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2 keyboards, switching patches independently with program change?


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Greetings, I apologize in advance if this question has been asked before. Tried searching but couldn't find an exact answer...

In my setup I have 2 keyboards/players who need to switch sounds independently. I don't see how this would work with the typical next patch, previous patch type setup I've used in the past for a single keyboard.

Is program change the answer? I've never used program change midi before but from what I understand you can use this to switch to a certain tone. So the 8 buttons on my Akai mpk249 could each be a "preset" for specific sounds within the patch list correct? Would this allow each player to switch to there sounds independently? Hope that makes sense.

Thank you

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  • 2 weeks later...

I don't think this will work in general but it could work in specific cases. There are also possibly other ways to achieve a similar result.


It could work if both players use just one single plugin all the time - then Program Changes could possibly be used (depending on the plugin) to switch between plugin settings if the plugin allows for this.

However if this is not the case using Program Changes will not work.


The following depends on the number of different sounds each player needs. If the number is rather small (under 16) I also would suggest trying to use different MIDI channels and switching the channels on the device (or with a special external software modification; more about this later).

However you can't assign different MIDI channels to channel strips directly, just specific input devices. "MIDI FX" to the rescue, specifically the "Scripter" plugin with the "Channel Filter" setting (it in the Factory settings). This way you can make one channel strip listen to channel 1 and another to channel 2 and so on. You then would have one single patch for each player, but with lots of channel strips receiving on different channels. Depending on the channel each keyboard is set just the appropriate channel strips would sound.


Of course this also requires the MIDI channel from the sending devices to be changed rather easily. If you need to go into a sub-menu and back on your device it will make switching on the fly rather difficult. If such a problem would appear you could use "Processing" as external software to re-channel the MIDI data. You would need to write a simple script for this (don't worry - it's super easy) and then assign the Processing output instead of the original keyboard output as hardware input to Mainstage. Then you could use the buttons on the Akai to tell the script to re-channel the data.

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