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  1. Michael
  2. MODX
  3. Sunday, 04 November 2018
Polyphony Question:
Hello. Im brand new to the forum so because Im a very nice fellow, please be kind. I notice that there are several threads regarding the Modx and polyphony issues. I just bought a Modx8. I am pouring through the owners manual looking for a solution to a polyphony issue Im having. I am trying to set up just 4 instruments. 1. Grand Piano. 2. Electric Piano 3. Pad 4. Strings. I have the Piano and electric piano on the AWM2 engine and the Pad and strings on the FM side. But for some reason, Im having the piano dropping notes after just a few are played. I understand that the AWM2 has 128 note polyphony and the FM 96 or so. I have had a MOTIF ES 8 for years and never had an issue with 4 zones having a polyphony drop out. So the only thing I can think of is that there may be some global settings that i have selected that are not necessary for what I am trying to accomplish. Is there an easy fix for this? I have noticed that many of you are quite smart and Im sure you have no problem with the electrical engineering challenges this keyboard presents. But I am just an average guy that wants to use this keyboard to do some home recording in my DAW and have some fun with it.
Any advice you can give would be appreciated. Thanks
Responses (16)
Bad Mister
Yamaha
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Happy to help you - but you'll have to give us some more information in order to help you. It is possible to run any system out of polyphony - if you don't know how it works.

Since there are more than one Piano, more than one Electric Piano, more than one Pad, and more than one String sound in the MODX, it is impossible to say what you did - unless you care to tell us.

If you are simply layering sound on sound on sound on sound and then apply liberal use of the sustain pedal, it is fairly easy to create more than the limit of polyphony. It can be avoided however, by recognizing what each component is being asked to do. You have 128 Notes of stereo AMW2 polyphony and 64 Notes of FM-X polyphony...

Call up the following factory Preset Performances
"Full AP/EP/Pd/Str"
"Full AP/FMEP/Pd/St"
- play them. Do you experience the same loss of polyphony when you play these?

You can learn by studying these Performances if it is a matter of choosing layers... if it is a matter of to much sustain pedal, you will need to learn to rely on it less. Every sounding tone must be accounted for with electronics. If you wrote out what was sounding, I bet you could eliminate some notes...
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MODX
  3. # 1
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
I tried these and they are indeed much better. But you're right, I do have a tenancy to do long chord runs with the sustain pedal pressed. And that's when I have the majority of my issues. I am very thankful that you got back with me. Let me ask you.... what specific attributes about these patches should i pay attention to so I can learn?
Thanks again...
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MODX
  3. # 2
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
For Full AP/EP/Pd/Str:

The AP (Acoustic Piano) only uses one element at a time (with sustain pedal off). When you look at the AEG - you notice the level of Decay 2 is 0 for all elements. That's part of it. When switching between the note-on sample (piano sound) and note-off sample (key clunk) - it's the decay2 level of 0 that cuts off the sound in both directions. As soon as you press a key - the key clunk sound ends - as soon as you let go - the piano sound ends. You can watch the green lights for the elements to see one lights up when you press a key and another lights up when you let go. There isn't any overlap. Then, you'll notice there are lots of elements for this piano that are at different velocity levels. These velocity levels do not "bleed" into each other because the velocity cross-fade is set to 0. When a different velocity starts sounding, it does so alone without overlap if a different velocity sound preceded.

The Analog Pad uses two elements at a time. Could have probably gotten by with just one by sampling in the result of detuning and panned center. Not exactly the same - but saves an element.

The string has two elements - each is triggered at its own unique range of velocities and the velocity xfade is 0 - so only one sounds at a time.

The e-piano uses "a lot" of polyphony. I see 4 elements firing at the same time at moderate velocities (lowest velocity only one element will sound - pretty easy to play at the higher velocity).

Since the EP is "eating up" the most AWM2 polyphony for a single PART - you can appreciate why there's an FMEP version of this Performance. The FMEP version will use FM for the EP instead of AWM2 - and FM-X has its own pool of polyphony.

Also, to hear the strings and EP - be sure your superknob is full clockwise. Even when strings+ep are "off" with superknob full counter-clockwise, these PARTs are still using polyphony since it's a volume offset and not element switching which makes these not sound. You could further optimize polyphony by eschewing the "morph" superknob feature and instead "switch" on/off PARTs such that, when "off" (not sounding), there is less polyphony used.

So techniques used are:

1) Conserve elements - have each instrument sound use as close to 1 element at any given time when that instrument is making noise. Acoustic piano and strings do this well. You can get a rough feel for how many elements are used at a given time by watching the green dots for each element when striking a key which makes that PART's elements sound.
2) If you can balance your different instruments - place 2:1 in AWM2:FM-X (in terms of elements sounding at same time). It's not required to keep any exact ratio - just appreciate that, if you can, use of both AWM2 (samples) and FM-X (synthesis) can buy you more polyphony vs. only using one engine.

If you're building your own Performances and throwing darts at source Performances - you're likely to land on a Performance that was built to sound great by itself but may have too much fat when combining with others that also are designed more to stand alone then provide the best "headroom" for polyphony. The easy way to start looking at this is look at how many green lights you have lighting up - and look for another source (single-PART) sound that uses less simultaneous elements. Or, alternatively, search for an FM-X replacement that works. If - like this example pair of Performances - you target the AWM2 PART that happens to use the most simultaneous elements - then you'll probably end up balancing out your Performance.

There's no "optimize" button to push - so you'll have to get your feet wet on this one. Maybe your hair too.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MODX
  3. # 3
Bad Mister
Yamaha
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
I tried these and they are indeed much better. But you're right, I do have a tenancy to do long chord runs with the sustain pedal pressed. And that's when I have the majority of my issues. I am very thankful that you got back with me. Let me ask you.... what specific attributes about these patches should i pay attention to so I can learn?
Thanks again...
If the cause is the too liberal use of Sustain Pedal, the best solution is a recognition that the behavior of the Pad and the Strings in response to the Sustain message is totally science fiction. By that I mean there is no expected way for them to behave that is based on the real world.

As an exercise, record yourself using the built-in Play/Rec feature, as MIDI, playing the layer as is (using the Sustain Pedal as you naturally tend to)... playback what you recorded but use the Solo function to isolate just the String Part, then play it back again this time isolating just the Pad. The strings do not sound like any string arrangement you’ve ever heard, because string sections don’t leave notes hanging in the air like that when executing runs... the Pad, well, the name itself comes from the sustaining nature that adds an underlying harmonic carpet.... but do you need it to Sustain via the pedal? Probably not...

Things to try:
1) use less Sustain pedal
2) try setting the “Sustain” Receive Switch for the Pad and String Parts to Off... this way they will play when you hit and manually hold a chord but they will not do that “bleed-thing” that eats up your polyphony when the pedal is held. Select the PART > EDIT > “Mod/Control” > “Receive Sw” > Set “Sustain” = Off for those Parts.
3) instead of using Sustain messages to extend those Parts (Strings/Pad) rely on Effects like reverberation or delay repeats. This way you get the feeling of their presence without them chewing up polyphony. Effects never impact the polyphony!
4) use less Sustain pedal
5) and if you can, learn to use less Sustain pedal

I’m being funny here because it is typically, not what you want to hear... but is at the core of the issue. Most Piano oriented players (and that’s most of us) have an expectation of how the Sustain pedal works that leads us directly into trouble with technology. Because although the Sustain pedal is designed to mimic what happens in the real world... how it actually does what it does has little to do with reality. (In the tech world of MIDI Sustain Function is called “Hold 1”... it basically takes the place of you physically holding the keys) There are no dampers, no vibrating strings, no felt, or any of that stuff.

Strings: violins/violas/cellos/contrabass do not have “Sustain pedals”; to make a string sound Sustain the envelopes are designed such that you must keep contact with the Keys (or holding that pedal)... and there’s the trouble.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MODX
  3. # 4
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
On the yamahamusicians forums there was a guy reporting similar issue. According to him, his sustain pedal type was incorrectly set to a half damper while his actual pedal was simple sustain only. Setting the pedal type to the correct one fixed the polyphony problem for him. Worth checking maybe?
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MODX
  3. # 5
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Well thanks everyone. Kalin: I was very excited to try your suggestion. But Alas, it was not the solution for me. Bad Mister: Thank you for the suggestions. I have tried the disabling the sustain on the pad and strings. But for the time being, I have made 2 performances. One with AP/Electric Piano/Pad and the other with AP/EP/Pad/Strings. I will use the one when i play a song with runs and the other when im just doing milder things.
You all are great. I am very thankful for your help.
:)
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MODX
  3. # 6
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
You could have also taken AP/EP/Pad/Strings and assigned XA Control for all elements in "Strings" to A.SW1 on. Set A.SW1 to latching mode (not momentary). When you wanted strings, you'd press the A.SW1 switch to keep it brightly lit. This is when you're playing "milder things". When playing runs, you would press A.SW1 again to turn the LED to a dim mode (meaning A.SW1 off) and the strings would not consume any polyphony (ignore holding strings with piano keys down while pressing A.SW1). You may still prefer having two different Performances. There's nothing wrong with that. Just letting you know an option.

That "ignore holding" part above is just to keep the messaging technically correct. Strings will not sharply cut off when you turn off A.SW1 using XA control. If you have triggered strings before turning off the A.SW - the strings will continue to sound until you let go of the piano keys. Then, with A.SW1 off (in the above example), the next time you press a piano key - strings will not trigger. This is a feature and has practical applications.

Also - going back to the preset study - even though strings do not have sustain pedals, the "Full AP/EP/Pd/Str" preset does not have this "optimization" to turn off sustain for strings. Use of sustain is primarily useful (to me) for holding a bass note for a while in the strings but not particularly useful for the rest of the range. This is not that useful since sustain cannot be limited to a range of the keyboard within one PART. And likely if I was droning a bass note - I would be doing something in the middle/upper part of the keyboard where I would not want the strings to react to sustain. So, it's probably best to turn these performances into a user copy with sustain turned off the string PART. It's all case-by-case since there's no telling how anyone is going to utilize these presets - which are just starting points.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MODX
  3. # 7
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Jason: I really appreciate the help. I will experiment with the things you are suggesting. It's going to be a learning curve I can tell. But you all are awesome. Im glad there's an active user group.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MODX
  3. # 8
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
I would also consider using the scenes functionality and using this to have presets within your patches.

For example, If I'm unlikely to use all sounds at the same time, I will mute the ones I'm not using and save that patch to a scene. This is a way of bypassing those sounds you are not using so that they don't take up too much polyphony.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MODX
  3. # 9
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Hi hope all is well. I just got an MODX 6 and i was going through the sounds and realize that majority of the sounds aren’t working and for the piano sound I have to use the super knob to turn it up. Could I get some help on how to resolve this issue please?
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MODX
  3. # 10
Bad Mister
Yamaha
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Hi hope all is well. I just got an MODX 6 and i was going through the sounds and realize that majority of the sounds aren’t working and for the piano sound I have to use the super knob to turn it up. Could I get some help on how to resolve this issue please?
Sorry Krazii,
There’s simply not enough information about your setup. Please give any and all details that you can... how you’re setup, what your listening to, you can be specific. In fact, the more specific you are in describing what you’re doing, the more likely you’ll get a helpful reply.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MODX
  3. # 11
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
@Krazii

Details would help - but if you would prefer some Piano preset to have the superknob at a different position - and that different superknob position works better for you - then:

1) Recall the piano you want to work with
2) Set the sueper knob to your favorite position
3) Press [STORE] to store your Performance and give it a name that makes sense to you.

Now you can recall the Performance you just stored unto the User bank instead of using the Preset. The new user Performance will have your Super Knob set to how you like it by default.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MODX
  3. # 12
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Hey Jason,

So it’s a case where, for example, I select a sine lead from the synth lead category, it plays and drops some keys from time to time but if I should select another lead, I get no sound at all not even if I turn up the super knob. Majority of the categories eg., Keyboard, Synth/Pad, Strings etc. I’m not getting any sound from any of the categories listed. What could possibly be the problem?
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MODX
  3. # 13
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
@Krazii

Details would help - but if you would prefer some Piano preset to have the superknob at a different position - and that different superknob position works better for you - then:

1) Recall the piano you want to work with
2) Set the sueper knob to your favorite position
3) Press [STORE] to store your Performance and give it a name that makes sense to you.

Now you can recall the Performance you just stored unto the User bank instead of using the Preset. The new user Performance will have your Super Knob set to how you like it by default.





Hey Jason,

So it’s a case where, for example, I select a sine lead from the synth lead category, it plays and drops some keys from time to time but if I should select another lead, I get no sound at all not even if I turn up the super knob. Majority of the categories eg., Keyboard, Synth/Pad, Strings etc. I’m not getting any sound from any of the categories listed. What could possibly be the problem?
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MODX
  3. # 14
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
It wasn't evident that your initial post had any tie-in to polyphony - but your latest description is moving in the right direction.

You should detail how to construct your Performance that's problematic. What preset do you start with (some piano, I'm assuming)? What specific other Performances do you merge in? Detail which PART has which sounds.

Also detail which sounds need to be heard simultaneously and which are mutually exclusive. There's a difference between needing, for example, Piano+Strings at the same time or Piano always alone at some times then strings alone at other times.

If you choose "CFX + FM EP" as your piano, then rotating the Super Knob clockwise will change the piano to an FM-X electric piano. FM-X is a second engine (second to AWM2 - the sampling engine) which has its own pool of notes for polyphony. If you're running out of notes - this could explain why rotating Super Knob clockwise helps you hear the the piano. This doesn't necessarily help the problem - but could explain the "why" of what you're experiencing in terms of Super Knob helping.

Specific names of the sounds is important since some may be more taxing on polyphony than others. There may be a better way to manage the sounds you're trying to combine.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MODX
  3. # 15
Bad Mister
Yamaha
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
So it’s a case where, for example, I select a sine lead from the synth lead category, it plays and drops some keys from time to time but if I should select another lead, I get no sound at all not even if I turn up the super knob. Majority of the categories eg., Keyboard, Synth/Pad, Strings etc. I’m not getting any sound from any of the categories listed. What could possibly be the problem?
If the category of the sound does not match your selection, it is likely you are mistaken about the context. Sounds like it could be just a newbie, “I’m lost” issue.
But without a better description it’s very difficult to know what you might be missing.

If you truly think you’ve read the manual and this is just incorrect behavior, please contact the store where you purchased it, they may have enough experience with the instrument to point you in the right direction, or replace the instrument if it turns out to be a real problem and not just an “I’m lost” issue.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. MODX
  3. # 16
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