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Topic: Keyboard controller questions...

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  1. #1

    Keyboard controller questions...

    Hi, my name is Lister and I am a guitar player......... and a Spectrasonics addict.

    So not being a keyboard player and wanting to compose using super nice sounding sample libraries like these, and notation software as well...... I got into a guitar synth setup years ago. This started out as a Yamaha setup and evolved into a Godin guitar with the Ghost Modular pickups and an Axon AX100MkII guitar to MIDI converter.

    I cannot get past a huge problem......latency! With my little 49 Key Edirol keyboard controller and the MIDI guitar following the same path, same MIDI interface etc, the Edirlol has no latency problems. With the guitar I have to reduce my buffer size in Pro Tools to around 64 and of course now the soft synth sounds like crap.

    So I want to get an 88 key controller but do not want to spend a lot. $400 would be my max but under $300 would be better.

    How about the Yamaha KX8? This is on sale right now, discontinued, for $299.

    It does not have aftertouch and cannot transit MIDI on the USB and MIDI out at the same time.

    Does anyone have any advice, have a particular brand/model they would like to suggest and have any comments on whether AT and any other features are critical?

    It's late in life but with the help of some Ritalin and perseverance I want to try learn to play keys as I go....at least get a basic handle on chords for rhythm parts and be able to play in bass lines using Trilian. Pads are easier and sound design is not too hard using huge pads like in Omnisphere..... but I would like to learn to play basic piano/keys.

    Thanks.
    2.66GHz MacPro Quad|6GB RAM|OSX10.6.4| 2.4 GHz MacBook Pro|4GB RAM|OSX 10.6.4|Pro Tools 9 w/CPTK|Digi 002R, Eleven Rack, MBox2 Mini|Garritan-GPO4, J&BB| Reason 4|Spectrasonics-Omnisphere, Stylus RMX, Trilian|Drumcore3, Discrete Drums|Toontrack-Superior Drummer, EZ Drummer|Sibelius 6|Izotope-Ozone4, RX2|String Studio|EastWest-Silk, VOP, Symphonic Choirs, RA, Gypsy, Stormdrum2, Fab Four|Reaper|

  2. #2

    Re: Keyboard controller questions...

    Hi Lister,

    I too am a guitarist with a synth setup. I use a Godin Freeway Guitar running through a Roland GI-20 midi interface. It works very well. No latency problems at all.

    I have a a M-Audio Key Rig 49 keyboard controller and also wish to upgrade to 88 keys. Based on the problem free experience I have had with the 49, and its reasonable price, I have decided to go with the M-audio Keystation 88es.

    http://www.m-audio.ca/products/en_ca...ation88es.html

    Regards John

  3. #3

    Re: Keyboard controller questions...

    Quote Originally Posted by halftone View Post
    Hi Lister,I too am a guitarist with a synth setup. I use a Godin Freeway Guitar running through a Roland GI-20 midi interface. It works very well. No latency problems at all.
    Hi Halftone, nice to make your acquaintance. That is interesting that you have no latency. This Axon AX100MkII is supposed to be really good but honestly I feel I made a huge mistake buying it.

    I too have a Freeway SA....so does John McLaughlin...someone I really admire. I bought my SA a while ago so I was thrilled to see JM had taken up playing one. He too uses the GI-20 I think. He plays super fast and intricate lines and seems to have no latency also. It is so frustrating. I believe he uses Logic.

    So the important questions are what sequencer do you use and whether you are a Mac user? What MIDI interface etc etc?

    I use Pro Tools and I fear this is part of the problem. The whole RTAS deal.

    Does your sequencer have buffer settings and what do you run at getting no latency? Are you running soft samplers like Omni and Trilian?

    No latency...... wow I could use that.

    I would love to get info on your setup......I have been obsessed with getting my guitar synth working but it has been very disappointing so far. I bought Sibelius 5 thinking I could input with it but the latency and glitches just kill it.

    I would really appreciate it if you could give me some info on your setup. Maybe it is as simple as me tossing that Axon and getting the Roland.

    Thanks for your time.
    2.66GHz MacPro Quad|6GB RAM|OSX10.6.4| 2.4 GHz MacBook Pro|4GB RAM|OSX 10.6.4|Pro Tools 9 w/CPTK|Digi 002R, Eleven Rack, MBox2 Mini|Garritan-GPO4, J&BB| Reason 4|Spectrasonics-Omnisphere, Stylus RMX, Trilian|Drumcore3, Discrete Drums|Toontrack-Superior Drummer, EZ Drummer|Sibelius 6|Izotope-Ozone4, RX2|String Studio|EastWest-Silk, VOP, Symphonic Choirs, RA, Gypsy, Stormdrum2, Fab Four|Reaper|

  4. #4

    Re: Keyboard controller questions...

    Hi Lister,

    I bought my Godin earlier this year. I researched what was available and soon became convinced that a roland synth interface with a Godin midi-ready guitar was the way to go.

    At that time I had no idea that John McLaughlin was using a GI-20 with the Freeway. When I did come across this information my mind was made up and I bought them. I have no regrets.

    I run Vista 64 on a Quad Core 2.4 originally with 4G ram and just recently upgraded to 8G ram. My DAW is Sonar 8. My Sound Card is an Edirol FA-66 which is Firewire. I was using the USB version of this audio interface and had lots of latency with pops and crackles. After upgrading to the fire wire all difficulties were resolved. I use Asio drivers.

    My Godin runs into the GI-20 and exits to plug into the FA-66. All by midi connection. The FA-66 connects by Firewire to my computer. It was pretty much plug and play except that the supplied Roland GI-20 drivers gave me problems and so I used the native windows drivers that work perfectly.

    As you know, even without latency to deal with, playing the MIDI Guitar is a bit challenging. Tracking is a constant consideration. Playing as clean as possible is very helpful. I don't change my strings as often as I should and so this also contributes to some tracking problems.

    I find a keyboard controller is really required to get the most from a system. The Midi Guitar is a wonderful luxury and I love it but the Keyboard does the bulk of the work in my midi recording. Usually I save my Guitars for the Audio Tracks.

    I wish I knew how JM gets such fluidity in his playing without tracking problems. It must be his long term experience with Midi Guitar. As he was there on the ground floor to start he must be in heaven with what he can use now. I think I read that he also uses Amplitude from IK multi media. I have Guitar Rig 4 as well as Amplitude 2. They are really good.

    I have Omnisphere and East West products along with others. I have yet to test Omnisphere but I have not found one software that does not work well with my Midi-Guitar set-up.

    I am getting older, 57 right now, so I want to be sure to enjoy all the benefits of new technology while I can.

    Lister what type of music do you like to write?


    Regards John

  5. #5

    Re: Keyboard controller questions...

    I just tested guitar midi control for omnisphere. Yipes.......quite nice. Doubled it with an amplitude patch very pleasing.

  6. #6

    Re: Keyboard controller questions...

    Hi John.... thanks for all the info. I FINALLY got it all sorted pretty close. It has been a nightmare two weeks of upgrading..... everything from the Mac OS to the install of Trilian and all the Spectrasonics upgrading, Pro Tools upgrades... the firmware in the Axon and the Editor.

    It was during the firmware update I ran into a snag... it would not load. I finally disconnected the MIDI I/O from the Axon to my Digi 002R and connected the Axon via a MidiSport UNO to the computer. After 10 or so previous failed attempts, with the MidiSport it installed perfectly.....AND I noticed a great improvement with latency, In fact it is what I would call good right now. So between the MOTU Midi Express 128 and the 002R the latency was KILLING me.

    With Trilian, the Axon/Freeway SA is awesome...a few pops and clicks I have to troubleshoot.... I tried turning off the RTAS button- a Pro Tools thing, tried lowering the voices in Trilian... bought a new 13 pin cable for the guitar.... all helped but still some artifacts I do not enjoy hearing. I am sure it is not Trilian.

    Omnisphere is amazing isn't it? I get lost everytime I hook that up...

    I am right behind you in age..... I know what you mean.

    Composition-wise, I don't really have a set direction at the moment..... I played pro for many years....well over 30 and got fed up trying to get a " record deal". I enjoy playing and writing lot's of different types of music... I played jazz/fusion for many years, tons of rock, fronted my own blues bands for several years and did a bunch of studio work here and overseas. So the whole home studio thing for me has been a way to get self sufficient...to not have to rely on others and do stuff in my spare time.

    What I would really like to do is some sort of writing for film and TV...commercials. I am not schooled enough to be fool enough to consider serious soundtrack composition but I am sure there is some sort of niche I can slide my way into. I work in film/TV production so I work fairly closely with Producers, Directors and people in Post. But like for the last 5 years I have been on the same Fox show and feel like I am completely out of the loop.....plus I have been too busy to write. I really like games also..... I play the heck out of my PS3...love the sound design and compositions on some of those games. I would dig to write that stuff. They use big name composers though.

    This whole last 2 weeks for me is part of a process of getting back into the studio.

    How about you?

    BTW....... I was ready to give it up with the Axon. Your post about how your Freeway SA and GI-20 were working great gave me the boost I needed to keep troubleshooting. So thanks man. I appreciate it.
    2.66GHz MacPro Quad|6GB RAM|OSX10.6.4| 2.4 GHz MacBook Pro|4GB RAM|OSX 10.6.4|Pro Tools 9 w/CPTK|Digi 002R, Eleven Rack, MBox2 Mini|Garritan-GPO4, J&BB| Reason 4|Spectrasonics-Omnisphere, Stylus RMX, Trilian|Drumcore3, Discrete Drums|Toontrack-Superior Drummer, EZ Drummer|Sibelius 6|Izotope-Ozone4, RX2|String Studio|EastWest-Silk, VOP, Symphonic Choirs, RA, Gypsy, Stormdrum2, Fab Four|Reaper|

  7. #7

    Re: Keyboard controller questions...

    Hi Lister,

    I played professionally as well. The last time at age 27. That lasted about a year and a half. Considering the period of time I have been playing I should be a lot better than I am.

    After that I studied classical Guitar. Like a fool I sold all of my electric equipment. Every guitarist has heartbreaking stories of the Guitars that "got away".

    I was happily playing classical and then around 1988 or 89 I heard my first midi set up. The Atari computer synched to a fostex 4 track with a roland sound module. Well it was fun and I learnt a lot but eventually I found the samples lacking and the process a bit tedious so I left it for a while.

    Then 2 years ago I noticed the advances to digital recording and did away with my old studio and software and moved to new ones. I find it quite enjoyable and a great way to relax after work.

    Through out I have kept up the classical studies as I consider it the back bone of my musical "sense".

    I write quite a bit and find it very satisfying. I like everything. My musical interests are quite diverse.

    regards John

  8. #8

    Re: Keyboard controller questions...

    Lister,
    If you decided to go for a nice MIDI Controller i suggest you look at the new AKAI MPK88. It has all the goodies that a keyboard player would want inluding weighted keyboard with aftertouch, drum pads with aftertouch (channel pressure), arpegiator, faders, knobs, switches etc.
    I recently got one myself and I'm very happy with it. Finally a quality controller without compromise.
    http://www.akaipro.com/mpk88

    One bad thing is that it does go for $799 at most of the retailers.

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