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In need of an easy solution for sound changes


I am in need of a quick solution to change sounds on multi keyboards during live gigs quickly. I do not want to use a laptop to do this. I have 4 boards and 3 sound modules to control. These are
Alesis 7.1 keyboard
Alesis Ion synth
Alesis S-4 Plus module x2
Emu B3 module
Korg Karma
Yamaha MM6
The MM6 is "midi challenged" as some may know. Yamaha restricted its midi functionality which I only found out about after purchase. So I am leaving it out of this solution for now. Each of the other boards has its own issues to deal with. for instance the Korg's combis can get screwed up if you change any of the sounds that make up the combi so moving the sounds to different banks is out. I would like a hardware unit that I could program to do 1 button changes in all the boards and modules. Also not requiring all programs to share the same bank numbers. Thanks for any help.
November 28, 2012 @08:08pm

You don't want to use your laptop computer to do the keyboard management program changes, then what do you intend to use?
Doing the programming is simple enough. But those changes have to be triggered by something.
Does one of your keyboards have a sequencer built into it, in which you can call up a stored MIDI File?
All things considered you are going to have to connect all your equpment using MIDI Thru on most of them. The latency issue will not be an issue if you're just concernced with changing all the board's sound programs at the beginning of a song. You simply click the button on your Master controller (or MIDI sequence), which then sends all the changeup information to the appropriate equipment.
If you intend to make program changes DURING a performance you can still do it, but with that many boards in the loop you may observe latency, but then if it's just a small amount of time for the change to occur you simply trigger it a little bit earlier during the performance to have it ready at the place you need the change to accomodate the song you are performing.
Now, if you are not going to use a sequencer to trigger everything, and you do not want to use a laptop, then whichever keyboard of yours is the main workstation, will have to do the job.
What that looks like is: you call up the combi on your first keyboard which has contained program step information assigned to some button that can send MIDI info. In a Kurzweil workstation, I would assign all this program change info. to a MIDI sequence, but I know some boards can send changeup info., I just don't know how deep they can go (you need to program like 5 lines of information assigned to one button). You're needing to send Change information to what looks like 5 or 6 different keyboards.
Getting Started:
(Each keyboard has its own ID #, and a manner to change Setup (Combi) and/or Programs)
(Also, your main workstation we'll say is Machine #1)
In short, you push a button, or play a very short MIDI file, which does the following:
Sequence for Song "The Who - Baba O' Riley"
TO keyboard #2, Program #18
TO keyboard #3, Program #47
TO keyboard #4, Program #81
TO keyboard #5, Combi #23
All the machines are communicating on a certain MIDI Channel, i.e. #1, and each Keyboard is programmed internally to have a certain ID # (1 thru 6) for six keyboards.
So when the MIDI file plays thru it's SEND MIDI Setup and Program changes, sequentially, each keyboard will receive its information and do what it is supposed to do.
I'm assuming you know how to program MIDI.
December 3, 2012 @01:56pm

The reasons for not wanting to use a laptop are ones of security, and also because I do not own one. I have thought about finding a used one just to run a low level addition of Cubase just for doing the changes but what I was hoping to find was a dedicated hardware box that could do what I need.
In my stage rig, the Korg Karma has a seq. and so could be used as you suggest. The Alesis 7.1 does not have a seq, but it has master controller keyboard functions and abilities. But due to the age of the board, its kind of clunky and cumbersome to set up and would require deep time investment any time the set list would change. Also changing song order during a show would be a problem.
But the biggest hurdle is the fact that all of the boards accept midi program change commands but some don't handle bank changes well. So in effect you would need to have all of your needed sounds located in "bank A" on every board as well as the same program number for each sound in each board. Ex. Korg strings Bank A #018, Ion brass blue #018 (banks are in colors on the ion). Not good for the Karma, or Alesis Ion. But the suggestions you gave have provided me with a way to get started. I am going to try to do the seq on the Korg and see what happens. Thanks again for your time and advise. :)
February 11, 2013 @03:09pm