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 Forum index » DIY Hardware and Software » Thomas Henry designs
The GM Voice
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Thomas_Henry



Joined: Jul 24, 2009
Posts: 129
Location: N. Mankato, MN

PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 2:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hi again,

Taylor wrote:
Interesting, but for me the whole point of building this keyboard is to get away from the computer.

And you don't need one for this project which is why I suggested it. This is a complete stand-alone polyphonic set of voices for a MIDI keyboard. Look back at the picture of my unit in the very first post. Now imagine you plug your M-Audio keyboard into it via MIDI and connect the audio output to an amplifier. You can start playing immediately and with several hundred voices at your disposal! The nearest computer is many states away. Read over what the Artist Formerly known as Antman and I have written up to see how it all works.

I think the confusion comes from the fact you mentioned some fancy daughterboard (with which I'm not familiar). To access all of its features you would probably need something extra. But for the typical Waveblaster daughterboard or even the Yamaha DB50XG nothing special is needed. I use nothing more than an M-Audio 88 key controller and can get three or four hundred very nice voices from the three different daughterboards I'm running.

By the way, these aren't cheesy, but exceptionally good sounding. This is not a cut-rate project.

Thomas Henry
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Taylor



Joined: Jul 13, 2006
Posts: 170
Location: us

PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 12:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Thanks for the info Thomas (Mr. Henry? Your name seems to demand some reverence Wink ). I understand how it works, I'm just a little bit removed from my MIDI days and am not sure how exactly I'll be able to access some of the features of the XG programming. I found some good information about all this in a series of SOS articles:

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/apr04/articles/xgmasterclass.htm
http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/may04/articles/xgmasterclass.htm
http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jun04/articles/xgmasterclass.htm

I'm pretty excited about this project.

One thing though, is that I'm a little put off by doing high voltage wiring. I like DIY to be a nice leisurely experience, and not one that has any chance of killing me or burning my house down, so I'd like to avoid HV if possible.

I am a guitar effects builder by trade, so I prefer to run everything off of 9v. I have previously used an LT1054 in a voltage-doubler/inverter, like the attachment below. I believe this is capable of putting out about 100ma. My plan is to use this to derive +-18v, then regulate that down to +-12v for the bipolar 12v rails. Instead of taking the regulated 12v and regulating it further down to 5v, I'll use the 9v input directly to a 7805 so that the 1054 doesn't have to supply current to the 5v line.

So, according to your post on the first page, the +12v and -12v should only draw around 50ma total, which means I should be ok even assuming a margin for part inefficiency, etc.

OTOH, since the board I bought on ebay (haven't received it yet) looks larger and more complex than yours, I suppose the current draw is probably larger than that. I'll dig through the thread and see if anyone posted specs for the DB50XG or DB60XG of which my board is a clone.


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Taylor



Joined: Jul 13, 2006
Posts: 170
Location: us

PostPosted: Mon Jun 28, 2010 3:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Got my DB50XG board clone today - ridiculously fast shipping from China - I think it was about 3 business days from the time they shipped to today!

I will post more info as I sort out the power supply and everything.

If anybody is curious about just what this thing can do, read the "XG Masterclass" links I posted above and check out the sound examples:

http://www.soundonsound.com/soundbank/YamahaXG.php

Just the first example, which uses a piano sound to make a great, creepy drone is pretty impressive to me. Because my midi keyboard is extremely simple, I think it would involve some ridiculous key input to get anything that sounds like that, but I may just build a knobby control interface from midibox to control it.
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Taylor



Joined: Jul 13, 2006
Posts: 170
Location: us

PostPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2010 1:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Words can't describe how excited I am.

After a few hours of perplexed debugging, then thirty minutes of sorrowful resignation that I must have bought a bad board, then a "eureka" moment, I have a working GM module!

I have built things that were way harder, took way longer, cost way more money, but I haven't ever built anything that could do as much as this thing. I have played it for only about 3 minutes so far because I had to announce my victory.

ProTip: I hadn't connected the panic button's wire to the daughterboard because I was anxious to play and didn't think I'd need it. But you need it connected for the board to work.

Edit: why the heck do MIDI organ patches respond to velocity? It makes it really hard to play them when you're used to playing a real organ.

Edit2: some initial thoughts:

My unit seems to have a bit of reverb standard on every program. I suspect it would be quite laborious to turn this off using my very simple MIDI keyboard. It's not a big problem though.

Haven't yet figured out how to access all the XG voices yet - should be a matter of inputting MSB and LSB but can't figure out how to make it work yet.

Some of the 128 voices are actually just combinations of the earlier voices. Some of these are cool, some totally ridiculous ("how about combing the synth brass with the 'bubbling stream' sound?" Rolling Eyes ).
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mjkirk12



Joined: Jan 05, 2009
Posts: 22
Location: Chicago, IL USA

PostPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2010 7:40 am    Post subject: DB60XG current draw Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

My measurements show the DB60XG has the following (nominal) power requirements:

+5 V at about 400 mA - the synth chip (IC4) gets very warm, even in idle. This current draw is more than my other GM waveblaster card.

+12 V at about 32 mA - power for the D/A (IC9) and Op Amp (IC12)
-12 V at about 8 mA - power for Op Amp (IC12)

Please notice that IC10 and IC11 are +/- voltage regulators on the board which reduce the +/- 12V down to +/- 5 volts. So in reality, you probably only need to supply about +/- 9V to the DB60XG. In my case, I supply +/- 10 Volts and it works fine.

What I would like to find is a switching supply that will take a wide input range of +5 to +18 volts DC and generate the +5 and +/-10 volt DC needed by the DB60XG.
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mjkirk12



Joined: Jan 05, 2009
Posts: 22
Location: Chicago, IL USA

PostPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2010 8:33 am    Post subject: Accessing the sounds on the DB60XG beyond GM 128 Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

To access the patches beyond the 128 GM sounds the keyboard would need to support MIDI Control Change (CC) messages.

Use the keyboard to set CC#0 (Bank Select MSB) to the value 0

Then selecting a patch is a matter of setting Bank# (CC# 32 = Bank Select LSB) and Program # (patch) to the values described on pages 32 and 33 of:

http://www.starrlabs.com/media/manuals/db50xge.pdf

MSB = Most significant byte
LSB = Least significant byte
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Taylor



Joined: Jul 13, 2006
Posts: 170
Location: us

PostPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2010 11:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Thanks for the power supply info. Here's what I ended up doing since I don't like to mess with high voltages:

I perfed up a power supply fed by a 12v DC adapter. The PS has 3 sections:

One is just a 7812 (with bypass caps) to regulate the +12v supply.

The second is a 7805 with caps to regulate +12v down to +5v. This 7805 gets very hot - I had to put a heatsink on it and even then the sink gets hot. This jibes with your 400ma rating for the 5v supply - the 7805 is being forced to work pretty hard because of the high input voltage and high current draw. It seems to work for now, but maybe feeding the whole circuit from 9v would let it cool down a bit, and based on your info about the board regulating the +-12v, that should work ok.

The third section of my PS uses an LT1054 as a voltage inverter and regulator, to flip +12v into -12v. This is different from the schem I posted above, but appears in the LT1054 datasheet and I can post it if anybody's interested.
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Taylor



Joined: Jul 13, 2006
Posts: 170
Location: us

PostPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2010 1:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I definitely can't get any of the XG sounds out of this setup. My keyboard (an M-Audio Keystation 49e) does have the ability to set bank MSB and LSB and program, but when I do this the MSB and LSB changes don't have any effect. I always end up with the GM program that corresponds to the program number I input, regardless of how I set the MSb and LSB.

This soundcard is supposed to be a clone of the DB50XG, so it should work. I can't figure out the issue.

I did however play around with some of the controllers and found some interesting stuff. Chorus and reverb work as they should. Tremolo does not, and the "celeste (detune)" controller acts like a sort of multi-tap delay, but the timing seems set and the controller just adjusts the mix or maybe repeats within a small range of adjustment.

The attack control is great for setting up pad sounds, and for repurposing some of the percussive sounds and pianos to sound totally different.

The lowpass filter works well on all patches as far as I can tell, and allows control over resonance and cutoff frequency. Resonant lowpass-ed bells are pretty interesting!

So while I'm bummed that I only have the GM sounds, this is still one of the coolest DIY projects ever as far as I'm concerned.
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mjkirk12



Joined: Jan 05, 2009
Posts: 22
Location: Chicago, IL USA

PostPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2010 6:19 pm    Post subject: DB60XG - XG patches Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I fired up MIDIOX to see the MIDI Sysex commands sent to the DB60XG with the XG Gold program. Turns out the reset state of DB60XG is GM only - which ignores all CC bank select commands from your MIDI controller.

From http://www.studio4all.de/htmle/frameset090.html

"Very important is the command 'XG SYSTEM ON' which is necessary to enable the 'XG Mode' of a XG synthesizer". So, you would need to send a XG ON Sysex command (these bytes):

F0,43,10,4C,00,00,7E,00,F7

Otherwise, the default is:

F0,7E,7F,09,01,F7 GENERAL MIDI ON Enables General MIDI mode (Bank Select and NRPN messages will be ignored).
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Dan Lavin



Joined: Nov 09, 2006
Posts: 620
Location: Spring Lake, Mi, USA
Audio files: 21

PostPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2010 6:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

If anyone is interested in building one (or two or three) of these things and are having trouble locating daughterboards, your best bet is to go on ebay and search for daughterboard or db50XG under computer sound cards. DoubleFish1981 is the guy I've bought 3 from and now that Garfield has showed up, there is price competition. Both guys are in China. I'm not sure where they are pulling these from, but they seem to have an endless supply regardless of what they say is in their stock. They sell the db60XG clone boards from NEC. US$20 seems to be the going rate now which includes shipping.

If you'd like to try something different, I am usually able to find some non-Yamaha boards that typically sell in the $10-$20 range. Just PM me. They are not as good as the XG types (1-2M Roms Vs 4M Roms), but sometimes cheaper sounding is better sounding depending on your tastes.

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Taylor



Joined: Jul 13, 2006
Posts: 170
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2010 6:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Yep, I got one of those NEC boards from double-fish and it has turned out great. Shipping was ridiculously fast from China as I mentioned above. Very happy with that purchase.
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Taylor



Joined: Jul 13, 2006
Posts: 170
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2010 7:01 pm    Post subject: Re: DB60XG - XG patches Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mjkirk12 wrote:
I fired up MIDIOX to see the MIDI Sysex commands sent to the DB60XG with the XG Gold program. Turns out the reset state of DB60XG is GM only - which ignores all CC bank select commands from your MIDI controller.

From http://www.studio4all.de/htmle/frameset090.html

"Very important is the command 'XG SYSTEM ON' which is necessary to enable the 'XG Mode' of a XG synthesizer". So, you would need to send a XG ON Sysex command (these bytes):

F0,43,10,4C,00,00,7E,00,F7

Otherwise, the default is:

F0,7E,7F,09,01,F7 GENERAL MIDI ON Enables General MIDI mode (Bank Select and NRPN messages will be ignored).


Aha, that must be the problem. Unfortunately I don't think my keyboard can do sysex messages. I wonder how hard it would be to put together a PIC program to just send that message?
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janvanvolt



Joined: Nov 24, 2005
Posts: 285
Location: Mainz, Germany

PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 9:48 am    Post subject: Re: DB60XG - XG patches Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hi,
if somebody is interested i am parting my NEC XR385 with a GM voice module
for just shipping plus a little surplus (if you like). I currently have no use for it and dumping in the ground is not an option.

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Dan Lavin



Joined: Nov 09, 2006
Posts: 620
Location: Spring Lake, Mi, USA
Audio files: 21

PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 9:06 pm    Post subject:
Subject description: Brand New Supply of GM Midi daughterboards at Spark Fun!
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OK, for all you out there that are still interested in making your own GM Voice but don't want the hassle of finding a daughterboard on ebay, you are in luck. Sparkfun is stocking a very small break out board for the VS1103. The VS1103 contains a full GM Midi synth in a very tiny package. The whole board is just a little bigger than a US quarter-dollar coin. In fact, most of the board is free real estate. It also has a nice LED on it so you can tell if it's powered on.

Here's the link to Sparkfun: http://www.sparkfun.com/products/8953

Here's a link on how to hook it up:
http://www.joebrown.org.uk/wp/?p=2637

Couple of comments on my adventures with the board. I just soldered in two 10 pin headers into the 2 ports for interfacing with my solderless breadboard. Joe shows only the left output hooked up and the right output floating free......don't do that. The device will play 1-2 notes then hangup into an infinite sustaining tone. I ran a 220 ohm resistor to ground to give it a load and it worked just fine.

Now the downside.....the sound set is really bad. It's worse than any daughterboard I've tried. Rather than tell you about the worse sounds, I only found 4-5 usable ones: the two electric pianos are nice and cut thru a mix; the overdrive/distortion guitars work...probably because they used real distortion/overdrive and the reverse cymbal (of all things?!) has a nice long cycle time. Now that being said, it might actually make it more attractive to some of you since it's so bad.

My daughter told me about an article she read where a non-human looking robot may look cute to a person, but a very lifelike one just looks plain creepy. If you've seen any of the latest Japanese talking robots, you'll know what I mean. A GM file played back on the VS chip will sound somewhat cartoonish, so if you're after cheese, they may be the ticket.

It's just a shame that after 15 years, they couldn't have come up with a better soundset from the last generation of GM Midi daughterboards Crying or Very sad

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Quintus



Joined: Feb 20, 2011
Posts: 13
Location: UK

PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2011 8:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I have just finished this double keyboard using four DB50XG cards. Two are used to provide an 8 drawbar organ sine or sawtooth (QS300 voices) controlled by one 18F452 (left panel) with the board internal effects for a C3 type chorus and 7 presets. The other two boards are for piano and synth sounds controlled by a second 18F452. The kb's are old Fatar boards from ebay.


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Dan Lavin



Joined: Nov 09, 2006
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Location: Spring Lake, Mi, USA
Audio files: 21

PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2011 1:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Welcome to the E-M Forum, Quintus! welcome

Nice job on the double keyboard!

Would you be willing to share some details on your 18F452's (features, source code, etc.)?

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Quintus



Joined: Feb 20, 2011
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Location: UK

PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2011 3:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Dan
Thank you
I will try and print out a circuit over the weekend. I have just started to "tidy up" the .asm file for the code. At first it will be for a simple version.

Quintus
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Quintus



Joined: Feb 20, 2011
Posts: 13
Location: UK

PostPosted: Sun Feb 27, 2011 10:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

This is the organ drawbar controller circuit and the code. I am still getting a few bugs out of the controllers with LCD and the presets. I will post these later if there is any interest.


Organ1.bmp
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Dan Lavin



Joined: Nov 09, 2006
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Location: Spring Lake, Mi, USA
Audio files: 21

PostPosted: Sun Feb 27, 2011 12:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Thanks for sharing, Quintus!

Couple of points:
1. Could you explain why two db50XG voice boards are used?
2. One quick thing you might want to add is a percussion selection switch and have a marimba voice on an unused channel switched in. I've done that on my MU90 in performance mode. Maybe that's a little too cheesy for you?

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Quintus



Joined: Feb 20, 2011
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 27, 2011 1:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Each footage of the organ is one voice ie one element therefore each DB50 has eight note polyphony (32/4). I tried it with one module to start with and there was a lot of note stealing. If I remember correctly the MU90 is 64 note poly. Yes! I am working on the 2 2/3 percussion but it triggers every note not first as in the Hammond.

Quintus
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raoulblues



Joined: Oct 31, 2007
Posts: 16
Location: paris france

PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2011 11:24 pm    Post subject: The GM Voice Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

here is my editor for DB50
thank you 'and my friend Peter BROWN
All parameters MIDI Edit
QS300 sounds are stored in memories
+ 8 to 8 channels on potentntiometres

http://img189.imageshack.us/i/editeurdb50.jpg/
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Dan Lavin



Joined: Nov 09, 2006
Posts: 620
Location: Spring Lake, Mi, USA
Audio files: 21

PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2011 7:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:
Yes! I am working on the 2 2/3 percussion but it triggers every note not first as in the Hammond.


Quintus, I didn't realize that! So I think basically if you implement a monophonic percussion voice that doesn't re-trigger until all notes are off, you should have it.

Any plans for key click too?

Also, you can probably eliminate the opto-isolators in your midi merges and go digital direct. No big deal, but could save you a little space/parts.

There is so much I don't know about Hammonds. It's like the time I was trying to "fix" a Voce Micro B because it sounded like light VCA thumping on key release. I didn't realize that was intentional! Folks talk a lot about keyclick, but not after key release thump. (doh!)

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Dan Lavin



Joined: Nov 09, 2006
Posts: 620
Location: Spring Lake, Mi, USA
Audio files: 21

PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2011 7:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:
here is my editor for DB50
thank you 'and my friend Peter BROWN
All parameters MIDI Edit
QS300 sounds are stored in memories
+ 8 to 8 channels on potentntiometres

http://img189.imageshack.us/i/editeurdb50.jpg/


wow Raoulblues! That's great! well done A couple people have asked about such an interface. Is it possible to share your work with the group? (schematic, code, overview, etc.)?

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raoulblues



Joined: Oct 31, 2007
Posts: 16
Location: paris france

PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 1:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Je vais repondre en français c'est plus facile pour moi
Ce systeme fonctionne grâce a mon ami Pierre Brun qui a écrit tout le code sur la base "midibox"
Le materiel
Voir" midibox "
1 core
1 din
1 dout
Afficheur 4x40
8 24lc512"bankstik "
1 pavé numerique
16 encodeurs avec poussoir
8 potentiometres

Ci joint le mode d'emploi
Les bancksticks sont programmées avec les sons de "qs300" trouvés sur internet
je reste a disposition pour d'autres information


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Quintus



Joined: Feb 20, 2011
Posts: 13
Location: UK

PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 8:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Raoulblues
Thank you very much. I will have to try my schoolboy french of 40+ years ago and read your manual. At the moment I have to convert the QS voices into assembler tables and load them in with my PICkit2.

Dan
I use the T Klose midi merger (16F88) and have connected without opto isolators. I had thought that using mono should work and am going to try that again. At the moment there is a "slight" key click as I have used the fastest attack. I remember the time I spent in the early 70's trying to eliminate key click in divider organ!! Its a bit like overdrive, years spent perfecting amplifiers then everyone wants "distortion".
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