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New member here (referred here by BigCat) Smile

I was wondering if anyone could advise me please?

I've spent my life making pop-style music with cheap Yamaha keyboards (just for fun), but now I'm moving into the world of DAWs and virtual orchestration, hoping to produce more mature, orchestral music.

But there's one keyboard that will always have a special place in my heart: my Yamaha PSR-GX76, which I've owned for 16 years now. I'm so familiar with its 118 panel voices, and have made hundreds of songs with it.

Now that I'm using DAWs, I'd love to have access to those instruments on the computer. Not only would they provide a familiar, lightweight collection of sounds, for quickly throwing together a composition, but it would allow me to exactly recreate some of my "classic" songs on the computer! Smile (Familiar songs never quite sound the same when you change the instruments, do they?)

So, does anyone know of any way of getting the samples from my keyboard to computer?

The ideal option would be if someone had already extracted the samples from the instrument's ROM and made a soundfont. (I'd settle for any similar Yamaha keyboard, such as the nearly-identical PSR-280/282.)

The more realistic option, I guess, would be for me to record all the sounds myself. Trouble is I wouldn't have a clue how to go about doing that - I don't even know how many velocity levels it has, or which notes are the original samples, and which have been modulated.

(By the way, are there any technical terms that describe where the sampled notes fall, or the number of notes between each sample?)

Any advice would be appreciated!
There are many benefits to having a sampled version of your keyboard and being able to work in the MIDI realm, but have you considered simply plugging your keyboard into the sound card on your computer? Your DAW should then be able to directly record whatever keyboard sound you choose. This would effectively use your DAW as a digital multi track "tape" recorder.

This is also the method I would use if I were to sample a keyboard's sounds for later playback using MIDI.
From what I can tell the PSR-GX76 has midi, so there is really no reason to sample anything; provided that you have an audio interface with midi ports and spare channels to hook the keyboard up (i.e. the audio output), you can happily continue using it together with virtual instruments and samples.
Thanks for the replies, guys! Smile

The idea of hooking up my keyboard to the computer never occurred to me. It's not something I know much about, but I guess I could figure it out. (I'd need to get myself a sound card, too.)

I guess one welcome advantage would be speed: there'd be no loading delay for the samples. (Having spent my life being able to flick through instruments instantly on keyboards, the loading delay of VSTis really irritates me as it kind of "kills" the creative process.)

But as far as I can see, there are a few downsides to the idea of hooking up my keyboard to the computer:

1. For me, the main downside would be control. I'm new to VSTis but have already taken an instant disliking to them because of the lack of fine control (you can't change the decay rate, portamento, vibrato, tremolo, etc). Therefore I've been rendering all my VSTis to samples so that I have full control over the instruments. But I can't do that with a keyboard hooked up to the computer.

2. Another big downside would be that I'd have to have my keyboard constantly sat next to my computer all the time, which seems a bit inelegant and cluttered. Especially since I'd then have 2 keyboards plugged into my computer (the other being my MIDI controller). Personally, I like to keep things as "light" as possible and I'm not a big fan of having hardware and cables everywhere, if possible.

3. I'm a very organised person, and feel slightly frustrated by the idea of not being able to organise the instruments alongside my others so that everything is together in one place. DAW permitting, I like to have, say, all my glockenspiels together in one place. That just seems logical to me.

4. It would also mean that I'm dependent on a piece of hardware to edit my music. If the keyboard broke, and I couldn't find a replacement, suddenly, none of the tracks will play and I'm left looking to replace all the instruments.

5. Also, no one else could open or edit my files, if I wanted to share them. (Not something I'm planning to do. But the idea that it's not a "portable" file bugs me a little.)

6. Speaking of portable, if I found myself, staying abroad without access to my keyboard, then I couldn't edit the music. Again, not a big deal. Not planning to do that.

7. Also, I presume I would be limited by the polyphony of my keyboard? (Again, not a big deal I guess, as I doubt I'd be using many instruments at once.)

In summary, the idea of everything being samples seems much more appealing to me. But I'm not completely against the idea, and may get a sound card and try it. Maybe most of my hang-ups are purely psychological! I don't know. Smile
(03-21-2018, 07:37 PM)Lee B. James Wrote: [ -> ]But I can't do that with a keyboard hooked up to the computer.

Actually you probably can, most midi keyboards respond to midi CC events (including all sorts of stuff like pitch bending, modulation, panning, sustain pedal, attack, etc.). You can automate midi CC events with any decent DAW.

(03-21-2018, 07:37 PM)Lee B. James Wrote: [ -> ]7. Also, I presume I would be limited by the polyphony of my keyboard? (Again, not a big deal I guess, as I doubt I'd be using many instruments at once.)

Yes, although I'm going to guess that your keyboard has plenty of polyphony, and even if you do hit the limit, you could set it up such that you are able to record the audio of one midi track at a time.

I'll also suggest that you are possibly too attached to the sound of the Yamaha keyboard; you might try composing without it for a while and see how well you can cope with that. I still remember when my first midi keyboard stopped working after about a decade of use, I really missed some of its sounds for quite a while, but after a while I got over it, and eventually I found that I was much happier not relying on the sounds of a specific synthesizer.

If you really must sample the keyboard, I can suggest temporarily attaching it to your computer. In a DAW, sequence all of the notes that you want to capture, including variations like different velocities if it indeed makes different sounds for such. If different velocities only result in corresponding volume levels, you can probably get away with a single velocity layer. Wire up the audio line out from the keyboard back into your computer through an interface or sound card. Set up an audio track in your DAW to record the audio, and play through the midi track while recording the audio track. Then you'll have a single audio file with all of the samples, which you can slice up and transform into some kind collection of SFZs or something.
Thanks, Michael. That's great advice! Smile
Just a thought, if you are using Kontakt, you can do a lot of tweaking of vibrato, legato, ADSR and the like using the WIPs scripts. Konrakt is very tweakable.

You can use this shell if you like and toss samples into it. I can double check it but I think it is fairly functional. Really should do c-pad.
http://bigcatinstruments.blogspot.com/20...b-pad.html
(03-21-2018, 07:37 PM)Lee B. James Wrote: [ -> ]1. ... I've been rendering all my VSTis to samples so that I have full control over the instruments. But I can't do that with a keyboard hooked up to the computer.

Connect the audio output from keyboard to the audio input of the sound card. Connect the MIDI output of the computer to the MIDI input of the keyboard. I'm assuming you'll set up a MIDI sequence in your DAW to play notes at a pre-chosen volume to ensure you get the exact volume and desired duration of each note from your keyboard.

Configure a track in your DAW to record audio, press record, begin playback of the MIDI track. I think that should work.

[edit]: Oops. I see Michael already explained the same thing. 

(03-21-2018, 07:37 PM)Lee B. James Wrote: [ -> ]may get a sound card and try it.

Do you not have speakers plugged into your computer through a sound card already? I figure if you're using a DAW you must already have a sound card to provide an audio output to your speakers. No?
(03-21-2018, 07:37 PM)Lee B. James Wrote: [ -> ]1. For me, the main downside would be control. I'm new to VSTis but have already taken an instant disliking to them because of the lack of fine control (you can't change the decay rate, portamento, vibrato, tremolo, etc). Therefore I've been rendering all my VSTis to samples so that I have full control over the instruments. But I can't do that with a keyboard hooked up to the computer.

I'm not sure I follow. How do you get more control by sampling your keyboard? Doesn't it allow you to change attack, decay, portamento etc?

(03-21-2018, 07:37 PM)Lee B. James Wrote: [ -> ]7. Also, I presume I would be limited by the polyphony of my keyboard? (Again, not a big deal I guess, as I doubt I'd be using many instruments at once.)

Well yes, but aren't you already if you've been using it for such a long time? Any other instruments you add to the mix will not be affected by its polyphony though.

As stated above, connecting the PSR to your computer via midi and audio will allow you to access its sounds just like in the past, though you will be controlling it from within the DAW rather than through the keyboard's built-in sequencing and editing functions. Your DAW pipes midi notes and data out to the PSR, and the PSR outputs the audio right back into your DAW. Same as any VSTi, though the note generation happens in an outboard unit rather than in software. A lot of people still do it this way, it's a nice and convenient way to combine hardware synths with modern software-based instruments and effects.

Also, sampling all your VSTi's sounds extremely clunky... what if a VSTi has 500 presets? You sample each and every one of them? Makes me wonder what virtual instruments you've been using if none of them has basic controls like ADSR etc Wink
If you want a commercial solution, I'd tepidly recommend 'Samplit'. I've used the software before to sample an old Technics keyboard that weighed about 16 pounds so I wouldn't have to carry the darned thing or find a study enough stand to put it on. Overall, the results weren't bad at all, although it took a fair bit of editing and it doesn't export to more modern formats like sfz or recent Kontakt, instead SF2, some old version of Kontakt (Kontakt 2, I think?) and a few other relatively old/uncommon ones.

You can way over-sample it if you want, though honestly, I'd sample the loudest layer then just use a filter to simulate the lower stuff, as no doubt that's how this sampler works if it has dynamics. Regarding pitches, it's your call- you can even do a chromatic sampling if you want it to sound/behave identically (including any repitching artifacts or non-standard tunings).

Note that re-sampling any commercial VST is pretty much always a violation of the user agreement, but so long as you use it by yourself and don't share it, there shouldn't be any issues.

Just to cover things a bit more thoroughly, if it helps-
Regarding sound cards, it may be that you are currently using your onboard sound on your computer (i.e. the jacks on the back sticking out of the motherboard). Most folks doing audio editing or recording use some sort of external sound card or 'Audio Interface' nowadays, typically one which connects via USB (a common example is the Focusrite Scarlett 2i4, but there are dozens of models out there ranging from $100 all the way up to $5,000+). These interfaces can utilize ASIO, a protocol for drivers which lets the sound card communicate with the computer much faster than the typical DirectSound, MME, and WSAPI protocols that are used by consumer and onboard sound cards. The result is roundtrip latencies as low as 5-10 ms, rather than the typical 100+ ms onboard sound cards do, which makes playing virtual instruments live much, much easier since they will respond much faster to your commands.

In addition, these audio interfaces typically have a MIDI input and output port- MIDI being the language that synthesizers, samplers, and computers communicate with each other, and how the performance data is saved on your keyboard as well as your computer. These ports use a 5-pin DIN connector to send that data. All you have to do is run a MIDI cable from the audio interface's MIDI OUT to the MIDI IN of your keyboard. This allows you to directly control any outboard gear (keyboards, rackmount synths and samplers, even some hardware effects) from your computer in your DAW- and that is how you can tell your keyboard what to do from your computer. Vice versa, if you run an (additional) MIDI cable from the keyboard's MIDI OUT to the audio interface's MIDI IN, you can use your keyboard to generate MIDI data in your DAW.

Last but not least, these interfaces typically include [analog] audio inputs and preamplifiers, which allow you to send any [analog] audio signal into the interface, which then converts it into digital sound which your DAW can then record to your hard drive. This is how all modern recording works, including sampling. The magic 'it all comes together'- if you send MIDI data to your keyboard, it will generate an audio signal, which if you send that from the keyboard to the audio interface, it can be recorded in your DAW. Imagine creating a MIDI sequence in your DAW where every note is played, held for 5 seconds, let go for 2, then the next, on and on- that would give you a bunch of samples. These can then be cut and named as individual files, then loaded into your sampler of choice.

Software such as Samplit automates that process by automatically sending the MIDI data to your device, and then automatically recording, cutting, and mapping the audio signals it receives back. With MIDI, it can trigger the keyboard much more accurately than the player, and the prepared result can then be exported and imported into different samplers or editors to refine the dynamics, pitches, etc. The resulting files can even be batch adjusted, such as equalizing the loudness of the notes or applying an EQ or reverb you want 'baked' in. While it requires a bit of a learning curve to use if you haven't done much recording/sampling before, it's quite easy to use. It can even automatically sample VST's if you are into that kind of thing.
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