where the flamingcow roams

KORG MicroKontrol in Linux

I recently picked up a KORG MicroKontrol from that local techno-crack peddler, Guitar Center. Short specs: 37-key keyboard (velocity sensitive), 16 pads (velocity sensitive), 8 sliders, 8 knobs, and a tempo knob that generates MIDI clock.

I had expected to plug this into my MIDI interface via the MIDI outputs on the back. However, as I left my MIDI cables at the theatre, I gave the USB interface a try. Much to my amazement, ALSA detected it as a USB MIDI device. It’s a bit complicated; it acts a MIDI interface as well when plugged in via USB, so it has sub-interfaces. For example:

amidi –dump –port hw:1,0,0

(it’s device 1, starting from 0, on my system)

This dumps input from the MIDI-IN port on the back of the device, but not generated by the device itself. To do that:

amidi –dump –port hw:1,0,1

Then you spend 5 minutes or so hitting the keys really hard and watching the velocity numbers. It’s fun.

It also has a 3rd channel for an unmapped “native mode”. I expected this to be a proprietary interface that they sold to application developers who wanted to better interface with the device. Apparently, however, it’s fully documented.

Why can’t all hardware vendors be like this?