I’m wondering if it’s possible to use the S90XS as a DAW remote and a MIDI controller keyboard simultaneously?
Yes, of course, it is.
The S90 XS/S70 XS has a built in DAW REMOTE mode. This requires you connect to the computer via USB. The synth becomes a DAW REMOTE controller for the DAW, and can address external devices, simultaneously. It is able to do this via USB, because it uses multiple “Ports“ to do the job.
A Port is the equivalent of a MIDI IN + a MIDI OUT. A Port contains 16 MIDI channels. There are five Ports. Each is used as required for the following functions:
__Port 1 is communication of MIDI Note-Ons, controllers, tempo, etc, for the S90 XS/S70 XS’s own tone generator system. 16 channels both In and Out.
__Port 2 is communication between the Knobs, buttons, and sliders of the S90 XS/S70 XS front panel and your compatible DAW software. The commands that are sent are kept discreet on their own Port and properly routed will not interfere with any thing else. When the [DAW REMOTE] button is activated they are re-tasked with controlling the software... transport, track selection, track arming, muting soloing, volume control, etc., etc.
__Port 3 is dedicated to communicating to any external module or synth tone engine you wish to control via MIDI. When MIDI I/O on the S90 XS/S70 XS is set to “USB”, the 5-pin MIDI jacks on the back panel act as a MIDI interface for an external device. The way this works is, when you play the keys of the S90 XS/S70 XS you set Local Control = Off. This disconnects the Keyboard from the ‘local’ Tone Generator, MIDI commands from the Keyboard travel Out via USB-MIDI to a track in the DAW. If you set the MIDI Track to receive Port 3, then playing on that external device will send data into the DAW, and if you set the MIDI Track’s Out to Port 3, the Track will trigger that external device. The data simply passes through the S90 XS without stopping... if you set the MIDI Track’s IN to receive Port 1 (the S90 XS/S70 XS) and the OUT to transmit on Port 3, You can trigger sounds of the external synth using the S-Series Keyboard.
__Port 4 is used by the “Yamaha S90 XS/S70 XS Editor Standalone/VST“. Changes made in the Editor are immediately manifest in the synth hardware, and vice versa, changes made on the hardware are immediately shown in the software.
__Port 5 is reserved for the “Yamaha S90 XS/S70 XS Remote Editor” — this is an Editor that allows you to re-task certain front panel buttons, knobs, and sliders to control various VSTi soft-synths remotely... These messages are customized so that when you wish to play a VSTi plug-in (which don’t have real knobs, sliders and buttons) you can control them as well. Again, it re-tasks the front panel to work with these plugins. And because Ports are two-way communication, the parameters you are interacting with will show in the S90 XS/S70 XS screen.
In the DAW, you determine *where* (to which tone generator) the signal goes. The DAW Track records the data and echoes it (also called Thru) to the device or devices you wish to trigger. This means if you set the MIDI Track’s MIDI OUT = Port 1 it will trigger the S90 XS/S70 XS Tone Generator; if you set it to Port 3 it will trigger whatever you have connected to the 5-pin MIDI OUT of the S90 XS/S70 XS.
And either keyboard can be used as a control keyboard. Say the external device is non-weighted Keys, and you would rather use that keybed to play the S90 XS Organ sounds... Set the MIDI Track’s IN to Port 3, and the OUT to Port 1.
Avoid the following:
If you route the Midi Track to Port 2, 4, or 5 — chaos will ensue. Because now you have now created a situation where pressing buttons, turning knobs, and playing keys will seemingly randomly open DAW windows and cause your DAW to behave erratically; touching panel buttons may even play Notes unexpectedly. In other words, the MIDI messages intended to control normal performing now are misdirected to the Remote Control layers... so you must prevent these messages from reaching Port 2, 4 or 5 - this is handled in your DAW setup. In general, only devices used to actually perform are used as inputs to MIDI Tracks.
In the Remote mode, you can use the sliders, knobs and buttons of this instrument to control the sequencer tracks and mixer channels of the DAW software on the computer. For example, you can start/stop playback of the DAW software on the computer by using the Function buttons and control the song position on the DAW software by using the Data Dial, instead of using the mouse or keyboard of the computer.
The DAW applications Cubase, Logic Pro, SONAR and Digital Performer can be controlled by the Remote mode of the S90 XS/S70 XS.
I love Yamaha sounds but I’d prefer to not lug a 30kg Montage 8 around if possible (as much as I love the Montage!). Ideally my new keyboard would have the following features:
• 88 keys with a better weighted action than GHS (something similar to the CP4 would be nice).
• A high quality selection of sounds across all categories – pianos, B3 organs, EP’s & Strings being most important but I need everything else too.
• A Favourites feature for quick access to frequently used voices and performances.
• 4-8 zones for splits & layers (8 is ideal but 4 is not a deal breaker)
• Sound not cutting off when I changes patches/performances
Am I dreaming if I think I’m going to get all this without buying the Montage 8? Would a CP4 and MainStage be something to consider?
I should follow this up by saying I purchased a Roland FA-08 a couple of years ago because I wanted something that was a bit lighter to lug around to gigs. It has some good features but overall it’s not as satisfying as I’d hoped so I’m looking for something else, hopefully a Yamaha.