|How can I get the correct patch names to display in the Track View?
MIDI Maestro uses a database to associate patch names with patch and bank numbers. Once you've added your synthesizers to the database, you then may use the Setup/MIDI ports command to associate synthesizers with the ports or devices that you'll be using. Once you've done that, the patch chooser controls on the Track Properties window will contain the correct patch name choices for your synthesizers.
Use the "Setup/Synth Patch Names" command to open the Computer synthesizer patch name database window:
How do I add my synthesizer to the list?
To add a midi synthesizer to the virtual synthesizer list, click the "Import Synth" button. A list of nearly 300 music synthesizer definition files that were installed with MIDI Maestro will be displayed. Locate the file that corresponds to your synthesizer, click on it, then click the "Open" button. If your specific sound synthesizer is not listed, you may choose one that is similar, and then make changes to the database as necessary.
To remove a synthesizer from the list, click on the name of the synthesizer that you wish to remove, and then click on the "Remove Synth" button or press the Del key on your keyboard.
The "Export Synth" button exists to create a synthesizer definition file from the information contained within the Synthesizer Database. You may wish to use this after you have customized a previously imported definition file.
When you add or edit a synthesizer, you'll see a window like this one:
Here you can not only customize the synthesizer's name, but you can also customize the way in which MIDI Maestro interacts with the device. You can specify the desired "bank select" behavior, the default patch numbering scheme, as well as the behavior for the Adjust/Reset command (F10 is the shortcut key).
What do the "bank select" options mean?
When a synthesizer supports more than 128 patches, it uses "bank" numbers to support additional patches. There are two MIDI controller events used for bank selection, CC0 and CC32. All synthesizers that support bank selection use CC0, and most use CC32 as well. This leads to some confusion when numbering banks.
In some synthesizer literature, "bank 2" refers to CC0=2 (and CC32 is not used). In others, "bank 512" refers to CC0=2 and CC32=0. To keep your brain from melting, whenever a bank number is shown in MIDI Maestro, it will be shown in X (Y/Z) format, where Y is the CC0 value, and Z is the CC32 value. X is equal to Y*128+Z. Wherever you may enter a bank number, you may also enter a single number (that will be automatically divided and split between the two controllers), or you may enter a number in Y/Z format.
You may choose either "CC0 and CC32 (normal MMA mode)" or "CC0 only" as the bank selection method for the synthesizer. The only difference here is that in "CC0 only" mode, a value is not sent to CC32. Numbers throughout MIDI Maestro will continue to be shown in full X (Y/Z) format.
Why is there an option to number patches in another way?
There appears to be absolutely no standard in the way patches are numbered. For some synthesizers, the numbers 0-127 are used. For others, the numbers shown in the literature are 1-128 (although the actual number transmitted to the device is one less than that!).
MIDI Maestro supports both formats so that the numbers you see in the track view, synthesizer database, and elsewhere will correspond to the numbers that you see in your synthesizer's manual.
Why are there so many ways to "reset" a synthesizer?
Again, there really is no standard. For the reset options, GM is General MIDI, GS is a Roland MIDI extension, and XG is a Yamaha MIDI extension. WARNING: when you use these, be aware that they may cause your synthesizer to enter special GM, GS, or XG modes, removing access to any patches and features not included in those modes. Your device may behave more predictably with other forms of reset, such as controller 120 and/or 121 (which silence all notes and reset all CCs). See your synthesizer's documentation for details or suggestions specific to your device. There's also an option to force MIDI Maestro to do a "manual reset" of only those controllers which have been used. Finally, you also may specify any custom Sysex (system exclusive) message that your device requires.
How do I edit the database?
The Synthesizer Database is presented as a "tree" list. Branches of the tree may be "expanded" by clicking on the "+" symbols. Branches may be "collapsed" by clicking on the "-" symbols. When you expanded a synthesizer, you will see that there are two four branches beneath the synthesizer: Patches, Drumsets, Controllers, and NRPN. Beneath "Patches" are "Banks." Banks are collections of patches. Because patch numbers may only be a number 1-128 (or 0-127!), synthesizers that support more than 128 sounds must divide these sounds into groups of 128, each group referred to as a bank. Sometimes the banks have meaningful names to assist you with organizing your patches; other times they have such prosaic labels as "variation 1."
Beneath "Drumsets" is the list of all valid "bank/patch" number combinations for drum tracks. If you expand a drumset, you will reveal a list of that drumset's notes or "key names." Each note or key on the keyboard may produce a different sound depending on the drumset that's in use.
As you click on the various branches of the Synthesizer Database tree, you will notice that the two buttons that once read "Import Synth" and "Remove Synth" will change function to allow you to insert and remove banks, patches, drumsets, and drumset notes. You may also use the Ins and Del keys on your keyboard to achieve the same effect. To edit an existing entry in the tree, either use your mouse's right button with the pointer over the entry, or highlight the entry and press Alt+Enter on your keyboard.
Patches and notes must fall into the range 1-128. Bank numbers must fall into the range 0-16383 (0/0 - 127/127). If your synthesizer uses only the "most significant" bank component (CC0), you will see banks numbered as 128 (1/0), 256 (2/0), 384 (3/0), 512 (4/0), etc. Check your synthesizer documentation if you are making changes to these values or adding new bank definitions.
Here's what you'll see when you edit a patch name:
Here you may change the number, name, or category for the patch. The Category pull-down will be populated with all category names that you have used for the synthesizer. You may choose one of these existing categories, or enter a new one.
How do patch categories work?
Many manufacturers name their patches in such a way that an alphabetical listing is not always the best way to find what you're looking for. If you assign categories to each of your patches, it will be easier to find similar patches on the Track Properties window.
HINT: If open a synthesizer definition file in a text editor, you will see that it's basically a list of numbers and names. If a second name is placed in brackets such as "[PIANO]" following a patch name, that text will be used as the patch's category when the file is imported.
How about drum patches and notes?
When you expand a drum patch, you will see note numbers and names in the tree:
Notice that the heading for the drum patch has both a bank number in X (Y/Z) format and a patch number, shown after the abbreviation PC (patch change). When you edit a drum patch or note name, the edit box appears with an extra button "Note schema...":
A variation of standard musical notation is often employed for non-melodic instruments. For example, percussionists may be accustomed to the common convention of having bass drum notes written as oval notes on the treble-clef F line, snare drum notes written as ovals on the C line, and cymbals written as X notes above the staff. This mapping of notes to notation symbols is called a display schema.
When new synthesizers or drumsets are added to the database, a ¡°default¡± schema is set. This schema contains notation mappings for only the most common general MIDI percussion notes. You may wish to customize or augment this default schema¡ªmany synthesizer drum kits are loosely based upon the general MIDI drumset, but often offer much more.
Edit a drum patch or a note and click "Note schema..." to view or edit the schema for the drum patch:
As you scroll through the drumset notes list, a preview is generated to demonstrate how each the note will appear in the Staff View. When a note is highlighted, you may use the controls to change any of its properties, which are as follows:
||Specifies the shape of the note head. You may choose from oval (the standard notation), diamond, square, triangle, and X. All note heads have filled and un-filled versions to represent note values both less than and greater than the half note with the exception of the X¡ªwhen the X is used, half notes and longer and shown as diamonds.|
||Specifies the location of the note head on the staff. An offset of ¡°0¡± will place the note on the centerline. Positive numbers move the note head up, and negative numbers move the note head down.|
||You specify whether or note a circle will be drawn around the note head.|
||These are a collection of additional markings that may be added to note heads for additional emphasis.|
Two option buttons also appear:
||You specify any other synthesizer and drumset combination, and the percussion display schema will be copied from there to here¡ªno need to do the same work twice, right?|
||Set to GM defaults
||Reverts everything back to ¡°factory¡± General MIDI settings¡ªfor when you simply want to start over!|