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Author Topic: Working toward product development and improvements of Lab Keyboard  (Read 10714 times)

poldidak

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As I recently made a list denoting the strengths and weakness of each of the MIDI/USB controllers and keyboards I own (about 10 devices) the Arturia Laboratory 49 is among them. I made the list in part due to my frustration over needing several devices to accomplish what should be feasible for one (maybe two) to fulfill.

In the spirit of beneficial criticism I offer my perspective on how I think this keyboard could be improved from its current state. I focus only on its function as a MIDI/USB controller/interface and stay within the current hardware limitations of its design. I offer no commentary on the synth software that comes with the Analog Experience.

1) Fix firmware/software of keyboard. There are many bugs in using the keyboard in stand alone mode that have been reported on the Forum, and that I have personally experienced in trying to use my 49 as a general controller. Everything from freezing, to boot up glitches (Setup and button 9 lights are on at boot up). I have not had this kind of experience with my Novation, Korg, Roland or Yamaha devices. I believe that the Arturia keyboard can overcome these problems.

2) Fix MIDI Control Center software along with the firmware update. Because of the integration of hardware and software it's often difficult to know wherein the bugs lie. There should be no discrepancy between programming the keyboard from the computer or from its own front panel.

3) Publish MIDI documentation for the Lab keyboards. I am very interested in knowing what MIDI/sysex commands the keyboard might respond to as well as what data it is capable of outputting.

4) Add a couple of programming features:
    A) Allow recall of different Keyboard Setups 00-10 (think global MIDI setting as well as controller assignments, not Scenes or Presets in Analog Expereience) from front panel rather than having to go into the Setup menu. Many other controllers that allow multiple setups of MIDI channels, splits, etc allow you to simply press a button or turn a dial to move through the presets. This is much better for on-the-fly live playing than having to go into a menu. Also, being able to select/deselect the MIDI split from the front panel would be helpful.

   B) Add programmable sysex strings to controller options. For a modern controller of this sophistication the absence of sysex is a large gap. So many MIDI devices and applications respond to sysex as well as MIDI CC, RPN and NRPN data. Controllers by Novation, Roland and others have an advantage in this sense. Even my old-school Peavey PC1600 fader board can output sysex strings. I understand that the Lab keyboard was designed more to integrate with the Analog Experience synth parameters. But why limit it if it could be used with other devices and applications as well?

   C) Add Breath Controller scaling. One of the main reasons I bought the Lab 49 was its having a breath controller input. Even with Yamaha dropping support for BC, I have found renewed interest in using my old BC2 to control all the new soft synths and the Lab keyboard is the most compact current device to offer a BC input jack. I have found that the Arturia scaling algorithm is a little different from that of my Yamaha products and that I would like to be able to adjust the scaling of the BC just as I can the aftertouch on the Lab 49.

Well, that is my request list so far. I am still happy I purchased the Lab 49. It fits well in my keyboard stack, is lightweight, extremely durable so far, and is very eye-catching on stage.

If Arturia added the features I suggest I might even add a 61 key version to my setup since the two Lab keyboards together would replace at least 4 other devices, none of which have all the features I need either.

I hope taking a more positive critical approach appeals to the folks at Arturia. As a new customer I am eager to sing the praises of your products. It is too early in the game for me to do that, but I look forward to the possibility it will happen in the near future.

Thanks.

Phil K
Stillwater, MN, USA

rbocquier

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Re: Working toward product development and improvements of Lab Keyboard
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2012, 01:40:12 pm »
Hi Poldidak,

Thank you for your helpful comments.

Just a remark about point 4-C: there is already a way to set the scaling for all controller, including breath control.
To enter this special mode, power-up the keyboard while holding the "Sound" and "Scene" buttons.
Then operate a control to select it. You'll see a live display of the current value as seen by the keyboard processor (a number between 0 and 1023 - i.e. 10 bits)
Below there is two displays, min and max showing what the min and max value in operation should be. For most control "min" is the internal value that will be mapped into 0 and "max" the one mapped into 127.
You move from one display to the other by turning the "Preset/Value" encoder, and you copy the current value into the selected display by pushing that encoder.
Finally validate your change by pushing the "Category/Param" encoder.
Robert
Arturia team

poldidak

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Re: scaling controller reponse
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2012, 09:44:09 pm »
Robert,

Thank you for pointing out the calibration feature of the BC input as well as for the other controllers on the Lab 49. I have gone through the procedure with both my breath controller and my expression pedal, setting min/max values and storing them. May I offer two criticisms regarding controller scaling?

1) The breath controller calibration feature works fine for establishing minimum and maximum breath pressure/voltage values, but it does not allow for selecting a curve for how MIDI values correspond throughout the range between those values, much as velocity curves on the keyboard offer "soft" "hard" and other response curves. I find that I could stand to have finer gradations of response for soft blowing pressure so that the lower volume sound increases more gradually. Some of that is determined by the settings of the synth itself. But the most satisfying results with the BC are when the MIDI controller values don't increase too quickly on the low end of the range. Yamaha keyboards seem to have a selection of BC response curves that are more gradual. I would like to see the option of tailoring the response curve of the Arturia keyboard added as well.

2) Related to the response curve of the BC input is the difficultly in finding and setting up a suitable expression pedal to use with the Lab 49 keyboard. I have tried both the standard Roland and Yamaha expression pedals and settled on the Roland. I calibrated its min/max value range, but when I use it and watch the resulting MIDI CC values change the values jump far too quickly from 00 to 50-60 in just the first 5% of the pedals travel. No amount of adjusting the pedal or the calibration fixes this problem. Again, it seems to be a scaling issue that simply setting the min/max range does not fully address.

I would like to see both of these functions addressed in future hardware updates.

Thank you.

Phil

djdanlib

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Re: Working toward product development and improvements of Lab Keyboard
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2012, 08:39:58 pm »
Hey, I know that list is for the manufacturer, but I'd like to address point 3.

If you need an interim solution for inspection of MIDI data, I recommend you load up MIDI-OX and try the controls. It will decode everything you do and display it in real time, and you can scroll back and see historical data.

I recently tried that and it was quite illuminating!

Manuel

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Re: Working toward product development and improvements of Lab Keyboard
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2012, 10:30:15 am »
   A) Allow recall of different Keyboard Setups 00-10 (think global MIDI setting as well as controller assignments, not Scenes or Presets in Analog Expereience) from front panel rather than having to go into the Setup menu. Many other controllers that allow multiple setups of MIDI channels, splits, etc allow you to simply press a button or turn a dial to move through the presets. This is much better for on-the-fly live playing than having to go into a menu. Also, being able to select/deselect the MIDI split from the front panel would be helpful.
...
Thanks.

Phil K
Stillwater, MN, USA

Hey Phil,

These feature is already integrated! You can store MIDI settings and you can recall MIDI settings! But I don't understand how you think you could recall your settings without using the setup mode?

You can store ten different MIDI setups for the hardware controller and recall them very quickly. (00 should be left empty/factory settings) Do you want to use the Snapshot buttons to recall them quicker? And how do you think you can store them then? Via duration control? That would mean that the snapshots could nolonger store presets.

I think that pushing setup; recall; choosing the setup you want (00 - 10) and pressing the preset knob is not such a big thing or? I realy don't understand how this feature could work easyer then it is now.

Don't forget to look here for Solutions! and applaud if you found somthing helpful.

poldidak

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Re: Working toward product development and improvements of Lab Keyboard
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2012, 01:50:36 pm »
Hello, Manuel.

Let me first applaud you for responding graciously and positively to posts here on the board. And thank you for trying to better understand what the user's experiences and needs are. :D

I understand your point about losing the function of the Scene/Sound setups buttons if they were used instead to recall the hardware MIDI setups instead. But understand that as someone who uses the Lab 49 keyboard with more than just the AE package it is very helpful and often necessary to be able to change the MIDI channel assignments quickly on the fly. Let me offer an example of why being able to do so from the buttons would be much better than having to go into Setup/Recall, etc.

I bought the 49 as a controller to use with Native Instruments B4 organ software. It's a great match. The nine sliders on the Lab and the ability to select upper or lower MIDI channel assigned to the faders with a switch means that I can easily control the drawbars for both manuals of the B4 software.

Now, let's say I'm playing a song where for part of it I want to have the keyboard split so that I can play both manuals from the one keyboard on different channels.

Later in the middle of the song say I want to be able to expand the range of the upper channel/manual to cover the full 49 keys, but I want to do it on the fly, quickly.

The usual way requires 4 steps: Press Setup, then Recall, then Scroll to Setup memory desired, then press Knob to select. If you're in the middle of a smokin' hot organ solo, this would interrupt the creative flow.

But imagine instead being able to store the Split keyboard setup under button 1, and the non-split setup under button 2, and in far fewer steps (say just one or 2) being able to readily switch between them. This is typically how I use my other controllers (Yamaha MOX6, Novation X-Station, Roland XP30) as they have the ability to store zoned MIDI setups that can't be recalled instantly with one button. My hope was that the Arturia would offer similar function.

For users like me, how about making those Preset buttons assignable to recall the hardware keyboard Setup as well as AE Sounds or Scenes? Or offer a "2nd" function mode where if you press and hold the data knob then press one of the Preset buttons it recalls a hardware MIDI setup without requiring four steps. Simply press and hold the knob, then press a button, then release knob. You could almost do it with your eyes closed.

Two steps. Happy keyboard player!  ;D It seems within the realm of the keyboard's firmware to add this feature. Are there any other players out there who concur with this?

Phil

poldidak

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Re: Working toward product development and improvements of Lab Keyboard
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2012, 01:53:47 pm »
And sorry, I keep calling the Snapshot buttons "preset" buttons. But I think you know which ones I'm talking about!  :P


Manuel

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Re: Working toward product development and improvements of Lab Keyboard
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2012, 02:09:21 pm »
Aha, great idea!

I was not thinking 'bout the possibility to hold the "PRESET" knob and then using the "SNAPSHOT" buttons to store or recall your configuration setups. But your absolutely right! This should be possible with just a firmware-hack/update.
Realy love this idea! And I already linked this thread to my other thread
Features We'd Like To See Added!  ;)

And I tried to explain the way it's working now under this post in my Solutions! because I found many other users wondering why/that the splitmode is not clearly explained.

PS: Sorry for my amazing scool english but I'm german.   :D

Manuel

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Re: Working toward product development and improvements of Lab Keyboard
« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2012, 11:05:23 pm »
Aha, great idea!

I was not thinking 'bout the possibility to hold the "PRESET" knob and ...

Hi Phil,

I was just thinking about your idea and I thougt that holding the "SETUP" button instead of the "PRESET" knob would be a better way to get the effect. Am I right?

???

It's just because pushing the "PRESET"/"CATEGORY" knobs is already reserved for other functions and I think that this would cause some issues.

If maybe I would use two instances of Laboratory on two tracks - controlled by one controller - this would unload my current preset!
But the "SETUP" button is for setup purposes only, so I think that this could really work.

Would appreciate to get your opinion about that.

Greets Manuel

poldidak

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Re: Working toward product development and improvements of Lab Keyboard
« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2012, 10:22:10 pm »
Aha, great idea!

I was not thinking 'bout the possibility to hold the "PRESET" knob and ...

Hi Phil,

I was just thinking about your idea and I thougt that holding the "SETUP" button instead of the "PRESET" knob would be a better way to get the effect. Am I right?  ???
It's just because pushing the "PRESET"/"CATEGORY" knobs is already reserved for other functions and I think that this would cause some issues.
If maybe I would use two instances of Laboratory on two different tracks - controlled by one controller - this could unload my current preset. But the "SETUP" button is for setup purposes only, so I think that this should realy work the way we want it to.
Would appreciate to get your opinion about that.

Greets Manuel

Manuel,

I think your English is working fine! And I'm glad you like my idea for improving the recall of different setups.

As for your idea, yes, I agree it would make more sense to press and hold the Setup button before pressing a Snapshot button. I forgot that the Knob/switches might have other functions.

So, when might we see a hack for this?!!

Thank you for your time and interest.

Phil

Manuel

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Re: Working toward product development and improvements of Lab Keyboard
« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2012, 06:09:27 pm »
....
So, when might we see a hack for this?!!
...

Phil

Hi Phil,

Good question, but I'm just a regular user, so I can't answer it.
Maybe we should conntact an admin to get an answer for this. But I guess that they can't say anything about it, too. We shall see...
Unfortunately my internet connection has limited download volume, which is already reached for this month.  :-\ So, if you may find a minute, you could drop them a privat message with a link to this thread.

Best regards

Manuel

Mahtar

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Re: Working toward product development and improvements of Lab Keyboard
« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2017, 03:59:48 pm »
I'm aware this is very old thread but I was trying to figure out recently how to change MIDI channels/recall keyboard presets with a press of a button and there is a way to do it, I just posted about it here:
https://forum.arturia.com/index.php?topic=90630.0

 

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