For our first wedding aniversary this weekend my lovely wife bought me a new gadget, an Akai MPK-25 midi keyboard. The last Sonik gig that I played at we used full-sized midi keyboards hooked to real synth modules, but for our next gig later this year we want to move to lightweight with all soft-syths. Our 140bpm tracks are too hard to play completely live, so a 2-octave keyboard is perfectly fine for playing a lead line, and the keyboard has these great touch pads for triggering samples. We like triggering samples, see the latest video on our facebook page.
We've been setting up our perfect performance environment on a laptop, using Fedora 13 as the base OS, but with a real-time kernel and some prebuilt packages from the Planet CCRMA repository.
Tracy wasn't sure if the keyboard was going to work okay in Linux and didn't find any useful information with Google, even looking for it's USB ID (09e8:0072). Fortunately the Akai MPK-25 is class compliant and works perfectly with Fedora 13 without needing to configure or install anything at all. It's even happy to be powered from just the laptop USB port cutting down on cables and adaptors.
$ aconnect -i client 0: 'System' [type=kernel] 0 'Timer ' 1 'Announce ' client 14: 'Midi Through' [type=kernel] 0 'Midi Through Port-0' client 16: 'Akai MPK25' [type=kernel] 0 'Akai MPK25 MIDI 1' 1 'Akai MPK25 MIDI 2' 2 'Akai MPK25 MIDI 3' $ aconnect -o client 14: 'Midi Through' [type=kernel] 0 'Midi Through Port-0' client 16: 'Akai MPK25' [type=kernel] 0 'Akai MPK25 MIDI 1' 1 'Akai MPK25 MIDI 2'
When using USB, the midi in and out connectors on the back become extra interfaces you can use too, those extra ports you can see shown above -- so we can have another keyboard and a sound module connected through the Akai to the laptop and save a midi interface.
I'll cover the software we're using for our live gigs in a later article; aside from the actual synth VST modules we use all open source.