Author Topic: Stand-alone Sysex control  (Read 9855 times)

Mark Hammer

Stand-alone Sysex control
« on: April 28, 2008, 01:17:33 PM »
So, I bought this nifty little Lexicon MPX-100 rackmount effects unit.  It comes with a lot of great sounds, but they generally don't have much parametric control from the front panel.  However, they do respond to Sysex messages and provide far more parametric control that way.  All manner of shaping of reverb tone and even Leslie emulation and flanging. 

Trouble is, I'm barely MIDI literate.  Is there such a thing as a stand-alone Sysex controller that I could plug in to the MIDI port and treat as if it were simply another extended set of control pots on the front panel?  Or do I have to hook the thing up to my computer and some sort of librarian software?  Alternatively, I do have an Evolution MK-49 MIDI controller keyboard with a bunch of assignable faders but I'm not sure if it sends Sysex messages or not.

As a pertinent aside, there was a schematic/project in EM years ago for a "pocket MIDI controller" that would generate a few predetermined MIDI codes for testing out gear.  It used a small fistful of CMOS chips and dipswitches (which I have in good supply), and a clock crystal.  Seemed quite buildable, and compared to the present arrangement, I would be quite happy to be able to select between sub-preset A and B for a parameter I am not currently able to access from the front panel.  Does some adapted form of the EM circuit seem a reasonable compromise, or will I be profoundly unhappy unless I purchase some delightful product?  (P.S.:  I might point out that I have several other MIDI products whose front panel controls leave much to be desired.  Should I just buy myself a librarian package and get on with it?)

David

Re: Stand-alone Sysex control
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2008, 01:23:14 PM »
There was a freeware program still available a couple of years ago called MIDI-Ox that would do this.  You need one of the gameport cables to use it.  It works.

iaresee

Re: Stand-alone Sysex control
« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2008, 03:46:18 PM »
Trouble is, I'm barely MIDI literate.  Is there such a thing as a stand-alone Sysex controller that I could plug in to the MIDI port and treat as if it were simply another extended set of control pots on the front panel?  Or do I have to hook the thing up to my computer and some sort of librarian software?

David beat me to it: MIDI-OX and your PC is a great place to start. I used this almost exclusively to help figure out the SysEx calls for a Boss GT-6 when I was building the little patch manager for it. Work great. Free. You can run SysEx scripts with it. No better util for SysEx debugging out there I know of. Works with any PC MIDI interface so USB, game port, stand alone MIDI card. I've used it successfully with the game port -> MIDI approach on an old SoundBlaster, the MIDI ports on my M-Audio 2496 and with the USB MIDI drivers of my M-Audio Axiom keyboard.

Quote
Alternatively, I do have an Evolution MK-49 MIDI controller keyboard with a bunch of assignable faders but I'm not sure if it sends Sysex messages or not.

Can't speak to the Evolution's SysEx send capabilities -- I think M-Audio bought them so maybe it can be programmed through their clunky, borderline useless, Enigma librarian/patch editor software to send SysEx messages when you turn dials, push keys, tap pads, slide sliders, etc. The interface and help for that software is horrible though. It's always hurt my head to use it. It does work with their Trigger Finger and the Evolution UC-33e control surfaces which might be more useful for effect parameter control than a full on keyboard. There's a decent user community on Yahoo! Groups that makes up for M-Audio's inability to write a coherent sentence in a manual.

Quote
As a pertinent aside, there was a schematic/project in EM years ago for a "pocket MIDI controller" that would generate a few predetermined MIDI codes for testing out gear.  It used a small fistful of CMOS chips and dipswitches (which I have in good supply), and a clock crystal.  Seemed quite buildable, and compared to the present arrangement, I would be quite happy to be able to select between sub-preset A and B for a parameter I am not currently able to access from the front panel.  Does some adapted form of the EM circuit seem a reasonable compromise, or will I be profoundly unhappy unless I purchase some delightful product?  (P.S.:  I might point out that I have several other MIDI products whose front panel controls leave much to be desired.  Should I just buy myself a librarian package and get on with it?)

Interesting. I've never seen DIY MIDI done with anything simpler than a small PIC. But my DIY MIDI is limited to building this metronome light and that's it. The Evolution control surface looks like a parameter tweaking dream but you can't put it at your feet whereas your switcher could probably be adapted for stomping, right? Stomping is useful.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2008, 03:47:52 PM by iaresee »

Austin73

Re: Stand-alone Sysex control
« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2008, 04:05:41 PM »
Mark, you can use your Evolution to control any parameter you just have to select the number you want to change on the lexicon and make sure the same number is on your fader so to speak.

Not sure why you want sysex as I use that to save the patch control info on my pc and to load it back to what ever your controller is.

Its so much easier to show you but your too far away.

Patch Change numbers change patches PC 1 Gives you patch 1
Control Number are like footswitches that turn things on ie CC 1 Might swicth the wah wah on
Continuous Control lets you control the wah wah sweep form 0 -127 which is toe up to toe down so to speak,

Also maybe add an expression box for your evolution if it takes an expression pedal. Just wire a pot or fader into a box and hey you get an extra knob.

Hope this helps a bit

Aus
Bazz Fuss, Red LLama, Harmonic Jerkulator, LoFo MoFo, NPN Boost, Bronx Cheer, AB Box, Dual Loop, Crash Sync

Mark Hammer

Re: Stand-alone Sysex control
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2008, 04:29:57 PM »
Thanks, gents.  Both very helpful replies.  I have downloaded all the referred-to software, and will try to see what I can do with the MK-249c in the coming week.

Austin73

Re: Stand-alone Sysex control
« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2008, 04:43:44 PM »
Cool Good luck mark its lots of fun. Also if your feeling brave you could always add foot pedals to your MKS to give you MIDI Bass Pedals! Now thats fun!

Aus
Bazz Fuss, Red LLama, Harmonic Jerkulator, LoFo MoFo, NPN Boost, Bronx Cheer, AB Box, Dual Loop, Crash Sync

Austin73

Re: Stand-alone Sysex control
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2008, 04:44:46 PM »
Sorry forgot to say if you need further help just PM me and I'll see what I can do.

Aus
Bazz Fuss, Red LLama, Harmonic Jerkulator, LoFo MoFo, NPN Boost, Bronx Cheer, AB Box, Dual Loop, Crash Sync

Austin73

Re: Stand-alone Sysex control
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2008, 04:54:11 PM »
hook this up to your keyboard too and then you can see what faders and keys send out

http://obds.free.fr/midimon/
Bazz Fuss, Red LLama, Harmonic Jerkulator, LoFo MoFo, NPN Boost, Bronx Cheer, AB Box, Dual Loop, Crash Sync

iaresee

Re: Stand-alone Sysex control
« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2008, 05:14:43 PM »
hook this up to your keyboard too and then you can see what faders and keys send out

http://obds.free.fr/midimon/

MIDI-OX will show you that as well.

Actually, what you said about SysEx v. regular MIDI control signals was good. I just assumed everything was SysEx messages. But you're right: it's probably not using SysEx for parameter control.

Mark, are you sure the unit needs SysEx messages? Most manufacturers reserve SysEx for, well, system exclusive functions like dumping patches and stuff. But for general parameter control they'll let you assign parameters to continuous controller messages which all those keyboard controllers can put out. Some have a learn function where you put the unit in learn mode for a parameter and move the corresponding knob, dial, slider, key, etc. on your controller and it maps the CC channel to the parameter automatically for you.

Austin73

Re: Stand-alone Sysex control
« Reply #9 on: April 29, 2008, 08:38:19 AM »
Cool I will check that software out to see how it compares. I really am sure sysex is for loading and saving from different units. Also Mark had a quick look at your Lexicon and you don't even have to program it as such . Just choose the parameter you want to change and move a fader and it will work everything else out for you!

Let me know how you get on.

Aus
Bazz Fuss, Red LLama, Harmonic Jerkulator, LoFo MoFo, NPN Boost, Bronx Cheer, AB Box, Dual Loop, Crash Sync

Mark Hammer

Re: Stand-alone Sysex control
« Reply #10 on: April 29, 2008, 11:11:48 AM »
This document would suggest otherwise, or am I making it more complicated than it really is? http://www.lexiconpro.com/Product_Downloads/mpx%20100/MPX_MIDI_Sysex_Inst_Rev0.pdf

iaresee

Re: Stand-alone Sysex control
« Reply #11 on: April 29, 2008, 11:34:36 AM »
This document would suggest otherwise, or am I making it more complicated than it really is? http://www.lexiconpro.com/Product_Downloads/mpx%20100/MPX_MIDI_Sysex_Inst_Rev0.pdf

Would you believe I can't get a decent PDF reader to work on my Linux box at work? I'll take a look at that tonight though and get back to you.

Austin73

Re: Stand-alone Sysex control
« Reply #12 on: April 29, 2008, 03:10:05 PM »
In a word Mark YES! you are making it more complicated than it is. Check your manual and go to midi control page 46 I think. And its hows you how to change parameters via MIDI and how to set up learn which enables the unit to find your controller value on your behalf. Guitar Rig and other VST do it a similar way. I think SYSEX is for programming a MIDI control unit on the PC or my Lake Butler Mitigator does similar but its for boffins and I don't think you'd get any more benefit out of your Lexicon doing this. PLease read the manual or tell me what you are trying to achieve and I'll give you directions so to speak.

Keep up the good work

Aus
Bazz Fuss, Red LLama, Harmonic Jerkulator, LoFo MoFo, NPN Boost, Bronx Cheer, AB Box, Dual Loop, Crash Sync

Austin73

Re: Stand-alone Sysex control
« Reply #13 on: April 29, 2008, 03:14:09 PM »
Bazz Fuss, Red LLama, Harmonic Jerkulator, LoFo MoFo, NPN Boost, Bronx Cheer, AB Box, Dual Loop, Crash Sync

moritz

Re: Stand-alone Sysex control
« Reply #14 on: April 29, 2008, 03:56:03 PM »
Not to hijack the thread or anything, but is it actually possible to have a controller device/control surface (with pots, faders, buttons, etc.) that interacts with a MIDI device in real-time via Sysex rather than actual MIDI?

aron

Re: Stand-alone Sysex control
« Reply #15 on: April 29, 2008, 04:15:30 PM »
There are usually two ways of controlling a unit. Sysex and MIDI controllers. Usually there is more control via sysex, but for many units, a MIDI control can do the job. the one thing the MIDI control cannot do is query the current value, and that is where sysex comes in.

At one point in my life, I totally had this stuff wired. I wrote several Lexicon editors.   Amazing how fast I can forget things.


Austin73

Re: Stand-alone Sysex control
« Reply #16 on: April 29, 2008, 04:16:00 PM »
Arrrghh Hijacker!


LOL sorry mate couldn't resist - to be honest I haven't got a clue. I presume thats how you have PC editors for things but couldn't be certain without googling. But just out of interest why would you want to? I'm curious that maybe if MIDI is limited that it might be better to have a stab at that but just can't seem to grasp the benefits especially when looking at the Lexicon.

Cheers

Aus

P.S I have a feeling this is going to be a big thread lol
Bazz Fuss, Red LLama, Harmonic Jerkulator, LoFo MoFo, NPN Boost, Bronx Cheer, AB Box, Dual Loop, Crash Sync

Austin73

Re: Stand-alone Sysex control
« Reply #17 on: April 29, 2008, 04:18:13 PM »
Cheers Aron , I thought as much , just needed a boffin to step in and sort us thickies out!

Maybe you could set up and editor and manual page so we can access relevant info quickly (not sure how copyright would be affected though)

Aus
Bazz Fuss, Red LLama, Harmonic Jerkulator, LoFo MoFo, NPN Boost, Bronx Cheer, AB Box, Dual Loop, Crash Sync

moritz

Re: Stand-alone Sysex control
« Reply #18 on: April 29, 2008, 04:42:45 PM »
Thanks guys!

I was just wondering because I have this old synth/keyboard with MIDI implementation. The synth section is relatively simple (it's a 2 operator FM synth), however there are various parameters that are accessible via Sysex that can't be accessed from the control panel (eg: full ADSR envelopes as opposed to just the AD envelopes accessible from the front panel, that sort of thing). The manual has an appendix in the back which charts out the Sysex data format. I always thought a little control surface for real-time manipulation of those parameters would be mighty cool, although I must admit, I'm not totally down with all the technicalities of Sysex. I'm assuming that this sort of controller device would require some microprocessor programming?

Anyway, it was just something I was thinking about as the topic happened to come up. Now back to your scheduled programming!  :)