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DSI Evolver: Help with sysex programming

Posted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 6:25 am
by Infrasound
I'm looking for help with the DSI desktop evolver.

I read somewhere that someone was able to control sysex parameters via midi cc's.
I don't know if this is possible or not, but I have no experience with sysex at all.
I know that Ableton Live doesn't accept sysex but I've heard that Max for Live can.
Does this mean the Evolver can be controlled via Ableton?

I don't really want to use a computer editor to control the Evolver. I've read conflicting things
about the existing Soundtower and Vyzor editors, and I don't really want to shell out the cash, only to be disappointed. I hate using a mouse and prefer hands on control, so I think ditch the middleman and control
directly.

On the Yahoo forums I read about an X-Station template for the Evo, but the message is very old
and I couldn't find anything else about this.
I'm using Midi Touch for Ipad, which is also capable of sysex. Does anyone else have experience
with this?

Re: DSI Evolver: Help with sysex programming

Posted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 9:49 am
by Zamise
I read not too long ago from someone on the RS7000 yahoo group that the X-station is capable of assigning sysex to knobs, pretty cool since I don't think a lot of synths and controllers are capable of this, but it looks like it uses "DV" as the parm variable. Examples looks like this:

> > F0 43 10 6A 10 00 0D DV F7
> > F0 43 10 6A 10 01 0D DV F7
> > F0 43 10 6A 10 02 0D DV F7

Supposedly those are sysex codes for velocities on tracks 1-3 for a Yamaha RS7000 programmed on to X-Station knobs.

Anyhow, don't know if what you've got is capable of receiving, capturing or sending sysex codes, but it helps if you have something that does since sysex codes don't usually seem to be documented very well, CCs are usually more standardized and commonly re-assignable to controls. CCs seem to usually be captured and displayed as events over sysex codes too, so if you've got something that catches both you may need something like Bome's Send SX (windows only afik) to see and learn what sysex codes are being output for CCs, maybe?

Also, from what I've read recently somewhere, is that DSI does some weird stuff with some of their CCs that you might want to externally control. For instance, supposedly cutoff on the Mopho goes up to 164 instead of 127 or something like that, so you may not get the full range if you are trying to control it externally from something that would normally only control a range from 0 to 127. You might need to have two knob assignments for that or something like use NRPNs instead to get the full range, maybe? Maybe that is why you want to use sysex instead of CCs to control the Evolver?

As a disclaimer, I'm giving you second hand info here that I've heard and read about recently, but I hope I helped ya out a little if you were wondering about the capability to do sysex knob assgns on an X-Station. How you would tell it to control an odd range through that DV variable I do not know or if it is even possible on anything that you are trying to control sysex via what are normally CC controlled parms.

Re: DSI Evolver: Help with sysex programming

Posted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 12:26 pm
by Danchenka
I use the Doepfer Drehbank with mine. I programmed the sysex strings myself, and it works great.
Unfortunately, they aren't made anymore, and they're pretty pricey.

I think there's something from Behringer that sends sysex. You might want to try that.

If you ever do get something which can send sysex, I can help you program it. It's really not nearly as hard as people imagine it is.

I'd go with sysex if possible. However, I also don't remember the specifics about why I chose to set up the Drehbank to use sysex rather than CCs. It was a long time ago, but I'm sure I wouldn't have bothered to do it without a good reason. Something along the lines of what Zamise said sounds right. Anyway, not every sound parameter, and none of the sequencer parameters work with CC, and if I remember correctly, the first evolver OS didn't even support CCs at all. The sysex implementation is quite reliable. I've had no problems with it.

Re: DSI Evolver: Help with sysex programming

Posted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 1:19 pm
by boreg
Here's a little trick I use for controlling the Evolver sequencer with Novation Remote SL.

The Novation can be programmed to send SysEx, but only as a single byte (I suppose this limitation applies to most other controllers, except for the most advanced ones). Evolver's SysEx implementation uses two "nibbles" to encode an 8-bit value: LS (lower 4 bits) and MS (higher 4 bits). So, the idea is to fix LS at zero, and limit the controller range to 0-31; this value is sent as MS. This means that you can only obtain values 0,16,32,48 etc - but still, it's better than nothing. Having 8 sliders available for tweaking the sequence steps simultaneously is really a different experience :P

Hope this helps.

Re: DSI Evolver: Help with sysex programming

Posted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 2:28 pm
by Sir Nose
The behringer BCF 2000/ BCR 2000 is about as easy to program sysex as it gets (using the 2nd party freeware: BC Manager). The manager software is windows only, no mac version is planned. I put together a template for every parameter of the Roland Alpha Juno in an afternoon. There is an evolver template on the bc2000 yahoo group, but I do not know how developed it is (if includes sysex or just CCs).

Re: DSI Evolver: Help with sysex programming

Posted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 4:02 pm
by masstronaut
I did the Evolver template in the BCR group. It's all sysex and was easy enough though laborious to put together using the BC Manager program. As Danchenka says it's not as complicated as you might imagine. The BCR2000 is a good knob box for the money; a bit chunky, but you can use it to control just about any MIDI device.

My template if you want to try it is just one page of the BCR and doesn't cover every parameter, most of the main ones though. The layout is also a bit idiosyncratic inevitably as it was designed for a particular way I was working at the time. I still use it.

One thing about using sysex for a lot of automation type control is it can lead to a lot of data, to the extent that it can noticeably affect the timing of other data on that port. For that reason if you are just doing things like filter sweeps it can be better and simpler to use MIDI CCs.

Re: DSI Evolver: Help with sysex programming

Posted: Mon Mar 19, 2012 1:09 pm
by Infrasound
I appreciate the replies but perhaps I should have been more specific.

I'm not planning on buying a new controller - I already have a Novation X-Station, A Novation Zero SL, and Midi Touch on the Ipad. Ideally, I was hoping there was someone who has made a template for one of these, but I think the chances are small. Otherwise I will look into programming the X-Station or the Ipad as I think the Novation Zero is too limited from everything I've heard. The Ipad is really good, with midi over WIFI, and I'm not really noticing any latency. I've also got Touchable, for Ableton Live, and it alone is worth the price of the Ipad for me.

I'm a complete newbie with sysex and my limited research has not helped greatly. Any beginners guides to sysex (especially if relevant to my hardware), would be of great use.

I'm still getting my head around the sequencer and modulations as well as working full-time, so I don't want anyone to go out of their way. If however someone has any revelatory thoughts, please pass them on.

Is there anyone out there who remembers an X-Station template? I've seen mention of one, but nothing else ecept for a lone enquiry somewhere.

Re: DSI Evolver: Help with sysex programming

Posted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 12:18 am
by Ashe37
Infrasound wrote:I appreciate the replies but perhaps I should have been more specific.

I'm not planning on buying a new controller - I already have a Novation X-Station, A Novation Zero SL, and Midi Touch on the Ipad. Ideally, I was hoping there was someone who has made a template for one of these, but I think the chances are small. Otherwise I will look into programming the X-Station or the Ipad as I think the Novation Zero is too limited from everything I've heard.
The Remote Zero is about the same or less limited programming wise than the X-Station, hence why they can share templates. You may need to set the Remote Zero to send NRPNs in order to get full control, it is capable of doing so.

Re: DSI Evolver: Help with sysex programming

Posted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 12:30 am
by meatballfulton
Between the existing knobs and CC support, what in particular are you trying to do? It's not like there are menus to deal with... :?: :?

Re: DSI Evolver: Help with sysex programming

Posted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 2:57 am
by Infrasound
I'm basically looking for as much hands-on control as I can get.

It's not a case of me trying to do anything spectacular. I would like to program a parameter by having that parameter close to hand. By the time I've clicked or double clicked a button, making sure the sequencer is not engaged, and deciphered the strange 3 digit code, I forget what it was I'm trying to do.

For example, I could picture Midi Touch on the ipad having a visual representation of the sequencer, and a simple drop down menu where I can choose a mod destination (written as a word, not a cryptic abbreviation). If I want to alter the sequence, rather than hitting a button and editing 8 steps, then hitting another to edit another 8 steps, I see something like Numerology (or midi-step sequncer for the Ipad) as being more user friendly.

Even though the Evolver is not burdened with huge amounds of menus, it is still quite a labrynthe to navigate. From what I can see, the tools are there, I just need to figure out how to use them in the manner I imagine.

Re: DSI Evolver: Help with sysex programming

Posted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 8:53 am
by masstronaut
So the question was mainly if anyone knew of an Evolver template for X-Station or MIDI Touch? Fair enough, anyone?

I'd suggest you try programming MIDI Touch. Just one control as experiment to get an idea of how it's done and to see if it can handle those sysex strings. All the sysex stuff is detailed in the back of the Evolver manual. Once you understand that it would mainly be a matter of planning a layout and plonking the controls on the screen I imagine. It could be good but you'll certainly need multiple pages to get everything on the iPad screen. The sequencer steps alone account for 64 controls. It's also not clear how the RST and OFF step settings could be handled, that is to say if MIDI Touch offers a level of customisation that would allow those to be displayed as such. Hopefully there's a way. For myself I find the Evolver front panel is pretty good for setting the step sequencers - a matrix is exactly what's needed, although it is always nice to be able to see all the step settings.

By the way I think it's cool that the DSI sysex ID is 0000 0001. Dave Smith OG.