A common complaint about the electric pianos on the Yamaha PSR arranger workstations is their lack of “guts” or “grit.” The voice samples are reasonably good, but the effects programming is vanilla and way too polite, especially for rock and soul styles. Here is a table showing the default DSP effect for some of the electric piano voices in the PSR-S950:
PSR-S950 voice Category Effect -------------- ---------- ----------------------- SparkleStack CHORUS CHORUS3 SweetDX CHORUS CHORUS3 BalladDX CHORUS ENS DETUNE1 DX Dynamics CHORUS CHORUS2 BalladBells CHORUS CHORUS3 SuitcaseEP CHORUS CELESTE2 VintageEP TREMOLO EP TREMOLO [DSP off] CP80 CHORUS CHORUS3 StageEP CHORUS CELESTE2 SmoothTine SPATIAL EP AUTO PAN ElectricPiano SPATIAL EP AUTO PAN [DSP off] Clavi DISTORTION DIST SOFT1 WahClavi WAH TCH/PDL CLAVI TC.WAH PhaseClavi PHASER EP PHASER2
You can see that most of the voices use a chorus effect. In two cases, the DSP effect is turned off by default. (You need to turn it on using the [DSP] front panel button.) The Clavinet voices are a little more fun and use distortion, wah and phaser.
Chorus does not add much “heft” to a voice and it doesn’t add grit. Compression, mid-range boost (EQ) and overdrive are better choices when you need a punchy and/or grungy electric piano sound.
Let’s take a look at the effects programming for a few electric piano voices on the Yamaha MOX synthesizer workstation. The basic voices drive two insert effects connected in series:
MOX voice Insert A Insert B -------------------- ----------- ----------- Crunchy Comp MltBndComp CompDistDly Vintage Case AmpSim 2 Auto Pan Chorus Hard ClassicComp SPX Chorus Drive EP AS1 AmpSim 2 Auto Pan Natural Wurli AmpSim 1 Tremolo Wurli Distortion AS1 Tremolo CompDistDly
On the MOX, every voice uses compression, amp simulation or distortion, even the voices employing the evergreen tremolo, pan and chorus effects.
At this point, PSR users tend to throw up their hands and say, “Well, that’s the Motif series!” and back away. Yamaha — bless them — share technology between workstation products. Quite often, you can find the equivalent PSR effect algorithm for an MOX (MOXF) or Motif algorithm.
Consider the MOX “AmpSim2” algorithm. This algorithm shares the same parameters as the PSR “DISTORTION AMP SIM2” algorithm. Here is a table showing the corresponence between MOX and PSR.
MOX parameter PSR parameter MOX value ------------- ------------- --------- Preset n/a Stack1 AmpType AMP Type Tube OverDr Drive 16 OutLvl Output Level 70 LPF LPF Cutoff 6.3KHz Dry/Wet Dry/Wet D<W30
The parameter values given here are taken from the MOX “Drive EP AS1” voice. Bring up a PSR voice like “VintageEP,” edit its DSP effect and replace the tremolo effect with “AMP SIM2.” Plug in these values, listen and tweak!
My second example is taken from the MOX “Natural Wurli” voice. The MOX effect algorithm name is “Amp Sim1”. The equivalent PSR effect algorithm is “DISTORTION V_DIST WARM” and its siblings. Here is the equivalency table:
MOX parameter PSR parameter MOX value ------------- ------------- --------- Preset n/a Stack2 OverDr Overdrive 2% Device Device Vintage tube Speaker Speaker Stack Presence Presence +10 OutLvl Output Level 53% Dry/Wet Dry/Wet D<W1
Again, change the PSR DSP effect to “V_DIST WARM” and plug in the values. Then, tweak away.
The final example is a multi-effect taken from the MOX “Wurli Distortion AS1” voice. The MOX effect algorithm is “CompDistDly” that is a compressor, distortion and delay effect chain. The equivalency table is:
MOX parameter PSR parameter MOX value ------------- -------------------- --------- Preset n/a Hard1 OverDr Overdrive 15% Device Vin_tube Vintage tube Speaker Stack Stack Presence Presence +10 DelayL Delay Time L 307.3ms DelayR Delay Time R 271.7ms FBTime Delay Feedback Time 306.6ms FBLevel Delay Feedback Level +31 FBHiDmp Feedback High Dump 0.8 OutLvl Output Level 22% DlyMix Delay Mix 0 Compress n/a -29dB Dry/Wet Dry/Wet D<W12
The almost equivalent PSR effect algorithm is “DISTORTION+ V_DST H+DLY”. The PSR algorithm is missing the compression component (parameter). If you want compression, then consider one of the other PSR distortion algorithms with mono delay.
Keep thinking “multi FX.” I’m going to visit the REAl DISTORTION multi FX algorithm in a future post.
Some of the MOX voices use VCM effects. I didn’t deconstruct the voices with VCM effects because my S950 doesn’t have them. However, if you have VCM effects, for heaven’s sake, use them!
Learn how to save your new creation in Editing and Saving PSR Effects (Part 2).