If you know about how your Motif ES works, you know that in order for another device to load you Songs and Patterns, the Voice data would need to be in the same Voice locations as in your ES. Say you used a Voice, on Part 1 that was located at Preset 1: 033(C01)... The Voice in the Motif XF is guaranteed to be a different Voice. So there has to be some kind of translation involved -otherwise the XF will just recall whatever Voice it has in its library at location Preset 1:033(C01), if you get my meaning. In fact most Voices, if found at all, are likely to be in different locations.
So it is not going to be a simple no-brainer, where you simply load your ES into the XF and continue on your way (not by a long shot)
You are moving forward to new keyboard, with tons of new features, with new envelopes, new filters, new arpeggios, new Voices, new Performances, new effects, etc., etc., etc. like moving from 2003 to 2010 (literally), although you will be familiar with the terminology, almost everything else will be different.
Performances only reference the VOICE locations - meaning for them to work every VOICE has to occupy the anticipated Voice bank location for the Performance to work - so mostly forget about Performances... with the new ARPs and all, you quickly will.
That said, there is some solid degree of compatibility between Motif-series models. (VOICES are compatilbe!!!) While the ES only had a four Element Voice architecture, it's Voices can be read by the Motif XF (which has the expanded eight Element Voice architecture). Many of the old effects were abandoned in favorite of the newer chips and faster performance of the new technology when the XS was introduced in 2007. New concept arpeggiators were added, too. So Voices are likely to translate but can sound very different when translated to the XF - depending on whether the same effect algorithm is found - and if the same filter is found. After all it is a different keyboard (twice removed)
Sequence data, songs and patterns, must be transferred via Standard MIDI File format. This means that to move MIDI sequence data from one sequencer to another you need to first SAVE each as .MID file. The ES will create a Type 0, that can pretty much be read by any sequencer, DAW or any another model of Motif. The SMF will contain all the data that you recorded to the Tracks of the ES. It does not include you MIXING setups, however. So what instrument was playing which data, is not transferred. You either have to write them down, or if you've been using the Editor (Multi Part) you can capture your compositions Mixing setup's with the Editor. Either way, you will want to document the Voices you used, and any specialty data like User Drum Kit, or custom samples needs to be ported over as well.
So as I said, it is no simply task to transfer the data from a Motif synthesizer two generation removed from the current XF. There is some compatibility, yes... What I've provided you below are files that transfer all Preset and User Voice banks from the old ES format to the next generation (Motif XS) file format. The XS was built with the necessary "look up tables" to read the data from the Motif ES.
The download is zipped and contains the ALL VOICE Files in XS format. There is a PDF (Power User Article) I wrote back in 2007 when the big transition from ES to XS took place. Once you have XS data, the new XF will load those directly.
Your new XF will be able to translate these XS files, because it has the "look up tables" to translate the previous models data. So yes, it is a game of "telephone"... And, unfortunately, yes, some things will be mangled in the translation. In other words, an effect not found or a filter with a sharper/fast curve can sometime change the VOICE in an unfortunate way - programming by serendipity - it just inherits the new substitute effect or filter setting. This is why many of the third party Libraries done for the Motif ES were completely redone by their authors when the XS hit the market... For the reasons I have pointed out, and because with each new generation you have more to work with, thankfully!!! ... So yes, you will need to do some heavy tweaking to move your old data up two generations. I will not sugar coat it. The article is very detailed because - hey, its your music (and some times that can represent a lot of work) - that's why we prepared the article.
I've been there, done this, I have the T-shirt (and Jedi Merit badge). You will have to decide if it is worth doing or simply do new versions in your new keyboard. Your mileage will vary. In most cases you will find an equivalent Voice for each Part. In many cases you will be completely satisfied with the replacement. But it would be impossible to say that will always be the case.
In the files provided below (warts and all) are every Preset and User Voice... Unfortunately the arpeggio data is completely different in the XS/XF; it went from like 1700 Arps to well over 7800 Arps... And four simultaneous arpeggiators!
It is involved, but you're in the right place if you decide to "port over" your data (rather than redoing it)... we certainly can help you through it.
Thank You for the detailed rundown...much appreciated!
I don't have my Motif ES anymore so I'll have to do some snooping around on hard disks to see if I did have the forethought to make SMFs of my work (probably not).
Regardless, I am SO happy that my first proper workstation since having sold my beloved Motif ES6 w/mLAN back in 2007 is gonna be the Motif XF6! I did hem and haw between this and the Kronos but I knew from working with the ES that the Motif physical user interface lent itself BEST to live performance, on-the-fly song creation and that is what puts the Motif well above the certainly worthy Kronos. This is kinda like a carbon copy repeat of when I was in the market for a new workstation back in the mid-2000's: I went into the music store hell bent on the Korg Triton never even considering the Motif ES. After sitting down "just to take a look-see" I ending walking out of the shop with that fully loaded ES6 instead...most satisfied! Yeah, I have the Kurz K2500s so I know firepower...but with all the killer soft synths and Logic/Live/Mainstage...I surely don't need the 9 engines that the Kronos provides...nor do I need anymore touch screens to hover over and try to see past my finger or some slender stylus to navigate and program with...besides, I have one or more of every generation of iPad so my touchscreen fix is covered. Heck, I got agitated just trying to sit through the youtube videos of people clowning with the Kronos touch screen.
Basically, the Motif line has been, for me, the MOST immediate to connect with me for both compostion and subsequent performance of material. The Motif products have connected with me through a physicality that promotes performance driven improvisation. I have NEVER been so productive with a piece of hardware as I was back in the day with my Motif ES and pretty much not a day has gone by where I say say to myself, "Sh*t, I should NEVER have sold that thing". And I am glad to jump on the opportunity to get the Motif XF rather than the Moxf Being persuaded by the killer offer of the kit and kaboodle Loaded Promotion...to me the Firewire expansion is the deal-maker. Let's not forget the solid build quality of the Motif XF...I've seen many, if not ALL Kronos in the shops with missing faders & button and knobs that where loose...no joke. I have NEVER seen that with the Motif XF...actually not even with the Moxf being plastic and all.
i found my last backup of motif es files before i sold it...had both w7a and w8a files...put the w7a (the ALL saved type) file on a usb thumb drive, loaded it into my beautiful new motif xf and it loaded all my songs in, presumably, the old es format! yes, the assigned voices are not retained but the midi data (the gold to me) is present as are the pattern sections A through 'whatever'
also the patterns that loaded were scattered across the pattern registery...it wasn't one right after the other, it was like a bunch of them here...then a bunch of unused pattern registries, then another bunch of patterns...and so on
now it is a matter of me scrolling through the sounds to find what fits best on channel 1-16 of each song...this will be a pleasure though!
Yes, you're correct. That is what the article I attached should explain... How to locate the Voice that you used... The XF's will load the sequences, it's the Voices that get strangled but I organized these files so you can load the Voices (individually)
In other words, your ES sequence loaded in the XF will recall a specific Voice location for Each PART, you can then use the appropriate file to find the Voice that occupies that location... Then load it into the XF. You can use a USER BANK > Group for each composition.