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Question about Kenton MIDI to CV

Posted: Thu Oct 22, 2009 9:48 pm
by blanik
for a SH-09/2, i want to be able to drive my SH with some MIDI tracks i have, is the Kenton (or Doepfer) a plug and play device? i've search around and can hardly find useful info about those, it seems that those devices put out 5V when the SHs need 15V but the whole thing isn't clear (although i'm new to MIDI :oops: )

so can i just buy a Kenton or MCV4 and use it right away without modifying it?

and the real question: once plugged in my SH, can i use the SH to record MIDI notes in Logic?? (instead of using a USB controller)

thanks

Re: Question about Kenton MIDI to CV

Posted: Thu Oct 22, 2009 10:49 pm
by nathanscribe
There are two basic types of CV interface made by Kenton now: MIDI, and USB. If by "plug & play" you mean "no software installation", then yes: certainly for the MIDI unit you don't have to run it from a computer at all; it plugs into the MIDI output of any device and generates CV and Gate signals, as well as other useful things. They're very good interfaces indeed. Their new USB interface may be different. Check their website or contact them for information.

Your confusion over the voltages seems to concern the Gate signals (that trigger the notes - the CV controls the pitch). The Kenton's gate is configurable so you'll have no problem driving an SH with it.

No Kenton interface I know of, old or new, will need modding at all for driving an SH.

You cannot use the analogue synth to send any information at all to any device via the Kenton. CV/Gate interfaces are one-way - they turn MIDI into analogue signals, not the other way round. There have been CV to MIDI interfacing devices, but they are few and far between, and I know of only two, the only one in production recently being by Analogue Systems. It's not cheap. I believe the old Roland OP-8m (and only the "m" version) does this, but I don't know for sure without checking. It was designed for use with the MC-4 sequencer, which was a CV/gate device.

The point of a MIDI to CV interface is you are already driving it from MIDI - from another keyboard, perhaps, directed through a sequencer - and it's easy enough to record a MIDI sequence while simultaneously directing that MIDI to an analogue synth via one of these boxes.

Re: Question about Kenton MIDI to CV

Posted: Fri Oct 23, 2009 7:38 am
by blanik
thanks nathan!! this is exactly what i wanted to know...

it makes sense that an analog syth would now "emit" voltage through CV/Gate so the synth can't be used as a controller...

Re: Question about Kenton MIDI to CV

Posted: Fri Oct 23, 2009 9:06 am
by marland
The Novation BassStation Rack will convert CV/Gate to MIDI (and Vice Versa).
It doesn't offer the level of control that the Kenton converters do though.

Re: Question about Kenton MIDI to CV

Posted: Fri Oct 23, 2009 5:26 pm
by nathanscribe
I should also add that some analogue synths do have CV and Gate outputs - as you play the synth's own keyboard, it sends the signals to the synth circuits and to the output jacks. When plugging an external controller into the CV/Gate inputs however, these input signals may not be simultaneously sent to the output jacks too - that depends on how the synth is wired internally. So you can control other CV gear from a CV synth, but might not be able to use it as a 'CV thru' device.

One of the good things about the Kentons is they have built in LFOs on the CV - so you can add vibrato with different waveforms without having to tie up the synth's own LFO. You can also add velocity/aftertouch sensitivity via the Kenton units, and if your synth has inputs for the filter CV or VCA, this brings a new dimension to some of these old instruments that you'd never get from using them stand-alone.

Re: Question about Kenton MIDI to CV

Posted: Fri Oct 23, 2009 6:10 pm
by chrisrnps
The MCV4 works great "out of the box" with the SH-09. =D>

However, if you want to use portamento, get the Kenton. The MCV4 can haz pitchbend, but no can haz portamento - regardless of any "portamento" setting on the SH-09 (its "portamento" is only applicable when using its own keyboard). :?

Re: Question about Kenton MIDI to CV

Posted: Sat Oct 24, 2009 3:28 pm
by blanik
thank all, (a last quickie one): when using a MIDI to CV with the SH can i still hit notes on the keyboard (when lets say there's no MIDI activity in the middle of the song) or do i have to disconnect something??

Re: Question about Kenton MIDI to CV

Posted: Sat Oct 24, 2009 8:04 pm
by nathanscribe
Inserting jacks into the SH's CV/Gate inputs disables the keyboard, as far as I recall.

Re: Question about Kenton MIDI to CV

Posted: Sat Oct 24, 2009 8:09 pm
by Composition86
I have an Sh2 and a pro solo mk1, never had problems, really nice interface: it requires some time to calibrate, but once you do that the work is over. I don't know if other interfaces can save settings, but the kenton does.

About your last question: when you plug both cv and gate INPUT cables into the synth, you can't use the synth's keys, you wouldn't hear anything, you have to disconnect the cables.