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  1. Paul
  2. The Voice
  3. Off Topic
  4. Tuesday, 18 February 2020
Hi --

I just posted a voice editor for the Yamaha SHS-500 Sonogenic on my web site. The voice editor is a MIDI Designer layout. MIDI Designer is a MIDI user interface development app that runs on Apple iPad. Download the layout from:


It's free. I hope to upload the layout to the MIDI Designer site, too.

Yamaha don't promote it, but the SHS-500 Sonogenic has a built-in General MIDI tone generator in addition to the 28 "panel" voices. The GM tone generator is only accessible over MIDI. (Yep, you can play GM files from a DAW.) The MIDI Designer layout uses the GM tone generator. So, if you're missing drawbar organ or whatever, you can play its GM voice through MIDI Designer via MIDI loopback.

MIDI Designer provides storage for up to twenty voices. (Somewhat confusingly, MIDI Designer calls these slots "presets.";) Thus, you can store and recall your own voices using MIDI Designer.

If you would like to read more, please see the links below.

All the best -- pj

Responses (2)
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Hello Saad --

I had to fill in the gaps, so I hope my reply is appropriate. I'm assuming that the "talkbox" is a TC-Helicon Talkbox Synth pedal and that the SHS-500 is wired to the pedal.

As to user presets, the SHS-500 itself does not have user storage locations. Bummer. I wish that it did because the darned SHS-500 restores all voice changes when switching to one of the in-built factory voices. Only the MIDI Designer program has user storage locations (which MIDI Designer calls "presets".)

If you need the iPad to configure the SHS-500 voices at a jam via MIDI Designer, you might want to use the SHS-500 as a wireless MIDI controller (Bluetooth) and drive a soft synth like Korg Module Pro (or other good alternative):


In this trial, I tested a whole range of Yamaha gear doing Bluetooth to iPad, including the SHS-500. The SHS-500 would have won the competition except that I really need/want four octaves (49 keys) due to the songs that I need to play. I very much enjoy the SHS-500 and prefer its mini-keys over the Korg Natural Touch. Yamaha, please make more 49 key models, please! :)

Hope this helps -- pj
  1. 4 days ago
  2. Off Topic
  3. # 1
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Dear Paul,

Thank you very much for your insights on the SHS-500.
I am looking for a very portable keytar to use my talkbox on jam sessions (at home I have a Nord Lead A1).
I have been benchmarking the options as you did but my needs are a bit different.
For the talkbox, I need to produce a simple sawtooth, mono, insensitive to velocity, with the ability to define the cutoff / res of the LPF and the ability to control portamento on the fly.
My question is quite simple: will I be able to create a preset on the SHS-500 and store it on one of the slots so that when I arrive on stage I turn the SHS-500 on and directly have the sawtooth preset I would have built, with the knob controlling the portamento?
If not I was thinking to use it as a midi keyboard and use my iPhone or an expander but the less step I put the best it would be.

Thanks a lot for your help and your great content on your blog.

  1. 5 days ago
  2. Off Topic
  3. # 2
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