Looking for a sequencer compatible with my 1985 Yamaha CLP-30 Clavinova with FM synthesis


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I have a Yamaha CLP-30 Clavinova (the last model that had FM synthesis instead of instrument sampling), and I have a MIDI to USB cable.

I'm trying to create MIDI files with it.

I have tried Cakewalk, LMMS, NCH Mixpad, Podium, MidiEditor, and Anvil Studio.

The only one of these that I was able to create a MIDI file with was NCH Mixpad, however, this was only 2 files created after over 100 tries. I could not figure out what I did differently when it worked, versus when it didn't. All I know for sure is that it almost always gave me a countdown of 4 beats; when it gave me a countdown of 2 beats, it worked. When it gave me the countdown of 4 beats, it didn't create a MIDI file.

The files that I created were very choppy. Sound just kept cutting in and out. I don't know if that is more on the PC laptop side, or on the Clavinova side.

I'd appreciate any recommendations for what I might do differently, or other software that would be compatible (especially free software or at least software I can get a demo of first in case it doesn't work out).

I would appreciate any help!
 
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SeaGtGruff

I meant to play that note!
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First of all, please be aware that the inexpensive USB-MIDI interfaces which are common in the online marketplace tend to be unreliable, so depending on which one you're using the interface might be 90% of your problem.

If you need to buy a better USB-MIDI interface, my opinion is that you'd be best off going with Yamaha's UX16, for the simple reason that you could then use Yamaha's USB-MIDI driver with it, and any Yamaha software you want to use with it-- such as the Yamaha Musicsoft Downloader-- should be able to recognize it as being Yamaha gear.

However, any decent USB-MIDI interface from a known, reputable company should work-- you just won't be able to use Yamaha's USB-MIDI driver with it.

As for DAWs, these days just about any commercial DAW has a free trial period.

Personally, I like Acoustica Mixcraft for ease of use, but it doesn't support the use of SysEx messages and you may need to be able to record any SysEx messages coming from the Clavinova, so that's something to consider.

Ableton Live and PreSonus Studio One are two other DAWs which do not support SysEx messages.

Steinberg Cubase might be a good choice to use with a Yamaha keyboard, because Steinberg is owned by Yamaha and Cubase has a built-in understanding of Yamaha's SysEx messages. But Cubase requires a security dongle for all but its least-expensive version (Cubase Elements), so that's another thing to consider.

As for free DAWs, Anvil Studio is not a bad choice, but my recollection is that MIDI recording doesn't work in a live manner as it does in most DAWs. If I remember correctly, when you record MIDI in Anvil Studio the data is stored in a memory buffer or temporary file and you can't even see that anything is happening. Then, when you're done, the data is transferred to a MIDI track in your project and suddenly appears all at once. So part of the reason why you had trouble with Anvil Studio might simply be the way it's programmed to work when recording MIDI.

Tracktion Waveform is a commercial DAW that has a fully-featured free version, so that might be one to consider.
 
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Welcome

Do you have an iPad?

If you do with a genuine Camera Adaptor you can connect from a USB host terminal to your iPad and use the Apps including Garage Band which is Apples free DAW.

At 35 years old you have done well with the Clavinova so maybe if your intention of more MIDI activity then it could be time for an additional MIDI controller keyboard or another Yamaha digital piano like a P125 what works with iPads and Computer DAW's straight out of the box.
 
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Thanks for your reply! I want to make sure we are on the same page regarding a MIDI interface. I'm not sure I'm using one.

I bought a USB to MIDI cable years ago. I initially wanted to use it for writing sheet music, but everything appeared on one staff, so that wasn't useful. Does this indicate that I need something other than, or in addition to, the cable? Because, at the time, I thought the Clavinova was just too old, and that's why everything appeared on the same staff instead of dividing into bass and treble around Middle C. I've written out 572 pages of sheet music, note by note, since then, wouldn't it figure that, if I'd only asked on a forum, I might not have had to do all that work!

Maybe I need another piece of hardware? I recently learned about audio interfaces, used between the mic and the computer, but I don't have one of those. Or are you saying maybe I bought a cheap cable and I'd be better off replacing it? Or do I need something that has some sort of hardware as part of the cord, which I am seeing in photos of the Yamaha ux16?

I really don't know what I'm doing!

I'll check out some of the DAWs you mentioned and see if I keep having the problem. With some of them, such as Anvil, I could not even get it to find the Clavinova at all! I thought maybe it was because it's so old. I seem to blame everything on my Clavinova's age! From what you're saying, maybe a lot of it is that I didn't research what kind of cable I needed, or that what I need is an interface, and not a cable.

Thanks!




First of all, please be aware that the inexpensive USB-MIDI interfaces which are common in the online marketplace tend to be unreliable, so depending on which one you're using the interface might be 90% of your problem.

If you need to buy a better USB-MIDI interface, my opinion is that you'd be best off going with Yamaha's UX16, for the simple reason that you could then use Yamaha's USB-MIDI driver with it, and any Yamaha software you want to use with it-- such as the Yamaha Musicsoft Downloader-- should be able to recognize it as being Yamaha gear.

However, any decent USB-MIDI interface from a known, reputable company should work-- you just won't be able to use Yamaha's USB-MIDI driver with it.

As for DAWs, these days just about any commercial DAW has a free trial period.

Personally, I like Acoustica Mixcraft for ease of use, but it doesn't support the use of SysEx messages and you may need to be able to record any SysEx messages coming from the Clavinova, so that's something to consider.

Ableton Live and PreSonus Studio One are two other DAWs which do not support SysEx messages.

Steinberg Cubase might be a good choice to use with a Yamaha keyboard, because Steinberg is owned by Yamaha and Cubase has a built-in understanding of Yamaha's SysEx messages. But Cubase requires a security dongle for all but its least-expensive version (Cubase Elements), so that's another thing to consider.

As for free DAWs, Anvil Studio is not a bad choice, but my recollection is that MIDI recording doesn't work in a live manner as it does in most DAWs. If I remember correctly, when you record MIDI in Anvil Studio the data is stored in a memory buffer or temporary file and you can't even see that anything is happening. Then, when you're done, the data is transferred to a MIDI track in your project and suddenly appears all at once. So part of the reason why you had trouble with Anvil Studio might simply be the way it's programmed to work when recording MIDI.

Tracktion Waveform is a commercial DAW that has a fully-featured free version, so that might be one to consider.
 
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Thanks for replying! I have an iPad2. I looked it up and it cannot run Garageband. It's a good idea, though, and if I could get a good enough deal on a used iPad that was new enough to run Garageband, I would definitely try to see if that would solve my problem.

I also have a Creative ProdiKeys MIDI keyboard, but they never released a driver for anything after XP, so I haven't been able to use it in years. I actually bought the Clavinova used a number of years ago, to replace and upgrade from the ProdiKeys. I was able to get it cheaper because it's so old, but then I was never able to do the main thing I wanted it for: writing sheet music. However, if it saves me the cost of a recording studio, it will be well worth it in the end.

Welcome

Do you have an iPad?

If you do with a genuine Camera Adaptor you can connect from a USB host terminal to your iPad and use the Apps including Garage Band which is Apples free DAW.

At 35 years old you have done well with the Clavinova so maybe if your intention of more MIDI activity then it could be time for an additional MIDI controller keyboard or another Yamaha digital piano like a P125 what works with iPads and Computer DAW's straight out of the box.
 
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