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Thread: Questions about MIDI setup...Where to begin?

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    Question Questions about MIDI setup...Where to begin?

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    Hello fellow HomeRecorders,

    Firstly, I would like to apologize if I am possibly posting this thread in the wrong section, but I'm not sure where to start or navigate in regards to the questions I'm about to ask.
    Secondly, it's been a few years (literally 2 or 3) since I've last been on this website forum. As a guitarist who is already used to simple plug and play guitar and amp setups/stomp-boxes (especially with keyboard instruments), I've recently got into keyboard playing, and like the sounds of vintage tone-wheel and transistor combo organs, electric pianos, harpsichords, and even vintage style samplers such as Mellotrons.

    Due to limited funds, it would take me a long while to save up for a dedicated synth or modelling keyboard such as a Nord Electro 5D or 6D, Crumar Mojo, Hammond SK1 or XK1 or similar. Even second-hand versions of these "dedicated synths" are still out of the question for me, let alone hard to find where I'm located. Also, where I live the local music retailers do not offer layaway payment plans... so I'm not willing to wait several months to a year while wasting my potential keyboard learning talents in the meantime.
    I've opted to go the MIDI controller route, and I have already anticipated the learning curve whilst dealing with software and latency issues, but it's a learning curve I'm willing to take without being "sorrily" in debt over some keyboard I cannot afford meanwhile.


    Here is my current MIDI setup (useful info):

    1. A used M-Audio Axiom 49 Key MIDI controller (Mk II version, with the assignable faders on the left side, touch pads on the right side, monitor display in the middle).

    2. ASUS Q524U (black) laptop with Intel Core i7 7th Gen, HDMI, NVIDIA GeForce 940Mx,

    3. Software operating system: MS Windows 10, 64 -bit version.

    4. Studio-related application softwares: Steinberg/Cubase LE AI 9.5 (came with my Yamaha AG06 desktop mixer), Ableton Live 9 (a copy from a friend), NI Kontakt (also a copy from a friend downloaded to me, which currently is having setup/installation problems).


    Here are my current issues/questions of concern:

    1. I've been having troubles with setup arrangements with the copy version of my Ableton Live 9 and Native Instruments Kontakt 5 applications, and since they are downloaded copies, I'm concerned there may be some issues when trying to reset audio or system settings. So I'm already thinking of uninstalling these copies (forgive me if I was too cheap to have the real deal from earlier this year).

    2. I am actually planning to purchase a real legit version of Native Instruments Komplete 12 Select, so I would like to know, will NI Komplete 12 Select work with Cubase (Elements) LE AI 9.5?

    3. Will old versions or copies of other DAW software apps on my computer cause any interference or running issues with NI Komplete (when I have obtained it)? If so they should be uninstalled immediately, right?

    4. If the copies of Ableton Live 9 and Kontakt 5 (which isn't working currently), cannot be uninstalled due to "inadequate access to the servers" or "corrupt files", would I need to manually erase registry-related files? Or better to reset entire operating system and start fresh, then go from there?

    5. If/When NI Komplete 12 Select VSTi library does work with Cubase Elements LE AI 9.5, am I able to download and insert additional plugins (i.e. Mellotron libraries or VSTi's)?

    6. I don't have MIDI/USB interface. If such external device is required, would either Focusrite, Steinberg/Yamaha, or even Native Instruments hardware device suffice? Or must the device be company-specific (i.e. software/hardware compatibility/latency issues)??

    Again, I'm sorry for these seemingly newbie questions, but I figured this would be a good place to start, as I'm currently new to the world of MIDI, so again, you'll have to pardon my ignorance of certain aspects and situations.

    I hope I didn't bore you with my lengthy inquiry. Looking forward to your experiences, advise and other tips and reminders that may be helpful for my soon-to-be MIDI-keyboard setup, and music composing experiences/recordings.


    -- harmonic-sailor

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    Quote Originally Posted by harmonic-sailor View Post
    1. I've been having troubles with setup arrangements with the copy version of my Ableton Live 9 and Native Instruments Kontakt 5 applications, and since they are downloaded copies, I'm concerned there may be some issues when trying to reset audio or system settings. So I'm already thinking of uninstalling these copies (forgive me if I was too cheap to have the real deal from earlier this year).
    Generally audio programs should not adversely affect each other, but if they are not legit, they maybe carrying unwanted gremlins that could do so.

    Quote Originally Posted by harmonic-sailor View Post
    2. I am actually planning to purchase a real legit version of Native Instruments Komplete 12 Select, so I would like to know, will NI Komplete 12 Select work with Cubase (Elements) LE AI 9.5?
    As I use neither NI Komplete nor Cubase, I can't answer this, but I think it should work

    Quote Originally Posted by harmonic-sailor View Post
    3. Will old versions or copies of other DAW software apps on my computer cause any interference or running issues with NI Komplete (when I have obtained it)? If so they should be uninstalled immediately, right?
    The presence of older versions or other DAWS should not cause running issues unless they themselves are compromised and have affected your PC

    Quote Originally Posted by harmonic-sailor View Post
    4. If the copies of Ableton Live 9 and Kontakt 5 (which isn't working currently), cannot be uninstalled due to "inadequate access to the servers" or "corrupt files", would I need to manually erase registry-related files? Or better to reset entire operating system and start fresh, then go from there?
    Not using them I can't answer this.

    Quote Originally Posted by harmonic-sailor View Post
    5. If/When NI Komplete 12 Select VSTi library does work with Cubase Elements LE AI 9.5, am I able to download and insert additional plugins (i.e. Mellotron libraries or VSTi's)?
    Yes.

    Quote Originally Posted by harmonic-sailor View Post
    6. I don't have MIDI/USB interface. If such external device is required, would either Focusrite, Steinberg/Yamaha, or even Native Instruments hardware device suffice? Or must the device be company-specific (i.e. software/hardware compatibility/latency issues)??
    Doesn't the Axiom have a USB output? If not, you would need an interface that has DIN midi inputs and a midi cable to go between Axiom and interface. It doesn't matter what brand of interface; it doesn't need to be company specific.

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    Hi gecko zzed,

    Thanks so much for the helpful replies. Yeah, my message inquiry was perhaps a bit too detailed, but I just wanted to make sure if I was asking the right questions, and perhaps on the right track towards accomplising my basic MIDI/VSTi/computer setup. So far, doesn't seem like nothing serious has to really be considered at this point, but of course that will all be determined when I go to uninstall the old DAW's and troublesome VSTi softwares.

    That being said, I have given this some thought over the past week, and I've also considered Arturia V Collection 7, which already has a Mellotron plugin, and various other 'vintage key' plugins. Perhaps Arturia may not be as diverse in other instruments such as percussion, orchestral strings, brass, woodwinds, and other virtual analog synths when compared to NI Komplete 12. But perhaps it has more of the kind of sounds I'm after, at least for the work I'll be doing in the near future.

    When I arrive home from work tonight, I will begin uninstalling Ableton Live 9, as well as Komplete 5. Then will be making a definitive decision about which VSTI software to buy soon.

    It seems my mind is already set between either Komplete 12 (Select or Standard) or Arturia V Collection 7. But if there are any other VSTi's that I should also consider, then feel free to give me some pointers or suggestions on the 'other cool stuff'.

    Well, regarding my Axion 49 MIDI controller, it does have a USB output, and works directly with my laptop, quite well (probably due to the DirectAccess compatibility). However, I may still consider a multi-channel out/input USB interface in the future if I want to hook up my Mergili Major Enhancement (tube spring reverb/tremolo unit) and other analog 'outboard' FX units with the computer's VSTi's, and possibly re-amp them to an external amp or speaker cabinet (and then mic-ed back to the mixer/DAW) for further 'coloring'.
    That's one of the things I missed about 'plug-n-play' dedicated hardware synths or modelling keyboards; you can re-route the analog signal to outboard or external FX units or processors for more 'real-time control' and feel'. But perhaps the touch-screen of my ASUS laptop will change my perspective on that now, since the VSTi's will have their own palates of onboard FX's. Touch-screen + VSTi onboard FX's = real-time control of FX parameters (if the controls on the MIDI keyboard aren't enough, that's a big if).

    Anyway, all answers have been noted, I shall return here in a while to report back my updates.

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    Quote Originally Posted by harmonic-sailor View Post
    That being said, I have given this some thought over the past week, and I've also considered Arturia V Collection 7, which already has a Mellotron plugin, and various other 'vintage key' plugins. Perhaps Arturia may not be as diverse in other instruments such as percussion, orchestral strings, brass, woodwinds, and other virtual analog synths when compared to NI Komplete 12. But perhaps it has more of the kind of sounds I'm after, at least for the work I'll be doing in the near future.
    You don't need to think that one package should supply all the sounds you need. There are heaps of VSTs out there, and many free ones.

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    I have cubase pro 10 with Kontakt 12 installed and my colleague has artist 10. The differences are simply the amount of VSTi slots you can have. The entry level product can have 16 - which sounds a lot, but actually isn't nowadays. Kontakt stand alone and the VSTi will work on your computer but you'll have to use an external drive.

    I'm guessing but when you downloaded copies, you mean cracked copies. Elements is dirt cheap, but artist is worth the difference because of the bundled instruments - as soon as you get to the LE (usually bundled) products, these are very limited. Kontakt always requires communication with their servers and your account - I've a shrewd idea that this is why your friend couldn't get it going - he would need an account, but if it's legit, just contact Kontakt - they're always very helpful. Having the real version and not the player on your system gives you access to some amazing stuff both free and paid for.

    Cubase is, and to be honest always has been, prone to cracking and many are truly dire because they have been cracked by people who are not musicians, so they run and can be stable, until you click on a feature they've never even discovered and it falls over. Early versions of Cubase 5 worked for piano edit use quite well, but going into score mode would crash it so badly it needed to be uninstalled and put in again. Many of the installers also add various spyware and adware packages to your browsers, and keeping in mind the software authentication system is a little flaky even when you have a legit copy - losing all your work is a pain.

    I appreciate why people use counterfeit software, but few people once they have bought the full versions regret it.

    That out the way, the best version for newcomers to Cubase is Artist 10. Don't buy any version of 9.5 because there are some significant differences and many screens are different having had a revamp, so you would learn a new piece of software, then the next upgrade would be tougher. 9.5 and 10 are about the same price anyway.

    Cubase has a very large feature set, even on the light versions and not everything is that obvious - but it's well known and there are many help sources on the net. Reaper and the others are also very capable but I've been on Cubase since 1995ish - and I'd never change because it can do exactly what I need, plus loads of things I will NEVER need.

    As for Kontakt. It is not the simplest to install. Very often it installs differently on different computers. My colleague and I have broadly similar VSTi packages so we can swap work, but on mine - some come up in one menu for access and others are fired up differently, yet that package in his is in the main menu? never worked it out. There are so many sounds in the various packages that even though all the synth, dance music type sounds will never ever be used for me - they are there, just in case. You also need to remember Kontakt installs differently depending on the suppliers status. If they pay Kontakt and are on their hub, installation and re-installation is simple. If they offer the package as a different version, it's away from Kontakt's control and support - these two systems often seem to confuse - well they confuse me!

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    I can offer nothing extra to that from the illustrious band above except perhaps choice of interface? (and yes you DO need one! The other option is the headphone output of the soundcard and that will be crap)

    The Mkll version of the Native Instruments KA6 gets a very good report in the current edition of Sound on Sound. Most importantly it has retained its steam powered drivers and best latency performance of anything in its price range and abit above IMHO.

    I note M-A kbd has MIDI ports? You might find the best setup is to use those with a KA6 instead of USB?

    If you can find a Mk1 KA6 it will still serve you very well and you never know? MIGHT still have a valid copy of Cubase with it!

    Dave.

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    Thinking outside the box

    Quote Originally Posted by harmonic-sailor View Post
    Hello fellow HomeRecorders,

    Firstly, I would like to apologize if I am possibly posting this thread in the wrong section, but I'm not sure where to start or navigate in regards to the questions I'm about to ask.
    Secondly, it's been a few years (literally 2 or 3) since I've last been on this website forum. As a guitarist who is already used to simple plug and play guitar and amp setups/stomp-boxes (especially with keyboard instruments), I've recently got into keyboard playing, and like the sounds of vintage tone-wheel and transistor combo organs, electric pianos, harpsichords, and even vintage style samplers such as Mellotrons.

    Due to limited funds, it would take me a long while to save up for a dedicated synth or modelling keyboard such as a Nord Electro 5D or 6D, Crumar Mojo, Hammond SK1 or XK1 or similar. Even second-hand versions of these "dedicated synths" are still out of the question for me, let alone hard to find where I'm located. Also, where I live the local music retailers do not offer layaway payment plans... so I'm not willing to wait several months to a year while wasting my potential keyboard learning talents in the meantime.
    I've opted to go the MIDI controller route, and I have already anticipated the learning curve whilst dealing with software and latency issues, but it's a learning curve I'm willing to take without being "sorrily" in debt over some keyboard I cannot afford meanwhile.


    Here is my current MIDI setup (useful info):

    1. A used M-Audio Axiom 49 Key MIDI controller (Mk II version, with the assignable faders on the left side, touch pads on the right side, monitor display in the middle).

    2. ASUS Q524U (black) laptop with Intel Core i7 7th Gen, HDMI, NVIDIA GeForce 940Mx,

    3. Software operating system: MS Windows 10, 64 -bit version.

    4. Studio-related application softwares: Steinberg/Cubase LE AI 9.5 (came with my Yamaha AG06 desktop mixer), Ableton Live 9 (a copy from a friend), NI Kontakt (also a copy from a friend downloaded to me, which currently is having setup/installation problems).


    Here are my current issues/questions of concern:

    1. I've been having troubles with setup arrangements with the copy version of my Ableton Live 9 and Native Instruments Kontakt 5 applications, and since they are downloaded copies, I'm concerned there may be some issues when trying to reset audio or system settings. So I'm already thinking of uninstalling these copies (forgive me if I was too cheap to have the real deal from earlier this year).

    2. I am actually planning to purchase a real legit version of Native Instruments Komplete 12 Select, so I would like to know, will NI Komplete 12 Select work with Cubase (Elements) LE AI 9.5?

    3. Will old versions or copies of other DAW software apps on my computer cause any interference or running issues with NI Komplete (when I have obtained it)? If so they should be uninstalled immediately, right?

    4. If the copies of Ableton Live 9 and Kontakt 5 (which isn't working currently), cannot be uninstalled due to "inadequate access to the servers" or "corrupt files", would I need to manually erase registry-related files? Or better to reset entire operating system and start fresh, then go from there?

    5. If/When NI Komplete 12 Select VSTi library does work with Cubase Elements LE AI 9.5, am I able to download and insert additional plugins (i.e. Mellotron libraries or VSTi's)?

    6. I don't have MIDI/USB interface. If such external device is required, would either Focusrite, Steinberg/Yamaha, or even Native Instruments hardware device suffice? Or must the device be company-specific (i.e. software/hardware compatibility/latency issues)??

    Again, I'm sorry for these seemingly newbie questions, but I figured this would be a good place to start, as I'm currently new to the world of MIDI, so again, you'll have to pardon my ignorance of certain aspects and situations.

    I hope I didn't bore you with my lengthy inquiry. Looking forward to your experiences, advise and other tips and reminders that may be helpful for my soon-to-be MIDI-keyboard setup, and music composing experiences/recordings.


    -- harmonic-sailor

    Not sure if you are playing out live or not but download a copy of Reaper. Handles midi very well and as many tracks as you like. I would pick up a audio interface and you can chain as many midi devices as you like. (well up to 256). Reaper also comes with a lot of vst's as well as someone mentioned that there are a ton of free ones out there. Good Luck

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