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BrettM

How to play all 16 parts from the keyboard

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Since purchasing my G1, I've long been interested in layering tones as a means of creating new waveforms. Sure I can use the sampler with overdubbing, but I've also been trying to create something similar to the P1's hex layer mode http://www.casiomusicforums.com/index.php?/topic/5483-the-nona-layer-9-layers/#comment-13564

 

Some time ago I wondered whether the keyboard could be used to control the other MIDI channels in addition to the usual channel/part/zones 1 to 4, given that an XW can function as both a MIDI controller and a MIDI sound source. And it can, for a maximum of 16 possible layers! I doubt that I will ever go this high since the polyphony would take a huge hit and the sound would probably get pretty muddy, but it's nice to know that I can now layer more than the usual four performance zones. No doubt the P1 can do something similar and include a hex layer in zone 1 for a maximum of 21 layered tones!

 

The trick is to route the XW's MIDI back into itself.

 

In researching this possibility on the forum, I noticed that Korakios had a similar idea, http://www.casiomusicforums.com/index.php?/topic/6901-connecting-the-midi-out-to-midi-in-port/#comment-21195 and that some very experienced forum members strongly cautioned against it. They were worried that you might create a set up in which MIDI messages generated more MIDI messages in an infinite loop that overwhelmed and possibly damaged the system, but neither Korakios nor myself have experienced this problem. That's not to say it couldn't happen, so be careful and do this at your own risk. Here is the set up I use:

 

  1. Connect the MIDI In to the MIDI Out/Thru ports using a standard MIDI cable, i.e., plug the XW back into itself.

  2. Performance→ MIDI Edit→ Gen Out is usually on for all 16 channels, by default; but turn if off for channel 1, just to be on the safe side. This controls the internal sends of MIDI information and thus disables all internal MIDI sends on channel 1.

  3. Set Performance→ MIDI Edit→ MIDI Out to off for all channels, except channel 1. This ensures that only channel 1 is outputting MIDI information via the MIDI cable. Steps (ii) and (iii) mean that channel/part/zone 1 will receive it's information via the cable rather than internally.

  4. Set the MIDI in channel to 1 for each part 5 to 16 so that their sound source is controlled by channel 1, the keyboard: Performance→MIDI Edit →Ext In →01 for each part. (Use the Part +/- keys to move between the different parts.) . The standard internal routings are still set up because they were not disabled in step (ii). If you don't want both the step sequencer and the keyboard to control parts 8 to 16, set the Gen Out to off for these channels in step (ii) above, or just don't use the step sequencer. I don't really know why you'd want the step sequencer to be intruding into you're playing, but it might make for some weird/interesting performance effects, especially via the control parts.

  5. In the Mixer, assign the Tone you want for each part, set it's relevant volume, pan position, etc. (As in Step iv, use the Part +/- keys to move between the different parts.)

  6. Finally, ensure that the XW is receiving MIDI: Setting→MIDI In → On. This is usually off by default and will require a restart when changed. A message comes up on the screen to this effect.

 

Thus the keyboard is sending MIDI over channel 1 to the sound source on channels 1 and 5 through 16. Channels/zones 2, 3 and 4 are unchanged and behave normally.

 

To save this configuration you need to save a Performance and a Step Sequence. The Step Sequence remembers the settings for channels 5 to 16 and the Performance remembers everything else, including the relevant Step Sequence.

 

I've found it useful to be in the Mixer while blending all 16 tones. Here I can set individual part volumes, etc. and, more importantly, mute different parts using the 16 step buttons to listen to them in isolation or smaller groupings.

 

Unlike a hex layer, this technique layers complete PCM tones rather than individual PCM waves but does not allow for control over velocity switching. For G1 owners, it gives access to layering beyond the usual four layers available in a Performance. For P1 owners it provides an alternative way of layering that opens up some possibilities not available in a hex layer, in particular the possibility of having different vibrato rates for each tone, provided they're saved as separate user tones. In a hex layer the pitch LFO is only available globally to all six tones as a group. Different vibrato rates on different layers can be a good way to create lush pads and string tones.

 

===  edit ===

 

For completeness I should mention how to back out of this. It's ok to leave the Performance and Step Sequence saved, but it's probably sensible to disable the MIDI in as per step (vi) when not needing this set up: Setting→MIDI In → Off. Then switch off the synth and remove the MIDI cable.

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Brett

 

The "Performances" of the Yamaha SY's and the Roland JV's (and ultimately the succeeding XP's in the late 90's), released back in the early, 90's had two purposes.  One was to provide a 16 part multi-timbral sound generator for the keyboard's internal sequencer or for an external sequencer.  The other was for layering (or spliting) up to 16 parts for live play from the keyboard.  Any of the parts could be quickly switched on or off during play, which was the actual intent - to provide a 16 part sound palette whose parts could be quickly switched on or off at will by the player during live play.  The designers did not  really see layering all 16 parts at once as a common practice, as you are correct - doing so could run you out of polyphony very quickly - especially on the Roland XP's, as any one of their 16 "parts" could consist of up to 4 basic tones - for a possibility of 64 oscillators all going at once.  The original SY-55 only had a polyphony of 16 and the original JV-80 only had a polyphony of 28, so even though both had the capabilities of layering up to 16 parts, neither one had the polyphony to keep up with having all 16 parts going at the same time, unless you only played single notes at a time.  As their processor designs evolved through the years, it was possible to include more and more complex EFX set ups within the various parts that made up the performance.  I believe the contemporary Korgs were able to do the same thing with their "Combis".  I had assumed, until now, that the XW's allowed this same type of operation with their "Performance" mode.  I had seen Korakios' discussion, at some time in the past, and wondered why all of that was necessary.  Now I understand, especially in an age when "massive stacks" are somewhat of a necessity.

 

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The original SY77 although 16 part multi-timbral could only access one sound at a time through its keyboard althoughI never tried midi looping it this way as I feared blowing out its optocouplers! But I think in multi-timbral mode it did not recognize more han one channel even if every channel was set to the same midi receive channel. I seem to recall this was a serious limitation although I'd have to check again to be sure. But this post presents a rather interesting way to overcome one complaint many have had about the XW-namely that you cannot use the pcm sounds in hex mode. This may be a way to do that although I still never feel secure connecting midi in to midi out on the same instrument. 

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Johnathon

 

If the SY-77 had that limitation, then I am sure the SY-55 did too, but I could swear I used to split and layer that thing with the Performances.  Maybe I am just remembering the Rolands, and even then, maybe it wasn't until the JV-1000 or the XP's that we could do splits and layers with the Performances.

 

No !  I just checked an old PDF copy of the SY-55 manual.  "Performance" was the Roland term.  Yamaha called it Multi-Play Mode, but they dedicated 2/3 of a page explaining that if you played all 16 voices at the same time, with the SY-55's 16 voice polyphony limit, you could only play one note at a time, and this assumed that they were all single element voices.  The SY-55 also allowed voices with up to 4 elements (oscillators).  I thought the JV-80 was my first ROMpler with 4 element voices.  I guess the SY-55 was more advanced than I remembered, in every respect except polyphony.  You actually did splits at the voice or element level by limiting their keyboard range, then layering the "limited range" voices in Multi-Play mode.  That is to say - there was no "SPLIT" button back then.  You had to do it the hard way !

 

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Thanks for this information guys. One frustration I have is that I when I use the sliders in the mixer to alter individual channel volumes, I only hear that channel, not the full mix. This is how it always works, not just for this set up, and seems odd behaviour for a "mixer". (Not sure if this is a peculiarity of the G1 because of the way its sliders are set up to control the solo synth.) If I could alter the volumes while hearing the full mix then I would be able to truly create a real-time adjustable drawbar organ on the G1.

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I know what you mean about the sliders, Brett.  I think, in your case, when you move the slider, it "selects" that channel, and that is all it allows you to hear - the "selected" channel.  As though moving the slider "solos" that channel.  I know, it doesn't make sense.  I have learned not to use the sliders on my CTK/WK-7XXX units for anything other than the deawbar organ drawbars.  If I try to use them in the mixer to control the volumes of the various parts, all of a sudden, without me touching anything else, they switch to selecting different instruments instead of varying the volumes, and I end up with a big mess and have to start all over.  I know this is something I am probably doing wrong, but it has happened so many times, that I don't even try to use them for that anymore.  I just do my editing with the display menus and the buttons.  At least that way, I get the job done the first time, every time.  I have never cared for supposed "shorcuts" that set up nightmarish pitfalls for me.  As a matter of fact, when I try to explain to another user how to edit something, I make no mention of the sliders, at all.  I just leave that for them to figure out on their own.  I don't want sliders changing instruments, unexpectedly, while I am trying to just show someone how to polish off their mix.  I had similar problems with the sliders on my XW-P1, while I had it.

 

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16 hours ago, BrettM said:

Thanks for this information guys. One frustration I have is that I when I use the sliders in the mixer to alter individual channel volumes, I only hear that channel, not the full mix. This is how it always works, not just for this set up, and seems odd behaviour for a "mixer". (Not sure if this is a peculiarity of the G1 because of the way its sliders are set up to control the solo synth.) If I could alter the volumes while hearing the full mix then I would be able to truly create a real-time adjustable drawbar organ on the G1.

 

On my P1 when I go into the mixer from Performance mode and select the volume (of any part) the sliders control the volumes of parts 1 to 8 or 9 to 16 depending on the state of the 1-8/9-16 switch. I can hear all the parts that are actually playing and control their respective volumes in real time, just like I would expect a mixer to function. You are saying your G1 does not behave this way? 

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Imagination is the only limit! You can mess with each part velocity intensity to emulate different layers (another P1 advantage over G1). Soft key hits can trigger part1 and hard hits zone 5 . You can do it for other parts like 2/6 or 3/7 (or whatever compo you like from part 1 to 7)

Since it's way easier to make Midi tweaks on iPad or PC , I no longer run midi out to in. But I remember disabling midi clock and NRPN/RPN to avoid unused midi traffic (and jitter).

Also I can't recall if the sounds of part 5,6,7 can be stored in a performance.

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11 hours ago, AlenK said:

On my P1 when I go into the mixer from Performance mode and select the volume (of any part) the sliders control the volumes of parts 1 to 8 or 9 to 16 depending on the state of the 1-8/9-16 switch. I can hear all the parts that are actually playing and control their respective volumes in real time, just like I would expect a mixer to function. You are saying your G1 does not behave this way? 

 

That's right Alen, the G1 does not behave this way. It's got a mixer you can't mix with. It works the way Ted said:

 

13 hours ago, tnicoson said:

when you move the slider, it "selects" that channel, and that is all it allows you to hear - the "selected" channel.  As though moving the slider "solos" that channel.  I know, it doesn't make sense.

 

It does work properly in the step sequencer, but not in performance mode. This was the topic of one of my first posts: http://www.casiomusicforums.com/index.php?/topic/5352-mixer-in-performance-mode/#comment-12826

 

Like Ted and XW-Addict, and probably every other G1 owner, I've learned to live with it and use the knobs as faders in performance mode if necessary.

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8 hours ago, BrettM said:

Like Ted and XW-Addict, and probably every other G1 owner, I've learned to live with it and use the knobs as faders in performance mode if necessary.

Yup and I've also learned Performance mode is the master mode although an strictly one. And the Solo-synth the master of motion for solo as well layered sound. 

Still BrettM I admire like how you pursue to get everything out of the synth there are no hurdles just small limitations.

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That does sound like a real bug in the software given that the description on page E-79 of the G1's user guide is the same description found on pages E-67 and E-68 of the P1's user guide. And it's how it really does work in the P1. Sorry to hear it doesn't in the G1. But to clarify, you said above that "it does work properly in the step sequencer." Does it work for all parts? I ask because it had been reported in that other thread that it didn't work for parts/zones 1 to 4. 

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Alen, on the G1, channels 8-16 work as described in the manual in the step sequencer; including solo mode, the ability to mute channels with the buttons and the ability to mix the channels with the sliders while hearing the other parts. But channel/zones 1-4 don't work this way. Zones 1-4 work the way Ted described, as if they are permanently stuck in solo mode. It also seems that when you use the MIDI to control all channels from channel 1, the channel 1 behaviour carries over and they are all stuck in solo mode. What a pity.

 

That's not to say you can't mix in the mixer. If you toggle the Key Shift button, you switch between "All" and the individual parts. When Key Shift is lit, you are in "All" mode and can hear all channels.

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Does using a cable in this way mean that the XWs qualify as modular synths? :)

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