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Need help controlling Macbeth Micromac D with Analog keys Modular Synthesizers
Old 17th June 2017
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

Thread Starter
Need help controlling Macbeth Micromac D with Analog keys

Thanks for helping. Total Newb here. Having trouble controlling my Macbeth Micromac D with midi from my Analog keys. I just want to play the micromac with the eleKtron keys.


I made the mistake of buying the most confusing menu diving synth Analog keys and then getting the worst EVER customer service synth the Macbeth Micromac D. So ready to sell the Micromac.
I'm a musician with zero electronic aptitude so go slow with me.

I've tried everything from pushing the Midi Ext button on A Keys to restarting the Micromac while holding down the learn Kenton button to return it to default. I've tried midi channel auto and 1 as well. Nothing is working.

Any ideas? I don't know if its the A keys or the Micromac.

Thanks so much
Old 17th June 2017
  #2
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maisonvague's Avatar
 

The first thing I would do is test out the Micromac with another synth/controller. Do you have one? If not, then try sending it MIDI from a DAW/sequencer (assuming you have one). You need to determine if MIDI is functional on the Micromac before proceeding.
Old 17th June 2017
  #3
Read my thread on configuring the MIDI interface.

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/elec...ace-sysex.html

To set the MIDI with the learn button, remember to press upper C to finalize the setting. Think of it as the Enter key. So to set MIDI channel to 1, press learn, then press C1 (I assume it is the lowest C on your Analog Keys while the keyboard transpose is set to the lowest position), and finally transpose the Analog Keys the entire way up and press the last key (C5). You may need to refer to the A Keys manual to verify the keyboard transpose positions as I am not familiar with that keyboard. Most synth keyboards, based on 5 octaves, are the same when it comes to setting transposition.

I recommend downloading Bome's Send SX if you have a Windows PC and using Sysex to configure the MIDI interface.
Old 17th June 2017
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BM0 View Post
Read my thread on configuring the MIDI interface.

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/elec...ace-sysex.html
Yes, that post is the number one best source of info on using MIDI with the Micromac-D. I've copied and pasted all that info into a doc which I keep on my computer for future reference. Great work, BM0!
Old 17th June 2017
  #5
Gear Maniac
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by BM0 View Post
Read my thread on configuring the MIDI interface.

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/elec...ace-sysex.html

To set the MIDI with the learn button, remember to press upper C to finalize the setting. Think of it as the Enter key. So to set MIDI channel to 1, press learn, then press C1 (I assume it is the lowest C on your Analog Keys while the keyboard transpose is set to the lowest position), and finally transpose the Analog Keys the entire way up and press the last key (C5). You may need to refer to the A Keys manual to verify the keyboard transpose positions as I am not familiar with that keyboard. Most synth keyboards, based on 5 octaves, are the same when it comes to setting transposition.

I recommend downloading Bome's Send SX if you have a Windows PC and using Sysex to configure the MIDI interface.
I tried what you said but it didn't work. I'll go on your link now and see if it works for me. Thank you.
Old 17th June 2017
  #6
Gear Maniac
 

Thread Starter
At this point I think I would almost rather to control it with CV so I can sequence with it. I think if I use it through midi I can't use the sequencer because I've read the A keys doesn't sequence midi which is really ridiculous.

Anyway if anyone can please give me a step by step guide to that I would appreciate it. I tried a couple ways already with no luck. I just bought the kit of cords so maybe that will help
Old 17th June 2017
  #7
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I'm still curious to know if you've tested MIDI on the Micromac with other gear. Assuming you have a DAW and MIDI interface, are you able to get the Micromac to play a sequence?
Old 17th June 2017
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by mctoad View Post
At this point I think I would almost rather to control it with CV so I can sequence with it. I think if I use it through midi I can't use the sequencer because I've read the A keys doesn't sequence midi which is really ridiculous.

Anyway if anyone can please give me a step by step guide to that I would appreciate it. I tried a couple ways already with no luck. I just bought the kit of cords so maybe that will help
If you hold down the Micromac learn button while plugging in the power, it defaults to receive MIDI on channel 1, as you have previously tried. Have you verified that the A-Keys is set to output MIDI either on channel 1 or Omni (all channels)? Typically, keyboards will default to Omni.

Do you have a Windows PC with USB MIDI interface? I can shoot a quick video for you on how to use Sysex messaging to configure the MIDI interface channel. I will also show you how to send a MIDI Note On message just to make sure that you can hear the Micromac play a note over MIDI. I use Bome's SendSX. It's free and very easy to use. I can show you how to configure that as well. Unfortunately, I can't really help much with the A-Keys. I've never even used one before. I can only suggest that you reference the manual, specifically the section on the MIDI configuration menu.
Old 17th June 2017
  #9
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donato's Avatar
I had no trouble doing the exact thing with the AK and Micromac. As others have said, maybe check that you have the correct AK settings also.

Furthermore, agree you should probably want to use CV if you have an AK.
Old 17th June 2017
  #10
Does the AK happen to have multiple CV/Gate out channels? The Micromac can actually do 3 voice paraphonic if you connect CV out to the 3 separate VCO CV inputs. Then just send one Gate out to the the MM gate in. I've thought about adding some sort of multichannel MIDI-to-CV interface just to get paraphonic capabilities out of my MM. Kenton Pro 2000 would be great, but that's a bit of money that I don't know if I could justify spending. Korg SQ-1 is a cool inexpensive CV+MIDI sequencer, but it's one channel short for the MM 3 VCO's. Plus I don't know if it supports MIDI note on/off so that it could just be used as a MIDI-to-CV interface. I would want to be able to play the MM with a keyboard rather than using the SQ-1 sequencer.

@maisonvague - Don't you have something to get paraphonic control out of your MM? Is a 3 voice MM as cool as I would think?

Micromac really is a killer synth. Definitely my top mono; particularly of the Moog flavor. If it were vintage and had keys, it would be one of the most sought after. I say forget the new Minimoog D. Micromac is like having a Model D/Source with the capabilities of a Voyager plus more features for sound design.
Old 18th June 2017
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BM0 View Post
Does the AK happen to have multiple CV/Gate out channels? The Micromac can actually do 3 voice paraphonic if you connect CV out to the 3 separate VCO CV inputs. Then just send one Gate out to the the MM gate in. I've thought about adding some sort of multichannel MIDI-to-CV interface just to get paraphonic capabilities out of my MM. Kenton Pro 2000 would be great, but that's a bit of money that I don't know if I could justify spending. Korg SQ-1 is a cool inexpensive CV+MIDI sequencer, but it's one channel short for the MM 3 VCO's. Plus I don't know if it supports MIDI note on/off so that it could just be used as a MIDI-to-CV interface. I would want to be able to play the MM with a keyboard rather than using the SQ-1
It does work that way as I've done it before (AK and micromac). I only did it for a weekend as I prefer it as a killer mono. But it is pretty cool to have paraphonic as an option.
Old 18th June 2017
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by donato View Post
It does work that way as I've done it before (AK and micromac). I only did it for a weekend as I prefer it as a killer mono. But it is pretty cool to have paraphonic as an option.
Cool. Certainly a bonus for the OP's setup. But yeah, I kind of figured it isn't all that thrilling. Probably not worth the $400 for a Kenton Pro 2000. I could use it for other things, but that would be minimal and a Korg SQ-1 would suffice.
Old 18th June 2017
  #13
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maisonvague's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BM0 View Post
Don't you have something to get paraphonic control out of your MM?
Yes. I have a Kenton Pro 2000 Mk II.

Quote:
Micromac really is a killer synth.
Indeed it is.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BM0 View Post
Probably not worth the $400 for a Kenton Pro 2000
Personally, I'm into paraphonic playing. So I find it worthwhile. But it's true, it's not all that exciting. What IS exciting, though, is using a device like the Kenton to play the Micromac as if it were two separate synths. By de-coupling VCO 3 from the main CV and sending its audio output to a backend VCF>VCA rig such as the one below, I'm able to play duets with a single Micromac. It's almost like having an Oberheim TVS.

June 2017 new gear thread..!!!-img_3719.jpg
Old 18th June 2017
  #14
Gear Maniac
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by BM0 View Post
If you hold down the Micromac learn button while plugging in the power, it defaults to receive MIDI on channel 1, as you have previously tried. Have you verified that the A-Keys is set to output MIDI either on channel 1 or Omni (all channels)? Typically, keyboards will default to Omni.

Do you have a Windows PC with USB MIDI interface? I can shoot a quick video for you on how to use Sysex messaging to configure the MIDI interface channel. I will also show you how to send a MIDI Note On message just to make sure that you can hear the Micromac play a note over MIDI. I use Bome's SendSX. It's free and very easy to use. I can show you how to configure that as well. Unfortunately, I can't really help much with the A-Keys. I've never even used one before. I can only suggest that you reference the manual, specifically the section on the MIDI configuration menu.
I don't have a PC. No luck so far. Im gonna keep trying though. It must be something I'm doing wrong and not the machines
Old 18th June 2017
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maisonvague View Post
Yes. I have a Kenton Pro 2000 Mk II.



Indeed it is.



Personally, I'm into paraphonic playing. So I find it worthwhile. But it's true, it's not all that exciting. What IS exciting, though, is using a device like the Kenton to play the Micromac as if it were two separate synths. By de-coupling VCO 3 from the main CV and sending its audio output to a backend VCF>VCA rig such as the one below, I'm able to play duets with a single Micromac. It's almost like having an Oberheim TVS.

June 2017 new gear thread..!!!-img_3719.jpg
Can we get a better look at that case you have for the micromac? Did you make that yourself?
Old 18th June 2017
  #16
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maisonvague's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by donato View Post
Can we get a better look at that case you have for the micromac? Did you make that yourself?
Sure! Yes, I made it myself. My woodworking skills (and tools) are limited. So it's not very well made. I built it mostly for ergonomic reasons, but also to match other wood surfaces in my studio. In addition to standing upright, it can sit at an angle on the desk which I find more comfortable to use than when laying flat.
Attached Thumbnails
Need help controlling Macbeth Micromac D with Analog keys-img_3744.jpg   Need help controlling Macbeth Micromac D with Analog keys-img_3745.jpg   Need help controlling Macbeth Micromac D with Analog keys-img_3746.jpg  
Old 18th June 2017
  #17
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Here's one more, in its angled position.
Attached Thumbnails
Need help controlling Macbeth Micromac D with Analog keys-fullsizerender-11-.jpg  
Old 18th June 2017
  #18
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Novem's Avatar
That stand is nice! To the OP, why don't you try using the CV out from the Analog Keys into the Mac. If you're not feeling it, I have a new Octatrack I can swap for the Micromac. The Analog Keys can make really good tone also, and modulation is outstanding!


N.
Old 19th June 2017
  #19
Gear Maniac
 

Thread Starter
So I plugged in my beat step to the Micro and the midi worked right away. So I tried the A. keys again and it worked. Not sure what magic I did this time but I did the same thing as before by turning on the Micro with the learn button down and didn't have to do any key presses with the A keys, it just worked. Not sure why but whatever its so limiting. Now I'm onto trying to figure out the CV way of connecting them.
If anyone here could please explain or post pics of what to plug in where I would really appreciate it!
Old 19th June 2017
  #20
Gear Maniac
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Novem View Post
That stand is nice! To the OP, why don't you try using the CV out from the Analog Keys into the Mac. If you're not feeling it, I have a new Octatrack I can swap for the Micromac. The Analog Keys can make really good tone also, and modulation is outstanding!


N.

Im still trying to see if I like the Micro. I love the demos of it but I haven't gotten it to sing yet myself. So new to this stuff. I actually put an order out for the GRP A 4 so now I'm really worrying if I can't figure out the Micro I'm really in trouble!
Old 19th June 2017
  #21
Old 19th June 2017
  #22
@mctoad Good to hear that you got it working.

I'd say that the Micromac isn't the easiest to program, at least in my experience with different analog synths. One issue is that Ken went with full range coarse/fine adjustment on every VCO. A footage switch on VCO1 and coarse/fine for 2 and 3, like the Minimoog, would make tuning easier. On the other hand, having Coarse/Fine on every VCO makes it flexible for what it is worth. Alternatively, a built-in A440 tone would have been nice. I pretty much just leave VCO1 Coarse tuned to A440 (about 12 o'clock position) and will check it against a reference tone every once in a while. The Micromac actually holds tuning very well.
Another thing about the Micromac is that other adjustments seem to be very fine as well. The slightest movement of the knobs can make such a difference. In a way it makes it a bit more challenging to get sweet spots, but on the other than hand, it makes it a extremely dynamic and capable synthesizer. This is something where patch memory would make up for it, especially for those that would want to use it live.

Last edited by BM0; 19th June 2017 at 04:19 PM..
Old 19th June 2017
  #23
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ModularOverkill's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mctoad View Post
Im still trying to see if I like the Micro. I love the demos of it but I haven't gotten it to sing yet myself. So new to this stuff. I actually put an order out for the GRP A 4 so now I'm really worrying if I can't figure out the Micro I'm really in trouble!
The GRP A4 has a manual, you'll be fine

As for my Micromac -- even if I try to do the full reset (push in learn, unplug, replug, let go of button after a few seconds) it still doesn't respond to MIDI.

ffs I can't believe this thing doesn't have a midi activity light.

I may just have to program it exclusively from my Cirklon or Komplex.
Old 19th June 2017
  #24
In all fairness, there is a manual for the Micromac MIDI interface. Kenton UK made the MIDI interface and has the manual. I've never had any issues with MIDI once I got in touch with John @ Kenton. I agree that Ken should have put together a manual. As a synthesizer, the Micromac is pretty self-explanatory, but the MIDI interface has much to it.

You should contact John @ Kenton. He was of great help to me with using the MIDI interface. Just tell him that you bought a Micromac D and can't get it to respond, even after a reset.
I do want to note that a full reset should just be: Unplug, hold down learn, plug in and let go after a few seconds. It probably doesn't matter, but maybe holding down learn while it is already powered on and then unplugging/plugging may not work. I've done a reset many times, but I press the button when it is powered off.
Old 20th June 2017
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BM0 View Post
In all fairness, there is a manual for the Micromac MIDI interface. Kenton UK made the MIDI interface and has the manual. I've never had any issues with MIDI once I got in touch with John @ Kenton. I agree that Ken should have put together a manual. As a synthesizer, the Micromac is pretty self-explanatory, but the MIDI interface has much to it.
I've got that manual as well (I love the disclaimers ), but it's not particularly clear. Until I read the 'assume high C is ENTER' here I had no idea, since the wording makes it seem that once you hit a key that it's set.

I wonder if the button press ordering is an issue. I'll give that a try.

FWIW, pressing momentary does work and it sounds great, just worried there may be too much overlap with my Model D Reissue
Old 20th June 2017
  #26
I initially missed the part about upper C as well.

One other thing to note about using Sysex is that while you don't need to press upper C for the Sysex message to take effect, the setting will not save on power off unless you send the Learn + Upper C combo.
Old 20th June 2017
  #27
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Novem's Avatar
Macbeth Synths sound great for sure, but the midi setup for them are rudimentary at best! There are a lot of good A4/Analog Keys CV videos on YouTube. Once you get the hang of setting up the Analog Keys with CV, just remember to save each track one at a time including CV track.



N.
Old 20th June 2017
  #28
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maisonvague's Avatar
 

While it's nice to have MIDI on the Micromac, I rarely use it. CV control takes it to another level, allowing for such things as:

2-3 voice paraphonic
2-3 voice polyphonic
microtonal scales
Old 20th June 2017
  #29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Novem View Post
Macbeth Synths sound great for sure, but the midi setup for them are rudimentary at best! There are a lot of good A4/Analog Keys CV videos on YouTube. Once you get the hang of setting up the Analog Keys with CV, just remember to save each track one at a time including CV track.



N.
I would say the Micromac MIDI is more than rudimentary for MIDI-CV interfaces. It is essentially the same MIDI interface as the Kenton Pro Solo. My only complaint is that Ken did not wire up the 4 aux CV controllers which is a waste. I wired one to the filter, but there is no info on how to connect into PW, VCA, VCO2 freq, etc.
Old 20th June 2017
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BM0 View Post
My only complaint is that Ken did not wire up the 4 aux CV controllers which is a waste.
Indeed. I wish he had at least wired the 4 aux CVs to output jacks on the back of the unit. Compared to other complexities in the design, this would have been trivial to implement. I would have preferred this over direct internal connections so that I could choose to insert a slew limiter when needed in between the CV and its destination to lessen the stepping effect of low-resolution MIDI. There would also be more flexibility in their destinations--kind of like a mini mod matrix.
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