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UCG Musician

Developing an INS File

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I use an old MIDI instrument (an Allen MDS-50 organ built in 1990 ) with Cakewalk and am constantly frustrated with the process.  The organ's stops are all turned on and off through NRPNs and there are a rather large number of them.  I built a table of all the NRPNs and would like to create an ins file so I don't have to constantly look up which stop I'm turning on or off.  I know  there is a way to assign "meanings" or names to NRPNs but I don't know how to create an ins file at all, let alone one that utilizes NRPNs. 

 

For every instrument I've used with Cakewalk I have always gotten ins files from the manufacturer or from some good person who created his own.  Unfortunately, no such ins file appears to exist for an Allen MDS-50 organ.  I've checked many, many resources for a decade and only recently did an Allen engineer put together a definitive NRPN list, which I then used to develop the attached pdf table.  I also have this list in Excel, text and als files.  Allen provided it as an als file, which apparently stands for Ableton Live Set.  I opened it as a text file and also imported it into Excel for further manipulation.  I created the attached pdf file from Excel.

 

Does someone on the forum have experience creating ins files?  Has anyone done so with many NRPNs?  For example, how would NRPN 35 be labeled as Viola Celeste 8'?  I would greatly appreciate help with this.

 

UCG Musician

Allen MDS-50 Stops & MIDI Data 2021-10-04.pdf

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I have not used the relatively new Articulation Maps, but when I looked at the pdf you attached, I wondered about that.  I am used to making *.ins files for program changes.  Maybe someone else with Articulation Maps experience making or using has some thoughts on the possibility of using Articulation Maps vs *.ins files. 

BTW, when I lived in Allentown, I had a very nice tour of Allen Organs in Macungie .  At the time, they were showcasing their Keyboard Computer.  MIDI was out, but they were not on board with it yet.  ("We don't speak MIDI," is the quote that stuck with me when I asked about MIDI.)  The instrument was impressive, but I don't think the idea of using punch cards and running them through a card reader to change sounds really caught on the way MIDI did.  😉   I guess from there, they went on to NRPNs.  😮 

Just found this re: RPNs and NRPNs and Articulation Maps.  Not sure they would be helpful, but maybe.

Edited by User 905133
(2) various edits; (1) clarifications

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SJOENS,

That is very helpful.  Thank you.  I have most of an ins file constructed (from scratch) but I am totally confused by the "Instrument Definitions" section of the ins file.  The Allen MDS-50 organ does not have banks or patches.  It has 10 general presets ("pistons") that set up many different individual stops on the different divisions on the instrument (Swell, Great, Pedal, Choir, G1/G2 Pistons and Generals).  It also has a large number of individual stops that are turned on or off.  To use MIDI effectively on the organ, I need to send multiple NRPN messages.  First, I need to turn off all the stops because as soon as Cakewalk begins a sequence it sends the piston number that corresponds to the "instrument".  If the first "instrument" is "1" the organ automatically sets up all the stops associated with that preset.  That is typically not what I want to use.  So I have to send NRPNs to turn everything off.  Then I need to send NRPNs to turn on just those stops I want.  (Technically I could just start by turning off the stops I DON'T want but somehow that seems less straightforward than resetting to none and turning on what's needed.)

INS files from instrument manufacturers have patches listed in the Instrument Definitions section.  I don't know what those would be with the Allen organ.  Also, I don't know what the correct bank select method would be.  Since the organ responds to NRPNs, not controller 00 or 32 or patch numbers, it's not clear which bank select method I should indicate.  Does it even matter if NRPN numbers are required anyway?

I hope someone can explain this in a way that gives me a good understanding of what I need to do!

UCG Musician

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Sounds complex. The Master.ins file lists some RPN/NRPN entries but I've never dealt with these. You might contact the maker and maybe someone at Cakewalk.

Edited by sjoens

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EDIT:  Speculative wonderings and questions removed because evidently some of the information is on the internet in various places.

Edited by User 905133
to remove speculative wonderings and questions; to express wonderings

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@User 905133 - Seeing as the MDS-50 uses NRPN's rather than the standard bank select/program change, you may want to consider using articulation maps instead, e.g:

image.thumb.png.a7b8b4075ce759f0f22ab9993de3cee8.png

So, basically:

  • Create a separate Articulation Group for each organ section
  • Create an articulation for each sound. In each articulation, set the Kind to CC 14b,  Note/CC to 99 (NRPN) and Play At = Start
  • Then set Channel / Vel/CC to the channel and NRPN number required for that sound


Once you've created your articulation map, export it so it's then available for other projects.

You can then draw the articulation in the PRV to get the desired sound:

image.png.eba2dab904bb4133f45e2c249637b3e0.png
 

Attached is one I've started off for you.

 

Allen MDS-50.artmap

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If you really want to use .ins files, this is how to do it.

Note that this is pretty specific to the MDS-50 in that it needs a separate instrument definition for each channel:

MDS-50.gif

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Cool stuff! Thanks for the help mcleod.

Normally I type everything in a text file. :S Either way is tedious but once it's set up you're good to go.

 

Q: Does entering data in Preferences like that amend the Master.ins file or create a new one?

Edited by sjoens

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I followed MSMcLeod's tutorial above and entered everything in Define Instruments.  (THANK YOU!)  When I go back and verify that it's there, everything is in place in Cakewalk.  But when I look for the master.ins to see what it looks like there, I can't even find the latest version of the file.  I "saved for next session" so I'd expect to see a currently dated file.  Where does Cakewalk store this file?

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