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Dawn's First Light - Printable Version

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Dawn's First Light - Mattias Westlund - 07-29-2022

I mentioned buying a Yamaha MX49 some five months ago. Since then I have only used it as a MIDI controller (which was of course the reason I got it), and I haven't really explored its synth capabilities much beyond loading up a few presets and going "OK, cool".

Last night though, I was looking through the manual and realized the sheer amount of patches this thing has. Like well over 1000 voices in all imaginable genres! So of course, I couldn't help but wonder... can you do orchestral stuff with this thing?

Turns out you can!

Dawn's First Light

Now obviously, all the typical disclaimers apply here. No... it doesn't hold a candle to even older sample libraries. No... it isn't really capable of the dynamics and expression we have come to expect from VO's. And no, you most definitely can not create a "proper" full-fledged arrangement with only 16 MIDI channels. [Edit: For example, even something as basic as Waters of Redemption still had 100+ channels.]

But despite all that, there's a variety of decent orchestral instruments hidden in that tiny 166MB ROM, and the MX49 has some really fantastic reverbs to boot. Working with such a limited setup is also strangely liberating and I think I might actually use this for roughing out orchestral ideas.


RE: Dawn's First Light - Paul Battersby - 07-30-2022

Very nice! You sure know how to get the most out of what you have to work with.


RE: Dawn's First Light - Nayrb - 08-05-2022

It has a really pleasantly nostalgic sound, in terms of the sounds themselves. I feel if I heard this in a game or something when I was younger, I'd be beside myself! I'd still listen to a project using only this, for sure.

It's probably very smart to have a sketchpad of some kind, actually. I've taken to dumping MIDI into the main template after loading up a few instruments in a "scratchpad" project where I can just jam and drop in whatever I want without worrying about routing, mixing, reverb levels, or anything. The big issue with larger templates is just info-overload. It's like having a cluttered workspace in real life. Only when you're really fired up and in the zone are you able to make sense of the 100+ tracks you have at your disposal. When you're just looking to come up with a good musical idea, those instruments are all potential starting points, which can have an adverse effect on creativity.


RE: Dawn's First Light - Mattias Westlund - 08-08-2022

(07-30-2022, 12:18 AM)Paul Battersby Wrote: Very nice! You sure know how to get the most out of what you have to work with.

Thanks Paul. Yeah, the challenge of making limited tools sound passable or even nice is definitely part of the fun for me Smile

(08-05-2022, 02:53 PM)Nayrb Wrote: It has a really pleasantly nostalgic sound, in terms of the sounds themselves. I feel if I heard this in a game or something when I was younger, I'd be beside myself! I'd still listen to a project using only this, for sure.

Thanks! The only major issue I have with the MX49's sounds is that they are maybe a little too rich and big-sounding for combining into an orchestra. I mean, I assume most of them are intended to be used in sparser arrangements, not all together at once. So there's a lot of mud that is hard to get rid of without exporting all 16 channels as stems and EQ'ing them after the fact. And being h/w you can't offline render, so that takes a lot of time. There is an insertable EQ in the synth, but you can't use it on all tracks, and I haven't managed to figure out how it works yet.

(08-05-2022, 02:53 PM)Nayrb Wrote: It's probably very smart to have a sketchpad of some kind, actually. I've taken to dumping MIDI into the main template after loading up a few instruments in a "scratchpad" project where I can just jam and drop in whatever I want without worrying about routing, mixing, reverb levels, or anything. The big issue with larger templates is just info-overload. It's like having a cluttered workspace in real life. Only when you're really fired up and in the zone are you able to make sense of the 100+ tracks you have at your disposal. When you're just looking to come up with a good musical idea, those instruments are all potential starting points, which can have an adverse effect on creativity.

That is actually very true. If you're making a painting, you don't just squirt out every thinkable hue of paint on the palette. You first make a sketch and then decide on the range of hues you will need. And it makes sense to do that in a musical scenario as well; I'm normally just too lazy to re-record or copy things between different projects But you're absolutely right that having all things available at once can be a distraction.


RE: Dawn's First Light - Nayrb - 08-09-2022

(08-08-2022, 02:15 PM)Mattias Westlund Wrote:
(08-05-2022, 02:53 PM)Nayrb Wrote: It's probably very smart to have a sketchpad of some kind, actually. I've taken to dumping MIDI into the main template after loading up a few instruments in a "scratchpad" project where I can just jam and drop in whatever I want without worrying about routing, mixing, reverb levels, or anything. The big issue with larger templates is just info-overload. It's like having a cluttered workspace in real life. Only when you're really fired up and in the zone are you able to make sense of the 100+ tracks you have at your disposal. When you're just looking to come up with a good musical idea, those instruments are all potential starting points, which can have an adverse effect on creativity.

That is actually very true. If you're making a painting, you don't just squirt out every thinkable hue of paint on the palette. You first make a sketch and then decide on the range of hues you will need. And it makes sense to do that in a musical scenario as well; I'm normally just too lazy to re-record or copy things between different projects But you're absolutely right that having all things available at once can be a distraction.

The other thing I have trouble with is that, for me, the project tends to take shape in whatever file I start it in, and dropping things in to another file doesn't always work out. This tends to work primarily for simple ideas like melodies and rhythms, before I start getting heavily into the automation and production side. I'm basically using one project file for the current "album" (or EP or whatever) so that I can get things set for use as a template later.


RE: Dawn's First Light - Samulis - 08-11-2022

I'm really impressed with the percussion in this; obviously it's dated, but surprisingly clear & crisp sounding compared to most cheap sample libraries (e.g. GPO or a lot of GM soundfonty things). Strings do have that sorta lowpassed sound (maybe they are only 16 kHz or something). Woodwinds are also decent, but they are of course hard to mess up.

My guess is that the sounds were licensed or sourced from something else; maybe a match could be find with some searching, perhaps from another product by Yamaha.

(nice composition by the way!)


RE: Dawn's First Light - Mattias Westlund - 08-11-2022

(08-11-2022, 02:58 AM)Samulis Wrote: My guess is that the sounds were licensed or sourced from something else; maybe a match could be find with some searching, perhaps from another product by Yamaha.

Oh, all the sounds are from Yamaha's high end Motif workstations according to the MX49 manual Smile The MX range is basically poor man's Motifs, lacking the deeper editing capabilities and other advanced features of their siblings.

(08-11-2022, 02:58 AM)Samulis Wrote: (nice composition by the way!)

Thanks!