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Yamaha XS 8 to XS Rack?


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I have an XS8 which I really like and have programed extensively.

 

I brought it on its first live gig for a few necessary patches, and it is just heavier than I wish to carry.

 

So I am wondering: can the programs on the XS8 be easily downloaded onto an XS Rack, and then recalled easily? Is this how it's supposed to work.

 

I asked Motifator, (and hoped Bad Mister would respond) but have yet to hear after waiting nearly two weeks.

 

Would someone kindly direct me?

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DON'T DO IT!!!!!

 

Some of the most important parameters are ONLY available from the software voice editor with the rack edition -- including the ability to mute a part within a voice, which is something I like to be able to do in STANDALONE MODE at a gig.

 

I don't remember if Programs will load into the rack edition, as it doesn't have a Program Mode. I seem to recall that the Voice Editor is able to load a Program into the Mix Mode and know what to do with it, but it's been awhile since I sold my rack so maybe someone else can chime in.

 

Voices themselves will transfer in most cases, as long as they don't use non-internal samples. Some voice libraries will crash your rack though, but you can search to find info on that. I'm hesitant to beat up on that vendor any more than I already have, as I am firstly shocked that they didn't address the problem and secondly don't want to get threatened with legal action.

Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Hofner HCT-500/7, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari

Select Strat, Select Tele, Am Pro JM, LP 57 Gold, G5422DC-12, T486, ES295, PM2, EXL1

XK1c, Voyager, Prophet XL

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can the programs on the XS8 be easily downloaded onto an XS Rack, and then recalled easily?
I don't remember if Programs will load into the rack edition, as it doesn't have a Program Mode. I seem to recall that the Voice Editor is able to load a Program into the Mix Mode and know what to do with it, but it's been awhile since I sold my rack so maybe someone else can chime in.

I think there's some confusion here because neither the XS nor XS Rack have anything called Program mode (nor does the XS Rack have Mix mode by that name, though Multi mode is almost the same).

 

I think the short answer to the question of whether you can move programs from the Motif XS to the XS Rack is, it depends on the kind of program you're moving. Some move easily, some move with a third party utility, and some don't move at all. If you just want to move sounds, you should be fine. If you want to move pre-configured combinations of split and layered sounds, it gets more complicated.

 

As I understand it, this is how it breaks down:

 

The XS and the XS Rack both have Voice mode. Voice programs should be able to be transferred from the XS to the Rack.

 

The XS has a Performance mode. Performance mode programs (aka Performances) allow you to split and layer up to 4 different Voices (the layers can also include velocity-based triggering). All 4 Voices are associated with a single MIDI channel. The XS also has Song and Pattern modes for use with the XS' internal sequencer, and, more relevant to this discussion, Mix mode which works with Song and Pattern mode to allow you to assign up to 16 Voices to the 16 MIDI channels.

 

The Rack XS does not specifically have Performance mode or Mix mode (or Song or Pattern mode, of course, since it has no internal sequencer), so transferring these kinds of programs is a different matter. The key is that the Rack XS does have a different mode of its own, Multi Mode, which is kind of a hybrid of Performance mode and Mix mode:

 

...Like Performance mode, Multi mode allows you to assign up to 4 Voices to a single MIDI channel.

 

...Like Mix mode, Multi mode also allows you to assign 16 Voices to the 16 MIDI channels. Unlike the comparable function in the XS, it is not associated with a Song program or Pattern program, since the Rack XS does not have an internal sequencer. (In a way, this is conceptually simpler. It felt weird to me that, to set up an XS--or in my case, MOX--to respond with different sounds on different MIDI channels, you have to go "through" the sequencer to get to that function... that is, you basically have to create a sequence that simply has no content, in order to to put different voices on different channels for external triggering from another keyboard.)

 

So can programs be transferred from an XS to an XS Rack? As I understand it:

 

* Voice Programs = yes

 

* Performance programs = partially. I believe Yamaha does not directly support this, but a third party program converts XS Performances to XS Rack Multis. The program you need is at http://www.jmelas.gr/motif/bundle.php

 

* Song and Pattern programs = no, as the Rack XS has no internal sequencer function.

 

* Mix programs (16 channel Voice assignments) = I'm not sure. I think Yamaha does not directly support this, but I think the optional software referenced above may also allow you to transfer Mix programs from the XS and convert them into Multi programs on the XS Rack.

 

A relevant thread at http://www.motifator.com/index.php/archive/viewthread/427508/P15/ is old, but still useful.

 

Also, the thread at http://www.motifator.com/index.php/forum/viewthread/455610/#514297 looks relevant in a few respects...

 

One, it seems like calling up a Multi from the Rack may take slightly longer than calling up a Performance from the keyboard.

 

Also, I think that thread may be addressing what Mark meant when he talked about losing "the ability to mute a part within a voice" -- I'm not sure whether Mark was talking about trying to mute a Part within a Performance, or trying to mute an Element within a Voice (though he's right either way). It's a little confusing because Voices can have 8 Elements, Performances can have 4 Parts... it can be a bit of a challenge to keep all the terminology straight! Anyway, as discussed in that thread, the issue is that when you use a Rack XS Multi to mimic the functionality of a Motif XS Performance (i.e. having 4 Voices assigned across the keyboard on a single MIDI channel), on the Motif XS itself, you can turn each of the 4 Voices on and off at will, whereas on the Rack, you cannot, it's always all-or-none. The "workaround" is to assign the 4 voices to different MIDI channels, that will allow you to turn the voices on and off independently. But practically speaking, if you want to do this from your controlling keyboard, this actually makes sense... you may or may not have a keyboard controller that allows you to easily enable/disable transmission on different MIDI channels, but there would not be any generic MIDI controller function that would serve to enable or disable different splits and layers within a single MIDI channel (or different Elements within a Voice), except perhaps through some convoluted sysex programming. So I don't really fault Yamaha for this one.

 

Also notable in that thread is that the setting of whether Multi Mode puts up to 16 Voices over 16 MIDI channels or up to 4 Voices over a single MIDI channel is a *global* setting. You cannot set it up so that you can recall some patches that are set up one way and some that are set up the other. In the Motif XS itself, you can go back and forth between Performance programs (multiple sounds on a single MIDI channel) and Mix programs (up to 16 sounds on 16 MIDI channels) at will. In fact, I'm not sure, but I think on the XS you can, to some extent, even do both at the same time... i.e. trigger up to 4 Voices on a single MIDI channel (i.e. triggered from its own keyboard) while also assigning some other Voices to other MIDI channels to be triggered from another keyboard, using its Master mode (another mode that does not exist on the Rack XS... and therefore, another kind of program you could not transfer to the Rack).

 

I think the best way to look at the Rack XS is that it's a great way to get access to all the sounds (Voices) of a Motif XS in a small package, either to drive from a keyboard at a gig, or to drive from a computer-based sequencer. But while the Rack does provide the ability to store splits and layers on a single channel for live performance, if you want to manipulate your splits and layers in real time, you should probably use your controller's split and layer functionalities, and look at the Rack as simply a multi-timbral sound source. And I think that's a natural by-product of the fact that keyboards have layouts designed for live performance access, and rack units really don't.

 

If you want your Motif XS sounds *and* real-time performance split/layer functionality in a lighter weight package, you could get a MOX for gigging instead of the Rack XS. All three have the same sounds, but the MOX is closer to the Motif XS in its live control functionality. But the MOX has only 64 note polyphony and 3 insert effects, compared to 128 note polyphony and 8 insert effects. So it's a different trade-off.

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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Yep, I was thinking Performance Mode, but they both start with "P" and then there's the way Korg does it, so it's easy to confuse one's memories...

 

Multi Mode is the correct terminology on the XS Rack. I think that was the first rack model where they introduced that terminology. It also has an advantage over previous rack editions in terms of how much can be recalled and saved.

 

The XS is the best of the three rack editions, by far. But it's good to know going into it that there are some seriously frustrating issues relative to live performance needs.

 

It's kind of ironic, in a way, because they added four VERY helpful controller knobs on the XS Rack that cover some elusive features. I even feel embarrassed about the few (but critical) missing features on the rack, because I was the loudest voice requesting the Portamento Speed knob and was surprised when they delivered.

Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Hofner HCT-500/7, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari

Select Strat, Select Tele, Am Pro JM, LP 57 Gold, G5422DC-12, T486, ES295, PM2, EXL1

XK1c, Voyager, Prophet XL

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My guess would be that they would have a difficult time squeezing that into 1 ru, and I think Yamaha has a policy now of avoiding rack units more than 1u high.

 

That's aside from any consideration such as whether racks even sell anymore. It can't be a coincidence that all of the major manufacturers have simultaneously lost interest in rack editions?

Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Hofner HCT-500/7, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari

Select Strat, Select Tele, Am Pro JM, LP 57 Gold, G5422DC-12, T486, ES295, PM2, EXL1

XK1c, Voyager, Prophet XL

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ON itself an interestin' question how much DSP is in the XF box and how hard/expensive it would be to ethernet-couple a nice EEE/netbook to it and make a g*d* midi with at least 100x midi speed and a good timing definition. It isn't space technology in that sense.

 

Maybe it would be better if there would be quality programs for Linux computers but I suppose copying the work done for e.g. sampling libraries makes it difficult for those types of manufacturers in the end.

 

I kind of like the Yamaha sounds, even though they aren't as pretentious as some others, and I know it's serious technology to make it that way.

 

Theo

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Thank you Mark and Another Scott for your insight.

 

I am surprised to learn that the XS Rack does not have Performance Mode (my ES Rack does).

 

My "wondering" was how feasible (and easy/difficult) it would be to download the "settings" I had made on my XS to an XS Rack. It seemed to me that this would be a "lightweight" solution for "Performances" (splits and/or layers) that I could use with another (lighter) controller when I did not want to bring the XS8 for an infrequently used patch. Nothing special beyond that. I'm not using a sequencer, samples, or song or pattern programs, just mainly splits (like a horn section.)

 

Then I began to think that I could leave the XS8 in the studio (where I put the patch together) and transport the downloaded Rack to the gig. Sure, it would be more difficult to recall patches using the Rack instead of the XS, but I could make it work. To me, that would be a great use of an XS Rack.

 

Well, apparently, it doesn't work that way, and the closest I can get to that is using an MOX. I shall research what I can do in "Multi-Mode". Perhaps, for my limited application, it would work. If not, MOX sounds like that might actually be a better solution, if I can directly download from the XS to a MOX board.

 

Another Scott, am I comprehending correctly?

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My "wondering" was how feasible (and easy/difficult) it would be to download the "settings" I had made on my XS to an XS Rack. It seemed to me that this would be a "lightweight" solution for "Performances" (splits and/or layers) that I could use with another (lighter) controller when I did not want to bring the XS8 for an infrequently used patch.

.

.

.

I shall research what I can do in "Multi-Mode". Perhaps, for my limited application, it would work. If not, MOX sounds like that might actually be a better solution, if I can directly download from the XS to a MOX board.

 

Another Scott, am I comprehending correctly?

I think if you buy that optional program from John Melas, you will be able to load all your Performances from the Motif XS into Multis on the XS Rack as you want. The two caveats I see are:

 

1. Your controller needs to have a way of programming its own buttons to easily send the desired Program Change commands to the Rack XS for calling up the different performances/multis.

 

2. If you want to do anything more sophisticated than simply calling up pre-configured splits and layers, it may be more difficult or impossible to do on the rack-based system--i.e. if you want to somehow alter Performance/Multis as you play (perhaps turning layers on or off, or fading them in or out, or changing just one part of a split without changing the other part). I"m not sure what can be done or how easily in these regards, that's what would take some research, and again, would depend on the facilities in your controller as well as the functionality of the Rack. For one thing, some of this might require converting the 4-sounds-on-1-MIDI-channel Performance to the other kind of Multi that puts each sound on its own MIDI channel. It's probably easy to do, but I'm not sure.

 

My gut feeling is that, if your splits/layers don't have to be altered in any way once you call them up, the Rack should be fine, as long as your controller has a good way to call up the presets. If any of that is not the case, you're probably better off with the MOX... at least as long as your Performances don't use more than 3 effects on your assorted split and layered sounds, and you 're okay with 64-note polyphony.

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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The problem is it is Win-only, unless he finally did a Mac port. I offered to help him do the Mac port years ago, and he never responded. So I thought maybe he intended to do it himself. :-)

Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Hofner HCT-500/7, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari

Select Strat, Select Tele, Am Pro JM, LP 57 Gold, G5422DC-12, T486, ES295, PM2, EXL1

XK1c, Voyager, Prophet XL

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The problem is it is Win-only, unless he finally did a Mac port.

Check the link... it's all cross-platform now.

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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Luckily I found his site quickly via Google (no link in this topic). Good to see he's ported to Mac, as his editors were always better and are ESPECIALLY better after the disastrous "always live" decision that was made for the XS editors when they were handed to Sound Tower for the rewrite.

 

I found the XS editor almost completely unusable for voice design. Too difficult to get to the mode you need to be in while editing and also to prevent edits from auto-syncing with the hardware. I prefer editing off-line until done. Unless I can edit directly on the hardware.

 

It's possible I might have kept my XS Rack if not for the voice editor.

Eugenio Upright, 60th P-Bass, Geddy Lee J-Bass, Hofner HCT-500/7, Yamaha BBP35, Viking Bari

Select Strat, Select Tele, Am Pro JM, LP 57 Gold, G5422DC-12, T486, ES295, PM2, EXL1

XK1c, Voyager, Prophet XL

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Luckily I found his site quickly via Google (no link in this topic).

The link is in the 3rd message, where I first mentioned his software. But yeah, it's a bit buried in there, sorry.

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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Mark and AnotherScott, thanks for the awesome help! I am amazed at the depth of your knowledge on this topic.

 

Reaching 'way back to the 70's and having a Polymoog then (and dreaming of an Oberheim 8-voice), 64 note polyphony seems quite usable now, (as I'm not going to play over eight notes at a time?) Other than "smearing" an organ gliss, what am I missing here if I use a MOX? I'm afraid I'm pretty ignorant on this since I "took a 30 year vacation" from keyboards, and only recently came back to it as I near retirement. (Playing keyboards for a living was the most fun-job I ever had!)

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The main use of lots of polyphony is for sequences (by themselves or used as backing tracks), where the instrument is generating more notes than what you may actually be playing with your hands. But even just for live playing, it's possible to run into issues. Stereo sounds typically use up polyphony at twice the rate of mono sounds. The ability to layer and trigger multiple sounds simultaneously uses more polyphony. And possibly the biggest issue is use of the sustain pedal, which, of course, keeps notes ringing after you've let go of them and have moved on to play more notes. One could play a chromatic scale from bottom to top on a piano with the sustain pedal down, and prompt the generation of 88 simultaneous notes that way.

 

Yes, I have managed to play a piano part on the MOX where I heard it drop notes, but it would be quite rare in real-world gig applications. The funny thing is that I played the same piano part on the little Yamaha NP-30 that has just 32 note polyphony, and it did not drop a note. So the polyphony numbers don't tell the whole story. Maybe for some reason the MOX was doing something that made it eat up more polyphony for the same passage, or maybe the NP-30 has a more sophisticated algorithm for how to handled "excess" played notes, perhaps optimized specifically for piano playing (since the NP-30 is just a piano), which they may have not have implemented on the MOX where the polyphony is as likely to be used for non-piano purposes like sequences. So I ran into this odd circumstance where 32 note polyphony was enough, but 64 wasn't! But the polyphony implementations of the MOX, Motif XS, and XS Rack would probably be the same so you'd at least be comparing apples to apples.

 

Besides lower polyphony, the other limitation of the MOX compared to its big brothers is in having 3 simultaneously available "insert" effects instead of 8. Again, running sequences is probably where it would be the biggest concern. But even for live purposes, it is worth noting that the MOX is set up to allow you to easily assign up to 4 sounds split and layered across the keyboard. So I think there could theoretically be an issue triggering 4 sounds live and having individually programmed effects only work on 3 of them. But this is not something I've experimented with personally (and again, probably would not come up very often in real world application anyway).

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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