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MIDI For Yahmaha FX1?

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  • MIDI For Yahmaha FX1?

    Hi, I can see that you are dealing with midi and I have this question related to this general topic. I recently have made the acquisition of a Yamaha FX1. This 3 keyboards FM synthesizer is amazing, the sound is great through the original cabinets and the look is fantastic, reminding us the iconic GX1. Now, the main update for me would be to add the midi to it: this unit doesn't offer any possibility to edit the parameters of the FM synthesis engine and it would be, of course, great to control some FM or analog plugin with the 3 keyboards and the pedals. I could read there and there in the forum that some modification can be done for midi out and also for midi in, but I did not find who can perform this work and what custom midi interface is required. If you know about it I would love to have some information about this modification that would give another dimension to the FX1. Thank you to keep me posted:)

  • #2
    Marsignac , First of all, Welcome to the Forum ! And secondly, welcome to the fairly small group of us FX-1 owners here in the US ! I hope yours is in good working order. I agree that they are fantastic sounding instruments . Both of mine have a couple of minor issues right now, but they will be fixed over the winter.

    Years ago there was a guy who made a MIDI add on system for the FX-1s that was pretty well done and comprehensive. It hooked into some existing circuity in the organ for the MDR that was an option for them. However, that person never sold many of them, as they were pretty expensive. That person has not been around the various Electone sites for a long time now, and the consensus is that he likely passed away. I toyed with the idea of getting one for mine back then, but never followed though with that plan. At that time, I thought the FX-1 was wonderful enough just as it was built, for my style of playing. I still think that actually.

    Years ago again ( but not as many years ago ), I ran across a website by someone who added MIDI to an FX-20. I may have that site saved - I'll need to check. However, that guy reported that while what he did works well on an FX-20, it does not work for an FX-1. Although the FX-20 is the next smallest Electone in that era, the FX-1 is substantially different in a number of ways. Basically way more complicated than a home organ - dual key scan drivers for one thing . Just for interest though, here is the link to that site :

    Last edited by Larrytow; 08-27-2021, 05:24 PM.
    Regards, Larry

    At Home : Yamaha Electones : EX-42 ( X 3 !!! ), E-5AR, FX-1 ( X 2 !! ), FX-20, EL-25 ( X 2 ). Allen 601D, ADC 6000D. Lowrey CH32-1. At Churches I play for : Allen Q325 ( with Vista ), Allen L123 ( with Navigator ). Rodgers 755. 1919 Wangerin 2/7 pipe organ.


    • #3
      Reverse engineering the keying so the organ works with a Midi and encoder is a complicated affair. I dabbled with that trying to enable Midi while also keeping the old sounds on my Allen, but I eventually gave up. There are a number of solutions available if you’re willing to give up the original sounds, but trying to do them both may be difficult.

      -Current Instruments: Allen Mos-2 225 RTC,1870's W. Bell Reed organ, 1890's Singer Chicago upright grand piano Former Instruments: Yamaha Electone E3R
      -Website: https://www.exercisesincatholicmythology.com


      • myorgan
        myorgan commented
        Editing a comment

        Regarding MIDI on an Allen, may I recommend this thread beginning here: https://organforum.com/forums/forum/...408#post738408.

        John started the project, and I believe he was getting satisfactory results with the organ that had DM-2 and a large specification. However, he may have sold it before completion.


      • John Kinkennon
        John Kinkennon commented
        Editing a comment
        The matrix encoder worked fine using a Teensy 4.1 and is in use on the ADC-8000 in my post. The DM board replacement circuitry was on a separate Teensy and awaits testing. I've been busy with another project and do not currently have access to an Allen ADC model that still has all those 70-pin connectors.

        If anyone wants the details to build the matrix encoder check the latest files on my web site home page. This encoder monitors up to three manuals and pedals and does not interfere with the Allen organ circuits. I had begun working on a plug in version that didn't require soldering and that encoder is not finished.

    • #4
      Hi Larry, Thank you so much for all the information. I make some research on my side, reaching some companies that are specialized in Midi implementation. As soon as I will find a solution, (if I'll find a solution), I will keep you posted about it.
      The midi on the FX1 can be very rewarding because then, we would be able to turn it, among other synthesizers and samplers, in an incredible GX1 when desired. (The GX1 used an analog synthesis that was approximately the same as the one of the CS80 Yamaha).
      And now, we have an excellent emulation of the CS80 made by Arturia that would strongly agreement the presets of the FX1:
      As it appears to me, the main option, sadly missing in the FX1, is the possibility of edition and memorization of its FM sounds.
      If the FX1 can export the midi out on all his channels (3 Keyboards + Pedal) it will become an extremely powerful multitimbral synthesizer with the possibility of editing.
      A midi connection then, will bring the flexibility of the last generation of synthesizers, Drum machines and
      effects to this monster.
      The FX1, by its incredible design, is timeless. I believe that It really deserves to be updated to the best standards, as long of course, that we also keep all its original features.
      Yamaha did not go further on this "niche" market, and nothing existing can replace those two iconic synthesizers.

      I have several ideas of modifications that will be a prolongation of the concept of the GX1 and the FX1.
      I will keep you posted on the forum as soon as I will be able to bring some new features to the beast...


      • #5
        AFAIK the guy in the USA who came up with the solution is no longer alive. The guy in the UK who did the same is still with us but long since retired.

        Both systems did indeed tap into the data stream that would have gone to the MDR unit. It was a very quick and simple installation and was 'transparent' to the MDR which worked as usual.

        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 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


        • #6
          Thank you Andy, I will mention those previous solutions going through the MDR to the companies that I will reach here, in the Us. We will see if they might be able to create the same kind of interface, and I will keep you guys posted.

          Enjoy your day:)


          • #7
            Not that this will be much help really, but the member name here of the guy who used to build the MIDI system for the FX-1 is / was : freddy2 . I also believe that was his member name on the old Electone Zone site. I just did a member name search here for that name, and it tells me that that name does not exist, so perhaps Admin clears out names that have gone quiet after a certain number of years ?

            I remember that when the Electone Zone site was closed, the admin of it made a FB group to replace it. But of course, all of the archived posts ( tons of valuable information ! ) from that site never got transferred to the FB group. There were tons of posts from many years there, and it was always a wonderful resource - I still miss it. I have no idea of who that admin was, or if there is an extant archive database of the whole site somewhere. However, I'm almost certain that the EZ site is where I first heard of the MIDI add on, and first "met" freddy2 there.

            At some point freddy2 and I had direct e-mail contacts regarding my potentially getting one, and I will have to search through various older e-mail archives of addresses I have used over the years. There may be some descriptions / diagrams / maybe even a PDF sheet about his system as an attachment to some of them ? Most things I recall pretty well, but things that I did not end up pursuing are starting to get a bit foggy these days.
            Regards, Larry

            At Home : Yamaha Electones : EX-42 ( X 3 !!! ), E-5AR, FX-1 ( X 2 !! ), FX-20, EL-25 ( X 2 ). Allen 601D, ADC 6000D. Lowrey CH32-1. At Churches I play for : Allen Q325 ( with Vista ), Allen L123 ( with Navigator ). Rodgers 755. 1919 Wangerin 2/7 pipe organ.


            • #8
              Hi Larry, thank you so much for your research. If you find some information about the system, it will surely help to make this modification build by a company used to work on Yamaha Electones and synths.
              I am also trying to find some alternatives... It could be possible to install some extra contacts under each keys of the three keyboards and the pedals. In fact the keys of the FX1 would then control another midi keyboard that would be installed underneath. To play the FX1 with external synths or plugins it will not even be necessary to turn it on, just the power supplies of the extra midi keyboards. I will keep you posted about this option if I have some serious feedback from keyboard specialists.