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How to send CHANNEL CHANGE messages from Logic Pro X to my Korg synthesizer


flatpickluvr
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Hello! Fairly long time Logic Pro user here, with a question that I hope someone can answer. I hope I didn't just overlook the answer in my old Logic textbook...

 

I pretty much only use External Midi instruments. My Mac mini is kind of stretched on resources so I don't like to use software plug-ins that hog cpu resources. I have a Korg N1 88 key digital piano/synth that does everything I need. It's multi-channel and has all the effects and samples and all that I need. I also have an Alesis D4 midi drum kit connected to the Korg. The Korg controls the drum kit.

 

I know how to send BANK change messsages to the Korg. What I need to know is how to send CHANNEL change messages to the Korg.

 

I know how to get into the Environment to set up bank change messages... these are the bank change messages that I've set up so far. 594423912_ScreenShot2020-09-02at10_49_11PM.thumb.png.b116d768b7dc82b4cff9da1331c41a4b.png

 

How do I set up CHANNEL change messages? What's making this a little bit confusing is that Korg uses strange terminology. What Logic Pro calls a "Channel", Korg calls a "Program" and it also calls it a "Part". So my Korg N1 has 16 channels, but the Korg documentation calls them "Programs" and "Parts" interchangeably. I need to be able to use LPX to send a channel change message to the Korg to have it change from Part/Program (CHANNEL) 1 to 2, or whatever channel on the Korg I want.

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I think what you're looking for is what others might call bank and preset or bank and patch -- you want to have a means of setting the sound the N1 will create in response to MIDI notes on a specific channel..

On the terminology: LPX uses "channel" to mean MIDI channels 1-16, on a specific MIDI port. This is not generally related to the SOUND that will be produced by the synth at that channel and port.* LPX and Korg seem to use "Bank" the same way the MIDI org does, a group of sounds stored together in your synth; Bank 1 on your synth seems to have Acoustic Piano in Program 1. The actual SOUND to be heard is called by LPX and by the MIDI org a Program (e.g. program 1 might be Acoustic Piano).

The best method is to look at the MIDI Implementation chart for your synth. There, it should tell you the kind of message you need to generate to set a bank and program (or bank and preset or part in MIDI terminology).

Once you know what the message should look like for your synth, check out this Apple documentation on how to do it. There's a link at the bottom for Custom Bank Selects that you'll need if your synth isn't standard.

* There's one situation where the CHANNEL might determine the sound. If your synth is multitimbral, so it has the ability to produce for example Acoustic Piano on MIDI channel 1 and simultaneously produce a different sound on a different MIDI channel (like Tubular Bells on MIDI channel 2), then your piano part would be in an External Instrument track configured for the N1 on MIDI channel 1, and the bells part would be in another External Instrument track configured for the N1 on MIDI channel 2.

NOTE: An older thread has more information you might find useful...

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What I want to be able to do is, when I open any project in LPX (they're all external MIDI projects, for the most part anyway) and start adding external MIDI tracks, I need LPX to send a channel change message to my Korg when I add a new external midi track. For example, when I add a new external MIDI track in LPX and assign it to channel 2, I need LPX to send a channel change message to the Korg to switch to MIDI channel 2. I know how to send bank and patch change messages... but that only changes the bank and patches on whatever channel I've manually selected on the Korg. I need to know how to set up LPX to send a channel change message to the Korg. Looking at LPX, the last track is another external MIDI on channel 2. It's a Stax Hammond B3 organ patch on the Korg. When I click on that track in LPX I need LPX to send a channel change message to the Korg to switch to Channel 2. I can send bank and patch change messages but I don't know how to send channel change messages. Could I be confusing "channel" with "program"? Do I need to learn how to send a "program change" message? Maybe that's it. I think something else I need to remember is the Korg N1 is a multitimbral instrument.

 

When I click on the last track I need LPX to send a channel/program change message to the Korg to change it to channel 2. The second screenshot shows what my Korg looks like with Channel 2 (Korg calls it "P02" but that's CHANNEL 2) and the correct patch. The problem is I have to manually switch the Korg to Channel 2. After I manually switch the Korg to Channel 2 or whatever channel I'm working on, I have no problem using LPX to send bank and patch change messages. I want LPX to send a channel change message automatically when I add a new track assigned to a specific channel or when I click on an existing track to edit it.

 

870455024_ScreenShot2020-09-04at12_28_40AM.png.c8875630a57b24cf4dc89b2a810b15ae.png

 

 

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198509434_KorgChannel2.thumb.JPG.bece7a7446c7c0b05f216e3bbd55b36f.JPG

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I got curious enough to look up your manuals. The owner's manual is here, and the MIDI implementation guide is here. From p. 57 of the manual, it appears to me that when you intend to use the N1 as a MIDI-controlled multitimbral sound module, Multi Mode is the correct selection. On that page it describes configuring the 32 available parts; for each part you can designate a MIDI port. I don't think you are intended to SET the MIDI channel from your DAW. Rather, you're intended to put the N1 into Multi Mode, and then send MIDI data to the channel configured for the part you wish to use. Then you can also send bank select and program change messages to that channel. Because the synth is multitimbral, you can have several parts configured for MIDI channel A01 and simultaneously have several parts configured for MIDI channel A02; you can send channel messages (like NOTE ON, bank select and program change messages, etc.) destined for different parts interleaved among each other. The channel number to which each is sent allows you to play the part desired.
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Thanks. I’ll have a go at it again Friday. I found the manual archaic and not organized very well, and didnt get much out of it the first time. As far as why I do things the way I do, I find that question a bit off putting. Why do you use the workflow you do? The “why” doesn’t matter but since you asked, I’ll answer. My mac is old and has limited cpu resources. It’s not upgradeable. When editing or mixing in LPX I need to stay away from cpu intensive software effects. I use the audio effects and MIDI editing tools already onboard the Korg. So when I’m listening to a project in LPX if I hear something not quite right, I want to just select the track in LPX then go right to the Korg and have it be on the correct channel so I can do my editing on the Korg.
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Well I suppose you could try and find the Sysex message for telling the KORG to change MIDI channel but I think you’ll find that even harder than putting it into Multi Mode. Is there something about Multi Mode that interferes with what you are trying to achieve?
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No. I’m about ready to give up and chalk this up to impossible. Since MIDI gear receives and sends program, bank, velocity, note change messages, it ought to be able to send and receive channel change messages too but I’m beginning to think that’s just not possible. All I need is for, when I select an ext midi track (pretty much all I do anyway) in Logic, I need my Korg N1 to respond by switching to the correct channel. I can always do it manually like I do now but it’d be a lot more convenient for the Korg to do it in response to a command from Logic (like it does for program, bank, velocity, note change, etc...) bc I do all my effects editing on the Korg. I record what I want into Logic and throw a little compression/eq on it from Ligic but for panning, other audio effects, and MIDI editing, I do 99% of that on the Korg. Otherwise my ancient Mac Mini would be full of beach balls :). If I ever work this out - maybe with a transformer and a new instrument in the Environment; I don’t know - I’ll post the answer here, thanks for trying though.
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There is no such thing as a channel change message defined in MIDI. If it was at all possible to change the channel of the N1 over MIDI, it would be by using a system exclusive message. I've never seen an instrument that has such a feature, if the N1 has it the MIDI implementation documentation would say so.

 

Why are you not simply using the Multi mode? That's what it's for, letting the instrument play mutliple independent parts with data arriving on different MIDI channels.

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You're looking for a VERY SPECIFIC solution - you are asking how to change the keyboard's channel. But what you're really trying to accomplish is simpler - you want the track you select in LPX to automatically get its input from your keyboard. That can be easy to achieve, but the best method depends on other aspects of your project. That's why I was curious about your workflow.

I'm quite sure you can find a way to move fluidly among your tracks without manual effort that disturbs your creative flow. I do think that is very important. Good luck!

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You're looking for a VERY SPECIFIC solution - you are asking how to change the keyboard's channel. But what you're really trying to accomplish is simpler - you want the track you select in LPX to automatically get its input from your keyboard. That can be easy to achieve, but the best method depends on other aspects of your project. That's why I was curious about your workflow.

I'm quite sure you can find a way to move fluidly among your tracks without manual effort that disturbs your creative flow. I do think that is very important. Good luck!

 

OMG - you are going to think I'm such a dumbass doofus - I know I do! I'm actually in the middle of an advanced MIDI class on macprovideo and I just realized in the middle of a lecture that I had local control on... sort of complicates everything unnecessarily. I'm used to practicing offline, when the computer is off, and I'd forgotten ALL ALONG - during all of my posts and replies - that I still had local control on... I have to remind myself now, I guess, to turn local control off when I'm in my DAW and turn it back on again when I'm offline!!! God I feel so stupid! Thanks for being patient with me.

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You're looking for a VERY SPECIFIC solution - you are asking how to change the keyboard's channel. But what you're really trying to accomplish is simpler - you want the track you select in LPX to automatically get its input from your keyboard. That can be easy to achieve, but the best method depends on other aspects of your project. That's why I was curious about your workflow.

I'm quite sure you can find a way to move fluidly among your tracks without manual effort that disturbs your creative flow. I do think that is very important. Good luck!

 

I also wanted to let you know I've decided to go back and re-take the entire MIDI Demystified course in macprovideo.com. I took it once before a long time ago but I've clearly forgotten most of what he taught in terms of external midi... It's interesting to note that even though MIDI Demystified is not a Logic Pro course, the plug-ins that Steve H uses to demonstrate software MIDI are Logic Pro plug-ins - specifically EXS-24. It was nice to see a screenshot of something I know very well - the EXS-24 gui

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I think I may have found the answer, although I'm not going to test it until I've finished the MIDI course later today. The Korg N1 and N1R (the rack version) has different PC Interface to Port settings. Meaning, from the computer to the various ports on the Korg. I had no idea. It can be set to Native or Emulate. In Native mode, according to the documentation, when the N1 receives a Line Control signal over a MIDI cable from the Mac, it routes the signal to the Channel Select port in the Korg. The player must then select, on the Korg, which channel to use. In Emulate mode, the Channel Select port in the Korg is bypassed. Again, this manual is horribly organized and difficult to navigate, which is why I never really read the whole thing. Plus I got the N1 used, and it has taken quite a bit of time to reconfigure it the way I want. But I think that's where the answer is. We'll see. Again, sorry this really has nothing to do with Logic. I thought, initially, that it did. But thanks for your patience.
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