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General Discussion of the Nord Stage (EX) and Nord Stage 2 (EX) Synths, FAQ, Troubleshooting etc.

Using a MIDI Keyboard to control the Nord Stage

Postby SethK » 06 Jul 2012, 16:30

I have a Nord Stage Classic that I sit down to play on stage and I'd like to use a secondary MIDI keyboard that I have when I stand up on stage. I'd like to be playing the 2nd Midi keys (it's a M-Audio keystation 55) and have the Nord stage be producing the sounds (so all Nord tones from both). Is this possible? I've gone through the manual and tried some areas that seem promising...but MIDI is fairly new to me and I couldn't get them to sync.

Thanks in advance.
-Seth
Last edited by SethK on 31 Jul 2012, 12:33, edited 2 times in total.
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Using a MIDI Keyboard to control the Nord Stage


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Re: Using a MIDI Keyboard to control the Nord Stage

Postby nordic » 06 Jul 2012, 16:51

Hi, SethK.

You'll find people here more experienced with the NS2, they will tell you better than me. But I just can tell you from my own recient experience: I bought a NS2 a couple of weeks ago, and it's easy to make that kind of rig work. Including the Output routing of the different sounds. You can take a look here.

Check the Midi Dual KB Channel status in the Midi Menu, to assure the Midi Channel receiver in the NS2 is the same number that sends your M-Audio external keyboard.

Hope this helps.
Last edited by nordic on 31 Jul 2012, 12:33, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Using a MIDI Keyboard to control the Nord Stage

Postby mjbrands » 06 Jul 2012, 19:20

What you need to do depends on what exactly you want to achieve, but in general you need to make sure that the MIDI channel on the Stage and on the Keystation match.

The 'Dual KB' functionality nordic mentions is a bit perculiar, in that it specifically is meant to be used as a second manual for the organ section. The 'strange' thing is that if you, for example, set the Dual KB Channel to MIDI channel 1, no other part on the Stage will respond to incoming MIDI data on that channel. So if you set the piano section for part A and part B to respond to MIDI channel 1 (assuming Dual KB is set to something else), both the piano sections will generate sound when you press a key on the external keyboard. If you then also set the Dual KB Channel to MIDI channel 1, neither piano section will receive MIDI data via MIDI channel 1 anymore (the Dual KB setting gobbles it all up). This is a bit of a gotcha. With the other settings you don't have this issue. For example, setting the synth sections of both parts to MIDI channel 1 is like turning on both synth sections on the Stage and enabling both parts - both section will sound out when you hit a key.

You can set the global MIDI channel, but also the MIDI channel for the different sections. If you just want to play the Stage via the keyboard of the Keystation, using the global channel might be the way to go (it is also convenient to test if you've set up the Keystation correctly). If you want to do more specific things, such as send the notes played on the Keystation to a section that does not have focus on the Stage, you probably want to configure the MIDI channels for the individual section. In that case, check you don't also have the global channel set to the same channel (either turn it off or select some unused MIDI channel).

Note you can test this stuff even without a second keyboard: just use the extern section of the Stage, as if it is an external keyboard (for that to work you do need to plugin in a MIDI cable between the MIDI out and the MIDI in on the Stage).

Image
The table above is from the manual of the Stage 2, but I think it also applies to the Stage (I have a Stage 2).

A few remarks with regard to this table:
  • You can configure incoming MIDI for three sections: Global, Slot A/B and specific sections in a specific part (instrument) -- this underlines the 'strangeness' of Dual KB, as you would expect this to appear in this list as a fourth 'section' that can receive MIDI
  • The Extern section can only send, not receive
  • If you set Global off, the Extern section will still send MIDI for the range of the keys it is set up to respond to
  • Transpose configured in a section does not apply to data sent via Global, but the global and program (patch) transpose settings do
I haven't tested this, but I think the following would work. Suppose you connect a 4-voice DSI Tetra to the MIDI out port of the Stage and set it up to respond to incoming MIDI data on channel 1. You then enable the extern section in both parts (turn off all the others) and enable both parts; make sure you do not have a split configured. Transpose the extern section of part A one octave down and the one for part B one octave up. Now set up the global channel to use MIDI channel 1 (do this in the MIDI menu) and set both extern sections to send on channel 1 too in the Extern menu (switch between section A/B by pressing the part A/B buttons).

If you now press a key on the Stage, the Tetra should play a detuned sound consisting of three voices: the note pressed, the note one octave down and the note one octave up. You could probably achieve this more easily by setting up the Tetra itself, but this might be one way to do this; for example, this should work with with a Roland Alpha Juno (or the MKS-50 module version) where you cannot set this up natively.

I don't know if the Keystation supports splits, but you could use a split on the external keyboard to further customize your setup. For example, you could split the keyboard roughly in the middle (set the left to MIDI channel 1 and the right to MIDI channel 2) and then (on the Stage) set the piano section of part A to respond to MIDI channel 1 and the piano section of part B to MIDI channel 2. If you now play the left side of the external keyboard the part A piano section will play, if you play the right part the part B piano section will play.

Anyway, just some ideas for when you have the basics working. I briefly looked at the link nordic posted and the details seem to be covered there.

Now that I think about it, I'm not completely sure about how the splits on the Stage work. I think they work as follows:
  • Splits have no impact on Global; if you press a key (regardless of splits) it is sent out over MIDI (as long as a MIDI channel is configured for global)
  • If you press a key (or if MIDI note data is received for a slot/part), the combination of activated slots/parts and splits determine which instruments (= specific section in a specific part) will receive note data
  • If you send MIDI data from an external source to a specific instrument (because you've configured that section to listen to that MIDI channel), it will sound regardless of whether that part and section is enabled and regardless of split settings for that section
I'm specifically referring to that last point.

Since I'm a visual thinker, I'll throw in a diagram.

Image
When you press a key on the Stage, the Global section originates note data that follows the solid black lines. The dashed lines show the flow of data coming in via MIDI, with the exception of data coming from the Extern sections (shown with 5 in a circle) which is MIDI data leaving the Stage via MIDI.

About the numbers in the diagram:
  1. The flow of (MIDI) data from the Global section (= almost every button, key and knob on the Stage) to the MIDI out port as well as MIDI data from the MIDI in port to the Global section (where it is treated the same as if you pressed a button/key on the Stage itself) is enabled/configured by setting a MIDI channel for the Global section; note that even if you set the Global section in the MIDI menu to 'off', data from the Global section will still flow along the solid black lines except the one with the number 1 next to it (so from Global to MIDI out port).
  2. Whether (note) data flows from the Global section to the Slot A/B sections is determined by whether a section is enabled and/or has focus.
  3. Whether (note) data flows from the Slot A/B sections to the instruments for that slot/part is determined by:
    • whether a section (instrument) in that slot/part is enabled.
    • whether the note received falls within the configured 'split' for that section (instrument).
    Note that transpose settings (global, per program and local to the instrument) do apply here.
  4. Whether MIDI note data is received by instruments (on the right) can be configured via the MIDI menu. The same goes for data to Slot A/B, but the difference here is that it goes through one additional step (see note 3). If data is sent to an instrument that is not enabled, it will still make sound. If data is sent to a Slot, the same mechanism as in step 3 (enabled + split) determine if an instrument makes sound; however, it does not matter if the Slot is not enabled and/or does not have focus. If MIDI data is sent directly to an instrument, it skips the 'filtering' in steps 2 and 3. If it is sent to Slot A/B, it skips the filtering in step2 (but is filtered by step 3). If it is send to Global, the filtering in steps 2 and 3 does apply.
  5. Data from the two Extern sections is sent (regardless of whether the Global section was assigned a MIDI channel) based on the filtering in steps 2 and 3 and the settings in the Extern menu.

Note that settings in the Extern menu are (with a few minor exceptions) stored with a program.

Phew, yet another wall-of-text. :wtf:

I think the above information is correct. Please correct me if it is not; you'll be helping both me as well as other users. 8-)
Last edited by mjbrands on 31 Jul 2012, 12:33, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Using a MIDI Keyboard to control the Nord Stage

Postby SethK » 09 Jul 2012, 18:35

Guys this is great stuff... thanks for such comprehensive replies! I'll be testing this soon and will let you know if I have anything to add. Thanks again.
Last edited by SethK on 31 Jul 2012, 12:33, edited 2 times in total.
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