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Leroy Casterline

Send/receive patches to/from synth

Question

Is it possible to send patches to and receive them from my synth (an Ensoniq SQ-80)? This old synth predates USB and uses a 3 1/4" floppy with a non-standard format that I can't use with my computer.  Thus, I have neither a good way to change patches in the synth nor to archive patches on my computer.

Thanks for any advice you can offer.

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This has been a feature of Cakewalk that dates back to the days when it was a MIDI Sequencer.  Are the MIDI In and MIDI Out connected to your PC (and Cakewalk) with some sort of MIDI interface? I took a very quick look at the SQ-80 manual and if does have a midi implementation section.  Do you have experience with sending and receiving sysex data?

Perhaps some of the following resources will help.

https://www.cakewalk.com/Documentation?product=Cakewalk&language=4&help=SYSX.01.html

https://www.cakewalk.com/Documentation?product=Cakewalk&language=4&help=SYSX.07.html

http://www.buchty.net/ensoniq/files/manuals/SQ80.pdf

 

Edited by User 905133
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10 minutes ago, User 905133 said:

This has been a feature of Cakewalk that dates back to the days when it was a MIDI Sequencer.  Are the MIDI In and MIDI Out connected to your PC (and Cakewalk) with some sort of MIDI interface? I took a very quick look at the SQ-80 manual and if does have a midi implementation section.  Do you have experience with sending and receiving sysex data?

Thank you for your quick response. These forums are wonderful and will save me some time and frustration :-).

I bought a USB to MIDI cable which works fine for playing sequences (other than the SQ-80 not supporting general MIDI so the wrong patches play). I know what System Exclusive messages are for, but have never actually used SysEx's for anything practical.

I bought the SQ-80 (and a Roland D-110) in '87 because I was writing MIDI software back then and needed a couple of instruments to test with. So I understood MIDI quite well long ago but haven't used it since. 

I'll check out the links you so kindly provided; I imagine I can figure things out from there.

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2 hours ago, Leroy Casterline said:

Is it possible to send patches to and receive them from my synth (an Ensoniq SQ-80)? This old synth predates USB and uses a 3 1/4" floppy with a non-standard format that I can't use with my computer.  Thus, I have neither a good way to change patches in the synth nor to archive patches on my computer.

Yes it is possible to send patch changes to your synth.  I do it all the time from Cakewalk by Bandlab to a circa 1999 SW1000XG card.

As far as receiving them, that is also possible. 

In Cakewalk by Bandlab. you need to make sure that patch changes are enabled for recording. 

This is done in Preferences | MIDI | Playback and recording > Record; Make sure Patch changes are enabled.

Sysex is also supported.  I also make extensive use of these for the SW1000XG.

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Funny this topic came up this morning. I was just going to fire up Cakewalk and dig into what I think are called instrument definition files. I am making a tutorial about using hardware and my Korg is not a GM patch module.

So I will be figuring this out. In the past I have always just pushed the buttons on the front. But this won’t work if you go to play the project 10 years down the road and can’t remember the patch. 

You might want to invest in a simple audio interface that has midi ports like a Motu M4. Then you can have dependable midi and record the audio from your hardware 

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The OP wrote:

21 hours ago, Leroy Casterline said:

Is it possible to send patches to and receive them from my synth (an Ensoniq SQ-80)?

I took this to mean sending and receiving a synth's/sound module's patch/preset bulk data / sets of parameters understood by the synth / sound module, not switching bank numbers and program numbers.

Maybe I misunderstood and the OP meant, "Is it possible to send patch change commands to and receive them from my synth (an Ensoniq SQ-80)?"

The reference to not having a good way "to archive patches on my computer" sounded similar to what I have done with many sound modules over the years: preserve patches and patch banks by sending them from my gear and storing in Cakewalk sysex banks in *.wrk/*.cwp files so I can send them to my modules.

For example, the back up battery in one of my Casio VZ-8m modules died. So to restore my custom patches, I found the banks in my old Cakewalk files and sysexed it back to the VZ-8m.

Apologies if the OP just meant bank/program switching.

 

 

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What I found was a bunch of dead links when looking for the Korg 05/RW ins. Files. Oh well it does have a GM mode but those patches are not as cool as the Program patches. 
 

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20 hours ago, Promidi said:

In Cakewalk by Bandlab. you need to make sure that patch changes are enabled for recording. 

This is done in Preferences | MIDI | Playback and recording > Record; Make sure Patch changes are enabled.

I didn't mean to reply to your message specifically and can't find a way to cancel this reply; I hope all who are helping me along will be notified. As you suggested I checked, and patch changes are enabled.

Thanks to you all, I've made some progress. The documentation is outstanding to the degree that I've printed it and had it bound (5 volumes!). That said, sometimes you don't know what you're looking for or the right term to search for, so your help is appreciated.

I was surprised to see my 34-year-old SQ-80 in the list of supported instruments. Alas, I couldn't receive a bank dump from the synth that way; the SQ-80 never started sending as far as I can tell.  I imagine this is a setting on the synth I haven't had time to research. But that's not important now, because...

I'm able to receive patch banks from the synth when I select <You start dump on instrument> and press the 'Send' button on the SQ-80.

What I don't have working is sending banks to the synth. Again, I believe this is just a setting on the SQ-80 I've yet to discover. 

==>One 'gotcha' on the SQ-80 I'd long forgotten is that it disables SysEx messages when you power up the unit. 

Edited by Leroy Casterline

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10 hours ago, John Vere said:

You might want to invest in a simple audio interface that has midi ports like a Motu M4. Then you can have dependable midi and record the audio from your hardware 

I took a look and can't quite figure out what it is. I see it's got a high-end DAC with mixed mic inputs and connects via USB; I get that part. How does that stuff tie in with MIDI? Or are the MIDI ports just a convenience feature and not tied to the audio functions? I've got a Schiit Modi 3 DAC and, with my voice, don't need a mic 🙂!

Edited by Leroy Casterline

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1 hour ago, John Vere said:

What I found was a bunch of dead links when looking for the Korg 05/RW ins. Files. Oh well it does have a GM mode but those patches are not as cool as the Program patches. 
 

I wonder if you could follow those links in the Internet Wayback Machine? Their archives go way back 🙂.

Edited by Leroy Casterline

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28 minutes ago, Leroy Casterline said:

I was surprised to see my 34-year-old SQ-80 in the list of supported instruments. Alas, I couldn't receive a bank dump from the synth that way; the SQ-80 never started sending as far as I can tell.  I imagine this is a setting on the synth I haven't had time to research. But that's not important now, because...

Try Send SX. I had similar trouble with my Korg X3.

https://www.bome.com/products/sendsx

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1 hour ago, User 905133 said:

The reference to not having a good way "to archive patches on my computer" sounded similar to what I have done with many sound modules over the years: preserve patches and patch banks by sending them from my gear and storing in Cakewalk sysex banks in *.wrk/*.cwp files so I can send them to my modules.

For example, the back up battery in one of my Casio VZ-8m modules died. So to restore my custom patches, I found the banks in my old Cakewalk files and sysexed it back to the VZ-8m.

Yes, that's exactly what I meant.

When Ensoniq built this beast, there were two dominant 3 1/2" formats: Mac and DOS. Why they choose neither is beyond me, and frustrates me no end. I also have cartridges I'd like to back up.

As an aside, the SQ-80 only allows transferring a cartridge bank via the internal bank, so it's a two-step process - transfer to the internal bank then to the PC. As an added bonus, you end up having to restore your internal bank to its original patches. I guess I shouldn't bitch; it's amazing what these guys did with such limited computing power and resouces.

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20 minutes ago, bdickens said:

Try Send SX. I had similar trouble with my Korg X3.

https://www.bome.com/products/sendsx

Thanks for the suggestion. I think I can do the same thing with MIDI OX, but I need to get it working from within Cakewalk. I haven't had time to research this yet, but I know there's a way; I've done it before with Cakewalk for DOS (which was the most recent version of Cakewalk I'd used until now, so things have changed a just a little 🙂).

Edited by Leroy Casterline

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That's one of the great things about MIDI. It has stood the test of time. It's a very robust protocol to this day.

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There's a switch to record SYS EX in CbB -which is enabled by default, I believe. It'under   < edit > <prefereces > < MID>  < recording and playback >

Edited by RBH

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6 minutes ago, RBH said:

There's a switch to record SYS EX in CbB -which is enabled by default, I believe. It'under   < edit > <prefereces > < MID>  < recording and playback >

I've verified that it's enabled. But it's under the Record section, so does it affect sending banks?

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There's typically a " handshake" which requires a midi in / midi out loop. Then the Ensoniq probably has a button sequence or dedicated sys-ex send mode and cake will record it for patch storage. Outside of that : cake will record patch changes and you can use simple text editing to create a patch list with names that will send patch changes. This has been basic a  MIDI function for nearly 30 years.

 

Sending banks is done via re-loading the sys-ex data back to the ensoniq. It's a reverse of the handshake where the Ensoniq needs to be in bank load mode. Cakewalk just records and sends sys-ex  - plus the added function of being able to create corresponding names list that lives in cakewalk bank and patch change fields.

 

Edited by RBH

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13 minutes ago, Leroy Casterline said:

Even if it works it's not really a solution; I need this to work from within Cakewalk.

It might not. You might just have to deal with it. My Korg X3 is too old and too slow for that to work. Your Ensoniq is even older.

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13 minutes ago, RBH said:

Then the Ensoniq probably has a button sequence or dedicated sys-ex send mode and cake will record it for patch storage. 

It does, and I've been successful in sending from the synth to Cakewalk. The problem I've had is going the other way, restoring a bank from Cakewalk to the synth. But you've given me an idea.

The SQ-80 has a Storage button, with a MIDI sub-button. Pressing that button brings up a page that implies I can only load from another Ensoniq instrument. I'll give this a try with Cakewalk. But even if that works, I still need to be able to send banks without touching the keyboard...

Edited by Leroy Casterline

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