Akai MPK Mini and Nanostudio

27 replies [Last post]
Stiksi
Offline
Joined: 11/21/2010

A couple of people have asked me how to use the Akai MPK Mini with Nanostudio, so I thought I'd make it a post here, so others can read it too.

CONNECTING

This is simple – you can either use the MPK with an iPad, and connect via the camera connection kit's USB connector, or you can use the desktop version of Nanostudio and connect via USB.

PADS

Pads work just like the piano keys. In fact, when you are controlling an Eden and tap the pads, you can hear different notes playing. I don't know the default setting of the pads because I changed the notes to match Nanostudio's TRG range as soon as I got the keyboard. Here's how you can do the same:

1. Connect the MPK Mini keyboard to your computer. No, this can't be done completely on the iPad.
2. Open the MPK Mini Editor application/program that came with the keyboard.
3. The left side of the MPK Mini Editor window shows 16 squares in two groups – Bank 1 and Bank 2. These correspond to the MPK Mini's pads (top left buttons change between banks)
Change the notes to values between C-3 and D#4 starting in the top left corner (C-3, C#3, D-3 and so on).

Now TRG pads should play when you tap the MPK mini's pads. Bank 1 will play the bottom half of the TRG and Bank 2 will play the top.

KNOBS

This is about as easy as the pads.

1. Same as pads, open the MPK Mini Editor application/program that came with the keyboard.

2. Now, look at the right side of the window. You see pictures of knobs with some values after them.

CC = what the knob controls. This should correspond with a midi control in Nanostudio.
Low / Hi = The minimum and maximum range the knob will operate between. The maximum range is 0-127 and you should set this on all knobs to get the full range out of them.

3. Open Nanostudio

4. In Nanostudio, navigate to MANAGE -> MIDI

5. You will see a list of "MIDI Controller Mappings", much like in the Eden patchbay, if you are familiar with it. after every list item, you can see the MIDI Control CC number.

If you want a knob to, say, move the Eden's Knob (which you will find on the same page with the XY controllers), just scroll down the list until you reach an entry, which says Eden, Knob, MIDI Ctrl CC ??. Make a note of the number after CC.

6. Back on the desktop, in MPK MINI Editor, enter the CC value you made a note of into a knob's CC field.

7. Don't forget to save the settings.

Good job, you can now control Nanostudio with your MPK Mini keyboard!

EDIT: i should clarify that you can only use Nanostudio in the OMNI mode, which means the keyboard will control whichever device is selected. Check that the OMNI button is lit in Nanostudio's MANAGE -> MIDI page.
(Advanced: There are some things you could do with OMNI mode off, like having the pads on a different midi channel than the keys but this would mean that you could only control one TRG and one Eden and not be able to change them. MPK mini does support three different setups but that would still be just six devices out of a possible fifteen. I could see some live performance applications but that's about it.)

Advanced addendum, which you can safely ignore

You can assign the knobs the other way around too, so that you change Nanostudio's CC values to correspond to MPK Mini's default values. However, there are a couple of drawbacks to this: Some Nanostudio CCs are hardwired and can't be changed, and you have to make the same changes on every instance of Nanostudio you use. If you change the keyboard's settings, you only have to do it once. And if that wasn't enough, The MPK MINI Editor allows multiple sets of settings you can use, so even if you have another set of CCs and pad notes you need to assign, you can have those on another saved set and change between them as needed. However, if you don't have access to MPK MINI Editor, this is the way you need to do it. I have no idea what the default settings for MPK's CCs are, you'll have to google that.

Hope this helps! Feel free to ask more questions about the MPK Mini on this thread if you didn't find your answer here. I will answer if I notice it and know the answer. If not, I hope someone else does.

Stiksi
Offline
Joined: 11/21/2010

Using the MPK Mini with Nanostudio – a tutorial

noda
Offline
Joined: 07/31/2010

What ipad do you use? On my ipad 2, I need a powered hub to power on the MPK mini. And after a while the MPK mini needs to be "rebooted" as the power enters "sleep mode". Is there a firmware update for it?

grindoxsaurus
Offline
Joined: 07/20/2011

i am going to ask a billion questions here in a bit. i have a mpk mini, and i want to assign certain paramaters such as

switching keyboards, or switching sounds, is there an option to program,
so i can switch from one trg to an eden,

possibly by assigning that to a knob?

i don'tt think there is an option like that in nano studio but a twist of a knob could change the synth or trgs.

well let me know.
hope that makes sense, and if not... hmm haven't messed with the desk top sw yet.

Stiksi
Offline
Joined: 11/21/2010

@ noda: I have the 3rd gen iPad. I usually get the MPK working in a couple of times (replugging it) but I have read other users report that it works like that on the earlier iPads too. Have you tried a different usb cable?

I'm using a firmware that's about a year old, I think. You might want to check Akai's support for that.

@ grindoxsaurus: If you find out how to change midi channels with a knob, let me know too :) That's the way switching devices could work. Changing patches via midi is not supported in Nanostudio, so that's not possible.

I would love for Blip to support program changes or cc messages to switch devices, but it's not happening right now.

biff_bifferson
Offline
Joined: 01/11/2011

s there a list of the drum pad notes? there are a few threads which mention them "- C3 --> D#4 (midi notes 48-63)" but which drums do the notes correspond to?

i've got some on my mpc mini but only a few and quite at random. Also how many variants of C are there, as in C3-->D#4? is it C, C1, C2, C3? i dont know this stuff and cant find it anywhere. there's talk of midi notes 48-63, is that general midi?

http://soundprogramming.net/file_formats/general_midi_drum_note_numbers

thanks in advance. i'm quite close to getting the mpc to do what i got it for, but still not quite there yet.

syrupcore
Offline
Joined: 09/26/2010

@biff those notes are assigned to the trg drum pads starting from the lower left, then across, then up a row, then across... The drums they correspond to depend on what sound you have loaded onto each pad. Nanostudio presets don't follow the standard midi drum layout by default but you can arrange your sounds that way if you like.

syrupcore
Offline
Joined: 09/26/2010

this is great stiksi. Now I want one! Added it to the faq thread.

Stiksi
Offline
Joined: 11/21/2010

Hey, thanks! :D Just noticed the TRG range is wrong in my post, so that's now fixed. Thanks to Biff Bifferson.

Stiksi
Offline
Joined: 11/21/2010

Biff, the number in, for example, C-2 is the octave. Notes in the TRG range go from C to C# (the next key, cis) then D, D#, E, F and so on. The # marks a black key on the keyboard.

pablo64
Offline
Joined: 06/23/2011

Hi Stiksi,

You state that in Omni Off mode you can have the TRG pads and Eden Synth on different midi channels the compromise being that you can only control one Eden and one TRG.
Am I right in thinking that you can control MORE than one Eden/TRG over midi if you set them all to the same midi channels? This way you can stack up to 15 Edens or TRGS and with careful use of envelopes, lfos, etc can create BIG sounds with a lot of movement in them.

Stiksi
Offline
Joined: 11/21/2010

Hmm, that's a good idea. Unfortunately Nanostudio's devices are hardwired to midi channels 1-15, so the only way this would work is if you found a device or desktop application that would send your keyboard's midi out on many channels at once.

You can do this by copying the part (or better yet, pattern) to all channels in the song editor but it's definitely not the same as playing 15 edens at once... sigh...

EDIT: As Pablo64 stated below, this is completely wrong, you can in fact change the midi channel on any device from the main menu.

biff_bifferson
Offline
Joined: 01/11/2011

ta for the responses comrades. found this list, which is actually really obvious in retrospect. anyway i'm whacking them pads good!

http://midikits.net23.net/midi_analyser/midi_note_numbers_for_octaves.htm

pablo64
Offline
Joined: 06/23/2011

Stiksi,

That's not correct! The devices are not hardwired to specific midi channels, you can have any device use any channel which means you could set all fifteen instruments to receive on midi channel 1 (or 2, 3, etc).
In the menu where you select your instrument by holding your finger on the track number there is a box to the right named Midi Channel. This has a + and - sign either side of it which allows you to select the midi channel you want to use for this instrument. Just make sure you tap 'APPLY' once you've changed it. So if you are playing NS live via a midi keyboard you can theoretically stack and play 15 Edens at once...!! Unfortunately I don't think it's possible to do this in the sequencer unless you copy the parts as you say.

Stiksi
Offline
Joined: 11/21/2010

Thanks, Pablo, obviously I had missed that. This is a very exciting thing to learn and opens up a whole bunch of new possibilities!

grindoxsaurus
Offline
Joined: 07/20/2011

oh shit you are right hahaha pablo you the man.

grindoxsaurus
Offline
Joined: 07/20/2011

i don't have an option for C-3 on my mpk editor should this be

C-1 or C-2 starting?

what are the TRG per pad , like which one is represented by which note?

grindoxsaurus
Offline
Joined: 07/20/2011

after doing some research i found this-

Iain Humm
Offline
Joined: 06/11/2011
Email

I found using an Akai MPK mini that I had to configure the pads (with the bundled software) to the C2-D#4 range in order to get them to work.
Just FYI for anyone searching forums on a solution for that keyboard.

still not helping :(

kinda dumb

Stiksi
Offline
Joined: 11/21/2010

If you're having trouble, try the midi note values. From Biff's extremely helpful post: "midi notes 48-63".

I've never actually paid attention to the notes themselves, I just set the numbers, so let me know if that works any better.

grindoxsaurus
Offline
Joined: 07/20/2011

i'll just program 48-63

also does the mpk mini editor save to a txt file? i wonder if that could be the problem too

think you could send me your midi text file and see if i can open that.
or provide me some kinda NSP program for how you have your stuff set up.

lol that'd be helpful

Stiksi
Offline
Joined: 11/21/2010

I'll have to see if there is a way of exporting settings in MPK Mini Editor. NSPs only save project info, so that won't work.

grindoxsaurus
Offline
Joined: 07/20/2011

yeah, we willl figure it out i got my pads all set up basically you'd be givin away tricks haha,

like i like lfo set for like cc 4

or i have channel 5 set for switching midi to this knob... the only way to switch instruments would be for each channel but you only get like 3 or 4 or something ha haa.

Stiksi
Offline
Joined: 11/21/2010

Sorry, can't find a way to export settings from the MPK Mini editor and I couldn't find the file the settings are stored in. I guess I don't get my geek badge just yet…

GeromeZ
Offline
Joined: 09/30/2012

does this work with an iphone? is there any adapter for an iphone just like in the camer connection kit?

Stiksi
Offline
Joined: 11/21/2010

Sorry, no. You need a controller (keyboard) with a DIN midi out and a midi to iPhone interface like a Midi Mobilizer or a proprietary solution like Mobile Keys or Synthstation. Usb midi will not work.

Grahamguitarman
Offline
Joined: 11/17/2012

Don't forget that as well as having two banks on the mpk mini, there are also four different program's you can save which are accessed via the keyboard and the prog button.

This is really handy cause on another program you can have a string of notes stored in the pads for playing short riffs with ( eg you can program the notes from your key riff into the pads, then mess around mashing the sequence up on the pads )

A similar trick is to program the notes of a particular scale into the pads so you can improvise tunes on the pads without worrying about hitting a wrong note. Sometimes I find that using the pads instead of the keyboard can create whole new ideas and grooves to my music :)

I usually have program one set to the trg pads, prog two in mixlodyian scale, prog three in Dorian and prog four for my own set of sequence notes.

To control synth parameters in real time I program the knobs on the mpk to control the x and y channels of the two xy pads, then use edens patch bay to assign whatever controls I want to change to the x and y pads

I just wish we could have real time control of the mixer channels /transport - I have a Korg nanokontrol that is sitting around being totally useless ATM :(

Stiksi
Offline
Joined: 11/21/2010

That's a good point about using the progs to assign different notes to the pads instead of the midi channel switch that we talked about a while ago. The programmes are the least used feature for me. I only use them to switch settings for different applications like one for Nanostudio and one for Ableton Live.

You can control the current mixer channel's volume with CC7. Not total control, but it works well for mixing.

Feelow
Offline
Joined: 02/01/2015

What about mpk mini mk2? Pads and keyboard work right? Trigger - pads and edén - keyboard