CME Xkey Tip: Latching Sustain for Drones and Arps

I use my Xkey 25 Air pretty much every day in the studio. No matter what state my studio wiring is in, I can just turn this bad boy on and I’ve got velocity, pressure, mod wheel, pitch bend and octave shifts at my fingertips.

Because it’s so compact with no knobs to snap off – I also throw it in my pack for experimental ensemble sessions and performance where I don’t want to bring a lot of gear. In these situations I don’t want to have use a finger to hold the sustain button for drones and/or holding notes for synths that don’t support arp latch (U-He synths for example).

The good news is you can configure the button to toggle the sustain pedal on and off. Open the Xkey editor then:

xkey-sustain-switch

  1. Press “Read Selected from Xkey” button in the interface to load the current settings of the Xkey into the editor.
  2. Click the sustain button in the editor’s interface
  3. Change mode from “Push” to “Switch”
  4. Make sure the CC Number is set to “CC64: Hold Pedal On/Off”
  5. Press the “Save modified to Xkey” to save changes back to Xkey

That’s it! Now when you press the sustain button, it will toggle on as if you were holding the button down (or your foot on a sustain pedal). Press it again, and the sustain releases.

Drone on!

Mark Mosher
Sound Designer and Teacher of Synth Tech & Technique
http://ModulateThis.com

Using Ableton Live to Add Velocity to Incoming MIDI Notes from Tenori-On (or Launchpad)

In this YouTube Video, I demonstrate how to use Ableton Live 8 and the Velocity MIDI device along with a dummy clip to add velocity to incoming MIDI notes that are a fixed velocity. I illustrate this with the Tenori-On but this concept will work with any MIDI device.

Once velocity is introduced into the equation you can then do all sorts of interesting things with modulation. In the video I use velocity to modulate the filter frequency with Circle. Of course you could just as easily use this to play different samples in a velocity split with Sampler and so on.

Update: Note this same technique will also work for adding notes to incoming MIDI from User Mode 1 from a Novation Launchpad which is also fixed velocity.

Mark Mosher
Electronic Music Artist, Composer, Sound Designer
Louisville/Denver/Boulder

http://www.modulatethis.com
http://www.markmoshermusic.com
http://www.twitter.com/markmosher

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ArKaos VJ – Use MIDI and ReWire to Create Video for Live Shows or Rock Videos

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If you are looking for a way to use VJ software sync video elements to music for a live show or a rock video check out ArKaos VJ. The software not only responds to MIDI, but also supports ReWire so that you sequence video elements from inside your primary music application ( ex. Ableton Live, FL Studio, Reason…).

If you are familiar with sequencing with software you’ll find ArKaos VJ easy to use as it offers a drag-and-drop keyboard interface right within the software. Simply import pictures and movies, drag stills of videos to a key, then drag an effect to the key. Pressing the keyboard within the application using your mouse or sending MIDI data to the application via a hardware controller or from a ReWire host launches the clip.

Flash movies with editable text and live video camera feeds can also be used from within the application. There are plenty of effects to choose from, and you can customize effect parameters. Beat detection is also included. In addition to using this live, you can also export your work to a Quicktime movie.

For me, the only downside was the pricing model . The software runs on both PC and MAC and costs $335 / 279€. While I think this price is more than fair if you are primarily a VJ, I wish they offered an alternative and somewhat stripped down ReWire version for people who are primarily musicians who want to add video elements to their live shows or create rock videos for YouTube.