes sense! For me, I have found it to be reasonably successful, so I just suggest it as an idea to consider.

Ian

Posted on Fri, Aug 21 2015 15:22
by Cyril Blanc
Joined on Thu, Dec 19 2002, Paris France, Posts 2682

Originally Posted by: westwoodi Go to Quoted Post

 Like DG I always use the same mapping, eg Legato on C-1, Sus on C#-1, Stac on D, etc.

 

This is partially true, look at the different sax and .... , they have different keyswitches

Also with "bass" instruments have there KS at C6/C8

MacBook Pro 2019 16" + 2 x Odisseey G9 49" Big Sur
MacPro 2010 12 core 2.93 ghz 64 GB Mac OS X 10.11 2722 Rocket Raid Sata III card with 8 x ssd
VSL lib on a Raid 0 of 4 x 256 GB ssd Sata III - Raid 0 of 4 x 64 GB for other libs
System on a 1 TB ssd
Audio Motu PCI system 84 ins / 64 outs
Kbd : P80 Yamaha, S88 and S25 Komplete Kontrol, DX7
I-Controls Pro, 2xMidi expression pedals
Synth : many....
---
Macbook pro Retina 2.7 ghz 16 GB
---
Mac Mini server 10.10 (server, Itunes, WEB, and Backup )
--
Logic X , Dorico, Band In A Box, ORB Composer
VSL : MIR PRO, Appassionata Strings I, Solo strings , Wind and Brass Complete, Dimension Brass, Big Band Orchestra series
Kontakt, Omnisphere, QLSO, QLSC, CS 80, Arturia V5, Maximo, Realivox Blue. CS 80 V3, The Orchestra 2, Art Conductor 5, Genesis Children Choir, Lunaris, Lacrimosa

Final Cut pro
Camera full HD
Posted on Fri, Aug 21 2015 15:32
by westwoodi
Joined on Tue, Feb 28 2006, UK, Posts 24

Hi Cyril,

Perhaps I didn't expresss myself very well. What I meant was that I create my own matrices that all use C-1 to A0  as the keyswitches (or C-2 to A-1 depending on what you take to be middle C). I do not use any of the 'out-the-box' presets. For the instruments I use, I think the contra-bassoon is the lowest playable note which runs down to about B-1 (from memory), so anything below that avoids any clashes with my selected keyswitch range.

Posted on Fri, Aug 21 2015 15:41
by DG
Joined on Wed, May 12 2004, Posts 8608

Originally Posted by: westwoodi Go to Quoted Post
I do not use any of the 'out-the-box' presets. For the instruments I use, I think the contra-bassoon is the lowest playable note which runs down to about B-1 (from memory), so anything below that avoids any clashes with my selected keyswitch range.

Yes. me too. I don't think I've ever used the pre-packaged matrices.

DG

Nuendo 6.03, 4.3
2 x Intel Xeon x5675 3.07GHz Hex Core
48GB RAM
Windows 7 (x64)Pro
RME Multiface II
Intensity
ATI HD5400 series graphics card
Posted on Fri, Aug 21 2015 16:01
by AberforthD
Joined on Sun, Oct 21 2012, Posts 12

Hi,

Thanks for all the good advice. This is very helpful. I'm glad to hear that the AKAI LPK25 is a viable option for my purpose. I'm not so sure if the Lemur thingy is suitable for me as I don't do live performances.

Ian, your set-up is pretty much the same to what I have in mind. What I intend to do is to assign the lowest octave (C-1 to B-1) to the horizontal and vertical keyswitches and to assign C0 to G#0 to the matrix switches. Indeed, I believe no instrument gets lower than A0 (the contra-bassoon and of course disregarding the Bosendorfer Imperial).

I would like to keep the 5x5 cell basic lay-out for the matrices so I will assign C--1 to E-1 to the horizontal switch (long notes, short notes, legato performances, short dynamics, repetation performances) and assign the vertical switch to F-1 to A-1 for the various articulations within these group (e.g. fp, sfz, sffz in the short dynamics group).

I would assign the A/B switch to A#-1 and B-1. Then assign C0 to G#0 for the matric switches. It would be C0 for the basic matrix and C#0 for the muted equivalents. Then D0 to the sequenced ornaments such as trills and grace notes with D#0 for their muted quivalents. Then E0 for instrument specific ad hoc purposes. F0 and G0 would be for long dynamics, repetitions, scale runs etc. again with F#0 and G#0 for the mutes. I hope this will give a more consistent and easier to remember lay-out for all instruments.

Good to hear that you people had good experiences with this set-up! Thanks a lot.

A.

Aberforth D
www.thesoundofopera.com - Backing tracks to opera music
Posted on Fri, Aug 21 2015 16:09
by Cyril Blanc
Joined on Thu, Dec 19 2002, Paris France, Posts 2682

Originally Posted by: DG Go to Quoted Post

Originally Posted by: westwoodi Go to Quoted Post
I do not use any of the 'out-the-box' presets. For the instruments I use, I think the contra-bassoon is the lowest playable note which runs down to about B-1 (from memory), so anything below that avoids any clashes with my selected keyswitch range.

Yes. me too. I don't think I've ever used the pre-packaged matrices.

DG

That is great

Are your preset availlable ?

I will love to use them

Thanks in advance

MacBook Pro 2019 16" + 2 x Odisseey G9 49" Big Sur
MacPro 2010 12 core 2.93 ghz 64 GB Mac OS X 10.11 2722 Rocket Raid Sata III card with 8 x ssd
VSL lib on a Raid 0 of 4 x 256 GB ssd Sata III - Raid 0 of 4 x 64 GB for other libs
System on a 1 TB ssd
Audio Motu PCI system 84 ins / 64 outs
Kbd : P80 Yamaha, S88 and S25 Komplete Kontrol, DX7
I-Controls Pro, 2xMidi expression pedals
Synth : many....
---
Macbook pro Retina 2.7 ghz 16 GB
---
Mac Mini server 10.10 (server, Itunes, WEB, and Backup )
--
Logic X , Dorico, Band In A Box, ORB Composer
VSL : MIR PRO, Appassionata Strings I, Solo strings , Wind and Brass Complete, Dimension Brass, Big Band Orchestra series
Kontakt, Omnisphere, QLSO, QLSC, CS 80, Arturia V5, Maximo, Realivox Blue. CS 80 V3, The Orchestra 2, Art Conductor 5, Genesis Children Choir, Lunaris, Lacrimosa

Final Cut pro
Camera full HD
Posted on Fri, Aug 21 2015 16:18
by DG
Joined on Wed, May 12 2004, Posts 8608

Originally Posted by: Cyril Go to Quoted Post

Are your preset availlable ?

I will love to use them

Thanks in advance

Sure. Just let me know what you want. I'll tell you what I've got and we can take it from there. Maybe use PM, save cluttering up this thread.

DG

Nuendo 6.03, 4.3
2 x Intel Xeon x5675 3.07GHz Hex Core
48GB RAM
Windows 7 (x64)Pro
RME Multiface II
Intensity
ATI HD5400 series graphics card
Posted on Fri, Aug 21 2015 19:40
by Bill
Joined on Fri, Sep 23 2005, Berkshires, MA, Posts 1016

A proper Lemur is what, Android?

Finale 25, Sibelius 2018, Notion 6, Overture 5, Cubase 10.5, StaffPad
Win10 x64, 32GB RAM; Focusrite Scarlett 18i20
Kontakt, Bunch of VSL, VIP, VEP, EWQL Orch, Choir and Pianos
August Forster 190
Posted on Fri, Aug 21 2015 21:47
by DG
Joined on Wed, May 12 2004, Posts 8608

Originally Posted by: Bill Go to Quoted Post

A proper Lemur is what, Android?

It's the original hardware, made by JazzMutant.

DG

Nuendo 6.03, 4.3
2 x Intel Xeon x5675 3.07GHz Hex Core
48GB RAM
Windows 7 (x64)Pro
RME Multiface II
Intensity
ATI HD5400 series graphics card
Posted on Sat, Aug 22 2015 11:09
by DG
Joined on Wed, May 12 2004, Posts 8608

Cyril, your Inbox is full.

DG

Nuendo 6.03, 4.3
2 x Intel Xeon x5675 3.07GHz Hex Core
48GB RAM
Windows 7 (x64)Pro
RME Multiface II
Intensity
ATI HD5400 series graphics card
Posted on Sat, Aug 22 2015 11:52
by Cyril Blanc
Joined on Thu, Dec 19 2002, Paris France, Posts 2682

Originally Posted by: DG Go to Quoted Post

Cyril, your Inbox is full.

DG

DG,

There is a 10 MB limit with Numericable

Can you send it to "cbhr" "at" "me" "dot" "com"

 

Many Thanks

Best

 

Cyril

MacBook Pro 2019 16" + 2 x Odisseey G9 49" Big Sur
MacPro 2010 12 core 2.93 ghz 64 GB Mac OS X 10.11 2722 Rocket Raid Sata III card with 8 x ssd
VSL lib on a Raid 0 of 4 x 256 GB ssd Sata III - Raid 0 of 4 x 64 GB for other libs
System on a 1 TB ssd
Audio Motu PCI system 84 ins / 64 outs
Kbd : P80 Yamaha, S88 and S25 Komplete Kontrol, DX7
I-Controls Pro, 2xMidi expression pedals
Synth : many....
---
Macbook pro Retina 2.7 ghz 16 GB
---
Mac Mini server 10.10 (server, Itunes, WEB, and Backup )
--
Logic X , Dorico, Band In A Box, ORB Composer
VSL : MIR PRO, Appassionata Strings I, Solo strings , Wind and Brass Complete, Dimension Brass, Big Band Orchestra series
Kontakt, Omnisphere, QLSO, QLSC, CS 80, Arturia V5, Maximo, Realivox Blue. CS 80 V3, The Orchestra 2, Art Conductor 5, Genesis Children Choir, Lunaris, Lacrimosa

Final Cut pro
Camera full HD
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