Yamaha PSS-480/580/680 firmware?

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Virgule
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Yamaha PSS-480/580/680 firmware?

Post by Virgule » Sat May 11, 2019 8:31 pm

Hello Explorers,

Does anyone know if a firmware revision or update was ever released for these Yamaha keyboards? I'm wondering if there's a way to permanently replace the rom presets with custom ones.

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Re: Yamaha PSS-480/580/680 firmware?

Post by Rasputin » Sun May 12, 2019 3:53 pm

Virgule wrote:
Sat May 11, 2019 8:31 pm
Does anyone know if a firmware revision or update was ever released for these Yamaha keyboards? I'm wondering if there's a way to permanently replace the rom presets with custom ones.
I think there are two separate questions there. If Yamaha ever released some "final update" for that series, it wouldn't have been to add the capability to replace the ROM presets.

That said... if you have a way to dump the firmware of any PSS units that you have, I will look into creating a patching utility. I have done such a thing with the CZ-101.

Honestly, I think patching out the drum sounds in the PSS 680/780 would be easy, but trying to make PSS ROMs with custom patches is more effort than it is likely worth.

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Re: Yamaha PSS-480/580/680 firmware?

Post by Virgule » Sun May 12, 2019 6:50 pm

I wasn't quite sure where and how to ask about this.

Increasing the number of save slots is more what I had in mind than replacing the onboard sounds.

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Re: Yamaha PSS-480/580/680 firmware?

Post by Rasputin » Mon May 13, 2019 1:08 am

Virgule wrote:
Sun May 12, 2019 6:50 pm
Increasing the number of save slots is more what I had in mind than replacing the onboard sounds.
Keep in mind that I haven't deeply explored this idea, but:

I think increasing the amount of user patch slots is more or less "impossible" because (at least on the PSS-480/580) they are kept in 64K of battery backed static RAM, and the only way to add more user patch slots is to get an oversized replacement static RAM and "cycle through" the additional banks on a hardware level.

This wouldn't be an insurmountable problem, but I'm not sure the RAM is dedicated to exclusively storing the user patches. If it is not dedicated then any time a different bank (it would be 5 patches per bank, by the way) was switched to, the PSS would potentially crash/go crazy because other non-patch data would instantly be swapped too when it comes along for the ride.

This trick would work fine on the ROM contents though, so not only could you replace any of the preset data (sound or otherwise), but you could add bank selection which would give you a preset "expansion", so to speak.

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Re: Yamaha PSS-480/580/680 firmware?

Post by ioth_ » Mon May 13, 2019 1:45 am

I dont think that they ever updated it, since it's more of an amateur instrument, that was kinda cheap-ish at that time.
And even if, you would probably need to replace an eeprom or two, can't imagine they'd include a patching option through midi at that time and for that price.
still a very fun and usable keyboard though, my favourite one, when it comes to "toy-ish" instruments. (have the 580)
One sad thing about it, is that the midi capabilities are very weak.
On mine every note has about 50-100ms delay to it, which makes it very hard to stay in the groove, when triggering it externally. And the drums will start on midi start, but won't sync to a clock, meaning if the tempo is set to 120, it will run on 120, even if the daw is on, e.g. 130.
I guess thats the issue with all units, is it?

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Re: Yamaha PSS-480/580/680 firmware?

Post by Virgule » Tue May 14, 2019 4:38 am

Replacing the Rom sounds would indeed make more sense.

Are the 100 preset patches written in from sysex files?

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Re: Yamaha PSS-480/580/680 firmware?

Post by Rasputin » Tue May 14, 2019 1:35 pm

Virgule wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 4:38 am
Replacing the Rom sounds would indeed make more sense. Are the 100 preset patches written in from sysex files?
You would have to use an EPROM programmer to burn a new ROM and then open up the synth to replace the presets. And you'd also have to wire up a bank selector knob, etc. if you wanted to expand the amount of preset storage.

But to create the custom ROM file, it would probably make the most sense to translate SysEx files over to whatever format is needed. It's a one-time event though, so once the patches were finalized and installed, those are the presets you'd have and to change even one would require burning a new ROM and re-installing it.

So you can't "write in" the preset patches from SysEx, but SysEx would likely be involved in the process.

To even attempt it, we'd need to read-out the correct ROM from the machine in question. Which means opening the synth, removing the ROM, and putting it into an EPROM programmer.

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Re: Yamaha PSS-480/580/680 firmware?

Post by madtheory » Tue May 14, 2019 6:35 pm

Isn't this the same engine as a 4 op FM synth? Surely a TX81Z can do all the same sounds? Add Chipcrusher from Plogue and there you go, a programmable PSS with no MIDI delay?

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Re: Yamaha PSS-480/580/680 firmware?

Post by Virgule » Tue May 14, 2019 7:37 pm

Thanks for taking time to answer, Rasputin.

It doesn't look to have any socketed ICs and everything is done on the main sound chip/cpu, I think. I have the service manual but no technical knowledge.

The saved patches stay in storage as long as the power adapter is plugged in (whether unit is on or off). Not much useful if the keyboard has to be moved around and I'd definately preffer if they resided permanently.

Never heard it was done before or could interest anyone. Is there anything I can do or be of help with?

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Re: Yamaha PSS-480/580/680 firmware?

Post by Rasputin » Wed May 15, 2019 2:18 pm

Virgule wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 7:37 pm
The saved patches stay in storage as long as the power adapter is plugged in (whether unit is on or off). Not much useful if the keyboard has to be moved around and I'd definately preffer if they resided permanently.
They just have to be battery backed, that's all.

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Re: Yamaha PSS-480/580/680 firmware?

Post by coldwar » Thu May 16, 2019 2:41 am

I may have an out of the box solution to your problem. Rasputin knows his onions about ROMs and such so definitely the person to refer to and he has helped me several times in the past.
That being said have you considered using a smartphone or tablet with a MIDI dongle to store and upload the patches via MIDI instead? It would let it keep its portability and you could use the PSS editor to create slightly more elaborate patches and load them from the phone. Probably not ideal for live performance but fine for home recording.
I only say this because that is where I landed with my old Roland S-10 sampler. I ended up saving a bunch of samples onto my smartphone and would simply sample them back into it. It was not any less slow than loading from its floppy and had a good interface.
I wish you luck. I have a PSS480 right now and owned the other two in the past (until I find another TQ5 haha) and they are fun little machines. I actually added an encoder knob to be able to run Modulation filter runs or crank up the rez more like a knobby synth.
Best to ya and happy jamming to us all!

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Re: Yamaha PSS-480/580/680 firmware?

Post by Virgule » Thu May 16, 2019 5:06 am

Hi and thanks for your suggestions, coldwar.

I did consider a really small notebook for that... Yes, PSS-Edit opened up this synth beyond what the front panel offers. I also like its flavor better than the Fb01, Tx81z, despite the limitations.

5 user slots are just not enough for a multitimbral machine but I'm aware it wasn't meant to be used as a complete sound design tool.

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