Using Digital Performer with a Kurzweil K2000/K2500/K2600

Recording Tracks


This document offers step-by-step instructions for sequencing with Mark of the Unicorn's Digital Performer software and the Kurzweil K2xxx synthesizer/sampler. Using Performer, it is possible to control up to sixteen different timbres on a single Kurzweil keyboard or rack unit. By using the DEFAULT PATCH column, Performer will choose your specified sound for each track without the need to change patches manually on the K2xxx. The instructions below can also be used with synthesizers other than a Kurzweil as long as FreeMIDI knows about the particular model and its programs (see the FreeMIDI manual for details).
NOTE: Kurzweil has various models of its K2000 line of instruments. For convenience sake, please substitute your particular model (K2000, K2500, K2600) for 'K2xxx' below.


Step 1: Getting started
Launch Performer software by double-clicking on its icon and turn on the K2xxx. Check mixing console settings for K2xxx input (Mixing Console Basics or Mixing Console Troubleshooting)  Get in the habit of pressing the 'PANIC' softbutton on the Kurzweil before you begin any session--this will zero out any controller information that may cause the instrument not to sound.



Performer Control Panel and Tracks windows

Step 2: Recording the first track.

Locate the TRACKS window under the TRANSPORT and TEMPO CONTROL windows (hereafter referred to as the CONTROL PANEL window). It should be labeled "Seq-1" in the far right corner by default.

Locate the OUTPUT column of the TRACKS window and activate the pop-up menu by holding down the mouse button on Track-1's OUTPUT box. Then drag down to K2xxx and to the right to select K2xxx-1. This means that Track-1 will now send its information on MIDI Channel 1 to the K2xxx.

To select a timbre (also called a patch or program) for Track-1, locate the DFLT. PATCH column and drag across the pop-up menu that appears for Track-1 until you have selected an appropriate sound. The K2xxx is arranged by banks of 100 patches. If you have not loaded any additional samples and the instrument does not have additional ROM blocks added, only Banks 0 , 1 and 9 (maybe 7 and 8) will have programs that will sound, even though you may see additional programs listed!

Confirm that Track-1 is record-enabled by default by checking the icon in the REC column. It should be red. If not, click on it to record-enable the track.


Performer Tempo Controls
 
Set Tempo Control in the Control Panel window--in Digital Performer 3.x and higher, you may need to click on the arrow to the right of the counter to get the Tempo Control window to appear. Select Tempo Slider (usually the default) and drag inverted tempo triangle to desired tempo which is listed in the CONTROL PANEL window. Plan on using the quarter-note beat and 4/4 meter for now. These are all changeable later. One of the joys of MIDI sequencing is that you can record tracks at a slower speed and then increase the tempo for playback without altering the pitch! Impress your friends with your stunning dexterity.


Transport Controls
 
Click on the "2 BARS" and metronome buttons beneath the transport controls. This will cause Performer to count off two bars before recording. Pick-ups to Measure 1 will be ignored, but you may later learn to start the sequence in measure #0 to accommodate a pick-up. To hear a click, check the COUNTOFF options under the BASICS menu. You can either hear a click out of the Mac speaker (on most models) or route the click to a MIDI channel and have the sound generated by your synthesizer (the K2000 Program #198 is a click sound that can be used for that purpose). If your Mac speaker is routed to the mixing console, be sure the appropriate faders for the Mac input channels are up.

You are now ready to record Track-1. Click on the RECORD button
to begin. Allow the sequencer to count off two bars and then play the desired notes on the keyboard.
Record as much as you would like and then click on the STOP button. If you made a mistake and would like to re-record the track, simply click on the REWIND button to return to the beginning. Recording over exsting material will erase it. You can, however, start recording again from where you left off on the same track without erasing your original notes.
 

To hear what you have just recorded, click on REWIND followed by PLAY.

Step 3: Recording additional tracks.

You are now ready to record a second track. Rewind the sequence to Measure 1 with REWIND button. Click on Track-2's RECORD-ENABLE icon (which will deselect Track-1). Click on RECORD. You should hear two measures of clicks before the sequencer begins recording if you did not deselect the 2 BARS option. You should then hear the notes you recorded on Track-1 while you enter notes for Track-2. Repeat this step for each subsequent track.

You may also add to existing tracks. Click in the COUNTER window to select the measure you wish to start recording in, then TAB to beat and tick (480th of a beat). Record-enable the track you wish to add to then click on RECORD. Any previously existing information on the track will be erased after the start time, but any information before it will be left intact. You can use this feature to correct tracks that have mistakes.

Additional takes for a track can be recorded by selecting NEW from the TAKE COLUMN. You may then toggle between recorded takes as desired.

At each step of the way, be certain to save your work using the SAVE command located under the FILE menu.

To end your session, use the QUIT command under the file menu.


Common Problems

After recording, nothing plays back.

This is by far the most common sequencing problem, which unfortunately can be caused by dozens of factors. Use the following checklist for several more common causes.

When I record, I don't hear the correct program.

When I record, I hear two or more timbres at once.