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Playing through X-50 to an external device - possible?

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Joined: 26 Sep 2015
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2017 1:50 pm    Post subject: Playing through X-50 to an external device - possible? Reply with quote

Short question: in MULTI mode is it possible to play through the X-50 (i.e. from an external MIDI source, through the X-50, to an external sound module)?

That is what I've been attempting to do, so far without success. Background and longer description follows.


My mostly computer-free music setup is centred on a hardware sequencer (Yamaha QY700).

The hardware sound modules I have are

- Korg X-50
- Roland DP-990F digital piano
- Roland TD-9 drums

I would like to send the MIDI output from the sequencer to the X-50, in order to

- play voices in an X-50 MULTI, and
- on some particular channels, have the signal sent out from the X-50 to the other hardware sound modules

The reason I'd like to go through the X-50 for this is that (I hope) it has the ability to recall the voices and other basic settings of external hardware, so that I can switch to a MULTI and have all the sounds instantly restored.

At the moment

- I can use X-50 as a multitimbral sound module for the sequencer just fine
- I AM able to trigger an external sound module when playing the X-50's keyboard (using EXT for the output of the relevant X-50 "track")
- However, I am not able to trigger an external sound module when playing into the X-50 from an external MIDI source (such as my sequencer or an external controller keyboard).

I'd first like to ask whether playing through the X-50 in the way that I hope is actually possible. If it is, I'll follow up with full details of all the settings I've been using, to save the time of those who might be kind enough to assist with a diagnosis.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2017 7:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Passing MIDI through the X-50 is not possible since there is no MIDI Thru port, and there is no internal MIDI patching in the X-50 between the Midi In and Out ports. Not even the Kronos patches between MIDI In and Out, though it does have MIDI Thru. However, it could be done using a MIDI patch unit capable of performing MIDI split and merge operations, or two units, one doing MIDI split, and the other MIDI merge.


I don't think the X-50 has the ability to recall voices and other basic settings on external hardware. It would be possible to change Programs or Patches on other synths from the X-50, but that would probably be it, and it would occur on a "linked" basis e.g. selecting Program 27 on the X-50 would probably cause a switch to Patch, or program 27 on another synth.

For something capable of a degree of configuration of other synths, there doesn't appear to be anything on the market at the moment. The likes of Rick Wakeman use something called Sycologic to automatically change the complex patch combinations on a multi keyboard/synth rig, but these devices are rare as hen's teeth, and still don't change a synth's configuration. That would best be done in advance by saving the changed patches and Programs.

The QY700 has two MIDI ins and two MIDI outs. It might be worth investigating the possibilities as, based on looking at the manual, there appears to be a degree of configurability that suggests patching between MIDI Ins and Outs might be possible.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 12:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for taking the time to reply, voip.

As I'm trying to get my head around the workings of the X-50 (and Korg products in general I suppose), I'd like to try to lay out some of my thinking here. Perhaps this will make it possible for you or others to directly point out any of my mistaken assumptions.

Regarding the recall of voices on external hardware

The X-50 manual says:

If the Global “Multi Mode” is set to “for Master,”
switching the multi set number will cause each
track with a “Status” of EXT, EX2 or BTH to transmit
bank select, program change, volume, pan,
portamento, send 1 and 2, post-IFX pan, and post-
IFX send 1 and 2 messages on the channel specified
for that track.

This is the kind of basic setup information I was thinking of sending to my external sound modules when recalling a MULTI. It's not very detailed, but similar to what a DAW like Cubase will send out when loading a song. I'm not really editing voices on my Roland drums or Digital Piano anyway, so this would be enough for me to resume work on a song.

Regarding playing through the X-50 and out to an external device

Various Korg devices have the ability to set status of a track (in MULTI mode) or timbre (in COMBI mode) to INT, OFF, EXT, EX2 or BTH. This means that at least some MIDI signals can be internally routed and sent out to external instruments, with control over output channel and so on.

As mentioned, at the moment I have this working OK in the case where I am playing the X-50 keyboard directly. In other words, where the MIDI signal is coming from the X-50 keys, through the track parameter setup, out to an external device.

But does the signal have to come from the X-50 keys only? That is what I'm wondering. To make a small detour...

When I look at the manual for a Triton rack, all the screen shots look almost exactly like the X-50. I see that it has the same settings available for INT, OFF, EXT, EX2 or BTH per track in MULTI mode. And yet the Triton rack has no keyboard or internal sequencer. The only possible source of MIDI is external. So the Triton rack, it seems, must be able to route MIDI input from external sources out to external devices on specific output channels as defined in the track parameters. Which gives me some hope that the X-50 can do it too! (admittedly this chain of reasoning is far from water-tight)


From my understanding, MIDI THRU is something different. A MIDI THRU output simply repeats everything that is received at the MIDI IN. This doesn't give any ability to control output channels or anything else.

Regarding other general MIDI patching

I have an Edirol UM-880, so between this and the two separate MIDI outputs of the QY700 I am able to patch sequencer signals directly to different pieces of hardware if necessary. However, as stated originally, at the moment I'm still holding out hope of everything going via the X-50, as this would (in theory) allow me to restore all the devices by recalling a single MULTI on the X-50.

If you've read this far, thank you. And if you can help me correct any errors in understanding in what I've written, I'd really appreciate it.

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