Yamaha DX7II-FD to Control TG77? Or Something Else?

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zerocharisma
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Yamaha DX7II-FD to Control TG77? Or Something Else?

Post by zerocharisma » Fri Jul 08, 2016 6:40 am

Hey all, long-time lurker, first time poster here! Would the DX7II-FD make a good midi controller for the TG77 I just got, or should I look for something else that will maximize what the rack has to offer? Don't get me wrong, the DX7II-FD is one of my all-time favorites, but I want to focus on getting the most out of the TG77. Thing is, every new midi controller keyboard I've tried feels like poo compared to my DX7. Any advice?

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Re: Yamaha DX7II-FD to Control TG77? Or Something Else?

Post by JeEA » Fri Jul 08, 2016 7:02 am

Why not use it then?
As i recall it is only the dynamic response that is different
Value from 0-99 where others goes from 0-127
That means Your DX-7 does not open up for eg. A filter as much as a midi controller
or most other synths Will do, due to the differens In key velocity.
But You Can just adjust that sound You control to suit Your purpose

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Re: Yamaha DX7II-FD to Control TG77? Or Something Else?

Post by desmond » Fri Jul 08, 2016 2:32 pm

JeEA wrote:As i recall it is only the dynamic response that is different
Value from 0-99 where others goes from 0-127
That means Your DX-7 does not open up for eg. A filter as much as a midi controller
or most other synths Will do, due to the differens In key velocity.
Um I think you are referring to the original DX7, which had a limited velocity response.

The later, second-generation DX7II, which is what's mentioned here, has no such problems.

(In fact, it's my - and many others' - all-time favourite synth keyboard action...)

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Re: Yamaha DX7II-FD to Control TG77? Or Something Else?

Post by zerocharisma » Fri Jul 08, 2016 3:24 pm

Yeah, see I've been reading conflicting information about the Yamaha improving velocity response on the DX7II, but many users still getting well below the 127 value stated in the manual. At the end of the day that's not a major issue for me as I can work around it by curving the velocity in my DAW. However, I've also been reading that the DX7 is pretty slow at midi transmission from key presses and the midi thru. Again, not a huge deal for me as I'm just playing notes and pitch-bending. The great feeling keybed is the main reason why I want to use the DX7II-FD. That said, are there any other limitations to using a nearly 30 year old keyboard for midi vs. something from today's current crop of midi controllers?

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Re: Yamaha DX7II-FD to Control TG77? Or Something Else?

Post by meatballfulton » Fri Jul 08, 2016 5:14 pm

Have you hooked up the DX7 to the TG77 yet? That will tell you more than anyone else's opinion.

The keybeds on Yamaha flagship synths have always been high quality, so the inexpensive MIDI controllers being sold today just do not compare.
I listened to Hatfield and the North at Rainbow. They were very wonderful and they made my heart a prisoner.

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Re: Yamaha DX7II-FD to Control TG77? Or Something Else?

Post by desmond » Fri Jul 08, 2016 5:43 pm

zerocharisma wrote:Yeah, see I've been reading conflicting information about the Yamaha improving velocity response on the DX7II, but many users still getting well below the 127 value stated in the manual.
I no longer have mine, but I don't recall any problems getting up to 127 on my DX7S...
zerocharisma wrote:However, I've also been reading that the DX7 is pretty slow at midi transmission from key presses and the midi thru.
I've never heard this about the DX7II/S - there are some notoriously bad synths and modules regarding key scanning, and how responsive they are to MIDI reception and transmission, but I've never heard this in relation to the DX7II/S range. I loved mine as a controller...
zerocharisma wrote:That said, are there any other limitations to using a nearly 30 year old keyboard for midi vs. something from today's current crop of midi controllers?
Not really - it just can't do modern things, like have loads of knobs and sliders to control other things, or displays to show mixer and plugin parameters and stuff that modern controllers can do. But if you just want to play, and pitch and mod, velocity / aftertouch etc are plenty, then no, there aren't really any limitations.

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Re: Yamaha DX7II-FD to Control TG77? Or Something Else?

Post by stikygum » Fri Jul 15, 2016 7:26 am

There's an iPad editor for the TG77 btw. That might be your best option.
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Re: Yamaha DX7II-FD to Control TG77? Or Something Else?

Post by knolan » Sat Jul 16, 2016 12:46 am

Actually a DX7 is a perfect keyboard to play a TG77 for a very particular reason - both the DX7 and SY range transmitted a maximum MIDI Velocity of 100, not 127. Since the programs on the TG77 were very likely designed to be played on a Yamaha keyboard of the time (most likely an SY77) then they only sound 'correct' when played from an SY or DX keyboard, and wrong (too 'bright') when played from a keyboard scaled with velocity from 0 - 127.

I can confirm this directly. I own the SY77 and TG77 (and SY99) - and when I play any programs on those from either the SY77 or SY99 keyboard they sound right, but if I play any of those from another controller they sound too sharp / bright...however you want to describe it.

You might not think it's a big deal but it is - for any FM program with velocity based dynamics, they are too bright when played from another keyboard; and just right when played from the SY keyboards. And since the TG77 can load SY77 programs, and about 70,000 DX programs available across the web too - then - this is important for all those sounds to play as they were designed to sound too.


Of course it means that the DX7 keyboard, when playing other synths, causes them to sound more mellow than when played on other keyboards. I actually like that. For example - as much as I love the JD800 it can sound a tad 'bright', but when played from the SY99 keyboard the JD800 bright plucked and bell like sounds sound more balanced, while pads respond as silky smooth from the SY99 keyboard (and it's aftertouch is sublime to open the filter on JD800 pads).

So the DX7 and SY keyboards have this quirk and for the TG77 is actually important because its programs were, as said, designed to be played from an SY (or DX) keyboard.

So don't change a thing!!

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Re: Yamaha DX7II-FD to Control TG77? Or Something Else?

Post by desmond » Sat Jul 16, 2016 9:26 am

The original DX7 only went to 100 because Yamaha misinterpreted the then new MIDI spec.

The DX7II transmits the full range of velocities, up to 127, as verified by its MIDI implementation chart. As does the SY77, just checked both. But there seem to be conflicting reports around the interwebs...

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Re: Yamaha DX7II-FD to Control TG77? Or Something Else?

Post by knolan » Sat Jul 16, 2016 10:12 am

Hmmm - I assure you - my SY99 only transmit to MIDI value 100. The effect is real, I'm not arguing with you for the sake of argument. I tried all velocity curves to affect it (originally) but they didn't do it. I even chatted so an engineer at Yamaha Kemble - rang them specifically on this issue (in the 90's!) - and unless his knowledge was a incomplete, he confirmed it as the expected bahaviour. I accepted it ever since.

However - on searching the web - I see conflicting debates on this! Some claim what I claim, and others claim a possible velocity to 127 - one forum I stumbled upon even points to an IC upgrade to change from one to the other.

So it looks like there is some sort of inconsistent issue with SY99's in particular. I wonder if it was a difference in manufacturing / programming between different runs of the SY99 (and SY77). So to the original poster - take what I'm saying with caution - it may apply to only some SY77s and Sy99s.

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Re: Yamaha DX7II-FD to Control TG77? Or Something Else?

Post by desmond » Sat Jul 16, 2016 3:54 pm

knolan wrote:Hmmm - I assure you - my SY99 only transmit to MIDI value 100. The effect is real, I'm not arguing with you for the sake of argument. I tried all velocity curves to affect it (originally) but they didn't do it. I even chatted so an engineer at Yamaha Kemble - rang them specifically on this issue (in the 90's!) - and unless his knowledge was a incomplete, he confirmed it as the expected bahaviour. I accepted it ever since.
Yeah, can't really talk about the SY as I have no experience with that, other than what the MIDI implementation chart says (bit naughty of them to lie on it, really, if that's what they are doing)
knolan wrote:However - on searching the web - I see conflicting debates on this! Some claim what I claim, and others claim a possible velocity to 127 - one forum I stumbled upon even points to an IC upgrade to change from one to the other.
Yes, I saw those too. All I can say was that when I had my DX7S, I didn't experience any particular problems with velocities - I think you did have to bash it hard to hit the high end, but I did love the keyboard action in general.

I recall some MIDI gear (maybe Yamaha stuff) back in the day had a "DX7 compensation/compatibility" switch, when switched on, would respond like the original, 100-scaled DX7, in order to react more like the original.
knolan wrote:So it looks like there is some sort of inconsistent issue with SY99's in particular. I wonder if it was a difference in manufacturing / programming between different runs of the SY99 (and SY77). So to the original poster - take what I'm saying with caution - it may apply to only some SY77s and Sy99s.
Yeah, thanks for the clarification. Certainly something to check, at least...

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Re: Yamaha DX7II-FD to Control TG77? Or Something Else?

Post by zerocharisma » Sun Jul 17, 2016 6:17 am

Original poster here. I've had the chance to play my DX7II-FD into the TG77 over the last few days. And I must say, it sounds and feels quite like a special marriage. I'm primarily a guitar player so everything's going through a cleanish Fender amp which just sweetly warms up the tones I'm hearing. It very well may be true that the particular way Yamaha implemented their MIDI to correspond ideally between the SY and DX models was simply them being ahead of their time. I'd like to think that. In addition to how nicely the keys of the DX7 physically feel I have no desire to try another controller any time soon. I find the DX7II-FD (and I also had a DX7s) to be the perfect size at 61 keys and just short of overbearing size and weight. In short, I'm a happy man 8-)

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Re: Yamaha DX7II-FD to Control TG77? Or Something Else?

Post by knolan » Wed Jul 20, 2016 12:45 am

Great to hear. And I agree -it's the same the keybed used in both the DX and SY range and it is excellent. It's almost certain they voiced the TG77 from such a keybed and why it works so well.

Check out the following link to several thousand programs originally released for the SY77 / TG77:

http://synthzone.com/midi/yamaha/sy77/


and check out this archive of 71000 original DX programs (in about 2300 banks of 32 programs) created for the DX range, all in SYX format and if you figure out a way to transmit them to the TG77 it can read them (be sure to back up the TG77 first of course; and note I placed them on korgforums because the OASYS and Kronos can read them too. It's the last link on this page labelled "MOD-7" - it says 200,000 programs are available - but I've been going through them over the years and estimate about 71,000 actual different programs in the entire archive, and the rest duplicates). There's a lot of junk in there - but plenty of gems too - it is the sum total of all released programming for the entire DX range, after all):


http://www.korgforums.com/support/kronos.htm


Kevin.

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Re: Yamaha DX7II-FD to Control TG77? Or Something Else?

Post by abruzzi » Thu Jul 21, 2016 2:11 am

knolan wrote:Hmmm - I assure you - my SY99 only transmit to MIDI value 100. The effect is real, I'm not arguing with you for the sake of argument. I tried all velocity curves to affect it (originally) but they didn't do it. I even chatted so an engineer at Yamaha Kemble - rang them specifically on this issue (in the 90's!) - and unless his knowledge was a incomplete, he confirmed it as the expected bahaviour. I accepted it ever since.
I just tested my SY99 and it definitely outputs over 100, however it's very hard to get high velocities. I didn't check to see if the SY has a velocity curve setting, but I couldnt get over 115 out of mine.

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Re: Yamaha DX7II-FD to Control TG77? Or Something Else?

Post by knolan » Thu Jul 21, 2016 4:08 am

Interesting - thanks. Again I'll reiterate that the 'effect', however it is caused, is real, and I've been harnessing it for several decades! I'll give you a prime example or two - if I play the preset Harlequin on my JD800 from the JD800 keyboard, it sounds sharp and intense. If I play it from my SY99, it is far more mellow. I struggle to get it that mellow on the JD800 itself - I have to play very delicately.

Conversely - one of my favourite SY77 patches is called "Bah Mallet" - an RCM program fusing a choral sound with an FM sound. On my SY77 (and when ported onto the SY99) it sounds rich and dynamic - if I play mellow on either the SY77 or SY99 keyboard the sound is correspondingly mellow, play with greater velocity and loads of bright harmonics come out. Now - trigger that sound from my JD800 keyboard - and it's loud and with bright harmonics even with far lighter touch on the JD800; meaning that the dynamics of the sound were designed to respond to the lower velocity values (or equivalent response) of the SY keyboards.

I could give many similar examples. When I first noticed this in the '90s, I rang Yamaha-Kemble and they said over the phone that it was because the SY's transmitted only to 100. Perhaps that engineer may have been confusing the SY with DX response? But he did say it - and this was about 1991/1992 before the Web even existed - so I hadn't read it anywhere else - I was genuinely told that; and assumed it every since - until now!

Nevertheless, however its happening, the SY's 'respond' as if transmitting lower MIDI velocities for the same velocity level playing when compared to other keyboards. Perhaps it's in the mechanics of the keyboard rather than a digital 'decision' on the velocity level??

However it's caused, it's very pleasant (to me) - because on the face of it, when compared to acoustic instruments, very often rompler samples are too bright, so the SY (and DX) keyboards offer a more realistic response (in my opinion) both to rompler typical sample based programs, and indeed FM programs or the wonderfully velocity-responsive pads and plucked sounds of the JD800. In fact - the SY99/JD800 is one of my 'staples' but always the SY99 keyboard playing (its aftertouch response is 'velvety' smooth too) - and overall offers a very nice performance package.

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