Checking OS version on the FS1R

Nugget gleaned from the Yahoo group:

Power-up while holding ‘UTIL’ & ‘ENTER’. But backup your sounds first, since this procedure will reset all your Voice and Performance memory.

—Summa

The latest OS appears to be 1.20, but nobody seems to know what improvements were made over 1.10. Update is via EPROM and god knows where they could be found now.

I just checked and I’ve got OS 1.20 8)

Factory Reset Procedure for FS1R

Factory Reset Procedure for an FS1R – FS1R – Tone Generators/Samplers – Music Production Tools.

WARNING:All user stored data will be deleted. If the current settings and data are not expendable, create a backup before executing the Factory Reset.

  1. Press the [UTIL] button.
  2. Use the [<] or [>] ‘CURSOR’ buttons to select ‘INITIAL’ in the screen.
  3. Press the [ENTER] button.
  4. Use the [<] or [>] ‘CURSOR’ buttons to select ‘Factset’ in the screen.
  5. Press the [ENTER] button. The screen will display ‘Are You Sure?’
  6. Press the [ENTER] button again.

 

Exploring the FS1R – 3. Back to the beach

OK, hands-up – I spoke too soon on the presets. Instead of tackling the myriad other stuff to do, I’ve spent an hour just playing the FS1R. There are 4 banks of 128 presets – 1 User bank, two factory banks, and a special bank for a guitar midi controller.

Here are recordings of this mornings stoned noodlings. This is just going through the first 60 presets in Bank A. Not all useable sounds there, and that cheesey breathy digital formant thing is a wee-bit  overdone. Nevertheless, the sounds are beautiful and very expressive. Starting on middle c for most, and using the pitch/mod joystick of the x-station these are some Vocal patches, basses and SFX.

FS1R_PerfsA1-22.mp3

FS1R_PerfsA23-60_2.mp3

Exploring the FS1R – 2. Editor choice

Well this was easy.

Zeeedit installs but does not run on my Win7 laptop. I will explore why later, but in my eagerness to see some guts, I also installed the free FS1R editor from Japan. I’m impressed.

It connected and works flawlessly first time, all parameters editable in real-time. Although the interface is tabbed, it’s highly polished and supports direct text input. Perfect!

Exploring the FS1R – 1. Preset surfin’

In keeping with Yamaha’s habit for obtuse organisation, patches are played in performance mode. 4 patches (voices) can be layered in a performance. I already can predict that my initial noodlings will only use one voice per performance. Don’t want to overwhelm myself just yet…

Each voice can be made-up of 16 operators: 8 voiced operators a-la FM, and 8 ‘unvoiced’ operators that act like noise generators. from the manual:

The voiced operators produced pitched sounds which can be played on a musical scale via a MIDI keyboard or other MIDI controller. The unvoiced operators can be used to produce noise components of speech-like sound, or they can be used in much the sameway as noise generators in more orthodox synthesis systems (e.g. to produce percussive sounds or sound effects).

I’m not going to delve into the Formant just yet, only to say that the manual alludes to the interplay between the voices and unvoiced operators to create more ‘musical’ synth sounds with subtle harmonics under realtime control.  What looks like the icing on the cake will be Formant sequences (FSeqs):

FSeqs are sequences of formant frequency, fundamental pitch, and level data which have been createdby analyzing the formant content of actual sounds. FSeq playback speed can be set at a fixed value, controlled viaa MIDI clock signal, varied by note velocity (e.g. keyboard dynamics) or varied manually when the “scratch” Fseqmode is selected. And since the sound of formants is not pitch dependent, FSeq playback speed and pitch can bevaried over an extremely wide range without altering the basic timbre of the sound (something that even the bestsamplers cannot do).

Lots of interesting possibilities! Let’s start…

Setting-up the FS1R was painless – plug it in and connect midi and audio to the trusty X-station. Filter controls are conveniently pre-mapped, however editing will be restricted to the laptop for consistency, and to prevent me mucking-up any developing patches.

I didn’t buy this for the presets, but there are plenty of usable ones in there. As standard, all the presets are drowned in reverb – but I haven’t quite found how to switch if off yet :/ Gimme some time there now.Quickly flicking through the Performances: The Ep’s are very nice indeed – they respond beautifully to the weighted keys of the Privia. Organs are OK – will require some tweaking. Some of the brass patches are surprisingly realistic. I was surprised by the bass presest – mostly quite weak and not the solid tones that FM is noted for. They seem to have tried to replicate that tired old TB sound.

Now the Pads – quite a few ‘samey’ whooshes that sound very cold and digital. On many pads and choirs the modwheel is mapped to the formants, so yes, there is a nice effect when used with sight pitch-bend. Turning-up the ‘Formant’ and ‘FM’ knobs alone provides some really delicious variations. Very interesting control possibilities here. Some very nice pads indeed.

I think the filter is the same as that on the AN-200 and An1x. Certainly sounds like it. It’s a modelled filter and it shows at high resonance. Not the worst, and certainly a bonus for an FM synth.  Let’s see how it goes….

Exploring the FS1R – Prelude

Well, my long lusted-for FS1R arrived today!

I’ve already read the manual – the architecture is pretty clear (it’s even printed on the top of the machine). The implementation, however, is a little more obscure.

I am somewhat familiar with FM synthesis, having rubbed my teeth on VSTs such as Toxic Biohazard and Bick TIck’s Rhino. I recentl began patching the Yamaha DX200 but quickly ran in to the polyphony limit – I could only get 4 voices! Bollox to that – lovely sounding machine but it’s going on ebay tomorrow. The FS1R is sooo much more powerful.

For editing. I’ve decided to stump-up for Zeeedit – primarily because all voice parameters are viewable on one screen, and it has mousewheel support! I often wonder why so many VST developers don’t support mousewheel – it just makes sense. What Zeeedit does lack however is direct numerical input. For FM I find that this precision is needed. I’ll send-in a feature request with my order 🙂

So, with trusty notebook at hand, let’s do this – one parameter at a time.

FSeqEdit – editor for FS1R FSeq data

FSeqEdit.

This program is an editor for FSeq data. FSeqdata is a native format for Yamaha’s FS1R, that stores formant information needed to recreate sounds, much like samples. Features like a tracker style editor, importing of wavefiles, drawing formants as lines, moving and scaling of formants etc should give you the possibility to actually use the features of your FS1-R that makes the machine so special. You’ve paid for it damnit.