Help needed Kurzweil ExpressionMate midi ribbon controller

Hello,

I need help to integrate my Kurzweil ExpressionMate midi ribbon controller into Cubase in the MIDI Device Manger. I now have it plugged in into the MidiSport 8/8s In 7. I then connect the MidiSport to the music computer using USB. All 8 IN’s show up the Input Routing drop down menu.

Is it important to integrate the ExpressionMate into Cubase or is my current setup adequate?

How does one install it into Cubase? What are the settings in the Cubase Midi Device Manager, to Create New Midi Device?
Is there any third party software that could manage the ExpressionMate from within Cubase?

I would like to see how I can use the ExpressionMate with the PadShop Pro.

Forget the ExpressionMate as it is outdated? Is there a better alternative for midi expression? All suggestions are welcome.

I don’t understand why you need to do anything in the MIDI Device Manager at all.
Have I got this right?..You have the main (and aux?) MIDI out(s) from the ExpressionMate connected to one (or two) of the MidiSport’s MIDI ins? If you want to, you can just rename those MIDI ins, in the Devices menu>Device Setup>MIDI>MIDI Port Setup>“Show as”.
Just out of interest… is your main MIDI keyboard routed directly to another input port on the MidiSport, or is it connected to the input of the ExpressionMate (where it gets merged)?
I use the ExpressionMare myself, no probs at all here. (I have my keyboard going into the ExpressionMate… that way, Cubase sees all that as a single device).

Hello vic_france,

Thanks you or taking the time to help me.

To answer your “I don’t understand why you need to do anything in the MIDI Device Manager at all.” I was hoping that there would be Midi Quest type of Patch/Editor http://www.squest.com/Windows/MidiQuestXL/MidiQuest-About.html to play around and edit the settings and save the presets. That for me would make things easier. Can the MIDI Device Manger allow one to make a new device that would be similar to a Midi Quest Patch/Editor that allows the computer to edit everything on the ExpressionMate black box.

In my current setup the keyboard is not connected to the ExpressionMate. I do however like the way your physical midi cables are connected. Makes sense.

I have a two dimensional keyboard made from 6 smaller keyboards which I call the Maxi with a total of 294 keys. It has 6 midi outs that go into the MidiSport 1-6. Unfortunately all the keyboards are set on midi channel 1 and cannot be mapped otherwise in the MidiSport. I now map the keys and midi channels inside Cubase.

I want the flexibility so the ExpressionMate to work some or all the keys. I also want the flexibility to modulate a recorded midi track. Your further assistance will be greatly appreciated.

BTW I updated the drive to version 6.1.3 dated June 2, 2012.
http://www.m-audio.com/index.php?do=support.drivers&f=1233

I think I’d like to try to dissuade you from piloting the ExpressionMate from a Steinberg MIDI Device (although my needs may not be the same as yours :wink: )…

  1. Much as I adore Cubase, the MIDI Device Editor is, quite frankly… a pain (and rather buggy while actually creating devices, although they work great once created)
  2. I’ve just blown the cobwebs off my ExpressionMate manual, and there’s precious little info about receiving data for controlling it (it’s all about retransmitting the data)… even as regards changing its presets via program change message.
  3. I have found that, in practice, once I had created the ExpressionMate presets that I need, I’ve hardly ever needed to change them since… and, there are loads of preset slots anyways, so, when needed, I just duplicate a preset that is close to what I am looking for, then edit the duplicate directly in the box.

Your keyboard setup sounds fascinating! Could you describe it in some more detail?

Could you also please explain in which way the transmission of all those component keyboards on MIDI channel #1 is a handicap in practice (I’m not saying you are wrong… I just want a clear picture of what you are hoping to achieve :wink: )
Do you typically set the input of a MIDI track from an individual keyboard, or do you use “All MIDI inputs”? (and, provided you are careful which elements are included in “All MIDI Inputs”… in the Device Setup dialog… you can use that as a software MIDI Merger… including the ExpressionMate… I have often wished there were several such “mergers” available in Cubase, not just the one (badly labeled) “All MIDI Inputs”)
Have you considered routing your MIDI inputs into external software, such as MIDI-OX (or whatever is a 64-bit equivalent nowadays… I’m on Mac here :wink: ), before it even enters Cubase?

vic_france,

Ok, I am dissuaded from using the MIDI Device Manger for the ExpressionMate. Thanks for the dissuasion.

I suspect one mostly uses the ExpressionMate as a pitch bend. Can you please tell me how you use it. Which presets you use. Your favourite presets. Do you have some interesting custom presets you want to share?

You asked “Could you also please explain in which way the transmission of all those component keyboards on MIDI channel #1 is a handicap in practice” Very interesting question that made me re-thing my midi routing. In a basic setup you will not need to set each set of 49 keys to a specific midi channel.

Note that playing chords on the Maxi is difficult. If chords are desired use a chord VSTi.

The Maxi key range is #36 to #83. It has no black keys so as is it sounds terrible if the keys are not mapped. They need to be mapped and for that I have a custom made key and channel mapper I call Kmap. This mapper only works inside energyXt and Bidule. I use the Maxi to experiment and here I also have developed a few odd key maps.
I need a way to distinguish each 49 set from the other 5 in a set up using EnergyXT and Bidule.

You said ” I have often wished there were several such “mergers” available in Cubase, not just the one (badly labeled) “All MIDI Inputs”)” I agree with you so I do this in the “Input Routing” inside energyXT or Bidule with modules and routing.

At one time used Midi-Ox and another similar program but later found out that I can do all that inside of Cubase and it will save the settings. I have used the Input Transformer to assign channels to each “MidiSport 8x8 In 1” (1 to 6). Unfortunately mapping of keys here is probably impossible.
Maxi Photo.jpg
The Maxi (294 keys) one of a kind ExperimentaL master midi keyboard controller.
Maxi: The Maxi uses six 49 key synch action midi keyboard controllers. I highly modified these keyboards and then set them in pairs inside a frame. The Maxi therefore has six midi outputs which are inputted to the USB MidiSport 8x8s midi interface to organize the midi data. The exchangeable yellow markers (barely visible) are used to separate the octaves.

I have on a few occasions had all six midi channels working but the computer choked. Since then I have wondered in different music directions. I have learned a few things so I may soon try playing around with the Maxi again.

PS Now that we have VST 3.5 midi expression in Cubase which can make for interesting midi note edits directly on each midi note in the midi piano roll.

Please help me make good use of the ExpressionMate. In my mind I see that I can glide from note to note and make some interesting melodies or just plain good music. I love high polyphony, perhaps the Maxi makes this obvious. Please suggest other ways to use it.

That pic is from another planet! How the heck do you actually play it? :open_mouth: :wink:
Does it correspond to any known instrument (like an accordion… the button-type, obviously, not the piano accordion)? I also have to ask why you didn’t want a simple “regular” keyboard?

Yes, of course the pitchbend ribbon is the reason I bought the ExpressionMate in the first place, but it has proved valuable for converting certain MIDI data too, as well as providing inputs for an extra footswitch and continuous controller pedal. In fact, most of my presets are for customizing what the footswitch and CC# pedal transmit (for example, in the preset that I use most often, I have the footswitch set to “toggle” , and use that as a switch for the speed of the Leslie effect in my software Hammond organs. I also use SW1 and SW2 to transmit “one shot” MIDI CC# messages (e.g. to start/stop the internal sequencer in Sylus RMX)

You asked “Could you also please explain in which way the transmission of all those component keyboards on MIDI channel #1 is a handicap in practice” Very interesting question that made me re-thing my midi routing. In a basic setup you will not need to set each set of 49 keys to a specific midi channel.

Note that playing chords on the Maxi is difficult. If chords are desired use a chord VSTi.

The Maxi key range is #36 to #83. It has no black keys so as is it sounds terrible if the keys are not mapped. They need to be mapped and for that I have a custom made key and channel mapper I call Kmap. This mapper only works inside energyXt and Bidule. I use the Maxi to experiment and here I also have developed a few odd key maps.
I need a way to distinguish each 49 set from the other 5 in a set up using EnergyXT and Bidule.

Is each Maxi key range fixed at #36-#83? If there is any way to transpose them before they enter Cubase, you could then use the Input Transformer to channelize according to note range (well, obviously you could only have a max of 128 notes coming in :wink: )

You said ” I have often wished there were several such “mergers” available in Cubase, not just the one (badly labeled) “All MIDI Inputs”)” I agree with you so I do this in the “Input Routing” inside energyXT or Bidule with modules and routing.
At one time used Midi-Ox and another similar program but later found out that I can do all that inside of Cubase and it will save the settings. I have used the Input Transformer to assign channels to each “MidiSport 8x8 In 1” (1 to 6). Unfortunately mapping of keys here is probably impossible.

As regards mapping, you could use the Chorder MIDI plugin in Cubase… remember, you don’t have to assign each incoming note to a chord… you could simply assign it to a different outgoing note :wink: ).
But do be aware that, unlike the Input Transformer, this modifies the MIDI data on the output of the MIDI track (although you wouldn’t actually notice the difference if simply playing live, but, when recording, it is the unmodified data that gets recorded).

vic_france,

The Maxi is played by striking the keys or use rollers to roll over the keys anything goes. It is experimental. It does not correspond to any known instrument. The keys are velocity sensitive. The reason I made the Maxi was that it seemed like a good idea at the time. Silly me!

Can you tell me how to set up the ExpressionMate to use it as pitchbend. This will at least get me started. Your Continuous controller pedal is for volume?

Did you ever use the arpeggiator setting? Good or too primitive or to simple for what we have nowadays? In my mind this could be a fanatic way to use it.

The Maxi key range #36 to #83 is fixed in the physical keyboard and so is the Channel 1. Because of the odd key configuration the key must be mapped. If left un-mapped it does not sound right. There is a tool Schwarzonator http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhfvzTivVLg that can correct all the notes. There may be other programs.

Why silly? :question: :wink: … a unique instrument should allow you to create unique music! :slight_smile:

Can you tell me how to set up the ExpressionMate to use it as pitchbend. This will at least get me started.

Do you have the ExpressionMate User’s Guide (getting into its guts is rather complicated without it!)…
I have managed to locate a download source for it…
http://safemanuals.com/annexe_REV-B_KURZWEIL_EXPRESSIONMATE-_E.htm
Click on “Download the complete user guide”, then, on the new page, ignore all that survey stuff, but, instead, click on the “security code” link, then follow the instructions.
(If the above doesn’t work, the entry URL for that site is here…http://safemanuals.com/brand-user-guide-instructions-owner-manual/KURZWEIL)
Anyways, the first two ExpressionMate presets should get you pitchbending without problem (the only difference between those two being that in the first, your finger position when you first press on the ribbon is absolute, whereas in the 2nd preset it is relative. In other aspects, sliding the ribbon has exactly the same effect as using an external keyboard’s pitchbend wheel.

Your Continuous controller pedal is for volume?

No, I use the pedal that is connected directly to my keyboard for that. The pedal that is connected to the ExpressionMate, I use mainly for CC#4 (“foot control”), although I have another preset where it can be used to mimic the modwheel instead.

Did you ever use the arpeggiator setting? Good or too primitive or to simple for what we have nowadays? In my mind this could be a fanatic way to use it.

I’ve never used it (preferring to do any arpeggiating in software).

Vic_france,

Thanks for the help and encouragement. I wish that my friends were as positive minded as you.

Actually I have the ExpressionMate manual. Your replies however have helped make a start. I have it all connected and working now.

Thanks again.

I have Bidule in the “Input Routing” where I do all my channel and key mapping and add midi effects.

My question:
The Kurzweil ExpressionMate is on Channel 7. I want to experiment on how I can use it. Can the ExpressionMate give out raw data that can then be routed to a midi effects plug-in. I am aware that you can convert one midi message into another though I have never done this and not even sure how it is done. But it seem to me better to work with raw midi data. Please enlightenment if you have the time.

Not sure I understand. Do you mean you use Bidule Standalone before entering Cubase, or you have Bidule as a vst plugin?

My question:
The Kurzweil ExpressionMate is on Channel 7. I want to experiment on how I can use it. Can the ExpressionMate give out raw data that can then be routed to a midi effects plug-in. I am aware that you can convert one midi message into another though I have never done this and not even sure how it is done. But it seem to me better to work with raw midi data. Please enlightenment if you have the time.

Keep the ExpressionMate as simple as possible… you already have Cubase (and, apparently, Bidule!) where you can do all the MIDI mangling you’ll ever need! :wink:
As for Cubase, read up on the Input Transformer, and Transformer FX insert (which is the same thing as the Logical Editor, but in realtime).

Bidule comes in three flavors
Stand-alone
VST
VSTi

I use the Bidule VSTi in the “Input Routing” which has midi in and midi out. Perhaps I can use the VST but have not tried it.

I do not use the Bidule midi in, however the 8 inputs from the MidiSport are inside the Bidule and use 7 of the midi outs. Now I can re-map and route as I wish inside the modular architecture of Bidule to a midi out which in my case drives the VSTi on the “Output Routing”. This is similar to how Logic does the midi routing. :wink:

I can still use Input Transformer, and Transformer FX insert as you suggested. I can also use the Cubase MFX and third party MFX. So the possibilities are only limited by time and well time like I said earlier! :laughing:

I suspect that most musicians use the Bidule, energyXT and Console in the “Output Routing”. I have also done this which gives one great flexibility. :slight_smile:

Bidule http://www.plogue.com/products/bidule/ It has many built-in midi modules but can also use the many available third party VST midi effects. :arrow_right: :bulb: