EX5 as master controller with Kronos

The EX5 features a unique Extended Synthesis system which incorporates a number of advanced tone generator technologies. AWM2, AN, FDSP and VL. The EX5 is one of the best keyboard Yamaha ever produced.

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Hyperactive6
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EX5 as master controller with Kronos

Unread post by Hyperactive6 »

Hello All
Thank you for allowing me to post. I am a 50YO humble gigging musician/ music director/ architect with a slight addiction to synthesizer tinkering. I Love the the EX series filters and synthesis type combinations. I want to incorporate the keyboard again in my setup.

I noticed Derek using Ex5 with Kronos. Im thinking about replacing Nord Stage2 with my Ex5 as master controller for my Kronos 61 during gigs. Could you help me any with your expertise and experience ? How do you utilize the Kronos given its depth as master controller itself. Do you slave the Kronos in combo mode? Do you utilize the setlist feature? etc. Thank you for your time. Im very familiar with my Ex5s and Kronos. I know you are busy but even a basic understanding on how to merge features in the most efficient manner would help.

I am also incorporating Ex5r,Motif Rack, and Korg Trinity Rack.

Andy


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Derek
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Re: EX5 as master controller with Kronos

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Hello and welcome

I indeed was using an EX5 and Kronos combination for several years in Welsh Floyd. In fact, I was mostly using the EX5 as a master keyboard with the Kronos producing most of the sounds apart from a few signature EX5 sounds. The EX5 AN engine could still kick the butt of the Kronos equivalent engines for certain sounds. For example the lead sound I used in "Run Like Hell" was EX5 AN in oscillator sync glory. I could never better that sound in the Kronos

The EX5 made an excellent master keyboard: 76 note semi weighted keyboard, flexible performance mode and of course its own unique sound. One thing that swayed me towards a Montage 7, when I retired the EX5 from gigging, was the need for a similar keyboard feel and length and flexibility.

My setup was basically this
  • Roland FC300 MIDI Foot Controller into EX5 MIDI A IN
  • EX5 MIDI A OUT into Kronos MIDI IN
  • Kronos is in Setlist mode (mostly pointing to Combis for me)
  • EX5 is used on Performance Mode, so you can freely programme the parts to use on the EX5 and/Kronos
  • In EX5/Utility Settings MIDI ECHO is turned on
MIDI ECHO merges MIDI A IN data with the EX5's own MIDI Data to MIDI A OUT. Why do this? The FC300 was routed to both EX5 and Kronos via MIDI ECHO without needing additional MIDI Splitters and Merger boxes (and more cables). Less to go wrong on stage, and less to forget to bring! I cannot believe that manufacturers no longer seem to offer this built in merge capability, it is so useful! You do need to be wary of MIDI Feedback though if the MIDI A Out has a path back to MIDI A in (and you have MIDI Echo on. I avoid this in the studio by using MIDI B Out for a path to a DAW.

You don't need an FC300 in this mix, but I would not be without it. So you don't need to worry about MIDI Echo unless you are doing something similar. My FC300 was doing performance selection, setlist selection (when I wanted the EX5 to stay on the same performance, but change the Kronos set list and of course the pedal controllers (I usually have both hands on the keyboard, so foot controllers are a must for me. And a MIDI foot controller is so flexible, compared to putting dedicate pedals (like an FC7) into the keyboard controller inputs.

Essentially in an EX5 Performance, you set the Performance parts to the MIDI channels you want to map to the Kronos Timbres (and the MIDI channels they are set to), set the key and velocity zones, set the part to transmit on MIDI channel A, and there you go!

And of course the Combis are set for any you want to play from the Kronos keyboard

In one EX5 Performance Part (I usually use Part 16), you can set the PRE page (see Page 170 of the manual) you can set a program change to select the Kromos Setlist Slot associated with this EX5 Performance. From memory bank MSB is 0, bank LSB is the Setlist index (indexed from zero) and then PC is your setlist slot, but because the EX5 PC numbers go from 1 to 128, you need to add 1 to the Kronos Setlist Slot. E.g. for Kronos slot 10, the EX5 PC value must be 11.

I tended to use the EX5 keyboard as it has a better feel (the Kronos X61 is not bad either), but the Kronos is then second tier and used or lead sounds (where the Kronos was doing them), second organ manual, etc.

Hope that helps.

My new rig, is FC300, Montage 7, Kronos X61 and PC running VSTis (and I've squeezed my Nord G2 Engne into the rack!). I get around the lack of MIDI Echo and some other Montage MIDI limitations (which hopefully Yamaha are now looking at) by using the PC as a MIDI hub processor. All MIDI connections to/from keyboards are connected to the PC and I use an excellent software package called Cantabile to act as a MIDI processor and VSTi host.


Regards
Derek Cook

http://www.carregddu.co.uk
http://www.echoes-music.co.uk
http://www.xfactory-librarians.co.uk
http://www.ex5tech.co.uk
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Hyperactive6
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Re: EX5 as master controller with Kronos

Unread post by Hyperactive6 »

Thank you so much for the quick response Derek- You provided a very clear and logical process. Sounds as though we think alike. Let me absorb what you wrote and respond back.

I see how the FC300 can be of good use. I may substitute a tablet midi program/change app to choose each song set up. Im a little worried about speed of program change.

I may just try out the Ex5 and Kronos in the fashion you suggested "sans" rack mount synths.

That new Yamaha ModX is tempting me a bit. Im very much in love with the filters and synthesis of the EX5.

You reminded me of the advantage of built-in midi merge function which does come in handy.

Im a bit spoiled by the set list function (random access visual ) on the Kronos vs the old style ( linear access ) of program change.

Did the Montage work out for you? I understand its a bit heavy.

Thank you again for your help and encouragement!


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Re: EX5 as master controller with Kronos

Unread post by Derek »

Yes, very pleased with the Montage 7 and it’s about 5kg lighter than the EX5. Haven’t moved it much since getting it as I have not gigged much this year, but that may be about to change.....


Regards
Derek Cook

http://www.carregddu.co.uk
http://www.echoes-music.co.uk
http://www.xfactory-librarians.co.uk
http://www.ex5tech.co.uk
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