Author Topic: MIDI Keyboard  (Read 1452 times)

Cuellar

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MIDI Keyboard
« on: November 09, 2018, 12:55:57 PM »
Does anyone have any recommendations on MIDI keyboards to be used in conjunction with e.g. Ableton? I like messing about making drum loops etc., but when it comes to adding any sort of melody it's obviously hard/shit to do it without a proper keyboard.

I've got a mac, I'm not massively fussed about having a full keyboard range because of space.

I've seen a Korg 25 keyer for about £40 on Amazon but it looks pretty basic. Then there's also this which looks a bit more substantial but could be excessive?

No idea.

NoSleep

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Re: MIDI Keyboard
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2018, 01:16:39 PM »
Then there's also this which looks a bit more substantial but could be excessive?

I can guarantee that is not substantial; it's very cheap and plastic and barely adequate as a keyboard (it's mini keys, too). Probably OK if you nailed it down but otherwise it will wobble about while you're trying to play it. The MPC-looking pads are cheap and nasty, too; if you give one a firm hit the neighbouring ones light up, too. The kind of thing they used to sell in Maplins just before they went under.

I think it's always worth having a bit more keyboard range than these little 25 note things offer, if only for playing a sound over a wide enough range to find out what notes sound good (instead of tediously using the octave buttons).

This 25-key controller review ranks the Arturia tops, which sounds about right from having played with some of their other gear:

https://www.gearank.com/guides/best-25-key-midi-controller-keyboards

Although that Nektar is full sized keys @ no 2.

Cuellar

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Re: MIDI Keyboard
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2018, 03:39:55 PM »
Nice - thanks a lot!

Re: MIDI Keyboard
« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2018, 09:33:28 AM »
I had one of the Akai minikeyboards and it was flimsy as fuck. Kept breaking. I wouldn't buy one now, however cheap. Only useful for noodling around on ideas if you're in a cafe or something.

I have a 49-key M-Audio keyboard and I love it. It's solid, giggable, nice to play, simple, not covered in buttons I never press.

PlanktonSideburns

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Re: MIDI Keyboard
« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2018, 09:48:12 AM »
Yea I nice set of keys are well worth it - I have one of those mini akai things and a nice little semi weighted 25 key thing for making music with - I quite like the shitty little keys for banging in drum parts but I always end up on the semi weighted thing for all else. If I didn't have the mini (was a leaving gift from work) I wouldn't miss it

Crabwalk

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Re: MIDI Keyboard
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2018, 11:00:15 AM »
I've got the Arturia Analgue MiniLab and can vouch for the quality, if that helps.

Re: MIDI Keyboard
« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2018, 11:30:29 AM »
Seconded (and thirded on my brother's behalf) support for M-Audio. Great MIDI input for exactly what you've described

Johnny Textface

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Re: MIDI Keyboard
« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2018, 12:55:25 PM »
I got one of these Korg Titan Taktile jobbies. https://www.korg.com/uk/products/computergear/triton_taktile/

You can use it as a normal keyboard too if you like and it's got a pretty cool Arp on it.

Cuellar

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Re: MIDI Keyboard
« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2018, 08:26:55 PM »
This is all excellent info, thanks

BeardFaceMan

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Re: MIDI Keyboard
« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2019, 04:44:31 AM »
I got myself an Atruria Minilab Mk II, got a quick question. It has that thing where the loudness of the note is dependent on how hard you press the keys or pads (is this called velocity?), is there any way to turn that off so it's more of a binary pressed/not pressed situation? That velocity is handy for playing the piano but when I'm loading it up with samples and making drumbeats I really don't need that, i just need a single press of a key or pad to set the noise off and not worry about how hard I'm pressing the keys.

katzenjammer

  • Now we know...
Re: MIDI Keyboard
« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2019, 07:01:01 AM »
You’re right, it’s called velocity sensitivity.  Look in your manual for velocity curve and set it to full.

earl_sleek

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Re: MIDI Keyboard
« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2019, 08:31:45 AM »
Assuming you have Arturia MIDI Control Centre installed already (if not get it from the Arturia website):

Make sure your device is connected and powered on.
Open MIDI Control Centre and click "Sync". Wait for the device to sync.
Click on the "Project" tab near the tob, then under "Curve Settings" click on 'Key Velocity Curve" and change it to "Constant".

That's it I think. Some Arturia devices have multiple memory banks, if you change memory you may need to redo the above and save.

BeardFaceMan

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Re: MIDI Keyboard
« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2019, 11:12:32 AM »
Just what I need chaps, ta muchly.

NoSleep

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Re: MIDI Keyboard
« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2019, 11:20:00 AM »
I got myself an Atruria Minilab Mk II, got a quick question. It has that thing where the loudness of the note is dependent on how hard you press the keys or pads (is this called velocity?), is there any way to turn that off so it's more of a binary pressed/not pressed situation? That velocity is handy for playing the piano but when I'm loading it up with samples and making drumbeats I really don't need that, i just need a single press of a key or pad to set the noise off and not worry about how hard I'm pressing the keys.

What DAW are you using? You can probably adjust the velocity sensitivity via that for each track (and while you're playing live/thru while recording). That's the standard (and most flexible and straightforward) way to do it.

BeardFaceMan

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Re: MIDI Keyboard
« Reply #14 on: February 01, 2019, 11:32:42 AM »
What DAW are you using? You can probably adjust the velocity sensitivity via that for each track (and while you're playing live/thru while recording). That's the standard (and most flexible and straightforward) way to do it.

I'm using Mixcraft 8 at the moment, just because I'm familiar with it. Never used it for making or playing music before though, just doing mashups, so I dont know how good it is for this sort of thing.

NoSleep

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Re: MIDI Keyboard
« Reply #15 on: February 01, 2019, 11:55:23 AM »
It's generally a standard thing in DAWs, so you can individually adjust velocity for each track, both for monitoring while recording and working out what you want to do beforehand and later redadjusting the recorded tracks. Generally it comes as two controls 1) turning the velocity up or down, and 2) compressing the velocity range (so you can keep a bit of velocity if you want); adjusting between the two can get you the perfect result.

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=mixcraft+8+adjusting+velocity+sensitivity&t=ffsb&ia=web

BeardFaceMan

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Re: MIDI Keyboard
« Reply #16 on: February 01, 2019, 12:06:15 PM »
Thank you, that looks doable. I'm a way away from recording live or anything like that, I'm just fucking about at the moment, that might be the way to go in the future though when I'm actually playing the piano and not just playing samples to try and make something to play the piano over. Hehe I'm very much a beginner.

BeardFaceMan

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Re: MIDI Keyboard
« Reply #17 on: February 10, 2019, 11:10:43 AM »
Didn't want to start a new thread for this so I'll try in here. I've chopped up a load of audio to use for samples, are there any programs I can use to make them all the same volume? I'm sure I had a program like this before when I was fucking about with mashups so I could take 6 songs I did, put them in this program and they'd all come out the same volume at the end so there were no suprises when playing them a playlist, having to adjust the volume between each track when you play them because the mp3s are a different loudness kind of thing. Fucked if I can remember what it was called though.

NoSleep

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Re: MIDI Keyboard
« Reply #18 on: February 10, 2019, 11:23:32 AM »
"Normalisation"? Normalisation turns an audio file up to its maximum volume without peaking over 0dB.

BeardFaceMan

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Re: MIDI Keyboard
« Reply #19 on: February 10, 2019, 11:43:42 AM »
Yes, that's the fella. Like I've got a load of speech quotes from different places so they're all different volumes, I'd like to make them all the same volume before I start using them rather than adjust the volume on each sample individually.

ETA - It may have something to do with the DAW I'm using (Mixcraft 8)> Everything sounds fine when I play my finished song in Mixcraft but when I mix it down to wav or mp3 or whatever, its noticeably quieter. So when I put it on my mp3 player to listen to, its quieter than everything else. That's why I used that normalization program before, to make it louder so it was the same volume as my other mp3s. I should switch up DAWs, I'm just too lazy to learn how to use a new one.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2019, 11:56:43 AM by BeardFaceMan »

NoSleep

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Re: MIDI Keyboard
« Reply #20 on: February 10, 2019, 12:41:25 PM »
Ideally that isn't the way to turn up a mix. You'll never get it to the same volume as the mixes you're comparing it to, as they have been mastered, so they're always going to sound louder than your normalised mixes. The way to go is to use some kind of limiter or clipper on the main output (both of which will prevent your mix going into the red) and push your mix into it. Your best option would be to mosey over to Airwindows and grab all of their plugins (which are all offered for free - with an option to contribute to their Patreon if you wish them to continue pumping these fantastic tools out at a rate of one a week). Ones which will be the kind of thing you want to use to make your mixes louder would be ADClip7 or NC17 for starters.

Re: MIDI Keyboard
« Reply #21 on: February 10, 2019, 02:47:01 PM »
"Normalisation"? Normalisation turns an audio file up to its maximum volume without peaking over 0dB.

That's peak normalisation, which probably isn't going to make everything sound the same volume. What you probably want is RMS (root mean square) normalisation, sometimes called loudness normalisation or ReplayGain, which adjusts the file so its average volume is at the desired level.

BeardFaceMan

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Re: MIDI Keyboard
« Reply #22 on: February 10, 2019, 03:52:43 PM »
I found the program I used to use, its called MP3Gain, so I can set a target "normal" volume (89 dB is the default) and put the samples I made in there so theyre all the same volume.

I think it must be the music software I use to play mp3s on my computer, I put the mp3 I made on my portable mp3 player and it sounded fine, same volume as everything else I have on there. When I play it on my PC with MusicBee it sounds quieter than everything else I have on there. Very odd. So yeah, I just needed this program to make the samples of speech from different sources I made the same volume as each other so I didnt have to dick about altering each one when I started using them.

NoSleep

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Re: MIDI Keyboard
« Reply #23 on: February 10, 2019, 04:30:50 PM »
That's peak normalisation, which probably isn't going to make everything sound the same volume. What you probably want is RMS (root mean square) normalisation, sometimes called loudness normalisation or ReplayGain, which adjusts the file so its average volume is at the desired level.

I'm sure those plugins I've recommended are going to be the best thing to use to do this. Forget about normalisation.

Re: MIDI Keyboard
« Reply #24 on: February 10, 2019, 05:48:02 PM »
I found the program I used to use, its called MP3Gain, so I can set a target "normal" volume (89 dB is the default) and put the samples I made in there so theyre all the same volume.

Yep, that's an implementation of ReplayGain.

BeardFaceMan

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Re: MIDI Keyboard
« Reply #25 on: February 12, 2019, 02:13:44 PM »
I dunno what's going on. The song sounds quiet as fuck on my desktop player (MusicBee) while all other tracks played in MusicBee sound fine. I tried it on my portable mp3 player, sounded the same volume as everything else on there. I uploaded it to soundcloud, thinking maybe it was my desktop speakers that were the problem (https://soundcloud.com/unsub-1/athletico-mince-south-africa-story-mix) but the volume sounds fine there too. I just dont get why its quieter in MusicBee when everything else it plays sounds fine. Ah well, live and learn slightly.

Re: MIDI Keyboard
« Reply #26 on: February 12, 2019, 03:01:48 PM »
In the MusicBee settings, on the Player page, do you have "normalise volume of tracks with replay gain tags" checked? Does it make any difference if you toggle it?

BeardFaceMan

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Re: MIDI Keyboard
« Reply #27 on: February 12, 2019, 03:48:52 PM »
In the MusicBee settings, on the Player page, do you have "normalise volume of tracks with replay gain tags" checked? Does it make any difference if you toggle it?

It does, thank you.

Z

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Re: MIDI Keyboard
« Reply #28 on: February 12, 2019, 09:24:28 PM »
I've an Akai APC Key 25 that I got for like £35 (which seems to be about the going rate) on ebay about a year ago. Have yet to use it so maybe it doesn't even work.

If anyone's got some suggestions for how to ease oneself into Ableton or w/e with one, lemme know.

BeardFaceMan

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Re: MIDI Keyboard
« Reply #29 on: February 13, 2019, 01:24:50 AM »
OK as you have probably gathered I'm shit at describing things so bear with me. There was a show Bill Bailey did where he got someone in the audience to make a noise into a mic then he used that as a keyboard sound so when he was playing the keys it was the same sample being played pitched up or down. Is there a plug in that does this kind of thing, assign a sample to one of the keys and then have it pitched up or down when you play the other keys??