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I'm still learning this Box of Tricks!


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Though I made a "me and the dog are both confused by the XW-PD1" post on my social media, I HAVE actually been making some progress with this little device!


I finally got the push to dive in while working on my next video project, where I need to replicate a drum track loop from a famous song to play alongside two of my Casio keyboards. The song in question used samples from a Linn LM-1, a LinnDrum and also a Roland TR-808, and in keeping with an all Casio set up, I thought the PD1 with its ability to load in samples would be perfect. IF I could finally understand how to use it that is...


Anyway, I did actually manage to achieve what I set out to do - load in the above mentioned classic drum machine samples and recreate the drum pattern. The key for me in getting it to do what I needed was to use the Data Editor software rather than using PD1 itself.  It was my first attempt , and it's not the most intuitive software that I've used, though that might be because I'm still trying to understand the workflow and some terminology of the PD1. However, programming the pattern sequence for each drum part is a breeze within the Data Editor, and the end result sounds really good. Of course, I then got thinking how amazing this thing would be if it had multiple outs , 5 pin MIDI and of course, MIDI Clock/ Sync. If it had all that, it would be a modern classic and integrated in many people's rigs and studios today. I digress - I've still much more to learn about its potential (and limitations) but I'm glad that I got this far and have managed to make it into a super little drum sampler playing back the sounds of those classic drum machines.


Bonus points if anyone can guess the  famous song from the drum pattern picture below! All will be revealed in my next video (if someone hasn't guessed it by then!)



Edited by Chas
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  • 1 month later...

I didn’t know there was a data editor for the XW-PD1. The sequencer editor looks good. Too bad there isn’t a similar visual sequence editor for the XW-P1 (and XW-G1, since it has the same sequencer). I’ll bet it wouldn’t have taken all that much work for Casio to get the code for the sequence editor in the XW-PD1 data editor to work with the P1 and G1 models. But I understand why they didn’t do such a major upgrade to data editors  that only support a couple of somewhat older models. Would have been nice, though. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

More progress!


After using the XW-PD1 as a standalone drum machine for my Michael Jackson "Thriller" recreation clip, I wanted to see if there was a way I could incorporate it into a multi-keyboard setup that was all linked together. As many of us know, the PD1 does not send or receive MIDI clock or sync, and it operates via USB MIDI only. What I want to somehow do, is to run a beat/ sequence with the PD1 and also link it up with other keyboards so that they all play together.


After delving into its workflow and features, I find that the PD1's 4 x "Banks" are effectively independent "Tracks", with each Bank able transmit on its own MIDI channel, 1 to 4. What that means is that the PD1 can operate like a 4 track sequencer as per a song with 4 different parts in it. It could also operate kind of like an Arturia Beatstep Pro controller, IF I could get it talking with other devices!


More delving into USB MIDI and stuff, and I was already aware that USB MIDI devices need a "host", whereas many of my older keyboards have the traditional 5 pin DIN MIDI connectors. My sound interface (a Behringer UMC404HD) also has 5 pin MIDI In and Out sockets, and it is connected to my main desktop workstation computer. How do I get my PD1's USB MIDI to talk to the MIDI DIN sockets on my sound interface? A bit of searching online uncovered an old (and free program) called "MIDI Patchbay" by Soundigy, that allows you to re-route MIDI via the computer acting as a host. I connected my PD1 to a USB port on my desktop, and also connected my CZ101 to the UMC404HD sound interface MIDI DIN "Out" port, and joy of joys, by setting the receive channel on my CZ101 from 1 to 4, I was able to get it playing any of the four banks being played/ sent by the PD1! What I then wanted to try was to daisy chain my HT700 in series so that I could get that playing one of the other PD1 banks simultaneously with the CZ101, via the CZ101's MIDI Out port. The idea being that I could program drums, bass, leads, and pads into the 4 individual banks of the PD1, and use the PD1 to play up to 4 other devices at once.

However, I ran into limitations with the CZ101 and HT700 as both only have MIDI In and Out, not Thru. I read somewhere that some devices still forward the original MIDI message plus anything generated by that keyboard to their MIDI Out ports, whereas others ONLY send new information generated by that keyboard through their MIDI Out port, necessitating a MIDI Thru port to pass through the original MIDI data to a device further down the chain. Looks like the CZ101 and HT700 do not forward the originally received MIDI messages to their Out ports.

My understanding now is that to have my PD1 controlling more than one keyboard  over MIDI DIN and without having MIDI Thru ports, I will need to get a MIDI Interface with multiple In/ Out DIN ports. Also, with a multiple In/ Out MIDI interface, I could then use a laptop as a host and keep my desktop workstation PC with the DAW installed as a recording device to capture the audio of the PD1 and other connected keyboards.  

After all this, I can see why some people are not fans of USB MIDI and prefer the direct standalone aspect of traditional 5 pin DIN MIDI. On the other hand, I can see the greater potential of USB MIDI, whereby a MIDI host can re-route multiple connections via software and is not limited to 16 channels. There is an added complexity of course, but there are definitely added benefits. I'd better get that multi port MIDI interface on order....! 

XW-PD1 Experiment 01.png

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  • 2 months later...

A small update in my quest to get my PD1 talking with other synths/ keyboards/ Casios!


I wanted to be able to use the PD1's 4 track midi sequencer to trigger other Casios, especially some of the smaller and lower end Casios that came equipped with MIDI. I also wanted to be able to use it to trigger up to 4 other devices simultaneously. However, I encountered limitations due to the few MIDI options available on some small Casios, such as no MIDI through. Also there are limitations with selecting MIDI channel receive in my MT750 and MT640 as they only have two MIDI modes - one where it defaults to receiving MIDI on Channel one, and two where it receives MIDI on the first four MIDI channels (basically a multi-timbral mode). Unfortunately, you can't specify/ select the single MIDI channel number for it to receive data. Meanwhile, my CZ101 and HT700 CAN select the MIDI receive channel from 1 to 16, but like the CZ101 and HT700, they too do not have MIDI through.

If I wanted to send MIDI from my PD1 to my MT750 and MT640, they could only be set to MIDI channel 1, and as with the CZ101 and HT700, I couldn't trigger more than one keyboard as none of these small MIDI equipped Casios have MIDI through sockets. So what might be the solution to be able to simultaneously trigger 2 or more devices? I did a bit of research and discovered a programmable CME MIDI interface called the U6 MIDI Pro. It has customizable MIDI routing via the free software and will allow you to send up to three independent channels of MIDI data to three independent MIDI out sockets (it can also receive up to three MIDI channels via MIDI in sockets). By connecting it to my computer, along with my PD1 via USB, I can program the CME programmable MIDI interface to route the PD1's MIDI data to the three MIDI ports of the U6 MIDI Pro.


I've already configured the U6 MIDI Pro and have managed to get it working with two of my small MIDI Casios making them successfully and simultaneously receive data from the XW-PD1! However, with an extended trip to the UK needing lots of preparation and planning fast approaching, this is as far as I got and I had to shelve this little project until I get back home to the USA.

Still, I wanted to share a progress update, and when I return to the UK in early July I will try and make a video showing all the above in action.


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