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Help with ancient MIDI keyboard

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Help with ancient MIDI keyboard

Postby snugglesnacks » Wed Feb 14, 2018 4:55 am

Hi, I'm just starting to learn about audio recording and I'm having some trouble with my MIDI setup. Hopefully someone here will be kind enough to help out a total noob like me!

So I inherited a Casiotone CT 460 keyboard ( https://soundprogramming.net/keyboards/casio/casio-casiotone-ct-460/) recently and discovered that it has MIDI in/out ports. I thought this would be a good opportunity to use for learning music production, so I bought the cheapo-est MIDI-USB interface cable I could find (https://www.amazon.com/Interface-Adapter-Converter-Keyboard-Windows/dp/B01MDTDNC1) and downloaded Tracktion 6 and some VST plugins.

Here are the specs for what I'm using:
Castiotone CT 460 keyboard
Prozor USB-MIDI interface cable (no driver to be installed, just "plug-and-play")
Windows 10 64 bit
Tracktion 6 for audio editing (but that shouldn't matter?)

Perhaps unsurprisingly, I started having problems right off the bat. No matter which key I pressed, the sound would either translate as a low B or high E flat. In addition, a tone would play upon both pressing the key down AND releasing it back up into the resting/"off" position.

I downloaded MIDI-OX and sure enough, confirmed that the keyboard inputs are only registering as one of two tones (no matter which keys I play), and duplicate tones are registering each time I press a key down and release.

I can't for the life of me figure out how to fix this. There is no issue with the keyboard itself, as when it plays on its own the keys work fine. So I'm thinking it has to be either a driver or compatibiity issue? Does anyone else have any experience with something like this? Should I just throw up my hands and buy a MIDI keyboard from the current decade (or century)?

Thanks in advance if anyone is willing to lend a hand! :headbang:
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Re: Help with ancient MIDI keyboard

Postby Dave B » Wed Feb 14, 2018 12:00 pm

That doesn't sound very healthy. When you press and release the keys, you should a "note on" message and a "note off" message. It sounds like you are getting two note ons which is weird. As is the 'only two possible notes' issue.

TBH, a small usb keyboard is so cheap that people almost give them away these days. If I were you, I'd grab one of these.
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Re: Help with ancient MIDI keyboard

Postby another1manband » Wed Feb 14, 2018 1:36 pm

I would say the same the as last last post. Ditch the old keyboard. In the past Casio tone all sound like Casio tone and not that good.
The very latest range Casio previewed at NAMM18 sound like real keyboards!
Look at the clips $179 in the USA so should be less than 200 in uk.
If want to test the waters with that keyboard then just use the not very high quality mike input on the pc and use tracktion as a audio multi track.
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Re: Help with ancient MIDI keyboard

Postby another1manband » Wed Feb 14, 2018 2:42 pm

Well having said what I think of Casio tone sounds, I checked I actually have the mini key version (MT-540) and liked most of the sounds so with a few sound effects it sounded good but not brilliant. So give it a go with what you have and then the next step is a audio to usb interface. I have a behringer mixer with audio out through usb and a built in FX unit. Its very useful, but you only need that once you are sure You want to do this fun but addictive home studio thing. I got the MT-540 new in the shops in the mid to late 80's so its older than 40 years so unlikely the midi side can be repaired .
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Re: Help with ancient MIDI keyboard

Postby resistorman » Wed Feb 14, 2018 5:35 pm

Try just plugging the midi output of the keyboard in and leave its input unplugged. Just like audio, you can get a feedback loop.
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Re: Help with ancient MIDI keyboard

Postby Logarhythm » Wed Feb 14, 2018 6:46 pm

snugglesnacks wrote:Prozor USB-MIDI interface cable (no driver to be installed, just "plug-and-play")
This could potentially be the issue - the USB cable interfaces seem to get very mixed reviews about reliability.
A "proper" MIDI interface may help, but USB keyboards are so inexpensive these days that it may not be all that cost-effective.
Something like this will likely be far more reliable than the cable you're currently using: https://www.gear4music.com/Recording-and-Computers/M-Audio-Midisport-1x1-USB-Midi-Interface/3I3, but there is a chance that all you'll discover is that the ageing Casio is the source of the issue. For less than £100 you'd get an OK USB keyboard in various sizes, and you could probably pick up something simpler/smaller for less than £50 if you just want to tinker and get a feel for MIDI. I'd be inclined to agree with the other posters that this is probably the more pragmatic option in reality...
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Re: Help with ancient MIDI keyboard

Postby BJG145 » Wed Feb 14, 2018 8:51 pm

Logarhythm wrote:
snugglesnacks wrote:Prozor USB-MIDI interface cable (no driver to be installed, just "plug-and-play")

This could potentially be the issue

...yeah, I'd probably suspect the cable before the keyboard, but who knows. There's a manual for the keyboard here...might be worth messing around with the MIDI settings.

https://soundprogramming.net/manuals/ke ... Manual.pdf
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Re: Help with ancient MIDI keyboard

Postby resistorman » Wed Feb 14, 2018 11:00 pm

You might also do a hard reset of the keyboard, some settings could be scrambled. If there is a way to do so...
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Re: Help with ancient MIDI keyboard

Postby snugglesnacks » Wed Feb 14, 2018 11:44 pm

Thanks for all your responses!

resistorman wrote:Try just plugging the midi output of the keyboard in and leave its input unplugged. Just like audio, you can get a feedback loop.

Was so hopeful that this would be an easy fix, but no dice. Thanks for the idea though!

BJG145 wrote:There's a manual for the keyboard here...might be worth messing around with the MIDI settings.

Thanks for the suggestion. All I could find was to perhaps tinker with the channel, which didn't do anything ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

resistorman wrote:You might also do a hard reset of the keyboard, some settings could be scrambled. If there is a way to do so...

I tried looking around for ways I might do this ... nothing mentioned in the manual and from a google search it seems like older keyboards don't tend to have this functionality.

I agree with other posters that the MIDI/USB cord is the likely culprit, but I might as well just invest in a cheap USB controller if I'm going to be looking into more reliable interfaces. I might record the keyboard's lovely tones themselves, as another1manband mentioned, for the time being ... if anyone has any more suggestions, I'll be watching this thread! Thanks again for your expertise!
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Re: Help with ancient MIDI keyboard

Postby Logarhythm » Thu Feb 15, 2018 8:17 am

snugglesnacks wrote:I might record the keyboard's lovely tones themselves, as another1manband mentioned, for the time being ... if anyone has any more suggestions, I'll be watching this thread! Thanks again for your expertise!
Does the Casio respond correctly to MIDI data sent from your computer?
Even if it won't behave as a controller, if you like the sounds you may be able to use it as a sound module by sending MIDI data to play it. Cable interface may still be an issue, but if not already done you could try manually entering some MIDI data in your DAW and seeing if the keyboard responds.
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Re: Help with ancient MIDI keyboard

Postby ef37a » Thu Feb 15, 2018 10:13 am

I have an Evolution Ekey49 keyboard controller and plugged into a 2496 card and running Cubase (Ess 6) it worked fine with minimal latency and kbd playing son was happy.

However, it was a bit of a pain to have to fire up a PC and setup Cubase just to play keys so I picked up a Yamaha PSS (sommat) with 3 MIDI ports. The idea being that the ek49 would trigger the Yammy (mini keys so not nice to play) . Yes, worked but! The early PSS was NOT 'General MIDI' and did not trigger the right instrument from the Ek49.

I did some investigation and it seems you can 're-mapp' the Yamaha but I never did find out exactly how and it seemed a lot of work.

Re MIDI interface cables? Read of lots of problems with them over the years which is why I always advise peeps never to buy an interface that does not have MIDI ports.

BTW, if you want some MIDI data, a MIDI 'machine' to play with and some nice sounds, download the demo of Modartt's Pianoteq.

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Re: Help with ancient MIDI keyboard

Postby BJG145 » Thu Feb 15, 2018 10:33 am

snugglesnacks wrote:I agree with other posters that the MIDI/USB cord is the likely culprit, but I might as well just invest in a cheap USB controller if I'm going to be looking into more reliable interfaces.

Not sure about that; eg I was just looking at this thread which is saying that a USB/MIDI cable looking very like yours is flawed, and just about anything else will work.

If I was you I'd pick up a cheap Midisport on eBay; never had a problem with them. Not a fan of cables, though if you want to spend as little as possible it might be worth a punt on a better one like this. Check driver compatibility with whatever you get.
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Re: Help with ancient MIDI keyboard

Postby snugglesnacks » Fri Feb 16, 2018 3:04 am

Logarhythm wrote:
snugglesnacks wrote:I might record the keyboard's lovely tones themselves, as another1manband mentioned, for the time being ... if anyone has any more suggestions, I'll be watching this thread! Thanks again for your expertise!
Does the Casio respond correctly to MIDI data sent from your computer?
Even if it won't behave as a controller, if you like the sounds you may be able to use it as a sound module by sending MIDI data to play it. Cable interface may still be an issue, but if not already done you could try manually entering some MIDI data in your DAW and seeing if the keyboard responds.

Sorry, I was being a bit sarcastic about wanting to use the Casio's own sound (although it does feature some pretty great retro beats :mrgreen: )

ef37a wrote:Re MIDI interface cables? Read of lots of problems with them over the years which is why I always advise peeps never to buy an interface that does not have MIDI ports.
BJG145 wrote:
snugglesnacks wrote:I agree with other posters that the MIDI/USB cord is the likely culprit, but I might as well just invest in a cheap USB controller if I'm going to be looking into more reliable interfaces.

BJG145 wrote:
snugglesnacks wrote:I agree with other posters that the MIDI/USB cord is the likely culprit, but I might as well just invest in a cheap USB controller if I'm going to be looking into more reliable interfaces.

Not sure about that; eg I was just looking at this thread which is saying that a USB/MIDI cable looking very like yours is flawed, and just about anything else will work.

If I was you I'd pick up a cheap Midisport on eBay; never had a problem with them. Not a fan of cables, though if you want to spend as little as possible it might be worth a punt on a better one like this. Check driver compatibility with whatever you get.

This is what I'll probably do. I'm gonna shop around and see if I can source a fairly inexpensive proper (read: not cabled) interface where I'm from. BJG, do you personally have the Midisport box? And if so, have you had compatibility issues with Windows 10 (if that's what you run)? I can only find info for the more current "anniversary edition" box.

Cheers!
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Re: Help with ancient MIDI keyboard

Postby Logarhythm » Fri Feb 16, 2018 12:45 pm

snugglesnacks wrote:Sorry, I was being a bit sarcastic about wanting to use the Casio's own sound (although it does feature some pretty great retro beats :mrgreen: )
Yes I completely missed the sarcasm :oops:
Did wonder about your apparent affection for the sounds but as I haven't heard it I didn't really feel able to judge.
Having owned a cheap (far cheaper than your Casio was) keyboard in the late 80s I imagine it is packed with some truly epic backing tracks to jam along with. Hopefully some sort of really dreadful bossa nova thing - for some reason that's the one I remember most vividly :lol:
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Re: Help with ancient MIDI keyboard

Postby BJG145 » Sun Feb 18, 2018 8:37 am

snugglesnacks wrote:BJG, do you personally have the Midisport box? And if so, have you had compatibility issues with Windows 10 (if that's what you run)?

(Actually I don't run Windows 10, so I can't guarantee it.)
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Re: Help with ancient MIDI keyboard

Postby snugglesnacks » Mon Feb 19, 2018 4:33 pm

Logarhythm wrote:
snugglesnacks wrote:Sorry, I was being a bit sarcastic about wanting to use the Casio's own sound (although it does feature some pretty great retro beats :mrgreen: )
Yes I completely missed the sarcasm :oops:
Did wonder about your apparent affection for the sounds but as I haven't heard it I didn't really feel able to judge.
Having owned a cheap (far cheaper than your Casio was) keyboard in the late 80s I imagine it is packed with some truly epic backing tracks to jam along with. Hopefully some sort of really dreadful bossa nova thing - for some reason that's the one I remember most vividly :lol:

You're quite right about it being packed with accompaniments that are really ... well, something. I think the demo track really did a good job showcasing all the amazing tools this cutting edge technology had to offer (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O66sxacwiqM) :D

BJG, I'll see if I can find another box that I know will be compatible. If I manage to get anything working I'll give you guys an update!
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