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connecting korg to laptop

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Hi, I have a korg x5 synthesiser and a toshiba satellite laptop. As I said in a previous post i have no experience of recording music via a computer so if you could keep things simple for me that would be much appreciated. All i want to know is how it is best for me to connect the laptop to the synthesiser. The connections at the back of my laptop are:- USB, 25 pin female, then three rows of 5 pins connection.(down know technical terms.) the synthesiser connections are no doubt standard:- 8 pin female connection that says to host on it. Midi (IN,OUT,THROUGH) (My terminology above may be a bit off but i hope you get the idea) What are my options for connection. Also in my previous post in this forum i enquired about what software to use for creating music. The packages all seemed a bit pricey at this stage as this may be a fad. Are there any good free applications. Thanks Mark S.

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I forget if "Cakewalk" has a free version.

Another alternative is to find an older version of the non-free
ones on E-bay (which will probably be had for a fraction of the newer
versions.)

Does the Korg x5 have a keyboard?? A keyboard makes composing ,music alot better/easier than manual note writing in one of the editors.


What interface(s) on the synthesiser ??? Since it has to interface to the
laptop they must both have the same.

USB 1 is plenty fast to drive midi (if the synth has that).

The 3 rows of 5 is a video port.

If the synth only has a Midi port, then you will have to get an adapter (if it was a PC then you could have added a PC card).



One advantage of the external synth is that the software synthesizers usually have a significant delay. I rigger a DeOxygen keyboard for a friend who is a musician with an old computer and he said the notes were delayed too long (a fraction of a second) and that it totally threw off trying to play the keyboard when recording (you want to hear the note immediately). A hardware synth
on a card would be needed to get rid of the delay.

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Quote:
Original post by Mark S
Hi,

I have a korg x5 synthesiser and a toshiba satellite laptop.
As I said in a previous post i have no experience of recording music via a computer so if you could keep things simple for me that would be much appreciated.

All i want to know is how it is best for me to connect the laptop to the synthesiser.

The connections at the back of my laptop are:-

USB, 25 pin female, then three rows of 5 pins connection.(down know technical terms.)

the synthesiser connections are no doubt standard:-

8 pin female connection that says to host on it.
Midi (IN,OUT,THROUGH)

(My terminology above may be a bit off but i hope you get the idea)

What are my options for connection.

Also in my previous post in this forum i enquired about what software to use for creating music.
The packages all seemed a bit pricey at this stage as this may be a fad.
Are there any good free applications.

Thanks Mark S.


If it's a genuine Korg X5 and not, say, the newer X5D or X50, then you'll need to buy a MIDI interface for your laptop. The X5 predates USB by some years, so you're pretty much stuck with the MIDI connections. (I suspect the "to Host" connection is a custom one, but the X5 isn't even listed in Korg's "Archive" section, so I'm going by third-party reviews and sites.)

The MIDI standard dates back to the early '80s and is based on a "ring"-type network rather , thus you will need to connect cables to both the MIDI "IN" and "OUT" ports. The former carries data from the laptop to the keyboard; the latter carries data from the keyboard to the laptop. If you have multiple MIDI devices, the "OUT" or "THROUGH" (depending on the purpose of the device) cable would connect to the "IN" socket of the next device in the 'ring', and so on down the line until the final device links back to the laptop, closing the circle. (For those who have long memories, MIDI is similar to IBM's old "Token Ring" networking system.)

It's old, clunky and will likely have you tearing your hair out in frustration until you work out exactly which connections and buttons need to be set to get it all working. (Hence the popularity of USB and the Firewire-based 'MLan' connections in recent years.)

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Thanks for the information chaps,

It is an x5d that i have.
I have been doing a little more research and i think this is the sort device you are referring to. Its a Audio Midi to USB connector thingy.

http://www.maplin.co.uk/Module.aspx?ModuleNo=48612&criteria=midi&doy=8m11

Would this work?
Seems pricey at £30. Is that a reasonable price.

Thanks again.

Mark S.

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Quote:
Original post by Mark S
Thanks for the information chaps,

It is an x5d that i have.
I have been doing a little more research and i think this is the sort device you are referring to. Its a Audio Midi to USB connector thingy.

http://www.maplin.co.uk/Module.aspx?ModuleNo=48612&criteria=midi&doy=8m11

Would this work?
Seems pricey at £30. Is that a reasonable price.

Thanks again.

Mark S.


Hi Mark,

Avoid the Maplin interface. It's not worth the money. The Maplin interface will give you only MIDI, but won't let your PC record the audio. Spend about £20 more and you can get a far, far better interface which will give you audio and MIDI in one card.

Looks like the "...to Host" connector isn't USB, so it'll have to be a MIDI and Audio interface. Korg discontinued the X5D some time ago and it required a custom cable to connect to your PC using the "To Host" connector. For this reason, you'll need to access it through the MIDI ports, while connecting the audio in/out connectors to your sound card.

It's not sensible for me to give you a crash course in current music production techniques in a forum post; it's the sort of subject best served by magazines. Check out "Future Music" and / or "Computer Music" (both from Future Publishing; the latter focuses more on sequencing rather than live performance) if you want a solid source of beginners' guides and the like. "Computer Music" is currently giving away a complete suite of music composition and recording software, so it'll save you having to splash out money on something more powerful. As a starting point, their "Computer Music" suite is perfectly adequate for you to learn the ropes.

(I also recommend "Sound On Sound" magazine, which is older and hasn't jumped onto the "tape a DVD onto the cover" bandwagon. It's a damned good read. It is generally aimed at the more experienced reader, but they often carry tutorials. They have a higher page-count than Future's magazines, so they tend to go into a lot more depth.)

*

Why you need _both_ Audio and MIDI connections:

MIDI sends messages back and forth to the device, but it's not fast enough to carry audio as well. It just sends "Note On" and "Note Off" messages, along with info about which patch (i.e. the sound, such as "Creamy Sax" or "Fuzzy Guitar") to use. In the past, computer sequencers would record and send this kind of information to MIDI devices, but the sounds the keyboards and modules produced as a result would be recorded directly to magnetic tape.

Today's computers and sequencers are able to record the MIDI instructions -- the "I pressed _these_ notes, at _this_ velocity, on _this_ keyboard" messages -- _and_ the actual sounds the instructions produced on your synths, samplers, modules, etc. All this gets recorded directly into the sequencer, such as Digital Performer, Sonar, Cubase or (on Macs), Logic. Each device is usually plugged into a separate "input", which usually maps onto a visual "track" on the screen. (Sequencers use a visual metaphor based on the old multi-track magnetic tape machines recording studios used to rely on.) You can then choose to process the audio tracks, or modify the actual MIDI instructions themselves.

Depending on your computer and software choices, there are a number of possible Audio / MIDI interfaces available. It's now becoming more and more common to see external devices that use Firewire and USB 2. However, a good "starter" card is the "EMU 04/04", which includes 4 audio outs, 4 audio ins and a MIDI interface. It's not much more than Maplin's interface. Another option, if you don't mind spending the money, is Creative Labs' "Audigy" series. The ones with the external boxes are ideal for music production, although their drivers and software can be a bit gimmicky. (Creative Labs actually own EMU, so you're getting the same technology in either case. Their EMU brand is aimed at the pro/amateur musican market while Creative Labs itself targets the gamer / hobbyist market.)

There are umpteen articles on the web about all this, so I'd recommend a good bout of Googling first before spending money.

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