#1
Hey y'all. I'm looking to be able to use my Yamaha PSR-225GM keyboard (cheap starter model) with software synths on the computer. I had a midi-to-gameport cable, but I didn't have a 15 pin gameport bus in my computer. I found one in an old computer, but installing it made my system about as stable as an elephant on a bowling ball...

So, now I guess I'm looking for an alternate setup I can use in my desktop, but also be able to easily transfer to a laptop for live performances. Do you guys have any suggestions as to a device I could buy to connect my keyboard to a computer?

Also, does anyone have any soft-synth recommendations? I was going to test my midi-to-gameport idea with those included in the Fruity Loops Studio demo, but I never got to.

Thanks in advance.

EDIT: This is the sort of setup I'd like to have live: http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=zf8SZYXRufg
#2
Ableton Live is what everyone goes for live performances.

As i'm working on a solo project, my live set up for gigs would be my macbook with ableton live and reason on it with MIDI controlled through the Korg Kontrol. Running a guitar/bass through Guitar Rig (with rig control), and a MIDI expression pedal to work vocal effects n stuff.
Might throw in another MIDI controller for convenience.

For synth, the synths on Reason are brilliant. They'll pretty much sort you out with anything. If you really know your way with synths and want something more advanced, get the Native Instruments FM8, which is the best FM synth plug-in out there.
But well, its a nightmare for a novice who doesn't know much about synths!

Check this dude's set up, its pretty cool and not very complicated:
http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=-PsloKTJMCk
Its a macbook pro controlling all the samples and loops. Triggered through a little midi controller to his left. The microKorg for synth and a bunch of delay, loop and other expression pedals at his feet. And the Guitar Rig with its Rig Controller.


And about making the tracks and setting them up for live performances,
I'm gonna make my tracks primarily on Reason, ProTools and Cubase.
Then after recording and producing them, i'll create backup/loop tracks for them that i can load onto reason and ableton live (as a separate "live" mix file for the track) for the live performances. Then i'll be using the stuff at my live set up to trigger on/off the backing tracks/loops when i want to, use the Korg Kontrol to play synths live, Play my guitar/bass live through Guitar Rig and can do loads of stuff live that can make the live songs a little different from what you'ld hear on the album.
Its always good to have the live version slightly different from the album version. Or else it'll just sound like you're only playing backing tracks at your live performances and they can become rather boring sounding just a lower quality versions on the stuff on the album.
Having an active live set up, you can create variations and stuff in real time during the live gigs making your live shows more interesting.
Last edited by af_the_fragile at Mar 24, 2008,
#3
I appreciate the help, but I'm not sure if we're on the same wavelength here.

I want to use soft-synths to basically increase the tonal options for my cheap keyboard now. I won't be needing to control various backing tracks; I'll probably be using this setup with the rest of the band. Therefore, I don't think Ableton Live is exactly what I'm looking for.

While I've heard good things about Reason, and was considering buying it for electronica sequencing, I'd rather have a dedicated softsynth and not have to shell out $500.

I read a good review about the FM8, and I'm trying to DL the demo now, but they won't send my email the link to do so... I'll check it out though. Unfortunately, I'm a "novice who doesn't know much about synths." I may be able to figure it out from FL Studio experience though.

I might just have to shell out for a new midi controller, and the Kontrol looks intriguing, but I suppose I could just try it out with my keyboard.

Thanks for the help, any ideas regarding how to hook the keyboard up to my PC?
#4
I used to do this with my laptop and M-Audio Keystation. My laptop was a POS though (Gateway isn't good) and it broke down.

I had a great setup though. Gentoo Linux with KDE desktop. I ran the JACK low-latency audio server and a bunch of great synths. Linux offers some amazing free synthesizers, Zynaddsubfx can model just about any sound, amSynth emulates analog modulation, Fluidsynth uses soundfonts, and Jack-Rack to patch in software effects.

You obviously don't use Linux though, so I can't be of much help.
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#6
Quote by Ultraturtle0
I've dabbled in Linux before, I suppose I could give it a shot again. I consider myself rather tech-savvy

My main question though is, well, how do you physically connect the two?


Ah, if your keyboard doesn't have a usb output you'll need a MIDI interface for your computer.



Something like this M-Audio product will convert your keyboard's MIDI out and in to a convenient usb connector, ready for your laptop to use.
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#7
Excellent, thanks a lot. I suppose sound quality is not a concern, as the computer itself will be generating the audio? As far as output, is a standard 1/8 inch output acceptable in terms of audio quality?

Thanks a lot for the help guys, I really appreciate it.
#8
Quote by Ultraturtle0
Excellent, thanks a lot. I suppose sound quality is not a concern, as the computer itself will be generating the audio? As far as output, is a standard 1/8 inch output acceptable in terms of audio quality?

Thanks a lot for the help guys, I really appreciate it.


Yeah, it should be fine. You might need to adapt the 1/8" plug to two mono 1/4" jacks if you want to hook up to a PA though.
Quote by Godzilla1969
I love you, Muphin. You have great taste in music.

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Muphin > You

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#9
Quote by Muphin
Yeah, it should be fine. You might need to adapt the 1/8" plug to two mono 1/4" jacks if you want to hook up to a PA though.


Great, thanks a lot.

For just starting out, do you think my cheap keyboard would function well with these soft-synths? It doesn't have any sort of pitch modulation or x/y controls, etc., but I'm not sure if it's worth the money to upgrade to something better yet.

And will I need a software to interpret the USB input, or do most synths recognize this?
#10
Quote by Ultraturtle0
Great, thanks a lot.

For just starting out, do you think my cheap keyboard would function well with these soft-synths? It doesn't have any sort of pitch modulation or x/y controls, etc., but I'm not sure if it's worth the money to upgrade to something better yet.

And will I need a software to interpret the USB input, or do most synths recognize this?


You'll probably want some more control soon enough, but at least your unit has a piano keyboard. It's a start.

Windows should recognize the MIDI device instantly. If not, you can probably find some drivers for it on the company web page.
Quote by Godzilla1969
I love you, Muphin. You have great taste in music.

Quote by Pacifica112J
Muphin > You

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