How Midi Quest Works - A Quick Tour
Midi Quest is a studio application that allows you to edit, store and manage the SysEx from the gear in your studio from the comfort of your computer screen. In addition to having the most extensive editor/librarian features, Midi Quest currently works with over 650 different MIDI devices, spanning such vintage products as the Roland D-50, Yamaha DX-7 and SPX-90 to the very latest synths and effects units from today's top hardware manufacturers. This list is constantly expanding as Sound Quest develops and releases new instrument modules, which are all free for download for the latest version of Midi Quest from http://www.squest.com. Expandability is never an issue with Midi Quest since you're free to add and remove instrument modules as your studio grows and evolves. With Midi Quest Pro, you can expand the number of devices supported by Midi Quest using the same tools that Sound Quest and Psicraft use to create editor modules.
Getting the most from Midi Quest requires a few adjustments in how you relate to your hardware instruments. In the past you have no doubt worked entirely "in-place" within the confines of your instrument's internal memory, which means permanently overwriting an existing sound before being allowed to listen to another.
With Midi Quest, in-place editing is a thing of the past. Instead, you upload your instrument's memory contents to your computer, where it can be safely backed up to your hard drive. Then you are free to edit, audition, step between sounds, reorganize your banks and create searchable sound libraries with complete security and ease. You are never forced to erase useful sounds to make room for new ones with Midi Quest. Look at your computer's hard drive as a virtually unlimited memory bank for the instruments in your studio. Once you have adjusted to this way of thinking you'll realize how limited in-place editing is, and you'll never want to go back. Your instrument's internal memory is still useful, of course. Whenever you perform away from your studio computer (at live gigs for example), all of the hardware-based storage within your instruments will still perform its duties; only now this memory will be optimally organized with the best sounds in your arsenal (not to mention it will be fully backed up on your studio computer's hard drive). You'll get the most from your gear and never worry about lost SysEx and erased patches ever again.
The Studio Window
When Midi Quest is first installed, you are asked to build a Studio: Any instrument you select for installation is then added to the Studio Window as an Instrument Module.
Each module displays a graphic of the instrument along with its manufacturer and name. There are also four mini-buttons (Get, New, Open & Settings), an Instrument Collapser and a black pop-up menu control called the Set List.
The Set List
Each individual instrument has a specific memory structure: For example, a simple effects unit may only contain 16 presets while a performance synthesizer could have many separate banks for patches, combis and drum set-ups. The point here is that every instrument in your studio has a different internal architecture, and Midi Quest views each instrument as a list of Components. Patches, Presets, Combis, Performances, Drum Tables, System Settings, Patch Banks and Performance Banks are just some of the components you will find in any given instrument, and the Set List allows you to choose the one you want to upload, edit or open.
To see what the Set List has to offer for any instrument module, simply right-click your mouse over it.
Besides standard components, you can also select an entry called the Default Set. This item acts as a master selection of every component contained by the instrument - This lets you upload, edit and save the instrument's entire user memory as a Set file (more information on sets will be given later on in this chapter).
Once you have selected a component (or the default set) from the Set List, the mini-buttons are primed for action. Clicking on the Get mini-button will upload the selected SysEx from the instrument. Clicking on the New mini-button will create the appropriate blank Midi Quest file for the SysEx selected, and clicking on the Open mini-button will open a file browser dialog so you can open a saved Midi Quest SysEx file for editing.
The Settings mini-button opens the settings dialog for the selected component or set. This dialog is covered in full detail in the installation chapter.
The Instrument Collapser
The Instrument Collapser allows you to manage large studios containing many instrument modules. One click collapses the Instrument Module vertically, while a second click expands it back to full size:
Example: Simple 2-Instrument Studio
Consider the following example: You own two instruments, a Roland D-50 and a TC-Helicon VoiceOne.
Using Midi Quest with these devices involves connecting each of them to a MIDI port on your computer, creating a new studio and adding each these two instrument modules to this studio.
Each instrument module acts as a gateway to the MIDI device it represents. In this example, we have selected the Roland D-50 (note the gold highlighting) and were then able to work with five different kinds of SysEx by selecting different components in the Set List and clicking each of the mini-buttons in different sequences.
If we had selected the TC-Helicon VoiceOne instrument module instead of the Roland D-50, each of the windows we launched with the mini-buttons would have contained VoiceOne sound SysEx instead. Also, there would be several additional windows because the VoiceOne has two kinds of preset banks (Factory and User) and two kinds of editor SysEx (Preset and System). These differences are shown below:
You can see from this simple example how Midi Quest serves as a studio management console for two instruments. Imagine how useful it will be with every piece of gear in your studio!