Distorted MIDI playback on PSR E323

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Dazza
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Distorted MIDI playback on PSR E323

Unread post by Dazza » Thu Mar 28, 2019 8:13 am

Newbie here. I have a PSR E323 which I connect to my PC using the Yamaha UX16 cable.

On the PC (Windows 10) I use Anvil studio as a MIDI player - I use it as an accompaniment - I usually play melody tracks on the PSR and rely on the midi file to generate drums and base etc. Usually this works fine although sometimes the playback on the PSR becomes distorted - most notably the drum track changes to some other instrument (piano usually) but other tracks also distort in various ways (generally sounds flat and horrible). I think that the problem is inconsistent in that some songs play fine once or twice but then become distorted - more recently though some songs seem to be distorted constantly.

It doesn't seem to be a problem with Anvil Studio - when a song is distorted on the PSR it will still play fine on the speakers of the PC - although I have not tried it any any other external device. I have ensured that drums are directed to channel 10 and have toggled the few available PC settings on the PSR (PC1, PC2, OFF) and this makes no difference. The problem has me stumped and I have spent many hours online searching for solutions. It is as if the PSR gets overwhelmed and somewhat gives up at a certain point. Some, usually simpler songs, do not suffer from the problem at all. Some more complex files/songs (using more channels) seem to trigger the problem.

Grateful for any suggestions on how to address this.
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jnm2
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Re: Distorted MIDI playback on PSR E323

Unread post by jnm2 » Thu Mar 28, 2019 8:51 am

When a track changes to some other instrument (piano usually) it doesn't have a program change in it and uses the default sound which is piano (as program number zero or one). So to prevent this you must also record the correct program changes on every track.
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SeaGtGruff
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Re: Distorted MIDI playback on PSR E323

Unread post by SeaGtGruff » Thu Mar 28, 2019 9:12 am

Are you using MIDI files that you bought or downloaded for free, or are you using MIDI tracks that you created yourself in Anvil Studio? I have Anvil Studio and can try one of the accompaniments which is giving you trouble if you can post it here or send it to me (if it isn't a file that you purchased).

One possible problem is that you're running out of polyphony. The PSR-E323 can play up to 32 notes at once, and attempting to play more than that will cause some of the sustained notes to cut off sooner than they were supposed to. That shouldn't cause the problem of the wrong voices being used, but if problems are more likely to occur when there are more MIDI channels being used then polyphony might be a possible factor.

Another possibility is that some of the accompaniments are selecting General MIDI program numbers without specifying bank numbers. This wouldn't normally cause problems as long as all of the MIDI channels had been initialized to use bank 0. Yamaha always includes a "General MIDI Level 1 On" (or "GM System On") message at the beginning of MIDI song files, but MIDI files that have been obtained online might not have that message included, which would mean that the keyboard and its channels aren't being initialized at the beginning of the accompaniment. If that happens, any channels which had gotten set to some bank other than 0 might play different voices than expected.

This could also affect the drum channel(s), because General MIDI Level 1-- or GM1-- song files don't usually specify a program number for channel 10, since GM1 has only one drum kit and it has no corresponding program number. So if the drum track plays with an Acoustic Grand Piano voice if it isn't using channel 10, that's an indication that the drum track doesn't contain a bank number and program number. Yamaha's XG and XGlite standards can have more than one drum kit, and any of those drum kits can be used on any of the MIDI channels-- as long as the correct bank and program numbers are being used to select the desired drum kit.

In addition to the "GM System On" message, Yamaha also normally includes the "XG System On" message at the beginning of a MIDI file. The keyboard is supposed to use the XG (or XGlite) system by default, but if the MIDI file contains a "GM System On" message without an "XG System On" message then it's slightly possible the keyboard isn't using the XGlite system as it should be.

Finally, if any MIDI tracks are selecting voices-- that is, combinations of specific bank and program numbers-- which aren't available on the PSR-323, the keyboard will play different voices than expected on those channels (although they should still be at least a little similar to the requested voices), and in the worst case scenario a given channel might even be completely silent.

The solution would be to use a MIDI utility to verify that the "GM System On" and "XG System On" messages are included, and to add them if they're missing. You should also check the voices (bank and program numbers) being specified for each channel, and if any of them are trying to select voices which aren't available on the PSR-E323 then you should "revoice" those channels-- that is, change their bank and program numbers to voices which do exist on the PSR-E323.
Michael Rideout
Current keyboards: Yamaha YPT-400, PSR-E433, PSR-E443, PSR-EW400, MX49 BK
Current controllers: M-Audio Axiom 61-II
Previous keyboards: Farfisa Matador 611; Casio CTK-710
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Dazza
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Re: Distorted MIDI playback on PSR E323

Unread post by Dazza » Sat Mar 30, 2019 7:44 am

Thanks so much for the quick and detailed responses.

I don't think that polyphony is the problem as some of the troublesome songs/files start with a single drum beat which is also distorted. I also doubt that it is a problem relating to bank specification or other initial messaging - only because the problem is intermittent - sometimes a problem song/file is fine for the first or second run through but then goes distorted. When one song is distorted it seems to have a cascading effect with other songs and attributes on the PSR (for example sometimes the PSR turns the "local" setting to off meaning that anything played on the keyboard can't be heard). Another type of random cascading effect is that the voice that comes from the PSR during playback with the midi file is some random voice (perhaps some combo of one of the midi tracks and the voice set on the PSR). All makes me think that the problem is with the PSR rather than the files or PC - although I wouldn't know whether its possible for a MIDI file to somehow change setting for the next or subsequent songs.

I'll send one of the problem files as requested - all the relevant files are ones that have been downloaded for free.

thanks again.
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SeaGtGruff
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Re: Distorted MIDI playback on PSR E323

Unread post by SeaGtGruff » Sat Mar 30, 2019 9:52 am

From your description, it definitely sounds like there's probably something not right about one or more of the MIDI files, or else something that's happening when they're being loaded into Anvil Studio or being played/streamed by Anvil Studio.
Michael Rideout
Current keyboards: Yamaha YPT-400, PSR-E433, PSR-E443, PSR-EW400, MX49 BK
Current controllers: M-Audio Axiom 61-II
Previous keyboards: Farfisa Matador 611; Casio CTK-710
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