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BNX3 as a MIDI controller?

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by SilverZero, Dec 26, 2005.

  1. SilverZero


    Dec 26, 2005
    Hey gang, I've been lurking for a little while, and I'm hoping I can find some good advice. I'm looking to step up my home recording action, and I'm also in the market for a good multi-effects board that I can use both for simple live modeling and with my home setup. I know there might be some debates as to whether effects processing is ethical or not, and for my purposes, I like them. Just throwing that out there so we don't get sidetracked.

    My big question is, does the Digitech BNX3 work as a MIDI controller for, say, Propellerhead's Reason 3.0? What I'm specifically interested in is whether it will generate note signals from my bass and send them to the program (like a MIDI keyboard would). So, I play a G#, the board takes the note and sends a G# note signal to Reason, and my Reason instrument plays that G# through whatever synth I've created within the program. I can't tell from Digitech's documentation or any Google searches whether the BNX3 functions in that way.

    Also, if the BNX3 doesn't do this, but another floor board does, I'd love to hear about that. I'm hoping to find a board that will send the note signals I'm playing to my DAW, but that I can also take outside my home as a standard processing unit.

  2. hyperlitem

    hyperlitem Guest

    Jul 25, 2001
    Indianapolis, IN
    no i dont believe they do. Usually when a floorboard like that has a midi port its a midi in for some sort of expression pedal. I think the roland system is the cheapest right now and you also have to get the midi pickup, so it ends up being not too cheap at all. Ive never really messed with a midi bass that did a very good job. Trying doing things the opposite way and get melodyne and edit your audio just like midi??
  3. SilverZero


    Dec 26, 2005
    Thanks for the thoughts, hyperlitem. The BNX3 has both MIDI in and MIDI through/out connections, and I know it has the whole 8-track recorder and other sequencer functions built in, so I'm sure it can send some sort of MIDI signal. I'm hoping somebody has some first-hand knowledge of this board and whether it can specifically determine incoming notes from a bass and send the note signals to a MIDI instrument, in the same way a MIDI keyboard sends notes to slave instruments (synths and such).
  4. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    I have a BNX3. It cannot do this. No way, no how.

    Converting audio to midi is a very complicated process. For every note you strike, there is a fundamental and overtones, all of these frequencies, many are not even the same frequency of the fundamental(or any of its corresponding octaves). The only way to adequately do this is to have a specialized pickup mounted on your bass that picks up notes as they are made and converts them to midi data on the fly. Even then, there is latency(though modern systems are pretty decent with the tracking, it varies depending on what you are doing on the instrument and with the subsequent midi signals).

    The most popular midi pickup system is made by roland. It's called the GK-3, the bass version is called the GK-3b. They also have accompanying floorboard/processors with onboard sounds and... processing. Guitarists have a few different roland floorboards to hookup to(gr-33, gr-20, v-guitar) I think bassists only get one the v-bass. The V-bass system is ~$1000.

    The GK-3b does not output standard midi. Instead it uses a proprietary roland plug. Unfortunately this means that you have to own a roland floorboard in order to chain the signal any farther. For instance. You can output from the GK-3 to the gr-33 to reason and use a guitar to control reason, but you cannot output from the GK-3 to a midi box and into reason directly.

    The cheapest option. Would be get a GK-3b divided bass pickup and a GI-20 midi box. Total cost would be ~$600 and it would give you exactly what you're looking for.
  5. SilverZero


    Dec 26, 2005
    Sweet, thanks for the reply, WR. That answers my questions. I was hoping that the Digitech could somehow use the same principles that go into the digital onboard tuner and transmit that note, but the latency issue of determining the note would probably get messy. Plus, I suppose for it to work, you'd have to be right on tune all the time.

    I'll look into the Roland line-up. I knew they made MIDI pickups, but I didn't guess they were pretty much the only game in town as of yet. Guess I'll just have to suck it up and get a MIDI keyboard and dust off my piano skills.

    Thanks again, everybody!
  6. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    There have been some other midi pickups, yamaha made one, many independent or smaller effects makers dabbled in them at a time. But, roland is the most active and modern. From what I understand, there have been systems in the past that actually track better than the roland systems of today, but they are obscure and hard to find.

    While you cannot use the BNX3 as a processor to turn your bass into a controller. You can, if I'm not mistaken, use the BNX3 pedalboard to control midi parameters and patches. for instance, if you were to buy a midi pickup and the GI-20 interface, I believe you can patch the BNX into that setup and use it's floorboard abilities to easily manipulate what everything else is doing. I am not positive though.
  7. SilverZero


    Dec 26, 2005
    Thanks again, Wrong Robot. I'll do some research.