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Randelph

Hex layers imported from PX560? PX5s?

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Just had my first look at the downloads section.  

 

1. Can we import the Hex Tones from the PX560 directly?  

 

2. If not, is there a way to indirectly import them from the PX560, maybe with tweaking needed, but available nonetheless?  

 

3. How similar are the samples in the PX 560 and the x500?  File compatibility aside, if they don't have the same samples, its not going to work.

 

4. Do any of you think Mike Martin would be kind enough to translate various Hex Tones  he's made for these other boards for the X500? What's his favorite beer?  Is he a whirling dervish with way to much on his plate to care about x500 players, or is it a matter of enough of us pleading for a bit of his time and attention.  Does he read this forum?

 

I would imagine this would not be a huge task for him if the 560 and x500 have the same samples for a given Hex Tone.  The PX560 came out around the same time as the x500, so are the file formats very very similar or the same for Hex Tones?

 

Thanks,

Randy

 

PS Does anybody on this forum have answers to these questions?  Perhaps some of the PX560 folks would know?

Edited by Randelph
Was working with incorrect information, and the post needed clarification

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Hex layer tones would need to be manually copied parameter by parameter from one keyboard to another.  Hex layer tones have hundreds of parameters.  It can be very time consuming.  

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Brad,

Thanks for that.  I asked so many questions i suppose i could have arranged them with numbers to make it easier to answer- so i just changed the original post.

 

I suppose you wouldn't know about the PX560 and its compatibility, its one of the few Casio boards you don't have.  I heard that the XW-G1 had hex tones, but it was an early version and is not compatible with the x500 Hex Tones.  In the same way, the PX5s has been out for awhile, i imagine there have been changes made.  However, the PX560 came out pretty close to the same time with the new screen and it's not a stretch to imagine the Hex Tone structure would be the same or very similar.  Don't know why Mike Martin would make 9 Hex tones for the 560 and only 1 for the x500.

 

I'm confused as well- I thought the hex tones would have a bunch of new samples, but all of them i saw were simply accessing the built-in sounds.  

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Hex layer tones are not compatible between any of the Casio models, including the PX-560.  Each new model has added more and more new features to the hex layer tone and has a different set of factory samples.  MZ-X500 being the most advanced so far.  The only model that can load new hex layer tone samples is the MZ-X500.

 

Side note: XW-G1 does not have hex layer tones.  I'm sure you probably meant the XW-P1 instead, which does.  

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It's too bad Casio doesn't provide a utility to "convert" as far as possible between the Hex Layer tones in these models (PX-5s, PX-560, MZ-X500 but NOT the XW-P1, of course, since its Hex Layer mode is far more primitive). As far as I can tell the set of waves accessible to each is the only difference.

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Brad, thanks for clarifying that.  Now that you mention it, with the emphasis on hex tones for EDM and bass, it's likely they developed the Hex Tones to the next step and added samples for that genre.

 

However, since Hex Tones can use any of the samples each keyboard has onboard, there must be Hex Tones on the PX560 that would be tedious but straightforward to convert: choosing the samples to use is obviously easy, and then there's the minutiae of copying the same parameters for each layer.  Even with the EDM/bass Hex Tones, is the x500 that much more developed?  I suppose the PX560 doesn't have mono mode.

 

From what I've seen there's a paucity of new Hex Tones available, this is the reason I'm asking so many questions.

 

 

@ Alen, yes, a utility would be helpful.  Otherwise, short of having two machines side by side, this wouldn't be possible.  But i imagine that would only work coming from the PX560 being translated for the X500, being that the X500 has more parameters and what would you do with those extra parameters if you tried translating to the PX560?

 

Another thing that would work as a workaround is to be able to print out all the parameters of a given Hex Tone.  It'd be tedious, but straightforward to transfer those parameters to the X500.  Assuming you had the same samples to work with.

 

 

For something that is one of its most powerful features, the accessibility to Hex Tones seems like its on a back burner, waiting for more.  They developed this wonderful way of creating sounds with real time volume control, but at present there's no ipad or other editor avaialble- this is exactly what editors excel at, having a larger screen, being able to see all of the most critical parameters for all 6 tones at once would spur a lot of development and creativity and interest in this board.

 

And the Editor wouldn't need to cover all aspects of operating the board- just the Hex Tones!  Admittedly I'm far from fully conversant with all this board can do, but from what I've seen so far the existing screen works well for editing everything else.  The only place I've seen so far is editing Hex Tones could be several orders of magnitude more powerful and intuitive with a well done big screen editor with immediate visual access to all 6 layers. 

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Does the X500 Hex Layer mode have that many more parameters? It's been a while since I compared them in the manuals but aside from mono mode and the bass synth mode, I don't recall many more parameters nor any that aren't related to choosing waves. But as I said I haven't compared them lately.

 

My philosophy is that in the age of computers everywhere you shouldn't need to do tedious things involving data. That's what they were invented for. I would lay money that it would be possible to write some sort of script for a binary editor that would make the required changes to go between a Hex Layer tone file from one model to the other, at least as far is as possible given whatever differences exist.  Of course you would then have to find waves on the target model after loading the converted tone that sound like the ones in the original. In some cases as you surmise the same waves will be available in both models. In other cases the target model won't have anything even close, in which case it's not going to sound the same (but would be interesting nonetheless). Regardless, a lot less than work than manual entry! 

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Alen, I agree, a conversion utility would be nice.  But lets face it, there's relatively few Hex Tones on either board.  On the X500 there's a preponderance of EDM, and obviously, there's fantastic uses beyond that.

 

What's really needed to get a whole community of users crafting these amazing bad boys would be an editor. I think Casio is missing out on a whole lot of user generated excitement that'd come from being able to roll your own.  Imagine the Hex Tone libraries that'd come out!!!!!  Casio, that's word of mouth, that's sales!

 

What good are all the individual volume sliders for Hex Tones if the only thing you know for sure is the overall volume, Cutoff and Resonance?  Sure, when you're editing them you take the time to familiarize yourself with what Tones are on what layer, but if you're performing or just playing, not editing, most of us will have NO idea what Tones are assigned to what slider.

 

With an editor and the copy paste utilities that could be part of it, it'd be child's play to make your own scheme of what goes where: for example, I'd probably do something like sliders 1-3 are the most basic fundamentals, underpinning of the sound, 4 and or 5 would be solo or otherwise, 6 would be the wildcard.  Many way of approaching this, the point is to have consistency.  If i needed more than one arrangement type of Hex Tones, I'd simply put a capital letter at the end or beginning of the name to let myself know that the order of the arrangement is such and such.

 

In other words, i go to a Hex Tone I've massaged I know in basic terms whats going to happen when i change the sliders.  I don't use the layer sliders when I'm playing live cause i don't know what's going on with each one.

 

Why are there just 2 of us on this thread? Aren't hex tones and the ability to edit them and get the work already done on other boards- isn't that important to the majority of the Users?  Where are you guys and gals?  Do you use Hex Tones much>?

 

Randy 

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Haha I had to rise to the.bait of that question! When I was watching the you tube videos there was one where a new free sampler editor was demonstrated and it had hex layer on the menu, does this not do what you are asking?

 

steve

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The MZ-X500 has a Sample Manager app. Within that app is a data editor that is really intended to be used for new hex layer tones made with user samples from a computer. 

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Okay, just for the record I compared the Hex Layer parameters between PX-5s, PX-560 and MZ-X500. The only differences, apart from the selectable waves, is that the X500 uniquely has a mono mode, a bass synth mode and an additional setting for portamento called "chromatic" that implements semi-tone steps. Everything else appears to be the same. A script-based conversion utility as I described above would probably be pretty easy to write because the Hex Layer tone files (.ZLT) must be very similar. 

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1 hour ago, AlenK said:

Okay, just for the record I compared the Hex Layer parameters between PX-5s, PX-560 and MZ-X500. The only differences, apart from the selectable waves, is that the X500 uniquely has a mono mode, a bass synth mode and an additional setting for portamento called "chromatic" that implements semi-tone steps. Everything else appears to be the same. A script-based conversion utility as I described above would probably be pretty easy to write because the Hex Layer tone files (.ZLT) must be very similar. 

 

MZ-X500 hex layer tones also adds amp decay time key follow, filter decay time key follow, high key follow base, low key follow base, pitch bend key and all mode, legato portamento and envelope legato mode.  

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1 hour ago, BradMZ said:

 

MZ-X500 hex layer tones also adds amp decay time key follow, filter decay time key follow, high key follow base, low key follow base, pitch bend key and all mode, legato portamento and envelope legato mode.  

 

I missed those because they aren't in the User's Guide (except for envelope legato mode, which I didn't mention because it depends on mono operation, which is X500 only). They must have been added in one or more software updates. (BTW, which update added "high key follow base" and "low key follow base"? I don't see them described in the 1.5 update manual.)

 

That they aren't in the User's Guide is annoying for two reasons. First, because Casio should have updated the User's guide (the latest download I found hasn't changed) instead of merely issuing firmware user's guides. It's not that hard to do nowadays. Second, because it reminds me that Casio could have easily added those parameters to the PX-560 as well. But they haven't done excrement in the way of updates for that model other than a bug fix and a few minor other improvements. 

 

I will also note that the PX-5S doesn't have any break points for key follow, so that's another difference. (BTW, Casio shouldn't have called it "key follow" when applied to amplitude. The name doesn't make sense in that context. They should have called it simply "key scaling".)

 

However, NONE of those differences affect the concept of limited conversion of Hex Layer tones between models; it just means perhaps that a few more tones (the ones that use those parameters) would not convert correctly. (It's already a given that mono mode and bass synth tones won't convert back to earlier models.) And in particular they would have no affect on converting tones forward from PX-5S and PX-560 to MZ-X500, which is what is desired in the context of this thread and in the context of this particular forum.

 

IMO Casio has missed an opportunity to create a unified synthesis mode across recent models. Since they did not do that, they have needlessly fractured the already small user base for their pro-level keyboards. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, AlenK said:

 

I missed those because they aren't in the User's Guide (except for envelope legato mode, which I didn't mention because it depends on mono operation, which is X500 only). 

 

Legato mode can be polyphonic as well.   Edit: No, it can't. 

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8 minutes ago, BradMZ said:

Legato mode can be polyphonic.

 

Interesting. How does that work? I assumed you were referring to the Legato parameter mentioned in the User's Guide. It specifically refers to Mono mode, hence my other assumption about how that functions.

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My post is wrong.  I just double checked to make sure.  You can turn on the legato indicator in poly mode but it does not work until mono mode is selected.  My mistake.  I was going to delete that but you were too fast.  

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Hi,

I'm also following this thread with great interest :)

 

Are there any public informations about MZ-X and PX file formats (Tones and HexLayers)? 

I'm a programmer and I could try to build a conversion software in my spare time if there are enough docs about file formats.

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8 hours ago, BradMZ said:

My post is wrong.  I just double checked to make sure.  You can turn on the legato indicator in poly mode but it does not work until mono mode is selected.  My mistake.  I was going to delete that but you were too fast.  

 

Too bad. That sounded promising. I could imagine a few ways that could work that would be useful. What about the high/low "key follow base" parameters? Undocumented feature? Not having an X500 all I have to go by is the documentation. I tend to trust it but given the mistakes I found in the XW-P1 User's Guide I really shouldn't. 

 

PS. I got caught once again by Casio not updating the manuals. The PX-5S does have key-follow breakpoints. They were added in the v1.10 firmware upgrade. And get this: Casio didn't even update the firmware user's guide for the PX-5S past that version and they are up to v1.13. What's up with that?? Serious deficiencies in Casio's documentation department. 

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12 hours ago, AlenK said:

(BTW, which update added "high key follow base" and "low key follow base"? I don't see them described in the 1.5 update manual.)

 

High key follow and low key follow existed in the MZ-X500 before any updates and is listed in the original manual under amp and filter.  The tag word "base" is only use in the MZX sample manager app. That is probably a holdover mistake from repurposing the PX-5S data editor which only has "key follow base".  I was using the sample manager at the time of that post so I reflected their mistake.  

 

Screenshot (100).png

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5 hours ago, AlenK said:

And get this: Casio didn't even update the firmware user's guide for the PX-5S past that version and they are up to v1.13. What's up with that?? Serious deficiencies in Casio's documentation department. 

 

No new features were added after version 1.10.  Subsequent updates were only bug corrections. 

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3 hours ago, BradMZ said:

 

High key follow and low key follow existed in the MZ-X500 before any updates and is listed in the original manual under amp and filter.  The tag word "base" is only use in the MZX sample manager app. That is probably a holdover mistake from repurposing the PX-5S data editor which only has "key follow base".  I was using the sample manager at the time of that post so I reflected their mistake.  

 

Screenshot (100).png

 

Okay, so these must be the Low Key and High Key parameters described in the user's guide. Those are actually breakpoints for the corresponding scaling (follow) function. "Follow base" is poor nomenclature IMO. And they do exist in the PX-5S and PX-560.  

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3 hours ago, BradMZ said:

 

No new features were added after version 1.10.  Subsequent updates were only bug corrections. 

 

They should still have updated the documentation in my opinion, just so there is a match between software version and documentation version. And given the time delay between the v1.10 update and the last one there is little excuse for not updating the User's Guide by that time or even before that. After all, they knew they weren't intending to add any more features. 

 

Really, I see few good excuses for the documentation deficiencies.

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6 hours ago, AlenK said:

 

Okay, so these must be the Low Key and High Key parameters described in the user's guide. Those are actually breakpoints for the corresponding scaling (follow) function. "Follow base" is poor nomenclature IMO. And they do exist in the PX-5S and PX-560.  

 

Edit: Ignore this post as well.  See my next post.  

 

To clarify for others, the key follow system used in the PX-560 and PX-5S is different from the MZ-X500.  PX-560 and PX-5S key follow is situated around a center point or "base" defined by the parameter "key follow base".  MZ-X500 has discreet high key follow and low key follow parameters.  The new system should be able to emulate the old, I have not tried. It, however, is not a straightforward copy and paste of PX-5S or PX-560 parameters.  

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