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Viewing topic "XGworks, SQ01, etc."

Posted on: March 27, 2018 @ 08:10 AM
- Henry -
Total Posts:  117
Joined  10-30-2011
status: Pro


Having gotten involved with the XGworks Yahoo groups lately, I’ve realized that the old XGworks sequencers (V2, V3 or even the Japan-only 4th version) still have their fans. If you have a Yamaha instrument or two, and need a sequencer for your old Win95 computer, it’s probably a very satisfying solution. On a slightly more modern PC, there are better alternatives.

Yamaha SQ01 is old too, but will run on more recent operating systems, both 32 and 64 bits, with minimal fuss. When it comes to MIDI in general, SQ01 acts very much like XGworks: MIDI controllers and SysEx strings are being presented in plain terms, which is very helpful. It won’t replace XGworks, though, since there’s no XG Editor, no Styles, no Staff view, etc. to help you on the MIDI side. OPT editor support and improved audio capabilities are worthwhile improvements, though.

To get a small taste, have a look at this video:
You’ll notice the lower toolbar with buttons to open different sub-windows or “views”. From left to right, there’s the Piano Roll, Audio Mixer, Data List, MIDI Mixer, Master Track, Soft Synth Rack, and the Tiny Wave Editor (TWE).

SQ01 installation:
To install SQ01 on Windows Vista or later, you need to run the installers with Administrator privileges, and with compatibility flags for Windows XP. If you don’t, SQ01 typically won’t see your MIDI or Audio devices. Here’s how:

- Right-click the setup.exe file, and select “Properties”.
- Click the “Compatibility” tab.
- Check the Compatibility Mode box ("Run this program in compatibility mode for:")
- Select “Windows XP (Service Pack 3)” from the drop-down list.
- Check the Privilege Level box ("Run this program as an administrator")
- Click [Apply].
- Run the installer.

Repeat this procedure for each installer, including the updates!

Note 1:
I haven’t gotten SQ01’s included DMO audio plugins (a plugin format based on the old DirectX 8 foundation) working on Windows 7.

Note 2:
There’s a bug in SQ01 - or possibly within the optional Audio Mixer module - which may cause the SQ01 transport to become non-responsive (this hasn’t happened with SOL2 so far). The remedy is to deselect all audio devices in the Setup menu, shut down SQ01, then start it up and activate the audio devices again.

While SQ01 may still be available on CD as a spare part for some instruments, it’s a “freebie” version of the full-sized SOL2 and XGworks ST sequencers. A lot of the software modules are removed, and therefore, SQ01 is nowhere near as complete as XGworks. Some modules can be found and installed separately, but sourcing them is a pain, since they were bundled with different equipment:

XG Editor (S08 CD-ROM):
Looks and works just like the one found in XGworks. An obvious choice if you have XG-compatible instruments!

AutoArrange editor (S90 CD-ROM):
Nice if you prefer to work with styles.

Audio Mixer (Motif ES CD-ROM):
This mixer processes your audio tracks directly, and also hosts VST plugins and instruments. It allows for very flexible audio routing, and can be automated.

Also, the Chord & Pitch Bend windows were released as a free download in Japan. They’re in Japanese, but can still be downloaded here:;_id3=&product_id=106229

Other components - such as the Staff view and Drum editor - are only included on the SOL2 or XGworks ST installation CDs.

SOL2 and XGworks ST:
The high-end SOL/SOL2 sequencer was developed from scratch on a new modular platform, improving on the earlier XGworks sequencers (V1-V4) in most areas. While able to open and work with older XGworks projects (.XWS files), the earlier XGworks plugins are no longer compatible.

XGworks ST ("SOL Technology") and SQ01 were co-developed on the SOL/SOL2 platform. On the surface, all three look identical, and only differ in terms of the included software modules: While SOL2 has all the bells and whistles, and XGworks ST is sort-of a middle child, SQ01 is the least capable version.

XGworks ST, like the name implies, has pretty much everything you’re used to see in XGworks. Apart from the vastly improved audio framework, it also includes the S-YXG50 VST software synthesizer. It misses the Motif-derived TimeStretch/TimeSlice modules and some of the effect plugins you find in SOL2, but is otherwise complete.

SQ01, on the other hand, is a reduced-functionality version of SOL2, that was shipped with various Yamaha hardware for free before the Steinberg buyout. Here, you’ll find that most of the software modules are actually left out. There are some additional differences between the three sequencers, but I’ll leave it at that for now.

To sum things up...
If you’re looking for an XGworks replacement, SQ01 can get you half-way there. This ultimately depends on how you work, of course, and if the missing features aren’t detrimental to your habits, go for it! If your workflow depends strongly on the unique XGworks tools, on the other hand, SOL2 and XGworks ST are without doubt better alternatives.

The catch here is that SQ01 was the only version to make it outside of Japan. To find legal copies of SOL2 or XGworks ST, your best shot is therefore Japanese auction/classifieds sites (in my case, proved to be invaluable). If you go to this length, be aware that although the actual software is displayed in English, you’ll initially have to put up with Japanese-language installers and help files. Rest assured, though; the installers are actually quite easy to get through (the buttons you have to click are already highlighted), and most of the help files have been translated so you can replace them with ones in English after installation! :-)

Best regards,

- H -

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