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Add Another Keyboard


SouthIke
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I currently run Keyscape as my piano sound at church. I would like to add another keyboard to my rig to play some synth and brass, etc. But I'm out of usb ports on my mac. What should I do? I'm guessing I should get a usb hub. Is that correct? Which one should I get? I want a good one. Thanks for any tips/suggestions.
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Yes, you could use a USB hub.

But they can be hit or miss on working well for audio/midi.

 

Can you describe how you have things wired now?

Are you using the Mac's audio io or a USB o thunderbolt audio interface?

Yamaha CP88, Roland VR-700, Crumar Mojo, rebuilt 1910 Chickering 5'2", Fender Rhodes MKI 88k, Casio PX-560

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They have a simple job, you have plenty of choices. I bought myself a cheap one so long ago that I don't even remember what it is. Always works, always on, invisible to me. You'll want a powered one, of course.

I guess an entirely different solution would be a bluetooth keyboard.

Yamaha P515, Pianoteq, Mainstage, iOS, assorted other stuff.

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StarTech 4 Port USB 2.0 Hub is what I use. Never had any trouble with it for live shows, Google for where-to-get.

 

I tried a bunch of cheap-o hubs but the all had issues.

 

~ vonnor

Gear:

Hardware: Kurzweil Forte7, Korg Kronos 2

Software: Cantabile 3, Halion Sonic 3 and assorted VST plug-ins.

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StarTech 4 Port USB 2.0 Hub is what I use. Never had any trouble with it for live shows, Google for where-to-get.

 

I tried a bunch of cheap-o hubs but the all had issues.

 

~ vonnor

 

Great. Thank you. I'll check it out. Do I need 3.0 or is 2.0 good enough?

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I've used a D link powered 7 port for over 10 years with out issue.

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MPower/4790K, Lynx Aurora 8/MADI/AES16e, OP-X PRO, Ptec, Komplete.

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Do I need 3.0 or is 2.0 good enough?

I actually had issues with a 3.0 hub. My MOTU micro lite wasn't compatible. I think also most keyboards/synths are 2.0.

 

~ vonnor

Gear:

Hardware: Kurzweil Forte7, Korg Kronos 2

Software: Cantabile 3, Halion Sonic 3 and assorted VST plug-ins.

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I've got Anker charging devices that have been working well for over a year, but none of their data hubs. However, note in the comments "2.4 GHz wireless devices, MIDI devices and some USB 3.0 devices may not be supported."

 

I would avoid this unit. It's overkill for your use anyway. Simple 2.0 hub should work fine.

 

I make software noises.
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You can use a 5 pin midi cable trough your interface
This. Your Scarlett interface has a 5-pin Midi interface built in. Make sure your keyboard has a 5-pin MIDI OUT socket and you don't need a hub.

 

EDIT - you mention your existing Roland keyboard with a USB-MIDI cable - which I assume is a MIDI interface with a USB connector on one end and a pair of 5-pin MIDI connectors on the other. You can actually connect the Roland to the Scarlett MIDI IN using standard MIDI Cable (5-pin to 5-pin). Then your second keyboard can be pure-USB (withou a 5-pin MIDI socket) and connect that directly to the remaining USB socket on your Mac with a standard USB cable.

 

Cheers, Mike.

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Kronos and Kurz workstations are about as good as it gets as far as Controllers go..... Unless you get a Physis.

 

If you get a USB hub don't cheap out. Get a decent interface. You could be buying trouble.

"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne

 

"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!

So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

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I've got Anker charging devices that have been working well for over a year, but none of their data hubs. However, note in the comments "2.4 GHz wireless devices, MIDI devices and some USB 3.0 devices may not be supported."

 

I would avoid this unit. It's overkill for your use anyway. Simple 2.0 hub should work fine.

 

Ok thanks. I appreciate your honest opinion.

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You can use a 5 pin midi cable trough your interface
This. Your Scarlett interface has a 5-pin Midi interface built in. Make sure your keyboard has a 5-pin MIDI OUT socket and you don't need a hub.

 

EDIT - you mention your existing Roland keyboard with a USB-MIDI cable - which I assume is a MIDI interface with a USB connector on one end and a pair of 5-pin MIDI connectors on the other. You can actually connect the Roland to the Scarlett MIDI IN using standard MIDI Cable (5-pin to 5-pin). Then your second keyboard can be pure-USB (withou a 5-pin MIDI socket) and connect that directly to the remaining USB socket on your Mac with a standard USB cable.

 

Cheers, Mike.

 

You are right. I'm going from my Roland (5-pin midi cables) to my scarlett (usb...looks like a printer cable).

 

I didn't even realize I could connect the Roland to the Scarlett via 5-pin to 5-pin. Thanks for the tip. I will give that a try. Do I need to use both the IN and the OUT midi-cables?

 

So then, my Scarlett will be connected to my Roland via 5-pin yo 5-pin, and my Scarlett will still be connected to my macbook via usb. Is this correct?

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Im just wondering if the budget is big-league (Montage/Nord Stage/Kronos/Forte etc) why are you messing around with your controller/keyscape/Mac/MIDI/USB and then wanting to complicate things further with another board wired in. It seems strung together, overly-complex and error-prone to me.

 

 

____________________________________
Rod

victoria bc

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Im just wondering if the budget is big-league (Montage/Nord Stage/Kronos/Forte etc) why are you messing around with your controller/keyscape/Mac/MIDI/USB and then wanting to complicate things further with another board wired in. It seems strung together, overly-complex and error-prone to me.

 

 

It probably is over-complicated. I don't like the sounds on my Roland (RD300GX), and I love the sounds on Keyscape. I would like to add synth (I do black gospel) and brass and horns, depending on the song. That's why I want the other keyboard. But now that I think about it, I could just get a nano controller, and bring in the synth, or whatever, as I need it. But I guess I'd still need a usb hub. (unless I connect my scarlett to my Roland) Anyways...

 

With one of big-time keyboards, would I be able to have all of that, and not need Keyscape?

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I've been considering buying a Montage or Nord Stage 3. Tell me why a Kronos would be better? Seriously, I don't know so I'm asking.

Your first decision is whether you're just trying to attach another controller to your Mainstage system, or looking to add a keyboard that has sounds of its own.

 

For the first scenario, yes, you're probably talking about a hub. You'd have all the same sounds you have now, but you'd have more keys available for more easily accessing different combinations of them simultaneously, whether to play them at the same time or to more easily switch back and forth. If there are any areas that seem sonically weaker than you'd like, you can integrate additional VST instruments.

 

For the second scenario, I'm not sure the new keyboard necessarily needs to be connected to your computer at all, i.e. if you have an additional input available on your mixer/amp. Though there are still reasons you might want to, i.e. to be able to invoke single patch changes that change computer and keyboard sounds together, or using internal and external sounds together from the new keyboard, or processing the keyboard sounds through the computer.

 

But the core question to me is, if you're already set up with the computer, what are you looking for accomplish with this new keyboard? You say you're looking for horn and synth sounds, you should be able to get what you need from the computer, and then you may just need more keys (scenario 1). Odds are you're not going to get better horn or synth sounds out of any of the keyboards mentioned than you can get from the computer. BUT... you may find it simpler to get what you want out of a particular board, or might prefer its operational ergonomics, or like the idea of having a backup immediately at hand if Mainstage glitches.

 

As for Kronos vs Montage vs Nord Stage 3, I think I'd say the Nord is strongest for real-time synth manipulation and patch creation, but weakest on horns; the Montage is probably the reverse; and Kronos the most flexible overall.

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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I've been considering buying a Montage or Nord Stage 3. Tell me why a Kronos would be better? Seriously, I don't know so I'm asking.

 

I haven't owned any of these, but I may be the market myself soon, so my current thoughts on these after trying them out (except for the Montage) and reading about them:

 

Nord Stage would be my choice, but it's just too much $ for me, even used (which is usually how I buy). I play a lot of organ and I like the b3 and leslie in the Stage more than I like the cx3 engine in the Kronos. Yamaha has yet to have a decent organ since I've been trying their boards (original Motif and up)...maybe the Montage has done so but I haven't heard about it.

 

A used Kronos would likely be my pick. I don't really trust touchscreen reliability (or like using them) and I don't like the long boot time, but it seems like an excellent do-everything keyboard. Plus, I love the fact that it can take in external signals--essentially acting as a submixer for other keyboard(s). I submix now with no eq or fx and all gains the same on the mixer--all I really need is something to combine the signals. This is a fantastic feature and I wish more keyboards would do this.

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I have owned a Kronos X and now a Kronos 2. I have to admit at times I got tired of the Kronos and started looking at other boards such as Montage, NS3 but when time comes to trade I still think the Kronos is the best overall for a cover band or originals for that matter. I considered the NS3 awhile back but a little pricey and for me the Kronos is more versatile and the Setlist makes it easy when playing live.

 

I guess I am so used to the Kronos that I know my way around on it pretty well. Plus I have alot of paid sound libraries such as Busch's Eps. and vintage keys 1-4 that is pretty good.

 

I am not gigging right now because I had to relocate to take care of a family member for awhile.

 

I thought the same thing about the touchscreen but they seem to be very reliable from everyone that I know.

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I've been considering buying a Montage or Nord Stage 3. Tell me why a Kronos would be better? Seriously, I don't know so I'm asking.

Your first decision is whether you're just trying to attach another controller to your Mainstage system, or looking to add a keyboard that has sounds of its own.

 

For the first scenario, yes, you're probably talking about a hub. You'd have all the same sounds you have now, but you'd have more keys available for more easily accessing different combinations of them simultaneously, whether to play them at the same time or to more easily switch back and forth. If there are any areas that seem sonically weaker than you'd like, you can integrate additional VST instruments.

 

For the second scenario, I'm not sure the new keyboard necessarily needs to be connected to your computer at all, i.e. if you have an additional input available on your mixer/amp. Though there are still reasons you might want to, i.e. to be able to invoke single patch changes that change computer and keyboard sounds together, or using internal and external sounds together from the new keyboard, or processing the keyboard sounds through the computer.

 

But the core question to me is, if you're already set up with the computer, what are you looking for accomplish with this new keyboard? You say you're looking for horn and synth sounds, you should be able to get what you need from the computer, and then you may just need more keys (scenario 1). Odds are you're not going to get better horn or synth sounds out of any of the keyboards mentioned than you can get from the computer. BUT... you may find it simpler to get what you want out of a particular board, or might prefer its operational ergonomics, or like the idea of having a backup immediately at hand if Mainstage glitches.

 

As for Kronos vs Montage vs Nord Stage 3, I think I'd say the Nord is strongest for real-time synth manipulation and patch creation, but weakest on horns; the Montage is probably the reverse; and Kronos the most flexible overall.

 

This is great info. Thanks so much.

 

You're right. I'm using my Roland now, merely as a backup in case Mainstage fails me. But 99.9% of the time, I use Mainstage (Keyscape) as my piano sound, or EP, or whatever.

 

The reason I'm wanting to add a second board, is so that I can have synth/brass on it, and I can play piano with my left hand, and if the song has a synth line, I can just hit that run with my right hand on the other board. Then go back to my main board.

 

 

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The reason I'm wanting to add a second board, is so that I can have synth/brass on it, and I can play piano with my left hand, and if the song has a synth line, I can just hit that run with my right hand on the other board. Then go back to my main board.

Okay, we'll you can do that either by having the second board trigger additional sounds within Mainstage or by triggering sounds of its own. Do you have a preference? Or are you looking for it to be able to do either... i.e. trigger Mainstage sounds most of the time, but have its own synth/horn sounds as backup?

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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I've been considering buying a Montage or Nord Stage 3. Tell me why a Kronos would be better? Seriously, I don't know so I'm asking.

 

The Kronos is a better control surface than both. You have a lot of assignable controls for controlling 16 external zones if you want to interface with your laptop. Personally I crossfade zones (sounds) a lot more than I tweak synth paramenter live. The Kronos is easy enough to adjust how open your filters are and to change resonance.

 

 

I'm not a Nord guy and don't know jack about it's MIDI implementation but the MIDI implementation on the Montage is goofier than Hell.

 

Plus the Kronos is totally cool. Look the Kronos vids on YouTube that demonstrate Set List.

 

 

 

 

"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne

 

"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!

So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

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