… the Software
bitKlavier is available for:
- OSX (standalone, VST/AU plugins)
- Windows (standalone, VST plugin)
- iOS (both iPhone and iPad)
To use bitKlavier on iOS, simply download bitKlavier onto your device from the app store.
To use the 2.3 beta version of bitKlavier on Mac, we now have a regular installer that handles everything. The installer will install the following:
- a folder called “bitKlavier” in your /Applications directory, with the following in it:
- the bitKlavier application
- a “samples” folder with the core piano samples for bitKlavier
- a “galleries” folder; galleries saved here will automatically show up in bitKlavier
- a “soundfonts” folder; soundfonts placed here will automatically show up in bitKlavier
- VST, VST3, and AU plugins in the /Library/Audio/Plug-Ins folder
But that’s only for your information; you don’t need to do anything other than run the installer! Sometimes OSX complains about opening files from “unidentified developers” or some such; if you control-click on the installer and select “open” that should work, or adjust your security settings in the OSX System Preferences.
NOTE: OSX users upgrading from an earlier version of bitKlavier will need to copy the galleries from the old ~/Documents/bitKlavier resources/galleries folder to the new /Applications/bitKlavier/galleries folder.
To use bitKlavier on a Windows computer (or Mac, for v2.2 and earlier), follow the instructions below.
- First, download this resource package of samples and galleries. This will unpack into a folder called “bitKlavier resources” which needs to be installed in your Documents folder so that bitKlavier can find the default samples and know where to look for custom galleries.
- NOTE: if you have your Documents folder to be “in the cloud” make sure that the samples in the “samples” folder are actually downloaded and on your machine, otherwise bitKlavier will not be able to find them and you’ll end up with silent notes.
- Next, download the binaries (application and plugin files; see links below). The main applications can be placed anywhere, and they should work as long as you have the resources folder above in your Documents folder. The VST binaries should be put wherever you keep plugins (on Mac, this is likely ~/Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/VST, on Windows this is likely C:\Program Files\VstPlugins\), and the AudioUnit (“bitKlavier.component” binary) should be placed in (most likely) ~/Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/Components directory.
- As of v2.2, bitKlavier can open SoundFont sf2 sample libraries (sfz support is also in the works). To use SoundFonts, create a folder called “soundfonts” (precisely) and put it in the “bitKlavier resources” folder; any SoundFonts that you put in there will show up automatically in bitKlavier. We’ve compiled a small collection of SoundFonts that we’ve used that seem to be decent, but in general our experience is that SoundFonts are uneven in quality. bitKlavier is not meant to be a fully functional SoundFont player and definitely not an editor, so you will likely need to work with one of those (Polyphone, for instance) if you want to edit or create SoundFonts. There are literally thousands of SoundFonts out there, and some work great, some don’t seem to open at all for us, and others have various problems, especially with loop-points; have fun googling for them, and use the bitKlavier Forum to share tips about good ones.
See the release notes for all these versions.
Also, please check in on the forums, post questions and answers there!
… the Hardware
- An inexpensive 3-octave midi controller like this one will work great for a lot of bitKlavier functions.
- For many of the advanced pieces like the Nostalgic Synchronic etudes, a full 88 keys is necessary. M Audio digital pianos work nicely.
- The ideal situation is a keyboard with fully weighted keys which simulate playing a piano. Here are options from Roland and Casio.
- A USB cable to go out from the keyboard. Some keyboards come with one.
- An Apple iPad or iPhone.
- A “camera” adaptor from USB to lightning (iRig 3 octave keyboard already comes with lightning cable). Lightning is the input that all newer models have for charging. These adaptors can usually be found at Apple stores.
- Headphones or computer speakers. NOTE: in the newer iPhones without headphone jacks, we haven’t yet found a solution for sending audio to headphones or speakers, although you will be able to listen through the device itself. New iPads still have headphone jacks.
- Download the bitklavier app from the app store.
For PC/Windows and Mac OSX
- Laptop or desktop computer
- USB cable from piano keyboard to computer.
- Speakers or headphones
There are many variables here! bitKlavier can work in all sorts of situations, using cheap speakers, huge PA systems, studio monitors, guitar amplifiers, whatever; just keep in mind that the speakers are part of the instrument and will have a big impact on how it sounds and how well it works when playing with other instruments. One of our favorite systems for using in concert situations is a pair of Bose L1 compact speakers; the nice thing about these speakers is how natural they sound, and how well other musicians in the room can hear them when you play. However, they are not cheap! And don’t let availability of fancy expensive speakers get in your way. In fact, much of the fun with bitKlavier is found when just exploring it, improvising, playing some of the existing pieces, all by yourself, even through headphones.