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Old 01-26-2013, 05:07 PM   #1
bstephan253
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Using a midi controller live

I have an axiom midi controller that I like to use in a live setting. I'm a guitarist but have used the controller to add some ambient noise, samples, keys, etc. I took the advice of many on here that I should get a controller and lots of VSTs and softsynths instead of getting a microkorg or other keyboard

Since the controllers don't have an audio out, I just hook up to my laptop via USB and then run a line from the laptop's headphone jack into an amp that is mic'd when playing live.

I'm admittedly ignorant on this but is this the best way to set this thing up to gig with? It seems strange to run the sound from the laptop headphone jack.

Any advice on the best software for a midi controller is also most welcome

Thanks
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Old 01-26-2013, 07:08 PM   #2
jetwash69
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Probably nothing wrong with the headphone jack, but going thru a mic'd amp seems less than ideal.

I'd run the headphone jack into a 1/4" Y cable and plug that into a stereo DI box like this one:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/con...s=REG&A=details

Then hook that up to the house PA with XLR cables.

As for software, Ableton Live seems like the best choice, though I don't have any personal experience with it. What kind of controller are you using & when you say MIDI, do you mean you're sending MIDI note signals from your guitar? Or do you mean you're using the controller to trigger pre-recorded loops? (What you describe sounds more like that)

Anyway, if I were doing the latter, then I'd use this controller to trigger stuff and tweak on the fly if I wanted:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/con...EG&Q=&A=details

Good luck, sounds like fun. Just be aware that computers aren't always reliable on stage. What happens if it decides it needs an update while you're doing a show, or if it hangs up because it sees a new WIFI device in the area? There are ways to mitigate those types of problems, but I've seen these things bite performers in the butts live when they hadn't taken adequate precautions.
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Old 01-26-2013, 07:59 PM   #3
roaraudio
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Some would argue that "miking synths" as you described adds a great deal of liveliness to it. So keep doing that. Unless you play metal, than do the DI thing.

In fact you would defiantly need to put a passive DI (use it in reverse - step-down transformer) after the laptop headphone out - as its outputting a low impedance balanced signal and the amp would be expecting a high impedance unbalanced signal.

It obviously still works the way your doing it but there is a chance you could damage your laptop sound-card due to such a large impedance at the end of your line level cable.

What kind of music u play?
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Old 01-26-2013, 08:07 PM   #4
jetwash69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roaraudio
...It obviously still works the way your doing it but there is a chance you could damage your laptop sound-card due to such a large impedance at the end of your line level cable...


Depends on what amp he's plugging into and what input he's using. If it's like an MP3 player input that are so common on SS amps these days, then a direct male-to-male 1/8" stereo cable is all he needs. If it's a line-in input on a keyboard amp, then it could be the same deal (except maybe then it's 1/8"male stereo in the computer and RCA Y into the amp). Same could go for a small PA board, or it could go to a line-level unbalanced 1/4" stereo jack (or Y to 2 1/4" mono jacks).

But yeah, if it's an instrument input or balanced, then it should go through a DI. The DI box I listed is active.
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Old 01-26-2013, 08:21 PM   #5
roaraudio
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Oh ididn't know amps (acoustic player here/only amp i've seen/recorded was a monster marshall 1960 4 something) had iPod inputs etc. I'm assuming they accept stereo level so that'd defiantly be fine!

For the application of going from laptop > amp a passive seems more suitable.

(thanks for discussing this, its actually good revision for my upcoming exams
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Old 01-26-2013, 08:41 PM   #6
jetwash69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roaraudio
Oh ididn't know amps (acoustic player here/only amp i've seen/recorded was a monster marshall 1960 4 something) had iPod inputs etc. I'm assuming they accept stereo level so that'd defiantly be fine!...


TS used to have (& maybe still does) a Marshall JCM tube head and a Mesa 2x12" cabinet, which is probably similar to the Marshall you're talking about, but with less speakers. (A Marshall 1960 is speaker cabinet loaded with 4 12" speakers, and would need a head attached to it to do the amplification, whereas a combo amp would have the amplifier and the speakers in the same unit--usually only 1 or 2 speakers, though). That amp would have an instrument input for the guitar, and might also have an effects loop (many Marshalls do, but I don't recall if that one does). So unless he's using another amp for the guitar, he's probably not using that amp for his laptop.

TS had been considering getting a solid state (SS) amp to add to his rig for cleans. IIRC he was contemplating a Vypyr or a VOX VT. The Vypyr for sure has line (stereo) inputs to play along to. But then IIRC he was leaning toward a VOX AC30 (tube) amp, so who knows what he ended up with.

Maybe the TS will post again and explain his current setup.

Last edited by jetwash69 : 01-26-2013 at 08:44 PM.
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Old 01-26-2013, 09:00 PM   #7
roaraudio
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Just got word the marshall i was talking about is a 1960 mode 4. It sounded huge (we cranked it to llike 5 or 6 on the master volume, we did that in the smallest room ever. PADS were put on all the condensers and the signal was still hot as ever.
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Old 01-26-2013, 10:02 PM   #8
jetwash69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roaraudio
Just got word the marshall i was talking about is a 1960 mode 4. It sounded huge (we cranked it to llike 5 or 6 on the master volume, we did that in the smallest room ever. PADS were put on all the condensers and the signal was still hot as ever.


Not being argumentative, just trying to be helpful. The Marshall Mode Four is an ampliflier head. Mode Four is the name, and MF350 is the model number. It's relatively new, considering Marshall's timeline, and certainly didn't exist in the 1960s, so you couldn't be referreing to the year it was made. They make several speaker cabinets for it (MF280 A, MF280 B, MF400A, and MF400B). They are all 4x12s. It's possible that it was a Mode Four head playing through a Marshall 1960 cab. But hopefully it was 2 1960 cabs, because if it was stock, then it could have been loaded with 30 watt speakers or 75 watt speakers. And the Mode Four is a freakin' 350 watt amp!!!

So, yeah, you're right on that it was a monster. And I'm not surprised you needed to switch on your condensers' pads even with the volume at 6.

When I record my 100watt Marshall head (through my 1960 cab), with the volume at around 3 or 4 it only puts out around 105 dB, or so, IIRC. I also don't recall needing a lot of preamp on the board for either the close-mic'd dynamic or the room LDC.

When I cranked the little 100-watter up to 10 once (when the family was out), it literally knocked tab books off the shelf in a nearby bookcase. I don't think the dog has completely forgiven me yet. I wish I had my decibel meter handy at the time. Oh well.

There was a time when rock bands would use 100watt Marshalls without PAs in arenas, so one would expect the Mode Four to have a lot of headroom and max out a lot of decibel meters.
and good luck on your exams.

Last edited by jetwash69 : 01-26-2013 at 10:05 PM.
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Old 01-26-2013, 11:08 PM   #9
bstephan253
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Thanks for all the responses. To answer some of the questions,I am using an M-Audio Axiom 25-key controller. I'm essentially using it instead of a traditional keyboard (like a Microkorg). I figured that by getting a midi controller keyboard I would have access to many more sound options via VSTs and plugins than I would with a keyboard's presets. We play some psychedelic rock so I wanted to be able to play some spacey stuff on the keys during some of our songs. I've also used a VST sampler with the controller to play some movie audio samples in between songs
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Old 01-27-2013, 02:26 AM   #10
roaraudio
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Its a bloody good amp that's for sure and in no way am i surprised it knocked things off your shelf! The guy who it belongs to was telling me about it but unfortunately i was focusing more n mic placement at the time.. Wish i listened more intently but.
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Old 01-27-2013, 06:20 PM   #11
jetwash69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bstephan253
Thanks for all the responses. To answer some of the questions,I am using an M-Audio Axiom 25-key controller. I'm essentially using it instead of a traditional keyboard (like a Microkorg). I figured that by getting a midi controller keyboard I would have access to many more sound options via VSTs and plugins than I would with a keyboard's presets. We play some psychedelic rock so I wanted to be able to play some spacey stuff on the keys during some of our songs. I've also used a VST sampler with the controller to play some movie audio samples in between songs


If that's all you want to do, then yeah, it should serve that purpose.

If you want to trigger stuff while you're playing your guitar, then the MIDI pedal I suggested might be a good solution.

Hope what we told you about connecting stuff was helpful. Take care.
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Old 01-27-2013, 06:21 PM   #12
willT08
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Preferably run from laptop to an interface straight out of the PA
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Old 01-28-2013, 07:08 PM   #13
bstephan253
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willT08
Preferably run from laptop to an interface straight out of the PA


What type of interface do I need to do that? Do you mean like a DI box?
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Old 01-28-2013, 07:59 PM   #14
bigblockelectra
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I have an M-Audio Fast Track Pro. It works and has MIDI, but I would not recommend it. A guitar amp can be used, but won't have the necessary range of a synthesizer.

Haven't you found that M-Audio equipment is a little rinky-dink?

Don't you find the small keyboard a little too limited?

Last edited by bigblockelectra : 01-28-2013 at 08:16 PM.
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