Digital Grand in venue sustain broken - USB/MIDI cc for temp sustain solution?

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Digital Grand in venue sustain broken - USB/MIDI cc for temp sustain solution?

Post by skipper01 »

Hi, can anybody advise?
I play at a pub that has a digital grand piano in situ. However, the built in sustain pedal has broken. It works but without sustain at present which is a problem.
Its a fix that requires a repair. The sustain pedal is not connected via a jack socket.
However, I was wondering in the short-term about possibilities to use MIDI to generate the sustain externally to avoid hassles as there's no other room for another instrument.
The piano has a USB connection and MIDI functionality.
I was hoping to do it with minimum fuss and resources as possible.
I'd very much doubt there is a specific product that is a self powerable sustain pedal that generates midi cc64 via USB....?
Therefore I have a small MIDI keyboard that has a Sustain pedal input and external small sustain pedal I could take.
However, the USB lead would need to be female type B (square) both ends and these dont exist do they?
Moreover, I wouldn't want to damage the piano as im not sure this would even work directly.
So, other than taking a laptop as well with ie Logic im not sure what i could get away with as a short term solution.....
Can anybody advise/suggest - hope my idea makes sense?
Cheers
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Re: Digital Grand in venue sustain broken - USB/MIDI cc for temp sustain solution?

Post by Eddy Deegan »

I've not tried one myself but there is a cheap bus-powered device here which will convert a normal 'jack' sustain pedal to one that emits MIDI over USB:

https://beatbars.com/en/footswitch-to-midi.html

It would require a computer with a couple of USB ports, one to power it and receive the CC and the other to send the CC to the digital piano. In the absence of a better option it might just do the trick.

USB Type B connectors generally indicate 'device' as opposed to 'host', and you can't just connect one device to another over USB MIDI (it won't work) so the piano will almost certainly require a host on the other end.

Sustain pedal -> converter -> laptop USB port 1 -> (software) -> laptop USB port 2 -> piano

For the software any DAW that supports MIDI routing would do, which is pretty much all of them AFAIK and there are probably utilities out there that'll do it as well.
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Re: Digital Grand in venue sustain broken - USB/MIDI cc for temp sustain solution?

Post by skipper01 »

That’s incredibly helpful and all’s makes sense thanks.
Looks far and away my best option.
Cheers again for this help and advise
Regards
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Re: Digital Grand in venue sustain broken - USB/MIDI cc for temp sustain solution?

Post by Eddy Deegan »

You're welcome - let us know how you get on with it :thumbup:
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Re: Digital Grand in venue sustain broken - USB/MIDI cc for temp sustain solution?

Post by James Perrett »

Kenton make a standalone MIDI host box which will convert the piano into a standard MIDI device.

https://kentonuk.com/product/midi-usb-host-mk3/

You could connect your small MIDI keyboard directly to the Kenton box.
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Re: Digital Grand in venue sustain broken - USB/MIDI cc for temp sustain solution?

Post by Eddy Deegan »

Assuming the piano is class compliant the Kenton box should work fine. I've got one and it's very useful indeed. It's pricier but you get the relative simplicity of not requiring a computer so it may well be worth it in terms of less hassle.
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Re: Digital Grand in venue sustain broken - USB/MIDI cc for temp sustain solution?

Post by skipper01 »

The Kenton device could be even better and easier too then.
So, just to check, the digital grand in situ does have a usb host socket.
The small MIDI keyboard I’ve got does have a jack sustain pedal input but is also usb only and I’ve realised doesn’t even afford external power.
So I assume my sticking point is I’ll need to get a different small midi keyboard with sustain jack, external power and older style midi din out to work with the Kenton?
I assume the usb from the Kenton then feeds the digital grand to receive the midi sustain cc….

Cheers again for all this help
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Re: Digital Grand in venue sustain broken - USB/MIDI cc for temp sustain solution?

Post by James Perrett »

It might also help if you could give us the make and model number of the digital grand so that we could see exactly what facilities it offers.
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Re: Digital Grand in venue sustain broken - USB/MIDI cc for temp sustain solution?

Post by Eddy Deegan »

skipper01 wrote: Mon Aug 02, 2021 10:52 pm The Kenton device could be even better and easier too then.
So, just to check, the digital grand in situ does have a usb host socket.

Are you sure it's a host socket? I ask because in your original post you mentioned a cable with square (read: 'device') USB plugs at both ends and USB hosts invariably have the same oblong ports you see on a computer.

I'm not saying it's impossible that the piano has a host socket (the Korg Kronos does, for example) but it would be unusual, if welcome. A quick and easy test would be to get a type A to type B cable, having first double checked that it'll fit the physical ports at each end, and connect your cheap keyboard to the piano with that.

Assuming they do fit; if, when playing the keyboard, notes sound on the piano then you've short-circuited a lot of the hassles here and could probably simply use that cable such that the piano can receive the sustain messages via a pedal connected to the cheap keyboard. It's definitely the most elegant solution if it works.

skipper01 wrote: Mon Aug 02, 2021 10:52 pm The small MIDI keyboard I’ve got does have a jack sustain pedal input but is also usb

That's good, at least insofar as it's compatible with the suggestions so far.

As James asked, what is the make and model of the piano?
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Re: Digital Grand in venue sustain broken - USB/MIDI cc for temp sustain solution?

Post by skipper01 »

It’s a bit of a drive to the venue but Ive been told the digital piano actually definitely has a type B square usb to host connection for midi in/out, an oblong A type usb connection (must be for storage of its registrations etc via a USB key) and even has midi din in and out. It’s a kawai CA model piano at the venue but not sure the exact one.
So this has afforded some options with the Kenton mk3 and what I’ve got already I’d imagine.
I’m now thinking my small midi controller with sustain into the Kenton mk3 usb and midi din out on the Kenton to the digital piano having read the Kenton manual.
Just wonder whether the Kenton would even power the controller keyboard via its usb - I expect it will!

Thanks again for this help - terrific!
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Re: Digital Grand in venue sustain broken - USB/MIDI cc for temp sustain solution?

Post by James Perrett »

skipper01 wrote: Tue Aug 03, 2021 9:33 am ...and even has midi din in and out.

In which case there should be no need for the Kenton box. Just connect the MIDI out of your keyboard with the sustain pedal to the MIDI in of the Kawai piano.
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Re: Digital Grand in venue sustain broken - USB/MIDI cc for temp sustain solution?

Post by Rich Hanson »

Skipper's small keyboard is USB only so they'll still need it.

However, I'm sure there are MIDI pedals that could do the job, although a quick web search failed to turn anything up.
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