Keyboard controller ideal midi setup

You can see a diagram of my current setup here.

I’m planning on adding a Novation SL49 mk3 keyboard controller for various purposes (Ableton control, controlling Digitakt and Syntakt, arp and chord features on all devices, etc.).

My goal has been to have the Digitakt as the sequencer/brain of my setup, and it currently controls everything nicely.

With adding a keyboard, my first thought is to run midi out of the Novation SL49 into the Digitakt and use auto channel so that as I switch tracks on the Digitakt, it and the keyboard are controlling the various external synths. But this seems limiting because then I can’t map the knobs and faders on the keyboard for each device, right?

Is there a better way to handle having the Digitakt be the midi master for sequencing but still have direct midi access to each synth with the Novation SL49? The only thing I’ve come up with is replacing my Midi Thru box with something like the Conductive Labs 880 Midi Router.

Thanks in advance for any advice you all might have!

You may want to watch this video for some ideas. Seems like a comparable setup to yours. The core of the midi setup is at around 4:45 to about 7:00 but you might find you need to watch it from the start.


I have a similar setup with a Digitone as the brain, a Novation Launchpad, and an 0-Coast.

I have it set up like you, but I also have the DN’s MIDI OUT going back into the LP, and then the LP’s 2nd MIDI out going to the 0-Coast.

The LP forwards incoming midi from the Digitone to the 0-Coast.

This lets me play the 0-Coast through the Digitone, like you, with the LP set to the DN’s autochannel. But if I switch the LP to the 0-Coast’s channel (8), I can control it direct.

Not sure if this helps, but if your Novation SL49 mk3 has two midi outs, you could send the second one to a splitter and then on to your synths.

Okay. It’s a bit of a mind bender, but I think I’m understanding what you’re saying here. I didn’t realize that the Novation controllers can do midi out through it’s thru, which enables the setup you’re describing. Just checked, and it is true for the SL49.

I suppose if I were to use my Midi Thru box on the 2nd midi out on the Novation, I can just run all my external gear from there so that the Digitakt is controlling them all through the Novation?

This is helpful. Thank you!

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Is this looking right for the midi routing?

Novation SL midi 1 out to Digitakt midi in (auto channel 16)
Digitakt midi out to Novation SL midi in
Novation SL midi 2 out to Quadra THRU midi in
Quadra THRU midi out 1 to Syntakt midi in (auto channel 9)
Quadra THRU midi out 2 to Hydrasynth midi in (channel 10)
Quadra THRU midi out 3 to JU-06A midi in (channel 11)
Quadra THRU midi out 4 to Minitaur midi in (channel 12)

Looks good! And you’d just change the MIDI channel on the Novation SL to choose the synth you want to control, right?

EDIT: or alternatively use the Digitone’s autochannel, and choose the synths from there.

Right. I’d change the channel so I can then use the knobs and faders to send CC messages for controlling parameters… while the Digitakt is still sequencing them, I’m hoping.

If that doesn’t work, then I"ll need a midi merge box I guess.

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It’s indeed a bit limiting (Standard there is no modwheel and pitch either). But each DT MIDI channel has 8 configurable CC’s which you can map to control parameters on a specific synth (so you can also p-lock these in the sequencer).

These 8 cc’s also accept MIDI (CC 70 to 77, VAL1-8, see the MIDI appendix in the DT manual), so you could map your SL49 controls to these. Then, if you want to play s different synth through the DT you select a different MIDI track with a different mapping.

I’m experimenting with Beatstep Pro so far my favorite controller and finally have it working great over MIDI with my Shuttle Control and plan to use the cv outs and drum triggers to sequence and control my other small modular system ALM Busy Circuits Super Coupe that doesn’t have a sequencer. It’s great with multiple sequencers and love the velocity pads for beat making. I use a Keystep for playing keys on my synths or NI Kontroller S49 MIDI keyboard but man that sucker is massive and way too big to use live.

So, if I were to set up the midi tracks with the CCs for the 8 knobs, and say I were to keep them consistent in what they’re controlling for each external synth, can I still pass the CCs when using auto channel on the Digitakt?

If you set the controller to send CC70-77 (i think) and send on auto channel, you will control the 8 custom midi cc for any track you have selected on DT.

I think the DT midi tracks only receive CC70-77, any other midi info should get passed through that midi tracks assigned midi channel? I might be wrong but I haven’t noticed any weird conflicts yet

Unfortunately it will be filtered out, IOW: Only the CC values configured on each MIDI track will be sent via the MIDI out port of the DT.

I don’t understand what you mean by this?

Ah yes, this does seem to be the case on auto channel.

I just checked my midi set up:
On the midi controller a template preset is set up to send midi notes and CC’s on the midi ch that matches that synth. For example,“Evolver” template on controller sends on midi ch 7 and the synth receives midi ch 7.

I created a controller template for each synth in my studio so the knobs always relate to the same synth parameters. Controller cutoff knobs always controls synth cutoff etc

If the DT midi tracks each has been assigned to output on each synths midi channel, I can switch templates on the controller and use the midi knobs for sound design/patch set up as if the controller was connected directly to the synth.

If I want to record midi into DT sequencer I use a DT template on the controller set to output on auto channel

And your controller is mid out to Dt while you are controlling the other synths?

Meaning will the CC messages from the controller pass through the DT to the other synths. Or, at the least, if I set up the DT to control the external synths’ parameters, can I then use knobs on the controller to control those?

Unfortunately not via MIDI out, no.

Yes :+1: (you need to configure your controller to send CC 70-77, which correspondent to VAL1-8)

Excellent. I’m excited to get this going!