Live performance with Midi keyboard

Support & discussion regarding DAWs and MIDI sequencers.

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sethwid
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Live performance with Midi keyboard

Postby sethwid » Tue Jan 12, 2016 12:19 pm

Hi all!

I have been using Ubuntu studio for some time now with my midi keyboard and found many great plugins and sounds, but how to switch between them in a live setting? My question is: Is there an application that can load plugins and synths as "patches" so I can switch between them with the scroll wheel on my keyboard while playing live? Recording not necessary.

Eg. Patch 1 has a SF2 piano, patch 2 has the Calf Organ, patch 3 Calf monosynth, patch 4 zynaddsubfx with preset a loaded, patch 5 zynaddsubfx with preset b, patch 6 SF2 rhodes loaded etc...

Many thanks!
Sethwid

asbak
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Re: Live performance with Midi keyboard

Postby asbak » Tue Jan 12, 2016 5:55 pm

sethwid wrote:but how to switch between them in a live setting?


Presumably through scripts.

The easier and less risky solution imo is to just load all your instrument setups & synths beforehand in a host app and to access them via different MIDI channels instead of trying to do patch changes.

Piano on Channel 1
Synth on Channel 2
Strings on Channel 3 etc etc

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GMaq
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Re: Live performance with Midi keyboard

Postby GMaq » Tue Jan 12, 2016 6:09 pm

Hi,

I used to provide a similar thing for the keyboard player in my band, there are several ways but the easiest way currently is to use falkTX's Carla plugin host which is available to Ubuntu users by adding the KXStudio repositories... To be clear this was done as asbak suggested using MIDI channels instead of the scroll wheel, but it worked well

http://kxstudio.linuxaudio.org/Repositories

Carla has an internal MIDI plugin called 'MIDISplit' which will allow you to take the one MIDI input from your keyboard and split it into 16 MIDI channels, Carla will also host various Synth plugins in VST, LV2, DSSI (even WinVST is possible) formats, and SFZ, Soundfont2 and even Gigasampler files within it's rack so after MIDISplit you simply route each channel provided by the split using Carla's included Patchbay to whichever plugin or sound library you want to use... Self-contained and you can save your rack/instrument settings, one thing I'm not sure of is if you can save your JACK routing but that can be done with a session manager like Non-Session-Manager or very simply with an app like aj-snapshot..

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noedig
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Re: Live performance with Midi keyboard

Postby noedig » Wed Jan 13, 2016 5:49 am

GMaq, for the setup you did, could you actually switch between different patches?

Mididings can be set up with multiple scenes, each scene routing midi to something else. The midi message of your scroll wheel can be set up to change scenes.
http://das.nasophon.de/mididings/
Someone else also asked a similar question before: viewtopic.php?f=47&t=13755

Also, I recently stumbled upon Midi Layer. I haven't tried it yet, but it seems to do the same thing, with a nice GUI.
http://sourceforge.net/projects/midi-layer/

Frank Carvalho
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Re: Live performance with Midi keyboard

Postby Frank Carvalho » Wed Jan 13, 2016 8:54 am

This question is also relevant for me. I am contemplating preparing a live setup for a friend of mine who lives far away. And being a Linux-nut, I would like to provide him with an install with a simple and complete live setup. We've done this before, except then I used the Multi-mode on my Korg 05R to switch between complete settings. I want to do something similar with Carla, but it doesn't seem to support changing presets across all plugins simultaneously. Sending PRG changes on one MIDI channel works though, so if each instrument plays its own MIDI channel, then all it takes is the ability to send PRG changes on separate channels simultaneously.
I will check out mididings, which sounds promising.

/Frank
Vox, Selmer, Yamaha and Leslie amplifiers. Rickenbacker, Epiphone, Ibanez, Washburn, Segovia, Yamaha and Fender guitars. Hammond, Moog, Roland, Korg, Yamaha, Crumar, Ensoniq and Mellotron keyboards. Xubuntu+KXStudio recording setup.

Frank Carvalho
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Re: Live performance with Midi keyboard

Postby Frank Carvalho » Wed Jan 13, 2016 12:11 pm

I checked out MidiLayer, and it really seems like the way to go. Setting up patches is pretty straightforward. It only depends on the MIDI receive capability of each individual instrument. I put Midi Layer between keyboard and MIDI split, and have Carla predefine individual instruments on separate MIDI channels. Each MidiLayer preset will route freely between midi channels, and include for instance program changes individually for each channel in a preset. It will also provide keyboard splits, filtering, transpose and much more. So you can program your performance in MidiLayer, with a Carla rack+patchbay backend. This program still has some issues, but is one that I think should be considered for inclusion in kxstudio and perhaps even as a plugin in Carla?
Vox, Selmer, Yamaha and Leslie amplifiers. Rickenbacker, Epiphone, Ibanez, Washburn, Segovia, Yamaha and Fender guitars. Hammond, Moog, Roland, Korg, Yamaha, Crumar, Ensoniq and Mellotron keyboards. Xubuntu+KXStudio recording setup.

sethwid
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Re: Live performance with Midi keyboard

Postby sethwid » Fri Jan 15, 2016 8:40 am

Hi all,

Awesome suggestions thanks so much. For some reason I could not find mididings or Midi Layer even after much Googling. Im looking forward to trying this on the weekend, will get back with results as soon as a can.

Frank Carvalho
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Re: Live performance with Midi keyboard

Postby Frank Carvalho » Sun Jan 17, 2016 10:32 pm

I checked out MidiLayer in real life with my band, and it worked great. I was able to program our entire "Genesis Live" set list, so that it routes my main midi board to Carla running fluidsynth with mellotron sound font, and route channel 1 to my external Korg rack unit. In reality I can now completely remove the Akai S3000 from my rack, and I can rely entirely on this preset for live performance. Each song preset defines both selected samples in fluidsynth and routing and selected combi in the Korg unit. I also have a preset to intialise the Korg with a sysex message.
The biggest problem I experience is, that in switching from one preset to the next one, MidiLayer takes well over one second. So for complex songs, with many changing sounds, this will be a problem. Otherwise, the program is incredibly flexible.
I made a startup script that will start jackd, a2jmidid, my non-mixer configuration, MidiLayer and Carla configuration. So one command and the entire live setup is loaded up, ready to go.

/Frank
Vox, Selmer, Yamaha and Leslie amplifiers. Rickenbacker, Epiphone, Ibanez, Washburn, Segovia, Yamaha and Fender guitars. Hammond, Moog, Roland, Korg, Yamaha, Crumar, Ensoniq and Mellotron keyboards. Xubuntu+KXStudio recording setup.

sethwid
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Re: Live performance with Midi keyboard

Postby sethwid » Tue Sep 13, 2016 8:18 am

So it's me again, finally after many events such as new laptop and different linux installs and associated issues I have finally got my environment in a good way under the new AVLinux, and have tried out MidiLayer with killer results! I am able to route:

  • Basic midi keyboard on channel 1
  • Channel 1 to Carla running a piano SF2
  • Channel 2 goes to ZynAddSubFX on a bass patch using QmidiArp and filtering out all notes above E2
  • Channel 3 goes to the same ZynAddSubFX instance, 2nd sound running a string/pad sound (not arpeggiated)
  • Non-session-manager, non-mixer, non-timeline for session/mixing/recording duties.

So this morning I could get a few ideas out, and can see the live switching potential. The lag in scene change (as mentioned by Frank) makes MidiDings also interesting if it works as well as the auther describes, I will try it soon.

And now that I revisit this post I see one of the posters is the infamous GMaq, since installing AVLinux I recognise who you are! Thanks so much for such a great distro I love it! Super performant.

Thanks to all who posted and gave feedback, there's so much to learn. Like SO much.

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Re: Live performance with Midi keyboard

Postby folderol » Tue Sep 13, 2016 4:09 pm

Not quite the same thing, but as of V 1.4.1 Yoshimi can instantly (and silently) switch between patches, either as one of 16 pointed to channel 1, or a bit more complex, in groups of four per channel.
P.S.
In the first form, on the second 'row' you still can have full access to channels 2 -16.

sethwid
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Re: Live performance with Midi keyboard

Postby sethwid » Wed Sep 14, 2016 7:58 am

Hi folderol, thanks for the tip. I never know when to use Yoshimi or when to use ZynAddSubFX, but as I understand Yoshimi is still under active development whereas Zyn is not. Do you have a preference, especially when it comes to live performance?

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Re: Live performance with Midi keyboard

Postby folderol » Wed Sep 14, 2016 2:59 pm

Zyn is still very much in active development, but seems to be directed more towards automation and studio work.

I have to be a bit reserved about what I say as I am the lead developer for Yoshimi :lol:

fundamental
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Re: Live performance with Midi keyboard

Postby fundamental » Wed Sep 14, 2016 8:08 pm

sethwid wrote:as I understand Yoshimi is still under active development whereas Zyn is not.


I will forever be puzzled by this impression.
Looking at the main repos for both (zyn yoshimi) there have been 207 commits on zyn with 5+ authors and 251 commits on yoshimi with 3+ authors so far this year. Additionally Zyn is nearing it's 3.0.0 release focusing on interface ease-of-use which currently has involved 648 commits (on top of the previously mentioned 207) and has resulted in an completely new UI:

i.e. http://fundamental-code.com/wiki/blog/2 ... 4-zyn3.png
ZynAddSubFX maintainer

sethwid
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Re: Live performance with Midi keyboard

Postby sethwid » Thu Sep 15, 2016 7:16 am

Dear fundamental and folderol,

Thanks for letting me know from the source (pun intended) what the situation is. I will just keep using both and see over time if I develop preferences for particular use-cases. I signed up to the mailing list for Zyn v3 too! A new interface would be very welcome I must say, especially since I work live on a 14" 1080 laptop screen.

But I just have to say how awesome it is to have all of you reply to my thread - long live open source and its fantastic community of users and developers :)

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Re: Live performance with Midi keyboard

Postby ace214 » Thu Sep 29, 2016 4:42 am

Are you ever running two sounds at a time (layering)? I'm considering buying a midi keyboard for live performance with my Linux machine.

I usually use a Yamaha clavinova and am used to having very easy access to different memory banks and toggling layering. I would love to have pads or something be connected to different sound banks- I currently use about 7 different preset combinations and might use up to 3 in one song.


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