The eight Control Sliders (CS) will send System Exclusive messages in VOICE mode to control the individual Element Levels. They will send System Exclusive messages in PERFORMANCE mode to control individual Part Volumes. They will send Control Change message (cc007) for Channel Volume in SONG and PATTERN modes. And they are assignable when the Motif XS is in MASTER mode.
System Exclusive is a term that refers to a type of MIDI message that can address specific parameters within a product. Each manufacturer that builds MIDI products has their own identification code and can address parameters within their own products. MIDI has many common messages that are shared by all devices, as is the case with the Control Change message for channel volume. But the System Exclusive messages that address the Voice mode Elements and the Performance mode Parts are exclusive to Yamaha and actually are exclusive to the Motif XS.
The Modulation Wheel (MW) and the Pitch Bend Wheel are located in the normal location at the left end of the keyboard. Below the wheels is the Ribbon Controller.
The Modulation Wheel is a standard MIDI controller that will send the command cc001 (Control Change message 001). Although it is typically associated with Pitch Modulation Depth (a fancy way to say the musical term, vibrato) it is an assignable function controller. This means it will always send the command 001 but what that command does to the receiving sound is programmable. In order for cc001 to be Pitch Modulation Depth (vibrato) this must be assigned within the VOICE itself. In many cases you may decide to reassign the function of the MW because not all musical instruments can even do vibrato. For example, a piano does not have a vibrato function… in such an instance you might opt to use the wheel for an entirely different function. On Organ sounds, like a Hammond B3, the Modulation Wheel is often assigned to control the switch between the slow rotary speaker speed and the fast rotary speaker speed. The Mod Wheel is a non-spring loaded wheel that sends values for cc001 from 000 when all the way down toward you, and sends through to 127 when fully raised. Being non-spring loaded means it can be used as a mix control… where you might fade out one sound and fade in another, or it can be used to set a value during a performance and have it remain at that value.
The Pitch Bend Wheel like the MW sends a specific command. But it is a spring-loaded, self-centering device that will return to a neutral value when you let go. It therefore can be raised or lowered and because it has its own category of MIDI message (pitch bender) it will always send this command. Again, like the MW the receiving device will determine what happens… oh, it will pitch bend but ‘how far’ is programmable. In fact, receiving devices can be set to change from a small amount to several octaves, depending on the setting. Typically, the Pitch Bend wheel sends 16,384 units of change: 8191 values up and 8192 values down and, of course, 0000 at rest. As was the case with the MW, many musical instruments, the piano being one, do not require pitch benders, so you may again, opt to do something different with this controller. By setting the Voice so that it does not respond to PB commands, you can then program the PB Wheel to another function. Since it returns to center (neutral) automatically you can choose a parameter that would take advantage of this fact… for example, Pan position. You could have a sound move to the right when moved the wheel up and to the left when you moved the wheel down and you could have it return to center when you let go.
The Ribbon Controller is different from the Modulation Wheel and the Pitch Bend Wheel as it does not have a fixed command that it sends. You can choose any MIDI Control Change number and assign it to the Ribbon Controller. However, by default, the Ribbon Controller will send cc022. Why did Yamaha choose cc022? Because it does not have a fixed controller purpose and can be set to change almost anything that is an assignable function. What you need to know about the Ribbon Controller (RB) is that Minimum (negative) values are sent when you touch it on the left. As you move your finger toward the center you approach the neutral point and as you move to the right of center (positive) you move toward maximum values. On a per program basis the Ribbon Control can be set to “RESET” (return to the neutral position) or to “HOLD” (remain at the last touched position). So you can think of it as like the PB Wheel in that it is negative through neutral towards positive, and yet is like the MW in that it can remain at the last set value. So while it would wise to pick functions that go positive and negative for the PB wheel, and to choose functions that go minimum to maximum for the MW, you can do either with the RB controller. This is because you can choose either RESET or HOLD on a per program basis.
The DAW REMOTE ON/OFF button lets you control sequencer software on your computer. It transforms the entire front panel of the instrument so that the functions can interact with software. Many software companies allow their software to be addressed in this manner so that the parameter show up in the screen (making it very easy and intuitive to work with). Software like Steinberg’s Cubase and Nuendo, Cakewalk’s Sonar, Apple’s Logic, MOTU’s Digital Performer can be directly addressed by your Motif XS with a great deal of direct control over the external sequencer. (Some other software products only allows volume and pan control options – so no special mode is required). Since each of these is likely to have different layouts we will just say here that if you are using an external sequencer you will want to configure your MIDI setup so that the XS communicates with your software. Typically this is done on a separate MIDI PORT. When the REMOTE function is ON, the front panel is a control surface, when the REMOTE function is OFF, the front panel is used to control the XS in a normal fashion.
The ARPEGGIO ON/OFF button may at first seem self-explanatory (and mostly it is) however it is only the first step in configuring the Motif XS to play an arpeggio. Also required is that either the XS will be generating clock or it must be receiving clock from an external source for the arpeggio to run. And a Voice or PART(s) (if in Performance or a Sequencer mode) must be set to respond to the ARP being ON. For example, turning the ARP ON/OFF button ON (LED illuminates) does not always mean an arpeggio will happen. If it does not then either the Clock function is not correct or the program itself has nothing assigned to respond to the command. So when setting up for using the arpeggio what you will need to know is that it is at least a two step process. And since the Motif XS can have as many as four simultaneous arpeggios active at one time this becomes very important to understand. Each Program (Voice mode, Performance Mode, Song/Pattern Mixing Mode) can have as many as 5 different arpeggio sets associated with it. Using the Sub Function buttons [SF1] – [SF5] you will be able to dynamically change between active arpeggios. This can be done in either “real time” (immediately) or at the top of the next “measure”.
The EFFECT BYPASS buttons are not only useful but programmable. You have one to bypass (defeat) the Insertion Effects and one for the System Effects. Although effects like reverb are very necessary when recording, you may find that effects like Reverb can be redundant in some live situations. If you are playing in a club with lots of natural reverberation you may opt to bypass the System Effects. At any rate you are given separate buttons and the option of deciding just what gets bypassed for each. Perhaps when you hit the SYSTEM EFFECT BYPASS you only want the Reverb defeated and not the Chorus, you can program that… very useful.
The MASTER EFFECT ON/OFF button activates and deactivates the Master Effect, which is applied to the overall signal. Pressing and holding the [MASTER EFFECT] button for 2 seconds takes you directly to the screen where you can edit this overall effect.
The OCT UP/OCT DOWN buttons are fairly self-explanatory. Pressing both together will return the keyboard to normal. The current OCT setting will be indicated in the main screen on the top line at the right side.