Old 12-01-2012, 08:45 AM   #1
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Default Using keyboard as a MIDI controller

Hey everybody what's up? First of all I would like to say that I'm new here and of course I might make some newb questions haha. Well, here is what I was wondering. I'm using two VST softwares in REAPER, Amplitube 3 and Revalver MKIII, both with support for a midi controller. I was wondering if I could emulate a midi controller with my laptop keyboard and assign controls for these softwares. Example: amplitube 3 has the stomp box session, where you can build our own pedal set. So, I want to assign the "T" key of my keyboard to turn on/off my TS-9 in amplitube and use the key "B" to turn on/off my bluesbreaker in Revalver. The question is, how to make the laptop keyboard do this? Is it possible? I want to peform everything live, using vst in real time. I don't think I'm going to buy some real midi controller, I'm out of money. Just to clarify, I don't want to use my keyboard to play some VSTi. I just want to emulate a midi controller, nothing like velocity or pitch wheel. I used bome's midi keyboard and I could play my VSTi but I could not assign any key to work with amplitube/revalver. Amplitube 3 can't learn any key from Bome's midi keyboard. So, Bome's didn't work at all. Any ideas?

Thanks for the time guys! See you people later
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Old 12-01-2012, 09:59 AM   #2
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Hi and welcome. First install (if you haven't already) Reaper SWS extensions .

Then, in the actions menu (open by hitting the ? key), find the action SWS/S&M: Toggle FX 01 for selected tracks, and add a keyboard shortcut to it (in the box lower right). Do the same for FX 02 and you are set.
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Old 12-01-2012, 03:07 PM   #3
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Thanks for the quick answear buddy. I did what you said here but it only works with the track Fx, as general, it's not possible to get inside of the VST and chage parameters in real time like a midi controller does. If I want to use the actions options to do the work over my pedal set, I have to build 10 tracks to have 10 pedals. So, each track will have Amplitube or revalver as a VST effect in real time. In the end, the system will crash because of the amount of RAM memory usage. We can apply the same idea for a midi controller, with the only diference that we can change the parameters in real time inside a VST like Revalver or Amplitube. Imagine doing the same thing you said, but using a software to emulate a midi controller through the laptop keyboard. This is what I want to do, but I don't know if it's possible. Take care my friend! Thanks again!
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Old 12-01-2012, 05:13 PM   #4
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Hi PPoyares (welcome +1),
Quote:
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Thanks for the quick answear buddy. I did what you said here but it only works with the track Fx,
Sure, but did you realise that you can pick arbitrary parameters from VSTs in a track and assign them as those "Track FX"? That may be exactly what you're looking for.
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as general, it's not possible to get inside of the VST and chage parameters in real time like a midi controller does.
Oh sure we can; most VSTs expose many of their parameters to the host. (Warning: Amplitube 3, has an extremely retarded implementation of MIDI and automation control, imho. They probably deliberately crippled their MIDI and automation to push people towards buying their overpriced hardware controllers). You should probably first choose the parameters you want it to expose to REAPER ("AUTO" button on bottom right of AT3's GUI), as it does not expose anything by default (I told, you, it's retarded. ) you have only 16 slots, and it does not provide you with any useful names, either (yeah, you get it: it's really quite retarded).



Quote:
Originally Posted by PPoyares View Post
If I want to use the actions options to do the work over my pedal set, I have to build 10 tracks to have 10 pedals. So, each track will have Amplitube or revalver as a VST effect in real time. In the end, the system will crash because of the amount of RAM memory usage.
Well, Amplitube is perhaps a bit of an unfortunate example - its memory footprint is ridiculous (it is probably loading *all* effects into memory at once, whether you use them or not, for *every* instance).
Quote:
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We can apply the same idea for a midi controller, with the only diference that we can change the parameters in real time inside a VST like Revalver or Amplitube. Imagine doing the same thing you said, but using a software to emulate a midi controller through the laptop keyboard. This is what I want to do, but I don't know if it's possible. Take care my friend! Thanks again!
For capturing keyboard input (regardless of focus) and forwarding it to REAPER as MIDI (or perhaps OSC) there are a couple of solutions I can think of. You should tell us a bit more about your system (such as which OS?) for optimal advice though. I know how to do it with (more general and powerful) apps like Pure data, or Max/MSP, but something like AutoHotKey may be most useful for your case.
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Old 12-02-2012, 04:11 AM   #5
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Thanks for the quick answear buddy. I did what you said here but it only works with the track Fx, as general, it's not possible to get inside of the VST and chage parameters in real time like a midi controller does.
Yes sorry, read too fast and missed you wanted to bypass something inside the VST, not the VST itself.

Like Banned said, you have to find the parameters you want to control in the plugins (the switches you mention) by either MIDI CC, or plugin native parameters, then assign those to keyboard somehow. If MIDI CC, then via a MIDI to keyboard app (doesn't Bome do this?), if native parameter, first via parameter to CC app like MIDIReaRoute.

Look at this thread for ideas: http://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=97976

As you can see, you could get the cheapest, crappiest MIDI controller in the world (a used casio etc), and use this a footstomp controller for live use. Just paint each octave a color and assign them to whatever switch in the plugin like described.
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Old 12-02-2012, 07:16 AM   #6
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So, lets say I applied parameter 1 in the amplitube 3 to bypass a pedal in the stomp session. How to control this parameter via laptop keyboard in REAPER? Didn't see any option in Action menu to control a single parameter by keyboard shortcut. I saw that AT3 has 16 slots. For me, it's enough, at least to play live with 16 pedals emulated. I didn't get Bome's keyboard to do this. I click in midi learn option or control learn in amplitube 3, select a key bu nothing is assigned, unfortunately. I'm using REAPER in Windows 7 32 bits, no midi devices, everything is very simple. Take care!
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Old 12-02-2012, 10:47 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PPoyares View Post
So, lets say I applied parameter 1 in the amplitube 3 to bypass a pedal in the stomp session. How to control this parameter via laptop keyboard in REAPER? Didn't see any option in Action menu to control a single parameter by keyboard shortcut. I saw that AT3 has 16 slots. For me, it's enough, at least to play live with 16 pedals emulated. I didn't get Bome's keyboard to do this. I click in midi learn option or control learn in amplitube 3, select a key bu nothing is assigned, unfortunately. I'm using REAPER in Windows 7 32 bits, no midi devices, everything is very simple. Take care!
You still have to convert the computer keyboard key presses into some MIDI message; REAPER does not do that part for you (currently). A tool like BMT, AHK, or Pd should be able to provide that part of the solution.

Also, afaik Amplitube will not allow you to use the pedal bypass switches as *automation* parameters (did I already tell you its implementation of automation is completely retarded? ) For that specific purpose, you should rather use Amplitube's 'native' MIDI control ('Global' section) and assign MIDI CC#s (no notes, unfortunately - it's MIDI implementation is retarded as well, remember?).



As a general tip, try using MIDI control and automation with plug-ins that do not suck as badly as Amplitube to learn more about how MIDI and plug-in parameter automation work in REAPER and in general. You picked a *very* unfortunate example.
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Old 12-02-2012, 11:03 AM   #8
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Quote:
Well, Amplitube is perhaps a bit of an unfortunate example - its memory footprint is ridiculous (it is probably loading *all* effects into memory at once, whether you use them or not, for *every* instance).
god, you're not joking. i'm using Fender and it's a pretty critical part of my method of getting some more body and life out of softsynths...but it really fucks with my machine.
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Old 12-02-2012, 11:23 AM   #9
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No, I'm not. And I had not even mentioned the fact that almost every parameter makes terrible zipper noises when changed. Nor that you can't automate the same parameters of two instances of the same stomp box in the same section, or that you have to use 8 (of the 16 available) automation parameter slots just to be able to control the wah for 8 different wah pedal models.

Amplitube 3 has by far the most retarded design I have ever seen in a plug-in. On top of that, IK Multimedia's business practices are very shady, even illegal in their home jurisdiction. Go figure.
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Old 12-02-2012, 02:01 PM   #10
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Found this which might be a free alternative to get the computer keyboard to send MIDI messages: QwertyKeyboardMidi

It doesn't say what MIDI messages it's sending exactly, but all can anyway be translated using for example midiConverter3.
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Old 12-02-2012, 02:24 PM   #11
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Found this which might be a free alternative to get the computer keyboard to send MIDI messages […]
Pure data is free as well, and can definitely do it. Might be overkill though, if all you want/need is capturing keyboard input.
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Old 12-02-2012, 03:38 PM   #12
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Pure Data looks interesting, but just tried the QwertyKeyboardMidi and it works well. MIDI note on and off messages are going through even if it doesn't have focus. (ie, you are working in Reaper)

You still need virtual ports like MIDI Yoke installed, but I recommend you have them anyway, as they are small, no fuss ports, useful for other things as well. (like recording MIDI notes out of certain VSTs with arps or step sequencers etc)

By the way, it's useful to see what MIDI messages are going on on a track in real time, so load for example ReaControlMIDI and click the 'show log' button.

Once you have something all set up, just save it as an FX chain or track template so it's easy to load next time.
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Old 12-02-2012, 04:34 PM   #13
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That is what I am using with my $3 fx switching guitar interface for Reaper LOL
My box buttons are mapped to Reaper so I can control Reaper's functions or switch patches in jamvox ( for live use)


I built this Control Box using a $2.99 USB pc keyboard and it has worked so well I left it as getto as it is. Until I make a budget to finalize this project( metal shell and proper buttons, wiring harness matrix and led lights

short video battery was dying

Total cost $3 including the dowel stick and the box material found on the street . Oh and the drinking straw insert button guides work pretty well LOL, just grabbed those when I stopped at a nearby burger king

Burger King for the win on the straws lol

hahahaha



Just me showing you a quick view of it.
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Old 12-02-2012, 04:53 PM   #14
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Seems like the only solution is use SWS extension for Reaper, as a friend said in a post above, using lots of tracks with FX and assign keyboard shortcut to bypass these FX for each track. So, each track will have amplitube as a VST FX, using only one pedal in the stomp session for example, with the amp, cab and post-effects in bypass. The signal sent by bome's midi keyboard or QwertyKeyboardMidi can't be read by Amplitube MIDI system. This only work if you want to control some VSTi by the keyboard. I guess there isn't a MIDI controller emulator that can send a signal compatible with Amplitube MIDI assignment logic. Too bad. Thanks again for the atention guys! Have a nice weekend!
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Old 12-02-2012, 05:13 PM   #15
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Seems like the only solution is use SWS extension for Reaper, as a friend said in a post above, using lots of tracks with FX and assign keyboard shortcut to bypass these FX for each track.
No, it isn't.
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The signal sent by bome's midi keyboard or QwertyKeyboardMidi can't be read by Amplitube MIDI system.
Yes, it can.
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This only work if you want to control some VSTi by the keyboard.
No, it will also work to send CC# to a VSTi like Amplitube.
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I guess there isn't a MIDI controller emulator that can send a signal compatible with Amplitube MIDI assignment logic.
Yes, there is.

Read the posts above again.
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Old 12-02-2012, 05:58 PM   #16
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Hey Banned my Box works great and has worked live behind the scenes with no issues

One issue that must be addressed here is can Reaper detect a second pc keyboard hooked up so that we could then have it mapped to reaper but without interfering with the first pc keyboard mappings?

As of right now a secondary keyboard just mimics the firs one, all I did was take out some keys from a secondary one and make that box ( about 10 minutes) to do that box.

Perhaps it's time that a Virtual keyboard driver be written that includes a Gui?
One that would allow a secondary pc keyboard to be mapped to midi so the user can pick what key to be mapped.


Perhaps that is what I was going after in this box idea. Still looking for a tool that will allow a secondary typping keyboard to act like a Midi device so that it can show up in Reaper's midi device preferences.

If that can be done then we can use a standard secondary pc typping keyboard as a full midi interface which would have the benefits of being able to map controls to Reaper.
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Old 12-02-2012, 06:53 PM   #17
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Quote:
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Perhaps it's time that a Virtual keyboard driver be written that includes a Gui?
One that would allow a secondary pc keyboard to be mapped to midi so the user can pick what key to be mapped.
junXion does that sort of thing just fine for me. (And since OS X is 'just FreeBSD' you can simply install it on your Linux box, no? ) Also, since you're already running Pd for that VCA-style group patch, take a look at [hid] in Pd-extended. That should enable you to build exactly what you need as well (cross-platform).
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Old 12-02-2012, 07:25 PM   #18
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Right on Banned, Automation and control is they key to do things quicker and also open source tools allow us to build what we need from anything really

I mean we have the cheapest control interfaces ever a $3 USB pc keyboard!!! with many keys to use.

I built that control box in less than 10 minutes!! and works great as I even use it as a foot stomp switcher unit to control my other midi controlled guitar fx hardware

So in the end Opening up products and open source software is the key to building open source control interfaces.
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Old 12-03-2012, 01:14 AM   #19
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@PPoyares:

I tried with QwertyKeyboardMidi and it turns out what you want is actually very easy using that and Reaper's native learn, I made a video where you can see how it works:



You need to install MIDI Yoke first and enable it in Reaper's Preferences - Audio - MIDI Devices

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Old 12-03-2012, 01:27 AM   #20
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Excellent.
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Old 12-04-2012, 09:51 AM   #21
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I don't know where the problem is, but I did exactly what you did in the video but it didn't work on Amplitube 3. Maybe someone here could make a tutorial doing this with amplitube. Sorry for my ignorance guys.
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Old 12-04-2012, 03:06 PM   #22
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No problem, we've all been new to this at some point.

Also my fault for again not reading properly, as Banned has already said and shown with a picture that Amplitube has poor parameter and MIDI learn. The buttons you want to control are in fact fixed MIDI CC as you can see from the picture (Stomp A slot 1 bypass switch is CC 101 etc)

But it's still workable, you just need these MIDI plugins from InsertPiz in front of Amplitube:
1. midiNotesToCC
2. midiCCToggle

See here how to set it up (I used Predator in the example as I don't have Amplitube), the FX chain can be downloaded here.

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Old 12-04-2012, 04:07 PM   #23
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you guys should use Glovepie. i don't know how it's so underutilized by the reaper community.
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Old 12-04-2012, 11:18 PM   #24
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I am all over GlovePie I have it to control reaper with my voice LOL

Awesome and Free
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Old 12-04-2012, 11:27 PM   #25
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I did what you said here but it only works with the track Fx
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Old 12-05-2012, 12:23 AM   #26
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Yes it might be difficult to send MIDI signal via a track to an item, although I'm not 100% sure.

What's the situation you would want to use it on items?
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Old 12-05-2012, 03:16 PM   #27
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Quote:
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You still have to convert the computer keyboard key presses into some MIDI message; REAPER does not do that part for you (currently). A tool like BMT, AHK, or Pd should be able to provide that part of the solution.
snip
Yeah - I have been using AHK to translate keypresses to midi and midi to keypresses or mouse / joystick.
I built a mackie control clone for the pc keyboard, KeyMce and a another guy did QwMidi converts pc keyboard to midi note output.
I then pulled together elements that would let someone make there own, taking care of the I/O and some code examples.
My site is up again.
http://oneleaf.heliohost.org/wp/
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Old 12-05-2012, 03:31 PM   #28
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Gloviepie is more than just 1 thing.

You can have the B key say mapped to program control then map that key inside Reaper on the FX parameter learn. But the N key ( next to B) can be mapped to another key say spacebar ( the default playback in Reaper)

Now if you hit B the a patch changes let's say inside Amplitube, and if you press B Reaper will start playback.

With Gloviepie you can map keys to keys as well or mouse to keys or keys to mouse LOL you get the picture, add in usb gamepad controllers too in them mix hehehehe
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Old 12-05-2012, 05:42 PM   #29
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Well, actually I have to say that it works for me, but only using Bome's mouse keyboard, and only the knobs! The keys from the piano doesn't assign any CC to the parameter I want in amplitube. Did exactly as the video but when I select the midi input as MIDI Yoke amplitube becomes muted, no audio on te input. I use a realtek HD onboard audio device, only. In bome's, if I move de pitch wheel, the velocity knob etc., it assigns a CC value to amplitube parameter. But any key I hit in the keyboard can't be assigned in the same way. Too bad. Don't know what's happening. QwertyKeyboardMidi does not work either.
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Old 12-05-2012, 11:01 PM   #30
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You will need GlovePie

It goes beyond midi mapping control.
Right now I have a script in it to control Reaper with vocal commands from my Mic.

Pretty cool and freeware

My Box I made ( posted here on the forum) is being used as a controller and can be turned into a beat drum box all just using GlovePie
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Old 12-06-2012, 01:58 PM   #31
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danfuerth haha i've been stalking your posts as you've referenced tools/posts you've made with useful and informative content...but by god i can't find them. post links please! i'm currently searching for this windows tool you've referenced.

thanks for your expertise and i'm glad to know you use glovepie. glovepie plays an essential role in REAPER for me since MIDI notes bypass the screen-focused action passthrough issue.
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Old 12-06-2012, 02:03 PM   #32
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Which tool are you looking for as I have several on the forum?

Will post the link right away for which one you mean.

The beat box/controller is up on my youtube channel lot's good tutorials there


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Old 01-15-2013, 01:32 PM   #33
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Well, actually I have to say that it works for me, but only using Bome's mouse keyboard, and only the knobs! The keys from the piano doesn't assign any CC to the parameter I want in amplitube. Did exactly as the video but when I select the midi input as MIDI Yoke amplitube becomes muted, no audio on te input. I use a realtek HD onboard audio device, only. In bome's, if I move de pitch wheel, the velocity knob etc., it assigns a CC value to amplitube parameter. But any key I hit in the keyboard can't be assigned in the same way. Too bad. Don't know what's happening. QwertyKeyboardMidi does not work either.
Did you try the midi links I have in my sig.
A buddy of mine wrote a small program that works to convert you pc keyboard to midi note keyboard. I wrote a small program to convert your keyboard into a mackie control universal.
I also included some source code in a generic program that takes care of the port selections you have to code your own translations tho. Free of course.
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Old 08-19-2013, 07:56 AM   #34
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Hey everybody. Thank you very much for the replies, really appreciate it. First, I got bome's mouse keyboard to work with Amplitube 3 as a midi controller in Reaper. But, as Amplitube input is acivated as midi, It's not possible for me to use the stereo mic input, where my guitar is plugged in. I can control the pedals, amps, but I can't get the mic signal into the software. Any idea?

Sorry for the time guys and thanks for the replies.
Take care.
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