Use the chord pads on an Arturia Keylab Mark1 midi keyboard to actually play chords

For all you Arturia KeyLab Mark 1 users out there that can’t use the pad matrix to play chords here’s a partial solution. The only way to make use of the chord pads that I could find was with Analog Lab1. Subsequent versions dropped chord support so the pad keys became somewhat redundant. Annoyingly the KeyLab Mark2 versions apparently support one-finger-chords. So here’s a bit of python fun for Mark1 users to get some use out of those chord pads after all.
In fact the python code should work with any midi keyboard that has built in pads though you may have to figure out what midi messages the pad keys generate. Arturia Keylab makes decoding the pads easy with their Midi Control Centre that configures pad functions. The pads default to playing single notes across the scale on Midi Channel 10 so you don’t need to change anything. If you are using other control templates you need to restore the default pad functions for the python code to work.
The python code, provides one…

Solution to VCV Rack 1.0 installation OpenGL error

I tried to install VCV 1.0 on my laptop only to get an installer error 'OpenGL 2.0 not supported'. OpenGL Extensions Viewer reports full support for OpenGL 3.1 so go figure. Solution is here
however. Download zip file, unzip to a folder and from there run VCV-Rack.cmd, thanks 'pal1000'.

Congratulations VCV Rack on 1.0.0 launch

Terrific new features including easy to use polyphony - just right click on a relevant cable and setup poly for that path. Its here of course.

Arturia Pigments, Love it

Arturia's Pigments is a truly great sounding synth with massive capability. The manual is here, its going to take a while to evaluate. Here are a few presets I've played with (the 'Bright and Dark' pad is very Blade Runner 2049)

VCV Rack interface with Cakewalk using VCV Bridge

VCV Rack plays and records reliably with Cakewalk using the VCV Bridge and the setup is pretty straightforward.
Find the VCV-Bridge-64.dll file usually found in in C:\Program Files\Steinberg\VSTPlugins, following VCV Rack installation, and copy to the DAW VST search path. Start up VCV rack and select Bridge as the Audio Driver and Port 1 in the Core Audio module.
Open Cakewalk and add the Bridge VST as an FX Instrument to an audio track (it may be slightly different for other DAWs). Start playing and recording!.

Further extensions to VCV Rack are also possible with VCV-HOST capable of hosting third party VST instruments. VCV-Host costs $30.

VCV Polysynth demo

I first became aware of VCV Rack early last year however with the 0.6 release a VCV Bridge became available allowing a rack patch to play and record in a DAW which makes it altogether more interesting. The main rack is free with a large number of module libraries. Click 'Manage Plugins' to see the wide range of plugins, many of which are also free. Took a while to find a reliable solution for a poly synth. The MidiPoly16 module from moDllz works well. The attached screenshot is a hybrid polyphonic/paraphonic (shared filter) test synth. 
The patch can be found here. The manual for VCVRack is here and a manual for moDllz's module is here. VCV blog is here.

VCV Rack is a standalone application and I'll be looking at the VST Bridge in a later post. Also there appears to be a Plugin Development SDK.

Free Cakewalk (Sonar Platinum) from BandLab

(Originally posted here on 21-4-18)
Very nice of Bandlab to provide a free version of Sonar Platinum. Available 4-4-18 and simply using its original branding of Cakewalk, it has fewer addons than the orginal Platinum but crucially has unlimited tracks!. Supports 32/64bit versions of VST2 and VST3. Chews through a bit of CPU power on default settings but this can be adjusted. Looking at it closely as an alternative to Ableton 10 since Able only supports 64bit VST2 now.