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#503354 - 07/24/21 12:14 PM Can you control via MIDI one arranger w/ another?
Dengizich Offline
Member

Registered: 07/19/21
Posts: 50
My goal is to control one arranger with another arranger.

Example: I would like to use the BK-9 as a controller, to control the arranger and the other parts on a Korg Ek-50 that has 61 keys.

You might ask what's the reason?

Well the reason is, that the Korg EK-50 has 5 tracks where you can record plus an accompaniment track, and you can go back and overdub which ever track you want, while the BK-9, is more difficult.

You might ask: why don't you just use the Korg's key bed?

Well the thing is, it has only 61 keys, and some of the songs that I play require a 76 key instrument like the BK-9.

Problem is BK-9 has an old type Midi OUT connection, and also USB to Host, while the Korg EK-50 has only USB to Host MIDI connection.

Question 1: Can I control the arranger and the parts on the EK-50 with the BK-9 used as a controller?

Question 2: What do I need (like cables, or any other gizmos) to connect the two?

Question 3: Or I should just forget about it?

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#503356 - 07/24/21 03:51 PM Re: Can you control via MIDI one arranger w/ another? [Re: Dengizich]
TedS Offline
Member

Registered: 04/28/06
Posts: 725
Loc: North Texas, USA
The short answer is YES! Two arrangers MIDI'd together can do more than even the most advanced arranger can, alone.

You will probably need a USB MIDI "host" (hardware interface) because the cables / connections are different.

I don't have time for a more detailed reply right now, but maybe others will chime in. The best thing to do is to start experimenting!

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#503361 - 07/25/21 10:42 AM Re: Can you control via MIDI one arranger w/ another? [Re: Dengizich]
Diki Offline


Registered: 04/25/05
Posts: 13349
Loc: NW Florida
If you want to do this at home, a computer or laptop can easily be the hub for all usb connections. On the gig, there are hardware solutions like the Kenton https://kentonuk.com/product/midi-usb-host-mk3/ that can convert from usb to MIDI.

However a one controller overall volume command is much harder to program, usually involving a sysex command that doesn’t work across all brands. But I’m guessing you want individual channel control, and that’s easily doable by matching Part MIDI channels and using MIDI CC7 & CC11 (expression) commands that the BK-9 sends.

Read the manual chapters on the MIDI Sets carefully. You can create up to eight different MIDI Sets, which are linkable to individual Performances, so most usual combinations of Part control of either internal or external MIDI channels can be set up in advance. But not enough for all 16 channels individually. You will have to make some decisions as to what you are least likely to want to control externally.

If you want FULL control of the Korg though, for stuff like Variation selection, Fills, Endings, etc., life gets much, MUCH harder. Probably hard enough it’s not worth bothering with, it would be easier to use a computer as a DAW and do the separate style stuff individually and combine later. Codes for style control vary wildly from brand to brand, you’ll definitely need some sort of live code conversion utility to convert whatever codes the master keyboard sends (if it even sends any for certain functions like transpose, Bass Inv etc.). All in all, unless you want to go down a rabbit hole that will decimate your available time to actually PLAY, I’d stick to just simple Part control…
_________________________
An arranger is just a tool. What matters is what you build with it..!

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#503371 - 07/26/21 07:30 AM Re: Can you control via MIDI one arranger w/ another? [Re: Dengizich]
Dengizich Offline
Member

Registered: 07/19/21
Posts: 50
Thank you TeDs and Diki for your reply.

Actually what I really want is to use the keybed on the BK-9 , and play the sounds and style on the Korg Ek-50.

I would be using the panel on the Korg to control variations, sound changes, performance changes.

So technically the BK-9 would be used only to substitute the keybed on the Korg.

I'll have to experiment with this a little, but yeah I would need that Kenton midi usb host.

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#503386 - 07/27/21 12:51 PM Re: Can you control via MIDI one arranger w/ another? [Re: Dengizich]
Diki Offline


Registered: 04/25/05
Posts: 13349
Loc: NW Florida
I’d look into whether the Korg has a ‘MIDI mirror’ function, that duplicates all splits and layers but in response to just one MIDI input channel. It is often included to allow simple home pianos (that likely only have one MIDI channel across the keyboard) to control the arranger despite it being split and layered.

I don’t know what Korg would call this mode, but I know quite a lot of upper end arrangers have it. Sadly, not the BK-9, but it did make an appearance with the BK-7m…
_________________________
An arranger is just a tool. What matters is what you build with it..!

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#503392 - 07/28/21 03:39 PM Re: Can you control via MIDI one arranger w/ another? [Re: Dengizich]
Dengizich Offline
Member

Registered: 07/19/21
Posts: 50
I don't think that this Korg Ek-50 has a "Midi Mirror" function, it's an entry level keyboard, but a pretty decent one. I like the fact that you can run it off of 8 AA batteries.

(little off topic)
Can't make a decision which keyboard I would want, the Korg EK-50 or the Yamaha EW-410 (also battery powered). I wouldn't mind to have a keyboard that I could take camping with friends, or to play it on the corner of the street.

Yamaha Ew-410 has 750 sounds, 250 Styles, 10 user styles, plays/records Midi and Audio .wav on a USB flash drive, it has 76 keys, but No Bass Inversion, also has a USB type A (for storing songs), it also has USB type B to host, that sends out Audio signals besides Midi to a computer.

Korg Ek-50 has 700 sounds, 280 styles, plus you can upload 90 user styles, it also records Midi and Audio files .wav, it plays back .wav,mp3 and MIDI, not sure if it records MP3 directly, but it plays them. Ek-50 also has a real nice control panel and Bass Inversion.

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#503396 - 07/28/21 08:34 PM Re: Can you control via MIDI one arranger w/ another? [Re: Dengizich]
Diki Offline


Registered: 04/25/05
Posts: 13349
Loc: NW Florida
For me, it boils down to what sounds better to YOU. Features are one thing, but have a bass inversion capability on a keyboard that doesn’t inspire you isn’t going to help…

And as inexpensive as lithium ion battery inverters are becoming, saddling yourself with a less than satisfactory keyboard just because you can run it off of batteries isn’t that important any more.

You are likely to get the most value out of something that blows you away sonically AND has the features you want. You are likely to use it for years, which is unlikely if you get something lesser. You’ll be selling that (at a considerable loss) the first chance you get to overcome its problems.. The cheapest solution in the long run is to pay a bit more in the short run!
_________________________
An arranger is just a tool. What matters is what you build with it..!

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#503397 - 07/28/21 09:51 PM Re: Can you control via MIDI one arranger w/ another? [Re: Dengizich]
Dengizich Offline
Member

Registered: 07/19/21
Posts: 50
True, every single word you said Diki.

I would prefer a 76 key keyboard, but there are not too many 76 keys arrangers out there, and the ones that you can find it's either cheap, or very expensive. There is no 76 key portable arrangers in between, I don't understand why? How can people get by on 5 octaves? I mean I used do it myself back in the late 90's, with an old Roland E-68 (it had 61 keys), but once you get used to a 76, you wouldn't want to go back to a 61.

But what are my options? I'll probably stick with the BK-9, although it would be nice to try something new.

Let me ask you this Diki, what will be your next arranger in the future?

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#503399 - 07/29/21 12:56 PM Re: Can you control via MIDI one arranger w/ another? [Re: Dengizich]
TedS Offline
Member

Registered: 04/28/06
Posts: 725
Loc: North Texas, USA
Honestly you can run the BK-9 on batteries, at least for a few hours. Total current draw is well within the range of an external power bank for a laptop computer. Add a battery-powered amp (Roland makes several) and your busking career is off to a good start! If you don't have an amp, a bluetooth stereo speaker like the JBL Charge Extreme might even be an option.

I can't personally endorse the EK-50 nor the EW-410. There are a lot of Middle-of-the-Line advanced arrangers which have low draw and could be run from batteries: BK-5, BK-7m + controller, PSR-SX600, etc. If you are determined to stay in the low price range, the Casio CT-X3000 or even the new CT-S400 would be my pick over the EW-410. The ability to control the bassline (Bass Inversion) is HUGE! And the chord recognition system on the Casios is better than an entry-level Korg or Yamaha. My $.02.


Edited by TedS (07/29/21 12:56 PM)

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#503401 - 07/29/21 07:52 PM Re: Can you control via MIDI one arranger w/ another? [Re: Dengizich]
Dengizich Offline
Member

Registered: 07/19/21
Posts: 50
I have a KC-110 as a battery amp. Never thought that I could run the BK-9 off of a battery.

I'm surprised you wouldn't endorse the EK-50, the EW-410 I can understand. I'm wondering if I could run my old Roland E-68 off of batteries? I would rather take that on a camping trip than the BK-9.

I was eyeballing the Yamaha PSR-SX600, that seems to be a nice board, around $1000.

Casio CT-X3000 and CT-S400? are they built with quality?

What is your opinion about the Casio WK-7600? do you know anything about that? They put a lot features into it, including a 17 track sequencer, but I'm not sure about the quality of the keys and the overall craftsmanship, and most importantly, is it going to be user friendly?

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#503404 - 07/30/21 12:17 PM Re: Can you control via MIDI one arranger w/ another? [Re: Dengizich]
Diki Offline


Registered: 04/25/05
Posts: 13349
Loc: NW Florida
I honestly think you already have the perfect 76… it is extremely lightweight but well built, has a great feeling action (which none of those cheaper keyboards do🤮) and draws VERY little current (no big bright color touchscreens to drain the battery pack). Why get anything different?

One thing you need to consider… Time.

Multiple keyboards needs much time and effort to learn, and if you wish to perform the same songs on both, that’s double the time spent programming. Stick to one keyboard, you half the time spent NOT playing. You have the same setup and songlist no matter where you go. You need not worry about ‘How do I do this on this keyboard?’ in the middle of a gig. You only have one set of backups to worry about. And you sound consistently good, whether round a campfire or in a restaurant, bar or nightclub.

I see all too many people basically overwhelm themselves constantly trying different arrangers, and ending up not knowing 10% of any of them. Stick to one, when you want something ‘different’, try reprogramming the styles to use new sounds, get a hold of conversions from Korg or Yamaha and tweak them to your taste, spend an hour trying different lead sounds, experiment with the MFX and the controls to create something new.

Soon enough, rather than knowing 10% about two or three keyboards, you know 99% about one (no one EVER knows 100%!), and you will be far more productive.

At the end of the day, it is playing MUSIC that matters. Wasting half your available time duplicating your efforts on another keyboard is time wasted. Stick to one keyboard, concentrate on the music!

I have generally had each of my Roland arrangers for at least ten years (G1000, G70, BK-9) while many others go through two or three in the same time frame I use one! Guess who knows their keyboard better? 🤔🎹😎
_________________________
An arranger is just a tool. What matters is what you build with it..!

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#503408 - 07/30/21 07:28 PM Re: Can you control via MIDI one arranger w/ another? [Re: Dengizich]
Dengizich Offline
Member

Registered: 07/19/21
Posts: 50
You said it man! that's very much true, every single word. There is a learning curve with every arranger, but the way human nature is, it always yearns for something that might be better, faster, and it's probably only the feeling of longing for something new that we cherish, 'cause once you get it, the magic is gone, and it's just going to be another keyboard in your collection.

Yeah, I should just stick with what I have.

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#503410 - 07/30/21 10:47 PM Re: Can you control via MIDI one arranger w/ another? [Re: Dengizich]
TedS Offline
Member

Registered: 04/28/06
Posts: 725
Loc: North Texas, USA
The WK-7600 doesn't have Sync Stop, nor arranger "hold." So there is no way to temporarily suspend the accompaniment when you release the keys. That's a very serious oversight which was corrected in the newer Casio models that I mentioned. The feature set and chord recognition on the CT-X are much better than the EK-50 and probably the sound set is a little better too. But the keybed is rubbish- there have to be some sacrifices at the sub-$300 price point. If you're really concerned about playing out with your BK-9 (and I would be with mine), look for a used BK-5 or BK-7m. I've seen BK-5s on eBay sell for $3xx in working condition. Most of your registrations will work with minor tweaking.


Edited by TedS (07/30/21 10:48 PM)

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#503416 - 07/31/21 11:47 AM Re: Can you control via MIDI one arranger w/ another? [Re: Dengizich]
Diki Offline


Registered: 04/25/05
Posts: 13349
Loc: NW Florida
I beach my BK-9 all the time in Florida. No real issues so far. Buy a backup used BK-9 (someone here got a cherry one for $800!) and if the worst happens, you are good to go.

For me, having a BK-7m (and having played a BK-5) there’s utterly too much of the best stuff from the BK-9 missing, the stuff that made me change from my beloved G70 in the first place, to consider it anything other than an emergency backup. No SN sounds (I live and die for those guitars!), no HB organ, no chord sequencer, crap plastic action 🤮, no mic in… Sorry, but for me, the only alternative to a BK-9 is another BK-9!

And there is so much in the sounds that I use missing (the SN pianos, Rhodes and guitars, many of the drum kits, strings and horns etc.) that I found redoing my Performance List so it works on the other BK’s is a huge task. Not to mention the fewer MFX. It’s a lot to compensate for, and simply gets you back to doubling your programming effort, so you gain very little from having an altogether different brand of arranger in the end.

My BK-7m is relegated to being the hub of my jamming keytar rig, and a lot of fun in that scenario (though it’s killing me to lose my favorite guitars!) but no chord sequencer makes it almost useless as an arranger to me.

Gig your BK-9 in a hard plastic case, take good care of it, keep it out of bright hot direct sunlight, even beach gigs don’t hurt it….
_________________________
An arranger is just a tool. What matters is what you build with it..!

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#503421 - 07/31/21 02:24 PM Re: Can you control via MIDI one arranger w/ another? [Re: Dengizich]
Dengizich Offline
Member

Registered: 07/19/21
Posts: 50
Diki, would you please provide me with the link to that BK9 for $800, I can't find it in here?

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#503427 - 08/01/21 11:51 AM Re: Can you control via MIDI one arranger w/ another? [Re: Dengizich]
Diki Offline


Registered: 04/25/05
Posts: 13349
Loc: NW Florida
It wasn’t offered here, just a member reported what he had paid in a private sale. Just keep your eyes open. Deals happen from time to time…
_________________________
An arranger is just a tool. What matters is what you build with it..!

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#503428 - 08/01/21 11:58 AM Re: Can you control via MIDI one arranger w/ another? [Re: Dengizich]
Dengizich Offline
Member

Registered: 07/19/21
Posts: 50
I found a Roland Prelude 61 keys for $400, one button from the Tone selection (performance buttons ) is missing, but still works if you use the data wheel. It has USB, 128 polyphony.

Is it worth buying it? I'll have to fix that button, it was probably pushed all the way inside the case, it might still be in there, unless it's broke.

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#503430 - 08/01/21 01:55 PM Re: Can you control via MIDI one arranger w/ another? [Re: Dengizich]
TedS Offline
Member

Registered: 04/28/06
Posts: 725
Loc: North Texas, USA
We're starting to get away from your original question. The Prelude is an odd duck. It lacks the features of it's predecessor the E-50 (at a much lower price point.) It's almost like it was designed by a different team of programmers, out of step with Roland's usual product release cycle. I would guess that current draw is low enough to run on batteries. It has a decent sound set and Roland's excellent, highly logical chord recognition. It also has a fairly small form factor as arrangers go (but not feather light like the newest Casio's.) I don't believe that many were sold so it's hard to say what a fair price would be.

The Prelude has an on-board 16-track sequencer whereas the BK-5 does not. Except for that, the BK-5 is probably a little better in every other way. Maybe Diki or someone that owns one can add more.

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#503432 - 08/01/21 11:24 PM Re: Can you control via MIDI one arranger w/ another? [Re: Dengizich]
Diki Offline


Registered: 04/25/05
Posts: 13349
Loc: NW Florida
It seems we have returned to a sense of urgency about buying something new! Question is, do you REALLY need something? My guess would be, no…

As I said, why do you actually need another keyboard? My advice would be, if you are looking for inspiration, try to find it in your own playing, not equipment. That is a far more long-term solution, and a lot less expensive to boot!

But if you are determined to hook two arrangers together, I definitely would not waste my time hooking up two of the same brand. They will sound too similar. If you MUST get some thing, you were on the right track. Either a Korg or a Yamaha, something with a completely different sound and completely different styles…

But personally, I have no idea why you want anything more than just the BK9. It does everything! And it certainly sounds a damn sight better than a Prelude..!
_________________________
An arranger is just a tool. What matters is what you build with it..!

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#503433 - 08/02/21 11:47 AM Re: Can you control via MIDI one arranger w/ another? [Re: TedS]
Diki Offline


Registered: 04/25/05
Posts: 13349
Loc: NW Florida
Originally Posted By TedS
The Prelude has an on-board 16-track sequencer whereas the BK-5 does not. Except for that, the BK-5 is probably a little better in every other way. Maybe Diki or someone that owns one can add more.


My guess is, whatever device he posted to this forum on could run a FAR better sequencer than anything in the Prelude (or the BK-9!). To be quite honest, I'm astonished that anyone nowadays uses any built in keyboard sequencer.

But if you ARE running a sequencer on a gig for SMF's, chalk one more up to the BK-9 over the Prelude or BK-5, which can put up to four Markers in an SMF and allow you to freely restructure your song on the fly. I find that incredibly handy, and only wish the BK-9 could do the same with audio (it can't, even using the Key Audio triggered by a sequence track... there is a tiny delay before an audio clip gets triggered, enough to throw off the timing a hair).

But I do my sequencing on a computer, have since the Atari days in the 90's, and wouldn't use a built-in if you paid me!
_________________________
An arranger is just a tool. What matters is what you build with it..!

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