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Constant confusion about setup a synth/workstation (Yamaha MODX)

Posted: Sun Feb 02, 2020 12:44 am
by FC-2

I am trying to wrap my head around the setup phase with Studio one and a Yamaha MODX, but I think the issue is more widespread than just the MODX.

Let's start from the beginning; got the MODX; installed yamaha drivers, so I can see as midi device, 3 MODX devices (no clue why I see 3 of them, but let's face one issue at time).
Now, the Yamaha training videos are for Cubase, so we already start with differences; I have a Focusrite 18i8 as audio interface, and my ultimate goals are:

1) use the MODX to play performances and record the midi and audio data in Studio one
2) use the MODX as midi controller, so I can use my VST instruments in Studio one
3) Use the MODX as main keyboard to drive other hardware connected via midi or usb, to my computer, via Studio one

Now the first step is to play the keyboard in studio one, and to an extent, I can do that. I have connected both the USB connection and the 1/4 L and R jacks to my computer and interface, I created an external "keyboard" where the input is coming from the MODX and an instrument that has as output, the MODX1 option. So I can hear the output from the 1/4 connectors, but NOT from USB.

Or to be precise, I have no idea how do I get the audio via USB, because the training video for Cubase, instruct to use the MODX as audio interface, route the audio somehow through the app, and magically you get 8 channels as 8 tracks via usb, in Cubase. I would like to do the same in Studio one, but even after adding the Yamaha audio interface to my song, and adding the 8 tracks as mono input, I get no audio. I get only audio from the headphone connector on the MODX and from the 1/4 audio connectors. The frustration here is that I can write sysex commands without much of a problem, but can't setup a synth in a DAW. I have the MODX set as interface in studio one, I added 8 inputs, I added 8 audio tracks that use these inputs but nothing play when I have the MODX in "MIDI rec on DAW"

The only way I can get sound out of the MODX is if I add a track with a VST; in that case, I get sound from the VST

I am able to play 1 track at time if I add to Studio one a track containing the VST included with the MODX installer for the drivers, but it play only on one channel. so I can't play the whole performance. Even if I create multiple Yamaha VST tracks, it can only play one channel at time; which is nothing like it show on the training videos for Cubase.

Can someone please help me to understand why different DAW does operate in a different way, for common concepts like adding an instrument; and how do I get from the training for Cubase, to make it work in Studio one?

As now the only thing I can do with the MODX in Studio one is to record the audio I play from the 1/4 audio connectors, as if it was a stereo device, or I can record the midi track but only from one channel, and play back, and record it as audio; but I can't play the whole performance.

Re: Constant confusion about setup a synth/workstation (Yamaha MODX)

Posted: Sun Feb 02, 2020 8:53 am
by Trucky
Check out this video link for setting up external devices:

Re: Constant confusion about setup a synth/workstation (Yamaha MODX)

Posted: Sun Feb 02, 2020 11:47 am
by FC-2
Trucky wroteCheck out this video link for setting up external devices:

Thanks, that video show how to set up a device; but it just show how to add it; not how to configure it; which is the part where I am stuck.

As mentioned in the main post, I added the MODX as instrument and as keyboard; the issue is the configuration. It works fine in Cubase; because Yamaha and other youtubers made videos about how to set up the MODX in Cubase, but in Studio one, I found no videos nor tutorials for the MODX, beside the "add the instrument and keyboard " part.

Re: Constant confusion about setup a synth/workstation (Yamaha MODX)

Posted: Sun Feb 02, 2020 1:51 pm
by Jemusic
I will make some suggestions for you. As you have got the MODX installed that is a good start. (Maybe post an image of the three MODX entries you have there in your external devices setup. I would not mind trying to figure out what they all are)

To use the MODX as a controller and record its own sounds.

Create an Instrument track and you should be able to select the MODX as the midi data source. Play the MODX. Midi data should be coming into this track.

Audiowise you need to make some settings in the MODX before it sends audio out over USB. As per the manual:

Audio channels
The audio signals of the MODX can be output to the [USB TO HOST] terminal and the OUTPUT [L/MONO]/[R] jacks. When connecting to a computer, use the [USB TO HOST] terminal. In this case, up to 10 audio channels (5 stereo channels) are available. The output-to-channel assignments are made as follows: Part Settings/ “Part Output” in the [General] display.
Set the output level in the Mixing display or the Performance edit display. The signals are output to the OUTPUT [L/MONO]/[R] jacks (two channels.)

Create a stereo audio track to start and I assume once you are sending audio from MODX to computer, then these will appear as an input source to the audio track. You will need to monitor the audio track input now in order to hear it. Set your input buffers as low as they can go in order to get the fastest response.

Do not input monitor the Instrument track. The MODX will trigger its own sound generator internally (Local ON)

You can put the midi track into record and not the audio. The midi data should record and you should hear it. You could also put the audio track into record as well in case you do a great take.

The Instrument track output needs to be set for the MODX. Playing back the midi part now should trigger the MODX. Its audio is coming in via USB and if the audio track is input monitoring you will hear it again. Now is the time to edit your midi performance and tighten it up etc.

Put the audio track into record and play the Instrument track. This will create an audio part that will play according to your edited midi.

Using your MODX to control a VST

Create an Instrument track and select MODX as the input source.
Drag a VST onto that track. Input monitor that track. You should be able to play the MODX and hear the VST instead now. (If you still have an audio MODX track setup, do not input monitor this track otherwise you will hear it again with its sound. Otherwise do not create any audio track for the MODX. The VST will be on its own audio channel in the mixer)

Using your MODX to control external Instruments

Create an Instrument track and select the MODX as the input source.
Set the Instrument track's output to your external instrument. Input monitor the Instrument track.
Your external synth will play now.
Connect its audio to your interface.
Create an audio track and select these inputs as the source.
Input monitor the audio track and set the buffers low so response will be fast.
(If you still have an audio MODX track setup, do not input monitor this track otherwise you will hear it again with its sound. Otherwise do not create any audio track for the MODX.
Same applies as above. You can record midi first while monitoring audio or record both at once. Playback of midi track will play external instrument.

If you have got a bunch of external synths and the MODX a separate mixer is a good option. You can monitor Studio One and all those through the mixer. Then the buffer settings don't come into play at all. No audio tracks are required to hear either the MODX or any external synths because you will be hearing them through the mixer. When its time to convert MODX or external synth performances to audio then you create an audio track and set its inputs for a set of mixer outputs. A mixer that has an alternate stereo output bus is handy for this. Just switch the synth to that and it only will be sent to the audio track. Many mixers with ALT stereo outs allow you to monitor the ALT stereo outs through the same monitor path as normal.

Re: Constant confusion about setup a synth/workstation (Yamaha MODX)

Posted: Sun Feb 02, 2020 3:48 pm
by FC-2
Some progress here. I have attached some images about my setup, and my current findings:

1) This is how I set up my MODX as keyboard; all midi channels are enabled, and I picked MODX1 as midi port (you can see the other 2 midi ports with -2 and -3 in this image.
different midi.JPG

2) This is the setup for the MODX as instrument; all midi channels enabled, nothing as input and as output the same MODX-1 port
as instrument.JPG

3) this is how the IO looks like; the outputs are in fact the inputs, I assume Studio one read them as output and call them inputs? I set a pair as stereo, so 4 stereo channels, and 8 mono channels. The MODX has 16 total channels, but as far as audio, it does have either 8 mono or 4 stereo channels; it does not bother me to be honest, since I don't need to record each part as its own audio.


Now this is where it gets interesting; I used all 4 profiles on the MODX, which are standalone (use the keyboard on its own, audio goes on the 1/4 connectors mixing the arpegiator, the parts and effects), midi to daw (record midi), arp to daw (record the arpegiator as midi), and audio to daw (output the audio to the different outputs we did configure earlier.

I added the 4 stereo output and the global L+R output of the MODX to a project and tried to play different patches; switching between the various modes on the MODX, and this is what I get

sound in.JPG

The only profile that would give me audio out is the 4th one, which make sense. 3 out of the 4 stereo channels would output audio; each one a different part, but the way in which it is mixed is really strange. The patch had 4 parts plus a drum part; some parts got mixed up in one stereo channel, while the last part was empty; if there are 16 parts, and each channel stereo merge the audio, you would think that 16/4 = 4 channels per stereo out, but then why I see 3 stereo channels playing, and not just 2, since my performance just use 5 parts out of 16?

The second strange thing happen with the drum part; which is not output on any channel but only on the global out; if I mute all the audio channel, I would expect to hear all the audio and channels coming from the global out, but instead, it just play the drum pattern; so if I want to record the whole performance, I need to enable the 4 stereo channels and the global out. Cubase does not route things in this way, and I can't figure out why Studio one does this.

4) Now to the scenario where I want to record midi and then play the midi to record the audio coming from the MODX. I did switch the MODX in midi to DAW mode; so I can record the midi tracks; but in this case, I would get only one midi channel; all parts were merged into one midi input, even if the performance has 5 different parts. I tried to select the part on the MODX but in Studio one, when I would play a note, I would still get the whole performance in. This makes impossible for me to create a performance on the MODX, and create a midi channel per part. I can record the individual audio out but I can't record the individual midi; and this is something I am trying to fix. Even if I add multiple midi tracks, each pointing at a different midi channel for the modx, I would always see midi activity on the first midi channel, which would trigger all the parts in the performance.


I feel like I am going somewhere, but there is still quite a lot of uncertainty in using the MODX with Studio one

Re: Constant confusion about setup a synth/workstation (Yamaha MODX)

Posted: Tue Feb 04, 2020 3:09 am
by FC-2
Got some more info, and seems that there is an interesting oxymoron not only with the MODX but with any hardware that is also an audio interface.

If you want the audio via USB, you cannot use 2 different audio interfaces (one to play the sound, one to listen to the output. Fundamentally I can hear the usb audio only if I set the MODX as audio interface and I connect my speakers or headphones to the MODX, but if I want to use my other audio interface to hear the sound, and only use the MODX to produce sound, I need to route the output to the input of the other interface. May seems counter-intuitive, but make sense, since 2 different audio interfaces can't talk to each other.

Lesson learned; a MODX cannot replace a midi controller :)

With this out of the way; I am fundamentally forced to route audio when I want to record audio, and to switch to the midi mode on the MODX when I want to record the midi FROM the MODX. It is not ideal but at least I know how to handle this.

Regarding the midi connections, seems that the MODX is missing the "midi controller" mode, that the Montage has. As such, you have few controls with CC assigned, and I won't even bother to use those, especially because the transport controls are shared with the onboard pattern recorder, so I just use a different controller just for controlling Studio one and the VST; using the MODX only for its own thing. Another thing to plug to the computer and have on the desktop, but it is what it is.