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Topic: Midi Controller for Software Instruments

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  1. #1

    Midi Controller for Software Instruments

    Since modern sample librarys and synths get more and more control features,
    I would like to know, what kind of midi-controller do you use to get
    advantage of all the nice control-features that e.g. JABB or CHH have.

    I often hear people say, "I don't wanna tweak too much..."
    Is that a problem with "software" instruments?

    When the first "virtual" analog hardware synths came out,
    it was the fun part to tweak.

    Would you use more midi-controllers if there would be a
    perfect hardware-controller for your sample librarys?

    Chris Hein
    Chris Hein - Horns / Chris Hein - Guitars / Chris Hein - Bass
    http://www.chrishein.net

  2. #2

    Re: Midi Controller for Software Instruments

    Hi chris
    I use the M-Audio oxygen8.
    1 Slider
    2 wheels
    3 buttons
    8 knobs.
    The keyboard is a crappy 24 note plastic piece of junk. But I only use it for the controllers.

    regards Joe

  3. #3

    Re: Midi Controller for Software Instruments

    i use oxygen8 too..


    the 2octave is great for key switching as well



    hats off to you for CHH it's great

  4. #4

    Re: Midi Controller for Software Instruments

    I use keystation Pro 88 and recently got hold of Kore.

    The main reason why I got hold of KPro88 in the first place is due to the large numbers of knobs and faders for me to control, but in actual working situation, I really seldom use them. Maybe it's my style of working, as when inspirations strike fast I don't have or I don't want to put time tweaking the sounds and knobs but rather concentrate fully into my compositions.

    If we're talking about personal projects, yes, I wouldn't mind spend time tweaking them before I start my work... it's great if sometimes you discover some new sounds compared to the presets.

    As for the perfect controller, so far Kore is impressive. By mapping every major parameters of each plugin into the Kore controller I don't have to do the hard work. Coupled with the ability to produce complex layers of plugins together, sometimes just one simple tweak with the knob and I get something new. The drawback of course, is at this moment the plugins that is compatible are a handful.

    So far I'm mainly talking about sound synthesis and electronic sounds, but for orchestral types I found the mapping of the controls for Garritan's Stradivari violin is pretty good. It uses the usual footpedal, footswitch, modulation and aftertouch. I'm think it can be done in Kore as well (I have to check on that).

    To summarize I would use midi controllers if only I have to, in my humble opinion. I prefer spontaneous and smooth workflow.

    I did not have the chance to own your library so I wouldn't know how you mapped them. I almost did as I was looking for a saxaphone library in the past, but I got hold of Liquid sax instead .

    I'm just curious, what sort of hardware controller that you would be visualizing that could make a breakthrough of what we already had?
    Peter Wong
    NEXUSCREATIVE.COM
    MUSIC . SOUND . MULTIMEDIA DESIGN

  5. #5

    Re: Midi Controller for Software Instruments

    I use a Keystation Pro 88 and a Trigger Finger. I am also intrigued by Kore...that might be a new addition soon.
    P4 3.20 GHz, 2GB RAM WinXP Pro SP2, RME Multiface
    Sonar 4 PE, Ableton Live 5, NI Komplete 2/KC 2005, Sound Forge 8, Keysation Pro 88, Trigger Finger

  6. #6
    Senior Member Steve_Karl's Avatar
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    Re: Midi Controller for Software Instruments

    I'm using a Yamaha S90. Pitch and mod wheel and 4 assignable sliders.
    Slider 1 is always assigned to transmit CC:11 which I'll sometimes record during the take and somtimes record on a second pass after the notes are recorded.

  7. #7

    Re: Midi Controller for Software Instruments

    Thanks for your answers,
    the purpose of my question is, I'm looking for an easy way to make every parameter, of my upcomming libarys,
    including effects, filters articulation-controls and stuff controllable.

    Quote Originally Posted by nexuscreative
    I don't want to put time tweaking the sounds and knobs but rather concentrate fully into my compositions.
    Thats absolutely right.
    The composition process is not the right time to care about the sound.
    But when it comes to arranging and mixing you might want to have
    access to some controller like articulation tweaking, effects, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by nexuscreative
    As for the perfect controller, so far Kore is impressive.
    Hm, I don't think Kore is a good midi controller.
    Just 8 knobs and no chance to control external devices.

    Quote Originally Posted by nexuscreative
    By mapping every major parameters of each plugin into the Kore controller I don't have to do the hard work.
    8! not every major.
    And no labels, no keyswitches, no faders...

    Quote Originally Posted by nexuscreative
    I found the mapping of the controls for Garritan's Stradivari violin is pretty good. It uses the usual footpedal, footswitch, modulation and aftertouch.
    Yes, the programming of the stradivari is really good.
    But what if modwheel is used for vibrato, footpedal for sustain, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by nexuscreative
    I'm just curious, what sort of hardware controller that you would be visualizing that could make a breakthrough of what we already had?
    I am throwing an eye on the Evolution UC-33e. (about 200$)
    http://www.midiman.de/evouc33e.htm

    It has enough sliders and knobs, and the possibility to use custom overlays for each library
    But it does't have enough buttons for keyswitches and no LCDs (wich keeps it cheap)

    I'm thinking about doing a customized version for all my instruments.
    Thats the purpose of my question.
    IMO it would be great to have labeled sliders and knobs.
    Imagine a knob thats called Attack control, Release Control, Reverb, Chorus, EQ...

    Any more thought or hints for me about the way You use hardware-controllers.

    Thanks again,

    Chris Hein
    Chris Hein - Horns / Chris Hein - Guitars / Chris Hein - Bass
    http://www.chrishein.net

  8. #8

    Re: Midi Controller for Software Instruments

    I wanted to buy that evolution thingie some time ago. The sales person in the music shop told me that it is "no longer produced or supported, obsolete and a thing of the past". I then bought a Behringer BCF2000 and am more or less happy with it.

    So I suggest you do some research into the UC-33e and other options. I also am still searching for my perfect MIDI-Controller with pitchbend wheel.
    Greetings from Vienna!
    Peter
    My website: Above the staff.net

  9. #9

    Re: Midi Controller for Software Instruments

    Hi Chris,

    I think maybe I was a bit off topic - why Kore's great is because it's a revolutionary product - a plugin host and powerful sound design tool. It intergrates its own hardware and software in a package that automatically maps all the important settings for NI plugins (and some 3rd party plugins) to its knobs hence narrowing down the time used to tweak and create new sounds.

    In addition, Kore controller has 1 pedal and 2 footswitches input, and I can connect my keystation pro 88 midi out to kore's hardware contorller midi in, which means I can use my Keystation's knobs to midi learn additional Kore's settings if I want to.

    In Kore controller it has a screen that shows the name of the settings you are tweaking.

    As a hardware controller, yes it doesn't have enough sliders, knobs, etc, but what it did was, to minimize the use of numerous controls and narrowed it down to 8. Kore can be as simple as it gets and yet it can go very deep as well, and that's the power of it.

    The question now is, do we really need so many knobs?

    Just like Stradivari, from numerous techniques of real violin playing it managed to narrow down to just a few controllers which is something we should not take for granted. There are certain playing techiniques still need practicing, but at least I can see the result after a day's session. I own a second hand VL-1 and IMHO, the learning curve is steeper compared to controlling some instruments these days.

    I used to spend hours in VL-1 trying to play the saxaphone patch realistically and now I don't even need to do that (but I have to admit, I've still a long way to go from mastering the VL-1 and I haven't touch that synth for few years now).

    Besides the sound itself, technology has narrowed down the use of multiple midi controllers which could be redundant these days.

    Imagine if you have a controller that could control the aftertouch and modulation together - example, a wheel or a knob that can be "pressed" as well (eg. a mousescroll button). Speaking about it, why not have a controller that resembles a mouse? Aftertouch is mapped to its mouse scroll button. Measured by the strength when you press, and the mouse scroll itself for the modulation. The movement of the mouse x and y axis controls the vibrato rate and expression simultaneously. Just a thought of mine .

    Anyway, I'm sure we'll end up with people with different needs and opinions of a hardware controller. For me, the less the better (and yet retains its expressiveness - wishful thinking ) and more time to spend on the music itself.
    Peter Wong
    NEXUSCREATIVE.COM
    MUSIC . SOUND . MULTIMEDIA DESIGN

  10. #10

    Re: Midi Controller for Software Instruments

    Depending on what you are going to use it for, Kore is kind of overkill. For live gigging, I wholeheartedly reccomend you check out brainspawn's "forte" (www.brainspawn.com). IMHO its the best piece of software for live performing with plugins. Kore does a lot of other stuff...but its so over the top and loses the simplistic elegeance that makes Brainspawn's product perfect for live gigging.
    "Music is a manifestation of the human spirit similar to a language. If we do not want such things to remain dead treasures, we must do our utmost to make the greatest number of people understand their secrets" -- Zoltan Kodaly

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