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yul

Casio newbie questions please from a synth veteran (XW-P1 vs G1)

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Hello!

 

I need a bit of help please in better understanding basics and differences between P1 and G1 for a potential purchase. I am a seasoned synthesist and have much experience with traditional analog, digital and sample based structures.

 

For the P1, can the solo engine elements have independent pitch, filters and enveloppes each? I hear the G1 allows this via outboard controls but I am not sure if the P1 can do it via the menus? Can the Hex engine layers have each independent pitch, envs, and filters?

 

For the performance engine in the P1, can each PCM have it's independent pitch, filters, env etc? Can the be layered? Something similar to the Roland S+S sounds structure?

 

In terms of filters, are high/bandpass only available as effects or otherwise can be used on an oscillator with keyboard tracking?

 

Thanks a lot in advance for your help!

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The solo synth engines in the P1 and G1 are identical except for the waves that each can access (the wave list on the two instruments is different; compare the respective Appendix documents on the Casio web site) and except for the ability on the G1 to control multiple parameters using the sliders. When editing the solo synth or playing it in Tone mode on the P1 the sliders control only the relative volumes of the six oscillators and the settings of two effect parameters. There is menu access to every solo-synth parameter on both models.

 

Each of the solo-synth's six oscillator "blocks"  (except noise) has independent control of pitch, including a dedicated pitch envelope, non-resonant filtering, again with a dedicated envelope and amplitude with dedicated amplitude envelope. (The Noise block has everything except a pitch envelope.) All the oscillator blocks sum into a resonant filter, which is the only filter on the XW models that is multi-mode (4-pole 24dB/octave lowpass, bandpass or highpass). The resonant filter has its own dedicated envelope nominally affecting cut-off frequency. All the filters in the solo synth have key tracking. In addition, there are two global LFOs, an optional DSP effect and an eight-slot modulation matrix. Tons of flexibility there.

 

The Hex Layer engine in the XW-P1 is MUCH more restrictive. The six layers of the Hex Layer engine (which don't have to be layered - they can be split and/or velocity switched) have independent detuning, independent filter cut-off settings and independent ADSR amplitude envelopes. But there is no pitch envelope at all and no dynamic control of the filter cut-off. And the filter for each layer is just a single-pole 6dB/octave tone control. Significantly, when sweeping the cut-off with a knob the change does not take effect until a new note is played (unlike with the resonant filter in the solo synth). Despite these major limitations interesting sounds are possible. Hex Layer can do really great pads in particular. But it won't give you those classic polyphonic synth sounds.

 

The PCM engine plays standard ROMpler sounds and is identical on both synths apart from the selection of available preset tones. Editing of PCM tones is very limited and includes attack time, release time and filter cut-off frequency (again, just a single-pole tone control). Performance mode allows up to three PCM tones to be split or layered on the keyboard as well as a fourth tone that can be either another PCM tone OR a solo-synth tone OR (on the P1 only) a Hex Layer tone OR (again on the P1 only) a drawbar-organ tone. The XW synths are 16 part multitimbral via MIDI. If you use the internal step sequencer you can get up to 13 tones playing at the same time without being driven by external MIDI.

 

If you need to know more, the synthesis modes of the XW-P1 are completely described in The XW-P1 Companion. Some of that document will also apply to the G1. It's worth every penny the document will cost you to download it. (It's free of course.)

 

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You need someone more knowledgeable than me to answer some of the more technical questions, though I can answer these points:

 

The Solo Synth engine in the P1 and G1 is exactly the same and both use the same set of parameters. The only difference is that the G1 offers access to most of these parameters via the front panel 4 x assignable knobs, buttons and sliders, whereas the P1 can only use the 4 x assignable knobs. All other Solo Synth parameters in the P1 have to be accessed via the menus.

 

I believe that yes, the Hex Layer engine can have independent pitch, envelopes and filters (non resonant) for each layer. In Hex Layer mode, the PCM tones can be layered (a Hex layer comprises of up to six individual PCM layers, unlike the Solo Synth tones that are comprised of - Synth1, Synth2, PCM1, PCM2, Noise and External). I *think* the PCM tones can also have individual pitch, env and non resonant filters. I've been away from my XW's for so long I have forgotten the exact structure of sound tones and parameter options, so someone needs to confirm this.

 

The performance mode combines different sections of the XW to be easily recalled at a touch of a button - i.e. keyboard split to zones, solo synth in one zone, PCM tone in another, step sequencer and program data recalled etc. I'm not familiar with the Roland S+S sounds structure.

 

Filters - the solo synth can select between high pass/ band pass and low pass resonant filters. The Hex Layers can only select a non resonant high pass filter via DSP. The solo synth has keyboard tracking ability, I don't know if the Hex Layers do also.

 

Main difference between the P1 and G1 is:

 

P1 - Hex Layers, Drawbar Organ, PCM tones

 

G1 - Sampler, Looper, Greater front panel control over the Solo Synth, larger selection of drums/ percussion, ability to load in and play waves as tones

 

Both P1 and G1 have - Solo Synth, Step Sequencer and Phrase Sequencer. 

 

Hope this helps!

 

 

 

 

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Ah, the far more knowledgeable Casio wise man, Mr. AlenK, already answered while I was typing my reply!

 

AlenK likely knows more about the Casio XW than even Casio does!

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Chas, you added some good points I missed. The OP is lucky that he has so much willing help today! :) 

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PS. As it turns out I am familiar with Roland's "S+S" synth structure. BTW, calling it "S+S" probably means the OP is from the UK or Europe (the former not part of the latter in the future!!). Roland doesn't call it that, at least not in North America (they might in UK/Europe). In any case, none of the synthesis modes on the XW synths are comparable. But as it turns out the Hex Layer mode on the PX-5S, PX-560 and MZ-X500 synths IS very comparable to Roland's S+S. However, the Hex Layer mode on those Casio models doesn't have ring modulation, cross-modulation or pulse-width modulation, which are available on most Roland synths that use a four-partial tone architecture. 

 

BTW, the solo-synth mode on the XW synths does feature pulse-width modulation on two of its oscillators and hard sync of one of those oscillators by the other. But both of these modulations exhibit audible artifacts. They're not unusable but it does limit what sounds you can make with them (generally, bass notes are okay).

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Another possible tipping point to the XW-G1 solo synth, user wave samples can be chosen in a solo synth tone on that model. 

 

 

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Thanks a lot for your help! I am from Canada don't know where I got the S+S term but probably from the Internet :-)

 

For the PCM engine, is it possible to stack layers with each their pitch and enveloppes and can it be sent to the resonant filter?

 

Same thing for the Hex layer..can the layers be run through the filter?

 

Thanks again! Much appreciated!

 

 

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Yes to both questions and details about how to do it are described in the document I referenced. I also uploaded a Hex Layers example (although without an XW-P1 you won't be able to actually try it!) 

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OK got it! I'll go through the documents for sure! Thanks so much!! Have a great day!

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On 7/8/2017 at 11:05 AM, yul said:

 

Same thing for the Hex layer..can the layers be run through the filter?

 

 

No, the Hex Layers cannot be run through the P1's resonant filter. You can run individual PCM tones through the resonant filter, but to do so you have to enable the solo synth in one zone. As the P1's Hex Layers, Solo Synth and Drawbar sections are mutually exclusive, by enabling the solo synth you cannot also have the Hex Layers (or Drawbar) simultaneously.  However, the Hex Layers can be run through the non resonant filters via DSP, as mentioned earlier in this thread.

 

Edit: Note - the G1 doesn't have this issue as it has neither the Hex Layers or Drawbar features. You can put any of the G1's sound sources through the G1's resonant filter (via the Solo Synth). This includes any of the G1's samples :2thu:

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Thanks for clearing that up, Chas. I missed that he was referring to the solo-synth resonant filter again for Hex Layer. What you say is essentially correct, of course. However, the workaround is, as you know, to run the Hex Layer through the wah effect, which is the example I posted. And I'm sure you also know that the wah filter IS resonant. AFAIK, there is actually no non-resonant filter available in the DSP effects so I'm not sure what you are referring to there. 

 

So a Hex Layer tone can be run through "a" filter (not "the" solo-synth filter in the context the OP intended, which is the part I missed) and that filter is indeed resonant. And IMO it does sound pretty convincing. Have you listened to the example I posted? (You have a G1' I am recalling now, which means you haven't heard it.)

 

"The G1 doesn't have this issue."  Very strange way to describe the situation. It's like saying your car doesn't have an issue with pulling a trailer because it lacks a trailer hitch. True, but a trailer hitch is a useful feature. Hex Layers is also a useful feature. Of course, user sampling is a nice feature too. The OP will have to chose one or the other.  Or buy both P1 and G1 (or a MZ-X500 instead) if he wants both features.

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Alen, I'm still hazy after being away from my XW's for almost two years (I have both the P1 and G1). Though my equipment has finally arrived a few weeks ago at my home after months of waiting, I'm still in the process of unpacking and setting up my 'studio' so haven't had much chance to get playing with my many keyboards and guitars/ basses (currently going through the guitars, re-tuning them and testing them). That and I probably had one beer too many when writing the above earlier this evening - lol!

 

I thought the P1 had filters for the Hex Layers, but that they were non resonant? I was likely incorrect when stating they were in the DSP's (I thought that's where they were. I blame the beer - "BAD BEER"!). I do remember using a filter with a Hex Layers patch (some patches had one of the four control knobs assigned to a filter), but it just seemed to be a simple low pass filter with no resonance. I have yet to use the wah effect on a Hex Layer (*really wanting to go try it now, though it's gone midnight*!)

 

What I meant by the G1 not having that issue, was that the G1 design allows all its sound sources to be run through the solo synth filter without limitation. And though it doesn't have the Hex Layers, it can do "Quad" layers by combing the solo synth, and then any combination of three waves taken from the PCM, synth waves and samples. Having the solo synth activated but silent it is possible to have three PCM waves stacked, which is half of the Hex Layers of the P1, and then have them run through the resonant solo synth filter. You can do a lot by stacking three waves and then running them through the solo synth filter, and though "Triple Layers" aren't as dramatic as Hex Layers, it's not too far off! But if you want really deep and complex pads, then yes, you need a P1 and the Hex Layers.

 

Oh, as I've yet to try the Wah effect with a Hex Layer, can "cut off" be assigned to an assignable control knob and then have a "filter sweep" effect in real time? Also, can envelopes be assigned to the Wah effect similar to filter envelopes?

 

I guess what Yul needs to decide is what is more important: does he want a more hands on solo synth (with sampling/ looping features), or a powerful Hex Engine/ Drawbar synth with less hands on control over the solo synth? In my case I initially thought that the P1 was more for me, then after getting it and seeing the features of the G1, I decided I wanted the G1 features too. I figured that together they would make a formidable team (and they do), which is why I would generally tell people that if possible, get both. Only problem these days is actually finding them for the bargain prices they used to go for, that's if people can even find them for sale at all as there's very few available for sale compared with other synths. I hope we can help Yul find the right XW for him :)

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14 hours ago, Chas said:
Quote

I thought the P1 had filters for the Hex Layers, but that they were non resonant? I was likely incorrect when stating they were in the DSP's (I thought that's where they were. I blame the beer - "BAD BEER"!). [\quote]

Yes, you recall correctly. Each layer has a non-resonant single-pole filter that is really just a tone control. But yeah, that's not considered a part of the "DSP" (which Casio reserves to mean insert effect).

 

Quote

What I meant by the G1 not having that issue, was that the G1 design allows all its sound sources to be run through the solo synth filter without limitation. And though it doesn't have the Hex Layers, it can do "Quad" layers by combing the solo synth, and then any combination of three waves taken from the PCM, synth waves and samples. Having the solo synth activated but silent it is possible to have three PCM waves stacked, which is half of the Hex Layers of the P1, and then have them run through the resonant solo synth filter. You can do a lot by stacking three waves and then running them through the solo synth filter, and though "Triple Layers" aren't as dramatic as Hex Layers, it's not too far off!

Of course the P1 can do this too (with the exception of user samples as source because, of course, it doesn't have them).

 

Quote

Oh, as I've yet to try the Wah effect with a Hex Layer, can "cut off" be assigned to an assignable control knob and then have a "filter sweep" effect in real time? Also, can envelopes be assigned to the Wah effect similar to filter envelopes?

It is easy to assign the cutoff of the wah to a knob and sweep it in real time. (It is already assigned to one of the sliders when you play in Tone mode.) In fact, my posted example does that. Unfortunately, an envelope cannot be assigned to modulate it, at least when playing a Hex Layer tone. The only time you can assign an envelope to the wah cutoff is when playing a solo-synth tone, in which case you already have the superior (but different!) Total filter available. However, you can use the step sequencer to SIMULATE an envelope. That's what I did in my example and I describe it in detail in the Companion.

 

 

 

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Alen, my curiosity got the better of me, and earlier this evening I stopped all other chores and dug out my P1, installed the Data Editor software on my "new" music computer (still setting that up) and then downloaded the patches from the Casio Music Forums. Just HAD to check out the wah effect with the Hex Layers!

 

And I have to say that after trying it, it sounds good! I'm not sure I was able to get all the components installed onto the P1 as I couldn't get the simulated "sweep" via the step sequencer. However, I was able to use the assignable knobs to both increase resonance and manually sweep the cut off. Quite impressed with how smooth it sounded compared with the solo synth filter. Only criticism is that there seemed to be a jump from when the filter was initially being opened from the fully closed position (seemed to go from fully closed to 20% open with the slightest turn of the knob). Almost seems that from the 6 o'clock to approx. 12 o'clock position of the assignable knob was where most of the filter cut off action took place. After it went past 12 o'clock it seemed that the "filter" was fully open. I wonder if there is a way of adjusting the Wah affect so that the cut off is spread out more over the assignable knob range? Regardless, it does sound nice and very usable, and after all these years of owning a P1 and thinking that it never had a decent "filter" effect for its Hex Layers, I am happy to be proven wrong. 

 

Oh yes, I should add as well that when I was talking about "resonant" filters earlier, I was actually thinking in my head "self oscillating". That's one thing that the solo synth filter has over the Wah affect, is the ability to self oscillate. Certainly at times the solo synth filter can be rather harsh, especially as it nears maximum resonance. However, find the sweet spot and it gets close to that classic self oscillating sound that certain old analogue synths were renowned for.

 

And I definitely need to go back and read more in depth the XW-P1 Companion! It's great that even after owning my P1 for over 5 years, I'm STILL finding new things it can do. :2thu:

 

 

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This is the first feedback about the simulated envelope I have received. It's possible I forgot about uploading something it requires. You need to download the Performance, the Hex Layer tone, the sequence and the argeggio. Then you need to edit the Performance to point to where you put all of the other components. If you verify that you did all that and it still didn't work it means I missing something else it requires and I'll need to revisit it. 

 

Regarding the cutoff control with the knob, remember that a CC command specifies an offset from a current value for the parameter it controls. Hence, for the knob to travel the full range of the parameter you will need to ensure that the parameter is set to it's middle position in the entire range of values it can have. Hence 63 out of a range of 0 to 127. You can set it to that in the DSP effect attached to the Hex Layer tone. It's quite possible that it was not at that value initially before you started turning the knob and hence the knob acted strangely. Maybe that's the part I missed. 

 

BTW, good to hear your P1 is alive.  ("It's ALIVE!!") Now you can try all the other stuff I uploaded, including duophonic operation (which I know you've wanted to hear yourself for a while now). 

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Alen, I've not had much spare time the past couple of days, BUT, I have had a few moments tweaking away on my P1 and the filter wah "filter" technique. Have achieved some interesting results, and a few issues (some unrelated to the "wah" DSP). I will respond back in more detail, hopefully tonight. I can say that so far, it's a very good sounding option for the Hex Layers considering for many years most (like myself) thought that there was no resonant filter option for them.

 

More later!

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Alen, I finally got it all working!

 

Initially, when I first tried it, I could manually sweep the filter and adjust the resonance using the control knobs (K1 and K2), but no joy with the sequencer. It's possible that I hadn't downloaded one of the components correctly, as I went back to the data editor and re-downloaded and double checked all the components were in place on the P1.

 

Then I went back to the P1, and ensured all the parts were allocated (Performance, Hex tone, step sequencer, arp). I forget what I did/ didn't do initially, but the only way I could get the step sequencer to sweep the filter was by pressing play on the start/ stop button, which caused the step sequencer to cycle ad infinitum. Playing notes on the keyboard, each note would be filtered depending on where the step sequencer cycle was when the note was triggered. The filter envelope matched a saw tooth/ ramp style wave form, which I assume is what it should be.

 

I tried turning on the arpeggiator button, but that did nothing. So I went back into the performance settings, and in Zone 1 (Hex Tone zone), I enabled the arpeggiator. Now, when I pressed a note on the keyboard, it would start the step sequencer and stop when I released the note. The sequencer would start with each key press, assuming a key wasn't already being held down. BUT, there was no sound! Then, completely by chance, I went back in and fiddled around in the Zone settings again. I switch off arp enable in the Hex Layer Zone 1, but switched it on in the "synth tone" Zone 2. This got everything working! The Hex Layer tone was being routed through the Wah filter, and the Wah filter was being modulated by the step sequencer and arp. The step sequencer would restart with each key press, continue to cycle if triggered by a key(s) and (those) key(s) held down (any subsequent keys pressed in this circumstance would not re-trigger the step sequencer), and it would stop if no keys were being pressed. As mentioned above, the envelope was a ramp/ saw tooth style, and it could be adjusted by increasing or decreasing the tempo. This, I take it, is how it was meant to work?

 

I also went into the Tone section, and then went into the Tone edit and DSP edit. In DSP Wah, I could further edit the Wah LFO depth and speed to come up with some classic old school synth modulation sounds. Only issue is that only one setting could be adjusted at a time via the data wheel. I wonder, is there any way of assigning the DSP Wah LFO parameters to the assignable knobs? I'm wondering if it would be possible to have K1 as cut off and K2 as resonance (as they are already), and then K3 as LFO speed and K4 as LFO depth? That would certainly make it a lot easier to adjust the Wah settings in real time.

 

I also can't help but think that Casio dropped the ball here by not allowing a programmable envelope to be assigned to the DSP LFO. It would require so little added to the OS, yet could achieve so much with the use of the DSP effects. It would get the Wah "filter" almost acting just like a classic filter in an oldschool synth, albeit paraphonice style. I'm sure they might even be able to add such a feature via a firmware update, though I doubt if the XW's are getting much in the way of updates any more... 

 

Something unrelated to the above, but an issue that arose while I was playing around with the performances. I don't know if this is just my P1, or if I'm missing something. Basically, here's my issue.

 

I can program a sequence for the step sequencer and save it in a user slot. I then set up a performance (I shall call it Performance A), split the keyboard into two zones (one a hex, one a pcm bass), and also set  Performance A to have the sequence I programmed now in a user slot. I then save this performance. Now, when I press "play" my step sequencer pattern and drums run, and I have my two zones with the sounds. All good. However...

 

...If I then move to the next Performance, i.e. the Filter Envelope Performance, all the correct tones are there for the Filter Envelope Performance, along with the arpeggiator. BUT, the step sequencer pattern is unchanged from the previous Performance A.  I go into Performance edit, change the step sequencer pattern to the filter envelope step sequence, save the Performance, and all is now working as it should for the Filter Envelope Performance. If I then change Performance from Filter Envelope Performance back to Performance A, I now have the opposite problem. Performance A has all the correct tones for its zones, but the step sequence remained unchanged from the Filter Performance. Just as I did when I went from Performance A to Filter Envelope Performance, I have to go back into Performance edit, edit the step sequence selection and change it from the Filter Envelope step sequence back to Performance A step sequence. Even if I re-save the Performance, if I then select a different Performance, the same thing happens.

 

For some reason, when I save a Performance, it's not saving the selected step sequence as well. Doesn't matter if I select a different performance, the step sequencer data/ pattern stays the same. Even though each step sequence has been saved to a user slot. Any idea why my Performances aren't saving the selected step sequence as well?

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Wow, Chas, thanks for the detailed report. From your description I do believe you got the "patch" to work as designed.

 

However, what you went through to make the pseudo-envelope work made me realize something that I did not mention in the posted example. The pseudo-envelope depends on the ability of the step sequencer to stop itself, otherwise the "envelope" would keep looping endlessly. That ability comes from using an NRPN parameterStep Sequencer Start/Stopwhich is assigned to a knob (there's no other way a sequencer track can issue an NRPN command). That in turn requires that "S.Seq NRPN" be "On" in the MIDI settings menu; see page E-70 in the XW-P1 User's Guide. The description of that parameter makes it sound like it only affects selection of step sequences by an NRPN command from an external MIDI device. But from what I can tell it also affects _control_ of the step sequencer (not just selection) by NRPN commands issued _internally_ by the XW-P1.

 

This is mentioned in The XW-P1 Companion (page 54 of Rev 4) but I overlooked mentioning it in the description posted with the example. The parameters in the MIDI Settings menu appear to be global and are not saved per Performance. Hence, it is necessary to go in and set them yourself; the Performance won't do it for you. BTW, this also affects a couple of other examples I uploaded, specifically for using the pattern buttons to select phrases and for adding functions to the footpedal. I have updated all the descriptions appropriately. 

 

However, that doesn t explain why you had to assign the arpeggiator to Zone 2 manually. It is already set that way in the Performance. That's got me stumped.

 

Re assigning DSP parameters to knobs: Yes, any DSP parameter can be assigned to a knob using the appropriate CC#. The trick is in figuring out which CC# you need. As you can see in Table 24 in Appendix C of The XW-P1 Companion (page 115 of Rev4), CC#'s 16 to 19 and 80 to 83 address eight DSP parameters. (None of the DSP effects in the XW-P1 provide more than eight parameters.) Which parameters of a specific DSP effect they control depends on the DSP effect. You can figure things out by looking at Pages E-88 through E-91 of the XW-P1 User's Guide where the parameters for each effect are listed in order. For example, for the Wah normal DSP effect, the filter's frequency is the second parameter. Hence, CC#17 affects it. 

 

However, one caveat on using the knobs. If you are running the pseudo-envelope, it depends on using a knob for the Step Sequencer Start/Stop NRPN command. Hence. that knob is unavailable for re-assignment.

 

BTW, you can see and adjust the shape of the pseudo-envelope by doing a Step Edit on the control track that adjusts the Wah filter frequency (can't remember which one I chose for that). Of course, you can as you say shorten or lengthen the overall envelope by adjusting the tempo. But if want some other change you need to edit the steps themselves. 

 

Re the step sequence not being recalled properly with the Performance, that does indeed seem strange. I do not see that behavior in my XW-P1. Have you tried shutting off the machine and restarting? There have been many times in my explorations where I seem to have got my P1 into a funky state where things just aren't behaving correctly. Restarting it after keeping it off for, say, 30 seconds always seems to correct whatever problems I am experiencing. During regular play I never encounter such glitches; it is only after monkeying around with things for an extended period of time.  

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Alen, I managed to get some time to play with my P1 again this week, and have made some progress.

 

Firstly, my mysterious Step Sequencer patterns not being changed/ getting stuck when selecting another Performance setting. I dug out my owners manual, and followed the instructions on page E-71 to "initialise synthesizer global settings and data". I can only assume that some obscure setting was previously changed somehow, causing the step sequencer pattern issue. After initialising as per above, all was now working as it should. I change a Performance and this time the step sequencer pattern would change as it should. All is well again.

 

I also reloaded the pseudo filter envelope parts back in via the Data Editor and had that running fine. I forget, but I think I did still have to change a couple of settings to get it to work. I also went into the step sequencer mode, selected the "ctl1" pattern part, and then I could use the sliders (and the 1-8, 9-16 bank select button) to change the "filter" envelope. All working well there.

 

I then borrowed your "analogus" Hex Tone from the filter envelope, and then created a new performance with it. I then went in and assigned Wah cut off and resonance  to knobs K1 and K2, and through some trial and error, found the CC numbers for the Wah LFO depth and rate. I assigned these to knobs K3 and K4, and now when I played the Hex Tone via the new Performance, I had full manual control over the filter and its LFO.  Cranking up the LFO rate and depth, with resonance set high and cut off at the sweet spot, then sweeping the rate and depth knobs gives all manner of SciFi type sounds and effects. Very reminiscent of an old analogue poly-synth, with lots of sweeping filter sounds to keep people amused for hours.      

I will have to upload this Performance and Tone into the site archives for other people to try too, as it's a lot of fun tweaking away at the filter. Only thing is, I'm off to NYC tomorrow for two weeks! I will have to do so when I return!

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