Sometimes choosing which physical controller is the right one for the job can be tricky… Here we discuss some of the pitfalls and considerations.
“OK, so if I understand correctly, the controller assignments of the individual Voices are retained in Performance mode, as well as the Insert Fx for each Voice.”
Yes, for the most part. Voice mode is the basic, fundamental playable entity on the Motif XS. If the MW is assigned to control Rotary Speaker Speed Control, when an Organ sound is in VOICE mode, that will be true when you place that Voice in a PERFORMANCE or you use it in a SONG or PATTERN.
If the MW is assigned to vary Pitch Modulation Depth on a Brass sound, and you layer the Brass sound with that aforementioned Organ sound, moving the wheel will do Rotary Speaker Speed on the Organ and PMD on the Brass.
”1. So that means that, for example, the MW, assigned to different things to different Voices, will do different things for each Voice in Perf mode?”
“2. What are all the different controller assignments for? Frustration here! In fooling around with it, it works for some things (like Expression Controller) and then not for others. I just assigned FC1 to cc #073 and it does nothing.”
Spoken like a true piano player. This is not a bad thing, but all the controller numbers and assignments are to help keyboard players emulate other instruments. Picking the right controller for the right function is very important in allowing the rather clumsy set of ON/OFF switches we call a keyboard to do things that are articulated with bows, or mouthpieces, or picks, or sticks, or mallets, etc.
Getting a handle on the MIDI Control Change numbers, what they do and when to use them can be tricky. Some have a dedicated and very specific use. Others do not and you must select what you want them to do. Assigning cc073 to a Foot Controller would be a poor choice of assignment… for several reasons. (mostly because a dedicated control is already assigned).
Some Controllers (called “sources") go from minimum/maximum (Foot Controllers, the Mod Wheel, Control Sliders, etc), while others go above/below a center point (Knobs, Ribbon, Pitch Bend Wheel, etc).
Also some Parameters (called “destinations") go from 0-127 and other go above and below 0 (-64 ~ 0 ~ +63) or (-127 ~ 0 ~ +127) or (-8192 ~ 0000 ~ +8191)
(it is logical to match a source that is minimum/maximum with a destination that is 0-127 and to match an above/below source with a destination parameter that works the same way).
If a parameter (destination) is assigned to be controlled by two controllers (sources), you have to be prepared for either an argument, or that they may not work as expected… But there is a way round this.
By assigning a Foot Controller to cc073 (AEG ATTACK) (a POOR choice) - a controller number with a definite dedicated task… and one, by the way, with a dedicated Knob already assigned - You will find that the Foot Controller does nothing. This is a poor choice of controller for this task. ATTACK Time is a parameter that is an OFFSET parameter. This means you are adding or subtracting to the Voice’s Amplitude Envelope Generators ATTACK time (as stored in the VOICE).
The KNOB (ATTACK) is normal at 12 o’clock. As you turn it clockwise you slow the attack. If the Voice has an immediate attack the values counterclockwise from 12 seemingly do nothing. However, if the VOICE’s Elements have their AEG so that attack time is extremely long, the counterclockwise turn from 12 subtracts values and makes the attack quicker.
Clearly this is a parameter that is 0 when normal but can be negative or positive. It depends, because all it does is offset the original envelope setting. That 0 does not always mean immediate attack. 0 (or the 12 o’clock position) simply means the “stored” attack time.
The following parameters are universal dedicated and almost every MIDI module in the world will respond to them in a similar fashion via MIDI:
005 Portamento Time*
007 Channel Volume
065 Portamento Switch*
071 Harmonic Content (Emphasis/Resonance)
072 Release Time
073 Attack Time
074 Filter Cutoff (Brightness)
075 Decay Time
091 Effect 1 Reverb Send
093 Effect 3 Chorus Send
If the XS receives these commands via MIDI it will respond. So you do not want or need to assign another controller to these functions - not with a MIDI dedicated control number. If you want to assign another phsycial controller to control these already assigned functions, then you must choice a general controller (one that does not have an assigned function) to do the job and address the parameter internally via the Control Set.
001 Mod Wheel
002 Breath Control
004 Foot Control
016 General Purpose 1
017 General Purpose 2
022 Ribbon etc.
Not all functions that take place in the XS are via the universal/dedicated MIDI messages. What if you want to control Element 7 separately from the rest? How do you control its Volume? What if you want to change the ATTACK time of only Elements 1, 2, 3 and 4, while leaving Elements 5, 6, 7, and 8 alone? or in opposite directions. Dedicated Control Change numbers are not sufficient.
On the Controller Setup screen you can assign physical controllers to a list of destinations and you have a grid that allows you to specify which of the 8 Elements will be affected… *
* if the destination is an ELEMENT parameter. Sometimes you do not have a choice as the destination parameter is not element specific (in this case the checks are grayed out)
You use a non-dedicated CONTROL CHANGE number (like cc016, the default for the AS1 knob or cc004 Foot Control) and internally direct it to “AEG-Attack” found on the list of destination parameters - this avoids the argument/conflict of two physical controllers, being assigned the same dedicated fixed purpose control number.
Hope that helps.