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MIDI Controller Keyboards
My M-Audio keystation ii 'channel' has to be physically set by pressing a button together with pressing a key to select the receiving Upper or Lower channel from my BK -5 or E-A7, which is cumbersome when your in the middle of a song, but I'm wondering if I'm missing a trick, by some means making it possible to switch/change M Audio receiving channels of Upper and Lower tones on the fly from the Roland keyboard?
I'm curious as to how you intend to use this with the BK and E-A7 (I don't remember you saying you had both). Underneath, like a second manual on an organ, or to the side, as a main control keyboard..? Underneath will at least allow you to hit the Variation buttons, etc., but if playing two handed (did you get the 88?) that's a long distance for your hands to travel to effect things.
Now, I'm not sure how technical you want to get to work around the controller limitations, but there is a solution.
For starters, let's clear up some terminology you got wrong in your post. The M-Audio doesn't receive anything.. It sends MIDI out. It is the Roland doing the receiving! So what you want to do is change the receive channels of the Roland, on the fly (so you don't have to change the send channels on the Keystation). I'm also unclear whether you intend to use the MAUDIO as sole keyboard, or you need to be able to play the other Parts on the BK's keybed. at the same time.
The easiest way would be to program TWO Performances with the two different Tones you want on the one Keystation channel, and switch between them using the +/- buttons when set to Performance List. But that is still going to necessitate you having access to the BK while you play, and making quite a long distance hand movement to get to those buttons.
I'm afraid, if I were consulted before you bought the controller, I would have recommended something a bit more up-market, with at least four zones (4 different MIDI channels at the same time) so the controller could easily be switched between splits, layers or alternative sounds. Sadly, the BK-7m was the only BK series that allowed a single channel remote keyboard to mirror the splits and layers layout of the Performance. It would have been easy for Roland to add this capability. It is a lot more useful than many think! But, alas, no...
The main purpose of the controller would be primary for solo-ing melody lines using tones qued on the BK or EA7 but not selected and sounding on the BK or EA7
I saw a player at a concert doing this and couldn't figure out how he was doing this at the time, with a Yamaha Tyros keyboard. He claimed that by using a controller in this way, with an arranger keyboard, he had complete control from the arranger and it was relatively portable to lug around for gigging.
(Incidentally text on the forum site often runs out of space towards the bottom of the screen or is overlaid on top of other text making it difficult to read)
Firstly, if you want to control a sound that ISN'T one of the Keyboard Parts, you are going to have to have something (an SMF or a control string from the remote keyboard) send the MIDI commands not only for the Tone, but also effects depths, volumes, pans etc.. It is a lot easier if you can just dedicate one of the Keyboard Parts to the remote, and then let the Performance take care of the sound's settings. But if you are already using them all, the Remote has to be programmed to send them.
Secondly, if you want to pick and choose between controlling the BK and E-A7, you'll need a controller with multiple independent outs, either MIDI or USB. That's starting to get into the TOTL controllers, there. Me, I'd make life a lot easier on yourself and just pick one of the two. That guy with a controller and a T5 was only trying to control one arranger, after all!
Still a bit confused as to why an additional controller when you already have two keyboards. Is it for a fully weighted 88?
The other Roland is going to be easier to set up than a remote.
Since starting this post I've been looking at various blogs on the internet and there seems to be a real need for controller keyboard manufactureres to provide a remote channel change functionality for keyboard and software use.
I'm living and learning !
m-audio.com/products/view/code-61-black is more what you need. 4 zone, lots of sliders and pads to control the arranger, decent keys and modulation controls. There's a 49 key one if you don't need a full 61 (if mostly just for solos, that should probably do... there were a bunch of organs that had dual offset 49 key manuals).
The thing about the guy with the T3 and a controller is, do you remember what controller? Was he trying to play a piano weight 88 with arranger features? Also, I think the Tyros's have the mode where a single channel controller gets mapped by the arranger to the zones and splits, etc. of the main arranger. The BK and E-A7 can't do that.
Roland actually make a quite nice dual channel controller set up for splits and layers etc., but it seems to have a bug where, if you change stuff, the things changes back to ch.1. But it might be worth trying to find out if the bug is fixed. It's a pretty good unit, in 49 and 61 key versions: www.roland.com/global/products/a-800pro/