MIDI IN in the EX5 ? Breath control?

The EX5 features a unique Extended Synthesis system which incorporates a number of advanced tone generator technologies. AWM2, AN, FDSP and VL. The EX5 is one of the best keyboard Yamaha ever produced.

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MIDI IN in the EX5 ? Breath control?

Unread post by n-i-c-l-a-s » Fri Jun 14, 2019 9:46 am

Hi everyone! I am new to this forum, so I want to start with saying 'hello' to all of you in this forum!

I recently got an EX5 in great condition and really enjoy playing it, partcularly the keybed. However I have some problems related to MIDI In and breath control that I can not find a solution to in the manual. I want to play some of the VL patches, but currently they sound pretty bad, due to lack of dynamics (every note I play is full volume). I can control the dynamics with Aftertouch but it is very difficult for me to control it properly, as AT is very sensitive and to change pressure smoothly between 0 and 127 is almost impossible for me. I actually planned to use my breath controller for this, but unfortunatly it doesnt have the proper connector (it's a Hornberg hb-1, not a Yaamaha bc). The hb1 can output all control data via MIDI, so I connected it to the MIDI in fo the EX5 hoping that it will react to CC2 the same way it will react to the internal breath controller, but unfortunately it does not work. The EX5 does not react to CC2 at all... I tried to switch the CC controller outputted by the hb1 to CC1 and I can control vibrato intensity with it, so the MIDI connection seems to be working. (at least in voice mode, there was no reaction in performance mode).

I read most of the manual, hoping I could find something about how to map external CC controllers to EX5 parameters, but without any luck. I found a section saying that it is possible for the EX5 and EX5r (the EX5r wouldnt be too useful without this feature, anyway) but I can not find the section that explains how to do it.... I activated the "MIDI to TG" setting (in performance mode), I found a section in the manual explaining how to map the keyboard controls to CC controls so I can use it as MasterKeyboard but I just cannot find anything on how to make the EX5 react to specific external MIDI CCs...

If anyone knows how to do it I would be very grateful. Thanks in advance!
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Re: MIDI IN in the EX5 ? Breath control?

Unread post by Derek » Fri Jun 14, 2019 10:39 am

Hi,

From memory all of the EX5 VL patches are designed to be played from the keyboard (otherwise they would not sound), so you may need to edit each patch and get them to respond to the breath controller. It can be done as I have a WX5 (one day I will have time to use it....) and that is MIDI only.
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Re: MIDI IN in the EX5 ? Breath control?

Unread post by n-i-c-l-a-s » Fri Jun 14, 2019 12:01 pm

Hi Derek and thanks for your reply! Really? when I play the VL patches via Keyboard, they unfortunately sound quite bad... They are not responsive to velocity, most of the time they are just extremely loud (there are some seemingly random deviations in loudness though) There is also some random growl effect when I play,eg, the trombone patch. Maybe something is wrong with my EX5? Or maybe I have to reset to factory settings
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Re: MIDI IN in the EX5 ? Breath control?

Unread post by EXer » Fri Jun 14, 2019 12:11 pm

In the controller set of most VL voices BC is NOT used as a source.

But Velocity and AT are used as sources for VL Pressure, and I can confirm that VL voices are very dynamic and responsive to velocity (just to be sure check that the VelCurve is not set to "fix" on your EX).
__

To use a wind controller with VL voices there's no need to edit the controller sets, just remap BC to Vel in "UTILITY>CTRL>Breath Control Assign" (N.B. in this case the wind controller must trigger the notes).
__

Btw, it seems some (but not all) VL voices react to BC although BC is NOT used in the controller matrix! Maybe it is implemented in the VL Element?

You can test that without a Wind controller:
- assign MW2 to BC (CC#2) (UTILITY>VOICE>CTRL)
- turn MW2 fully back
- select P1-077 Trumpet
- play a key (say C3) with a very low velocity and hold the key down without triggering AT; you can hear breath noise, but no trumpet sound
- trigger the AT but only slightly so; you can hear the trumpet sound
- then turn MW2 forward while keeping a constant light AT pressure ; you can hear a change in the sound

This seems to work with the brass model, but not with the reed model, e.g. P2-097 Tennor Sax (Yamaha's spelling, not mine!)
__

I wish I had a WX5, unfortunately it cannot be had in Europe and US retailers won't ship to France due to stupid ROHS compliance laws, yet a WX5, despite its electronic components soldered with lead, will not cause an environmental disaster!
Last edited by EXer on Fri Jun 14, 2019 5:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: MIDI IN in the EX5 ? Breath control?

Unread post by n-i-c-l-a-s » Fri Jun 14, 2019 4:56 pm

Thanks for the reply, EXer!
I looked at the controller page in one of the VL Voices (in my case P1-077-E13. Br: Trumpet) and I can confirm that Velocity is mapped to VL pressure (AT is mapped to Volume, though) . But, unfortunately, it does not react to velocity at all :/ It actually behaves like the velocity curve is set to fixed 127, but in the utility->voice page the VeloCurve is set to "norm" with sensitivity 63 and offset 0, which sounds reasonable to me. Maybe there really is something wrong with my EX5... But why would velocity stop working only for VL patches? It works fine for everything else (AWM voices, MIDI Out).. Very strange behaviour...

Your tip to remap the BC in UTILITY>CTRL also sounds very convenient, I will try that if I get this sorted out.

Thanks again!
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Re: MIDI IN in the EX5 ? Breath control?

Unread post by EXer » Fri Jun 14, 2019 5:26 pm

n-i-c-l-a-s wrote:
Fri Jun 14, 2019 4:56 pm
(AT is mapped to Volume, though)
AT is mapped to VL Pressure as well (a single controller set can have multiple sources)
n-i-c-l-a-s wrote:
Fri Jun 14, 2019 4:56 pm
But, unfortunately, it does not react to velocity at all :/ It actually behaves like the velocity curve is set to fixed 127, but in the utility->voice page the VeloCurve is set to "norm" with sensitivity 63 and offset 0, which sounds reasonable to me.
Your Curve seems correct and preset P1-077 should respond to velocity.
n-i-c-l-a-s wrote:
Fri Jun 14, 2019 4:56 pm
But why would velocity stop working only for VL patches? It works fine for everything else (AWM voices, MIDI Out).. Very strange behaviour...
Yes, if it works for everything else that means the keybed generates the velocities correctly, so I don't understand what's happening with your VL voices.

Have you tried P2-097 Tennor (*) Sax ?

(*) Yamaha's spelling, not mine!

Btw: P1-077
Last edited by EXer on Fri Jun 14, 2019 5:34 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: MIDI IN in the EX5 ? Breath control?

Unread post by jnm2 » Fri Jun 14, 2019 5:31 pm

I think mapping aftertouch to CC2 will do much more then just velocity.
If velocity works fine for other sounds, your EX5 will most likely be ok.

Do you have a computer that still can run the VL-software (easier to edit things) ?
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Re: MIDI IN in the EX5 ? Breath control?

Unread post by EXer » Fri Jun 14, 2019 5:50 pm

I have used a VL editor just once, out of curiosity.

You can edit everything in a VL Voice from the panel of the EX5, except the parameters of the model which constitute a VL Element, i.e. the internals of the oscillator, for which you need a VL editor.

But with 256 preset VL Elements to chose from I never felt the need to create my own custom VL Elements.

Using preset Element 067 "Jurassic" and editing the filter and the controller sets on the EX you can even create your own interpretation of what you believe a Parasaurolophus sounded like!
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Re: MIDI IN in the EX5 ? Breath control?

Unread post by n-i-c-l-a-s » Fri Jun 14, 2019 6:48 pm

Thanks for your replies, everyone!

Yes I tried P2-097 Tennor (*) Sax and it behaves the same, unfortunately. Sounds good though, if velocity would be working I think I will enjoy this patch quite a bit :)

I don't have an old computer to run the VL-software ( I didnt even this existed before you mentioned it), but I could try to open it with WINE on a linux computer, if you think it might help.

While trying around, I noticed something interesting: When I first select a new VL-voice velocity seems to be working. It's only when I hit a note with velo greater than a certain threshhold (my guess would be ~60~80) this weird behaviour starts. After that, every following note will always be as loud as possible and the voice wont react to velocity anymore... Did someone here experience this behaviour?

Thanks everyone!
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Re: MIDI IN in the EX5 ? Breath control?

Unread post by EXer » Fri Jun 14, 2019 7:50 pm

n-i-c-l-a-s wrote:
Fri Jun 14, 2019 6:48 pm
Did someone here experience this behaviour?
No, it responds from vel 0 to 127 and vice-versa.

I have checked on my EX5 if there is a setting somewhere which could explain the behaviour of yours, but I have found nothing, assuming that the VelCurve in UTILITY>VOICE is not set to "fix" and that you are not using the VL voice within a Performance where the corresponding part has its Vel Crve parameter set to "fix".
__

Which OS/TG version does your EX5 have (press VOICE+H+8 simultaneously) ?
I have heard of VL issues with very early versions.

One of my EX5s still has OS 1.0A / TG 1.06 and VL works fine, except that it cannot load custom Elements via sysex (IIRC that was fixed in 1.0C).
__

Could you try this:

- VOICE MODE ; select P1-001 voice (piano)
- SONG mode ; record a sequence by hitting a key (say C3) repeatedly, starting pianissimo (low velocity) and going progressively to fortissimo (high vel) and back progressively to pianissimo ; hit EDIT to check the velocities of the recorded notes, i.e. the numbers in the column on the right side of the screen, they should show increasing values, then decreasing
- VOICE MODE ; play the sequence with the piano voice and check it does crescendo and decrescendo
- VOICE MODE ; play the sequence with the P1-077 Trumpet voice and check if it responds as expected (rewind before playing)


You could also reload the factory settings if you have the DEMO floppy discs; each of the 4 disks has a DEMO and a FACTSET file. If you don't have them they can be downloaded from EX5Tech.
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Re: MIDI IN in the EX5 ? Breath control?

Unread post by n-i-c-l-a-s » Fri Jun 14, 2019 11:44 pm

I was able to finally fix it with your help, thanks so much! :) I did some tests and the velocity is absolutely fine, it seems like it had something to do with aftertouch. if i disable at->pressure controls, the VL voices play fine. At first i thoght that the aftertouch in my EX5 was broken, but looking at the MIDI Out everything seemed fine... then I tried the config page (voice+h+8) and found the setting to reset to factory settings and fafter that the problem disappeared (for now at least). I still have no idea what setting caused this behaviour but I am sure glad it's gone :)

Thanks again, you were a great help!
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Re: MIDI IN in the EX5 ? Breath control?

Unread post by n-i-c-l-a-s » Fri Jun 14, 2019 11:47 pm

By the way, my os versions are OS1.08, TG1.0.3. Does it make sense to update?
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Re: MIDI IN in the EX5 ? Breath control?

Unread post by EXer » Sat Jun 15, 2019 9:13 am

That's an early version, but the EX5 OS has always been very stable from the start.

The main issue was timing problems with the internal sequencer.

If you intend to use your EX mainly as a synth and as a controller keyboard, not a workstation, it should work fine.

I would advice against updating if there is no need (many people upgrade just for upgrading's sake without even knowing why!). Upgrading the OS/TG means opening the EX5, extracting chips, burning new EPROMs, etc. Not difficult if you know what you are doing, but not easy either if you're not a technician, and always risky (not to mention profiteers who sell Yamaha copyrighted stuff on ebay).

I have 3 EX5s, one has an early version, one has a middle version and one has the latest version (the only one I upgraded because it had a very early version with bad sequencer timing issues). All work fine.

Btw, in the latest OS/TG many preset names have been changed, probably for copyright reasons, the new names are less speaking and I don't like them (it feels like something has been taken away from the EX).
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Re: MIDI IN in the EX5 ? Breath control?

Unread post by Derek » Sun Jun 16, 2019 5:50 am

FWIW, I agree with EXer’s assessment on the merits of upgrading. Very hard to do these days, and unless you are affected by the bugs, which other than sequencer timing were pretty obscure (so obscure I can never recall them....) then hardly worth worrying about.
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