Working With SysEx in Midi Quest
As was discussed in the previous sections of this manual, each Instrument Module in the Studio Window acts as a gateway to the hardware that is connected to your computer. In the illustration above, the selected instrument module has opened six different windows of containing SysEx within Midi Quest. Although it has not yet been covered in any detail, you will notice that the Patch Editor window looks different than the Set, Library, Bank and Collection windows. We will now explore this difference.
The Editor Window
In order to edit instrument parameters in Midi Quest, you must first open an Editor Window. Editor Windows contain graphical controls such as knobs, sliders, buttons, pop-up-list selectors, numerical entry controls and envelopes. Depending on the particular instrument module, there will be at least one component in the Set List that launches an Editor Window: On synthesizers, these components are called patches, tones, combis, multis, performances etc. while on effects units they are usually (but not always) called presets or programs. In this manual we will refer to such components as patches. Since every manufacturer has a different naming system, Midi Quest's designers prefer to be historically correct and use the word "patch" to describe the basic block of sound parameters on any hardware instrument: This word was first coined in the Seventies to describe all the patch cable routings that were required to create a given sound on the first analog synthesizers, so we consider it the definitive term!
There is also another type of component that launches an Editor Window. Typically called a global (but also called a system or setup in some cases), this component gathers all the master settings of the instrument into one location. In this manual we will refer to such a component as a single. Unlike patches, singles do not exist as multiples in the hardware memory, although there can be more than one type of single for each instrument (This will be further explained in the Set Window topic).
All parameter edits made in this window can be downloaded back to the instrument or can be stored to your computer's hard drive as a file. Further details on the Editor Window will be covered in the chapter devoted to it. We'll now continue our tour of the basic window types.
The Bank Window
The main advantage of electronic instruments and effects is that their sounds can be changed instantly during a performance - This is possible because there are many patches in the instrument's memory to choose from, and only the parameters of the currently selected patch govern the instrument's sound. Without Midi Quest, you can switch between patches on your instrument by turning a dial on the its front panel or by sending the unit a MIDI program change (PG) command.
Whenever there exists patch SysEx, you will usually find a corresponding Bank component in the instrument module's Set-List. Bank Components launch Bank Windows, like the Roland D-50 Patch Bank Window shown above.
The number of entries in the bank window, their grouping and their numbering system depends on the instrument itself, which is why the D-50 Bank Window contains 64 patches laid out in an 8 x 8 grouping labeled according to the Roland "Bank-and-Number" system.
Another example is the Yamaha DX-7 which has 32 Voice Patches in its internal memory (in other words, its bank size is 32). The following is a DX-7 Bank Window:
Additionally, on most newer instruments there is a multi-timbral setup SysEx structure where the different tonal sources are assigned to different MIDI channels. This structure, depending on the manufacturer, may be called a Performance, Multi, Combi, Global, Section, and so on. Regardless of the name, it still performs the function of creating a multi-timbral setup. In the few instances where it is necessary to distinguish between a general "Patch" and a multi-timbral setup we will refer to the multi-timbral setup as a "Multi Patch".
It is important to note that some instruments in your studio might have more than one kind of patch bank component in their set-list: Sophisticated workstation-class synthesizers can have banks of tones, banks of patches, banks of performances, and even banks of SysEx that are not directly editable in Midi Quest such as Sequences and Motion Controls. In the set-list you will recognize these components by titles that end with the word "Bank".
For information on the Bank Window, click here.
The Set Window
If all that existed inside any hardware instrument's memory was a single patch bank and one global settings, managing your sounds would be fairly straightforward. For better or worse, most modern MIDI devices are far more sophisticated than this, which brings us to the concept of the Set.
Sets are extremely important because they link the individual components of an instrument together and treat them as a whole.
A Set is like a "snapshot" picture of any instrument's internal memory architecture: Midi Quest represents the set as a folder-like structure which allows you to step between the various banks, patches and singles that make up your instrument's internal memory. You will note that the Korg Triton LE 61 Set Window shown above has seven patch banks (four Triton program banks, and three Triton combi bank) and five singles called Combination, Program, Drums, Arpeggio and Global respectively.
Please do not be confused by the fact that we have referred to the Triton's combi banks as patch banks. As previously explained In the manual, `patch` is a generic term to refer to SysEx that is used to configure a synth.
The Set Window Toolbar
Stepping between components is only the beginning of what you can do in a Set Window:
The Send button sends the Set to the instrument's hardware memory.
The Settings button opens the Settings Dialog for the selected item in the Set.
The Collection Window
A Collection is a simple yet powerful SysEx storage facility which allows you to take ANY combination of Sets along with SysEx from one or more MIDI devices and store them together in one place. For example, a Collection can hold a Korg Kronos Set, an M1 Patch Bank, an M1 Combi Bank, 2 DX7 Voice Banks, a D-10 system setup, and a Wavestation Performance.
Unlike individual Sets, which are structured storage based on the internal memory architecture of your instruments, Collections have no restrictions on what you store and how any of it is ordered. This makes Collections useful for storing multiple versions of patches and banks over time. For example, a Collection can store an entire month's worth of patch development for more than one different instrument in one location. New additions to the Collection are automatically time-stamped and added to the end of the file. Collection files are like incremental tape-drive backups, whereas Set files are more like snapshot archives that save your system's state at any one moment in time.
Collections can only be created in Midi Quest and Midi Quest Pro.
The Collection Window Toolbar
The Collection Window's toolbar contains the following buttons:
The Send button sends the selected item in the Collection to the instrument's hardware memory.
The Edit button splits the Collection window and opens either an Editor or Bank Window in the right half
The Get button uploads the currently selected component(s) in the Studio Window and adds it (them) to the Collection
The Settings button opens the Settings Dialog for the set.
Many more advanced features are covered in greater detail in chapter entitled The Collection Window.
The Library Window
The Library is used to create a master repository of any one kind of SysEx. These can be "bank-organized" SysEx such as tones, patches, presets, programs, performances or they can be singular SysEx like systems, setups or globals. Each Library can hold only one type of SysEx so you can have a Library of M1 patches or a Library of DX7 voices but you can not have a Library which holds both types. You need to create two Libraries, one for each.
If you have a large number of patches, the best place to store and organize them is in a Library. One of the major advantages of the Library is that it can hold a virtually unlimited number of patches - So you can keep them all in a single convenient reference file. The Library becomes your one-stop source when you are looking for a sound while working on a project. Because all of your patches are kept in one place, it is much easier to find the sound you want in a Library Window than having to hunt through a large number of Bank Windows.
The Library's superior organizational services also enable you to search for and find various types of patches quickly and easily. This allows you to try out various sounds for a project without losing precious time or disrupting your creative process.
Since the Library Window has an extensive toolbar with deep functionality, this will be covered in the Library Window chapter of this manual.
Libraries can only be created in Midi Quest and Midi Quest Pro.
Moving SysEx Between Windows
So far you have seen the various useful Midi Quest windows that you can upload, edit and store instrument SysEx to disk from. Remember that these windows also support drag-and-drop transfers between them and that the windows clipboard is similarly enabled so that you can easily move SysEx between the Library, Collection, Set, Bank, and Editor windows.