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HX-1, too bad it's not General Midi....is there a remedy?

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  • HX-1, too bad it's not General Midi....is there a remedy?

    Hello all,

    I would love to seamlessly connect my HX-1 to PSR-S970 via midi but they don't speak the same language. I'm sure many of you know, the HX's midi is Yamaha's version before General Midi came out. Ideally, I would like to be able to punch the piano button on the HX and have it play the piano off of the PSR or any of the other sounds on the PSR. Update some of the sounds on the HX which are lacking and also have the ability blend them together for a nice full/warmer effect.

    Is there some sort of midi adapter/program I could use? Is that what a midi patcher is?

    Yes, I would totally agree, the HX series is not a very user and "playing on the fly" kind of organ. I've loaded in the "Orchestral" disc into the registration memory, tweaked it a bit, and usually just stick with those 16 combinations.

    Just for the record, my all time favorite organ to play without having to be a computer programmer is the FX-20. Even though, it's not midi, I think I rather have it than the HX-1.

    Any thoughts and ideas will be greatly appreciated. Thank you,

    John

  • #2
    General MIDI is a bane we'd all be better off without.

    But pertaining to what you want to do, Bars&Pipes will do it, so I would assume that there is software for Windows or Linux that will do it. By patcher, I'm not certain but I think you mean a patch bay which will route MIDI traffic to different devices but not change the logical patch as far as I'm aware.

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    • #3
      Connecting organs to other devices has always been a problem.

      Most organs just aren't designed with this in mind. Yes, they can send out basic data but actually getting the external device to select particular sounds is much more difficult. By 'patcher' you're asking for what you said - press Piano on the organ and get Piano on the 970. I'm not aware of anything that will do that. At first glance Bars and Pipes appears to be just a MIDI sequencer so that won't do the job directly in the way that you want. Like all sequencers, or DAWs as they're more commonly known these days, will reroute MIDI and allow you to send MIDI channels to a external device and it will be able to select the required voice. But I don't think that's what you want.

      You'll have to look at the MIDI specs of the HX1 and the S970. The 16 presets should be able to send out Programme Change messages and it might be possible to get the S970 to respond to link its 8 Registration Memory buttons to the first 8 presets on the HX1. Maybe!

      Some organs, particularly the German makes, are clever - the 16 presets can also send more complex Bank Select and Programme Change data, with each one selecting a sound (or perhaps multiple sounds) on the external device. Again check the MIDI instructions for the HX1 to see if it can do this. But the HX1 is old and MIDI was still pretty much in its infancy back then. It may be as basic as most organs are now.

      As for General MIDI, its main use now is for playing standard MIDI files. Its 128 voice soundset is limited, XG, GS and GM2 went rather further. Funny, I was playing a standard MIDI file back on a Yamaha Genos last Friday and found that when went go to play it, the Genos gave you the option of selecting the very best equivalent voices. So the dull old GM piano was replaced with a high quality Grand Piano and so on, on every track! Neat.
      It's not what you play. It's not how you play. It's the fact that you're playing that counts.

      New website now live - www.andrew-gilbert.com

      Current instruments: Roland Atelier AT900 Platinum Edition, Yamaha Genos, Yamaha PSR-S970, Kawai K1m
      Retired Organs: Lots! Kawai SR6 x 2, Hammond L122, T402, T500 x 2, X5. Conn Martinique and 652. Gulbransen 2102 Pacemaker. Kimball Temptation.
      Retired Leslies, 147, 145 x 2, 760 x 2, 710, 415 x 2.
      Retired synths: Korg 700, Roland SH1000, Jen Superstringer, Kawai S100F, Kawai S100P, Kawai K1

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      • #4
        Midi Solutions (http://midisolutions.com/products.htm) sell various bits of equipment which you can programme to recognise one midi message and convert it to another. They are very helpful but perhaps an expensive way of doing something with an old organ, Worth looking at though.

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        • #5
          Bars & Pipes absolutely will do the job. But you need an Amiga with a MIDI port to run it, and enough ingenuity to figure out how to set it up (or I could make a YouTube video on how to do it if need be).

          Bars & Pipes has software filters that you can use to turn one patch value into the other, and the main feature of the software is signal routing which can easily be done from one device to another. (This is where the name Bars & Pipes comes from.)

          I expect there must be PC software that will do this, but maybe not.

          If you're really ambitious, you might be able to emulate an Amiga on a different machine. Getting MIDI ports might be a challenge. But Bars & Pipes is free these days. (From Microsoft of all places)

          KRG posted whilst I was writing. That's probably the best route.

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          • #6
            If Bars and Pipes will allow for instant patch changing on the fly, ie, without it having to be programmed in advance, then great. And MIDI Solutions do make some great (even bespoke) gear. I have a couple of custom gizmos from them, but they weren't cheap! But first, you have to have a programme change message that the DAW or gizmo will accept and convert for you. Pressing 'Piano' on the panel probably won't do this. On most organs, pressing a panel button doesn't send any MIDI message at all.

            And it may not always be convenient to have a computer sitting between the organ and target device. A gizmo is easier.

            There was a device called Patch Commander, that had a keypad on which you could enter MIDI commands. However, even here you'd have problems with today's keyboards. The S970 will require two Bank Select messages (LSB and MSB) plus a Programme Change message to select a sound. That would be a lot of button pushing!
            It's not what you play. It's not how you play. It's the fact that you're playing that counts.

            New website now live - www.andrew-gilbert.com

            Current instruments: Roland Atelier AT900 Platinum Edition, Yamaha Genos, Yamaha PSR-S970, Kawai K1m
            Retired Organs: Lots! Kawai SR6 x 2, Hammond L122, T402, T500 x 2, X5. Conn Martinique and 652. Gulbransen 2102 Pacemaker. Kimball Temptation.
            Retired Leslies, 147, 145 x 2, 760 x 2, 710, 415 x 2.
            Retired synths: Korg 700, Roland SH1000, Jen Superstringer, Kawai S100F, Kawai S100P, Kawai K1

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            • #7
              When I had my HX I had it connected to the Roland BK-7m, it worked seamlessly which is just as well as my knowledge of midi would fit on the back of a postage stamp!
              Wersi OAX600 Adam T8V Speakers T10s subwoofer

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              • #8
                It will 'drive' it, in that the lower manual keys will trigger the accompaniments, and the upper manual will play the BK7m's sounds on that channel. But my students who do use it tend to have it set up with memory settings that match registration banks on their organs. But it's all done manually, the organs can't tell the BK7m what to call up directly. A fair bit of button pushing needed.

                FWIW, the number of people who want complex MIDI functions on organs is very low. Most never use MIDI and those that do usually just hook something like the BK7m, or a keyboard, for extra rhythm styles and a few sounds. So makers tended to keep things simple and still do for the most part. The Italians were once a law unto themselves and would often have different sound divisions on separate channels rather than manuals on separate channels. Hammond in the 90s had some good functions, where a preset piston could set up zones on the organ's manuals and call up a sound for each zone. The Germans have MIDI that jumps through hoops!

                I'd love to have more MIDI control from my Roland but it is pretty basic in what it does - unless there are some hidden functions.
                It's not what you play. It's not how you play. It's the fact that you're playing that counts.

                New website now live - www.andrew-gilbert.com

                Current instruments: Roland Atelier AT900 Platinum Edition, Yamaha Genos, Yamaha PSR-S970, Kawai K1m
                Retired Organs: Lots! Kawai SR6 x 2, Hammond L122, T402, T500 x 2, X5. Conn Martinique and 652. Gulbransen 2102 Pacemaker. Kimball Temptation.
                Retired Leslies, 147, 145 x 2, 760 x 2, 710, 415 x 2.
                Retired synths: Korg 700, Roland SH1000, Jen Superstringer, Kawai S100F, Kawai S100P, Kawai K1

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                • #9
                  I think something like MIDI Translator Pro will do what you want. I've not used this program, so I don't know how difficult it is to set up but here's a video
                  -Admin

                  Allen 965
                  Zuma Group Midi Keyboard Encoder
                  Zuma Group DM Midi Stop Controller
                  Hauptwerk 4.2

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                  • #10
                    MidiQuest is a pretty powerful full-featured librarian / patch manager / jack-of-all-trades type program, so perhaps it has the functionality that you need. I had run across a similar problem way back in the day when I got my first MIDI keyboard, a Yamaha PSR500. At the time I was an Amiga head, and B&P was the answer to it's non-general MIDI behavior. Perhaps MidiQuest will help?
                    Best wishes!

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                    • #11
                      Looking back over threads that have asked similar questions, it seems that the only Programme Change messages sent out from the HX-1 are 1-16 from the preset pistons. The panel buttons do not do anything.

                      So the best you'll get is to get PC 1-8 from the organ to select Reg Memories 1-8 on the S970 (if possible, and I don't have the manual to hand here). That way you'll be able to get the sounds you want for upper, lower and pedals selected on the S970. Of course, you'll have to set the S970's registration memories up to match what you have on the organ. IF it's possible, this method can work well - I use it when I'm driving my old Kawai K1m expander module (programmed with all my own sounds) and when driving Hauptwerk or Miditzer. Set up the pistons to match and away you go.

                      The alternative, now that we know what the HX-1 does, is to use one of the software or hardware solutions above to set things up so that preset pistons 1-16 choose a specific sound to match what you have in each piston. Software would probably be the best way to do this, but it does involve having a computer permanently in between the organ and keyboard, if you want this functionality all the time.

                      As I'm thinking of buying an S970 myself, I'll download the owners' manual and MIDI chart to see what can be done.
                      It's not what you play. It's not how you play. It's the fact that you're playing that counts.

                      New website now live - www.andrew-gilbert.com

                      Current instruments: Roland Atelier AT900 Platinum Edition, Yamaha Genos, Yamaha PSR-S970, Kawai K1m
                      Retired Organs: Lots! Kawai SR6 x 2, Hammond L122, T402, T500 x 2, X5. Conn Martinique and 652. Gulbransen 2102 Pacemaker. Kimball Temptation.
                      Retired Leslies, 147, 145 x 2, 760 x 2, 710, 415 x 2.
                      Retired synths: Korg 700, Roland SH1000, Jen Superstringer, Kawai S100F, Kawai S100P, Kawai K1

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Thanks for the information, Andy. I will take a closer look at the midi specifications for both instruments. I have been able to get the piano from the PSR to play on the lower keyboard of the HX--which is a big improvement over the HX piano as you know. I've connected an expression pedal to the PSR so I can bring in its sounds into the mix easily--something like a crescendo pedal.

                        I've had to take a break from messing with my Hammond T-500. I've taken it from being about 40% functional to about 95% and even got rid of the obnoxious hum. However, there is something not right about it. It has been difficult to adequately describe the problem. It simply does not sound as good as my T-200. There's some sort of distortion, most noticeable while using the 1 2/3, 1 1/3, and 1' drawbars when playing in the upper registers. It makes it sound "cheesy" for lack of a better word and I don't even want to play it. Hence my renewed interest in the HX-1.

                        Thanks again for you input!

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