Connecting a synth to my laptop ?

Still new to all of this? Feel free to post in any of the subforums on this site, but in this subforum newbie questions are especially encouraged!

Moderators: khz, MattKingUSA

TDNE
Established Member
Posts: 31
Joined: Fri Aug 16, 2019 10:03 pm

Connecting a synth to my laptop ?

Postby TDNE » Fri Aug 16, 2019 10:41 pm

Hi everyone.
I've joined here as I can't find this answer elsewhere. I've seen several/lots of youtube vid's that claim to show how to do this but none actually do or show conflicting info. I'm pretty new to DAW's & synth's. & not a computer wizz.

My laptop is an HP 15-notebook quad core. running Linux Lite 3.4 distro (Ubuntu based i think) . I have installed LMMS 1.2 appimage (not working well so may revert to 1.1.3, have played about with this on & off mainly off & member of that forum) ; Ardour 4 (haven't used this yet) & Audacity.

I want to connect My newly acquired Novation K-station to my laptop to record / manipulate with Ardour (pref) or audacity.

I'm sure there's much more to it once hooked up but at this point all I want to know is what hardware do I need to achieve this connection?

User avatar
bluebell
Established Member
Posts: 1130
Joined: Sat Sep 15, 2012 11:44 am
Location: Saarland & Frankfurt, Germany

Re: Connecting a synth to my laptop ?

Postby bluebell » Sat Aug 17, 2019 9:44 am

You need to exchange 2 kinds of data:
1) MIDI data for note on/off. Both from the K-Station (recording MIDI clips in Ardour) and to the K-Station (play notes, controlled by Ardour)
2) Audio data (recording audio in Ardour)

The K-Station doesn't seem to have an USB connector, so you need a combined audio/MIDI-interface.

A Scarlett 2i4 (1st gen or 2nd gen) will definitely work (2 audio inputs, MIDI). Solo and 2i2 models don't have MIDI connectors. 3rd gen models may or may not work.
Linux – MOTU UltraLite AVB – Qtractor – https://soundcloud.com/suedwestlicht

User avatar
Linuxmusician01
Established Member
Posts: 633
Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2015 2:38 pm
Location: Holland

Re: Connecting a synth to my laptop ?

Postby Linuxmusician01 » Sat Aug 17, 2019 10:56 am

If your device does not have an Midi over USB connection you can also use this cheap device from Aliexpress (link).

Image

User avatar
khz
Established Member
Posts: 1154
Joined: Thu Apr 17, 2008 6:29 am
Location: German

Re: Connecting a synth to my laptop ?

Postby khz » Sat Aug 17, 2019 12:20 pm

I would take an audio/MIDI interface because of the reliability/latencies/... .

Understanding recording hardware >> http://libremusicproduction.com/articles/understanding-recording-hardware
JACK – A Beginners Guide to Getting Started with JACK >> http://libremusicproduction.com/articles/demystifying-jack-%E2%80%93-beginners-guide-getting-started-jack

!libremusicproduction
FZ - Does humor belongs in Music?
GNU/LINUX@AUDIO ~ /Wiki $ Howto.Info && GNU/Linux Debian installing >> Linux Audio Workstation LAW
    I don't care about the freedom of speech because I have nothing to say.

User avatar
Linuxmusician01
Established Member
Posts: 633
Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2015 2:38 pm
Location: Holland

Re: Connecting a synth to my laptop ?

Postby Linuxmusician01 » Sat Aug 17, 2019 1:38 pm

khz wrote:I would take an audio/MIDI interface because of the reliability/latencies [...]

Me too. But maybe @TDNE wants to try it once, very cheap.
Last edited by Linuxmusician01 on Sun Aug 18, 2019 10:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

TDNE
Established Member
Posts: 31
Joined: Fri Aug 16, 2019 10:03 pm

Re: Connecting a synth to my laptop ?

Postby TDNE » Sat Aug 17, 2019 8:27 pm

Thanks everyone for all the info & links. I was getting disheartened & wasting a lot time getting nowhere.

One brief additional Q :

Could I route through an additional MIDI keyboard instead of an audio interface ? As they cost about the same I'd get extra versatility .

User avatar
bluebell
Established Member
Posts: 1130
Joined: Sat Sep 15, 2012 11:44 am
Location: Saarland & Frankfurt, Germany

Re: Connecting a synth to my laptop ?

Postby bluebell » Sun Aug 18, 2019 10:28 am

TDNE wrote:Thanks everyone for all the info & links. I was getting disheartened & wasting a lot time getting nowhere.

One brief additional Q :

Could I route through an additional MIDI keyboard instead of an audio interface ? As they cost about the same I'd get extra versatility .


There are some USB MIDI keyboards that have MIDI connectors as well and can act as a MIDI interface.

https://www.thomann.de/de/alesis_q49.htm

These handle only MIDI data! You can use a sequencer program (Ardour, Qtractor ...) to play your MIDI instruments. But if you want to get that audio into your computer then you need an audio interface. Maybe you can use the builtin interface if its quality is ok for you.
Linux – MOTU UltraLite AVB – Qtractor – https://soundcloud.com/suedwestlicht

TDNE
Established Member
Posts: 31
Joined: Fri Aug 16, 2019 10:03 pm

Re: Connecting a synth to my laptop ?

Postby TDNE » Sun Aug 18, 2019 12:25 pm

Thanks.

I'm only concerned with using my synth at the moment, which is MIDI data only right? Audio is for Mic's / guitars & the like ?

Giving this more thought with your comments & given I don't really know what I'm doing I think I'll go with an audio interface from the lists in Khz's links & see how I get on.

Didn't realise I could use the DAW to play the K-station, that'll be a real help.

Edit: just bagged me a Tascam US-122

User avatar
khz
Established Member
Posts: 1154
Joined: Thu Apr 17, 2008 6:29 am
Location: German

Re: Connecting a synth to my laptop ?

Postby khz » Mon Aug 19, 2019 5:02 am

:D Settings of the audio/MIDI interface are done via alsamixer https://linux.die.net/man/1/alsamixer, with "alsactl store" (as root) https://linux.die.net/man/1/alsactl you save your settings.
FZ - Does humor belongs in Music?
GNU/LINUX@AUDIO ~ /Wiki $ Howto.Info && GNU/Linux Debian installing >> Linux Audio Workstation LAW
    I don't care about the freedom of speech because I have nothing to say.

TDNE
Established Member
Posts: 31
Joined: Fri Aug 16, 2019 10:03 pm

Re: Connecting a synth to my laptop ?

Postby TDNE » Mon Aug 19, 2019 11:23 am

So I need to download this ?

User avatar
Michael Willis
Established Member
Posts: 840
Joined: Mon Oct 03, 2016 3:27 pm
Location: Rocky Mountains, North America
Contact:

Re: Connecting a synth to my laptop ?

Postby Michael Willis » Mon Aug 19, 2019 12:40 pm

TDNE wrote:So I need to download this ?

It depends on the interface. Some have features controlled by software, others are controlled only by the hardware dials and switches.

I use Focusrite Scarlett 2i4, and have never used alsamixer.

User avatar
khz
Established Member
Posts: 1154
Joined: Thu Apr 17, 2008 6:29 am
Location: German

Re: Connecting a synth to my laptop ?

Postby khz » Mon Aug 19, 2019 1:49 pm

Alsamixer is a console software which is installed by default.
As long as you can/will configure the audio/MIDI interface or there is no extra software for the audio/MIDI interface.
FZ - Does humor belongs in Music?
GNU/LINUX@AUDIO ~ /Wiki $ Howto.Info && GNU/Linux Debian installing >> Linux Audio Workstation LAW
    I don't care about the freedom of speech because I have nothing to say.

User avatar
bluebell
Established Member
Posts: 1130
Joined: Sat Sep 15, 2012 11:44 am
Location: Saarland & Frankfurt, Germany

Re: Connecting a synth to my laptop ?

Postby bluebell » Tue Aug 20, 2019 5:37 pm

Michael Willis wrote:
TDNE wrote:So I need to download this ?

It depends on the interface. Some have features controlled by software, others are controlled only by the hardware dials and switches.

I use Focusrite Scarlett 2i4, and have never used alsamixer.


Because it doesn't have a software controllable hardware mixer :)
Linux – MOTU UltraLite AVB – Qtractor – https://soundcloud.com/suedwestlicht

User avatar
Michael Willis
Established Member
Posts: 840
Joined: Mon Oct 03, 2016 3:27 pm
Location: Rocky Mountains, North America
Contact:

Re: Connecting a synth to my laptop ?

Postby Michael Willis » Tue Aug 20, 2019 5:58 pm

bluebell wrote:
Michael Willis wrote:
TDNE wrote:So I need to download this ?

It depends on the interface. Some have features controlled by software, others are controlled only by the hardware dials and switches.

I use Focusrite Scarlett 2i4, and have never used alsamixer.


Because it doesn't have a software controllable hardware mixer :)

Yes, that's what I meant :)

TDNE
Established Member
Posts: 31
Joined: Fri Aug 16, 2019 10:03 pm

Re: Connecting a synth to my laptop ?

Postby TDNE » Wed Aug 21, 2019 11:57 am

Thanks for all your help.

Tascam is on it's way today. I've downloaded the manual for it & it does have a software mixer program. This should load when I plug it in or will i get Alsamixer ? Nat sure if it does anything i can't do with the knobs.


Return to “Newbies”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest