GENOS unverified image

The following unverified image has appeared on the Web. It seems to have been taken at a presentation.

Physical features are similar to other leaked images of GENOS™ and the teaser videos (one and two). The keyboard in this unverified image very much looks like a prototype — or at best, pre-production — model. Remember, sound developers need functional mock-ups for their work and even dealer demo units will not be available until October.

A huge warning. We are now in a phase when images and “specifications” are ricochetting around the Web. The Internet echo chamber is ringing like a bell! Plus, we have a number of individuals who are desperate and are trying to draw attention to their sites (advertising revenue, ca-ching) and Youtube videos (ca-ching). This site is independent and I do not receive money from advertising.

Beware while awaiting Yamaha’s official announcement on October 2nd! We still have two more teaser videos to survive on September 22nd and 29th.

Mega Voice in PSR/Tyros styles

Yes, this site still answers questions and doesn’t just publish rumors and FUD. 🙂

Recently, a member of the PSR Tutorial Forum needed help using a Megavoice in a custom Tyros style. My answer seemed to be useful to a broader audience, so I decided to post my answer here. The information applies to PSR arrangers, too, because the Tyros and PSR share the same SFF1 and SFF2 (SFF GE) style formats.

Megavoice guitars are very different than regular guitar voices.

Regular voices are the usual MIDI voice: 128 velocity levels and only one basic sound. For example, nylon guitar is just the pitched, melodic sound of the notes either louder or softer depending on note velocity.

Megavoice guitars (and other Megavoices) are different. Please look at the Megavoice Map starting on page 16 of the Tyros Data List PDF.

Let’s take a look at the Mega NylonGuitar voice. For MIDI notes B5 and below, the MIDI velocity is broken into eight (8) ranges:

    1- 20 Open soft
   21- 40 Open med
   41- 60 Open hard
   61- 75 Dead
   76- 90 Mute
   91-105 Hammer
  106-120 Slide
  121-127 Harmonics

Each range plays a different kind of sound. So, the MIDI velocity determines which guitar sound. Then, the velocity within that limited range determines how loud it will be.

Example 1: MIDI note A4, velocity 38 makes an Open Med guitar sound which is loud.

Example 2: MIDI note A4, velocity 2 makes an Open Med guitar sound which is quiet.

Example 3: MIDI note A4, velocity 110, makes a Slide guitar sound.

Now, let’s look at the last two columns in the Megavoice map, again, Mega NylonGuitar voice. For MIDI notes between C6 and B7, the Tyros plays a Strum noise. The velocity in this case determines the Strum noise loudness over the full range 1-127.

For MIDI notes above C8, the Tyros plays a Fret noise. The velocity determines the fret noise volume and is full range 1-127.

Example 4: MIDI note D8, velocity 127 plays a very loud fret noise.

The Megavoice mapping makes it more difficult to program (sequence) guitar parts than regular voices. The user needs to make sure that the MIDI note is in the desired range (B5 and under, above C6, etc.) and that the MIDI velocity controls what you want.

Yamaha’s proprietary CASM has a few settings to control Mega Voices. The bad news — you can’t change some of these settings.

When I program Megavoice into a style, I use two parts for each Megavoice:

    Part 1: Pitched notes -- all note B5 and below
            NTR: ROOT TRANS or GUITAR
            NTT: MELODY or CHORD
    Part 2: Noise notes -- all notes above C6
            NTR: ROOT FIXED
            NTT: BYPASS

You want the pitched notes to transpose. You don’t want the noise notes to transpose. (Please think of the noise notes like drum notes/sounds.)

I wrote a three part series of articles about capturing Motif/MOX arpeggios and converting them to PSR/Tyros styles:

If you don’t care about Motif/MOX, then skip part one. Parts two and three are more generally useful and describe the conversion of a MIDI file to a style. Part three concentrates on Megavoice conversion.

Copyright © 2017 Paul J. Drongowski

Flash dance?

So, is someone having a good laugh at us or is someone in trouble for accidentally releasing the Yamaha Genos teaser video? Or, is this a planned flash dance to get the fan base stirred up?

Debate is already raging on the PSR Tutorial Forum about the authenticity of the video. If it’s a fake, then hat’s are off to someone with brilliant production skills.

If you’ve seen the video, the instrument is not shown definitely. Rather, two hands conjure pixie dust into a stylized, 3-Dish instrument. There are one or two brief flashes of the rear view. (Not meaning to be crude, here.) The hands are disconnected from any meaningful musical gestures except for one deliberate gesture at roughly 46 seconds. A hand moves a slider in sync with an sforzando sweep in the soundtrack. Shades of Montage’s “Music in Motion” theme.

Observations include: six knobs, nine sliders, ten registration buttons, (probable) touch screen. Yamaha seem to have cornered the market on red and blue LED given this video and the Montage! Special thanks to Marcus, Maarten and Vinciane on the PSR Tutorial Forum for their keen eyes and steady disposition.

Here are a few captures from the unverified teaser video for the new Yamaha Genos arranger workstation. First up, the Genos logo. [Click on images for higher resolution.]

Next, is a close view of the knobs and faders. Mid-range PSR and Tyros models have a drawbar mode. Perhaps Yamaha have now given the drawbars proper faders? If true, Genos could be a terrific stage gig machine for the non-EDM types who crave quality acoustic piano, electric piano and B-3 organ. A shame that Montage didn’t fully nail drawbar control.

Finally, not so delicately put, is the rear view, presumably with all of the usual connectors provided for.

We’ll know for sure, soon. Dealer preview dates are September 18 (Europe) and September 28 (North America).

If you’re curious about what a new Yamaha arranger might do, then please read my blog posts about recent Yamaha R&D patents:

Copyright © 2017 Paul J. Drongowski

FreePlay style deconstructed

Yamaha FreePlay styles for PSR and Tyros are terrific for music without rhythm instruments and strong rubato (variation in tempo to achieve a musical or emotional effect).

I’m customizing a few FreePlay styles with the intention of using them for liturgical music. In the first pass, I’m changing the OTS voice settings and I’m making a registration that calls up my go-to voices for traditional and contemporary church music.

Of course, my curiosity took over and I had to take a look inside of a FreePlay style or two using a DAW and Michael B’s StyleDump program. I have attached a text file with my working notes. The notes may be too much detail for most readers, so here is a quick summary of what I found. I’ve looked at only two styles so far: EtherealHymn (taken from the CVP-609) and OrganPlay1 (taken from the Church Organ expansion pack).

First off, how does it sound and feel to play a FreePlay style? The accompaniment is triggered and guided by the left hand as usual. (I haven’t tried FreePlay with AI fingering, etc. yet.) The accompaniment plays a gentle pad-like chord and a simple bass. The simplicity provides a blank canvas on which you can embellish to your heart’s content.

You might guess that the MAIN and FILL IN sections are quite simple and you would be right. The MAIN sections in the OrganPlay1 and EtherealHymn styles hold notes for 8 and 32 measures, respectively. The chord source in each case is CMaj7. The BASS track holds a single note (e.g., C2) through the entire section. The chord or pad tracks hold the rest of the notes that make up the CMaj7 chord: E, G and B. Harmony-wise, that’s it!

The FILL IN sections are similar and hold notes for just one measure because FILL IN sections are only one MIDI bar long.

Without a rhythm track, those looooooooong notes have a timeless quality. A musician would rarily — if ever — hold a chord that long. Thus, MAIN sections typically do not re-trigger.

Yamaha’s genuine contribution lies in the INTRO/ENDING sections and the fun MIDI stuff that happens during the MAIN sections. The INTRO and ENDING sections have more “orchestration” and consist of style appropriate introductory and ending phrases. For my own purposes, I will probably stick to the simple INTRO A and ENDING A sections as it’s generally hard to match up more complicated musical phrases with the main theme itself.

The “MIDI stuff” must have been fun to program. The EtherealHymn style has string and choir tracks. The string track has MIDI expression data (Control Change 11 or “CC11”) that repeatedly ramps up for two measures and down for two measures. The ramp pattern creates alternating string swells up and swells down. Other control change patterns are rather unusual and I’ll leave that for you to explore with a DAW! (All you need to do is to change the “.STY” or “.FPS” extension to “.MID” and import the renamed file into a DAW.)

One could create a basic FreePlay style from scratch. The MIDI notes in the MAIN and FILL IN sections are dirt simple. The fun part would be selecting instrument voices and effects with dynamic elements that give life to the accompaniment. Then there is the creative aspect of driving the voices and effects with MIDI controller data. For INTRO and ENDING sections, a little Bach or Mozart would do.

Hmmm, sounds like a fun wintertime project!

Arranger memory: One more time!

OK, OK, not everyone reads service manuals and schematics for their keyboard. However, I do get a little frustrated when posters compare apples to oranges, and make statements like “I can buy 1GByte for $1 (USD), so why is Yamaha so stingy with wave memory?”

Here is some information from the S750/S950 and Tyros5 service manuals and product data sheets. Please keep in mind that there are many different kinds of memory in an arranger. I’m going to focus on tone generation because that is the most relevant to wave memory size.

Both the S750/S950 and Tyros5 use proprietary Yamaha tone generator integrated circuits designated “SWP51L”. The S750/S950 designs use one SWP51L and the Tyros5 has two SWP51L chips. Each SWP51L has two dedicated memory ports (called “HIGH” and “LOW”) where each port consists of an address bus and a 16-bit parallel data bus.

In the S750/S950, each port is connected to a WAVE ROM:

    S750 WAVE ROM-L 1Gbit IC308   JS28F00AM29EWLA
    S750 WAVE ROM-H 1Gbit IC302   JS28F00AM29EWLA

That’s 128MBytes per device for a total of 256MBytes (2 times 128MBytes).

The Tyros5 microarchitecture is a little more complicated — the memory devices are shared between two SWP51Ls via separate shared address and data busses. There are six WAVE ROM integrated circuits:

    Tyros5 WAVE ROM-L0 1Gbit IC702   S29GL01GS10TFI020
    Tyros5 WAVE ROM-H0 1Gbit IC716   S29GL01GS10TFI020
    Tyros5 WAVE ROM-L1 1Gbit IC703   S29GL01GS10TFI020
    Tyros5 WAVE ROM-H1 1Gbit IC717   S29GL01GS10TFI020
    Tyros5 WAVE ROM-L2 1Gbit IC704   S29GL01GS10TFI020
    Tyros5 WAVE ROM-H2 1Gbit IC718   S29GL01GS10TFI020

That’s a total of 768MBytes (6 times 128MBytes).

Those cryptic names in the tables above identify the specific memory component. The components come from two vendors: Micro Technology and Spansion. Here are the gory details.

    Micron Technology JS28F00AM29EWLA  56-pin TSOP
        Parallel NOR Flash Embedded Memory
        Configurable width data bus (8- or 16-bits)
        Asynchronous random/page read
            Page access speed: 25ns
            Random access speed: 110ns
            Page size: 16 words or 32 bytes

    Spansion S29GL01GS10TFI020 56-bit TSOP

        GL-S MirrorBit Eclipse Flash Non-Volatile Memory
        S29GL01GS 1 Gbit (128 Mbyte)
        16-bit parallel data bus
        Asynchronous 32-byte page read
            Page access speed: 25ns
            Random access speed: 100ns
        Program and erase rates (i.e., write speed)
            Buffer Programming (512 bytes) 1.5 MB/s
            Sector Erase (128 kbytes) 477 kB/s

The read speed (25ns per 16-bit word in page mode) is much faster than write speed, and that’s OK in this application because the data is always read once it’s loaded/initialized. The SWP51L probably operates in page mode since the samples are accessed sequentially. Dunno ’bout you, but 25 nanoseconds per 16-bit word is darned fast. The access speed is MUCH higher than a typical USB flash drive.

Two 27-bit address busses and two 16-bit data busses are sent to/from the plug-in expansion board. These busses extend the two shared WAVE ROM busses. The expansion board needs to keep up with the high read rate.

Please note that the CPU does not get anywhere near the sample streams. That work is assigned to the SWP51Ls.

Hope this helps to clarify.

Crunchin’ da drums

In my last post, I discussed Motif/MOX eight zone (8Z) drum kits. The eight zone concept lets you assemble eight different percussion sounds into a custom kit. The waveforms are assigned to voice elements and are stretched/limited to eight different keyboard (MIDI note) zones. The Motif/MOX have matching arpeggios that work with the 8Z kits.

By the way, the 8Z drum kits were first introduced with the Motif XS. My notes on the 8Z kits and this note on effects apply to all later models including the Motif XF and MOXF.

If you have ever tried the percussion sounds alone without effects, the drum sounds are kind of “plain Jane” without a lot of impact. This post deconstructs a couple of effects which can be applied to break beats and other styles that require crunch and animation.

The first effect chain is taken from the Voice PRE8:060 “8Z Romps.” The voice has two insert effects connected in series. INSERT A is a Lo-Fi algorithm with the following parameters (effect preset “Max Lo-Fi”):

    #  Parameter              Value    Numeric
   --  ---------------------  -------  -------
    1  Sampling Freq Control  4.01KHz  (10)
    2  Word Length            93       (93)
    3  Output Gain            +7 dB    (14)
    4  LPF Cutoff             20.0KHz  (60)
    5  Filter Type            Radio    (2) 
    6  LPF Resonance          10.0     (100)
    7  Bit Assign             2        (2)
    8  Emphasis               On       (1)
   10  Dry/Wet                D<W63    (127)
   15  Input Mode             Stereo   (1)

The parameter number, name, values, etc. are taken from the MOX Data List. (See the section titled “Effect Parameter List” in the PDF file). The numeric values — given here in decimal — are what you need to program the effect through System Exclusive MIDI messages. More about this in a minute.

The Lo-Fi effect adds a lot of crunch and crush. But, wait! There’s more. The INSERT B effect is the AmpSim 1 amp simulator. Its parameters are:

    #  Parameter              Value    Numeric
   --  ---------------------  -------  -------
    1  Over Drive             54%      (54)
    2  Device                 dst1     (2)
    3  Speaker                Combo    (2)
    4  Presence               +10      (10)
    5  Output Level           34%      (34)
   10  Dry/Wet                D<W63    (127)

This is the “Beat Crunch” effect preset.

Please remember that my goal is to use the 8Z break beats in a PSR/Tyros style. In order to do accomplish this, I found the equivalent effects algorithms for the Yamaha PSR-S950 arranger workstation. Here are the equivalent algorithms:

    MOX            PSR-S950
    --------       -----------------------------
    Lo-Fi    --->  Lo-Fi DRUM1 (MSB:94 LSB:18)
    AmpSim 1 --->  V_DIST CRUNC (MSB:98 LSB:18 )

Unfortunately, the XG effects architecture supports at most one system-wide variation effect or one per-part insert effect. So, I decided to use the Lo-Fi algorithm because it seemed to provide most of the grit and nastiness that I was seeking.

It took a little detective work to find and match up the corresponding effect algorithms between the Motif/MOX and the PSR/Tyros. The effect type is enough to get into the same neighborhood. The rest of the sleuthing involves comparing the parameter lists in order to find the exact (or best) match. The MOX has Virtual Circuit Modeling (VCM) effects and the S950 does not. Therefore, you may not always be able to find an exact match.

With the S950 Data List in hand, I translated the effect parameters into the hexadecimal System Exclusive (SysEx) messages to configure the Lo-Fi effect on the PSR:

    F0 43 10 4C 02 01 40 5E 12 F7   Variation Type
    F0 43 10 4C 02 01 5A 01 F7      Variation Connection (SYSTEM)
    F0 43 10 4C 02 01 42 00 0A F7   PARAMETER 1 Sampling Freq Control (10)
    F0 43 10 4C 02 01 44 00 5D F7   PARAMETER 2 Word Length (93)
    F0 43 10 4C 02 01 46 00 0E F7   PARAMETER 3 Output Gain (14)
    F0 43 10 4C 02 01 48 00 3C F7   PARAMETER 4 LPF Cutoff (60)
    F0 43 10 4C 02 01 4A 00 02 F7   PARAMETER 5 Filter Type (2)
    F0 43 10 4C 02 01 4C 00 64 F7   PARAMETER 6 LPF Resonance (100)
    F0 43 10 4C 02 01 4E 00 02 F7   PARAMETER 7 Bit Assign (2)
    F0 43 10 4C 02 01 50 00 01 F7   PARAMETER 8 Emphasis (1)
    F0 43 10 4C 02 01 54 00 7F F7   PARAMETER 10 Dry/Wet (127)
    F0 43 10 4C 02 01 74 01 F7      PARAMETER 15 Stereo  (1)

I configured the effect as a system-wide variation effect such that multiple percussion parts may be sent to the effect. I inserted the SysEx messages into the set-up measure of the PSR style file using SONAR (my usual DAW/sequencer). Yow, the difference between the percussion sounds without and with this effect is like night and day!

The MOX insert effects are followed by a system-wide Tempo Cross Delay effect (effect preset “4beat Echo”). This effect adds a nice bit of animation to the overall sound. The MOX effect parameters are:

    #  Parameter              Value    Numeric
   --  ---------------------  -------  -------
    1  Delay Time L>R         4th      (11)
    2  Delay Time R>L         8th.     (10)
    3  Feedback Level         16       (80)
    4  Input Select           L        (0)
    5  Feedback High Dump     0.5      (5)
    6  Lag                    0ms      (64)
   10  Dry/Wet                D<W63    (127)
   13  EQ Low Frequency       250Hz    (22)
   14  EQ Low Gain            0dB      (64)
   15  EQ High Frequency      4.0KHz   (46)
   16  EQ High Gain           0dB      (64)

The equivalent S950 effect is TEMPO CROSS1 (MSB:22 LSB:0). I assigned this effect to the system-wide CHORUS block.

Here are the S950 (XG) SysEx messages to configure the delay effect in the CHORUS block:

    F0 43 10 4C 02 01 20 16 00 F7  Chorus Type TEMPO CROSS1
    F0 43 10 4C 02 01 22 0B F7     PARAMETER 1 Delay Time L<R     (11)
    F0 43 10 4C 02 01 23 0A F7     PARAMETER 2 Delay Time R<L     (10)
    F0 43 10 4C 02 01 24 50 F7     PARAMETER 3 Feedback Level     (80)
    F0 43 10 4C 02 01 25 00 F7     PARAMETER 4 Input Selection    (0)
    F0 43 10 4C 02 01 26 05 F7     PARAMETER 5 Feedback High Dump (5)
    F0 43 10 4C 02 01 27 40 F7     PARAMETER 6 Lag                (64)
    F0 43 10 4C 02 01 2B 7F F7     PARAMETER 10 Dry/Wet           (127)
    F0 43 10 4C 02 01 32 16 F7     PARAMETER 13 EQ Low Frequency  (22)
    F0 43 10 4C 02 01 33 40 F7     PARAMETER 14 EQ Low Gain       (64)
    F0 43 10 4C 02 01 34 2E F7     PARAMETER 15 EQ High Frequency (46)
    F0 43 10 4C 02 01 35 40 F7     PARAMETER 16 EQ High Gain      (64)

A little bit of delay on a busy drum part goes a long way. The send level (not shown here) is relatively low — just enough to add a little animation to the sound without creating a lot of clutter. It sounds OK, but I might adjust the send level dynamically and add more delay to exposed parts like the break while keeping the MAIN sections clean.

I hope this short effects clinic helps you out!