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bill5

Nektar MIDI controllers?

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Anyone used? Pros/cons? How did the keybed feel? What about quality in general? Considering one.

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I reviewed the Nektar Impact GX49 not that long ago... here's a link to the review:

 

http://www.harmonycentral.com/expert-reviews/nektar-impact-gx49-49-key-midi-controller-keyboard

 

 

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My main concern is the lack of a 5-pin MIDI port, but if you don't need that (and you are using it in conjunction with a computer), they're nice, inexpensive controllers that work well.

 

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Thx Phil; not sure why I'd need the 5-pin as there are inexpensive converter cables available. ? Definitely keep in mind. Be interested in any other thoughts/experiences you've had with MIDI controllers.

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Thx Phil; not sure why I'd need the 5-pin as there are inexpensive converter cables available.

 

Yes, but those USB / 5-pin MIDI cables will only work with a computer - you can't connect one directly to the USB port on a Nektar keyboard.

 

IOW, the Nektar can't be used with an external hardware synth in a live situation - not without a USB-equipped computer in between it and the hardware synth, and not without a USB / 5-pin MIDI interface for the computer so it can communicate with the hardware synth.

 

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I don't do live or external hardware so moot point. :) Thx. I might have to pass on the "synth" action though; hoping to find a good/true semi-weighted option.

Edited by bill5

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Yes, but those USB / 5-pin MIDI cables will only work with a computer - you can't connect one directly to the USB port on a Nektar keyboard.

Back to this, dummy question, not following........why couldn't I plug the USB end into the keyboard and 5-pin to my AI?

 

 

 

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In that case you don't even need that cable. If by AI you mean 'audio interface'. You would take the USB from BOTH the nectar controller and the interface and plug them into your computer assuming your PC has 2 available USB ports. Then assuming your AI has 5 pin midi also, you would need to select which midi interface you want to use in your application (DAW or Standalone Plugin) settings.

 

For example I use an Roland FA-08 in my home studio with a Roland Duo Capture interface. There are 2 ways I can connect. I can plug the FA-08 into the Duo Capture via 5 pin midi and the USB from the Duo Capture into my Mac Book. Or as I currently do, I just plug both into the laptop via USB cables.

Edited by kbeaumont
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OK I'll slap my forehead later, but not getting that at all either. Why would I plug both into my PC? And if I plug the keyboard in direct to the PC, wouldn't I lose the benefit of the superior sound card of the AI, which is the point of having it in the first place (regarding the keyboard that is)?

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Check out a Samson Graphite 49' date=' it has a semi- weighted action, I have one. I also have a Nektar for integration for DAW I use.[/quote']

Thanks! However I'm only looking at 61+ key models.

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And if I plug the keyboard in direct to the PC, wouldn't I lose the benefit of the superior sound card of the AI, which is the point of having it in the first place (regarding the keyboard that is)?

No you would not! Your audio output and midi device do not need to be the same! Audio & MIDI are two completely different things.

The ONLY reason your Audio Interface has a 5 pin midi is for connecting a keyboard that doesn't have USB!

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Back to this, dummy question, not following........why couldn't I plug the USB end into the keyboard and 5-pin to my AI?

 

 

 

It's not designed to work that way, and simply won't work. USB is a computer peripheral format - it just carries data over a serial bus, and it needs a computer to decipher and utilize that data. USB products need to be connected to a computer - then the computer can send the data elsewhere - such as out through the 5-pin MIDI Out port on an audio interface.

 

If you try to connect the USB end of that USB interface cable directly into the keyboard, the first issue you'll run into is the different format of the USB plug and the USB jack. The keyboard has a square-style USB jack (USB Type B), while the USB interface you linked to uses a thin rectangular USB plug (USB Type A) - they're incompatible with each other - while USB carries data bi-directionally, USB type B is usually a device's output jack, while a USB type A jack is typically an input - such as the USB jacks you'll find on your computer.

 

Even if you somehow cobbled together an adapter, it still wouldn't work because there's nothing converting the USB data (which has MIDI data embedded in it) into the same MIDI data format that the 5-pin MIDI jack can work with. That's where the computer comes in... :)

 

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No you would not! Your audio output and midi device do not need to be the same! Audio & MIDI are two completely different things.

The ONLY reason your Audio Interface has a 5 pin midi is for connecting a keyboard that doesn't have USB!

I think we're getting caught up on the word "audio." Of course an audio source and MIDI are different (like audio tracks are diff than MIDI tracks). But ultimately MIDI information is still converted to sound ("audio" in the broad sense of the word) and that's where, I thought, the sound card comes in, whether it's for a direct recording of voice or other instruments or for something recorded via MIDI. No, you don't HAVE to use an AI, you could plug right into the PC, but PCs have considerably inferior sound cards that would be used to do that conversion of MIDI info to sound, therefore the benefit (at least potentially) of the AI. With simpler sounds such as a basic sine/etc, it wouldn't matter, but if you're using some VSTi of a simulated violin or guitar (for example), the AI can generate that better.

Edited by bill5

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You used to need a computer to do USB to 5 pin midi. But that is no longer the case. There are devices that convert USB to 5 pin midi without the need for a PC or IOS/Android device. This one from McMillan is $60 https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/MIDIExpand--keith-mcmillen-instruments-midi-expander?mrkgcl=28&mrkgadid=3157640904&rkg_id=0&product_id=MIDIExpand&campaigntype=shopping&campaign=aaShopping%20-%20Not%20In%20Stock&adgroup=Studio%20&%20Recording&placement=google&adpos=1o1&creative=105593158321&device=c&matchtype=&network=g&gclid=CjwKCAjw-dXaBRAEEiwAbwCi5shCeoXl5qDl-5HB3bVwjfBojO5k_8fPVN0XJ_VqBRqwa4ie1Pj7gxoCAqsQAvD_BwE

 

Another device is the Kenton USB host https://reverb.com/item/6173570-kenton-midi-usb-host-mkii?gclid=CjwKCAjw-dXaBRAEEiwAbwCi5kyIzJn0aMsOrtWzmiD46CY7laA8Nuo2BG4-k8SB5VZyMs0eYUyKlBoCLqYQAvD_BwE&pla=1

 

I have heard of the McMillan, and previously looked into it - unfortunately, it is designed to work only with their products, and it's not universal. It won't work with third-party products, even if they're class compliant.

 

The Kenton OTOH, does look like it might work, but only with USB devices that are plug and play / class compliant. If your USB MIDI device needs a specific driver, then it wouldn't work with it.

 

 

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The Kenton OTOH, does look like it might work, but only with USB devices that are plug and play / class compliant. If your USB MIDI device needs a specific driver, then it wouldn't work with it.

 

That is the very reason I don't buy non-class compliant hardware! I cannot count how many times USB drivers in windows for one device made others totally inoperable. Which was also one of the reasons I went Mac most devices for it are class compliant! I say most because there are a few devices that aren't. I actually found the McMillan device while searching for the Kenton, I only listed it because at first glance it looked the same and was cheaper.

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It's not designed to work that way, and simply won't work. USB is a computer peripheral format - it just carries data over a serial bus, and it needs a computer to decipher and utilize that data. USB products need to be connected to a computer - then the computer can send the data elsewhere - such as out through the 5-pin MIDI Out port on an audio interface.

 

If you try to connect the USB end of that USB interface cable directly into the keyboard, the first issue you'll run into is the different format of the USB plug and the USB jack. The keyboard has a square-style USB jack (USB Type B), while the USB interface you linked to uses a thin rectangular USB plug (USB Type A) - they're incompatible with each other - while USB carries data bi-directionally, USB type B is usually a device's output jack, while a USB type A jack is typically an input - such as the USB jacks you'll find on your computer.

 

Even if you somehow cobbled together an adapter, it still wouldn't work because there's nothing converting the USB data (which has MIDI data embedded in it) into the same MIDI data format that the 5-pin MIDI jack can work with. That's where the computer comes in... :)

My bad, I forgot there are diff USB connectors. I don't mean to be difficult and not disagreeing per se, just still a little fuzzy. So how do you get the AI in the mix to use its soundcard? Send the MIDI straight from keyboard to PC and then somehow get the PC to send it to the AI and then back to the PC? Sounds awfully inefficient.

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No the keyboard sends midi to the PC. Your interface does nothing with midi except pass it back and forth to the PC. The PC sends USB digital audio to the AI. The AI converts the digital audio to analog audio which then gets sent to powered speakers, PA etc. Again an audio interface main job is to get audio in and out of your PC. The virtual instrument software and recording software in your laptop use the midi data. Any added 5 pin midi ports are their for convenience only, for controllers that do not have USB.

 

What would be inefficient is sending USB midi to a converter to 5 pin midi, then the converter sending 5 pin midi to the interface then the interface converts it to USB midi and sends it it to the PC. Your would be adding 2 middlemen that don't need to be there.

Edited by kbeaumont
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I don't do live or external hardware so moot point. :) Thx. I might have to pass on the "synth" action though; hoping to find a good/true semi-weighted option.

 

Check out the M-Audio stuff. I have an Axiom Pro 61 and I love the semi-weighted action on it.

 

Edit: not the Oxygen line tho... I think the "Code" or "Keystation" lines are what you are looking for.

Edited by MikeyParent

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I bought the Impact LX88+ a couple of months ago so that I could have an 88-note controller in a different room than my main studio. It works fine. I like the 9 sliders for drawbars, and the programmable switches and knobs. It doesn't have aftertouch, but that's OK. The only thing I don't like is that it has an input for a sustain switch, but not one for a foot pedal (for volume or other control).It was well worth the $279 price. It replaced an old Akai MX76 controller from 30 years ago that cost $2000 then ($4350 today adjusted for inflation).

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