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A Theoretical MIDI Question (or Two....)

Posted By: newbert

A Theoretical MIDI Question (or Two....) - 08/18/19 07:28 PM

Let's say you have 2 keyboards - Keyboard A has 88 keys plus "USB-to-Computer" and Keyboard B (an arranger) has 61 keys, and both "USB-to-Computer" plus "traditional" MIDI ports.

1. Can the two keyboards be configured so that you play on Keyboard A and still use all of the arranger functionality of Keyboard B?

2. If so, would all 88 keys of Keyboard A still function? (or just the range corresponding to the 61 keys of Keyboard B)?

3. Again, assuming the answers to #1 and #2 above are YES -- what's the best way to connect the two (USB of A to USB of B, or USB of A to "traditional" MIDI of B)?

Thanks!
Posted By: toddy

Re: A Theoretical MIDI Question (or Two....) - 08/18/19 07:46 PM

You can connect both to the computer (MIDI - USB cable or just straight USB to computer) and both will be fully functional. If you want to drive the sound engine of one with the keyboard of the other, you can do that perfectly well, using some kind of DAW in the computer. If fact, in most circumstances, the 88 keys of the first controller will extend the range of sounds available on the 61 note keyboard arranger.

I don't think it would be necessary to use traditional midi between the two keyboards, circumventing the computer. But if you were doing gigs, it might be more reliable and simpler - but it depends what you want to do.
Posted By: Frédéric L

Re: A Theoretical MIDI Question (or Two....) - 08/18/19 08:26 PM

Usually, USB sockets on keyboard are USB device sockets (a little square not a rectangle). You can’t connect two of them directly. Then a computer can be handy to relay MIDI events from one keyboard to the other. If you want a direct connection you must use a plain MIDI cable.

If you want a more precise answer, you should tell us which arranger you are talking about. The MIDI standard only tell how too exchange some events. Arranger makers are free to put some restrictions even if I think you will not have trouble with most arrangers. Arranger manuals tell us how they respond to MIDI events. For example, on the PA4X, a global channel seems to be handy to have a splitted keyboard with chord recognition below the split point.
Posted By: newbert

Re: A Theoretical MIDI Question (or Two....) - 08/18/19 08:41 PM

OK, To be more specific ---

What I was wondering was whether I could use a Dexibell P3 (Keyboard A) to control a Yamaha PSR-s775 (Keyboard B) - preferably without adding a computer into the mix. (FWIW, the Dexibell's keyboard is much nicer than the PSR's.)

If so, what kind of cable would I need?

Thanks!
Posted By: Frédéric L

Re: A Theoretical MIDI Question (or Two....) - 08/18/19 09:23 PM

You won’t connect both devices by USB directly (two USB devices socket, no USB host socket excepted for the USB drive). Then MIDI cables.

The PSR S775 has multiple MIDI modes. I hope/expect some act like the PA4X global channel (control the arranger like its integrated keyboard, with a split point), but the manual is less precise about it. Perhaps a PSR owner will point the right mode.

Posted By: newbert

Re: A Theoretical MIDI Question (or Two....) - 08/18/19 09:39 PM

Originally Posted by Frédéric L
You won’t connect both devices by USB directly (two USB devices socket, no USB host socket excepted for the USB drive). Then MIDI cables.

The PSR S775 has multiple MIDI modes. I hope/expect some act like the PA4X global channel (control the arranger like its integrated keyboard, with a split point), but the manual is less precise about it. Perhaps a PSR owner will point the right mode.



I'm not very "MIDI literate" other than connecting a keyboard to a PC, so please forgive me but I'm not sure what you're saying. Are you suggesting that this can be done without a computer my using some sort of USB to "traditional" MIDI cable? (I don't know one MIDI mode or channel from another......)

Thanks.
Posted By: Frédéric L

Re: A Theoretical MIDI Question (or Two....) - 08/18/19 10:01 PM

You have on the PSR some MIDI sockets (DIN5). Use them on instead of USB. I suppose the Dexibell have some too.

This can be done with no computer.



The PSR have some MIDI settings, you may have to select the right one for your needs.
Posted By: MacMacMac

Re: A Theoretical MIDI Question (or Two....) - 08/18/19 10:24 PM

If both keyboards have MIDI jacks (not the single USB-to-host jack ... but dual MIDI jacks marked input and output) then you can connect the MIDI output of one keyboard to the MIDI input of the other.

But if you have only USB-to-host ports you'll have to use a computer.

Anyway ... I don't understand your original premise. What exactly are you trying to accomplish?
Posted By: newbert

Re: A Theoretical MIDI Question (or Two....) - 08/18/19 11:20 PM

Originally Posted by MacMacMac
If both keyboards have MIDI jacks (not the single USB-to-host jack ... but dual MIDI jacks marked input and output) then you can connect the MIDI output of one keyboard to the MIDI input of the other.

But if you have only USB-to-host ports you'll have to use a computer.

Anyway ... I don't understand your original premise. What exactly are you trying to accomplish?


What I'm thinking of doing (if it's possible) is to use the voices, styles etc of Keyboard B (Yamaha PSR s775) with Keyboard A (Dexibell P3). The Dexibell has a MUCH better keyboard of the two, but only has USB-to-host port. The Yamaha has poor keyboard action, but has USB to Host and traditional MIDI sockets (but it's an arranger with excellent voices and styles).

If this can work without a computer, I might try it. The idea is only a gleam in my eye at this point.

I hope that explains my crazy idea better.
Posted By: toddy

Re: A Theoretical MIDI Question (or Two....) - 08/18/19 11:52 PM

With a computer, it's easy - just route both keyboards in via midi-usb and control the data flows on the computer.

Without a computer, just using midi cables you could also do what you described above - playing the sounds of one keyboard with the keyboard control of the other. In fact, that was the most obvious early use of midi back in the early 80s. But you can't do that because only one of your keyboards has midi sockets.

There is a fairly obscure and expensive way to do it without going through a computer and it is this piece of equipment:
https://kentonuk.com/product/midi-usb-host-mkii/

I cannot vouch for it as I've never used it or anything like it, but it should do the job of making both your keyboards midi functional in the traditional way.

But wouldn't it be easier and possibly cheaper just to use a computer? Any old computer should do for midi signal processing.
Posted By: EVC2017

Re: A Theoretical MIDI Question (or Two....) - 08/18/19 11:58 PM

There are some small boxes that connect to USB device only keyboards (like Dexibell as described):
[Linked Image]
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[Linked Image]

No idea how well they work though. Others may have reallife experience with one or these.
Posted By: newbert

Re: A Theoretical MIDI Question (or Two....) - 08/19/19 12:32 AM

Originally Posted by toddy
With a computer, it's easy - just route both keyboards in via midi-usb and control the data flows on the computer.

Without a computer, just using midi cables you could also do what you described above - playing the sounds of one keyboard with the keyboard control of the other. In fact, that was the most obvious early use of midi back in the early 80s. But you can't do that because only one of your keyboards has midi sockets. ......


Thanks! That clears things up for me.
Posted By: Frédéric L

Re: A Theoretical MIDI Question (or Two....) - 08/19/19 02:57 AM

Yes, I haven’t checked the Dexibell which has no MIDI (DIN5) socket, then one of the adapter proposed by EVC2017 is mandatory. Usual MIDI to USB adapter will only work with a PC.

It will works only if the Dexibell doesn’t need specific drivers. You can’t install any on the adapter.
Posted By: Gombessa

Re: A Theoretical MIDI Question (or Two....) - 08/19/19 03:19 AM

Wait a second here. When I first read what the OP asked for I was wondering specifically whether one of the DPs was a Dexibell.

Don't they have a specific feature that allows the USB port to function as a host, meaning no computer in the middle required to control other usb-midi instruments?
Posted By: Frédéric L

Re: A Theoretical MIDI Question (or Two....) - 08/19/19 03:38 AM

Usually, USB host port on a digital piano is made to connect a USB drive. On the top of the Dexibell USB host socket, it is written Memory. Then I don’t expect it to work as a MIDI over USB port. (But I have already heard of such thing possible on some DP even if it is not specified nor documented. It might be possible).

Even if this port can exchange MIDI events, the PSR needs a Yamaha driver you won’t be able to install on the Dexibell. Then we must use MIDI (DIN5) on the PSR and a MIDI to USB in order to connect to the Dexibell.

Usual MIDI to USB adapter are designed to connect a USB host (computer or the “Memory” port of the Dexibell if it happens to work). The one pointed by EVC2017 are designed to connect a USB device (the “computer” port of the Dexibell since the adapter act as a computer).
Posted By: MacMacMac

Re: A Theoretical MIDI Question (or Two....) - 08/19/19 10:39 AM

No, the USB-to-host port is meant to connect to a PC. This is a square USB "B" socket on the piano.
The USB-to-device port is meant for a thumb drive or similar device. This is a rectangular USB "A" socket on the piano.
Quote
Usually, USB host port on a digital piano is made to connect a USB drive.
Posted By: Frédéric L

Re: A Theoretical MIDI Question (or Two....) - 08/19/19 11:02 AM

I mean USB host (A rectangle socket which act as a host), not USB-to-host (A square socket which act as a device and is made to connect to an host).

Note, the Kenton adapter is named MIDI USB host (it is a MIDI USB-to-device). The Cerebel USB socket is named USB host too.
Posted By: clothearednincompo

Re: A Theoretical MIDI Question (or Two....) - 08/19/19 05:28 PM

Originally Posted by Gombessa
Don't they [Dexibell] have a specific feature that allows the USB port to function as a host, meaning no computer in the middle required to control other usb-midi instruments?


Yes, it was added to all models with a recent software update.

And modern Yamaha keyboards might be "USB class compliant", so no drivers needed.

("Might". I didn't check.)

In that case a USB cable between those two keyboards would indeed work.
Posted By: Gombessa

Re: A Theoretical MIDI Question (or Two....) - 08/19/19 05:58 PM

Dexibell doesn't really say much about it, but I would check the various AquaViva 4.0 videos to see where they highlight this capability of the new OS.

On the spec page for the P3, it does list USB-to-Device as usable for "memory and MIDI" though that's admittedly pretty vague (presumably you can save and load MIDI performances from a USB stick).
Posted By: Frédéric L

Re: A Theoretical MIDI Question (or Two....) - 08/19/19 06:38 PM

“Memory and MIDI” seems Ok... but with a USB Class Compliant device. I didn’t know about the Class Compliance of new Yamaha. They stil propose a Yamaha driver. See https://europe.yamaha.com/en/produc...ger_workstations/psr-s775/downloads.html

A compliancy would be a good news, but I wouldn’t bet on it.
Posted By: MacMacMac

Re: A Theoretical MIDI Question (or Two....) - 08/19/19 09:47 PM

Yes, Yamaha demands a driver. I didn't mind using theirs ... until I discovered that the driver would not survive a sleep/wakeup cycle. At least not on Windows XP.

So I switched to old-fashioned MIDI, tied in through the audio interface. That, of course, requires a driver. But that driver was rock solid on Windows 7, and the update works well on Windows 10.

Old-fashioned is good. Plain old MIDI.
Originally Posted by Frédéric L
“Memory and MIDI” seems Ok... but with a USB Class Compliant device. I didn’t know about the Class Compliance of new Yamaha. They stil propose a Yamaha driver. See https://europe.yamaha.com/en/produc...ger_workstations/psr-s775/downloads.html
Posted By: clothearednincompo

Re: A Theoretical MIDI Question (or Two....) - 08/20/19 06:00 PM

Shame on you, Yamaha!

laugh
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