custom USB QWERTY keyboard for Ableton Live

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
Sonarcade
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Re: custom USB QWERTY keyboard for Ableton Live

Post by Sonarcade » Fri Feb 09, 2007 9:21 pm

bvl wrote:I decided on a set of 4x4 and 2x4 grids of keys, along with a 9-key number pad. The 4x4 and 2x4 grids are used to turn the audio channel on/off or trigger clips, and the number pad is used to launch all clips in a song.

bvl
Hi bvl,

Great job! Thanks for sharing this awesome project and in a way, rescuing the keyboard as a midi controller comparable to the bevy of way more expensive ones out in the market.

I had a question about what you meant by turning audio channels on/off OR trigger clips. Do the 4x4 double as doing both or are you saying respectively the 2x2 handle exclusively the channel on/off functions while the 4x4 handle the triggering? And how do you deal with situations where each audio channel has more than 4 clips? Do you instead move clips to other audio channels when audio track 1, for example, is moved? Thanks again.
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husker
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Post by husker » Sat Feb 10, 2007 12:43 am

tyson wrote:When using an additional usb keyboard with live can it differentiate between the main keyboard on your laptop and the usb keyboard?

Can Live somehow keep track of multiple computer keyboards with different key commands?

It would be cool for the main laptop keyboard to still operate as usual and use the usb one for more specific midi commands.
Using this technique as a basis, it would be possible to convert multi-keyboard input to midi messages, so you could have a whole bunch of keyboard on different midi channels that Live could cope with

http://www.codeproject.com/useritems/rawinput.asp

now all we need is someone to build the app :wink:

itook4lefts
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Post by itook4lefts » Sat Feb 10, 2007 9:39 am

cool. i never really thought about using a second keyboard, but it looks cool. how does it work with OSX/live? is it just treated the same as the keyboard on the laptop (ie, it duplicates every key and live doesn't diferentiate between them, so pressing "a" on the second keyboard is the same as pressing "a" on the laptop, and whatever is mapped to "a" is mapped to both)? for playing live, did you think about removing the spacebar?

chapelier fou
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Post by chapelier fou » Sat Feb 10, 2007 10:56 am

I ve also tried that...impossible with windows...But I was wondering if the multitouch ability of Vista could change anything?...I'm probably wrong, but....

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Post by zazamoth » Sat Feb 10, 2007 1:50 pm

Keyboard looks kick ass!...kinda wish Ableton would/Could get a keyboard put out..i 'd buy it ..but then again i 'm a sucker for that kinda thing. :D
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corygilbert
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Post by corygilbert » Sat Feb 10, 2007 2:08 pm

wow, that looks really similar to mine.
I painted and removed some keys, used number pads for triggering clips and top numbers for track mutes etc. used a-l and q-p to play midi instruments.
Difference is mine was wireless bluetooth and I hooked it to a guitar strap.
So I could rock 30 feet from the laptop onstage.
Kinda dorky but I like the look of yours a lot.
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pmuellr
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Post by pmuellr » Sat Feb 10, 2007 2:38 pm

corygilbert wrote:Difference is mine was wireless bluetooth and I hooked it to a guitar strap.
Of course, wireless; beauty! Of course, I have some competition with the guitar strap ... my guitar. I've been waiting for someone to do a reasonable wii remote -> midi interface, so I can attach one to my headstock and hook up a few continuous controllers ...

I wonder if I could find a small bluetooth number pad that I could attach to my guitar somehow ... maybe at least do scene changes.
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corygilbert
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Post by corygilbert » Sat Feb 10, 2007 3:02 pm

I wonder if I could find a small bluetooth number pad that I could attach to my guitar somehow ... maybe at least do scene changes.
8O

stutter
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Post by stutter » Sat Feb 10, 2007 3:43 pm

about the rawinput and midi stuff - had a google and couldn't find a program that would discriminate different keyboards in windows and allow mapping, which surprised me - I expect everything to already pre-exist on the internet somewhere, it saves me from having to learn how to program.

Anyway, I did find this page of midi-utilities:
http://www.sreal.com:8000/~div/midi-utilities/

Have a look at imp, that apparently uses the rawinput to discrimante between different keyboards, and then translate them into midi notes.

Chris TT
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Post by Chris TT » Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:29 pm

I recently added a second USB keyboard to my PC setup but with most keys removed - the main ones I've left are the Enter key and Space Bar - this stripped down keyboard is now placed on the floor and is used to launch new clips to record into while my hands are busy playing guitar or keyboard (this is just for my home recording set up). £7 for a USB keyboard compared to the £100+ I would have had to pay for a dedicated midi foot controller.

bvl
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Re: custom USB QWERTY keyboard for Ableton Live

Post by bvl » Tue Feb 13, 2007 8:47 pm

Hey there -
Sonarcade wrote:I had a question about what you meant by turning audio channels on/off OR trigger clips. Do the 4x4 double as doing both or are you saying respectively the 2x2 handle exclusively the channel on/off functions while the 4x4 handle the triggering? And how do you deal with situations where each audio channel has more than 4 clips? Do you instead move clips to other audio channels when audio track 1, for example, is moved? Thanks again.
Good questions. I'll try to explain the best I can below.

Each of the two 4x4 grids serves to trigger clips. I run 8 channels of loops for my live sets. There may be one or two other channels of live inputs (drums via Impulse, keys sounds via VST plugins or Simpler, etc), but only 8 channels of pre-recorded loops.

I do this because I've learned that I can't handle much more than that in a live situation where I'm also working the mixer, adding effect, playing live instruments, and so on. That means a pair of 4x4 grids works well for me.

Since I can hit CAPS LOCK and do a sort of "bank switch" on the lower 3 keys in the grid, I essentially have a pair of 4x7 grids. The CAPS LOCK doesn't affect the number keys, so those stay dedicated to the first row of clips. Alternately, I could map these to channel mutes (the speaker icon) if I decided to, and just use a 4x6 bank of keys for cilp triggers.

The 2x4 grid and the number pad can be used for whatever. Lately I've been using the 2x4 grid to control effects parameters (turning Beat Repeat on/off, for example). The number pad is set up to trigger all clips associated with a track, so when I hit the top-left key on the number pad, it starts all clips associated with track 1.

Hope this gives some explanation. By popular demand, I've posted a JPG of my keymapping. It's nothing exotic, but it might help you understand what I'm talking about.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/chromedecay/389414220

Keep in mind, too, that the wonderful thing about this setup (and Live, really) is that everything could get reconfigured if I decided on something better. I could either pop the keys off and shuffle them around, or just remap stuff inside Live.

My partner's IBM Model M keyboard is even more reconfigurable - it has removable keycaps that pop off while the keys themselves remain attached. I repainted 6 sets of the key caps, so they can get pulled off and moved without taking the actual keys.

http://flickr.com/photos/chromedecay/370911568/

Hope this helps!

Bill

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multiple keyboards

Post by babkubwa » Sat May 05, 2007 11:48 pm

"been looking so hard for a way to use 2 qwerty keyboards with XP - amazed how little I've found.

My wife poured a cup of coffee over my imac keyboard a few weeks ago. Reluctantly shelled out 18 quid for a new one,


Was only the space bar and arrow keys broke on the first imac keyboard so would have been chuffed to use the rest of it as a controller, but then realised xp won't allow. ( I use bootcamp so I can do my live performances in the xp side - where I like to use angstrom looper and dblue glitch)

all I've found so far is -

http://www.codeproject.com/cs/system/rawinput.asp

& imp on divs midi utilities -

http://www.sreal.com:8000/~div/midi-utilities/

- unfortunately can't figure out how to get it working yet. Would be so cool to find a way and turn this broken imac keyboard into a dope custom controller. So suprised no one else with the know how hasn't allready wanted to do this ,

anybody? "

Rogue Scrunt
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Post by Rogue Scrunt » Sun May 06, 2007 2:52 pm

tyson wrote:When using an additional usb keyboard with live can it differentiate between the main keyboard on your laptop and the usb keyboard?

Can Live somehow keep track of multiple computer keyboards with different key commands?

It would be cool for the main laptop keyboard to still operate as usual and use the usb one for more specific midi commands.
a mac will recognize several different keyboards
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synnack
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Post by synnack » Sun May 06, 2007 8:41 pm

cool man. I thought about doing something like this too but i didn't think how cool it would be to have the usb gooseneck light.

thats my fav part. I can see even labeling they keys with UV reactive paint and using a black light in that lamp.

that would look great.

glu
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Post by glu » Sun May 06, 2007 9:00 pm

OSX kicks ass in this dept. I don't understand why this cannot easily be done in XP? I am no programmer though... It's just a stupid limitation.
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