How to use DAW to control the presets of my synthesizer?


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Hi all,

My requirement is this:
I want use the inbuilt sounds of my keyboard for the performance, but use the DAW to layer/split multiple patches and also switch between these 'made patches' seamlessly during a live performance. Is this possible via MIDI? If yes, could you please explain. Assume the keyboard is Yamaha MX61, as I'm planning to buy one.
 
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SeaGtGruff

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I think so, although it might depend on what you mean by "seamlessly." : ) The reason I say that is because if you switch to a new patch while sounds are still playing under the previous patch, the transition may or may not be seamless depending on differences between the old patch settings and the new patch settings. I think this has been mentioned in the other thread you started.

I'm answering in this thread because you've asked about using a DAW, so that's what I'll address here.

There are two possible ways to approach this. The MX synths let you set up and save a performance, which is where each of the 16 parts can be used for splitting and layering the keyboard, or as alternate sounds that you can switch between without having to switch to a new performance. Unfortunately, the setting up process isn't very easy to do on the synth itself due to the nature of the display and the menu system, but there are two software programs that help, one free (Vycro MX) and the other not (from John Melas).

if you set up your voices, splits, and layers as performances, you can select the desired performance from your DAW by sending the appropriate Bank Select and Program Change values to the MX, similar to choosing a single voice. This is because the 128 user performances have their own bank number, and each program in that bank corresponds to one of the 128 user performance setups.

The other approach is to just send Bank Select and Program Change values for the individual voices, on whichever channels you want to use them on.
 
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I think so, although it might depend on what you mean by "seamlessly." : ) The reason I say that is because if you switch to a new patch while sounds are still playing under the previous patch, the transition may or may not be seamless depending on differences between the old patch settings and the new patch settings. I think this has been mentioned in the other thread you started.

I'm answering in this thread because you've asked about using a DAW, so that's what I'll address here.

There are two possible ways to approach this. The MX synths let you set up and save a performance, which is where each of the 16 parts can be used for splitting and layering the keyboard, or as alternate sounds that you can switch between without having to switch to a new performance. Unfortunately, the setting up process isn't very easy to do on the synth itself due to the nature of the display and the menu system, but there are two software programs that help, one free (Vycro MX) and the other not (from John Melas).

if you set up your voices, splits, and layers as performances, you can select the desired performance from your DAW by sending the appropriate Bank Select and Program Change values to the MX, similar to choosing a single voice. This is because the 128 user performances have their own bank number, and each program in that bank corresponds to one of the 128 user performance setups.

The other approach is to just send Bank Select and Program Change values for the individual voices, on whichever channels you want to use them on.
Thanks, but in the last sentence you've mentioned, what setup should I be using? Will it be possible to do this without an audio interface? Also, how does the DAW understand the features of MX61?
 

SeaGtGruff

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The setup will depend on the DAW you're using and what you're trying to do, so first I should ask which DAW you'll be using. :)
 

SeaGtGruff

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Okay, I have Ableton Live Lite, so I should be able to help with that.
 
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Thanks, but in the last sentence you've mentioned, what setup should I be using? Will it be possible to do this without an audio interface? Also, how does the DAW understand the features of MX61?
I don't understand your first question, what do you mean by "what setup"? The other questions are easier. You do not need an audio interface. And the DAW doesn't need to understand the features of the MX. All the DAW is doing is sending out Program Changes on specified channels. It's up to you to tell it which Program Changes you want it to send.

But to perhaps the bigger point, adding a DAW to the setup doesn't change what the MX is capable of in terms of seamless sound switching. Switching to a sound on a different channel (that is, a different Part within a Performance) can be done seamlessly; switching to another sound on the SAME channel cannot. Adding a DAW doesn't change that.
 
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I don't understand your first question, what do you mean by "what setup"? The other questions are easier. You do not need an audio interface. And the DAW doesn't need to understand the features of the MX. All the DAW is doing is sending out Program Changes on specified channels. It's up to you to tell it which Program Changes you want it to send.

But to perhaps the bigger point, adding a DAW to the setup doesn't change what the MX is capable of in terms of seamless sound switching. Switching to a sound on a different channel (that is, a different Part within a Performance) can be done seamlessly; switching to another sound on the SAME channel cannot. Adding a DAW doesn't change that.
Thanks. So it's better to pre-program the MX using VycroMX and use 'Performance Direct' option to switch between performances (even if that cuts off sustained notes). Right?
 
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So it's better to pre-program the MX using VycroMX and use 'Performance Direct' option to switch between performances (even if that cuts off sustained notes). Right?
Or use VycroMX to assemble sets of 16-sounds you can switch among without cutting off sustained notes. Or sometimes use one approach and sometimes the other. Yes. I consider these options better than using the DAW, simply because you haven't yet mentioned doing anything with your MX voices that in any way requires a DAW.

If you're going to consider bringing a computer with your rig though (as you'd have to to run a DAW), you could also use the computer as a source of sounds (VSTs). That opens up a whole bunch of other possibilities.
 
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Or use VycroMX to assemble sets of 16-sounds you can switch among without cutting off sustained notes. Or sometimes use one approach and sometimes the other. Yes. I consider these options better than using the DAW, simply because you haven't yet mentioned doing anything with your MX voices that in any way requires a DAW.

If you're going to consider bringing a computer with your rig though (as you'd have to to run a DAW), you could also use the computer as a source of sounds (VSTs). That opens up a whole bunch of other possibilities.
But if I need to cycle through layered sounds (performances) that's possible only by cycling through performances and not parts, right? How can I use VycroMX to solve this problem? Did you mean to say that VycroMX solves the issue of cutting off sustained notes while switching to another layered/split sound?
 
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But if I need to cycle through layered sounds (performances) that's possible only by cycling through performances and not parts, right?
No, you can also create different layered sounds by switching parts WITHIN a Performance (as long as the total of all Voices does not exceed 16).

How can I use VycroMX to solve this problem?
From the MX front panel's editing functions, a Performance can only include a single 2-part split or 2-part layer (and then 14 other individually selectable sounds). VycroMax is software that lets you create Performances that have multiple selectable splits and layers within them.

Did you mean to say that VycroMX solves the issue of cutting off sustained notes while switching to another layered/split sound?
Yes, as long as the layered/split sounds you're switching among don't exceed 16 Voices between them. And you can create up to 128 different combinations of 16 sounds for this purpose.

This has all been covered in your other thread as well, see posts 6, 9, and 25 there.
 
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