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Author Topic: Can't play any channels that are not assigned to the sequencer tracks.  (Read 1770 times)

Andrew Henderson

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I just got my Keystep Pro a few days ago and I am ready to throw in the towel, pack this back up and return it, never to look back.  I have never had such a frustrating few days, as I have with this and it makes going back to my Novation SL49MKII, a dream come true.

I am using Cubase 10.5.

My Problem is this... The Keystep Pro will NOT pass any midi information, to any of my external synths, if they are not directly tied to the 4 sequencer tracks.  The sequencer tracks are set to channels 1-4, (although I have tried 12-15, just to see and it is the same.)  I have the midi out 1 port of the Keystep Pro, going into my Digital Music Corp MX-8 midi patchbay, essentially acting as an 8 out, midi thru box.  This is EXACTLY how I had it set up with my Novation SL49MKII for years now and without a single issue.

I have a few external synths and they all act the same, in this regard.  E-MU Orbit V2, Quasimidi Technox, Roland JV-1080 etc.  The only way to get these to play, is by assigning their channels to match that of the 4 sequencer tracks.  So Orbit to channel 1 for instance, 1080 to channel 2, etc.  They will play, like this.  If I decide to set the Orbit to say channel 3, nothing.  Any other channel, outside of the 4 sequencer tracks, nothing. 

I have external instrument tracks set up in Cubase and have their port assigned to the Keylab Midi Out port.  If I setup the synth to a midi channel and change the instrument track to match that channel and then press keys on the Keystep Pro, I hear nothing, if it isn't a channel assigned to one of the sequencers.

I have no idea what this global midi channel setting is either, as I have tried everything and even that value won't play any of my external synths. 

On my Novation controller, hooked up IDENTICALLY as the Keystep Pro, in terms of physical connections and Cubase settings, JUST WORKS.  I assign a channel on my synth, load the external instrument assigned to that synth and change its midi channel to match that of the synth, enable the monitor button and I can play away on the controller, never having a worry.  I want to switch synths?  No problem, simply enable the monitor button for that instrument track and the Novation will play it, not having to change a single setting, etc.  If I want to layer, I can simply enable the monitor button on multiple tracks and regardless of their synth, assigned midi channel etc and they will all play!

Doing the same on the Keystep Pro yields nothing but problems.  The fact that I can assign my external synths to one of the sequencer tracks and have them play, means the issue is not with my setup, my cables, my MX-8 etc, as they will play as expected then. 

If I unplug the Keystep Pro and plug my Novation back in, with the same midi cable and same USB cable, everything is perfectly back to normal again.  Something is seriously up and I have lost two days dealing with this.

I may not want the sequencers tied up to my external hardware, so in order to play the external hardware, I lose all the sequencers to those, even if I won't use them, not to mention they are frustrating to use, due to the crazy midi feedback loops I keep getting (another issue, I'm sure).

Does anyone have a clue what I am doing wrong?  Am I even doing anything wrong?  Why can I not trigger my synths on channels outside of the sequencer tracks, with ease?  I should be able to have the sequencer tracks assigned to anything I want and still freely control other things around that regardless of their midi channel, but it just doesn't work.  I can't even find a way to easily change the midi channel to output to, as it doesn't seem to work the way the original Keystep and many other controllers do, where you can quickly change midi channels.

I am really desperate here.  This thing has so much potential, but if a basic function of being able to play any instrument, on any midi channel, at any time without fuss doesn't work, then I have no idea how anyone would find a use for this Keyboard, as my 11 year Novation is far better in this regard!

I want to create instrument, or midi tracks in Cubase, assign them midi channel numbers and by simply selecting that channel and pressing the monitor button, I want to be able to hear what is connected to that channel, doing nothing but playing on the keys of the controller.  Why can my Novation do this with such ease and play all 16 channels simultaneously if need be, without any setup, but this Keystep Pro can't do that, at all?

I started a support ticket with Leo, but after a couple days, I haven't heard anything back yet, so am trying here.

 ??? :(
« Last Edit: July 09, 2020, 01:08:18 am by Andrew Henderson »

synthcreep

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I do not believe that the MIDI output of the DAW should be routed into the KSP from your description.  The KSP should send to the DAW and the DAW should route it out to your synths via your MX-8.   There is no reason to have the DAW MIDI output come back to the KSP unless you are trying to record patterns you created in the DAW (in which case they would be on the track channel). 
 
It is probably obvious at this point but the KSP is designed as a performance and sequencing tool and not a general purpose controller keyboard.  It can do some of that stuff but if that is what you want, there are better suited options.   


johndoe

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I do not believe that the MIDI output of the DAW should be routed into the KSP from your description.  The KSP should send to the DAW and the DAW should route it out to your synths via your MX-8.   There is no reason to have the DAW MIDI output come back to the KSP unless you are trying to record patterns you created in the DAW (in which case they would be on the track channel). 
 
It is probably obvious at this point but the KSP is designed as a performance and sequencing tool and not a general purpose controller keyboard.  It can do some of that stuff but if that is what you want, there are better suited options.   

Would you suggest a suitable alternative product for the aforementioned purpose?

Andrew Henderson

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I see.  So the problem is not me, my setup, my routing, it is all in the fact that the KSP cannot and will not output midi information, that isn't directly tied to one of the sequencer tracks?  This is the final consensus and there is no way around this?  Midi spec allows for 16 channels, yet the KSP will only allow for 4 of those, at any given time?  The latest and greatest controller on the market, can do everything but the most basic function, that any other controller since the 1980's can do? 

I fully understand you pointing out that this is a performance controller, however, it is also touted as 'seamlessly integrating hardware and software'.  It mentions being about to freely control VSTi and plugins and work along side any DAW, simultaneous with hardware, yet this isn't the case, if it won't pass along information outside of the 4 sequencer tracks!  I never in a million years would think this would be limitation when I spent $645CA on it this week.  I figured what I wanted from the controller was basic and expected (A GIVEN!), with everything else being a bonus, whether I wanted to use it or not.  This great keyboard has more or less become a doorstop without the ability to play anything, outside of the 4 sequencer tracks.

Believe me, I am not angry at you and am no way trying to start anything, in fact, you are the only one to reply to my thread synthcreep and I really do appreciate it, very much.  I am extremely frustrated, saddened and desperate however, to see if there is any workaround, or am I truly screwed and forced to return this controller, over such a basic omission?

Any guidance would be MOST appreciated.

synthcreep

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It sounds like you were relying on "soft thu" with your previous controller.  Not all devices will do that and it depends on your point of view I think as to whether it makes sense for the KSP to do it.

I re-read your post and am no longer clear - do you have a MIDI interface for the DAW? Or are you solely relying on the KSP?

If you have an interface then send the out of that to your synths via the MIDI patchbay, not to the KSP.  The KSP should just be hooked to the MIDI in the of DAW and the DAW should probably use it for the MIDI clock.

If you are trying to use the KSP as your DAW's MIDI interface then you are probably out of luck.

Off topic but what's the Quasimidi Technox like?  Never seen one before.

Cheers

 






synthcreep

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Would you suggest a suitable alternative product for the aforementioned purpose?

A standard MIDI interface (usually part of the DAW's interface):

https://focusrite.com/en/usb-audio-interface/scarlett/scarlett-4i4


megamarkd

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Would you suggest a suitable alternative product for the aforementioned purpose?

A standard MIDI interface (usually part of the DAW's interface):

https://focusrite.com/en/usb-audio-interface/scarlett/scarlett-4i4

I didn't know how to put it to him that that is what is really needed.  It can be heart-breaking when you realise you have bought something thinking you have the all-in-one device then realise you actually need buy something more.

If no audio-interface is required, I would suggest an iConnectivity box.  Either of their two new interfaces/routers will do the trick with a bucketful of extra functionality for ironing out all manner of common MIDI woes.  They also run in stand-alone mode and can take care of USB-only MIDI devices without a computer in between (no I don't work for them, just stoked with my MIO4 ;) )
Currently running https://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/1311723 / www.modulargrid.net, sequencing with KSP and recording with a Zoom (no DAW involved, for better or worse ;) )

Andrew Henderson

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It sounds like you were relying on "soft thu" with your previous controller.  Not all devices will do that and it depends on your point of view I think as to whether it makes sense for the KSP to do it.

I re-read your post and am no longer clear - do you have a MIDI interface for the DAW? Or are you solely relying on the KSP?

If you have an interface then send the out of that to your synths via the MIDI patchbay, not to the KSP.  The KSP should just be hooked to the MIDI in the of DAW and the DAW should probably use it for the MIDI clock.

If you are trying to use the KSP as your DAW's MIDI interface then you are probably out of luck.

Off topic but what's the Quasimidi Technox like?  Never seen one before.

Cheers

I had no idea what "soft thru" was, or that it was even a special feature, I just knew what I expected and was really gutted and annoyed to no end, when I couldn't get things to work.  I have never had a controller behave like this and every and all controllers I have ever had since the late 90's, when I got into making music, supported this right out of the box, without me even knowing what was going on.

Now, moving on to your second point.  I do have an interface hooked up to my computer, the RME Fireface 802, which does contain a Midi in and out.  I have been using the Midi out for other purposes, usually to supply midi clock to devices, since my Novation controller wasn't quite as good at that.  I never needed to break my templates, or change my routing, since the Novation controller took care of everything else midi wise, so perfectly.

Even before I read this post, it did cross my mind last night, that perhaps I can use the RME out and see how I fare.  While I did gain some positive results in my quick testing, I am really going to need to change the way I have been working all these years, update my templates in Cubase and change the routing in my MX-8, if I am forced to accept this change.  Thanks for tipping me off in the first place and solidifying that my idea last night, was on the right track.  The rest is up to me now, to get things done and see how I fare.  Hopefully much better than this past week.

I have been in contact with support on this issue and Leo has been very patient, understanding and helpful.  Thank you so much Leo, if you do read this!

This was his response just earlier today, on this topic:

"The Keystep pro for the time being only supports a soft midi thru meaning that you can use it as a usb to midi converter to the limit that the midi must be directed to one of the sequencer tracks and will be outputted to the midi out via its corresponding output track.

Which means that unfortunately for the moment you'd not be able to direct any given track through the sequencer on any of the 16 midi channels, these would be constrained to the 4 sequencer tracks, that being said, take also in consideration that directing the midi to the input track will sum it with the sequencers data, unless you mute the corresponding sequencer letting the midi straight through unaltered.

The full midi through support is on the roadmap of the development of the keystep pro's firmware and will be added upon future update."


I really hope this is the case and that a future firmware update can remedy this and that they are actually willing to go through with implementing this.   This will be a HUGE game changer and really bring me around to the controller again, which I am on the fence about, currently.  I see no problems with the KSP supporting both ways of working (DAW and performance), should they see fit, to get it done.

Between this issue and the lack of setting a fixed velocity setting, this controller is extremely foreign and unpleasant to use for me.  I am really and seriously thinking about returning it, but if there is some hope my issues will be remedied in the future, I am willing to hold out and keep the controller.

Thanks for all YOUR help and patience too, synthcreep.  I really appreciate you trying to sort me out!

As for the Technox, it is ok.  Nothing too special, certainly not as good as I imagined it would be.  It is a pretty rare piece and pretty niche for what it offers, but if you are into that mid 90's rompler sound (it came out in 1995), then it fits the bill.  I enjoy my Orbit and JV-1080 much more.  I paid a lot for this, only because it is so hard to find. 

It is really funny you asked about  the Technox actually, as one of the main reasons I got the KSP, was just for the technox!  I was hoping with some chord memory, arps and a sequencer, I can get a little more from this synth that I can currently getting from it, controlling it from the piano roll of Cubase!
« Last Edit: July 10, 2020, 10:04:42 pm by Andrew Henderson »

Andrew Henderson

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Would you suggest a suitable alternative product for the aforementioned purpose?

A standard MIDI interface (usually part of the DAW's interface):

https://focusrite.com/en/usb-audio-interface/scarlett/scarlett-4i4

I didn't know how to put it to him that that is what is really needed.  It can be heart-breaking when you realise you have bought something thinking you have the all-in-one device then realise you actually need buy something more.

If no audio-interface is required, I would suggest an iConnectivity box.  Either of their two new interfaces/routers will do the trick with a bucketful of extra functionality for ironing out all manner of common MIDI woes.  They also run in stand-alone mode and can take care of USB-only MIDI devices without a computer in between (no I don't work for them, just stoked with my MIO4 ;) )

You are very kind megamarkd.  Yes, it was quite disheartening to say the least.  I was an essential worker, forced to work during this entire pandemic and took all the overtime I could and saved all I could, just for the KSP.  It wasn't cheap at all, so left a really sour taste in my mouth, when I kept finding shortcomings, after shortcomings.  Luckily, as mentioned above, I do have a fairly decent interface for my setup, so after some template and routing changes, I hope to fare better and finally move on from this.

Andrew Henderson

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Just to add a little more to this, what really makes me mad, is how I fully expected the KSP to have the 'keyboard play' functionality of the original Keystep, but that doesn't seem to be the case.  With the original Keystep, you could hold shift and octave up to enter keyboard play mode and play another channel over top of and outside of the sequencer.  Even this would be a help, right now.

The Keystep had the ability VERY quickly and easily change midi channels on the fly, right from the front panel, yet on the KSP, you have to menu dig and it is such a chore and not quick at all.

I dunno, maybe I am just jaded and disgruntled, but I am finding an awful lot missing from the KSP that older, cheaper controllers are offering and that shouldn't the case.  The KSP should have been built UPON the Keystep and Beatstep Pro and not missing vital functions from each.

synthcreep

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The KSP should have been built UPON the Keystep and Beatstep Pro and not missing vital functions from each.

100% agree with you there.   

Andrew Henderson

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Can you guys kindly tell me what the global midi channel is for?  I see I can freely change it, but it never seems to do anything.  I am obviously missing the point, so how is the global midi channel suppose to be taken advantage of?  What is its purpose?

Thank you.

noise_vector

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Can you guys kindly tell me what the global midi channel is for?  I see I can freely change it, but it never seems to do anything.  I am obviously missing the point, so how is the global midi channel suppose to be taken advantage of?  What is its purpose?

Thank you.

From the manual: 'Global MIDI channel' sets the default MIDI channel on which the KeyStep Pro will transmit.

 

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