Friday, January 8, 2010

Controlling MIDI

Browsing Matrixsynth today I stumbled upon a new controller that'll be appearing at NAMM this week. It's the 'You Rock Guitar'. It sounds pretty cheesy, but it's a pretty massive controller for the price ($180). I've been wanting to try out a Parker MIDI Fly, or better yet, a Moog Guitar. But both of them are waaay out of my price range - so I figured I'd never get my hands on a MIDI guitar. The You Rock might not be as functional as a Parker, but it's pretty much what I need.

The cool thing is that it interfaces with video games as well. So you can rip it out for Rock Band or Guitar Hero. Play strings instead of buttons, et cetra. I dig it's MIDI implementation though.

But even BETTER news was stumbling upon a program that adapts USB-equipped Guitar Hero X-plorer controllers to control MIDI. It's the Zeal Axis program, developed by a Mr. Robert Jarvis.

The buttons of the controller send note information while the D-pad changes key and chord progression. It also sends MIDI CC# for tilt and rotate, allowing expressive control. Using Windows 7 and Live I wasn't able to get the tilt/rotate to work, or, come to think of it, the whammy bar, but it'll be a great piece of live equipment once I do. Keep in mind you'll also need a software MIDI router, like LoopBe (freeware).

I'll have to play around more with the Axis and my X-plorer, but I'm already getting a lot of new ideas.

I've been thinking about what I really need, as opposed to just want, for my studio. I've decided a pad controller would be leagues better for programming drums and have decided on a Korg PadKontrol. I might switch over to an Akai MPD, but I really dig the X/Y pad the Korg offers, along with the footpedal input (for the kicks, ya know!). I also clearly need an audio interface, which I'm still up in the air with. I want to try and keep it under $300, hopefully less if I can get away with it - we'll see.
Other than those I want to get a few effects units. I'd love a Sherman Filterbank if I can afford one, along with a Roland RE-201 tape delay. Add a nice distortion unit (or will the Filterbank suffice?) and I should be set. I might think about adding a KP3 to the mix, but only if I ever advance to the stage where I'm doing live shows. I'd rather save up for a nice analog synth first though - still haven't decided what yet. Everything I think about is just expensive (Andromeda, et al).

Oh, and it was suppose to snow a bunch today, or so Kristina told me this morning. Now the weather report says we'll get 1-3 inches tonight. And here I was expecting around of foot of snow. :(

Where's my blizzard!?!

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