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Setting up PX 350 as Optional Midi Controller

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My 350 arrives on Thursday. I plan to use it partly as a stand alone digital piano and partly as a midi controller for my Korg arranger. Can I store the midi controller settings in a registration? How easy is it going to be to switch between the two set ups?

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Not good news. I have been trying to work through the midi limitations on the PX350 for quite awhile. It has a strange midi implementation which is very limited IMO. According to the manual, it dows not store its midi settings in registrations and my testing has confirmed this. The only adjustments are accessed through the "function" button and by scrolling to "midi". You can only change the midi channel out, local control off/on and some settings for the auto-accompaniment.

 

I have been testing the PX using Midiox trying to figure out exactly how this all works. Program changes are always sent out through midi channel 4, regardless of what mode you are in (song recorder, rhythm mode, tone selection). I was wondering why I could not get it to store my program changes when I recorded with a software midi sequencer. So if you try to change a sound on the Korg from the PX, I'm not sure what will happen.

 

It does send MSB and LSB messages when you select a tone, but i still can't figure out how this is supposed to work correctly. If you are sending a program change to the Korg which is receiving on a channel other than 4 to change your sounds it won't work. I have to set my sounds manually in my software sequencer, then change midi channels in the PX every time I want to record a new track. So the short answer is unless you can figure this out better than me it won't be so easy!

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Thanks Jokeyman, I'm working my way through it. That's disappointing, and there's not even a shortcut to the MIDI Local Control page. O well, I'll get used to it.

 

As it is, I find the pianos are too "bell-like" through the speakers. I've been trying to work on settings but can't change it much. So I'll probably use the PX 350 as a dedicated midi controller most of the time, only using the speakers when the Korg Arranger is not there (still in my vehicle or in its bag). You can set the Korg Arranger up so the midi controller operates just like the keybed of the Arranger itself, so more complex settings are not necessary.

 

I love the key feel, so expressive. :)

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Well now I find I can't even get it to default to the MIdi setting with Local Control OFF, so I have to go through this each time I boot up. Is this right?

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Yes, at least that's how mine operates. It does not store local control off in settings.

 

Pressing the function button, there is a setting under "other" for turning "backup" on or off. It doesn't specify whether this includes local control or other midi settings and I haven't used this function myself. I have found that midi channel settings assigned to individual tones in song recorder mode are saved. But that won't help you (or me)

 

I thought I could set up a song recorder song with pre-selected tones and midi channels to use a sort of "multi" as in other workstations but since program changes are always sent on channel 4 regardless of midi channel/tone mapping it doesn't work. I will have to check but I think the PX saved my local control off setting when I recorded a song recorder song although again that doesn't help much if you need to stay in tone mode.

 

It's a great digital piano and has many useful features, but isn't a full workstation and i guess it wasn't meant to be. I've contacted Casio tech support and requested that some of these more advanced features be included in a possible future instrument, or as an upgrade to the PX-350. So far no response.

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Corrected from above. Regardless of what I am doing (song recorder, tone select, registrations and even turning "backup" on,) the PX350 will always revert to local control on. And my mistake in the above post-pressing function, scroll to "general" rather than "other" for the backup settings.

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The "local control = ON", at power-on, avoids this situation:

 

. . . "Why isn't my piano making any sounds?"

 

_You_ wouldn't be confused if that happened, but Joe Average might have a bit of trouble with it.

 

That's my guess, anyway.

 

Thank you for exploring this stuff.  So far, I'm using the PX-350 to control Pianoteq -- strictly "real-time" -- without any problems.  But the time will come when I need to do something beyond that.

 

.                  Charles

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You are both right. It's likely designed to automatically power on to local control "on" to avoid newbies not understanding this function thinking their PX is dead. However, I also agree it would be helpful to store local "off" somehow. I have to guess since it isn't described in the manual, that the "backup" function does not include the midi settings.

 

Looking at the manual shows this in an indirect way. The listings for settings stored in a registration also do not include midi settings as I stated earlier. A Casio design decision based more upon this as a digital piano rather than a workstation.

 

Have managed a multi-track (simple) arrangement using only the PX, but without control of at least volume levels or quantize its a little  tricky. More like recording in a real studio before  the advent of multiple "takes". Get it right the first time or else! And recording with software as I've described in another post is also a little different but very 'doable" except I have not solved the problem of program changes from PX to software sequencer. I discovered with Midiox that the PX always sends a program change, but it's on midi channel 4.

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Hmm.  As a novice wanting to both learn how to play piano, and add a controller to start laying down tracks with garageband on a mac rather than my old  cassette four track, from what I read hear it will probably be worth it to me to just by a separate $100 controller rather than put in the hours to get a PX-780 to work as both a controller and a keyboard.  

 

I am correct in surmising this?  If I've have to put in 30 hours just to figure out how to set up this versus just plugging in a dedicated controller to an interface, I'll splurge.

 

 

 

The 780 seems to be the same keyboard as the 350 with some added features, but more importantly has a stand, and right now is on sale for  $800.  

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Your choice. I have both and it is fussy recording midi to DAW with the PX350, but once you learn the button pushes and can edit your mix in a DAW, might not need a separate controller.

 

When recording to software, I have to set each tone to each separate track on the PX350 and record to software. The PX350 does have a rudimentary 17-track sequencer but with practically no control over anything except tone selection and midi channel out, read my other posts here about how I'm trying to work around these limitations, not too successfully so far.  When I select each track and tone, I must do this in "song record" mode which sets up the respective midi channel for each tone I'm using, and will send a program change and midi channel assignment to my sequencer once I record with that tone-although it seems to be limited to the GM soundset, it doesn't send bank change messages for tones in the PX that are not part of the GM soundset as far as I have been able to determine. and if I do not arm record and run it after I've selected my tone, the tone and midi channel will not be memorized in that track! So........

 

If you want to control any other parameter in your software program besides simple program change and midi chnnel, you must have another controller to work with, IMO. I do. If you just want a superb-sounding acoustic piano with an unbeatable piano action, the PX780/350 might be your best choice on the market now. If you want  both-check out the PX5s posts, I think that keyboard has more midi controller features in it, but not sure as I don't have any experience on it. And of course doesn't have built-in sound system or piano-type stand but still a great form factor, lightweight and about as compact as it could get. Hope this helps.

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Thank you, Jokeyman!  I'm only sorry I didn't come across this forum sooner.  I'm supposed to have to make a decision today if I want the PX780 today for $799.  It is essentially the 350 but with a stand with keyboard cover and three pedals, and 20W speakers instead of 8W.

 

I was trying to decide between it and the Yamaha DGX-650 which has a few more on board sounds that I could use, such as drum kits.   But the yamaha doesn't have midi out, but it does have the stand and three pedals, and is $799 on sale for $699, or for $799 I could get the yamaha plus $200 more of anything I want in the store, which could include a separate controller.

 

But let me ask you, do you plug your Casio into and interface and then into the computer, or just straight into the computer?  

Do you have a Windows PC or Mac?

 

It was suggested to me to use the MIDI OUT/IN jacks to connect to an interface, such as a Presonus Audiobox, and let my mac recognize the Interface and Casio that way.  My vocals and guitar would plug into the interface as well.

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Easiest way is to use a standard USB cable (same kind used on printers, etc. not the mini or micro USB cables used with tablets and smartphones). I use Windows 7.  I can record midi with this setup, I make sure my midi software program (usually in "options" or "preferences" or similar is set toCasio  midi in-USB as all midi software will give you a choice for what it will "see" as a midi in port although I'm not sure what the Apple software does, must be similar. Most software will detect this automatically, but not always. All this info is identical if you use the midi "DIN" connectors on the back panel of the PX350, but I use a USB to midi DIN cable for that which also works.

 

Macs have a standard USB port correct? So I'm pretty sure this interface will work on a Mac. These are easy to get on eB*** or Ama**** for cheap. In th Apple world, I don't think you need to install a midi driver (not sure I don't have one) but Windows will need both 1) a USB driver installed-if you've used the USB port for anything else it should have installed already. And 2) the Casio specific USB/midi driver which I think has proprietary drivers that are MIDI compliant, Older MIDI drivers are not necessarily MIDI compliant and I don't think these will work with the newest Casio keyboards-I've had to install specific midi drivers for different company products like Yamaha and Korg. Check pages E-54 and E-55 in the manual.

 

As far as audio-I just plug the Casio audio outs directly into the 1/8" audio in jack on my laptops-not digital quality necessarily but I have mic/line in on my laptops which switches the jack to the right "impedance" automatically when it detects the mic or line-in device. Casio PX-350 has a "line-out" impedance as long as you don't use the headphone out jack as your audio out which will give you a distorted mismatched signal whether you go directly into the computer or use an usb audio box. Other posters here, correct me if I'm wrong. signing out for now.

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I would not rely on the 350 as a controller, its a simple keyboard with predetimined mapping

 

Like the wk7600 series, the program change messages from voice button selection go all over the place except for the gm mode

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I agree. I'm finding it almost impossible to use the 17-track sequencer, a great feature but no control over anything but selecting tones and rudimentary punch-in/out feature. As far as controlling external equipment, repeating myself but this is definitely not good for that, even it's own data is difficult to access, either through DAW or it's own buttons. A quick experiment for example-I connected a Yamaha RM1x which has 8 control knobs and sends out CC messages of all kinds. All I could get it to do was control the PX350 volume per track (which is good) but only at the beginning of the track-the PX350 does not respond or record changes in volume with song recorder. I also was able to change reverb and chorus depth, but again will not record continuous changes, only whatever I set at the beginning of the track. It will change these parameters live, but will not record them. Oh well.

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Hmm.  I found this really old example of using a Casio CDP200 digital piano as a controller for Garageband's sounds on a Mac computer (USB connection), though I take it there are still limitations as to what it controls.    So perhaps  the PX-350 or 780 will work just as easily  as a controller for Garageband, as long as you are connecting to an Apple computer or iPad.  I guess with programs other than Garageband it could be different.

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Posted (edited)

Here's what I found out through trial and error. The PX-350 works with my DAW (Tracktion T-7.2.1) if I unplug the USB MIDI cable and go with the the two DIN's ONLY. The DINs connect to an Akai EIE Pro interface. The local control on the piano can remain on if you'd like. Simply turn down the piano's volume control to get the full sound of the synth in the DAW. Now if I want to control a stand-alone VSTi with the DAW off, I reconnect the USB MIDI cable, and disconnect the two DIN plugs. Nowhere in the manual is this mentioned. Actually, the stand-alone units work with either plug setup separately. This is all on MIDI channel 1 by the way. I hope you guys try this out first before other options. Let me know how it works out for you.

Edited by Rockingham01

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