Author Topic: User songs  (Read 2463 times)

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Offline johnluke

User songs
« on: April 27, 2021, 10:31:42 AM »
Hello all,
I'm a total beginner with keyboards and I have a question (actually more than one...) about user songs and the difference between them and the midi songs SMF files I can transfer to the instrument from a PC.
For the time being I own a second-hand PSR-E333 so that a very basic instrument.

What I've understood is that I can record and save up to 5 user songs with style variations etc... into memory slots 103-107.
Then the manual says I can upload into the flash memory of the instrument up to 256 more songs from a computer (to memory slots 108 -->)

Now my point is:
a) do these 256 midi songs transferred from a PC (memory slots 108 -->) remain available in the instrument also after power off?
b) since these songs are just midi files, will they keep program change information (i.e. style change/fill-in/variations ecc..) or other information (ie. tempo) as long as I record all of this during the recording? (I have in mind to record these songs myself, upload them to a PC and then transfer them back again to the instrument to the flash memory slots 108 -->)
c) when I re-play one of these songs, will I be able to normally play the keyboard (left and right parts) on top of it, with ACMP etc..., using the styles previously recorded in the song itself?

In short my idea is to record in advance a number of songs, just playing the styles, doing the fill-ins, changing style type and parts during the recording etc... and then use these songs as a rhythm/style background while playing the keyboard, just caring about chords, ACMP and melodies, but not having to worry anymore about any pre-recorded rhythm parts. Added value is that by doing so I can basically merge and mix parts from different styles (intros, main a/b etc...) and create a whole new palette of possibilities/combinations instead of being stuck with just intro + main A + main B parts for any song. And my left hand can be used to change main voices and effects in real time and not doing style fill-ins and variations (yeah I'm quite a dummy). But I'm afraid I will not able to use style ACMP during the playback... that's the point, nor that these midi songs will be available after power off (no way I will want to transfer them from a PC any time I turn on the keyboard...)

I'm sure I can do all of this with the 5 user songs I can record and assign to memory slots 103-107 but absolutely non sure (and probably it won't work) if also the additional 256 midi songs will work the same way (probably not... but I'm just giving it a try).

Hope this sounds clear and apologies for any confusion... Thanks!
« Last Edit: April 27, 2021, 10:34:29 AM by johnluke »
 

Offline DerekA

Re: User songs
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2021, 11:08:19 AM »
I don't think you will be able to quite achieve what you want, because the recorded songs will be static and fixed so would not be very flexible, unlike playing along with a running style.

In any case, yes the songs you load up from the computer will stay in the flash memory. You are limited to about 1.5MB or so in total which is not that much. These uploaded songs will behave in the same way as the ones you record on the keyboard in terms of what you can play "live" along with them, and embedded control changes, so give it a shot and see.
Genos
 

Offline johnluke

Re: User songs
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2021, 11:45:19 AM »
Thanks Derek,
yes I know a midi song is fixed so that you cannot improvise or modify it, differently than playing with styles, but as you said, as long as I can play a midi song with auto ACMP and chords behind just like normal styles... maybe it's worth giving a try!

Do you (or any other member) know more or less how big it could be a .smf file where only styles (without chords/music, just the rhythm) are recorded, including some program change/variations? Say a standard 3 minutes cover song. Do the PSR rhythm parts "eat" many resources themselves? Just to understand how many of these 256 flash memory song slots I could think I can use.

Thanks again!
 

Offline DerekA

Re: User songs
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2021, 05:21:05 PM »
I think your best bet is to just give it a go and see how it works out :)
Genos
 

Offline johnluke

Re: User songs
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2021, 08:43:53 PM »
Hello,
for those who might be interested... my trick doesnít work, for a number of reasons.
First, it seems that you cannot play with auto ACMP during midi song playback, which is the biggest blocking issue, second, you cannot change style selection during midi song recording, but just do variations, and it seems that program change messages for the main voice are not recorded too. Which makes the whole things unuseful (no added value compared to normal style playing..)
All of this assuming I didnít make any mistake of course.
No prob!  :)
Thanks Derek and thanks the forum for this opportunity
 

Offline SciNote

Re: User songs
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2021, 11:36:41 PM »
Yes, I haven't experimented too much with loading SMF files into my keyboard -- a similar vintage PSR-E433 -- but it makes sense that auto accompaniment would not work with playing back an SMF file.  The auto accompaniment feature is meant to take your left-hand keyboard input and create background styles on the fly, changing chords with respect to the notes you play with your left hand.  As has been already discussed, playback of an SMF file is "static" -- in that it does not allow changes to the chords once it is recorded, stored on the keyboard, and played back.  At that point, it's much like playing a song on a CD -- you just listen to what's recorded.  For auto accompaniment, it would just need to be recorded when the SMF is recorded -- all of the background drums and instruments -- but once again, the notes and chords of these SMF recordings would be "fixed" and unable to be changed while being played back on the keyboard.

With that said, as long as the keyboard allows you to play along with the SMF, you should still be able to use various SMF's as song-specific backgrounds, as long as the notes (including drums) being played with the SMF and the notes you are playing manually do not exceed the maximum polyphony of the keyboard.  You would just record the SMFs with the desired backgrounds, instruments, and drums, using a desired chord progression.  And then when you play it back, you should be able to play along with it as if it were a style.  But like you said, you would not be able to improvise beyond the chord patterns and number of measures recorded, and if you made a mistake while playing, you'd have to remember that the SMF background will just keep on playing, and you'll have to figure out where in the song it is so that you can catch up with it.

It seems to me that you can record songs on the keyboard using the built in recorder and save them to USB as an SMF (I know this can be done on my E433 -- not sure about the E333).  At that point, I would imagine you could transfer the SMF to just the general flash memory.  And I would think that you could record SMFs on other keyboards and computers and utilize styles not built in to the E333, and that as long as it all can be saved as a standard SMF, you should be able to load those into the E333, as well.
Bob
Current: Yamaha PSR-E433, Roland GAIA SH-01, Casio CDP-200R, Casio MT-68 (wired to bass pedals)
Past: Yamaha PSR-520, PSR-510, PSR-500, DX-7, D-80 home organ, and a few Casios
 

Offline johnluke

Re: User songs
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2021, 12:13:45 PM »
With that said, as long as the keyboard allows you to play along with the SMF, you should still be able to use various SMF's as song-specific backgrounds, as long as the notes (including drums) being played with the SMF and the notes you are playing manually do not exceed the maximum polyphony of the keyboard.  You would just record the SMFs with the desired backgrounds, instruments, and drums, using a desired chord progression.  And then when you play it back, you should be able to play along with it as if it were a style.

Thank you SciNote, this is actually exactly what I was thinking at as a backup solution: to include ACMP in the .smf recording and then playback the midi songs with keyboard in "split" mode, either using the left hand to add bass-lines, extra chords/harmony (as long as polyphony and my dummy tecnique allow...), effects or (most of all) program changes for the main voice (nothing new I know).

Not wanting to emulate performances achievable with much higher level full-customizable machines, I guess a pre-recorded rhythm, variations and harmonization layer may free up some more resources (one hand at least!) to give slight more personality to performances and covers, provided that this way we are not in full control of the performance itself anymore but have to follow up the fixed structure of the .smf song.

A good new I found during my research (not a secret for anyone minimally skilled!) which is still pushing me in favour of exploiting the E333 .smf capabilities is that I can use my Ipad to connect with the instrument in order to exchange files, and not necessarily a PC, with MusicSoft ios app (tried it, and works well).

I will continue in my trial and error journey and will keep you posted. :)
 

Offline johnluke

Re: User songs
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2021, 08:31:11 PM »
I have a good thing to report and a bad one.

The good one is that it works! So that I can record a song with rhythm, styles and chords, and then playback that with keyboard in split mode so that I can forget about chords and either gain: one more track (left hand) to give extra ďpersonalityĒ to the performance [or] some free fingers for more effective and comfortable program changes for the main voice.

The annoying one is that the E333 doesnít transfer .smf songs to a PC (or ipad in my case) individually but in bulk together with the whole backup, so that in a big single file. And this backup file cannot be loaded into the instrument flash memory but only in the system folder, meaning I can say goodbye to my ideal 256 song pack and instead will have to live with 5 songs at the time (the maximum number included in the system memory as user songs). After that in order to load more songs I have to upload to the E333 another backup file to overwrite the previous one which gives me 5 more songs to play with. Which is annoying but affordable as long as I play for myself and doesnít want to entertain a live public with any gig :)

Reasons why I am not spending maybe 300-400Ä for a newer, full-capable and up-to-date instrument in order to overcome all of these machine limits are unknown, though. :)

Offline SciNote

Re: User songs
« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2021, 04:01:49 PM »
So, yeah, I took a look at the manual online for your PSR-E333, and I looked at my manual for my PSR-E433, and there really is a magnitude of difference when going from the E333 to the E433.  I was previously thinking that maybe you could do some of the things that can be done on the E433, but unfortunately, the ability to read and write data is quite a bit reduced on the E333.

The E433 does allow you to take, individually, the songs that you record on the multi-track sequencer, and then save them directly as an SMF on to a USB flash drive, whereas the E333 does not appear to have the "USB-to-device" port to allow this -- it can only do the back-up data dump you described to a computer.

Maybe there is a utility program that could extract the song data from the back-up file and then turn it into an SMF?  While I don't see why that wouldn't be possible, I'm thinking that the existence of such a program might be a bit of a long shot.

Otherwise, we're back to just creating your desired SMF's "off-board", meaning creating them right on a computer, or on another instrument, and then loading those SMF's into the SMF memory slots on your E333.  Beyond that, I don't know how much memory a whole-song SMF would take, so while the E333 may allow for 256 SMF slots, there may not be enough memory/storage to store that many SMF's if they are all full-length songs -- or even just the background tracks of full-length songs.

You may want to consider upgrading to an E400 series keyboard -- an E433 or later (as I'm pretty sure the E433 was the first to offer the USB-to-device port).  It would still be considerably less than something like a PSR-S670 or PSR-SX600, and beyond the more advanced data input/output options, you really do get a significant upgrade in other features, as well, such as a six track recorder, live-control knobs, and synthesizer functions like filter and envelope generator.  However, you would not get a significant (if any) boost in onboard memory/storage.  My PSR-E433 has 1.54MB of storage onboard, which is about what is on your keyboard, based on what was posted earlier.
Bob
Current: Yamaha PSR-E433, Roland GAIA SH-01, Casio CDP-200R, Casio MT-68 (wired to bass pedals)
Past: Yamaha PSR-520, PSR-510, PSR-500, DX-7, D-80 home organ, and a few Casios
 

Offline johnluke

Re: User songs
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2021, 04:41:56 PM »
So, yeah, I took a look at the manual online for your PSR-E333, and I looked at my manual for my PSR-E433, and there really is a magnitude of difference when going from the E333 to the E433.  I was previously thinking that maybe you could do some of the things that can be done on the E433, but unfortunately, the ability to read and write data is quite a bit reduced on the E333.

The E433 does allow you to take, individually, the songs that you record on the multi-track sequencer, and then save them directly as an SMF on to a USB flash drive, whereas the E333 does not appear to have the "USB-to-device" port to allow this -- it can only do the back-up data dump you described to a computer.

Maybe there is a utility program that could extract the song data from the back-up file and then turn it into an SMF?  While I don't see why that wouldn't be possible, I'm thinking that the existence of such a program might be a bit of a long shot.

Otherwise, we're back to just creating your desired SMF's "off-board", meaning creating them right on a computer, or on another instrument, and then loading those SMF's into the SMF memory slots on your E333.  Beyond that, I don't know how much memory a whole-song SMF would take, so while the E333 may allow for 256 SMF slots, there may not be enough memory/storage to store that many SMF's if they are all full-length songs -- or even just the background tracks of full-length songs.

You may want to consider upgrading to an E400 series keyboard -- an E433 or later (as I'm pretty sure the E433 was the first to offer the USB-to-device port).  It would still be considerably less than something like a PSR-S670 or PSR-SX600, and beyond the more advanced data input/output options, you really do get a significant upgrade in other features, as well, such as a six track recorder, live-control knobs, and synthesizer functions like filter and envelope generator.  However, you would not get a significant (if any) boost in onboard memory/storage.  My PSR-E433 has 1.54MB of storage onboard, which is about what is on your keyboard, based on what was posted earlier.

Thanks SciNote for the comments,
you're totally right and I'm seriously considering to upgrade.

Actually there were(are?) a couple of reasons preventing me from getting a new machine (let's count them as "cons"). First, I spent too much time in my life chasing around the newest technology and forgot about playing, that is the true enjoyiment. Too many nights programming and reading manuals and too little time hitting the keyboard :)
Second, I somehow appreciate the simplicity and minimalism of entry level machines, they tend to push your creativity and skills to the limit and it's always satisfactory to achieve anything decent from them (PS - I spent the last year having fun with an F51 before grabbing back my daughter's PSR-E333 as she's 16 now and music is not anymore on top of her thoughts - for now at least ;))

However I have to rationally consider that the newer models do have a few features which would definitely make my like easier and would not necessarily make me a compulsory shopper again (here they are the "pros"), such as the USB function (I can forget about wiring and cabling PC and iPad) or the Memory keys which - if I get it right - with just one touch would make changes in real time to voices, styles, functions setup, effects and all the rest, making it possible to introduce much more colour and variations to the performance (which is something I'm definitely looking for as I tend to play 70-80-90 synth-pop with all its bells and whistles and typical sounds). And then I saw that it's possible to mute tracks while playing styles which would probably allow me to somehow finetune the arrangement sound without necessarily having to bear organ riffs or brasses everywhere.
In any case I feel that a relatively little upgrade is actually required from my side according to my limited needs, so that maybe I'll be actually looking into a PSR-E4xx series model or similar, but not really much beyond.

Will let you know - thanks all!
« Last Edit: May 03, 2021, 04:45:39 PM by johnluke »
 

Offline SciNote

Re: User songs
« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2021, 05:33:47 PM »
I definitely understand how you feel, as I am very similar.  Back around 1980-1981, I had a programmable calculator that had a whopping 80 bytes of program memory, along with memory for some variables.  I spent hours and hours with that thing trying -- and often succeeding -- in getting it to do things that it was not really designed to do.  As more advanced models came out and I got them, I didn't spend as much time programming them.  I guess, like you said, when everything is just provided for you, it can cause a loss of a feeling of creativity.

I am similar when it comes to keyboards.  I am no beginner -- while I currently do not play professionally, I have been playing keyboard for 43 years, and my main keyboard is a PSR-E433.  I've had it over 7 years, and I am still impressed with the sound, and while there are certain limitations and certain features that I wish Yamaha would add to the newer versions (see my PSR-E473 wish-list type threads for more information), I do not find this keyboard limiting for me at all.

You are correct about the memories -- or registrations -- that are available on the E400 series keyboards, and those do make a world of difference.  At the push of one or two buttons, you get an entirely new panel set-up, with a new main voice, dual voice, split voice, style (if desired), special effects, and knob assignment parameters, to name a few things.  It really allows you to orchestrate your playing "on the fly" while playing a song.  With me, I prefer not to store styles in the registrations.  I use the registrations mostly for storing the keyboard sounds, and most of them are not "song-specific", which is how I use 32 registrations to play a very wide variety of music.  The registrations are in 8 banks of 4 (and this is true for all the PSR-E400 series from the E433 to the E463).  So, I use one bank for sounds for rock songs.  Another one for orchestral sounds.  Another one for jazz.  Another one for 1960's-70's pop.  And so on.  And since I don't store styles in the registrations, I can have a background style going while playing a song, and the style won't suddenly change when I change sounds with the registration buttons.

And you are right in that it can be too easy to get caught up in all of the technology, that you forget to actually just sit down and play music.  That is something to look out for, and something that becomes more likely as you get a keyboard with more and more features.  But with what it looks like you are wanting to do, it does seem like a PSR-E433-E463 would be a good choice.  You can check out the new E373, which does have a lot of nice features, as well, but it still only has 9 registrations, instead of 32, which I would find quite limiting.  And of course, you may also want to wait to see if and when the E473 will be released and what features it will have.  If you get a used keyboard, I would personally avoid the older PSR-E403, E413, and E423, because I'm pretty sure those keyboards do not have the USB-to-device port, and they only have 2 registration buttons per bank, instead of 4 -- again, very limiting.
Bob
Current: Yamaha PSR-E433, Roland GAIA SH-01, Casio CDP-200R, Casio MT-68 (wired to bass pedals)
Past: Yamaha PSR-520, PSR-510, PSR-500, DX-7, D-80 home organ, and a few Casios
 

Offline johan

Re: User songs
« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2021, 10:21:54 AM »
I also like the E433-E463 series very much. They are very portable and have decent voices. You not only have 32 registrations at your immediate disposal but on top of that, you can easily save and load these 32 registrations to USB stick without the need for a connection with your PC. You can also copy styles from USB to the device memory and you have buttons to select/deselect individual tracks of the style that is playing. All these things are missing on the E373 so I hope Yamaha brings out the E473 soon.
SX700 and S670
Former keyboard: E433, E463
 

Offline SciNote

Re: User songs
« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2021, 02:23:10 AM »
You're right.  I was thinking that they added the USB-to-device port on the E373, but I took a look at a picture of the back of the keyboard on Yamaha's website, and the only USB connection there is still the USB-to-host jack, so direct hook-up to a flash drive still would not be possible on the E373.
Bob
Current: Yamaha PSR-E433, Roland GAIA SH-01, Casio CDP-200R, Casio MT-68 (wired to bass pedals)
Past: Yamaha PSR-520, PSR-510, PSR-500, DX-7, D-80 home organ, and a few Casios
 

Offline johnluke

Re: User songs
« Reply #13 on: May 08, 2021, 12:08:31 PM »
Hi all and thanks again for your comments.

Iíve purchased my new PSR-E463 yesterday and this weekend I will spend some time to discover the various Ďnewí features and explore it. The good is that itís a very similar design of my old E333 so that itís immediately usable for me... I didít believe I could buy again a new keyboard 10+ years since my last purchase, reading all your comments on these pages was definitely a trigger for my decision  :)

Iím going to post a request in the forum styles section soon.
Good day you all!

Offline SciNote

Re: User songs
« Reply #14 on: May 08, 2021, 02:29:12 PM »
Great!  I think you'll find the E463 a feature-packed keyboard that will easily meet your needs, and then some.  Always feel free to ask if you have any questions about it.
Bob
Current: Yamaha PSR-E433, Roland GAIA SH-01, Casio CDP-200R, Casio MT-68 (wired to bass pedals)
Past: Yamaha PSR-520, PSR-510, PSR-500, DX-7, D-80 home organ, and a few Casios