Author Topic: Layering sounds on EW400  (Read 771 times)

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Offline nano91

Layering sounds on EW400
« on: June 04, 2017, 06:01:35 AM »
Hello, i just recently bought my first keyboard after a few years of procrastinating. I am very new and just found this forum, on forehand I'm sorry if there's already a thread about this subject or if posting it in the wrong place.  ::)

I'm still learning all the features of the keyboard and it's still a bit confusing. There was one thing i wanted to do when i got my keyboard, and that was layering different sound and making an beat with different voices.  I haven't found out how or if that is possible, i know there is one option available and that is connect it to my computer and use fruity loops etc.

So i were wondering if you might have any ideas on this?
Great forum BTW  ;D

Offline SciNote

Re: Layering sounds on EW400
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2017, 12:17:27 AM »
Well, it depends on exactly what you're trying to accomplish.  If you are trying to design repetitive loops that will play over and over until you stop them, similar to a style or DJ pattern, then this keyboard does not have this capability, other than using it as a sound source with a DAW that does have this capability.

However, if you are looking to multi-layer sounds for a multi-part recording of a song, then this keyboard has a built-in 6 track sequencer.  You would select the Song feature, then select a song number for one of the user-recordable songs, and then use the track buttons to choose one of the tracks to start recording.  If it's like my PSR-E433, you hit and hold down the Record button, and while holding that button down, you hit the track button for the track you want to record.  And then, you start playing, and then hit Stop when you are done recording that track.

After you record one track, you can then repeat the process but with selecting a different track to record on, and then you will hear the track you already recorded as you record your new track.  As you record tracks, if you do not want to hear all of the tracks you have previously recorded, you can turn them off using the track buttons.

There are five musical/melody tracks, and one track for the style or accompaniment.  If you are going to use an accompaniment, then you want to record that track first, so that you can then record the musical/melody tracks while listening to the accompaniment, to make sure you play "in time".  As you record the accompaniment track, any drum fill-ins, style section changes, and chord changes get recorded, so you'd need to plan out your recording ahead of time so that you would know when to implement these fill-ins and changes.  Also, keep in mind that recording the accompaniment track is a bit different than recording the musical/melody tracks, so you want to check your owner's manual for the exact procedure.

I know on my PSR-E433, there is something weird, and I can never remember the specifics until I set out to record a song, as I don't record a new song that frequently.  I think it's that, when I hold down the Record button, and then hit the Accompaniment track button to tell the keyboard to record to the accompaniment track, I have to tap a key on the left part of the actual keyboard to start the style (even though I only use the drum part of the style), otherwise, the style won't actually record, even though the keyboard looks like it is recording.

Once you record a multi-track song, you can then play it back at any time by selecting the Song function, selecting the song number you recorded your song to, and then hitting the Play button.  But it will only play once -- you cannot automatically loop or repeat this.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2017, 01:12:16 AM by SciNote »
Yamaha PSR-E433
Yamaha PSR-520

Offline SeaGtGruff

Re: Layering sounds on EW400
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2017, 12:01:55 PM »
As Bob says, it depends on exactly what you're trying to do, so it would help if you could give us a better understanding of that.

Of course, you can easily layer two different voices together using the Dual feature, but I take it that isn't what you mean?

The onboard song sequencer is rather basic. It lets you record your own multi-track songs, but there are limits on the number of tracks, and there's no way to edit a track afterward-- you must re-record that particular track from beginning to end if you want to correct something in it. Still, it does let you record your musical ideas quickly and easily, and after you've made your initial recording you can convert it to a standard MIDI file with the "Save SMF" function, then load the SMF into a DAW for editing.

If you want to create your own loops, that's trickier. The song sequencer does let you repeat certain measures of a song file as you're playing it back, but the way it works isn't suitable for live performances, because it inserts an extra "count-off" measure with a metronome beat between each repetition of the loop. You can turn the Metronome Volume down to 0, but the only way to get rid of the extra count-off measure is to manually manipulate the loop buttons at exactly the right times, which is tricky and cumbersome, besides which it's easy to screw up the timing if you don't retrigger the loop at exactly the right moment.

On the other hand, there are utility programs, such as Midi2Style, which let you take a MIDI song file and create a style or auto-accompaniment file from it, and styles are much better for looping. You're limited to just two Main variations (A and B) per style, but the PSR-EW400 and PSR-E453 let you load 10 user styles at a time, so in theory you could have 20 loops of your own making available to play-- the only tricky part would be switching between the styles. There are four Registration buttons, and each Registration can have a style number and style variation saved in it, so that gives you eight loops that can be selected quickly by recalling the appropriate Registrations-- although if you saved a particular Registration with the Main A loop of a style selected and you want to play the Main B loop instead (or vice versa), you'll need to switch variations after recalling the Registration. But that does give you eight loops you can switch between with just one or two button presses. And if you need more than that, there are eight banks of Registrations, so by switching to a different Registration bank you'll have eight more loops to choose between.

So if you want to try doing that, your work flow would be more or less as follows:

(1) Use the onboard song sequencer to record your musical ideas for loops to one or more tracks. Don't worry about mistakes; the main goal would be to get your ideas recorded, without worrying about perfection yet.

(2) Use the "Save SMF" function to convert your User Song to a MIDI file on your USB thumb drive.

(3) Put the USB thumb drive in your computer, load the MIDI file into your DAW, use to DAW to clean up the notes or rhythm, and export it to a new MIDI file.

(4) Load the new MIDI file into the Midi2Style program to select the parts you want to use and convert them to style loops. If you want to create more than two loops from a given song file, you'll need to create multiple style files, two loops per style. Note: Midi2Style lets you create four loops variations per style-- A, B, C, and D-- but only the A and B variations can be selected on the PSR-E models, so don't waste your time creating styles that have C and D variations; just stick with the A and B variations.

(5) Copy your new user style files to your USB thumb drive, then load them into your PSR-EW400 so you can use them.

EDIT: As Bob says, you can also toggle tracks on and off using the track buttons. A style can have eight tracks in it, but they're used for specific purposes-- the rhythm and sub-rhythm, guitar chords and keyboard chords, pads, melodic phrases, etc.-- and the PSR-E models automatically pair some of them together, so you actually have six tracks that you can toggle on and off, two of which contain two channels apiece instead of just one. I don't think you can use the tracks for creating additional loop variations per se, but you can certainly use them to add more layers to a loop-- e.g., start with just the rhythm track of the loop turned on, then after a few repetitions add in the melodic track, then after several more repetitions add in the chords or pads, etc. Note that you can turn specific tracks on or off before you save a Registration, and the track on/off flags will be saved in the Registration, such that recalling the Registration will automatically switch to the indicated style number and style variation with the tracks turned on or off in the desired combination.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2017, 12:23:00 PM by SeaGtGruff »
Michael Rideout
YPT-400, PSR-E433, PSR-E443