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MIDI keyboards, interfaces, latency with android


SumOne
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I'm starting to loose patience with the Laptop and MIDI keyboard for live stuff. 

 

Band practice last night and the Piano VST decided to start making a high pitch whining noise, I couldn't see why, it's a simple VST and no settings had changed since I last used it - restart the DAW and all was fine so I can only assume it's one of those 'ghost in the machine' things (Laptop - heaphone out issue? DAW? VST? ASIO or other software settings? Cables? Mixer? ....other?!)

 

Later, try an organ sound and there's very noticeable latency (but not with the Piano, so must be something to do with the Organ VST), again - it didn't do this last time I used it at home! So again, stop the whole band while I faff about with all the potential issues. (Edit: I've now changed ASIO settings to force the DAW and all VSTs to follow the same sample rates, it seems to have solved it).

 

These software issues are going on while the Laptop is balanced on the edge of a nearby Cab with USB cable dangling from the keyboard and then using the Laptop headphone out into a DI box to mixer. It all feels quite precarious - both physically, and with the software.  

 

On the plus side, it's a cheaper than a decent stage Piano or synth, and has access to pretty much unlimited sounds and effects, but I'm seeing why it's common to use MIDI keyboards with DAW/VSTs for home studios and why it isn't very common to see then used by pub bands where simplicity and reliability are king. 

 

It seems my options are to look into software issues (which I expect to spend a good portion of today faffing about with!), Laptop upgrade (perhaps just more RAM), interface upgrades (perhaps something like a Focusrite, and/or a USB DI), more road-worthy live setup (rack mounted etc). it all potentially adds up to quite high costs.....or  I'm tempted to give up on Laptop/Midi keyboard for live stuff and get something cheap like a Casio CT S1, Roland Go Keys, or Yamaha NP-12. All are about £200 (I mean, ideally I'd get a higher end thing like a Nord Electro 6, but I'm not sure I can justify that sort of expense),  they have 61 full size keys, decent enough piano/ep/clav/organ sounds for my use, no need for a laptop, portable, and MIDI so I still have the option of using with my Laptop at home, and I can easily move it around the house and practice through in-built speakers. 

 

 

Edited by SumOne
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Another option might be to keep your Midi keyboard and find a used desktop or rack synth. I have a Korg X5DR which makes reasonable piano, organ , strings and clavinet sounds, they seem to go through ebay for 100 - 200 . There are probably other makes, but it's not something I know very much about.

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1 hour ago, pete.young said:

Another option might be to keep your Midi keyboard and find a used desktop or rack synth. I have a Korg X5DR which makes reasonable piano, organ , strings and clavinet sounds, they seem to go through ebay for 100 - 200 . There are probably other makes, but it's not something I know very much about.

That is a good call. They don't seem to be particularly in fashion for piano /rhodes/organ sounding stuff but the miditech piano (mini and pro versions) seem like they might fit the bill. 

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9 hours ago, tauzero said:

I'll repeat my suggestion of a Roland XV or JV module, or for that matter a Korg one, or similar. Or a hardware soft synth - https://zynthian.org/ or https://geekfunklabs.com/products/squishbox/ for example.

I would be keen, but the trouble I'm finding with that route is that external modules for Piano/Rhodes/Hammond don't seem that common, most tend to be focused on synth sounds and are quite old tech - discontinued for about 20 years so I don't know how well they'd compare to modern stuff, they are quite big and not too convenient for gigs (unless I start getting rack mounted stuff), I'd forsee connectivity/reliability faff (e.g. Midi mapping organ drawbars), and the ones I can see avaliable are quite expensive. Hardware soft synths just feel like they would bring a world of connectivity and reliability pain for gigs. 

 

A second hand Yamaha CK61 or Roland VR-09-B are top of my list right now for about £400 second hand budget. 

Edited by SumOne
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If you are looking at "proper" keyboards now then the advice is entirely different.

 

The big problem with Piano, Rhodes and Hammond emulations is that the way you play the keyboard is a massive part of making them sound convincing along with having a user interface that replicates the performance controls of the original. For acoustic and electric pianos the performance controls aren't really important so long as your instrument is capable of memorising the various settings. For organs especially the Hammond, access to all the drawbars as well as controls for the (emulated) Leslie cab are essential. 

 

The other issue you'll encounter is the keyboard action. Your three examples all have very different keyboard actions, and trying to play a Hammond part on a fully-weighted piano style keyboard is not going to be a pleasant experience and it will probably show in the sound. You might get away with a semi-weighted keyboard as a bit of a compromise, but you need to find one that suits your playing style for all the sounds.

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3 hours ago, SumOne said:

A second hand Yamaha CK61 or Roland VR-09-B are top of my list right now for about £400 second hand budget. 

 

👍, but with the remarks made by BRX.
Bar you upping the budget (I propose say 25 grand 😁), I think this type of instrument will serve you (reasonably) well.

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