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Re: MIDI Bank Select proposal (was Re: [fluid-dev] Re: Son of ticket #65

From: jimmy
Subject: Re: MIDI Bank Select proposal (was Re: [fluid-dev] Re: Son of ticket #65)
Date: Sat, 7 Aug 2010 16:54:04 -0700 (PDT)

--- On Sat, 8/7/10, Elimar Green <address@hidden> wrote:

> From: Elimar Green <address@hidden>
> Subject: Re: MIDI Bank Select proposal (was Re: [fluid-dev] Re: Son of ticket 
>  #65)
> To: "jimmy" <address@hidden>
> Cc: address@hidden
> Date: Saturday, August 7, 2010, 9:51 AM
> This was all basically implemented at
> one point in FluidSynth with a
> settings option and detection of SYSEX MIDI mode change
> messages,
> which would modify the current settings value
> dynamically.  It was
> removed because it was deemed incomplete (as far as all the
> additional
> functionality which comes with being in different
> modes).  It seems
> like re-implementing this with minimal bank switching
> behavior logic,
> may make sense in the short term.  But implementing
> the complete XG
> spec for example, is not a trivial undertaking.
> Elimar

I agree with your assessment regarding XG implementation.  XG may have other 
prorietary processing which may require special chips on the hardware side, or 
special DSP libraries on the software side.

I don't know that for sure, just speculating.  I do know that many Yamaha 
arranger keyboards claim to have XG, some lower end keyboards have XG-Lite, 
whatever that means from Yamaha specs.  Even the full XG keyboards have 
different sound bank(s), different "sound engine(s)" under the hood.  Midi and 
style files that sound superb on one XG keyboard may sound so-so on a different 
XG keyboard, may even require manually tweaking those files.  I think they 
intentionally do so, in order to sell the new keyboards, for sure.

So a softsynth may be able to emulate some part(s) of XG, but to be able to 
emulate any one XG keyboard would be difficult enough.  Emulating the complete 
line of XG keyboards would be a huge undertaking.  Especially now that XG specs 
and XG marketing material have all but disappeared from Yamaha web sites.  Top 
of the line Arranger Keyboards all have XG features, are Tyros-3, Tyros-2, 
Tyros, they have some decent manuals.  Below that are the PSR-S910, PSR-S900, 
PSR-S710, PSR-S700 (older are PSR-9000, PSR-7000, PSR-5000, PSR-3000, PSR-2000, 

Some Yamaha XG synth(s) may support one GS mode, but they probable won't 
support all the features of all the GS synths and keyboards out there.  I read 
that GS mode in Yamaha XG synths may take some individual GS sys-ex commands 
but won't process bulk GS sys-ex commands.

If FS wants to support GS/XG mode, it should be noted as "work-in-progress and 
may-never-complete", so users should be apprehensive about it.  Of course, all 
implemented features (however minute) should be documented so everyone can 
understand what to expect, and/or eventually augmented with more/better 

Yamaha and Roland have agreed to support GM2 within the last few years.  Both 
may have throtled back their proprietary GS/XG marketing push.  So I think 
moving forward with GM2 support maybe better than spending too much time and 
efforts on GS/XG.  GM2 sounds like more standardized GM1 (especially the 
ambiguous parts), also allowing support for 2 drum channels.

If GM2 become more popular, there will sure be converter utilities to mass 
convert GS/XG files to GM2, at least in term of bank select, reset, drum 
channels...  Proprietary sys-ex will always be there, depends on special 
hardware anyway.


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