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Thread: Music instrument geeks weight in

  1. #1
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    Music instrument geeks weight in

    Some time ago i came home with a toy i had wanted for i dunno 20 years or more. But i could never bring myself to pay for it. When i saw it on sale a year ago i picked it up. It has been the only thing i ever bought that i got blasted for in 21 years of marriage. It was not about the money but my wifes belief that i will never ever make use of it. It is a casio keyboard.

    I have wanted to try to play music given i have felt my whole life like i lean to one side only. So without knowing about Vaughns threads here, this weekend i hauled this keyboard out and tried messing with it.

    Well all it did was make me aware of just how clueless i am in this field.

    What i wanted to do was make a sound and have my laptop capture it but I had thought it could happen via the USB port through a midi interface. ( i still do think this but you know what thought did (planted a feather and thought a chicken would grow )

    Then i hook in this morn and see Vaughns Tascam thread and the music and i feel like posting my keyboard for sale on kijji asap.

    So you music boffins can anyone explain in plain english, i have read so much as to confuse the heck out of me and still no better off, just how the midi interface of one these kinds of devices is supposed to work with a computer.

    I am missing a key point here.

    The software such as say MIxcraft has multiple channels , i know i could plug the keyboard in the sound card input on my laptop and capture the sound that way, but what about through a midi interface. If the midi interface is meant to have the midi codes for the music passed to through the interface digitally how the heck does this get converted once again to audio in the studio devices either dedicated tascam type of the soft computer type. I realise the usb interface is not an audio channel. But one of the things the keyboards (hey this is only a cheapie) are supposed to be able to do is mimic other instruments. So am i required to have the audio output connected to the sound card and then the midi interface only able to provide instruction for how the studio is to treat said audio?

    Or can the audio side be encoded into the midi protocol and be decoded software wise through these studio packages making the sound card obsolete other than for play back of the sound?

    Hope any of this makes sense.
    cheers

  2. #2
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    You would need something like this http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/US200/

    It would let you input either the midi signals or the audio output from your keyboard.

    MIDI

    If you do midi, you are not recording sound. You are recording keypresses, durations, velocity, etc...

    Once you have the midi recorded, you can go through and directly edit the resulting data, just as you would any data and manipulate the notes to either change it, or correct any errors you may not want.

    The software will let you put down many tracks of that, and then you would need to have a software synth availalble to make the sound.

    Typcially, you would 'bounce' those midi tracks through the synth and record the audio to an audio track. You could use the same midi track and bounch it through different synth settings to get different sounds, if you wanted.

    Audio Tracks.
    Alternatively, you can just record the audio out from your keyboard, using the sounds it generates and putting those down as tracks. You would not be able to change those once they are put down.
    Programmer - An organism that turns coffee into software.
    If all your friends are exactly like you, What an un-interesting life it must be.
    "A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of" Ogden Nash


  3. #3
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    Thanks for the input Brent.
    cheers

  4. #4
    Rob I also play guitars and keyboard. I have an ancient Yamaha from the early 90's that I occasionally hook up to my PC, this is what I did: I went to Fry's Electronics and picked up a midi to USB cable converter for about $25. Any big box music store will have them too. This allowed me to plug in my midi in and out ports into my PC via the USB cable. Once I plugged it in and turned on my keyboard my PC detected a new midi device and installed the appropriate plug n play driver. I can't exactly remember how's its done on my keyboard since its been a long time since I've done this, but my keyboard has a midi in and out port and so does the midi cable. All I do remember is that when I first tried this I accidentally plugged the cables in the wrong order and I couldn't make a sound. I believe on mine the cables midi in cable plugs into the keyboards midi out port and the cables midi out plugged into the keyboards midi in port. I'm not familiar with Mixcraft, I mainly used Cubase, but most DAWs work in a similar fashion. Once I started Cubase I would go into the devices->midi and make sure it was setup to communicate with my soundcard. Then once that's done I would go to main screen of the program and add a miditrack and I would assign it to the proper audio in and out channels. The last thing I would do is goto midi->instruments and assign whatever instrument I wanted to hear. Then all I had to do is play and the midi will emulate any instrument I chose. I'd hit the record button and it will record the midi data which I could later go into the midi track editor and tweak the the sound, velocity and timing to my liking. I also have a Line6 POD XTlive which allows me to plug my guitars into the PC via a USB cable so I can record if I wanted to.


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  5. #5
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    Thanks Matt I actually got my keyboard working to my computer and the DAW (had to google that ) now all i need to learn to do is make the right noise and hit the right keys to do it. LOL My keyboard is a Casio cheapie CTK 3200 I think i paid all of $70 something for it on boxing day sale week last year. Its got a USB output that feeds Midi codes down whatever particular channel is selected on the keyboard. MS recognised it with no problem. Problem was me and my understanding but Brent triggered something and with some more reading etc resolved the issue.

    Now if only i could play any instrument the way Vaughn does that guitar then heck i would be outside the Air Canada Center when the Leafs are playing hockey and i would be playing that Billy Talent song....Falling Leaves

    I would only need to play the chorus to fit in

    In a crooked little town, they were lost and never found
    Fallen leaves, fallen leaves, fallen leaves... on the ground
    Run away before you drown, or the streets will beat you down
    Fallen leaves, fallen leaves, fallen leaves... on the ground



    Dont think i would come away with much in my hat unless Montreal came to visit and i wore a Habs jersey while i played it. May need a body guard or two to protect me from certain famous people that happen to support them.
    cheers

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt W Anderson View Post
    ... I also have a Line6 POD XTlive...
    [fistbump] Hey, that's what I use too, both at home and on stage. (I'm not even using an amp on stage anymore. I run the POD directly into the PA and listen via the mains and the monitors.) I really like the Line 6 gear.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  7. #7
    Rob, glad you got it all working. It took me awhile to figure out what to play. I can't read a single note of music but I can read tabs and play by ear. I can't play drums but there is a VST plugin one could get called EZDrummer which is very handy for creating fast drum loops to play against. If you like making industrial sounds you might look into Poizine VST. One day I'll save up the $500 to buy Native Instruments Komplete. I just haven't done it since music is more of a hobby and not a priority. Kontact VST, which comes with Komplete, allows you to play any instrument imaginable including an entire orchestra at once. It always amazes me how a VST can transform a keyboard into anything you want it to be.

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  8. #8
    Vaughn, I love my XTlive. I mainly just play using studio headphones. I do have a stack but it doesn't sound as clean as the POD by itself, not to mention the neighbors are a little conservative and probably wouldn't appreciate me blasting metal music, since that is what I mainly play. I play 2 different BC Warlocks, one is newer and the other is a 1989 American made with an original Floyd Rose floating tremolo. But I mostly play a Schecter Hellraiser custom with EMGs, which makes playing Slayer, Megadeth, or Iron Maiden a breeze. I save my Gretsch resonator acoustic for playing bluegrass. I know that it may sound weird that an old school metalhead would be playing bluegrass, but I must say I find it very challenging.

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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt W Anderson View Post
    Vaughn, I love my XTlive. I mainly just play using studio headphones. I do have a stack but it doesn't sound as clean as the POD by itself, not to mention the neighbors are a little conservative and probably wouldn't appreciate me blasting metal music, since that is what I mainly play. I play 2 different BC Warlocks, one is newer and the other is a 1989 American made with an original Floyd Rose floating tremolo. But I mostly play a Schecter Hellraiser custom with EMGs, which makes playing Slayer, Megadeth, or Iron Maiden a breeze. I save my Gretsch resonator acoustic for playing bluegrass. I know that it may sound weird that an old school metalhead would be playing bluegrass, but I must say I find it very challenging.

    Sent from my SPH-L710 using Tapatalk
    You've got some nice axes, Matt. I've been gigging lately with two Strats (one in E and the other in E flat), and Oscar Schmidt copy of an ES-335, one of a couple Variaxes, and an Ibanez acoustic/electric. I've got a couple of BC Rich Mockingbirds...one is a cheap Asian model with a bolt on neck. The other is my pride and joy. It is the ORIGINAL Mockingbird, handmade by Bernie Rico as a prototype for the entire Mockingbird model line. It's worth somewhere in the five-figure range to the right collector, but I'll never part with it. (I also don't gig with it anymore, although I put a LOT of miles on it years ago.)
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  10. #10
    Those are some nice guitars! I wanted a Mockingbird when I was a kid in high school but went with the Warlock since that's what most of the metal heads were using at the time. I'd never part with my American made BC Rich. I like the sound of the old Dimarzio double humbuckers although the floating Floyd Rose can be a pain to setup. The other is just a cheap one made over seas. My good one is torn apart at the moment because I'm getting ready to paint it. I keep my Schecter in E and the cheap BC Rich I use to play drop C and D. As far as the POD goes I found a good Joe Satriani Satch Boogie patch that can play most styles. Just have to back off the chorus a bit. I haven't mastered the recording process though. To get some of those deep thick metal tones one is supposed to lay 2-4 duplicate tracks (copying and pasting doesn't work). I'm sure most of my recording woes is the lack of a good recording interface. I get lots of noise from the sound card.

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    Last edited by Matt W Anderson; 12-04-2013 at 10:45 PM.

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