Thursday, April 28, 2011


So, did I fall in love with it again?
Yes yes yes yes yes!!!
It's an awesome bit of kit. I had worried a bit about MIDI editing but that's half the fun. With the QY100 supplying the sequence the RM1x takes over and perfects genius with brilliance. I've been tweaking the track all evening and it sounds wonderful for a backing track made from presets and a touch of adjustment.
Will I write a tune this way again?
Absolutely. It's so much fun being this hands on. From iPhone to tape in a few weeks. I love my DAW but I love this method too.
It makes me happy.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


How much time have I spent on this project?
Well, I spent all of this evening re-writing my track on the QY100. I then transferred it to the RM1x where it didn't sound so great. I'm really hoping that the next phase which is a voice re-assign helps me fall in love with the RM1x the same way that writing this track has made me fall in love with the QY100.
I know for a fact that I haven't pushed the QY100 to its limits and I also know that the RM is a more powerful machine. If I spend an equal amount of time with the RM I'll be rewarded, right?
I hope so. Only time will tell. You can sense the doubt. I know it's the same doubt I had with the QY so I'm hoping that by trial and error that doubt goes away.
Fingers crossed.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

One Step Forward Two Steps Back

So here's where we stand.
Ive been playing with the MIDI file on the RM1x today and I've learnt a lot about its MIDI editing capabilities. It's all good. But, at some point in the proceedings I've messed with MIDI velocities on the QY100 and there's a huge drop in volume in the main track section. What I need to do is write the track from scratch in the QY100 and make a new MIDI file for the RM1x. It's a pain but much less of a pain that editing each note by hand.
What I will say is that I'll have a much better backing track for the Tascam when I'm finished. It's been a good learning process going through all this and everything gets easier the more I play. It may be back to square one for now but I'll be back to this point in no time.
You live and learn.

Huge Grin

Who says that impatience is never rewarded?
As my last post shows I spent Friday morning creating a couple of MIDI files. I was going to wait until Monday to see if they'd work properly in different environments but I'm an impatient sort and with the company of a bottle of red wine I got home from DJing and set about testing the new files from my QY100.
Above is a composite of two very different but equally accepting environments. First is FL Studio playing the STM and second is my RM1x doing the same with the enhanced Yamaha XG file. It's important to note here that the sounds used on the QY100 aren't faithfully reproduced on either platform but the replacement sounds do an admirable job of getting the composition across. Each platform easily lets me change the original MIDI settings so that with minimal effort I can produce a track that I'll be very happy with once finished.
I'm going to stick with my original plan and plough on with the RM1x route. There really isn't too much work to be done here but I do need a couple of hours with the manual. For what I'll end up with it'll be worth a session of head scratching with added trial and error.
I'll drink to that.

P.S. If you want to mess with the MIDI files you can grab the Standard MIDI File by clicking here and the XG enhanced file here.

Friday, April 22, 2011

My MIDI Morning

I enjoyed this morning.
Having sorted out all my pattern data I spent this morning programming my track into my QY100. One false start later and the track was complete.
Next thing to do was backup my track and save out as MIDI which I did. I produced two MIDI files, one standard and one for the Yamaha XG sounds. These two files contain all the pattern and chord data dumped down to standard MIDI channels which means that they can be used elsewhere. The SMF will be dropped into FL Studio at some point but my next challenge is to get the XG file into the RM1x.
The RM1x has a floppy disc storage system and I have a disc writer so I'll try that first. If that doesn't work I'll just plug a MIDI cable between the QY100 and the RM1x and go from there. I'm excited about the next stage but it'll have to wait until Monday as I have stuff to do.
Until then it's back to the manuals.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Classical Approach

I decided to start what I'm calling my symphony tonight.
I'm glad I did. I've discovered that FL Studio 10 now works slightly differently from the way it used to. It's not a bad thing either, I like it. Another thing that I discovered or rediscovered was my old sample library. I bought a box set of ten discs over a decade ago primarily to be used with Music 2000. The contents are on my hard drive and one of the discs contains a whole load of very good orchestral samples. A quick re-tune from A to C in a FLS sampler channel and you're away. I'm mixing these samples with some decent plug-ins and the sound so far is fairly convincing.
I'm calling this my symphony because I want it to include lots of orchestral sounds and to have a classical structure. I also want to include some fantastic electronic sounds. Think Hybrid meets The Royal Philharmonic and you've got the idea. It'll be a labour of love but I've been meaning to do this for at least as long as I've owned the sample set.
The music has been written many ways and many times.
This will be my magnum opus.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


I get distracted easily.
The last few days have seen the whole house get a proper spring clean. The studio hasn't escaped either. A bit of rearranging has paid off making everything just a bit more accessible. One thing that is very accessible now is Music 2000 on my PS2. Despite it being years since I completed a track on it I'll never get rid of the setup. Music 2000 originally came out on the PS1. I remember it well. I read previews and rumours months before the release and picked up a copy the day it hit the shelves. Each weekend I stayed at home and wrote a track while getting to expert user level, devouring tips and tricks and buying the strategy guide which I still have.
Considering how many musical projects I have on the go you might think that I'd leave the PS2 turned off, but no, not me. I just couldn't leave it alone and I've started a track. So that's now the PS2, PSP, QY100 and FL Studio 10 all with uncompleted tracks. It's said that variety is the spice of life.
It's also the inspiration too.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Rough Notes

To you this picture probably means nothing.
To me seeing this was a very emotional moment, I'll explain why.
Many many years ago I wrote a very simple tune on a Casio VL-1. It probably had a name but that was lost in time. It survived for a long time on a compact cassette and then it disappeared as most things do. The thing about this track was that it was universally liked. I suppose it was a stroke of luck but what I had recorded on various tape recorders using a sound on sound method seemed to gel with everyone that heard it.
When I got to 16 years old I managed to borrow a four track and the track was re-recorded. Again it resonated with listeners. Skip forward a few years and it was again recorded in a semi-pro studio. Same tune, different mix, same result. Move forward in time again and it was recorded on my PS1 as 'Hyperflow'. It didn't have the same magic but it still had its hook. It still caught the imagination.
So here I am in 2011 with the most complete studio that I'll ever own and I want to record 'Hyperflow' again. This time I want to try and strip it bare like the original but at the same time orchestrate it. It's a tall order. FL Studio 10 now lets me score my instruments. By the time the track(s) is or are finished I'll have something I can present to a real orchestra. Will they play my composition? Maybe not but I live in hope.
The picture above is the first time I've seen the notes of the violin part. That's why it's emotional. This tune has been around forever.
Hopefully it has a future.

Friday, April 08, 2011

TAB #7

I'm DJing tomorrow.
That means no work on the TAB project so I sneaked a little bit of extra time tonight.
I've found an intro that I like and I'm pretty sure that I can find some main parts to go with it but that'll have to wait until Saturday afternoon.
I'm going ahead with re-voicing on the RM1x and Tascam route. I'll leave the FL Studio track until after I've finished this. Once the patterns are sorted creating the track will only be an evenings work so I'm expecting some kind of result on the QY100 by the end of next week. Hopefully in seven days time I'll be complaining about voice mapping.
There's plenty to report between now and then so I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

A Head Of Time

"As I write this I am in the middle of a massive deja vu attack.
Most people experience deja vu every now and again, me too. But sometimes I have attacks that go on a bit. So far I'm about ten minutes in and the waves keep rolling in and out. Sometimes I think it's going to wear off then I'm layering realities again. It takes some getting used to but I enjoy the serenity of it all. It's just a bit confusing because I don't know if the memories I'm having are true or not.
Try to imagine having a memory of a memory of a memory that you're not sure is fabricated or not. It's like that. While I'm able to carry on doing what I'm doing my head is flicking backwards and forwards. It's like walking backwards and forwards through some kind of time gate. Fun but one can feel a little queasy.
Anyway, I've had to type this quite fast to keep the flow going and it's an effort so I'm going back to, well, whatever it is.
I'm enjoying myself because reality is probably just around the corner.
Time to drift again."

That was earlier. The deja vu turned into a migraine but I feel normal again now. It seems it was a night for neurological glitches.
Looks like it's a paracetamol day tomorrow.

TAB #6

This blog is fast becoming a QY100 tutorial.
That may not be a bad thing because the more I learn about the machine the more I think people would enjoy owning and using one.
One thing I hadn't noticed or simply overlooked was that the QY100 has two channels dedicated to pattern changes and chord changes. It then has 16 MIDI channels to do your own thing with. Now, stop and think about that for a second. Where does the pattern and chord MIDI data go when you export your track? That data is fine in native QY format but not so great for any other bit of kit. Fear not though. There is a way to dump all of your song data onto those extra MIDI channels and you'll still have some free space to add your own stuff. The other benefit of this is that should you want to keep your track within the unit every track can be re-voiced.
This presents me with a dilemma. I want to go to the RM1x for the next stage but now I also want to drop the finished MIDI file into FL Studio.
Another dual track duel?
I think so.

Monday, April 04, 2011

TAB #5

It was time to move things forward.
I played with Chordbot to get the chord sequence right. At this stage I'm not even sure I'm in key any more but the chords I've chosen sound right together and to me that's the most important thing.
Having got the chords right I needed to hear them in action, this is where things got interesting. Considering that most of the chords are sevenths I decided to use a jazz ballad preset on the QY100. The pattern setting allows you to input chords and changes on the fly. The result was OK but being the curious type I skipped through a few different presets. By the time I'd got to disco the chord timing had changed and here's why. Different styles require different chord structuring. Things sound better in one style one way and in different styles in different ways. But rather than turning into the new Klaus Wunderlich I'm using the different styles to formulate a plan for my own style and that will be the basis for the track.
The tempo and chord structure are now all new so it's time to create my own pattern and get on with this track.
I feel a new MIDI file coming on.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

It's not often I get to stay up late drinking.
Tonight is one of those nights. So what do I get up to when I'm left alone with a bottle of wine and Google Chrome? I go deep browsing. That's the art of following links until the initial subject matter has disappeared off the radar or I've found another tangent worth pursuing. The idea is following a link which leads to another link which leads to another link and so on until the above criteria has been reached.
As I've just updated FL Studio I thought I'd try YouTube which itself creates linked searches. To get straight to the point I found 'Spicy Guitar' after wading through various FLS and guitar related links. It's a free guitar simulation VSTi. I've come across many of these before, some good and expensive, others free and not worth the download. 'Spicy Guitar' is different, very different. Not only is it free but it is incredibly good at what it does. It sounds like a guitar and you can program your strumming on any piano roll. Loosen up your DAW's rigid timing and you'd be very hard pressed to tell the difference between this and a real guitar either in the mix or out of it.
So here's to staying up late. Here's to getting tipsy, a bit, and here's to 'Spicy Guitar'.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Yes, Yes, Yes

So here it is, FL Studio 10.
I know I'm busy with my TAB project but I've been waiting for this release version of FLS for a long time. I've got loads of ideas for tunes that I can only put together here. I've been using FLS for years and years and I know my way around it quite well.
My first track will be an epic reworking of a very old track called 'Hyperflow'. I've written many versions of this track which first saw light on a Casio VL-1 in the eighties. I'd quite fancy doing something bordering on orchestral and now with the ability to score the whole thing I'll be releasing the sheet music online with the finished track.
Will an orchestra ever play it?
Who knows.