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  1. Matt
  2. Synth 101
  3. Sunday, 26 April 2020
Hi folks, i'm a total novice at this electronic music lark but I have acquired some bits and have a specific goal in mind that I'm struggling to achieve. Excuse my ignorance of even the basic terminology.

I have a WX7 wind controller, a VL70-m 'tone generator' (presumably that's the synth), and a DAW (Reaper) installed on my PC. The Wx7 has a midi OUT, the VL70-m has midi IN, OUT and THRU, and also L/R audio outs (or ins) and the PC has midi IN and OUT as well as usual audio inputs.

My goal is simply to play the WX7, as the instrument i choose in the tone generator, along with/over the top of music files I have on the PC, in MIDI or mp3 format, with the mixed audio coming from the PC.

If anyone could tell me how to connect the bits in order to achieve that I'd be most grateful!

Regards,
Matt
Responses (4)
Bad Mister
Yamaha
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
You can connect the WX7 Wind MIDI Controller to the VL70-m using either the multi-pin MIDI/DC cable that came with the WX7 to the “WX In” on the front panel or via a standard 5-pin MIDI cable to the 5-pin MIDI In port on the back panel.
The MIDI Out from the WX7 connects to the MIDI In of the VL70-m. This sufficient to use the WX7 to play the VL70-m.

Next you need to connect to the computer for MIDI (and Audio, if you plan on recording audio)

You will need an additional piece of gear that will allow you to connect the VL70-m to the computer.
You say “the PC has midi IN and OUT as well as usual audio inputs.“ ? ? ?
Really? We doubt it... What type of computer is it. If it does you need nothing else connect the 1/4” L/R Outputs of the VL70-m to the audio inputs on the computer, and connect the MIDI Out of the VL70-m to the MIDI In on the computer, connect the MIDI Out of the computer to the MIDI In on the VL70-m.

In some other reality it would be that simple... but what I think you will discover is that your PC has neither the proper type of MIDI In/Out, nor does it have Audio In/Out capable of handling what you are trying to do with the VL70-m.

Here’s why...
Computers can do music recording (both MIDI and Audio) but only if you add some additional gear. The additional gear will be able to translate the type of MIDI and Audio signals coming from your legacy gear into something you can actually use.

The WX7 is from 1987, the VL70-m is from 1996 (and while back in those days you might have actually found a PC with 5-pin MIDI In/Out ports to connect to, you’d be hard pressed to find such a computer now). Today computers typically have USB Ports which can accept MIDI information. Both of your Yamaha devices predate USB-MIDI (and USB, as a protocol, period).

You’ll need a MIDI-to-USB converter, or an external Audio Interface (one that includes a MIDI interface, as well). The Audio Interface is probably going to be the recommended pathway because it can take care of translating both MIDI and Audio so your computer understands the signals. And it will also solve the issue of feeding the audio coming from the computer to your external sound system

BTW - Your computer speakers are not going to be used in your setup. They, along with the input and output capabilities are usually insufficient for what you are attempting.

So before we outline exactly what else you’ll need to purchase, and how to hook it up, we need to know what you want to do: MIDI Recording (?) possibly Audio Recording (?), and we know you want to play along with some kind of backing tracks. Please let us know what type of computer you have and what you envision as your sound system.

Let us know.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. Synth 101
  3. # 1
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Hi Bad Mister,

First off, thank you so much for replying in such a comprehensive manner, I feel so much better already!

Here's the information you requested:

About my stuff: the PC is about 2 years old but has no midi connections like you say. I has a built in sound on the motherboard, a PL2483H AMD Hi_Definition Audio device, apparently. It has the standard in/out/speakers/sub/ mic 1/8 in jack connections on the back panel. I have ASIO4ALL installed. To enable MIDI connections I have a usb - midi adaptor made by Oibtech (https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07FQRR73B?ref_=pe_3187911_248764861_302_E_DDE_dt_1). I use a pair of Sony monitor headphones to listen

About me: well I used to play the sax 40 years ago, I thought I'd like learn to play again so I bought this WX7 with the intention of being able to :
a) play along with classic jazz tracks by the masters, which are in the form of MP3 files. In other words hear my own notes from the instrument I have chosen in the VL70m over the top of the band in my headphones
b) play along with midi backing tracks I have access to, in the form of midi files. I understand these can be manipulated in the DAW - slowed down, instrument parts removed, that kind of thing. Again, I'd like to hear my chosen instrument voice from the VL70-m added over the band, in my headphones.
c) sometime in the distant future I may want to record my efforts but its not a priority.

What I'm not after is a recording studio setup, I'm not interesting in producing my own sounds or compositions, just in play alongs really using the sounds of the VL70-m. I took a look at a DAW called FL studio 20 - scared the wililies out of me! never seen so many knobs, buttons, sliders and switches in all my life. At least Reaper (which I also have) has fewer controls!

I took a look at audio interfaces, and they seem much better than my usb/midi adaptor, but I'll wait and see if you have any recommendations before plunging in!

Thanks again,
Matt

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  1. more than a month ago
  2. Synth 101
  3. # 2
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
I figured it out - external audio interface was the missing bit. Now with an old focusrite Saffire 6 USB, all is well.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. Synth 101
  3. # 3
Bad Mister
Yamaha
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Yes, a proper audio interface will be better than an adapter particularly if you do lose the fear of getting software and venturing further into this (we already assume this will happen, it’s inevitable, it’s so much fun!)

I’m not familiar with the particular unit Saffire 6 (it’s a lot newer than than the WX7 and VL70-m and will help you bridge that time gap from 20th to 21st Centuries. :-). A quick look at the specs I see it is a USB 1.1 interface... you’ll need to check to find out if the software you eventually get can deal with that. (USB has been good about backward compatibility... but you’ll want to check on that).

But for your initial goal, you’re in good shape. The Saffire has both MIDI jacks to connect the VL70-m and a way to communicate audio.
WX7 MIDI OUT to the VL70-m MIDI IN; then VL70-m MIDI Out to the Saffire 6 MIDI IN, Saffire 6 USB to your computer. The computer will refer to the Saffire 6 for MIDI. In other words, when setting up don’t look for “WX7” or “VL70-m”, the computer will see ‘Saffire 6’ Midi In and Out.

The USB connection to the computer is a two-way, port connection (In and Out) and will allow you send MIDI data from the VL70-m into the computer. If you connect the 1/4” audio outputs of the VL70-m to the Saffire as “Inst” (Instrument) inputs, the Saffire will send the audio of the VL70-m into the computer and it be able to receive audio back from the computer software... all via the single USB connection.

Use the recommended Driver for the Saffire (check the Focusrite web site). The reason is the manufacturer knows their product better than a generic driver and since it has MIDI and Audio it’s simply wise to do so.
The Saffire 6 will connect to your speaker system or you can use Headphones... connected to the Saffire.

Word about Software...
All software that you don’t know or are unfamiliar with, looks complicated at first glance. And when you know it, it stops looking complicated and unfamiliar. Funny how that works, Every Time! Never buy anything simply because you can figure it out at first glance... you usually wind up outgrowing it in very short order. Expect to climb a learning curve. That is part of the fun... truly it is.

The biggest buyer’s regret is buying something that looks easy only to find out later it doesn’t really do what you need.
If you can figure it out completely before you know anything, it might be a good thing, but most often it’s because it doesn’t really do much.

Most of all, have fun! If you get stuck you can always come back here...

Extra Credit:
You are joining a fraternity of musicians who have found Wind MIDI Controllers a very rewarding experience. You‘ll want to bookmark the following website, as it’s a link to others who can help you with maintaining and getting the most out of your Yamaha WIND MIDI Controller... from a horn players perspective. Breath Control sounds programmed by keyboard players are usually not challenging enough for musicians who play (or who used to play actual) wind instruments. So you will want to appreciate this difference.

The site is run by a guy named Matt Traum... if you already know about, forgive me for preaching to the choir, but if you’re new to it, ... you're welcome!! (They’ll think a WX7 is a classic)...

http://www.patchmanmusic.com

Enjoy!
  1. more than a month ago
  2. Synth 101
  3. # 4
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