midi control surfaces with rack synths??

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danialad
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midi control surfaces with rack synths??

Post by danialad » Mon Mar 17, 2008 10:27 pm

trying to do some research for future purchases...

i know how midi control surfaces like the behringer bcr2000
work with SOFTsynths easily, but i've been looking around
and cant find any evidence about how easy it
may be to route one to a rack/hard synth?

(specifically a korg dw/ex-8000 or OB matrix-1000)

i cant even imagine how amazing it would be
to have live/full control over every parameter
on all that older gear?

doesn't have to be the bcr2000, but really any
midi controller with knobs and sliders, and getting
it to control the parameters in a hard synth...

any advice/tips/stories appreciated.

thanks, /danial

bcr2000:
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[the gypsy moth project]

have: alesis ion, casiotone 403
had: akai ax-80, korg poly-800, roland juno-6, korg er-1,
alesis sr-16, yamaha tx802, korg dw/ex-8000, korg ms2000

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Post by sacredcow » Mon Mar 17, 2008 10:42 pm

It's very possible, but you need to make sure the synth you want to use it with accepts messages in the various media the knob box transmits (sysex, ccs, nrpns)
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Post by Big Gnome » Mon Mar 17, 2008 10:45 pm

If it can send sysex commands, it should be fine.
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Post by gmeredith » Tue Mar 18, 2008 1:11 am

Already been there with my Yamaha TX802. The BCR2000 won't work because it doesn't output sysex streams.

The answer is the CME Bitstream 3x:

http://www.cme-pro.com/en/product-detai ... oduct_id=6

There are only a very few controllers that will send out sysex controls for older synth modules. The bitstream is one of them, and it has a comprehensive library of many old synths and rack modules. It has gone for $399 brand new with warranty at some ebay shops sometimes.

As I've said before, the BCR2000 is NOT one of them, it is only suited to softsynths, where as the Bitstream can do both soft and hardware synths.

Cheers, Graham
Casio: FZ1, CZ101, PG380, VZ10M, SK8, SK60, RAP10, DP1 drums, DH100, CDP200, DM100
Yamaha: TX81z, TX802, SHS10, DTXv2
Roland: SH101, DR660, MS1, PM16, TR33
Others: Korg MicroKontrol, ES-1, Alesis MMT8, Emu ESi2000 & card reader, BCR2000, V-Machine

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Post by sacredcow » Tue Mar 18, 2008 1:13 am

gmeredith wrote:Already been there with my Yamaha TX802. The BCR2000 won't work because it doesn't output sysex streams.

The answer is the CME Bitstream 3x:

http://www.cme-pro.com/en/product-detai ... oduct_id=6

There are only a very few controllers that will send out sysex controls for older synth modules. The bitstream is one of them, and it has a comprehensive library of many old synths and rack modules. It has gone for $399 brand new with warranty at some ebay shops sometimes.

As I've said before, the BCR2000 is NOT one of them, it is only suited to softsynths, where as the Bitstream can do both soft and hardware synths.

Cheers, Graham
It's not that cut and clear. A lot of newer VAs like my nova offer control via ccs.
PowerMac G4 dual, DSI MoPho, E-MU XL-7, Korg ES-1mkii, Korg EA-1, Novation Nova, Kawai K4, Casio vz10m, Casio ht700, Yamaha PSS-480

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Post by gmeredith » Tue Mar 18, 2008 2:21 am

Yes, but we're talking about older synths here - specifically a DW/EX8000 or OB Matrix 1000

Cheers, Graham
Casio: FZ1, CZ101, PG380, VZ10M, SK8, SK60, RAP10, DP1 drums, DH100, CDP200, DM100
Yamaha: TX81z, TX802, SHS10, DTXv2
Roland: SH101, DR660, MS1, PM16, TR33
Others: Korg MicroKontrol, ES-1, Alesis MMT8, Emu ESi2000 & card reader, BCR2000, V-Machine

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Post by insky » Tue Mar 18, 2008 2:56 am

gmeredith wrote:Already been there with my Yamaha TX802. The BCR2000 won't work because it doesn't output sysex streams.

The answer is the CME Bitstream 3x:

http://www.cme-pro.com/en/product-detai ... oduct_id=6

There are only a very few controllers that will send out sysex controls for older synth modules. The bitstream is one of them, and it has a comprehensive library of many old synths and rack modules. It has gone for $399 brand new with warranty at some ebay shops sometimes.

As I've said before, the BCR2000 is NOT one of them, it is only suited to softsynths, where as the Bitstream can do both soft and hardware synths.

Cheers, Graham
Err...you better check the specs of the BCR2000 again because it DOES in fact send SysEx. It's not touted too loudly by Behringer but the SysEx implementaition is very well done. I've got one, I use it on m JX-8P so I'm talking from experience here.

I'm not sure where people are getting the idea that it doesn't do SysEx, but it does. In fact I can't think of a midi protocol it doesn't support.

The problem you have with older synths is that even if they have midi it doesn't necessarily mean they are programmable...even over SysEx. Synths such as the Poly 800 are not progammable over SysEx. I'm not sure about the DW/EX 8000 but I know the Matrix 1000 is.
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Post by gmeredith » Tue Mar 18, 2008 4:04 am

I've looked everywhere in the BCR2000 manual and I can't find any evidence of assigning a sysex string to a controller. The only thing I found regarding sysex was that you could send bulk sysex dumps from the BCR2000 out to save its memories.

Have you had it operating sysex strings on all/some controls? How did you do it? Are you sure the JX8p controls operate on sysex, rather than simpler CC's?

If it is sysex, then that changes a lot for me regarding my options.

Cheers, Graham

-- -------UPDATE----------

Aparrently, you can! I found this post regarding someone trying to use it to edit a Kawai K5 with sysex strings:

http://osdir.com/ml/music.equipment.kaw ... 00006.html
I'm not sure where people are getting the idea that it doesn't do SysEx, but it does
Because the stupid manual doesn't give any info on it. I don't get why they failed to mention this.

"Oh, and, by the way, our controller DOES do sysex control, but, er.. you wouldn't want to know about that. No. No you wouldn't. Sorry, sir, but we just know that you wouldn't. :evil:

So it's a matter of finding out what sysex strings your synth parameter responds to (the instrument MIDI spec sheet may have it - at least my Yamaha modules do).

You then load the string into MIDI-Ox and then send it to the BCR2000 in "learn mode" to a particular controller. You can then control that parameter!!

For about $130, this isn't a bad way to go. I really do like the CME Bitstream, though, as it's more easily set up to do this sort of thing than the Behringer. But then, money talks...
Casio: FZ1, CZ101, PG380, VZ10M, SK8, SK60, RAP10, DP1 drums, DH100, CDP200, DM100
Yamaha: TX81z, TX802, SHS10, DTXv2
Roland: SH101, DR660, MS1, PM16, TR33
Others: Korg MicroKontrol, ES-1, Alesis MMT8, Emu ESi2000 & card reader, BCR2000, V-Machine

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Post by WDW » Tue Mar 18, 2008 8:19 am

How is the build quality on the Bitstream?

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Post by Altitude » Tue Mar 18, 2008 12:23 pm

That learn mode on the BCF sounds pretty limited, how are u supposed to differentiate sysex streams that only have 4 different values or anything less than 0-127? I would go with a Novation Remote (the old one or SL). They have very comprehensive midi programing, sysex is implemented very well (just cut and paste the string into the programing software, set range, set variable), and the controls can be configured in multiple ways to give you all the control you need. For instance, the buttons can be made to send one msg, latch on/off, increment or decrement by whatever number of steps you want.

As far as the DW/EX sysex implementation, it is wonderful. I have 3 scenes programmed for controlling everything and it is smooth and works perfectly. Although the M1000 does accept sysex, but it is useless for any performance type control since it immediately chokes if you try playing it while sending it sysex. Software controllers are a little bit more useful since they give you a visual representation of the patch but you can only really tweak it a little at a time since sending it any size stream will again choke it. The M1000's only saving grace for performance controls is the fact that it has several assignable CCs which do work perfectly but they are assigned on a patch basis, not globally, so if you want to use them with any of the presets, you have to copy the patch to RAM, and assign them there.

Generally, mid/late 80's gear had fairly straight forward sysex implementations where the strings represented no more than 128 values just like CC's. For all these devices, you can use programmable midi controllers without any problems. I usually just hunt down a software programmer for the device and just copy and paste the sysex streams from that into my controller. Where I have run into problems is with newer gear which has controls mapped to sysex strings which have multiple variables to improve the resolution of the control (Evolver is an example). These controls cannot be mapped to standard midi controllers and I have not seen one which will take them

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Post by gmeredith » Tue Mar 18, 2008 11:20 pm

That learn mode on the BCF sounds pretty limited, how are u supposed to differentiate sysex streams that only have 4 different values or anything less than 0-127?
Apparently, the knob will send the 4 values as you turn it, and then as you keep turning it, will not send for the other values of the knob - ie. all the movement response in the knob is at the beginning. Same with if you had a parameter that only went to 100 - it will increment and send in the 1st 100 steps and then after that, will not send - all of the adjustment is in the 1st 3/4 of a knob revolution.

This review gives a lot of good info on it:

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jan05/a ... ollers.htm

Graham
Casio: FZ1, CZ101, PG380, VZ10M, SK8, SK60, RAP10, DP1 drums, DH100, CDP200, DM100
Yamaha: TX81z, TX802, SHS10, DTXv2
Roland: SH101, DR660, MS1, PM16, TR33
Others: Korg MicroKontrol, ES-1, Alesis MMT8, Emu ESi2000 & card reader, BCR2000, V-Machine

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Post by danialad » Wed Mar 19, 2008 2:15 am

wow! you guys all kicked the a*s out of this topic.
it is rather confusing! you'd think all this information
would be presented straight forward from these companies,
but i guess not.

either way, i think i've found a temporary solution
(let me know if i've got a terrible idea going here):

i'll get something like MidiQuest
(preferably free though, obviously... but i'll figure that out later)
and have whatever software editor controlling, say, the EX8000,
and then use something like behringers BCR2000 to
control that software editor through usb!

(bcr-2000 <-usb-> realtime software editor <-midi/sysex-> rack synth)

obviously i havn't put much research into it.
but i DO know that MidiQuest supports this idea,
and supports the dw(ex)-8000 and tx802.
but! i've still got time to figure everything out
since i havn't got the money to get one of those
controllers AND find a ex-8000!
(for some reason the few i've seen are going
for way higher than they used to?).

time to start saving up!

thanks everyone for your help!
i'm glad when i make these posts they
get people stirring and searching.
it's fantastic i'm not the only one wasting
time searching forums and cached sites
for simple little answers! :D

/danial
(album currently listening to:
Depeche Mode - Violator... huh?
is that some dw-8000 arpeggiation!?)
[the gypsy moth project]

have: alesis ion, casiotone 403
had: akai ax-80, korg poly-800, roland juno-6, korg er-1,
alesis sr-16, yamaha tx802, korg dw/ex-8000, korg ms2000

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Post by gmeredith » Wed Mar 19, 2008 5:53 am

Danial,

Here is a thread doing what you were thinking of - using a software MIDI translator with the BCR2000:

http://osdir.com/ml/music.equipment.yam ... 00053.html

Here is the translator:

http://www.bome.com/midi/translator/



Cheers, Graham
Casio: FZ1, CZ101, PG380, VZ10M, SK8, SK60, RAP10, DP1 drums, DH100, CDP200, DM100
Yamaha: TX81z, TX802, SHS10, DTXv2
Roland: SH101, DR660, MS1, PM16, TR33
Others: Korg MicroKontrol, ES-1, Alesis MMT8, Emu ESi2000 & card reader, BCR2000, V-Machine

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Post by gmeredith » Wed Mar 19, 2008 6:50 am

Another update:

Danial, I think I figured out how to directly program the BCR2000 to control your TX802 module.

The BCR2000 has a free editor utility for PC that you can graphically program it with, rather than just flying blind using hardware only, called the B-Control Edit:

http://www.behringer.com/05_support/bc_ ... m?lang=eng

You can input the TX sysex string data there directly into each control surface. You can then save it as a program on the BCR.

OK, you need to know what sysex string controls what parameter for the TX802:

Use Winsysex and the DXEditor plugin to find out the parameter sysex string. Both the Winsysex and the DXEditor plugin are free shareware, so they are free, but have a nag screen to remind you to purchase it and a timed OK button that doesnt activate for a few seconds to make sure you read the screen.

You can get winsysex v3.0 here:

http://www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/ ... ftware.htm

You can get the DX editor plugin for it here:

http://www.thedx7.co.uk/2nd%20page_Q.html

Install them on your PC as per their instructions. Load the DXEditor up in Winsysex. Double click on a Sysex dialog group in the Winsysex window - eg. "Top Row" - this will open a TX parameter window showing the algorithm number, LFO settings etc.

Go to the MIDI menu at the top of the program window, select ANALYSER. A MIDI message dialog window will open. Now, when you click on a parameter in the TX parameter window - such as "algorithm" and move its slider, you will see a sysex string appear in the analyser window -
for example, moving the algorithm slider to algoritm 2:

F0 43 10 01 06 01 F7

Moving it back to algoritm 1:

F0 43 10 01 06 00 F7


You can see that the 2nd last digit pair is what changes for controlling "algorithm" parameters. There are 32 algoritms, so each 2nd last digit pair increments by 1 to get them all.

Other parameters work in a similar way. Just move them and record their basic code plus the ones that vary. Make a whole list of them for all of the parameters for the TX, with their variable group positions.

Now go to the BCR editor and enter the strings into each control surface for each TX parameter, and tell the BCR editor in each case which digit group is the one that varies the parameter value.

That's it! As I don't have a BCR yet, I'mm assuming this is how it works, but just having the Winsysex editor for listing the strings is a big shortcut!

Regarding controlling your future EX8000, the good news is that Winsysex already has a profile in it for the DW8000 :D

Just do the same for it with the BCR as I have mentioned for the TX802, and you'll have direct hardware editing of it with the BCR!!

Cheers, Graham
Casio: FZ1, CZ101, PG380, VZ10M, SK8, SK60, RAP10, DP1 drums, DH100, CDP200, DM100
Yamaha: TX81z, TX802, SHS10, DTXv2
Roland: SH101, DR660, MS1, PM16, TR33
Others: Korg MicroKontrol, ES-1, Alesis MMT8, Emu ESi2000 & card reader, BCR2000, V-Machine

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Post by crystalmsc » Wed Mar 19, 2008 8:57 am

danialad wrote:
(bcr-2000 <-usb-> realtime software editor <-midi/sysex-> rack synth)
hmm, interesting. pls keep this updated when you did it.
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