Midi Set-up Studiologic SL88 / Mixface

After 30 years I have restarted my “Keyboard Hobby” and looked around for a good setup with focus on ePianos and Synth. I decided to go with a Mac based Virtual Instrument solution based on GigPerformer.

GigPerformer is a great solution - in the first moment a bit unusual, but as soon as you understand the concept it wonderful.

As Midi controller I’m using a Studiologic SL 88 Grand with a Studiologic Mixface. Basics are no problem: eg playing a synth or Piano, using widget from GP and so on. Perfect.

My problem is the overall set-up structure:

There are 4 zones within SL 88 and for each zone you can assign all the knobs and sliders from Mixface. You can store around 100 set-ups of the zones incl individual mixface set-ups. You can trigger the selection of a SL88 set-up via midi PCs. Then there is also RigMgr within GP assigning the midi controls to GP widgets …

Bottom line:
I’m lost due to all the different options and ways to assign a SW Synth or ePiano with the Rackspace the corresponding widgets and the SL zone / layer and the SL Mixface knobs and sliders.

EG i have now set-up 4 basic zones within the SL (one for Piano, one for ePiano, one for Synth, one for Organ) with focus on basic parameters like midi channel, aftertouch y/n or velocity. All other parameters like split or layers are handled within GigPerformer. So I’m not using the 99 possible set-ups within the SL88. So within every Rackspace i have 4 midi channels related to the 4 zones on the SL 88 and can use / assign them with GP to different VSTs. But how should i handle the sliders and knobs from the Mixface: define individual names for each zone or use only one general set-up and do the rest within GP ?

I’m looking for something like a best practice or an example to handle such a set-up in an easy and flexible way.

So any help and hints are welcome

Did you take a look at Rig Manager?
You can learn your Controllers like the knobs and sliders of your SL88 and give them a name.
Then you just choose from a list to map such a controller to a widget.

Hi pianopaul,
thanks for the quick feedback.

yes i have used / tried Rig Mgr. Mixface has 9 sliders / 8 knobs and 8 switches and you can individual assign 2 sets it to each zone of the 4 zones. So you end up with around 200 controls to be defined in Rig Mgr. I don’t think this is a good and handy solution.

May be i miss something related to the SL / MixFace / Rig Mgr / Midi Set-up.

I think i have already seen somewhere a video using a Studiologic with GP. Therefore i hope someone can provide a good set-up example or best practice.

200 controls are much.
Do you want to switch sounds by switching the zone on the sl88?

I would try to avoid zones on the controller, when your sl88 is defect and you have to use for example
a S88 from NI then you will have a bigger problem.
I would stay with 1 zone and your controllers: 9 sliders etc.

good point related to the zones if you need to switch to another keyboard. But for me it not an issue as i only plan to play at home. I selected the SL because it provides nice features to adjust the keyboard to different instrument types like piano vs synth vs organ.

I already learnt to avoid the SL option related to use up to 100 different zone set-ups. I’m only using the 4 basic zones and do all other adjustments within GP.

I would like to do the same with the MixFace physical controls: Define the basics and do the other adjustments within GP.

But the Mixface is linked to the zones generating 4 times 2 sets of the physical controls. May be i’m missing something or have not yet understand the correct RigMgr set-up.

Are you using this?

Yes this one: SL88 grand with SL mixface

OK, when you use just 1 rackspace with your plugins piano, organ, synth etc which react each on a separate midi channel, then you have to switch the zone on the controller to play the correct plugin.
When you do this then you have to define 4x controllers.

I would think about just using 1 zone with the 9 sliders, knobs, buttons etc and
then switch the rackspaces.
This garantees the you get no hanging note when you switch the sound.
Imagine you play a zone on your sl88 and while you hold a note you switch the zone which sends on a different channel, will you get a hanging note?
Also with switching rackspaces you can use patch persist, this is not possible when you
switch zones on SL88.

I have done the set-up a bit different.

I’m not switching to a different zone if i use a different instrument. I have always all 4 zones “online”. So with each note the SL will send the information for each of the 4 zones using 4 different channels. Within GP i use the Midi IN to filter and distribute a channel to a related VTS.

When i switch to a different Rackspace or even to a variation i can use a different VTS with a different channel because all 4 channels are always available. Therefore hanging notes should not be a problem and patch persist should also work (but not yet tested). With this setup it is also easy to layer sound using the Midi In functions within GP.

Our discussion shows that there are many ways to do the set-up … Therefore my question to the community about best practice or examples.

I have that same studio logic. I only have 1 zone. I do all splits and layers from GP using multiple Midi In blocks

1 Like

Looks like the 1 Zone set-up is a preferred way to use the SL88.

@ dhj and pianopaul: Do you change keyboard settings (eg velocity, aftertouch…) if used with different instruments.

Do you know a way to change SL 88 presets from within GP? I have not found a way to receive a midi PC within the SL. For me it looks like that it is only possible to send Midi PC from the SL to GP to trigger a change to a different rackspace, but it is not possible to trigger the change to a different SL zone or preset from GP if you change to an other rackspace. That was the reason to have the 4 zone always “online”. I’m using also different midi blocks to select the needed zone(s) within a rackspace and do the splits and layers.

What PC message is needed to switch to a different zone?
And why do you need different zones when all splits and layers are there in GP?

It’s possible to define the PC within the normal PC range for each zone and SL will send this PC via midi to GP. Within GP you can use the PC trigger to change to another rackspace. As far as i know there is no way to receive a PC trigger from an outside tool or SW ( like GP).

I use the zones to define different Keyboard types: eg one zone with velocity normal and no aftertouch for a piano and another zone with fixed velocity for an organ … . within a rackspace i then define the part of the keyboard that is using the piano and the part that is using the organ or the layered to be used.

Using the basic SL keyboard feature not available within GP and do all other adjustments within GP.

You know how to filter aftertouch in GP?
Or how to set fixed velocity?
That all can be done in GP

I did not notice the aftertouch option in GP and will use it … good point.

I already looked at the velocity option in GP. The SL provides more features like user defined velocity curves as well as definition of key balance. So this may stay with SL.

Looks like for the SL88 set-up there are different ways depending on the requirements - but good manageable together with GP.

I’m still unclear how to use / setup the mixface and to combine it in an good and easy way with GP.

I have the SL88 boards and Mixface. When I’m using GP, I basically use a single program in the SL88 for GP which just has the MIDI out and CC setting for pedals and joysticks I use with plugins. I use 2, sometimes 3 layers on the Mixface. Layer one has faders mapped to volume for each plugin, two is always mapped to drawbars for B3, and three is mapped to standard synth parameters like ADSR, resonance, etc. Not sure if there are better ways, need to spend more time with it all. One of the reasons I love the SL series though is when working with hardware. Creating programs for songs is pretty easy (i.e. mapping layers/controls, sending right PCs to right gear, etc. This is especially easy with the editor software, and maintaining them is easy as well.

Hi MattA,

thanks for your feedback. Your set-up is more or less my target set-up. In the last days i also made some progress with the set-up … may be i should say: i made progress with my midi knowledge and understanding. :slightly_smiling_face:

One question about your set-up:
do you use the SL88 / Mixface to send PC changes to GigPerformer? I tried to do keep the control within GigPerformer and tried to send PC from GP to the SL/MIxface. But i found no way to this. I found no option to receive a PC within SL / MIxface and trigger changes within the SL / MixFace.

I have a different master keyboard and different controller devices, so no specific SL88 recommendations.

However, I don’t use any splits or zones or different controller presets on any of my controllers. I find it easier to do all that in Gig Performer. I just makes it a heck of a lot easier to do all the configurations in one place, and I find it a lot easier to do that in Gig Performer than in the hardware devices.

When I first started setting things up I did go through using different zones and midi channels on my master keyboard and different presets. My thought was “if I want to switch my left hand from playing Rhodes bass to string bass, it would be nice to just touch a button and do that.” So I ran all permutations of that thinking for everything I might want to do.

In the end it was just way too complicated and realistically that’s just not how I play. In practice, I don’t use more than a couple dozen permutations, and I find it a lot easier to set those up as Rackspaces and Variations in Gig Performer and just leave my master keyboard and controllers on one patch. If I’m playing a Hammond, then I know my faders control drawbars. If I switch to synth patch they might control resonance filters or something. In general I have far more knobs, buttons, and faders available then I’ll ever use in any given Rackspace.

I have the SL88 and I do it this way as well.

Yes, of course, by far the easiest way. GP changed my live with regard to my former “master keyboards”.