Midi Setup Questions: Yamaha MX49


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So I'm a complete midi newbie, and I have a few questions. Context below.

I have an Akai Mpk261 and a Yamaha MX49. I would like to be able to play 2 or more instruments simultaneously (layered) on the MX49 from the Akai.

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So here's the deal - the MX49 has pretty good sounds*, but a crap keybed. I bought it intending to use it as a module, with the added benefit of being able to schlep it to smaller gigs or even to sit in with other bands. But for my primary band, I need a more nuanced controller (which the brain in the MX49 can actually make use of, surprisingly**) - ergo, mpk261.

I've never tried to program a controller before, and it's been a cool learning experience, but pretty frustrating at times. I've finally come across a problem I can't solve, though - I fear it's unsolvable, given the architecture of the MX49.

Because the MX49 puts all the instruments in a given patch on different midi channels, even if a patch is set to "layer," the Akai still only triggers one sound. I can't find a way to have the instruments respond to one midi channel, and I can't find a way to set the Akai to send on multiple channels at once.

The good news about that setup is it made it pretty darn easy to set drums (or in my case, synth bass) to the pads on the Akai. Pretty cool. The bad news is that I need a big honkin' horn section for funk tunes, and a piano with pad for ballads...and that's got me stumped. Anyone have any ideas? And if this is blatantly obvious, is there a resource you could recommend me for learning how to program a midi controller to control a module (as opposed to a daw)?



*Don't buy the hype - there's not 2000 or whatever motif sounds in it, more like 50 with 2000 preset edits. But don't buy the haters either - it's 50 good sounds.

**Brain - supports aftertouch. Keybed - doesn't have aftertouch..... 0.o?
 
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Also, I apologize if this has been covered elsewhere - I did a cursory search of the forums and didn't find anything, but I'm also pretty frazzled and could have missed something
 

happyrat1

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Perhaps this might help?


Gary ;)

PS. Read the links in the Youtube Description on the video page.
 
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Thanks man - unfortunately that video doesn't cover much about setting up the keyboard, but the bit about setting the controls to midi-to-din could be useful (strangely, even though I do have a USB cable plugged in to power it, all midi signals were already being routed to the din). But should I ever do any sequencing or playing to a recorded song, that'll definitely come in handy - I got lost a couple times while he was talking!

Also, strangely (and sadly, and frustratingly), last night I had figured out how to make patch changes on the MX49 from the Akai....and just now I powered them up to find that the exact patches that worked last night are doing different things now....???.....
 
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So, did some more work, here's what I've found. (btw, I can't find an edit button so I can add this to the first post?)

There are a ton of features on the MX49 that aren't available via the controls on the MX49 - they're only available if you connect to a pc via USB cable. Among them is the ability to set more than one of the 16 "voices" to a single Midi channel, and then save that so you can disconnect from the PC - so I can create my big honkin horn section now.

The problem is that - with multiple instruments on one midi channel, I cannot then assign controllers to affect one instrument and not another. Meaning I can't have a piano with a pad on a fader. This isn't the end of the world, especially since I intend this to be my backup setup - I can just make an additional patch with the pad already turned on, and I just won't get the fade in.

BUT, the bigger problem is the patch changing.
So here's the behavior I'm observing. Sending Prgm Changes on the Akai returns somewhat random values on the MX49. First of all, it only effects Voice 1, not the Performance number. Secondly, it does not result in an entirely linear progression. Prgm 000 returns Voice 1 Grand Piano on the MX, as expected, but Prgm 001 sets the MX to Voice 15. It continues in a somewhat normal manner, with occasional out-of-order results. Changing the midi channel send on the Akai changes which Voice (out of 16) it effects on the MX.
BUT, last night I had it affecting the Performance number by setting the midi channel to "B1" instead of "A1" on the Akai. I have now determined that for this behavior to manifest, the MX49 must first be connected, and then disconnected from the editor program on a PC. (Connect MX49 to Vycro editor, disconnect it, connect MX49 to Akai, now midi channel B1 effects Performance number). I could do this at a gig, but it certainly less than ideal, especially since it means an extra step should a reboot be required. Why does it do this?
 

SeaGtGruff

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The Yamaha MX49's voices are selected via MIDI by their Bank and Program numbers, so you'll want to set the Akai MPK261's Program Change Mode to the "Program Change with Bank Change" mode (see pages 28 - 29 of the MPK261 User Guide).

However, be forewarned that Yamaha uses what I call the "PC1" (or "PC base 1") style of numbering in their MX49 Data List-- i.e., the Program numbers shown in the Data List are 1 higher than what should be sent via MIDI. For instance, the Data List says that voice number 1 ("CncrtGrand") is selected with MSB 63, LSB 0, and PC 1, whereas you actually need to select Program 0. To put it another way, the Bank MSB and LSB numbers can range from 0 to 127 as expected, but the Program numbers as they are displayed in the Data List range from 1 to 128 when in fact they should range from 0 to 127. (This isn't just some quirky Yamaha thing, because the MIDI Manufacturers Association refers to the 128 General MIDI instruments as "Program 1" through "Program 128," despite the fact that the values sent in the Program Change messages should be 0 through 127.) Akai uses what I call the "PC0" ("PC base 0") numbering, or the values that should actually be sent in the MIDI messages.

When you send a Program Change number to a keyboard without also sending the desired Bank number, the keyboard will try to switch to the requested Program in the previously-specified Bank. If that Program number isn't used in that Bank, I believe the keyboard will fall back either to the next-lowest Bank that does use that Program number, or else to the lowest Bank (i.e., MSB 0 and LSB 0). I'm not certain about that, and the specific behavior might depend on the keyboard, so you might generalize it as "Sending Program Change numbers without the accompanying Bank Select numbers can lead to unpredictable results." :)

Looking at the MPK261 User Guide, it indicates that you can select the MIDI Channel for each of the assignable pads, faders, and knobs. I also see a reference to a Split mode, but not to a Dual/Layered mode.
 
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Aha! Thanks, SeaGtGruff - I had a suspicion that the Bank Change mode might be involved, but I couldn't figure out the magic combination of MSB and LSB to get it to work. Finally found it buried in a Yamaha manual (MSB 063, LSB 080 - I think, not in front of the keyboard).

So that's a major obstacle overcome, I'm pretty sure I can at least get a usable gigging setup now. I can now change patches, and have some of those patches play multiple instruments (including brass and saxes, doubled in octaves on a single key! yay honkin horn section).

I just need to figure out a way to 1) have the controllers on the Akai affect only certain voices on the MX49 when they're on the same midi channel or 2) have the Akai keyboard send a layered, two channel signal instead of only split, and it will be a perfect setup.
 
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Hmm...and I'm trying to use my MX49 to send program change data to a Rolsnd SH201...
Any ideas?
My setup is MX49 as main tone generator, with an Edirol 61 key controller in via midi, channel 3 usually, for a third available tone from the MX, and a Roland SH201 for 80s pads and some leads...
 

SeaGtGruff

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Are you using any other equipment-- computer, etc.?

Usually the main problem inherent in having one keyboard send program change data to another keyboard is that different manufacturers generally use different sets of Bank Select and Program Change values, so you need to be able to have the first keyboard send BS and PC values that the second keyboard will respond to.

If you're using a computer in your setup, you might look into a program called Cantabile Performer, which can be programmed to send commands to your keyboards to set them up for a particular song, or part of a song, etc. A standard DAW could work, too, especially one like Ableton Live, Acoustica Mixcraft, or Bitwig Studio that can be used with a control pad (i.e., Launchpad-style controller) to launch a particular loop with the touch of a button.

If you aren't using a computer, you might look into a MIDI Solutions Event Processor, which can be programmed to change the channels of events, or change the type of event, etc.-- e.g., the MX49 sends a specified event to the MIDI Solutions Event Processor, which in turn sends the desired BS and PC events to the Roland.

Or perhaps you could try sending the events from the controller-- i.e., if the controller is going to the MX49, then connect the MX49's MIDI Thru to the Roland?
 
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Hey, thanks for response...in this case, I'm not using a computer...it's a live rig for a new wave tribute. I guess I don't really need to send the program changes, I'm only using 2 sound sources and 3 key beds...i also realized I'm only using 4 or 5 patches on the SH201, so, hopefully I'll remember to change them in time...
But thanks for the ideas!
 

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I saw a small device advertised online-- it's the size of a pocket calculator, and looks like a calculator-- that lets you program in patch changes and other strings of MIDI messages, including an entire set list. Then you can select patches or send other setup information to all of your keyboards simply by pressing one of the 9 or 10 digit buttons. But you aren't limited to just 10 patches, because you can select another bank.

Unfortunately, I believe the device is custom made on a demand basis by a guy in California, so it was rather pricey, and the eBay page that the ad links to didn't even show the device as being available when I was looking it over. Nevertheless, it could be very handy for live performances!

Found it... http://www.musictechnologiesgroup.com/midipatch.htm
 
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...last night I had it affecting the Performance number by setting the midi channel to "B1" instead of "A1" on the Akai.

Is there any reliable way to get the MX49 to respond to PC or Prog/Bank messages to select a *Performance* ? I want to be able to select a layered sound from my master keyboard. I can have it send the MX49 different Prog/Bank messages on different channels, but that's useless - that doesn't even let me store volume levels for the different parts.

This is really cramping my style and making me wonder if I should keep my MX49 (I've got a window of about a week to return it!) so any advice is much appreciated!

Thanks!

buzz
 

SeaGtGruff

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There are MIDI Control Change messages for setting a channel's Volume, plus things like Pan, Reverb Depth, Chorus Depth, LPF Cutoff Frequency, LPF Resonance Level, Attack Time, Release Time, etc. So I think you should be able to use MIDI to set all of the parameters that are saved in a Performance. But I don't know if there's a way to recall a particular Performance using MIDI-- I'll have to look at the MX49's documents and see, especially since I've been toying with the idea of getting an MX49 myself.
 

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See pages 53 and 54 of the MX49/MX61 Data List:

[SW1] MIDI Transmit Channel
The data is transmitted over the specified channel for the current Part.
However, Program Change messages for changing the Performance are transmitted over the Basic Channel.

[SW10] Complies with Part Receive Channel and Part Receive Switch.
The Program Change of the Performance complies with Basic Channel.

*3 Relation between BANK CHANGE and PROGRAM is as follows:
| CATEGORY | MSB | LSB | PROGRAM No. |
...
| Performance User 1 | 63 | 80 | 0..127 |

So you would set the Bank Select MSB to 63, set the Bank Select LSB to 80, and set the Program Change to the number of the User Performance you want to recall (0 through 127).
 
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As noted above when you send a patch change to the MX it seems to only effect voice 1. Anyway to get the Performance (not individual sounds for 1) to shift when a patch change occurs on the external synth. Does that make sense? Or was this covered above?
Dave
 
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As noted above when you send a patch change to the MX it seems to only effect voice 1. Anyway to get the Performance (not individual sounds for 1) to shift when a patch change occurs on the external synth. Does that make sense? Or was this covered above?
Dave

Dave, Did u find a solution. I am having the same issue KRONOS2 send 063 080 020 command to MX49. This SHOULD change to PERFORMANCE 21... However it does change to PERFORMANCE 21 BUT also changes both Voices. Making my set PERFORMANCE 21 and entirely different PERFORMANCE. Arrggghhh!
 
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SeaGtGruff

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Reading back through some of the earlier posts in this thread, it sounds to me like sending Bank/Program values to select a Performance might be working correctly, and the problem is that when playing the keyboard controller it is sending messages on only one channel, hence only one of the voices in a layer is actually sounding.

If that's the case, there might be two possible solutions: (1) See if you can set up the keyboard controller to send the Note On/Off messages on two channels at once. Check the manual for any reference to "zones." (2) If the keyboard controller can't do zones for splits and/or layers, you could use a hardware device or software program to clone the events on one channel so they're duplicated on another channel.
 

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