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Hi,

Two questions: (1) What midi keyboard controller(2) is most compatible with CakewalkBL?

(2) I borrowed a friend's Novation Impulse 49 to possibly buy, but I can't seem to get it to "work." Well...It actually triggers the soft synths but when I engage the synths with my mouse the sound, is much more robust indicating a problem. Anybody point me to instructions on setting up the novation with CakewalkBL? 

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Follow-up. Why would the mouse trigger the soft piano with more velocity/attack than the midi controller?

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Posted (edited)

The mouse only has one velocity which is full on. I'm not sure how you intend to record output from the VSTi by triggering it with a mouse. Midi keyboards can have a number of velocities that they send from the keyboard so if you press softly it triggers a soft response, if you press the key hard, you get a louder sound. That is the way it is supposed to be. How your keyboard sends velocity messages to the VSTi or soft synth is determined by what are called "velocity curves" not all midi keyboards have these built in but some do. I think the impulse has 4 velocity curves you can select from to suit your playing style. There is also sometimes a velocity adjustment on the VSTi itself depending on which instrument you are playing.

I used to have an impulse some time ago. They wouldn't be my first choice today for a midi keyboard, i didn't like the automap software. They are also getting on in age and I think their compatibility with DAW's is not the best anymore. Some may have other views.

I just use a M-Audio Keystation mkiii which is not a controller keyboard, just a keybed with some midi functionalities. Someone else might be able to help you with setup of the impulse in Cakewalk. You might want to download the manual for your keyboard and have a look at that if you haven't already done so.

 

Edited by Tezza

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Posted (edited)

Any MIDI keyboard controller with velocity sensitivity is compatible as far as playing notes with the keys.

The big question is really how much manual setup will be required to ALSO get the buttons, rotary knobs, and faders mapped.

There are really two modes to consider for mapping those controls: DAW mode, and Plugin mode. Some keyboards have pre-made templates for DAW compatibility with select DAWs, where you can physically switch the mode back and forth. This allows using the same controls such as the faders differently in each respective mode. So they might control the faders in DAW mode, and maybe map to macros in a virtual instrument when using plugin mode.

Or you can just manually map some of the controls to the respective MIDI CC that you wish to control remotely (generic MIDI). As far as Cakewalk goes, that is probably your easiest option, because Cakewalk generally does not have modern dedicated keyboard hardware support from any manufacturer. The only exception I'm aware of is the Roland A-PRO series keyboards (ex: A300-Pro) that works directly with the ACT plugin in Cakewalk. That was designed when Roland used to own Cakewalk.

Other MIDI keyboards can be mapped with ACT, but it takes some trial and error and a bit of patience to get things partially working with that.

Others may have more recent experience or ideas to suggest. I guess I just lost interest in using anything other than a plain MIDI keyboard with Cakewalk. To play keys with. That just works.

Edit: some virtual instruments have great MIDI learn functions. If you use that you can generally pick any controls on your keyboard to control an instrument plugin. That way you don't have to pick up a mouse when you are playing, just turn a knob to tweak a filter or envelope.

 

 

Edited by abacab

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I thank you both for your info. yea, Tezza, I'm not planning to use the mouse; I was just trying to understand why it triggered a more robust sound; thanks for your explanation.

I read something about HUI and downloaded something called the MIDI-ox, recommended from Novation. It's a little over my head. I'm much better with chord inversions, lyrics etc he he. I'll look at it again

I am surprised to hear that Cakewalk BL has not updated support for mid controllers; it seems like a priority The piano is not bad, and many people have 3rd party synths to use.

Hmm. I am able to trigger (play music, just not use any of the faders, knobs) my synths with the Novation controller.  Perhaps, I could just do that and tweak the sound, distortion, vibrato etc afterward in Cakewalk?

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Posted (edited)
40 minutes ago, Kawika said:

Hmm. I am able to trigger (play music, just not use any of the faders, knobs) my synths with the Novation controller.  Perhaps, I could just do that and tweak the sound, distortion, vibrato etc afterward in Cakewalk?

Yes, you could use automation in your your Cakewalk tracks to tweak the sound, but that is usually more work than actually playing the part the way you want it to sound.

If you would rather play the part, read the user guide for your instrument to see if it offers a feature called "MIDI learn".

Usually the  setup process for MIDI learn is as simple as (1) activating the MIDI learn mode in the instrument plugin, (2) in the plugin GUI, select the knob or control you want to use with the mouse, and (3) move the physical knob or fader on your keyboard. The plugin will then remember the MIDI CC # sent by your keyboard for that knob and you will have remote control over that specific function in the plugin. Then just repeat the same process for each keyboard control you wish to assign. Done. That works with just about any MIDI controller keyboard, and is a function of the instrument plugin software, rather than Cakewalk. So the only catch is that those assignments are made on an instrument by instrument basis, and are not global.

The  other stuff that you read about HUI (and possibly other protocols) usually pertain to DAW control, such as transport and channel mixers, etc., and are not specifically about instrument plugins. That is another can of worms, but many times Cakewalk will respond to available keyboard transport controls if you experiment with different controller definitions in the controller setup page in Cakewalk preferences.

Edited by abacab

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Thanks ABACAB, I will try that tomorrow! I did make some progress today by accident: I noticed on the LCD "B4 org".  I love the old Native instruments B4. Sure enough, the controller controlled all of it's parameters; didn't have to do a thing!

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On 6/7/2021 at 8:07 PM, Kawika said:

Hi,

Two questions: (1) What midi keyboard controller(2) is most compatible with CakewalkBL?

(2) I borrowed a friend's Novation Impulse 49 to possibly buy, but I can't seem to get it to "work." Well...It actually triggers the soft synths but when I engage the synths with my mouse the sound, is much more robust indicating a problem. Anybody point me to instructions on setting up the novation with CakewalkBL? 

I can't help with the Novation keyboard, but i spent some time learning how to configure an Oxygen Pro 49 to use with CbB. here's what I learned, maybe you can modify the approach to use on the Novation.  The rest of the thread has some good info on ACT and control surface mapping, which is relevent for you as well.

 

 

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No, Novation not midi learn, sadly, but thanks. Thanks Mike Z....wow, there is a lot to digest. I did find a Midi-ox way to control my Omnisphere. I just need the Novation  Grid or map...not sure of correct vocab for the  Bank/ Control/ Parameter/ CC# grid. I don't know where to find that. Perhaps it is right in front of me in my tiny LCD screen?

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11 hours ago, Kawika said:

No, Novation not midi learn, sadly, but thanks

MIDI learn is a function of the plugin software, not the keyboard.

ANY controller should work for learn, regardless of the brand. MIDI controllers send a unique MIDI CC# (in the undefined range) for each control being activated, that the plugin can remember as you map them. Depending on the keyboard, there may be a keyboard setup mode that lets you assign specific CC's to specific controls. (The undefined CC’s you can map yourself to any assignable parameter on your synthesizer/instrument plugin.)

Reference: https://professionalcomposers.com/midi-cc-list/

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OK, Thanks for that! So let's take the cakewalk electric piano as an example. I see it has the ACT learn mode which I assume must be engaged when assigning CC number. And I see on controller how to change cc numbers. I need the cc# unique to the piano for each of its functions e.g., chorus, yes? And where do I find those numbers?

 

thanks again

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MIDI learn is not the same as ACT in the Cakewalk DAW. I was referring to generic MIDI learn, which is not DAW specific, and could be used in any DAW and with any keyboard. A quick way to get up and running with MIDI using 3rd party MIDI instrument plugins with your keyboard.

ACT is Cakewalk specific, and is for setting up the Cakewalk DAW to respond to a controller. It's a bit more work to get ACT setup, but it can learn MIDI CC's in a similar way. Here is the knowledge base article to get started, if that is what you want to do: https://www.cakewalk.com/Support/Knowledge-Base/2007013008/Configuring-the-ACT-MIDI-Controller-Plug-in

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"Usually the  setup process for MIDI learn is as simple as (1) activating the MIDI learn mode in the instrument plugin"

 

No luck yet. How do I activate the MIDI learn mode in ....say, cakewalk electric piano........... as an example?

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14 hours ago, Kawika said:

"Usually the  setup process for MIDI learn is as simple as (1) activating the MIDI learn mode in the instrument plugin"

No luck yet. How do I activate the MIDI learn mode in ....say, cakewalk electric piano........... as an example?

Well, as I mentioned earlier, MIDI learn is a function of the specific plugin. That means it is up to the plugin developer to include it or not. Many modern VSTi plugins do include it, but the Cakewalk Studio Instruments apparently do not support MIDI learn at the plugin level.

Cakewalk TTS-1 does have it, so you can easily learn the pan, reverb, or chorus knobs. Access the feature by right-clicking on a knob, then after checking the "learn" box, move the physical control on your keyboard. You will see the MIDI CC number populate in the box, then choose "OK". All set!

A plugin can sometimes have a button that activates a general "learn" mode, or sometimes it is hidden in the right-click context menu of each control. It is up to each developer to implement it, and while there appears to not be a standard, they are usually intuitive in their approach.

Check out this link to a Cakewalk forum thread for freeware instruments. There are many available that are superior to the ones included with Cakewalk. You will probably have better luck using your controller with them!

Here:

Also this:

 

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OK abacab,  I had thought a native plug- in like Cakewalk Electric Piano would be a good experiment example, but I guess not.

Yea, I usually use 3rd party synths e.g.,  Omnisphere 2, Kontact horns, B4 organ etc.

I will start experimenting with those.  I guess it's not critical I map to the controller because I am able to play all my plug ins without incident and can edit afterwards; I just thought it'd be nice, and not such an endeavor to get started.

Last rabbit hole:  I don't have Automap although it is a recommended download for my controller. Is Cakewalk compatible with this and do you think it's worth exploring?

 

thanks for you patience!

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