Wersi OAX MIDI Basics

We started off 2019 with a short “teaser video” about “things” you can connect to and do with OAX and MIDI. Let’s start with a few very simple steps that you need to 100% understand when connecting your favorite MIDI device to OAX.

The most important thing for you to understand is the physical mapping of the MIDI connectors on the back of your OAX instrument to the virtual connections you work with inside of OAX.

Make sure to comment and ask questions as we move forward so we can try to address your questions as we move forward. While this topic might seem complicated, it really isn’t once you understand the basics. We would like to help with that but need your input on what you don’t understand.

22 thoughts on “Wersi OAX MIDI Basics

  • 08/04/2020 at 14:56
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    Hi Curt

    Just wanted to say many, many thanks for the fabulous website you’ve created with all of the support updates and the videos which are superb ! I’ve had a Pergamon OAX 1000 for nearly 2 years and am still exploring all the features and using your videos as a first step in each area. One area I want to explore more is multi-track recording. Is there any way to multi-track using MIDI with OAX?

    I’ve also tried your suggestion in another video of using the recording facility and then playing along with that and recording both but it seems to introduce degradation eg the reverb starts to get layered and create undesired effects – I’ve tried recording with no reverb across the whole organ but some sound samples have built in reverb which you can’t take out). It’s also difficult to get the right balance on sound levels and once recorded, you can’t alter as you could with MIDI.

    I’ve been advised to buy a software package such as Apple’s Logic Pro but I’d also need an Apple Mac and a MIDI / Audio interface so it’s an expensive solution !

    Any ideas very welcome.

    Many thanks

    Paul

    Reply
    • 08/05/2020 at 10:57
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      Hi Paul,

      One of our favorite topics, although we don’t talk about it much. It’s a little more complicated than most folks want to get into, they don’t have the musical skills needed to record individual parts and then some people don’t agree with using “backing tracks.”

      Yes, it is 100% possible. We use Logic Pro and a Mac, as you mentioned, although we also use that setup with other h/w & s/w in our studio. If you happen to own a PC, you can use Cakewalk, and that is a free DAW. Don’t let the price tag fool you. It’s more than capable of doing what you mentioned. We use a Focusrite interface, although there are other options on the market.

      I’d be happy to start a thread on this topic if others are interested in exploring and learning more about it.

      Let me ask folks to take a quick survey to see if there is any interest? http://wersiclubusa.com/immusic/using-a-daw-with-wersi-oax/

      Reply
      • 08/05/2020 at 13:32
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        Thanks Curt – that’s great

        I’m keen to get more into recording as I approach retirement and have more time ! I’ve already recorded 3 albums just to celebrate major family anniversaries and sold some for charity but the Wersi one had to be just live tracks (I won’t say how many takes it got to get some of the recordings perfect !!) and I really enjoyed experimenting with MIDI recording on my Yamaha CVP as it offered more creative control, albeit it doesn’t have a a user friendly display to easily manipulate it. I did consider whether I could hook the Wersi up to the Yamaha CVP and use the Yamaha MIDI sequencer to record on the Wersi but that was beyond my capabilities !

        Hence why my local music store has advised me to look at Logic Pro as the best package but I’m a PC user so would have to invest and learn to use a Mac (although I already use ipad/iphones so am familiar with them).

        Thanks for the Cakewalk tip – it looks good from their website so may be a good starting point to see how I get on with it. I’m also happy to invest down the Logic Pro / Mac route if that’s the best musician’s / long-term option.

        I’d stress that I’m interested in being more of a musician than a musical “teccie” (albeit I certainly want to learn more) so I’m a little apprehensive about the best route and getting set up having seen the extensive range of capabilities that the various packages can offer so any advice would be greatly appreciated.

        Many thanks

        Paul

        Reply
        • 08/05/2020 at 17:42
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          HI Paul
          If you have an iPad, get a USB adaptor to allow you to connect a Midi/Audio interface to it and try out the free Apple Garage band.
          Cubasis is probably the best paid for DAW on the iPad at the moment.
          If your PC is decent then just get a Midi/Audio interface and use Cakewalk as Curt mentioned.

          Reply
          • 08/06/2020 at 09:53
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            Not a bad way to get started and see what you think. I love my iPad for checking mail and browsing a handful of websites. There are lots of folks using IOS to make music. I still prefer using a computer-based solution with a full-size screen, keyboard, and mouse. Getting to old to change my ways, I suppose!

          • 08/06/2020 at 13:20
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            Thanks Bill – that’s helpful – it sounds like I should start by buying a Midi/Audio interface first and then trying out the free versions for Apple / PC to get a feel for which is the best software / platform before I resort to buying a Mac as well to use Logic Pro.

            I’m not sure what I need to look for with a Midi/Audio interface as there seem to be a wide variety of options out there – especially number of channels. I have a Wersi Sonic OAX, a Yamaha CVP digital piano and a Korg tone generator so those are the only devices I’m likely to be recording with initially (as opposed to other band members like drummers, guitarists, singers etc) so I’m not sure what’s best? Ideally, I’d like to play and record the Wersi live (i.e. both hands, feet and drums) and then record separate extra tracks (eg piano, strings) – would this record the initial live performance as one track / channel or would it break it down into individual channels (eg left hand, right hand voices, drums, accompaniment) which I could then manipulate using a DAW to offer more creative control?

            Thanks Curt – Yes I’m the same in how I use my iPad / PC for different things but felt I ought to explore a Mac route as well based on advice from other musicians despite being more familiar with Windows.

            Will I need anything else other than a Midi/Audio interface and DAW software to get started?

          • 08/06/2020 at 13:27
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            One further thought – I was advised that I may also need a Direct Input device to reduce ground hum if it exists – not sure if it’s connected with different country electricity supplies (eg earthed / not earthed / different voltages etc) – is that something you’ve come across? I’m UK based and it was mentioned by another UK organist as a potential issue so not sure if it’s country specific.

        • 08/06/2020 at 18:47
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          Hi Paul
          A lot of modern instruments can receive and transmit Midi over USB (OAX600 and above has a USB B socket) so you could just plug a standard Midi cable into the instrument and computer/iPad to try out the Midi parts of the various DAWs, and then take it from there.
          For good value and quality Midi/Audio interfaces the Focusrite brand is a good place to start.
          It’s possible to get an earth loop if you have more than one earthling cable, (This gives you a humming sound) but in a domestic environment there is less chance of this happening as domestic equipment is designed to avoid this, however if you play out live then it can become a problem.
          Regarding Mac or PC, then use whatever matches the DAW you like, as unlike the old days a PC is just as good as a Mac if you set it up correctly.

          Reply
          • 08/07/2020 at 09:03
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            Paul,

            There are many topics buried in your comment above regarding the number of MIDI channels and connecting multiple MIDI devices. One thing that isn’t clear to me. Are you also considering mixing in live musicians? All of that is possible, and each topic will lead you down a lengthy discussion on ways to accomplish each one.

            As Bill mentioned, Windows or macOS are both equally capable of getting the job done. He also suggested using the USB port. We are old school and still use the DIN connectors for everything we do. Either way works.

            Without getting into much detail, MIDI has 16 channels. In the case of your Sonic, think of each selector as a MIDI channel. For example, Upper1 will take one channel, Lower1 will consume another MIDI channel. Yep, add in another channel for Pedal1. Now, if you also add a sound to Upper2, that will take an additional MIDI channel.

            There are some configuration steps on the OAX side, along with the DAW, to enable the ability to record multiple MIDI channels at the same time. We generally record a single channel at a time.

          • 08/07/2020 at 11:41
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            Thanks for the pointers Bill – will do some more research and no doubt have more questions….sounds like a deep topic to explore !

          • 08/07/2020 at 11:59
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            Thanks Curt – No live musicians – just me on the Wersi where I want to record a live performance (i.e. both hands, feet, drums) and then layer further tracks on top of it afterwards and be able to do some “tweaking” of sounds / volume levels etc afterwards.

            I’d prefer this to recording each track separately and losing the “live performance” feel (I also find it quicker!). Are the configuration steps you mentioned difficult or easy to setup?

            Given each sound / voice has it’s own channel, will that limit me adding more tracks since some of my Total Presets use a lot of the 16 sound channels already?

            Are the DAWs limited to 16 channels ?

          • 08/09/2020 at 10:53
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            Paul,

            The complexity of the configuration will vary from DAW to DAW, as you might expect. On the OAX side, you will find that nothing gets sent out of the MIDI ports. In normal play mode, everything you do is routed to the internal MIDI channels of the organ. You can create a “sound” that does send MIDI information and select which MIDI port it uses. Take a look at this video to get the basic idea. https://youtu.be/vXaRQb5zB0o Even though in this case, we were working with an external sound module, the concept is the same when working with a DAW.

            As for channels, each MIDI device has 16 channels per port. Not all devices have multiple ports. Notice that your Sonic has two MIDI In/Out ports. Each of those has 16 channels, so you can work with 32 channels on OAX. As I mentioned, I haven’t worked with the USB port to comment on it, although you can select it vs. using the DIN connectors that we use.

            In your DAW, you would need to configure it to recognize both sets of ports on OAX. You also mentioned working with another module or keyboard. You would also define that port in your DAW so you could assign that device to one or more tracks.

            For example:

            DAW Track 1 is assigned to MIDI port 1 on OAX MIDI Channel 1
            DAW Track 2 is assigned to MIDI port 1 on OAX MIDI Channel 2
            DAW Track 3 is assigned to MIDI port 1 on Sound Module “X” MIDI Channel 1

            Notice that we are using MIDI channel 1 twice. Since it is assigned to a different MIDI port connected to a different device that allows you to use the same channel.

            Depending on the MIDI interface you select, it may only have one MIDI In and one MIDI out on it. You can add additional ports with a MIDI-Thru device. To get started, I recommend you stay with a simple one device, one MIDI In/Out configuration.

          • 08/07/2020 at 11:37
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            Thanks Jerry – will have a look and extend my limited understanding !

          • 08/10/2020 at 15:05
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            Thanks for the comprehensive reply Curt – very much appreciated

            I recall seeing the video previously when I tried to output to my Yamaha CVP digital piano so I’ll revisit to understand how to remind me how to use with a DAW as well.

            OK – certainly sounds like I can add some further tracks to a live performance and record the whole thing from what you say so that’s great and what I’m looking to do.

            Think I’ll start with buying a MID/Audio interface first and have a look at the free offerings such as Garage Band for Apple and Cakewalk for PC to get an idea what I can do before I commit to Apple / PC route.

            I watched your video at http://wersiclubusa.com/oax/wersi-oax-and-cakewalk-part-1/

            Did you do a Part 2 ?

          • 08/11/2020 at 08:12
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            Wow – Not only did we not get around to making video 2, I completely forgot that we did video 1! 😕

          • 08/10/2020 at 15:17
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            Thanks Bill – very much appreciated

            Looks good. I’ll review and no doubt have a longer list of questions once I’m done!

  • 01/16/2019 at 05:46
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    What does the Zuordnen button do that appears with the mapping button when you select a midi sound? (4.09) as I have never heard of this. (Could be taken from a foreign language I suppose)

    Reply
    • 01/16/2019 at 09:18
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      Great question John!
      Unfortunately, there are still a few screens in OAX that have not been 100% translated from German to English. Zuordnen = “Assign”.

      Reply
  • 01/14/2019 at 21:34
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    Curt,
    This is what I got from Uli, which seems to indicate that at this time we can only use MIDI OUT 1 and MIDI IN 2. Perhaps I misunderstood?

    Hi Chuck,
    the MIDI Out works only through the MIDI Out Sounds. You have to select the Standard MIDI Ext 1 Channel 1 sound on the upper manual selector using SOUNDS – User Sounds – User – MIDI Out button. Then the MIDI signals are transferred from the upper manual to the MIDI output Ext 1.

    The MIDI sounds can of course be set for all conceivable channels and then simply re-saved.

    For MIDI IN you can currently only use the MIDI IN 2, which can control 16 channels.

    The MIDI IN 1 is the direct MIDI and not yet released.

    I hope I could help you.

    Regards

    Uli

    Reply
    • 01/15/2019 at 06:48
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      Chuck – Very interesting. I haven’t tried to use the inputs recently but we will be doing that as we get to to the video showing working with a DAW. I do know when I was over at Spikes we had no trouble using MIDI In 1 to play a few MIDI tracks via Cakewalk. I can also tell you that I have a Ketron SD40 connected on MIDI Out1 and Out2 and it is working as expected on both outputs.

      Sounds like this series of videos might get very “interesting”!

      Reply

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