Rack synths and midi controllers... ehr... ???

chrisghost

New member
I've been recording guitar/bassguitar/vox/drummachine stuff for years now. Played a bit of backing synths too. Even took a few piano lessons to learn my way around a keyboard.

Now, the most impressive :facepalm: thing I've ever done with midi is hook up a Roland HD recorder to a Triton workstation and get their timing in sync. I'm more of a hands-on kind of guy, so I've been putting off more elaborate midi set-ups for a whyle now, but it's time to bite the proverbial bullet.

So here's some dumb questions for you, hope you don't mind. Here goes...

I've got a few rack synths, some easy enough to work with like a Proteus 2000. But I've also got some older stuff I like; Yamaha TX81, a Roland U220. They aren't very practical if you want to make quick changes to sounds.

So I've been looking into these midi-controllers with a keyboard as well as a bunch of knobs. Novation seems to come up a lot. Will just any midi-controller work on, say my TX81? Surely the keyboard will work, but will the knobs just know what to do, or... ?

Is there such a thing as a midi-controller that only works on computers, not on rack gear? What should I pay attention too?

What would be a good buy for someone with not to big a budget like me. As a rule I tend to buy used.

Thanks!
 

Xdrummer

New member
I am far from being a MIDI Guru - but I use a lot or rack synths - some older ones.

I think one of the key concerns with a MIDI controller would be - some older synths had more limited MIDI capabilities - as an example, they respond to MIDI control for basic note on/note off, basic patch change, etc. but may not respond to complex MIDI commands.

I think (think being the key phrase) that you would have to look at the instruction manuals of your synths - somewhere in the back pages there should be a MIDI Implementation page which identifies which MIDI note numbers control what. That would help you determine how much they could respond to a robust controller (lots of knobs).

To my knowledge, a controller keyboard is a controller keyboard - regardless if you are trying to control soft synths in a computer or hardware synths.

I have not been in the market for a while, so I am not hip to all the offerings out there - but I know the M-Audio controllers tended to be pretty cost competitive. However, I did find there keyboard response to be a little to "spongy".

Good luck in your search.


I've been recording guitar/bassguitar/vox/drummachine stuff for years now. Played a bit of backing synths too. Even took a few piano lessons to learn my way around a keyboard.

Now, the most impressive :facepalm: thing I've ever done with midi is hook up a Roland HD recorder to a Triton workstation and get their timing in sync. I'm more of a hands-on kind of guy, so I've been putting off more elaborate midi set-ups for a whyle now, but it's time to bite the proverbial bullet.

So here's some dumb questions for you, hope you don't mind. Here goes...

I've got a few rack synths, some easy enough to work with like a Proteus 2000. But I've also got some older stuff I like; Yamaha TX81, a Roland U220. They aren't very practical if you want to make quick changes to sounds.

So I've been looking into these midi-controllers with a keyboard as well as a bunch of knobs. Novation seems to come up a lot. Will just any midi-controller work on, say my TX81? Surely the keyboard will work, but will the knobs just know what to do, or... ?

Is there such a thing as a midi-controller that only works on computers, not on rack gear? What should I pay attention too?

What would be a good buy for someone with not to big a budget like me. As a rule I tend to buy used.

Thanks!
 

Ponder5

Member
Will just any midi-controller work on, say my TX81? Surely the keyboard will work, but will the knobs just know what to do, or... ?
I can only assume you mean TX81Z.
Yes, surely the keyboard will work. Midi is midi. As Xdrummer said, you look in your TX81Z manual. If you wanna control a parameter, you have to assign that on the keyboard to do it. Simple. Just takes some research. However, what you listed (81Z, U220, and P2000) aren't exactly performance synths, so why you'd wanna change more than basic volume/mod/pan is beyond me.
U220 is always a hassle to change banks. 81Z tends to not hold enough and a guy is always reloading another bank. but i do that from computer, not the keyboard.

Is there such a thing as a midi-controller that only works on computers, not on rack gear? What should I pay attention too?
Midi is midi. That's the whole point. The module doesn't know where the midi is coming from.
Now, there are *controllers* that won't work on rack gear. That's because they only spit USB and no midi. But they're not "midi controllers" either, are they? This is increasingly troublesome in newer units that are built to talk to computers and pretty much only computers. Handy for sequencer use, but annoying for anything else.

Behringer makes a 61 note for $150 (Amazon). Lots of knobs and switches. Pretty sure it's midi (easy enough to check). Even comes in red ;-)

But remember, midi is a rather mature technology and so the gee-whiz has worn off. As such, there's a very real "get whatcha pay for" element involved.

P5
 
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