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Old 05-22-2019, 03:35 AM   #1
halfshavedyaks
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Default control surfaces in linux and can I use a second keyboard for that?

On linux I seem to have a lot more apps running at once to do the same job and it is giving me issues with focus and key commands - reaper is often not in the foreground but i still want it to respond.

This is exacerbated by key commands not being forwarded to the main reaper window if I have focus on a WINE plugin gui or a lv2 plugin running in the carla rack plugin.

I want to see if I can setup a control surface for transport and actions, but i'm not that interested in faders and knobs - I mostly want buttons.

So i have two questions , maybe they should be split into different threads.

1. Can I use a second keyboard as a control surface that connects only and always to Reaper regardless of focus, and has all my programmed actions assigned.

How would I set this up?

If this can't be done or is too difficult then that leads me to my second question.

2. What control surfaces work well with reaper in linux? I am thinking of something like the Behringer X-touch one as an alternative to the second keyboard method above.
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Old 05-22-2019, 05:20 AM   #2
Glennbo
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I have a midi keyboard, a set of V-Drums and an Akai desktop pad controller all live at the same time in REAPER for Linux. All I had to do was select them all on REAPER's midi setup.

One patch I created on the Akai is for Native Instruments B4 Organ and the sliders on the Akai control the drawbars on the organ. I also programmed some of the rotary knobs to control things like pedal swell and Leslie fast/slow switching.

As for the focus, I jam on this as well as other midi stuff all the time while REAPER is in the background and something else has focus.
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Old 05-22-2019, 01:40 PM   #3
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clarification - when I say use a second keyboard - I mean a computer keyboard not a MIDI keyboard.

A nice mechanical computer keyboard gives you 100+ keys at much lower cost than a dedicated DAW controller with nasty rubbery buttons.

The issue is the software - and it is probably a OS issue rather than a reaper issue - but surely someone has tried to do this?

Failing that I'm interested in recommendations for a DAW/MIDI controller with lots of buttons and space to label them!
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Old 05-22-2019, 02:13 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by halfshavedyaks View Post
clarification - when I say use a second keyboard - I mean a computer keyboard not a MIDI keyboard.

A nice mechanical computer keyboard gives you 100+ keys at much lower cost than a dedicated DAW controller with nasty rubbery buttons.

The issue is the software - and it is probably a OS issue rather than a reaper issue - but surely someone has tried to do this?

Failing that I'm interested in recommendations for a DAW/MIDI controller with lots of buttons and space to label them!
I use with REAPER a "Flirc" IR receiver that appears as a second keyboard.

https://flirc.tv/more/flirc-usb

While I can run REAPER from my drums that are across the room, REAPER still has to have focus for it to see the keyboard keystrokes coming in, otherwise they go to whatever has focus.

Using the midi transport controls on my Akai MPD26 pad controller will control REAPER whether it has focus or not.
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Old 05-22-2019, 04:50 PM   #5
halfshavedyaks
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yes you have described the issue well.

there's no good reason why a keyboard couldn't be treated as a generic input device and routed anywhere - but the OS sees a keyboard and makes a load of assumptions.

Midi devices OTOH are only really understood by music programs so the OS doesn't interfere so much.

What I'm wondering is if anyone has written linux software to route multiple keyboards to different apps or otherwise deal with them them separately.
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Old 05-22-2019, 06:01 PM   #6
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Have you had a look at MidiDings?

http://das.nasophon.de/mididings/

Does a lot more, besides routing. Also filters etc. And it's python, so it should run everywhere.
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Old 05-23-2019, 06:29 AM   #7
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what is the relevance of MidiDings? Does it work with a computer keyboard in some way?
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Old 05-23-2019, 06:42 AM   #8
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the control surface integration project doesn't seem to be available for linux.

In fact I'm not even quite sure what it is yet....

https://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=183143

----------

I've been setting up a novation nocturn as a controller. the buttons work fine but I'm having trouble getting sensible output from the knobs, I think they are sending 14bit and reaper doesn't like that. ie interspresed CC 71 and 103 for example.

since i'm on linux I'm obv not running the automap software.

is there a way to insert a JS midi filter plugin on the midi control messages "channel"?

I guess something like mididings might help with processing midi from the nocturn pre-reaper but i'd much rather do it within reaper.
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Old 05-23-2019, 06:49 AM   #9
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oops deleted double post

Last edited by halfshavedyaks; 05-23-2019 at 06:59 AM.
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Old 05-23-2019, 06:59 AM   #10
halfshavedyaks
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had a look at MIDItoReaControlPath and ReaLearn but neither are available for linux AFAICT.

MIDItoReaControlPath

https://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=43741&

ReaLearn

https://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?p=2138249
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Old 05-23-2019, 08:38 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by halfshavedyaks View Post
what is the relevance of MidiDings? Does it work with a computer keyboard in some way?
Quote:
Originally Posted by halfshavedyaks View Post
What I'm wondering is if anyone has written linux software to route multiple keyboards to different apps or otherwise deal with them them separately.
Sorry, this is MIDI. The key word, "keyboard" is ambiguous.

It's a rather difficult one to find through a search engine, because of that.

Linux used to have a .txt config file for every computer keyboard. The coming of systemd wiped that out. But you should still be able to set specific things through usbd and setxkbmap. The first detects which keyboard gets connected and the second allows to set custom key bindings.

Note that you'll need to x.org keyboard settings in /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d. Something like:

Code:
Section "InputClass"
        Identifier "your standard keyboard"
        MatchDevicePath "/dev/input/event*"
        MatchIsKeyboard "on"
        Driver "evdev"

        Option "XkbLayout" "us"
        Option "XkbVariant" "hhk"
EndSection

Section "InputClass"
        Identifier "the second keyboard"
        MatchIsKeyboard "on"
        MatchVendor "your second keyboards vendor ID"
        Driver "evdev"

        Option "XkbLayout" "us"
        Option "XkbVariant" "basic"
EndSection
To sum up: it can be done, but it's far from trivial. And to send each keyboard to a separate application, will depend on the applications AND running multiple x.org servers.

All of this because I was unable to find an app to make all of that easy. And I don't think using Windows or Macos would make it much easier.

You're probably better off with MIDI keyboards, where this is a fairly standard function.
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