Installing And Setting-Up The kX-Project

The kX Project provides support for soundcards having hardware synthesizers (the emu10k1 and emu10k2 chips) on Windows XP, Vista, 7, and 8. This support includes the ability to load soundfonts of your choosing.

Soundcards having this capability include the following:

SoundBlaster Live!

SoundBlaster Pro, 16

Audigy 2 Series

Audigy 4 Series

Audigy 2Z5 Series

This may not be a complete list – see the above website for more.

To see what sound-cards you have on your system, click on the Start-menu, and choose “Control Panel”. In the Control Panel window that appears, choose “Device Manager”, which will display a window showing what your machine has, something like the screenshot below:

When you click-on the “+” inside each box, it expands the topics to show sub-topics. You want to expand the “Sound, video and game controllers” topic, as I have done above. Notice the highlighted “kX 10k1 Audio” entry, which is a “Soundblaster Live!” card. You are looking for something with “10k1” or “10k2”. It may have “Creative Labs”, or “Audigy” in it. It won't have “kX” in it until after you have installed the kX Project software.

The kX Project software also provides ASIO device-drivers for some of these soundcards, which is useful when using VST Hosts, and plug-in instruments.

If you have one of these soundcards, you are fortunate, since they provide 32 simultaneous instrument sounds, with extremely low latency, high quality sound, and the lowest possible load on the processor.

On Windows 7 and above, using the kX Project is mandatory in many cases, because these levels of Windows do not support some of these sound-cards.

And all of this capability is provided for free (though a donation would be appreciated).

To install it, you read the information in the web-pages below, and find the links for downloading and executing the binaries for the Windows, or MacOS versions of the KX project.

It will take you to a web-page, with download links (in the right-most column of the “Downloads” table) for Windows, and for Mac OS X. Choose the download link for Windows (kxdrv3550-full.exe). You can immediately run the downloaded file (you don't have to download it first), though you will have to approve its being run in a security dialog box Windows will display. Follow the instructions given you during the installation.

Here is the kX Project link (below). Click on (follow) it, after reading the instructions above, then download the version you need:

kX Project

After it is installed, you need to configure it for your system. You do that by clicking on the Start-menu, then selecting “kX Mixer” from the menu that appears (as shown in the screenshot below):

The Start-menu is the round Windows icon at the lower-left of the screenshot above.

Clicking on the “kX Mixer” entry will activate a window that looks something like this:

In the screenshot above, I have cleared the check-mark from the “Toggle 'Swap Front and Rear' mode” tool (above the left end of the tool-tip). It is selected by default, and there are performance reasons for having it selected. But you can clear it if you need.

If you accept the default (where it is selected, having the check-mark), you will have to plug your stereo speakers plug into the black plug of the sound-card (rather then the usual green plug).

If you hover the mouse cursor over the various tool icons, a tool-tip will appear, explaining what the icon stands for.

The main thing we need to set up, is to specify the soundfont we wish to use. To do that, left single-click on the box near the lower-left that has just a single f” in it, above the “SoundFont” tool-tip in the screenshot below. On doing this, the window will change, allowing the selection of a soundfont.

Hover the mouse pointer over the “+” sign (as in the screenshot below), and a tool-tip will appear, indicating it is used to load a soundfont. Single left-click the “+” icon, and browse to the folder where the soundfont file you want to use is stored, and select the soundfont file you want to use. Information on that soundfont will appear in the two text-panes (similar to below), and the 'thermometer' bar below them will show how much of the available space for the sound-card is used as a result of loading it.

Soundfonts specified in this manner are loaded when Windows is rebooted, and remain in-effect while Windows is running. All of the hardware synthesizers on the sound-card use the currently-specified soundfont. Any application using the hardware-synthesizers also use the currently-specified soundfont.

After doing this, click on the speaker-shaped icon at the upper-left. You should see a pair of slider controls near the upper-left. You use these to adjust the volume of this particular sound-card. You may (later) have to run the kX Mixer again, to adjust the volume this way. It's probably set at maximum volume initially.

Now, click on the “Close” button of the window, as shown in the screenshot below, just above the “Close” tool-tip near the upper-right of the window:

Your sound-card (with the necessary drivers) is now ready for use.

You can select it as the default Windows sound-card, by clicking on the Start-menu, then clicking on “Control Panel”.

In the window that appears, double-click on the “Sound” entry, which will cause a new window to appear, similar to the one in the screenshot below:

In this screenshot, I have selected the “Master Mixer kX 10k1” entry (highlighted) as the default playback device. Although you can do this, you don't have to make it your default sound-card device, in order to use it.

To use the kX Project hardware synthesizers, select one of them in the “MIDI Output To” drop box of the “F1 Help/Setup” pane of the KeyMusician Keyboard, similar to what is shown in the screenshot below:

There are 4 entries for a kX Project hardware-synthesizer sound-card. There are two “kX Synth” ports, each accessing a different hardware-synthesizer (each having 16 MIDI ports). There is also a “kX UART” entry, which specifies the sound-card's external MIDI interface, and also a “kX Control” entry.

You can also specify these devices in the “Playback Device” drop-box of the Integrated MIDI Player/Recorder.

On Windows, the F1 Help/Setup pane's “Load Soundfont” button can't be used to load a soundfont into a hardware-synthesizer sound-card. You have to load them using the kX Project software, as described earlier.

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