OAX / Ketron / MIDI Fun – Part 1 of ??

Over the past year-ish, we have posted on and off about using MIDI with OAX. Some of our first MIDI related posts were when we connected up our Roland Integra-7 Sound Module to OAX. Missed that post? You can find it here. A few months after that we started to play around with VST’s hosted on OAX. Under the covers that is all based on MIDI data flowing between OAX and whatever VST you happen to install. Here’s one video on that topic. We did five or six videos on working with OAX and VST’s.

Next? Why not try to work out the needed MIDI config to use a Ketron SD40 with OAX? And just to make it interesting we are doing that with Ross Monk, who some of you know. Ross is located in New Zealand and is 18 hours ahead of our time zone. So, between our schedule, Ross’s schedule and the 18 hour time difference it takes a few days going back-n-forth to make any progress.

Over the past week or two Ross and I have traded a few emails. I sent a note to Ketron asking if they would be willing to ship us a demo unit for a week or two. It would be much easier to work things out if we could have a unit connected to our Sonic. Unfortunately, they never responded so Ross and I are doing the next best thing. We are working using video phone calls via Skype so I can see his organ and the Ketron while we figure things out.

Here’s what we know at this point:

The SD40 has a number of sounds that you can play either independently or mixed with OAX (or if you are really brave, with VST sounds) but it also has an entire section dedicated to automatic accompaniments called Styles (basically the same idea as the Style section in OAX).

Each Style has:

  • Two tracks for drums and percussions on Midi channels 9 and 10.
  • One Bass track on Midi channel 5.
  • Five harmonic tracks that function on Midi channels 6,7,8,11,12.
  • Two “Real Time” tracks, namely Lower 1 and Lower 2 that are assigned to the left split of the keyboard, which function on Midi channels 3 and 4.
  • One LEAD track that functions on the Upper section, namely on the right of the keyboard Split.

Read that one more time and you will say — Hmm, not exactly the way OAX (or OAS) MIDI channels are configured. And that is exactly what we intend to work out.

Notice this post is titled Part 1 of ??. You can fill in ?? with your guess of how many posts we end up doing as we work out the needed config. Post your guess in the comments section.

  1. Let me ask Ross to chime in if I missed anything in the basic setup of this discussion.
  2. If anyone following along has a Ketron, and has already figured out the needed configuration on both OAX (or OAS) and the Ketron, we would love to have you share your configurations.
  3. Stay tuned as we work of the details and get this working.
  4. While you may never own a Ketron, I’m hoping the discussion amongst all of us will enable everyone to get a little smarter and you will be able to use that knowledge with other MIDI related configurations in the future.

OK, It’s your turn. Chime in using the comments section! 🙂





19 thoughts on “OAX / Ketron / MIDI Fun – Part 1 of ??

  • 12/01/2017 at 08:34

    Hi Curt

    Most modules have a multi-mode which allows them to receive information on all 16 channels, rather than just the designations on-screen, therefore now that you have pre-set channel 2 to trigger the SD40 chords the other 15 can be assigned freely by OAX.
    You need the Midi implementation chart of the Ketron to see what can and cannot be received and then just set the OAX controllers to match. (The GM standard features are normally already set and I recommend you do not change them until you have a full understanding of how things work)
    Have fun


    • 12/01/2017 at 09:04

      I hear ya Bill. I’ve yet to find a complete Midi implementation chart for the Ketron. We were able to set up in General MIDI mode and assign a hand full of voices. Also, Ross has set up the needed User Sounds on OAX to select the “non-GM” sounds on the Ketron. At this point we are only having luck with those responding on MIDI Channel 1.

      Yesterday we tried channel 3 & 4 based on this comment:
      Two “Real Time” tracks, namely Lower 1 and Lower 2 that are assigned to the left split of the keyboard, which function on Midi channels 3 and 4.

      I didn’t think of it yesterday when I was online with Ross but sending him a note now to simply take one the sounds he has setup change to each MIDI channel one at a time and see if any respond.

      If not then we are back to the “mode” the Ketron needs to be in…. Reference your multimode comment. Again – Not clear (to me anyway) based on the manuals that I’ve been able to find online.

      The journey continues – Are we having fun yet? ….Sure we are! 🙂

      • 12/01/2017 at 17:04

        Hi Curt
        I will send you the SD40 midi implementation chart. So sorry I thought I had sent it to you

  • 11/29/2017 at 12:50


    I to have the SD40 connected to my OAX1.

    To trigger the Chords, you have to make a MIDI-sound sending on MIDI-channel 2.
    Whenever this MIDI-sound is selected on OAX-Lower 1, you can trigger the SD40 chords.
    Benefit is, that you can make different OAX-Presets, with or without the MIDI-sound selected for Lower 1, and so have the choice witch Presets use the SD40 or the OAX internal Arranger.

    Same for the SD40 Leadvoice. make a 2nd MIDI-voice on the OAX, sending on Channel 1.
    Whenever you select this MIDI-voice on Upper (or Lower 2), you can play the SD40 Leadvoice.
    The SD40 can play 4 Voices simultaneously on the Leadvoice, giving you the possibility to create beautiful combinations, playable together with the OAX-voices.

    Notice that OAX can only select once this MIDI-voices on a same Manual.
    Selecting for example MIDIvoice on Upper1, together with the same MIDIvoice on Lower2, will not work, since OAX can only adress a MIDIvoice once.

    Best Regards,

    • 11/29/2017 at 14:36

      Hey Carlo,

      Great info and matches up with what Erik sent us. Ross and I are hooking up tomorrow to go over a few things and we will update all.

      99% sure I have a solution that will allow for multiple voices to work on both the OAX and Ketron sides but it will require creating duplicate user sounds on OAX and hard coding the MIDI channel.

      Overall that will work. A hassle to setup and there may be times, if the MIDI channel is use, that you get an error message on the OAX side.

      More to come on that.. Basically the same MIDI config issues I ran across using VST’s. There are ways to make it work but it all depends on what each individual wants to do and how many sounds they would like to “layer”.

  • 11/29/2017 at 06:59

    I’m thinking back to when I had a Lowrey organ midi connected to a Tyros4. The Lowrey had options to set upper, lower left, lower right and bass pedals to different midi channels, so for example lower left was set to channel 3. The Tyros was set to detect chord changes on channel 3, so this worked fine.

    What I can’t see, is how do you set the midi channels on the Sonic to transmit different areas of the keyboards? I.e. How do you set lower left to channel 3?

    • 11/29/2017 at 08:59

      Hi Geoff

      You don’t, as OAX does not have any split points, (Exception is the OAX1 for splitting the left and right) it uses instead the professional key range system for each voice, however you can pre-set the midi channel for a specific voice if you want, which is probably the best way to do what you need, and just use this voice selector when you want to send this particular key range on the manual. (The key range system also applies to the styles in OAX, which in pro mode is also independent of any manual voices)


      • 11/29/2017 at 13:34

        Although there isn’t the conventional split point, there is a chord detection key range. It would be good if this key range could be transmitted on a selected midi channel.

        I recall sometime in the past using MIDI OX software to manipulate midi data. Using this it’s possible to trap a range of notes and divert to any channel.

        As MIDI OX is installed on the desktop, maybe this could be a way forward.

        • 11/29/2017 at 14:51

          Hi Geoff

          Midi Ox is good to see what is coming out the Midi socket so you can experiment, however I believe the chord recognition range that is selected is purely what the OAX styles respond too, rather than sending anything out over Midi. (Think of the OAX style system as you would an external rhythm/accompaniment system) Not having an OAX instrument to try this I may be wrong, (Midi Ox will be able to tell you) but that is usually how the systems work.
          Anyway have fun experimenting and keep us informed on how you get on, but I think the method in my first post (And confirmed by Carlo) will probably be the way it needs to be done.


        • 11/30/2017 at 14:07

          Geoff – Whipped this up in support of your comment. Take a look and let me know if I addressed the question?

          I will admit that I currently have “nothing” attached to my Sonic so I didn’t physically validate this but 99% sure it will work as expected if you (or anyone else) has a device attached and can verify?


          • 12/01/2017 at 03:44

            Thanks Curt, yes that answers my question. At present I don’t have any midi expander unit, so can’t try it. (maybe one will be on my Christmas shopping list).

  • 11/28/2017 at 06:04

    Hi Curt,

    Regarding Ketron and OAX, Ian Griffin U.K. keyboard player has been playing Ketron for
    many years and has recently set up an SD 40 to a Wersi Scala for Byron Jones another U.K.
    Organist, I feel dropping Ian an e-mail may help, he is a very nice chap and may be able to
    solve any problems, his e-mail address can be found on Organfax.com in the players

    • 11/28/2017 at 09:17

      Yep – Definitely looks like a SD40 sitting on the bench. Looks like audio only for just the rhythms from what I can see. I noticed them reaching over to hit a break / fill key while they are playing.

      Ross and I were able to get some basic sounds playing. At this point not able to trigger a chord change from OAX to the SD40 with a style playing and the accompaniment turned on. That’s next on our list to get figured out.

      From what I’ve read via the manual on the site I expected that to happen via MIDI channel 3. Not yet! 🙁

      • 11/28/2017 at 16:17

        Hi guys
        Just a slight correction: I can trigger a chord change with auto accompaniment with my existing set up but I can only load 1 Ketron sound to the upper and 1 sound to the lower manual. Curt and I are trying to target multiple Ketron sounds to be a available on both OAX manuals with the Ketron sounds being controlled by the Wersi user sounds

    • 11/28/2017 at 13:23

      Hello Gues,
      I am using the Sd-40 via midi. I only using the styles and not the sounds. The Ketron is for me on stage the perfect band.


      • 11/28/2017 at 13:41

        Thanks for all the help today Erik. Waiting to hear back from Ross on the MIDI channel changes. I’ll update in a new post for everyone what we learned.

        For now – Check out some demos that Erik has playing his OAX-800 with his SD40.


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