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Hello World! (and how to get my MIDI keyboard controller working)

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Hi,

This is my first thread and post in your forum. Thank you for the opportunity to engage the Cakewalk community here. Also, please redirect me if I'm way off topic here or would be less annoying at some other venue.

My introduction:  I played keyboards (classical training & Soul/English rock bands) and some guitar in my student years. Then I trained with electronic music composition on a Moog System 55 (ie. 1970's, yikes) in a college studio environment. I have a BS in Music Theory and Composition. In the late 1970's/early 1980's I had created some reel-to-reel tape tunes and songs with a "Roland SH-5" (as seen here https://static.gearslutz.com/board/imgext.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fgreatsynthesizers.com%2Fwp%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2013%2F01%2FRoland-SH5-Synthesizer.jpg&h=75240e76d822693d4165b6f5e529dec5 ) and a Sequential Circuits "SCI Model-800 Sequencer" (as seen here https://www.keithrobertmurray.com/articles/sci-model-800.html  and here https://modularsynthesis.com/SCI/800/m800.htm ). So I'm ok with the concepts of what the various modules do on old analog synths, and half track tape (yikes).  For the last 30 years (yikes) I've been in IT, so I'm familiar with all Microsoft Windows OS's,  some Unix/Linux in the last couple years, and PC/Server/Networking hardware. I'm really interested in getting back into composition and arranging (as a hobby) in the DAW age. I've been watching a ton of YouTube' s, reading the Band Lab Assistant (aka BLA?) and CWBB help docs, and messing around a bit in CWBB just to see what's there.

The reason for today's thread is hardware related I believe.  I have a sufficient PC workstation (4Ghz AMD/32GB/SSDs) with a Sound Blaster Audigy Fx PCI card in it. I have an old FATAR midi controller keyboard (as seen here https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/fatar-tb49-midi-controller-keyboard-1823382889 ). It simply has a power button (for a 9vDC power adapter) and a MIDI OUT jack. I have an old USB2 to MIDI cable (that looks exactly like this one https://www.ebay.com/itm/6FT-USB-TO-MIDI-5-Pin-Keyboard-Interface-Converter-Cable-Adapter-PC-Music-Cord/312673559138?epid=15031117086&hash=item48cccbe262:m:mR5v2pH-FfRo_iN9pFqQ99w ) I say "exactly" because most of those adapters being sold today have the LEDs arranged slightly differently (and look like this https://www.ebay.com/itm/Professional-MIDI-to-USB-IN-OUT-Cable-Converter-For-PC-Mac-Laptop-6FT-Black/401738152865?_trkparms=ispr%3D1&hash=item5d8975bba1:g:PwgAAOSwfI1dTTjU&enc=AQAEAAAB4BPxNw%2BVj6nta7CKEs3N0qXHMeVyaYsq4dlMbZsCKNE6xivKsbowZ3Q3QTHWcx2Gv1eQHhZrCXODCBPtzMcyFLCDtX0v8ddJB57Fk5Q9daUEOKZ25DYuX7%2BZBg%2F%2B0nYD%2BRE4%2Fzyu5T7qUy0dSmgZmYKcbKgwQOmcA7uMb2CMn7Unz6mQ%2BMUH3Z6RXEKNrG332eCvidDHdG18IQHG7%2FTcXJfd0xggGHhxlTMp%2FtXIAGA1d%2BVAU3v9UEkSLQH73EjD8JuKnrafC1GvJyFyx2NDwjoZyI2tlfNC%2BlGP62rFG4cCSnTotXVws6ekfPv6QdttMNrwnx5qLmIuzK3hifTmq0eQL4eohQmyYUfLT3Chc%2FihleVTpTmKXcBy%2FJJzmAmfVVMeyFgReBoZm3TjW%2Fst7h5uHh3FomfMoNkNNHzFW1iFUTZPwaHyFV0D33yljBqt7PjYTdFYWNARm0wKkECK%2B5Se2BrrPHU%2BVcXoTFZ9Q1SkBEOnbO9It2X079uQR2wD6%2FU6oOqCmD%2FH40CtZU3nVPhEo28tLQpzl7TlmSVJl%2FYXmDWohEDJPdRdygv6muweYBSFlHkOOfcmPbNupEtII8n%2BMEj4zumc2ab5aElfy%2B4S7b5YdNlw7%2FUxgONTKd%2Fckg%3D%3D&checksum=4017381528655bda2b12516b42b4b6cddea5cf572a71 ). Maybe there's some technical difference in those two adapters, I'm not sure (ie. maybe I have v1 and the newer ones are v2 ? ).

All the above said, to get started with CWBB, I'd just like to plug that old FATAR keyboard into the PC and be able to use the FATAR to play one of the CWBB instruments. Btw, Windows (8.1 Pro) does detect my old USB2 to MIDI cable as "USB2.0-MIDI" (under Sound...Controllers in Device Manger). And, the Red LED on the cable lights up and stays lit while the cable is plugged into the PC.

I know how to start a new Empty Project in CWBB and drag the SI-ELectric Piano onto the pallet, and drag down the Piano's bottom boarder to see all the controls. I then drop down the Input control, and change from "None" to "USB2.0-MIDI" (I'm assuming that is the right thing to do).  The Piano's Output control is already set to Master, and I see that the slider near the bottom right is already labeled "Master" and has "Output = Speakers (Sound Blaster Audigy Fx) 1/2". That seems right to me, but I'm not certain.

In the CWBB topmost menu: Edit | Preferences | MIDI | Devices: Inputs has USB2.0-MIDI enabled. Outputs has three options (Microsoft GS Wavetable Synth, USB2.0-MIDI and "MIDIOUT2 (USB2.0-MIDI"). None are selected (and that makes sense because I'm not trying to output to another MIDI device right now).

The USB cable's "IN" MIDI plug is plugged into my old FATAR keyboard controller. But when I try the FATAR, the IN and OUT LEDs on the USB cable do not light up, and there's no sound from CWBB.

Any idea's what I have messed up here? Did I not setup CWBB right? Or maybe a bad USB2.0-MIDI cable? Maybe my old FATAR is belly up?

Sorry for the elongated post. I appreciate any comments, corrections, criticisms, or resources that you care to provide.

Regards . . .

 

 

 

 

 

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I can relate to some of your experiences--the first real synth I had the please to play with was in 1970 at college (a 1969/1970 era Moog). As for those "low-cost" usb/midi interfaces, I have read some unpleasant things about them.  I wish I could find the link for an article that goes into the problems and the reasons for the problems from a rather technical standpoint. I vaguely recall issues with sysex (system exclusive midi communication) and full two-way simultaneous communication.  But maybe yours is not as bad as the ones I read about.  I would encourage you to look up "cheap midi interfaces." Some people report some success under some circumstances. A few of the sites/forums I looked at touch on some of the issues.

Steve

Didn't mean to imply not to try to get it to work, just that even if it does work somewhat, there might be other issues.  Sorry if I gave the wrong impression.

  

 

Yes--we have midi in - 001a.png

Edited by MusicMan11712 (aka Dr. Steve)
(2) added png to show some midi input received indicators (1) added "a 1969/1970 era Moog"

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Is the Fatar only a controller, or also a synth? If it's a synth,  you can check it by connecting MIDI OUT to IN directly on the keyboard, turning Local Control off, and seeing if it can 'play itself' via MIDI.

To check the interface cable, you can do something similar: Enable the interface's MIDI Out in preferences, and connect the  OUT to the IN. Then set up two MIDI tracks in Cakewalk, one to play an imported or step-entered MIDI clip to the MIDI OUT, and one set to record the MIDI IN, and see if it makes the round trip.

 

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If you connect right cable to properly working MIDI keyboard, "In" LED should blink when you press keys. That is independent from CBB. In case you have just one keyboard and one USB-MIDI cable, it is hard to check what is not working.

You can partially check that USB-MIDI is working at all: enable USB2.0-MIDI Output (!) in CBB, put(create in piano roll) some MIDI clip on MIDI (!) track with output set to this (USB-MIDI) output. When you play the clip, you should see "Out" LED blinking.

In the Windows system tray there is an icon with 2 "LEDs" (when CBB is running). These should be in sync with LEDs on cable. If you do not see "Out" LED blinking in the test, check that Out on this icon is blinking. If it is not, you setup something wrong for the test.

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