How to quickly change patches on two keyboards


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What are some recommended ways to change patches on two keyboards at once? I have an Alesis QS8.1 and a Yamaha MOXF8 and sometimes struggle to quickly make patch changes between songs during live performances. Is there a way to connect with a Mac or iPAD and control patches?
 
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It depends on the keyboard and I am not familiar with the MOX; I did own a QS6.1 about 10 years ago. If the keyboard allows to send program changes you can create a custom setup/performance/combi/master/preset (each manufacturer has their own term) to not only change the program on the master keyboard but to send a program change via MIDI at the same time to another keyboard. So one push of a button on the "master" keyboard actually could change the programs on both the master and the slave keyboard at the same time.

This article from the Kurzweil knowledge base will give you an idea as to how it generally works.

http://kurzweil.com/knowledgebase/pc3k8/setup_mode/382/
 
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Thanks for the reply. I wonder if there's a way to set up my Yamaha MOXF8 so that it controls the Alesis as well. For example, let's say I want to program both keyboards for Boston's Smokin'. Ideally, I would select the "Smokin" patch on the Yamaha, which would set the Yamaha to the B3 organ sounds, but then it would also set the Alesis to the harpsichord sound. So, I wouldn't necessarily need foot pedals. I just need fewer buttons to press.
 
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It absolutely should be possible. As the Kurzweil article I referenced above indicates you need to understand what messages and the order of those messages the Alesis needs to receive from the MOX in order to program the MOX to send the exact message.

Check the manual of the Alesis to see if there are any references to what it needs. If you can't find what you are looking for call them directly at 401-658-5760 and ask them to explain to you the midi program receive protocol. Once you understand the protocol then contact Yamaha at 714-522-9000 and ask them the steps to send that specific protocol from the MOX. Once you get it to work once you'll then be good to go.
 
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Hey WebDev22,

I often have to change patches on up to three 'boards plus an iPad between songs in one of my bands, and one of our sets begins with a six song medley so there's plenty going on! Here's my low-tech tips which serve me pretty well live. Dave's answer is much more relevant to your question but I thought I'd throw this in as a supplementary which can also hopefully assist in smooth transitions.

1. I use a "cheat sheet" so I don't have to commit the changes to memory for each song. You'd be amazed how much time that saves.
2. All my patches are saved in favourites or the equivalent thereof so they're easily accessible. Even if they're stock standard ones that I haven't altered myself I whack them in favourites to access them quickly.
3. Have the sequence of your favourites in the same order as your set list. One button press on each keyboard can then cycle you to your next patch.
4. Work with the lead vocalist so they know which songs require more "set up" time. They can help you by introducing a bit of patter between songs.

Cheers!
 

SeaGtGruff

I meant to play that note!
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4. Work with the lead vocalist so they know which songs require more "set up" time. They can help you by introducing a bit of patter between songs.

Aha, so that's why singers sometimes stop between numbers and spend five minutes telling the audience a story about the next song! :)
 
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Haha, in my band, definitely!

Puts me in mind of one gig we did where I had a bit of a technology issue (operator error, I'm sorry to say) between songs. I had to reboot a few things, and made the poor old lead vocalist waffle on to a packed house for a good minute (probably seemed like an hour to him) while I quietly stood on stage pressing buttons saying "keep on dribbling mate, keep going, keep talking....OK I'm good to go, no, wait, OK now).

We got there in the end relatively unscathed!
 
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I keep a spreadsheet that has the song title, the key, keyboard #1 patch, keyboard 2 patch , for each song. We prepare the set list a day or so ahead of a gig and I print it. When performing, I am playing song a with all my patches, and if the song lends itself to discreetly backing away, I start setting up patches on one keyboard while still playing the other. Also since our drummer is playing an electronic kit, he also has to dial up settings, so we actually rehearse transitions from one song to another (ending-into next tune just verse 1-skip ahead to that ending-into next tune.) That alone is a great tightening up exercise. Then we know where to let the front man gab a bit so we can dial up our patches when it's too much of a time sync. If you want more info or tricks about the spreadsheet let me know. - Len
 
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EdK

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I used to have to deal with this same situation for many years but have found an elegant solution. I generally use 2 keyboards at a gig. A Korg Triton Studio and a vintage Korg M1. In one particular song, I have the need to use 4 different patches (2 on each keyboard). Both the Triton and M1 have two modes (Program and Combi). Program mode being a single patch and Combi being a mult--patch "combination". Switching between Program and Combi mode is easy while performing as all I need to do is press the Combi or Prog button. BUT setting up 4 patches for one song (2 on each keyboard) is a time consuming process...even if no mistakes are made. I had to find a way to automate this process.

To make a long story short, I now keep all my charts on an iPad and use the unRealbook App. The beauty of UnRealbook is you can create setlists on a gig-by-gig basis, cycle through the songs by simply touching the screen to turn the page or even select a song out of sequene in the setlist (even if it's not in the setlist) by bringing up the songlist menu. For each chart, you can store MIDI commands that are sent to the keyboards to prepare the patches for that chart in less than 1 second and I'm ready to go. It work fantastic even with performing multi-song medleys.

I use an iPad 2 (16 gig), an M-Audio UNO USB to Midi adapter, and an Apple Camera connection kit to provide the USB port on the iPad.

At first it took some time to build the appropriate SYSEX and MIDI commands but that was a one-time effort.

Now at gigs, nobody waits for me. In fact, it takes more time for the drummer to count-off than it does to pull up the chart and send the MIDI commands to the keyboards.
 

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