How to playback/edit "multitrack" midi user songs from DXG660 on a computer?

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George Khubua
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How to playback/edit "multitrack" midi user songs from DXG660 on a computer?

Unread post by George Khubua » Sat Feb 02, 2019 10:02 pm

Hi guys,
(I am a newbie in this subject, so apologies if the question is kind of silly, I tried to google this first, but didn't find an answer)

So I have recorded a "multitrack" UserSong (piano / bass / sax) on my DGX660 and copied it as a MID file to my computer. I supposed I could listen to it on a computer and it would sound similar to how it sounds when being played back on DGX. I understood that actual instrument would sound really different, but at least I expected to hear piano as well as bass as well as sax.
Now what actually happens, is when I open the MID file in Windows (default) Media Player - I only hear a single piano track. And when I imported MID file into SoundTrap (cloud DAW), all 3 tracks were displayed as 1, and played as 1 instrument.

Could anybody please explain to me, is this the expected behavior? How can I listen/edit all three instruments in such a usersong.mid file?

Thanks!
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SeaGtGruff
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Re: How to playback/edit "multitrack" midi user songs from DXG660 on a computer?

Unread post by SeaGtGruff » Sun Feb 03, 2019 5:36 am

How does the MIDI song file sound when you play it back on your DGX-660-- not the User Song (which might still be saved on the DGX), but the SMF or Standard MIDI File that you saved the User Song to?

If the MIDI file sounds okay on your DGX (that is, if all three instrument tracks are there), then you should be able to import the MIDI file into a DAW if desired so you can edit the MIDI data on each of the three tracks.

Depending on the DAW, the MIDI file might be imported to one single MIDI track that contains multiple channels, or it might be imported to multiple MIDI tracks (one MIDI channel per MIDI track). The first situation is equivalent of a "Type 0" MIDI file, which contains one "MTrk" data chunk with all of the MIDI channels inside. The second situation is equivalent to a "Type 1" MIDI file, which contains multiple "MTrk" data chunks-- usually, but not necessarily, one channel per "MTrk" chunk. Yamaha saves MIDI files as "Type 0," and some DAWs will import such files to a single MIDI track, although the MIDI data inside that track will still be separated into multiple channels as specified by the MIDI messages. Other DAWs might import such files to multiple MIDI tracks, one channel per track. DAWs that import to a single MIDI track will usually have some sort of function that lets you separate each of the MIDI channels to its own MIDI track if you wish-- for example, in Cubase this function is called "dissolve" (if I remember correctly).

Note that when you play back a MIDI file on a computer or inside a DAW, the sounds you hear are probably going to be quite different than the ones on your keyboard, depending on the "soft synth" (or software synthesizer) that the DAW or MIDI player is using to play back the MIDI file. If you're playing the file back from within a DAW, you should be able to set up the MIDI track(s) in the DAW so that the DAW sends the MIDI data to your keyboard to be played, in which case the sounds should be what you're expecting them to be. Of course, you will need to have your DGX connected to your computer via a USB cable if you want the DAW to be able to send the MIDI data to your keyboard for playback.

I'm not familiar with the SoundTrap DAW, but there are a number of free or inexpensive DAWs that you could use for this, so I would recommend using one of them instead-- preferably one that doesn't strip out SysEx messages when importing a MIDI file. What operating system does your computer use?
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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George Khubua
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Re: How to playback/edit "multitrack" midi user songs from DXG660 on a computer?

Unread post by George Khubua » Sun Feb 03, 2019 6:23 pm

Thank you for a reply, Michael!

> SMF
So based on your hint, I downloaded a MID file to my computer, renamed it, and then uploaded MID file back to DGX. DGX did "see" it as a one more song and played it - all three instruments. This means that my MID is good, right?
Oddly, I didn't find any way of saving "UserSong1.MID" to "MySong.MID" directly neither in the DGX menu, nor in the owner's manual. I wonder is this writing file back-and-forth, like I did, a correct way of doing a thing?

> so that the DAW sends the MIDI data to your keyboard to be played
Interesting, will try this!

> there are a number of free or inexpensive DAWs ... What operating system does your computer use?
I have Windows 10. So, may I please ask you to recommend me any DAW (free option if better), which would be able to import my MID, edit the channels as different instruments, and then play it back in DGX?
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SeaGtGruff
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Re: How to playback/edit "multitrack" midi user songs from DXG660 on a computer?

Unread post by SeaGtGruff » Sun Feb 03, 2019 10:22 pm

Yes, this means that the MIDI file is “good,” in that it contains all of the tracks you recorded, along with the instructions to use the instrument sounds that you had selected. :)

The DGX/YPG models, along with the PSR-E/YPT models, aren’t designed to record directly to SMFs or Standard MIDI Files. What they do is record to a sort of “MIDI half-file” (for lack of a better term) which contains the MIDI events that select the voices you’ve specified and the notes you’ve played, along with any additional actions you’ve made while recording, such as moving the Pitch Bend Wheel, using the sustain pedal, and changing the panel settings by recalling a Registration. If you’ve recorded a song that uses a Style or auto accompaniment, this “MIDI half-file” also contains MIDI instructions which select that particular Style, along with instructions for all of the chord changes and section changes you’ve made during your performance, but not the MIDI instructions which are in the Style itself. In short, it’s a sort of “condensed” set of instructions which the keyboard can use to play back the selected Style while it’s also playing back everything that you had played yourself. Doing it this way allows Yamaha to conserve memory space, thereby letting you record more music in the given amount of RAM. :)

This “User Song” also does not include the “MThd” header chunk that’s supposed to be at the beginning of every Standard MIDI File, so it isn’t an actual SMF, just an “abbreviated” MIDI file as it were. When you use the “Save SMF” function (or whatever it’s called on the DGX-660), the keyboard creates the missing “MThd” chunk and writes it to a true Standard MIDI File, then writes all of the MIDI messages for everything that you played, along with the fully-expanded MIDI messages for the accompaniment.

Tracktion T7 is a commercial DAW which is completely free— it’s an older version that used to require a purchase, as the newest version does— and it is fully-featured as far as being able to support SysEx messages and instrument patch files, so it might be a good choice.

Cockos REAPER is an inexpensive commercial DAW that also supports SysEx and instrument patch files. Although it isn’t free, you can install the full version and use it “uncrippled” for free on a trial basis, and the trial period never expires, which makes it a very popular choice among home recording enthusiasts.

Anvil Studio is another possibility. I’m not sure whether it qualifies as a “commercial” DAW per se, but the approach used by its developer is that the basic program is free, whereas if you want to use certain functionalities then you must purchase one or more add-on modules for those functionalities. The free version does have some nice features, such as the ability to display and even edit your MIDI tracks in the form of musical notation. You can even display it in the notation form that guitarists use, but I don’t think you can edit in that form. Or you can display the drum tracks in percussion notation.

There are many other possible choices, but some of them do not let you use SysEx messages, which makes them poorer choices for what you want to do. SysEx or System Exclusive messages are used to set parameters which affect the entire keyboard as a whole, as opposed to “channel messages” which affect only a particular channel— a “channel” being more or less equivalent to a “track” of a User Song, or to one of the three “Voices” (Main, Dual, and Split) that you can play on the keyboard. Basically, if you choose a DAW that cannot handle SysEx messages, the DAW will filter out the messages that select the Reverb Type, Chorus Type, and DSP Type when you import a MIDI file, such that those messages will be gone when you save the file again after you finish editing it, potentially causing the new MIDI file to sound different than you’d intended. Thus, you’re better off choosing a DAW that can handle SysEx messages, at least for what you want to do.
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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George Khubua
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Re: How to playback/edit "multitrack" midi user songs from DXG660 on a computer?

Unread post by George Khubua » Tue Feb 05, 2019 11:44 pm

I really appreciate your time, Michael, for the very comprehensive explanation of "how it works"!
Now I understand the rationale behind why "MIDI half-file" UserSong behaves this way - looks reasonable.
And I will definitely try the DAWs you suggested. :)
Thank you once again!
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SeaGtGruff
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Re: How to playback/edit "multitrack" midi user songs from DXG660 on a computer?

Unread post by SeaGtGruff » Wed Feb 06, 2019 2:46 am

One that I forgot to mention is "Cakewalk by BandLab." Cakewalk SONAR used to be a rather pricey DAW. It was around for a long time and there were many, many users who supported it. But then the company was sold a few times, the next-to-the-last time being to Gibson, who ended up shutting it down and letting the developers go. Fortunately, a company called BandLab acquired it, and they've released it as a free DAW! I haven't installed it yet (mainly due to my hard drive already being 99% full), although I do have the old crippled "free demo" version of Cakewalk SONAR Platinum. The new free version might be the best choice right now among free DAWs.
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
User avatar Ukraine
George Khubua
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2019 9:43 pm

Re: How to playback/edit "multitrack" midi user songs from DXG660 on a computer?

Unread post by George Khubua » Wed Feb 06, 2019 10:01 pm

very interesting, I will have a look at that as well!
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