Tech Tip:Using Your Keyboard As A DAW Controller

By Dennis Kambury

This year has seen a veritable explosion of DAW controllers hitting the market, including the popular Tascam US-420 or the Mackie HUI and Baby HUI controllers. While these do a fantastic job of integrating their form with your DAW's function, there may be times when your budget or space prohibits you from adding yet another piece of gear. But have no fear - you're keyboard controller most likely has hidden powers that let you tap into your DAWs brain and make it do the unexpected.

For example, the Kurzweil K2600 has a bank of eight sliders that can send any MIDI controller information on any channel. These could be tapped into service as a fader 8-pack for hands-on mixing control, or as level controls for panning, aux sends, or plug-in parameters.

You could even get adventurous and record the MIDI information on a separate track, then apply it to a synth parameter such as a filter, LFO, or oscillator pitch - or all of it simultaneously!

Most keyboard controllers have some version of this functionality, so crack open that MIDI implementation section of your manuals and digin!