QS300 Help badly needed. How to store songs internally (not using disk drive)?

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PcbFlare
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QS300 Help badly needed. How to store songs internally (not using disk drive)?

Unread post by PcbFlare » Fri Aug 16, 2019 10:51 pm

Hello,

I just got my hands on Yamaha QS300 workstation in stellar condition. I started experimenting with the unit, getting to know it, try some sounds, all the good stuff. But i ran into a pretty bad wall. I'm now searching for this information for third day today. Without luck. Owner's manual didn't help me, various supplemental info found on the internet didn't help me, i'm just hopelessly stuck. So if anyone can help me, please do.

What i'm looking for: HOW TO STORE THE SONG DATA INTO THE INTERNAL MEMORY?

The workstation specs say that you can save up to 10 songs (86000 notes max) into the internal memory. The problem is, the manual doesn't say how.
There's the DISK menu for operations with the floppy disk drive, but that doesn't work if the drive is empty. User-created voices can be stored into the internal memory via the STORE button. I succesfully edited some patches and used that button to store them. The patches are still there after i reset the unit. But when i use the STEP RECORD mode, write in few simple measures, PLAY them back with no problem, i can even name the SONG, but when i press STORE in SONG mode, nothing happens. The STORE text is in red, which indicates that the functionality is available only when SHIFT is pressed simultaneously. So i tried that. I edited some voices, assigned patches to certain channels, wrote a simple measure using STEP RECORDING, PLAYed it back, everything worked fine. Then i pressed SHIFT+STORE. Finally a question appeared "STORE ALL DATA?" I pressed YES. I got a confirmation message, and that was it. I switched the unit off and then on again. But the SONG mode was again completely empty. I have no clue what else to try. Someone, PLEASE, HELP... One of the main reasons why i wanted this unit is because of its workstation functionality. I wanted the option to store songs in the unit. I know that there's the option to use diskettes, but i'd rather completely avoid that, until i replace the floppy with a GOTEK drive or something along those lines. I lived through enough horror stories with losing important data due to diskette failures in the nineties. I'm not looking to experience this again. Local Yamaha gurus, please deliver me from my torment, tell me what to do to achieve my goal of saving 20seconds of closed hihat sequence to the internal memory, so i can continue next day and add other instruments (like open hihat) as well... Also, any general QS300 tips/tricks are welcome. Thank you in advance.
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Re: QS300 Help badly needed. How to store songs internally (not using disk drive)?

Unread post by parametric » Sat Aug 17, 2019 1:59 am

Hi PcbFlare, and welcome to the forums . . . .

Looking briefly at the Manual, it appears there is no facility to save songs to internal memory.

They must be saved to floppy disk. DOES THE DISK DRIVE WORK?

The QS-300 uses DSDD floppy disks (720k) NOT the more recent DSHD disks (1.44Mb)

The 720k disks are rare these days and you may have difficulty finding them in your country.

I DO have a supply of them if you get stuck. They will cost £1 per disk + shipping to your country.

When you HAVE songs on the floppy disk, these can be loaded back into the QS-300 into it's internal memory.

I think it is THIS mention of "internal memory" that is misleading . . . .

If the Floppy Drive appears not to work, it is probably repairable.

These early drives use rubber belts which stretch and rot over time.

A new belt and a good clean will probably get it working again . ..

Hope that helps

parametric
Alesis Fusion 8SSD AND 6SSD - BOTH are 384Mb/120Gb SSD/Akai ADVANCE61/Yamaha MOXF6/1024Mb Flash Ram/Yamaha SY85/8.5mb vol/1024k non-vol/DX21/Roland MT32/Bachmann double overstrung Baby Grand Piano/Win10 Pro/Ubuntu MATE 15.0.4/iBook G4/Mac OS 10.4.6/ProTools 7.4/MBox2/M-Audio MicroTrack 24/96

NI Komplete11 Ultimate

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BRAND NEW DSDD (720k) FLOPPY DISKS FOR SALE - http://www.yamahaforums.co.uk/forum/vie ... =22&t=9217

Watch out now! take care, BEWARE of the greedy leaders! They'll take you where you should not go - (George Harrison)

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Re: QS300 Help badly needed. How to store songs internally (not using disk drive)?

Unread post by PcbFlare » Sat Aug 17, 2019 9:12 am

Oh boy. If that's the case, then that's a HUGE letdown. The floppy drive works, the instrument is in truly fantastic condition, it even smells like a new gear. I just really hoped that i could avoid using diskettes in daily use. I knew that i'll eventually have to save the songs when the internal storage gets full, but it never occured to me, that by "internal storage" they just mean... RAM. That is super misleading. Usually you don't mention RAM when talking "storage". I still don't want to believe that there's no way at all. I even read somewhere a clear distinction between the internal memory and the diskettes, it was in a sentence like "10 songs/86000 notes internal memory, unlimited when using disk drive". I just can't understand why there wouldn't be this possibility. I'm not saying you're wrong, i'm just in first stage of grief - denial mode. Denial mixed with fading hope. Btw, the previous owner supplied me with some diskettes. They're filled with truly hilarious attempts to recreate famous pop songs using MIDI soundset. Ok, most of them are hilarious, the New Order's Blue Monday is pretty spot-on. I think i'll just have to delete some of it. Eventually i plan to replace the floppy drive with GOTEK, and will use flash drives for storage, then these problems will be a thing of the past, but maaan, i just can't get that. WHY would someone build workstation this powerful and completely forgot to add storage option other than the awkward floppies. The SONG data don't even take that much space, it's tens of kilobytes of basically text. 95 is oldschool, but if i remember correctly, i had a pc with 4MB RAM back then. That was pretty common. Damn. What comes after denial, anger? No... Bargaining. Well, i don't know how to do that in this case, so i'll go straight to being pissed off. Dammit, even much earlier workstations had this feature, i really can't get over this. There just has to be SOME way.... It's totally illogical to have internal storage you can use only for 128 user sounds. :-(
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Re: QS300 Help badly needed. How to store songs internally (not using disk drive)?

Unread post by PcbFlare » Sat Aug 17, 2019 9:17 am

Thank you for your reply btw.
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Re: QS300 Help badly needed. How to store songs internally (not using disk drive)?

Unread post by parametric » Sat Aug 17, 2019 9:40 pm

Yeah - sorry about that PcbFlare . . . .

Boards from that era came with little (SY85 - 512k onboard RAM) or No (TG500 - NO onboard RAM)

onboard memory.

As you probably remember, memory was very expensive back then . . . .

I remember 4Mb of RAM on a PC costing ~£120. My current PC has 32Gb . . .

It's a Pain for sure, but the usb pen-drive option is do-able, if a bit fiddly . . .

You may need to buy several before you find one that works FOR YOU . . . .

Reason being, they were never designed for keyboards, but industrial robots and knitting machines . . :?

Quite a few early boards HAVE been successfully fitted with pen drives and details are within the relevant

Forums if you search. REMEMBER - you need a 720k-capable one . . . . .

I never bothered with my SY85, as I got the floppy drive working OK . . . .

parametric
Alesis Fusion 8SSD AND 6SSD - BOTH are 384Mb/120Gb SSD/Akai ADVANCE61/Yamaha MOXF6/1024Mb Flash Ram/Yamaha SY85/8.5mb vol/1024k non-vol/DX21/Roland MT32/Bachmann double overstrung Baby Grand Piano/Win10 Pro/Ubuntu MATE 15.0.4/iBook G4/Mac OS 10.4.6/ProTools 7.4/MBox2/M-Audio MicroTrack 24/96

NI Komplete11 Ultimate

Sector101 2x SYEMB06 / 4 x EXM-E3 128MB DRAM Module

BRAND NEW DSDD (720k) FLOPPY DISKS FOR SALE - http://www.yamahaforums.co.uk/forum/vie ... =22&t=9217

Watch out now! take care, BEWARE of the greedy leaders! They'll take you where you should not go - (George Harrison)

IT'S TRUE - "MONEY TALKS" - TO ME, IT MOSTLY SAYS "GOODBYE" ;-)
http://www.chrisnmiller.co.uk/Chris
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Re: QS300 Help badly needed. How to store songs internally (not using disk drive)?

Unread post by PcbFlare » Mon Aug 19, 2019 2:43 am

Yeah, i just caved in and crammed a disk in drive. It's funny. I will have to buy USB floppy for my PC and some diskettes. In 2019. That's something i didn't really expect to happen. Btw, the floppy drive in my QS300 is definitely HD. When i was saving some data earlier today, it clearly said that there's 1432KB of free memory on the disk. The used diskettes i got with the unit are even marked HD. So either the later QS300 models got HD floppy drive, or the one in my unit isn't the original one. But it's HD, thank the spaghetti monster for small miracles. What i'm considering is buying something like this, because i really, really don't want to play the floppy poker anymore. I'd back all the data on my pc immediately, but still, i lived through so many data loss events during the 90s, i really have bad flashbacks everytime i see a save icon. The gotek floppy emulator has the same data cabel as the common floppy drive, although it requires 4pin molex instead of the smaller floppy connector. I hope that it's going to be possible. I think that if i format some small flashdrive to FAT16 or FAT32, it should be readable when used with the gotek floppy emulator? [edit] I wanted to link the gotek floppy emulator, but as that's against the rules, i can't do it. It's a device, that lets you use USB sticks instead of diskettes. Hopefully it will be usable with the unit.[/edit]
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Re: QS300 Help badly needed. How to store songs internally (not using disk drive)?

Unread post by PcbFlare » Mon Aug 19, 2019 2:56 am

Btw, i know that memory was expensive back then. 4mb stick was the most expensive component of my 1995 486DX/2 PC. But how much memory do you need for storage of what's basically an encoded text file containing notation/automation data? The most complex song from one of the disks that came with the instrument had 99KB. Multiply it by the 10 songs and you got a megabyte of data. And, btw, we aren't actually talking RAM, are we? This must be some kind of EEPROM, that's usually cheaper than RAM. This was really unpleasant surprise. It didn't even cross my mind that something like that is possible with "workstation" type of synth. NVM. :/: I see there's a good reason why this emoticon is so high on the list. I'm just frustrated. I'll just have to find a way to cram in the GoTek floppy emulator and somehow make it work. Or, even better, find a way to jam a hdd inside. It's already heavy enough, one notebook harddisk won't make much of a difference.
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Re: QS300 Help badly needed. How to store songs internally (not using disk drive)?

Unread post by parametric » Mon Aug 19, 2019 3:11 pm

PcbFlare wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 2:56 am
I'll just have to find a way to cram in the GoTek floppy emulator and somehow make it work. Or, even better, find a way to jam a hdd inside. It's already heavy enough, one notebook harddisk won't make much of a difference.
Interesting to note that you seem to have an HD floppy inside, and it works.

HD Floppies are still available (just).

Problem with the hard disk idea is that the QS only has a FLOPPY CONTROLLER inside - and an ancient

one at that . .

Add to that, the OS knows nothing about Hard Disks and so it would be a non-starter, I'm afraid . . . :(

The usb pen-drive emulator would be the way to go if you really want to stay away from floppies . . .

Just my opinion . . . ;)

parametric
Alesis Fusion 8SSD AND 6SSD - BOTH are 384Mb/120Gb SSD/Akai ADVANCE61/Yamaha MOXF6/1024Mb Flash Ram/Yamaha SY85/8.5mb vol/1024k non-vol/DX21/Roland MT32/Bachmann double overstrung Baby Grand Piano/Win10 Pro/Ubuntu MATE 15.0.4/iBook G4/Mac OS 10.4.6/ProTools 7.4/MBox2/M-Audio MicroTrack 24/96

NI Komplete11 Ultimate

Sector101 2x SYEMB06 / 4 x EXM-E3 128MB DRAM Module

BRAND NEW DSDD (720k) FLOPPY DISKS FOR SALE - http://www.yamahaforums.co.uk/forum/vie ... =22&t=9217

Watch out now! take care, BEWARE of the greedy leaders! They'll take you where you should not go - (George Harrison)

IT'S TRUE - "MONEY TALKS" - TO ME, IT MOSTLY SAYS "GOODBYE" ;-)
http://www.chrisnmiller.co.uk/Chris
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Re: QS300 Help badly needed. How to store songs internally (not using disk drive)?

Unread post by PcbFlare » Tue Aug 20, 2019 2:45 pm

Yeah, the harddrive was a more of a wishful thinking than a real plan, but the Gotek floppy emulator with USB port seems like a good idea. It's made exactly for this type of purpose. My QS300 truly has a HD floppy drive. I originally thought, that it must have been installed during the cleaning/refurbishing operations that previous owner performed, but the page 202 of the manual seems to indicate otherwise. Excerpt from related manual text follows:
"DISK FORMAT Operation

This operation formats new (blank) 2DD or 2HD 3.5-inch
floppy disks for use with the QS300. (2DD disks are
formatted to MS-DOS, 720 kBytes; 2HD disks to MS-DOS
1.44 MBytes.) It can also be used to format disks previously
used with other equipment for use with the QS300.
The format operation is also a convenient way to clear all
data from a disk that contains unwanted material."

So there truly were HD capable floppy drives in QS300 from the get-go. After all, the unit was made in 1995. DD disks were mainly 80s era tech, weren't they?

Btw, right now, i'm studying the sequencer capabilities, and QS300 can do A LOT. It took some digging in the manual and MIDI supplement, but it looks like it's possible to attach sysex data to each and every individual note, and i can do it directly from the unit. There's this sort of almost tracker interface where you see the notes in question in vertical columns, next to it are velocity/gate/mod parameters, and then there's special segment for hexadecimal sysex data. Which means that i can automate a lot of the voice parameters, not only on the QS300, but send it to other synths attached to it. So right now i'm printing out MIDI/SysEx charts and sticking it to the walls. I know that doing this from some DAW is much less awkward, but i just like the hardware. Always did. I get much more satisfaction out of programming the synths directly than inputting stuff into piano rolls and drawing automation on some screen.
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Re: QS300 Help badly needed. How to store songs internally (not using disk drive)?

Unread post by parametric » Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:04 am

PcbFlare wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 2:45 pm
Yeah, the harddrive was a more of a wishful thinking than a real plan, but the Gotek floppy emulator with USB port seems like a good idea. It's made exactly for this type of purpose. My QS300 truly has a HD floppy drive. I originally thought, that it must have been installed during the cleaning/refurbishing operations that previous owner performed, but the page 202 of the manual seems to indicate otherwise. Excerpt from related manual text follows:
"DISK FORMAT Operation

This operation formats new (blank) 2DD or 2HD 3.5-inch
floppy disks for use with the QS300. (2DD disks are
formatted to MS-DOS, 720 kBytes; 2HD disks to MS-DOS
1.44 MBytes.) It can also be used to format disks previously
used with other equipment for use with the QS300.
The format operation is also a convenient way to clear all
data from a disk that contains unwanted material."

So there truly were HD capable floppy drives in QS300 from the get-go. After all, the unit was made in 1995. DD disks were mainly 80s era tech, weren't they?
THAT is all good news. All you need to be sure of is to check that the GoTech adaptor can be configured

for HD Floppy emulation . . .

Some are DD only, others are jumpered for either . .

The use of 720k floppies with synths and computers with 1.44Mb floppy drives confused many -

and I wrote a post that tried to explain why . . . .

viewtopic.php?f=190&t=12754

PcbFlare wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 2:45 pm
Btw, right now, i'm studying the sequencer capabilities, and QS300 can do A LOT. It took some digging in the manual and MIDI supplement, but it looks like it's possible to attach sysex data to each and every individual note, and i can do it directly from the unit. There's this sort of almost tracker interface where you see the notes in question in vertical columns, next to it are velocity/gate/mod parameters, and then there's special segment for hexadecimal sysex data. Which means that i can automate a lot of the voice parameters, not only on the QS300, but send it to other synths attached to it. So right now i'm printing out MIDI/SysEx charts and sticking it to the walls. I know that doing this from some DAW is much less awkward, but i just like the hardware. Always did. I get much more satisfaction out of programming the synths directly than inputting stuff into piano rolls and drawing automation on some screen.
There is NO disrespect for liking the hardware route. Many prefer it.

It's really about experience and what you are most comfortable with.

My Alesis Fusion is a "Workstation", and theoretically can take the process from recording the tracks,

through editing and arranging, right to a final stereo to burn to CD on an attachable CD Burner

(which never materialised, before the Fusion was "legacied" in 2005). :(

Out of necessity, I record my initial tracks in the sequencer in <Song> mode - and then export the midi

file to Reaper.

I have done small bits of editing midi inside the Fusion but I find it very fiddly . . . .

Given your experience of "working inside" I would suggest that you would probably find the Fusion a

complete BLAST and an incredibly versatile board . . .

It originally came with a hard disk too (which I have upgraded to an SSD).

I would definitely recommend it for you if you come across one for a good price . . . .

They come in 88-note Piano action or 61-note Synth action . . . . I have both . . .

Anyhow - let us know how the Pen-drive upgrade goes . . . (Y)

parametric
Alesis Fusion 8SSD AND 6SSD - BOTH are 384Mb/120Gb SSD/Akai ADVANCE61/Yamaha MOXF6/1024Mb Flash Ram/Yamaha SY85/8.5mb vol/1024k non-vol/DX21/Roland MT32/Bachmann double overstrung Baby Grand Piano/Win10 Pro/Ubuntu MATE 15.0.4/iBook G4/Mac OS 10.4.6/ProTools 7.4/MBox2/M-Audio MicroTrack 24/96

NI Komplete11 Ultimate

Sector101 2x SYEMB06 / 4 x EXM-E3 128MB DRAM Module

BRAND NEW DSDD (720k) FLOPPY DISKS FOR SALE - http://www.yamahaforums.co.uk/forum/vie ... =22&t=9217

Watch out now! take care, BEWARE of the greedy leaders! They'll take you where you should not go - (George Harrison)

IT'S TRUE - "MONEY TALKS" - TO ME, IT MOSTLY SAYS "GOODBYE" ;-)
http://www.chrisnmiller.co.uk/Chris
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