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

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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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Thanks for your reply! I read the manual, focusing on Page 6 ("How To Use MIDI") and the the page with the MIDI Implementation Chart (Page 17), and I think part of my problem may be that I expected it to be plug and play, that all I would have to do is plug the MIDI cable into the Clavinova on one side and the USB into my PC on the other side, and it would just work.

Can you tell me what I should do in terms of settings, to make it more likely to work? My prior experience with a MIDI keyboard of any kind was the Creative ProdiKeys, and, once the drivers were installed, it was, essentially, plug and play. I don't know why I expected the Clavinova to behave in the same way, when it doesn't have any drivers.

It may be a very limited MIDI implementation, but my knowledge of MIDI is so minimal that I don't know what settings to choose.

Looking at the manual, Page 6, top of the 2nd column, "Controlling the MIDI function," I can see that, by default, it is set to Omni On, or I can set it to Channel 1. Which should I be doing?

I have no idea what, "Condition for sending and receiving voice number," means, unless, "Voice number," means the FM synthesis sound that I have the Clavinova set to play in/on/with.

I do not know which transmission sending and receiving channel I should be using. I don't think I need to worry about the receiving channel, since I am not connecting multiple MIDI devices, just my laptop and Clavinova.

What I think what this means, though, is that MIDI has 16 channels, so if I don't want it to be on Channel 1, because of multiple MIDI voices (for lack of a better term), then I can change it to a different channel. But if it's a piano solo, then Channel 1 is fine, and it's set by channel 1 by default (?)

I think, by Program Change, they mean the instrument voice? Which doesn't matter much, since I can use a VST or Soundfont to change the sound once I have it saved and am working on it in a DAW.

Did I figure it out right? If I figured this part out, then the only remaining setting I might need to change is Omni On vs. Channel 1. Maybe, for what I'm trying to do, it really is/should behave as plug and play. That would explain why I was able to get it to work in Finale, albeit with everything on one staff (thus, not useful for that purpose).

Thanks so much for your help!
 

happyrat1

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https://www.reddit.com/r/synthesizers/comments/5dfxvd


0.68 secs with Google :D

Gary ;)
 
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Thank you, I'll check those out and maybe then I'll know what I'm doing!
 

happyrat1

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Remember. Google and Youtube are your FRIENDS.

If you have any sort of question about absolutely ANYTHING, chances are Dozens, if Not 100's made a video and a wiki about it. ;)

Gary ;)
 
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I didn't really learn anything new from the tutorials. I still don't know what I might be able to do to make the Clavinova talk to the PC laptop, other than possibly buying a better cable.

From my understanding, the small box on the MIDI to USB cable might be sub-par, and that box is, I believe, a smaller version of a larger MIDI interface? So, by using a cheap MIDI to USB cable, it's possibly like buying a really cheap audio interface and wondering why my expensive mic sounds terrible?

I still have questions about settings:

"Controlling the MIDI function." By default, it is set to Omni On, or I can set it to Channel 1. Which should I be doing?

I don't know which transmission sending channel I should be using. I don't think I need to worry about the receiving channel, since I am not connecting multiple MIDI devices, just my laptop and Clavinova. (I don't think this matters unless I am using multiple instruments, anyway). It defaults to Channel 1.

Any advise on how to make this work would be appreciated! I am planning to buy the Yamaha MIDI to USB that was suggested above, someplace where I can return it if it doesn't solve my problem, other than that I have no idea what else I could change!
 
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happyrat1

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Again if you paid attention to the videos most of your questions would already be answered.

If you have further, more detailed questions plug them into google and see what comes up.

You didn't learn how to play piano in a single day and you won't learn how to manipulate MIDI in a single day either.

If you want everything served up on a silver platter then I'd suggest hiring a tutor to talk you thru MIDI hookups, Channels, Sysex Files, Sequencers and DAWS. There's plenty of music students at the universities who will happily play for pay and even with Covid they need to earn tuition money.

Gary ;)
 
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I did pay attention, they just didn't cover anything I didn't already know. I have known about MIDI since the early to mid-1990s, and I have had this Clavinova for about 5 years and have had my previous MIDI keyboard for 10 years, unfortunately I can't use my other one because they never released a driver for any OS after XP, and in 5 years I have not been able to figure out how to make the Clavinova work, other than to put all the notes on one staff in Finale, which was not helpful for me.

I think that changing the only 2 changeable settings on my Clavinova won't do a thing (though I would appreciate it if someone would tell me if I'm right or not). I think the only possible things I can do at this point are to buy a more expensive MIDI to USB cable, keep trying more DAWs and MIDI sequencers, and possibly find a driver that will make the Clavinova work on Windows 10, but I don't think any such driver exists (after searching for it).

As far as students go, I'm over an hour's drive from the nearest university. I doubt anyone would be willing to come way out to the middle of nowhere to help me with this, which is why I joined a forum where I hoped I might get the answers I need, after Googling for months did not yield the answers.

BTW, I actually did learn to play the piano in a single day. My parents bought a chord organ at a local yard sale when I was 3 or 4, and by the end of the day, I could play recognizable melodies by ear. Of course, I did improve a lot over time, and I also took 10 years of piano lessons as a kid. I sort of expected that I would plug everything in and it would work. The fact that it hasn't, well, maybe that's because my Clavinova is just too old, and maybe that's because there is some trick to making a Clavinova this old work.

I suppose no one here has anything this old, so no one can really tell me what the trick is (if there is one).
 

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