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Viewing topic "Midi Notes vs Midi Events Sequencer Memory"

     
Posted on: March 16, 2017 @ 06:15 AM
lastmonk
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Excuse me in advance if this is a silly question.

The Motif XF Sequencer has the following midi note specifications:

Note Capacity: Approx. 130,000 notes
Note Resolution: 480 ppq (parts per quarter note)
Maximum Polyphony: 124 notes
Tempo (BPM): 5 – 300

What is the relationship between the 130,000 approx Midi notes and the number of Midi events that are stored?

Is there a one for one relationship with the approx 130,000 notes, so approx 130,000 midi notes == 130,000 midi events? Or Is the storage of midi events not related to the storage of midi notes?  Is it possible to fill up sequencer memory with midi control events?

For the purposes of sequencing do Midi events count as notes?  E.g
does moving mod wheel, or pitch bend, or pressing volume pedal, or sustain pedals count against the 130,000 approximation?

Also, with my 8 element voice with all elements active, am I still only sending a single note to the sequencer when I play a single note?

Please excuse if this is a silly question or has already been effectively answered somewhere else

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Posted on: March 16, 2017 @ 07:09 AM
5pinDIN
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In addition to Note-on and Note-off events, there will almost always be additional associated MIDI events. However, it’s not possible to know exactly which, and how many, of those other events there will be, so Note Capacity is given as an approximation.

Sequencer memory can be significantly impacted by MIDI events generated by excessive use of sustain, frequent pitch bending, expression pedal, or aftertouch (which can often be unintentionally triggered and recorded). Incorrect MIDI data routing can also cause problems, since notes can be doubled if there’s a MIDI feedback loop created. To evaluate a particular sequence, I suggest using the Event List, initially looking at Note data. Then use the View Filter, filtering at least Note data, and possibly more, so that it’s easier to see if anything predominates. See pages 151-152 of the XF Reference Manual for details.

The number of active Elements in a Voice will affect available Polyphony. http://www.motifator.com/index.php/support/view/how_to_count_polyphony_motif_xs
Also, use of Assignable Functions can affect Element count. I documented what can happen with the Preset Voices:
http://www.motifator.com/index.php?ACT=39&fid=161&aid=14676_wT4JtnOgLl0ZtuldKSaL&board_id=1
However, that issue does not affect sequencer note count.

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Posted on: March 16, 2017 @ 07:32 AM
lastmonk
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Thanx 5pinDIN, this is really good stuff.  Your links explain a great deal.  I also found this

In your Motif XS Data List booklet there is a very convenient VOICE LIST which will tell you the exact number of Elements that sound per key struck. You will find that only a handful of Voices actually use 8 Elements simultaneously (obviously those are best used for “live” performance and not when sequencing).

interesting.  Now it is more clear why we have 130,000 as a guestimation.  So I’m having a nightmare or two thinking about the midi feedback problem, and how much worse it could be depending on how the arpeggiator scheme is set up.  oh-boy…

In this case knowledge is power, the better I understand how my sequencers work the better I can use the memory my Motif and Mox have.

And if the music calls for lots of PB, and Sustain, so be it LOL

thanx

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Posted on: March 17, 2017 @ 04:45 AM
meatballfulton
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Some MIDI messages are longer than others.

-- A note consists of at least two messages, note on and note off and each is one byte in size.

-- Pitch bend messages are two bytes and moving the wheel generates a lot of them.

-- Other controllers on the Motif series are also one byte per message with multiple messages created as you move the control.

-- Sysex messages vary in length and can be dozens of bytes.

-- Program change messages are two bytes

And so on…

I recall that when the XS arrived with a spec of 130,000 notes users wondered why this was less than the 200,000 notes specified for the ES. I seem to remember Yamaha stating the storage was the same, they had just changed the way they specified it. The big difference between the XS and earlier models was that sequence storage became non-volatile and did not have to be backed up and reloaded at every power cycle.

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Posted on: March 17, 2017 @ 05:12 AM
lastmonk
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meatballfulton - 17 March 2017 04:45 AM

Some MIDI messages are longer than others.

-- A note consists of at least two messages, note on and note off and each is one byte in size.

-- Pitch bend messages are two bytes and moving the wheel generates a lot of them.

-- Other controllers on the Motif series are also one byte per message with multiple messages created as you move the control.

-- Sysex messages vary in length and can be dozens of bytes.

-- Program change messages are two bytes

And so on…

I recall that when the XS arrived with a spec of 130,000 notes users wondered why this was less than the 200,000 notes specified for the ES. I seem to remember Yamaha stating the storage was the same, they had just changed the way they specified it. The big difference between the XS and earlier models was that sequence storage became non-volatile and did not have to be backed up and reloaded at every power cycle.

This all explains a lot.  So it somewhat makes sense why Yamaha and other vendors use the note approximation talk.  I guess that makes things easier for most keyboard players.  But it does muddy things up a little for those “deep divers” as BM puts it.  So the sequencer is only capable of storing so much Midi data, that has considerable variation depending on which Midi data is recorded by any musician depending on what controllers, how they are used, if or how arpeggiator stuff is sent to midi, the whole after touch and midi feedback scenario, etc I guess its not easy to anticipate what mix of Midi information/data a musician would be sequencing, so all that was left was an oversimplified “note count approximation”

Perhaps another approach would be just to list that the Midi sequencer has 1024 kb of storage, and leave it up to individuals to figure out how much they could squeeze into it based on whatever they were trying to accomplish.  e.g.  My Mac has 8GB of ram, but Apple doesn’t try to tell me how much software I can load in memory at one time, or approximately how many files I can have open at once, etc.  They leave up to me to find my own limitations.

Once Yamaha pronounced the 130,000 note thing that immediately brings to mind notions/limitations/possibilities that are not even necessarily real for everyone.  On the other hand if they simply state the Motif has 1024 kb of Sequencer Memory, and then point you to the data sheet or whatever that details what impacts Sequencer memory, then its up to each individual and their Midi needs to determine how effective 1024kb of Sequencer memory is.

Maybe Dave Smith Started all in 1980 with his Prophet-10 and the announcement of 10,000 notes


1980 – Prophet-10

The Prophet-10 was essentially two prophet-5 synthesizers combined into a single instrument. It offered 10-voice analog polyphony, a dual-manual keyboard, and cassette interface for patch storage and loading. It also included a powerful polyphonic sequencer that was capable of storing up to 6 separate sequences and a total of 10,000 notes. See the Poly-Sequencer below for more details.

And maybe Yamaha and others have just followed his lead all these years!  LOL

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Posted on: March 17, 2017 @ 08:22 AM
meatballfulton
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Historically, sequencer specs have either been note capacity or event capacity.

My old Ensoniq SQ-80 supposedly had 20,000 note capacity. You could store all onboard sequence data plus all onboard patch data in a single dump of 64KB. My guess is the majority of that was the sequence data.

Compared to the Motif sequencer, the SQ-80 (and the ESQ-1 on which it was based) had Sequences (like Patterns) and Songs (like Pattern Chains). This saved memory if you had repeating parts, say all verses were identical, all choruses were identical and all bridges were identical. Record a verse, a chorus and a bridge and then enter the chaining order.  That would require much less storage than recording the entire song at once. My guess is the chain pointers only took up a byte because the max number of sequences was 60, the max number of songs was 20. So let’s say the song was V V C V V C B V V C B V V C C and for sake of argument the verse, chorus and bridge all had 1000 events. The song would only be 3000 events plus the 14 chain pointers. To record it all a single sequence would take 15000 events.

The Motif is the same, if you can get by with Pattern Chains it takes up less space than converting those chains into songs (assuming one or more of the patterns repeats in the song). Meanwhile in Song Mode if you can loop some tracks that also saves storage.

I grew up with the SQ-80 sequencer and then moved to the Motif ES in 2005 and the XF in 2011. I got my first DAW in 2010, so I always sequenced in hardware and got used to the storage tradeoffs.

Although I often have multiple pieces in progress, I don’t try to keep lots of songs onboard like someone using the Motif for live backing tracks might. I have never run out of sequencer memory in either the ES or XF, because I’m not pushing it to the limits. Since aftertouch is always recorded, I sometimes delete all aftertouch data if the track doesn’t require it.

Oh yeah, there’s one other way to save sequencer storage and polyphony: resample your tracks or even the entire mix. Triggering samples requires nothing more than a note on and a note off and uses only 2 voices (1 if the sample is mono).  The limitation then becomes sample memory not sequencer memory.

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Posted on: March 17, 2017 @ 02:15 PM
lastmonk
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Wow thanx meatballfulton, this is some good stuff., and switching sequencer memory to sample memory yes, I really like that idea (will try it immediately!) I’ve been doing the pattern chain thing, for a while, I rarely use song recording, unless I’m really just sketching things, out, but I do the pattern chains, and then when I’m happy I record the pattern chain to my Tascam, and work with the complete song as wav from there.  I do use the USB storage a lot to keep my sequencer memory available.  My first real sequencer was and still in regular use is the QY100.  It has some nice music phrases in it that I still fine useful and I really like the step recording for the Drum patterns, it makes things really easy.  And its portable, so there are times that I take it and a set of headphones, to the park or wherever, bring the midi back load it into my Motif or MOX and keep the party going from there.  So the hardware sequencer limitations has been a reality to me to.

But my music is slowly becoming more sophisticated as I learn more and grow musically which results in more complex (usually larger) sequences, I also have not run out yet on a single piece, but I have had to move one that was in sequencer memory to USB b4 I could record the second piece.  And rather than use my Cubase set up, there are times that I keep the patterns on USB and bring them in a few at time to record them to the Tascam.  When that gets to hoaky, I’ll break down and grudgingly move the whole thing to Cubase (as only as a last resort) LOL.

I love my hardware sequencers and tascam recorders and will use them until the wheels fall off.

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