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Need advice on MIDI add-on for Kawai VPC1
#2964173 04/06/20 01:56 PM
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Hello,

I have decided to go for a Kawai VPC1 and sell my MP7SE.
Key action is all to me but I will not only be playing but also arranging music for Big Band and create mockups in my DAW.
To be able to do that a modulation wheel and pitch bend are also important, but not present on the VPC1.
I cann't afford an MP11SE otherwise I would have killed two birds with one stone.

Don't know that much about MIDI and what is possible with the VPC1.
My idea was to use an external but programmable MIDI device and be able to hook up an expression pedal for instance. Is that possible and what else is possible in that regard?
Hope you guys can help me out with some advise.

Thanks in advance and stay healthy!


Kawai MP7SE
Windows 10 / MacOS Majove 10.14
Monitors: KRK Rokit-5 Powered
Software: Studio One 4, Sibelius Ultimate, Pianoteq 6 Pro Studio, VSTs
Re: Need advice on MIDI add-on for Kawai VPC1
Osiris #2964183 04/06/20 02:29 PM
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Apparently Yamaha has the patent to pitch and modulation wheels. The old MCS-2 if you can find one used would be a good bet. https://en.audiofanzine.com/misc-midi-controller/yamaha/MCS2/user_reviews/r.18497.html

I don't know if you can daisy chain via midi a cheap keyboard controller that has a pitch and modulation wheel and assign it to control that function only.

Last edited by Jethro; 04/06/20 02:30 PM.

Working on:

Bach/Busoni Chaconne in D minor BWV 1004
Chopin: G Minor Ballade
Schumann/Liszt Widmung

Shigeru Kawai SK2
Kawai VPC-1
Re: Need advice on MIDI add-on for Kawai VPC1
Osiris #2964186 04/06/20 02:44 PM
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This device might suit your purposes even better. Maybe it doesn't have to be a pitch or modulation wheel at all.

https://www.musiciansfriend.com/accessories/expressive-e-touche-midi-cv-usb-expression-controller

Last edited by Jethro; 04/06/20 02:46 PM.

Working on:

Bach/Busoni Chaconne in D minor BWV 1004
Chopin: G Minor Ballade
Schumann/Liszt Widmung

Shigeru Kawai SK2
Kawai VPC-1
Re: Need advice on MIDI add-on for Kawai VPC1
Osiris #2964192 04/06/20 03:12 PM
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Oddly I don't recall many modern 2 wheel sidecars. There are some CV solutions that you (may) need to translate.

Best new solution IMHO is French Touché controller looks best but also expensive
https://www.expressivee.com/buy-touche

Cheapest new solution is some small multi-controler box like this
https://www.korg.com/us/products/computergear/nanokontrol2/

Doepfer sold the WheelBox & WheelElectric. The single "Modulation Wheel kit" is still be on offer. The dual "modulation wheel set" is sold out. Dual "A-174-2 Wheels" is really for a CV rack. You can cobble this stuff into a box.
http://www.doepfer.de/we.htm
http://www.doepfer.de/home_e.htm

Synthesizers.com has a two wheel solution but that is expensive (and maybe CV)
https://www.synthesizers.com/q181w.html

Finally, if you like DIY projects, you could get some used gizmos used from the usual auction sites.

Re: Need advice on MIDI add-on for Kawai VPC1
Osiris #2964298 04/07/20 04:01 AM
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Jethro and newer player, thanks for your advice and suggestions.
I will look into each and every one and hopefully find what I'm looking for.

Enjoy music and stay healthy!


Kawai MP7SE
Windows 10 / MacOS Majove 10.14
Monitors: KRK Rokit-5 Powered
Software: Studio One 4, Sibelius Ultimate, Pianoteq 6 Pro Studio, VSTs
Re: Need advice on MIDI add-on for Kawai VPC1
Osiris #2964302 04/07/20 04:36 AM
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Hello Osiris,

Originally Posted by Osiris
Don't know that much about MIDI and what is possible with the VPC1.
My idea was to use an external but programmable MIDI device and be able to hook up an expression pedal for instance. Is that possible and what else is possible in that regard?


Yes, this should be possible.

You could purchase a small MIDI controller with pitch bend/modulation wheels and an expression pedal input, then connect the controller's MIDI OUT (yes, it needs to have a standard MIDI connector) to the VPC1's MIDI IN, and then the VPC1's USB-MIDI to your computer. The MIDI events from the small MIDI controller will be combined with those of the VPC1 and output through the USB-MIDI.

The alternative might be to use a MIDI controller and connect it to your computer directly (e.g. via USB), but set the MIDI channel to match that of the VPC1 - i.e. two MIDI controller both transmitting on the same MIDI channel. I believe this should work, but I do not have experience of this method myself.

Best of luck!

Kind regards,
James
x


Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 & occasional rare groove player.

"I agree that the User Manual is very good." - arc7urus, March 2019
Re: Need advice on MIDI add-on for Kawai VPC1
Osiris #2964305 04/07/20 04:56 AM
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Hello James,

Thanks for your advice and suggestions!
It took me some time to decide to make the switch from MP7SE to VPC1.
I could have saved myself the trouble by first auditioning the MP7SE before buying it online.
I'm sure I will enjoy playing even more on the VPC1.

Kind regards,

Osiris


Kawai MP7SE
Windows 10 / MacOS Majove 10.14
Monitors: KRK Rokit-5 Powered
Software: Studio One 4, Sibelius Ultimate, Pianoteq 6 Pro Studio, VSTs
Re: Need advice on MIDI add-on for Kawai VPC1
Osiris #2964352 04/07/20 09:34 AM
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While exploring different possibilities for MIDI ad-ons (Mod wheel & Pitch Bend) for the VPC1, I was wondering if it would be possible to configure one or more of the VPC1 F-30 Pedals to function as Modulation or Pitch Bend Pedal when using VST software which supports such a function. Or, if there's a workaround to making this possible.


Kawai MP7SE
Windows 10 / MacOS Majove 10.14
Monitors: KRK Rokit-5 Powered
Software: Studio One 4, Sibelius Ultimate, Pianoteq 6 Pro Studio, VSTs
Re: Need advice on MIDI add-on for Kawai VPC1
Osiris #2964353 04/07/20 09:39 AM
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I don't think the left and middle pedal connectors support continuous signal. James can confirm it.


My YouTube, My Soundcloud
Currently: Yamaha N1X, DIY hybrid controller -> Garritan CFX
Previously: NU1X, ES7, MP6, CA63, RD-700SX, CDP-100, FP-5, P90, SP-200
Re: Need advice on MIDI add-on for Kawai VPC1
CyberGene #2964510 04/07/20 07:31 PM
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Originally Posted by CyberGene
I don't think the left and middle pedal connectors support continuous signal. James can confirm it.


Yes, you're correct. Only the right (damper) pedal supports progressive pedalling on the F-30 unit. The left (soft) and middle (sostenuto) pedals function as on/off switches. However, the MIDI CC# assigned to each pedal can be changed using the VPC Editor, potentially allowing control over other functions if desired.

Kind regards,
James
x


Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 & occasional rare groove player.

"I agree that the User Manual is very good." - arc7urus, March 2019
Re: Need advice on MIDI add-on for Kawai VPC1
Osiris #2964518 04/07/20 07:57 PM
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Jo Flaherty did some pedal mods that might give you some ideas

https://web.archive.org/web/20181126031410/http://www.joflaherty.org/HallEffectSustain/VPC1%20pedal%20mod.pdf
https://web.archive.org/web/20190826044402/http://joflaherty.org/MidiExprPedal/MidiExprPedal.html

Images
https://web.archive.org/web/20170107032018/http://joflaherty.org/VPC1/images/IMG_5380VPC1.JPG
https://web.archive.org/web/20170106233319/http://joflaherty.org/VPC1/images/IMG_5379VPC1.JPG

Re: Need advice on MIDI add-on for Kawai VPC1
Osiris #2964530 04/07/20 08:33 PM
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It looks like Roland has a 3 pedal unit where all pedals are continuous cc. Each of the three 1/4" cables are TRS and can change polarity with the flip of a switch. $140.

https://www.roland.com/us/products/rpu-3/specifications/

http://forums.rolandclan.com/viewtopic.php?t=53788&start=15

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Re: Need advice on MIDI add-on for Kawai VPC1
Osiris #2964552 04/07/20 10:34 PM
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newer player, the Roland pedal unit is not compatible with the VPC1.

Kind regards,
James
x


Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 & occasional rare groove player.

"I agree that the User Manual is very good." - arc7urus, March 2019
Re: Need advice on MIDI add-on for Kawai VPC1
Osiris #2964589 04/08/20 04:03 AM
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Thanks everyone for bringing fresh ideas and suggestions so far which I will dive into. I am sure some workable solution will come up.

In the meantime I also searched the internet and bumped into this information which also looks promising:

https://www.audiofront.net/MIDIExpression.php

The MIDI Expression User Manual gives an insight to lots of possibilities: https://www.audiofront.net/MIDIExpression.pdf


Question for Kawai James: is the newer Kawai Triple Pedal compatible with the VPC1 after re-wiring with phone jacks?


Kawai MP7SE
Windows 10 / MacOS Majove 10.14
Monitors: KRK Rokit-5 Powered
Software: Studio One 4, Sibelius Ultimate, Pianoteq 6 Pro Studio, VSTs
Re: Need advice on MIDI add-on for Kawai VPC1
Osiris #2964590 04/08/20 04:11 AM
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I think what James said is that the VPC inputs for the left and middle pedals don't support continuous signal. It's not a matter of changing the pedals themselves and having ones that are continuous. It's the electronics in the VPC1 that won't be able to produce variable MIDI values for these inputs.

Last edited by CyberGene; 04/08/20 04:12 AM.

My YouTube, My Soundcloud
Currently: Yamaha N1X, DIY hybrid controller -> Garritan CFX
Previously: NU1X, ES7, MP6, CA63, RD-700SX, CDP-100, FP-5, P90, SP-200
Re: Need advice on MIDI add-on for Kawai VPC1
Osiris #2964591 04/08/20 04:21 AM
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CyberGene,

I certainly believe that what you and James are saying is true. I am just exploring possibilities which may turn out to be the most simple and practicle and cost less. Also given the fact that the F-30 unit has caused problems in the past and has not been upgraded as such.

Thanks for your input; much appreciated and hats off for your digital piano project!


Kawai MP7SE
Windows 10 / MacOS Majove 10.14
Monitors: KRK Rokit-5 Powered
Software: Studio One 4, Sibelius Ultimate, Pianoteq 6 Pro Studio, VSTs
Re: Need advice on MIDI add-on for Kawai VPC1
Osiris #2964597 04/08/20 05:06 AM
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Ah, I got it, you just check if it’s possible to use the new pedals because they are more reliable. That makes sense. I believe James once said that was not possible out of the box although it may work with a slight modification. For instance I’m using the F10H pedal for my project. It just needs to be powered by 3.3V and will produce a variable voltage output. The VPC probably expects a variable resistance instead but ultimately that probably just means the same (it will output some voltage and will sense the voltage division by the pedal potentiometer, so the only difference would be that the output voltage is not enough to power the new pedals and/or is not 3.3V).

And thanks for the nice words smile

Last edited by CyberGene; 04/08/20 05:08 AM.

My YouTube, My Soundcloud
Currently: Yamaha N1X, DIY hybrid controller -> Garritan CFX
Previously: NU1X, ES7, MP6, CA63, RD-700SX, CDP-100, FP-5, P90, SP-200
Re: Need advice on MIDI add-on for Kawai VPC1
Osiris #2964605 04/08/20 06:02 AM
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CyberGene, you're welcome.

If a slight modification could make the newer pedals work, that would be great and certainly worth the effort to look into that.
The other reason I started this thread is exploring and looking into using modwheel and pitch bend options that are not offered on the VPC1.
The use of the newer optical Triple pedal is an additional obtion I also take into consideration and if it turns out to be working with some slight modification, others having trouble with the F-30 pedals might benefit from it too.


Kawai MP7SE
Windows 10 / MacOS Majove 10.14
Monitors: KRK Rokit-5 Powered
Software: Studio One 4, Sibelius Ultimate, Pianoteq 6 Pro Studio, VSTs
Re: Need advice on MIDI add-on for Kawai VPC1
Osiris #2964607 04/08/20 06:18 AM
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Hello,

While not impossible, I believe connecting the Kawai GFP-3 pedal unit to the VPC1 would require more than a slight modification. It's certainly not something I would recommend customers attempt.

Kind regards,
James
x


Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 & occasional rare groove player.

"I agree that the User Manual is very good." - arc7urus, March 2019
Re: Need advice on MIDI add-on for Kawai VPC1
Osiris #2964610 04/08/20 06:28 AM
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From my own experience with the Kawai F10H pedal, which is an optical half-pedal, I believe it's really easy to purchase one or two of them and use them with an Arduino (or Teensy in my case, which is compatible with the Arduino IDE) to produce continuous MIDI values for any CC. The Arduino/Teensy will appear as just another MIDI input on the computer and all DAW-s support multiple MIDI inputs, so you can use the VPC1 as a keyboard note controller and the Teensy as modulation/pitch band input. Here's an excerpt of my code from my DIY controller that reads the F10H pedal value and generates MIDI CC64 values

(Might not be compilable, I just trimmed the other code that deals with the keyboard scanning)

Code
#include <ADC.h>

#define HALF_PEDAL A21

// On pedal-down the F10H pedal produces a decreasing voltage
// The following is the 8-bit value read by ADC where the pedal, on pedal-down motion, should produce MIDI value of 1
#define HIGH_PEDAL_LIMIT 192

// the 8-bit value read by ADC where the pedal should produce MIDI value of 127
#define LOW_PEDAL_LIMIT 85

byte lastSustainValue;
byte lastSustainVoltage;
byte ccValue[256];

byte voltage;
byte currentPedalValue;


ADC *adc = new ADC();

void setup() {
  pinMode(HALF_PEDAL, INPUT); // Kawai F10H half-pedal

  double pedalSegment = 127.0 / (HIGH_PEDAL_LIMIT - LOW_PEDAL_LIMIT);

  // pre-calculate the ADC voltage (8-bit value) to MIDI value map
  for (int i = 0; i < 256; i++) {
    if (i < LOW_PEDAL_LIMIT) {
      ccValue[i] = 127;
    } else if (i > HIGH_PEDAL_LIMIT) {
      ccValue[i] = 0;
    } else {
      byte value = (byte) (127 - (pedalSegment * (i - LOW_PEDAL_LIMIT)) + 0.5);
      ccValue[i] = value < 0 ? 0 : value;
    }
  }

  lastSustainValue = 0;
  lastSustainVoltage = 0;

  adc->adc0->setAveraging(16);
  adc->adc0->setResolution(8);
  adc->adc0->setConversionSpeed(ADC_CONVERSION_SPEED::VERY_LOW_SPEED);
  adc->adc0->setSamplingSpeed(ADC_SAMPLING_SPEED::VERY_LOW_SPEED);
  adc->startContinuous(HALF_PEDAL);

}

void loop() {
  checkSustainPedal();
  usbMIDI.send_now();
}

void checkSustainPedal() {
  voltage = (byte)adc->adc0->analogReadContinuous();
  if (voltage != lastSustainVoltage) {
    lastSustainVoltage = voltage;
    currentPedalValue = ccValue[voltage];
    if (currentPedalValue != lastSustainValue) {
      lastSustainValue = currentPedalValue;
      usbMIDI.sendControlChange(64, currentPedalValue, 1);
    }
  }
}


P.S. Forgot to add the jack specs:
Kawai F10H half pedal
Tip -> Vout (voltage output, equals Vin when at idle, approaches zero when pressed)
Ring -> Vin = 3.3V supply
Sleeve -> GND

Last edited by CyberGene; 04/08/20 06:30 AM.

My YouTube, My Soundcloud
Currently: Yamaha N1X, DIY hybrid controller -> Garritan CFX
Previously: NU1X, ES7, MP6, CA63, RD-700SX, CDP-100, FP-5, P90, SP-200
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