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 Forum index » Clavia Nord Modular » Nord Modular G2 Discussion
Midi controller for the G2 engine - by Rob
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mosc
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 15, 2004 8:45 pm    Post subject: Midi controller for the G2 engine - by Rob Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Here's an interesting post from the NM mailing list. The question was asked "can you use a Yamaha FC-7 pedal with a G2 engine. Here is the responce from Rob:


Uhmm, the yamaha fc-7 won't do you any good with an Engine, the Engine has
no input for an expression pedal. In fact the Engine only has audio in and
out, plus midi in, out and thru. Plus of course the USB for the editor.

But don't despair, Engines rock!!! All you need is a good midicontroller to
control the Engine. The choice of midicontroller is quite important as it
will be the link to the outside world. There are some options, but at least
go for a midicontroller that has extra inputs for an expression pedal and
optionally a sustain switch input. And a couple of buttons that can send
midi notes is handy as well.

The old stuff that I use over here to control the Engine and to which I can
verify it works:
1) The good old Peavey PC1600x
Nice programmable controller with sixteen sliders, sixteen pushbuttons, two
extra inputs for expression pedals or analog control voltages, plus an extra
rotary dial. Secondhand in working condition they go for around 100 euro
here. To program you need the manual, it is very flexible, e.g. buttons can
even send your own SysEx strings, go to ask the Engine for a dump of all
controllers. Buttons can send different commands on pushing or releasing or
have toggle mode where two commands are alternated on keypresses. I have two
that still live after some eight years of heavy duty use. The backlit
display gives good indication of what you do on the box. Nice thing about
the PC1600x is that each setup has 100 scenes of fader settings, which is
like a hundred extra variations.

2) Kurzweil ExpressionMate
Even without the ribbon attached it is a flexible
controller/arpeggiator/midiprocessor box with two extra pedal inputs and a
Yamaha BC3 breathcontroller input. You do need to read the manual at least
three times to grasp what the box actually can do, its very powerful, but
regrettably a drag to program. Once programmed it is pretty neat, but
perhaps not a beginners device. Display gives reasonable visual feedback.

3) Roland MCR-8
Little old 'midi mixer' with two 'software sets' of eight sliders, eight
rotary knobs, sixteen pushbuttons, master volume slider and start/stop
controls. It has no inputs for pedals or whatever. It has four modes that
can be selected by a switch before powering up the device. Still, this is a
very easy to use box when doing sequenced stuff on the Engine. I think I got
this one at a garage sale for only a few bucks. Works real great with the G2
Engine midi-learn function. There is no visual feedback, which is nasty when
sending program changes, as the Engine doesn't give visual feedback either.

There is lots of other stuff around. I don't like the Doepfer
midicontrollers, as some of them lack pushbuttons and the knobs are in
general to close to each other for my taste. Behringer just hit the market
with two budget controllers that have lots of led-collared endless knobs
and/or motor faders for an incredible low price. I don't know if they have
extra inputs, thought, but are definitely worth checking out.
There is also a lot of these two or three octave keyboards plus
midicontrolling knobs around, like from M-Audio and Novation. Definitely
because of the popularity of all the softsynths and plug-ins that are
around, synth manufacturers are now into making an endless variety of
midicontrollers. Though many seem to have low build quality, plastic devices
that may not live long outside of a studio environment.
Some visual feedback is also quite important, in this field simply nothing
can beat the G2 key panel displays.

Anyway, this long answer is just to notify you that you will need a
midicontroller with the Engine. And when shopping for one choose one that
has all the options you want. Options I would find important are sending
program changes, start/stop buttons, being able to send controllers in
different midi channels to control different slots. Ability to store
'scenes' is great, sort of extra variations you get. Some knobs to
start/stop notes are important as well, and inputs for pedals etc. These
inputs should accept analog control voltages as well, e.g. I use a Theremin
device that produces analog control voltages, and I plug these voltages into
e.g. the pedal input of my G2 key. Works like a charm, imho a sign of good
engineering of the manufacturer.

Success,
/Rob

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jksuperstar



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 15, 2004 10:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

If it's just a foot pedal someone is after, I use the Behringer FCB1010 midi foot board. Fantastic. 10 foot switches, 2 control pedals, heavy duty construction. 99 "programs" each with the capability of sending 5 program changes, 2 cc messages (or 1 latched), note on/off info, and 2 relays on board (latched/momentary) for "analog" control of amps/sustain inputs/etc. There is a user's group on yahoo.com (FCB1010), in which users have created a free PC editor (but java based, I think) which works very well. Brand new they go for $110US.

http://www.behringer.com/FCB1010/
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Fozzie



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2004 3:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I'll second the FCB1010 experience. It is great if you want footcontrol! You can program some banks for prog changes - can't do without this functionality with an engine - and some banks for note on/offs, cc values, and alway two foot pedals assignable to any cc. That's how I use it, anyway.
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deknow



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2004 8:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

...in taking the cover off my unexpanded engine the other night, it looked like all the components (except the jacks) were there for the sustain pedal and the control pedal inputs. it _looks_ like one could simply solder in the jacks (and poke holes in the case) to add this functionality. i haven't tried it yet, but plan to soon.

that said, i have just added an fcb1010 to my rig, and i am very happy with it (although it isn't as "functional" as i would like, i think it does the job just fine).

deknow
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mosc
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2004 9:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

deknow wrote:
i have just added an fcb1010 to my rig, and i am very happy with it (although it isn't as "functional" as i would like, i think it does the job just fine).

I don't have one of these, but it looks like a great device. Would you please elaborate on it not being as functional as you would like?

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deknow



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2004 10:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

"functional" might not have been the right word, but i'll explain how this thing works.

the footcontroller has 10 numbered foot switches, a pair of "bank up/down" swithces, and two expression pedals (optical rather than pot based, btw).

the up/down switches scroll through the 10 banks available in the controller (00-09, there is a 2 digit led so you know what bank you are in)...the 10 numbered switches (which are "radio button" types with an led to let you know which is active) select which patch within the bank has been selected (these banks and patches are internal to the pedalboard).

there is no modification within the patch (ie, on the 1600x, the buttons can "do something" within the patch), in order to change anything, you must go into a differant patch. each patch (upon initiation) can send the following:

5 midi program changes
2 midi cc's with defined values
2 midi cc's (with definable ranges) from the 2 expression pedals
1 midi note
there are also 2 relays (like for controlling a guitar amp) that can be assigned on or off to each patch
...also, each of the above values can be sent on any midi channel (independantly, but only one channel per value)


...please note the following:
1. i've had this pedal for only a few days, so i haven't "lived with it" very long.
2. i am using this with an engine and a flute, and i want to be able to perform without the laptop.

at first, i wanted to assign each bank to a g2 patch, and use the 1-8 patch buttons to access the variations, leaving 9 and 10 for other types of switches. the problem i encountered is that if in variation 1, i have delay feedback mapped to a morph group (to be controlled with one of the foot pedals), when i go to variation 2 (where i am not controlling feedback ammount from a morph group), the delay feedback jumps to whatever value is defined in var 2. it would be nice if there were an option to prevent selected paraters from changing when changing vars (and there probably is a way to send a value to another slot for this purpose, but it starts to get complicated). ...basically, you use up a whole patch (in the behringer, and there are only 100) if you want to send only a midi note or control change value.

...since the g2 is such an open system, and there is no defined way to use it, there are any number of ways to implement any number of schemes. optimally, i'd rather have a 1600x with the 16 buttons, 8 expression pedals, and an up/down pair...this type of setup allows you to do much more with doing less in the nord (imho, your milage may vary).

deknow
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Fozzie



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2004 3:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Well, just a little clarification how I use my fcb1010, to point out that indeed it depends on your goals whether it's suitable or not.

As said, it has 10 switches and two pedals, that can be programmed independently. Note that a switch can be programmed to send prog changes, cc's, notes etc at once, but also to send only one of these. Then there are ten banks with different setups for the ten switches and two pedals.

I use one bank to switch the G2 patch (I don't use more than 10 patches per gig untill now), I use one bank to send midi notes (shame that it doesn't contain 12 switches, then it would cover an entire octave, now I leave out two like Eb and Ab), and a third bank to send some midi cc's. I also use a bank with lesser notes and some midi cc's combined to stop and start sequences (switches can be programmed to send alternating cc values for 1 type of cc on consecutive switch-pressings). I always have my two pedals sending two steady cc numbers (modwheel and another one), and these are usually appointed to morph groups.
Big advantage is, although only 10x10 switches can be programmed, I 'recycle' all cc sending switches and note sending switches by using them in different patches.

Well, I guess this isn't too interesting for most people out there, but just to explain why this device works perfectly for me, and maybe help people decide whether it'll work for them or not. I play bass and control my G2 engine with my feet while playing, and this controller can do anything I need while playing.
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deknow



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2004 3:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

ahhhh, i didn't get the alternating controller values with alternate presses...that changes things quite a bit for me! i have been using the computer editor, and didn't read the manual carefully reading

deknow
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Fozzie



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2004 4:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Some additional info for Dutch-reading forum members: http://www.synthforum.nl/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=23746&highlight=bcr2000

This thread on a Dutch forum discusses the Behringer B-control boxes. There is a member there that uses a BCR-2000 (midi controller with lots of rotary encoders with led-collars. This might sound familiar to some of you, but don't worry, there are no displays with text info Rolling Eyes ) in combination with an engine. He mentioned somewhere that Roland (Kuit) also uses this combination, or recommended it somehow. He is very pleased with it, one gets lots of knobs for less than 200 euros.

One thing that I'd like to know: in order to 'sync' any fader or rotary encoder, a controller snapshot has to be sent. It can be done from the G2 editor (ctrl-M), but is it possible to do this without computer? Is there any midi code that can ask for this info, or is it sent at patchload? It would be wishlist material if this is not the case, for me at least. I think it would be brilliant if users with G2 engines could use external knob-boxes like those behringers, without the need of the editor!
Edit: of course you need to program the CC's in your patches using the editor, but for live use it would be nice to get this controller snapshot function without lugging a computer along
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mother misty



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2004 4:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

wouldn't this be cool with a G2 engine? Smile)
(this thing looks amazing!!)

http://www.jazzmutant.com/lemur_overview.php
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Fozzie



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2004 5:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Yes, but no midi! To oldfashioned or something.... Crying or Very sad
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Blue Hell
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2004 5:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Fozzie wrote:
One thing that I'd like to know: in order to 'sync' any fader or rotary encoder, a controller snapshot has to be sent. It can be done from the G2 editor (ctrl-M), but is it possible to do this without computer? Is there any midi code that can ask for this info, or is it sent at patchload?


As far as I know this is possible and if so it is in the 1.2 manual. When you do not have the 1.2 manual you can find it as a pdf on the Clavia site.

Jan.
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Fozzie



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2004 8:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Thanks Jan, I checked the manual (not the helpfile though) carefully. I could only find the Ctrl-M keyboard shortcut on p. 107, but no midi way of invoking this. Also the midi implementation part doesn't help me further.

Edit while writing this message: I re-read the midi automation part, and indeed, there is a sysex message that requests a controller snapshot. Page 133. You don't find this when looking for 'controller snapshot' in the index, though.

Sorry, I did look but obviously not in the right part right away Embarassed

Further edit: this does make a BCR2000 a very nice companion for an engine! Add a nice keyboard controller and make all G2-keyboard users jealous Twisted Evil
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Rob



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2004 1:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Edit: I didn't see your edit. Embarassed

Fozzie wrote:
Thanks Jan, I checked the manual (not the helpfile though) carefully. I could only find the Ctrl-M keyboard shortcut on p. 107, but no midi way of invoking this.


Its in the SysEx description. There is a sysex command string that can be send to the G2. The G2 will respond with a dump off all CC# values in the patch.

It must be possible to program this command string on the midi-controller box. If the midi-controller does not support sending sysex strings: bad luck! A good midi-controller box should have this possibility, imho.

Last edited by Rob on Mon Oct 18, 2004 1:39 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Rob



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2004 1:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

deknow wrote:
...in taking the cover off my unexpanded engine the other night, it looked like all the components (except the jacks) were there for the sustain pedal and the control pedal inputs. it _looks_ like one could simply solder in the jacks (and poke holes in the case) to add this functionality. i haven't tried it yet, but plan to soon.

deknow


This does not mean these solderpoints will work.

The boot firmware in Clavia synths can test on power up if a keyboard is connected to the main board. If no keyboard is found, the synth assumes it is a rack model, e.g. a Nordlead rack.

It is my bet that the Engine does the same. The controlling processor does not have to handle all the panel controls, displays and leds on an Engine. I don't know how it is on the G2's, but I do feel the Engine is much faster with e.g. loading a performance as the G2 key.

There is also another bootrom in the Engine, as in the G2 Key over here. Well, a little sticker on the bootrom says G2E in the Engine, and in the G2 Key it says G2.

What I do know for a fact is that e.g. on a NL1 rack, which has the connectors for the pitchstick and the modwheel on its mainboard, these connectors do not work. Because there is no keyboard connected. And that this is sort of standard procedure at Clavia.

So, don't drill holes in your Engine yet...
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jksuperstar



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2004 3:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I suppose it'd be easy enough to take off the cover & inject your own signal to the points were the connector *would've* been, and see if Rob's hypothesis is true. If one was daring enough, one could create a patch that uses the control pedal, and touch a resister between to 2 of the 3 connector solder points (probably something between 10k - 100K would do).
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nathan



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2008 3:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

old thread
newer video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IjI6xkxX7F8
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buzzr



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PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 5:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I use a Doepfer Pocket Dial but these are impossible to find. I'm going to be making some very small portable midi controllers, later this year they should be ready to go.
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CaptainPoopface



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PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2008 4:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

buzzr wrote:
I use a Doepfer Pocket Dial but these are impossible to find. I'm going to be making some very small portable midi controllers, later this year they should be ready to go.


Please keep us posted. I am interested in small DIY midi controllers, specifically for use with the G2 and/or computer. I have been eyeballing the MidiTron and the Arduino microcontrollers.

Edit: Nice video.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2008 8:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I just have to jump in here and say, in terms of "bang-for-buck" I can't se ANYTHING beating the Behringer BCR controller.

24 LED Knobs. 4 Programable buttons. 8 LED knobs/push buttons and 16 push buttons, on 4 backs (each bank has it's own button). thats a total of 56 Knobs and 68 Buttons at your control almost instantly

Heres the kicker, there are 32 "Presets". So with the push of a button a couple of times, you have access to 1,792 Knobs 2,176 Buttons. Granted, you have to press the "Preset" Button once for every preset (ei, if you are on preset 3 and you want to go to preset 5, you have to press the button 2 times...), but still, that's a butt-load of knobage...

Still though, with programable functions for the LEDS, programable range and midi channel for knobs, step functions for buttons and 2 foot switch inputs, my only complaint is yes, the knobs feel kind of cheap.

While I wouldn't put anything with the Behringer name in my audio signal path, and I still need to scrub up extra when I show because I still feel dirty about it, I really love this box (if I had a nickel for every time I said that one...)

_________________
Studio:
Akai MPC2000xl.
Behringer BCR2000.
Clavia Nord Modular G1 Key* (considering to sell/trade)
Clavia Nord Modular G2 Engine.
Roland Alpha Juno1.
Yamaha QY70.

Want to sell/trade
Ensoniq ESQ1
Korg MS2000
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dasz



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PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2008 6:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

hey guys,

after some deliberation about boxes that make sounds, I decided I should not get something that makes sound, but more control of what i have. So I got a BCR2000 for more knobs for my G2 keyboards, xt, &/or rs7000. I have not used the bcr2000 yet but I have read the manual and drew up some schematics for ideas for myupcoming set debut early next month.

But I like the layout and the row of switchable knobs (4 banks), buttons x 16, and the 24 assignables, the 2 midi outs and this should all work well with my (midi solutions) event processor and merger too. In the past, I have altered some patches to make them fit only 8 knobs and (and using paging with the g2 panel) but now I want more, more control, without paging and losing focus ...

Especially when i dedicate the g2 panel to sequencing alone while something else tweaks other things ...

well i'll let you know what happens. any tips you guys want to give me real quick? I love the ability to set ranges! (something harder on the g2)

I want to use the buttons to cue stuff or do mutes, I don't know. I am thinking of using the 4 banks of 8 push knobs to select the morphgroups of 4 slots for example ...
/Dasz

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