MOXF FLASH BOARD
In one of the most important advantages of the MOXF, an optional Flash Memory Expansion Board (FL512M/FL1024M) can be installed (1 Slot available). This feature was included in response to many and repeated requests from power users. Now, Sample (audio) data remains on the board, even when the power is turned off—allowing you to instantly use Waveforms containing Samples when you turn the power back on, without the need to load them from an external USB storage device. To gain a full understanding of what the FLASH BOARD expansion is all about, we need to understand the nature of the data that makes up a synthesizer sound in a sample-based engine. If you have ever had to wait for audio samples to load you understand the “WHY” of the Flash Board. Simply put, you can expand the basic WAVE ROM (the source content) of the synthesizer with the addition of a Flash Memory Expansion Board. The MOXF comes with 3977 Waveforms, you can add an additional 2048 Waveforms – of your own choosing!
A “Voice” is the fundamental playable entity in the MOXF. The Voice is made up of Waveforms. These are oscillators. An oscillator is a technical term for what is oscillating or vibrating in any musical instrument. The Voice is a set of parameters that describe an instrument – the oscillator or what is vibrating is a very important one of the describing entities. A trumpet is made of brass or nickel (these metals sound slightly different). The trumpet is several feet in length, usually coiled (heralding trumpets are straight), has three valves, etc., etc. The material it is made out of affects the overall tone of the instrument, and the bell helps direct the sound. But no matter how detailed our description of this horn, it will make no sound until a pair of vibrating human lips (Oscillator) are placed against the mouthpiece. The better the reproduction of that vibrating source, the better resulting sound you will be able to build. In general, the size of the source wave is huge in comparison to the other parameters that describe this sound.
All of the other Voice parameters describe the trumpet but until you select a Waveform on the OSCILLATOR > WAVE page, the Voice makes no sound. The Filters would have nothing to filter, the Amplifiers would have nothing to amplify, therefore, the primary component is this Oscillator – it is the sound source! Each MOXF Voice can have as many as 8 Oscillators. Voice data is a small set of parameters that get stored in your USER BANKS right on board the MOXF. Only the Waveforms and the Sampled audio are installed on the Flash Board. The MOXF keeps track of your Voice data and where the audio that will allow it to sound is installed.
Every Voice points to a Waveform (or multiple Waveforms). This takes place on the following Voice mode screen:
Press a numbered button - to view Element parameters
Press [F1] OSC (Oscillator)
Press [SF1] WAVE
An old school analog synth came with two (2) Waveforms: a sawtooth and a pulse wave. The filters were used to shape the “tone” of the sound by emphasizing some harmonics and filtering others. Your MOXF comes with 3,977 Waveforms to start with, and you can add 2,048 new Waveform to your Flash Board.
Fact: A Waveform is a collection of Samples.
Fact: You cannot load Samples to the MOXF without loading the Waveform.
We’ll come back to this. A single sample could start as a dot wave (.wav); this is a file format that can be played by many different devices: computers, handheld recorders, and a variety of handheld tablets and phone-sized playback devices, etc. Once you put it in your MOXF it is placed in what Yamaha calls a “Waveform”. Here it is enhanced with additional parameters that allow the MOXF to address it in musical ways. It is assigned a KEY on the Musical keyboard, C-2 thru G8. This key assignment can be to a single key or a range of keys, each key in the range is 1/12th of an octave from the adjacent key. The MOXF will speed up and slow down playback of the audio to precisely reproduce these pitch changes. The sample is assigned a velocity range, 1-127, so that the KEY can determine the volume dynamically in response to your performing gestures on the keyboard. Also it is assigned a default envelope for loudness such that when the key is engaged audio begins playback, and when the key is released the audio ends. Oh, and by the way, it has 128 audio channels with which to playback this audio.
These additional parameters (and there are a few more) are added to the .wav and now make up the entity Yamaha refers to as a Waveform. The MOXF requires these parameters to turn the audio into a musically useful thing. These parameters are meaningless to your computer, or other playback devices. So technically, although the sample started as a .wav, it is now much, much more than that. The MOXF shares the exact same Voice > Element > Waveform > Sample heirarchy as the top-of-the-line Motif XF. And while there were a few translation problems in the very beginning, make sure you keep your MOXF firmware UP-TO-DATE. Most of the issues have been successfully dealt with… current Firmware for the MOXF can be checked by visiting the Official Yamaha Download Site and getting the latest information. Bookmark that site.
Summary: For a sample to be addressed by the MOXF synthesizer it must be placed in a Waveform.
A Waveform can have as few as one, and as many as 256 samples in it. (If you count the left and right sample separately for stereo)
Fact: As many as 8 Waveforms can be used in a MOXF Normal Voice
Fact: As many as 73 Waveforms can be used in a MOXF Drum Kit Voice (one per Key, C0~C6)
You can see a list of your installed Waveforms by going to [FILE] and pressing [F6] FLASH > [SF2] DELETE
The act of LOADING Voices before you owned a FLASH BOARD, meant reading data from a FILE and directing the Voice parameters into USER locations in your MOXF’s internal USER Banks and Sequencer (MIXING) locations. This will still be true when it comes to LOADING data with a FLASH BOARD. The significant difference is that the LARGE audio files (Waveforms and Samples) will be directed to locations on the Flash Board, while the VOICES that you load will continue to be loaded into the internal USER Banks and Sequencer (MIXING) locations as they always have. The MOXF makes a determination about what needs to happen based on the instructions you give when setting up to LOAD. These are the LOAD OPTIONS.
Press [F3] LOAD
Set the TYPE = VOICE
When you highlight a File that the MOXF recognizes, you may find an offer to Load:
x _”with Waveform”
x _ “with Sample”
You would elect to LOAD “with Waveform” when the instructions on how to use the data you are about to load are not already installed on the WAVEFORM LIST (mentioned in the Section above). Translation – if I were to wish to load any of the S700 Acoustic Piano VOICES, I would not need to load “with Waveform” because, clearly, the Waveforms necessary for that VOICE are already installed. (You can see them on the WAVEFORM LIST). This means that the other VOICE parameters will load in a matter of a couple of seconds.
Once the WAVEFORMS and SAMPLES of a Voice are installed on your FLASH BOARD, you will not have to wait for all that audio data to LOAD, the MOXF Voice will “know” where to find the Waveform and the Waveform organizes all the sampled audio.
If you clear the “x” next to “with Waveform” notice the “with Sample” option disappears. This is because of what you just learned: a Sample must always be addressed by the additional set of parameters that organize how it will playback – specifically, how the MOXF will play it back. This set of parameters is the “Waveform”. You can never just load SAMPLES – they must always be organized by a Waveform.
When the audio is on your computer as a .wav or aiff file, it does not have the musical attributes applied by the MOXF Waveform. That is, an assignment to one of 128 Notes across the MIDI keyboard (C-2 through G8), a Velocity Range so that it can playback louder upon demand via the Key press, the Equal Temparament tuning, the Play Mode (direction), etc.
A sample on your Flash Board without a set of instructions as to how to use it, would be just taking up space.
The Waveform is a small set of data. Measured in the Kilobyte range. Approximately 2KB or two thousand bytes of data. The actual audio, the individual sample, could be huge in size, by comparison. A single sample can be as large as 64MB or sixty-four million bytes of data.
Please appreciate the difference in size between the WAVEFORM data, which organizes the Samples, and the SAMPLES themselves. We’ll use dollars to help make it clear: The two thousand dollars that represents the Waveform, versus the hundreds of thousands, or even millions of dollars that would be the Sample itself! Your band has probably played a gig for $2,000 dollars, (that would be equivalent of the Voice’s Waveform parameters), imagine getting a gig for $400,000,000 dollars (that would be the equivalent of a Voice’s audio Samples in the Chick Corea Mark V; or the equivalent $32,000,000 for the Voice’s audio Samples for the S700 Piano data.
You can never load a Sample without a Waveform. The Waveform is the synth engine’s way of addressing the .wav
When loading Voices into your MOXF:
Fact: You can opt to load the Waveforms either with or without the Samples.
Fact: You can opt to load the Voices, and load neither Waveforms nor Samples.
Say you load Library 1, say it is 128MB of data for this example, and includes a Bank of 128 Voices. You install 128MB of data to your Flash Board, and load the Voices that use this data to USER 1 Bank.
Now you obtain Library 2, also 128MB and 1 Bank of Voices. You install this new set of 128MB of data, and using the Load TYPE = “1Bank Voice”, you direct its 128 Voices to your USER 2 Bank.
When you redirect the Bank to User 2, the MOXF automatically, documents where the Voices go, where the audio data is installed and it updates every Voice to repoint it to its audio data. By loading a second library, the Waveforms are added to the lowest numbered empty Waveform location (there are 2048 total Waveform slots). Nothing on your Flash Board is ever overwritten by the LOAD process. New Waveforms are added to the end of the Waveform list. A new “catalog” is created internally. This new catalog is your unique Waveform List – in our example, the second 128 Waveforms will be listed after the first set of 128 Waveforms.
Now you must immediately create a backup file that documents your new catalog. You would SAVE a FILE and make sure you opt to Save it “with Samples” (Waveform data, being the smaller amount, is always Saved automatically). This backup ALL data file (.X6A) has all your newly updated data, including the new Voices you added that now point their own data. We’ll call this the “MainSet”.
If you load an All data file, a library that does not contain samples, you will naturally overwrite the Voices in the internal USER 1, 2, and 3. This does not, however, affect your Waveforms, nor your Samples. If you later want to reload your “MainSet” back in…
…….. Your Waveforms and Samples are all there, already……..
This is when you would opt to Load without making changes to your Flash Board. So you would clear the “with Waveform” box. This would Load your Voices back in without changing anything concerning your Flash Board.
If ever you take your FLASH BOARD out of your MOXF, say to go to friend’s place or to a church that also has a MOXF… Think about it for a minute…
Your Samples are already on the Flash Board. So you don’t have to wait 20-40 minutes it would take to re-INSTALL your data. Simple pop the Board into the new MOXF… Load up the Voices
Load your “MainSet” “with Waveform” but clear the box that says “with Samples”.
The Waveforms, remember, are the parameters that collect the samples into playable entities. So you ‘teach’ this new MOXF where to look on your Flash Board for the audio samples that will make your Voices sound! The Waveform List of the borrowed MOXF does not reflect your current Waveform List – in fact, go there and look. Press [FILE] > [F6] FLASH > [SF3] DELETE – the Waveform list will NOT contain YOUR personal list until you load it. The SAMPLES (that’s the BIG data) are already on your FLASH BOARD, so all you need is the LIST of Waveforms that includes the catalog of where everything is archived.
The smaller Waveform data loads lickety-split, the larger Samples are already in place. So in seconds, not minutes, you are making music with your custom MOXF set.
As soon as you start placing WAVEFORMS on your FLASH BOARD, remember to make YOUR OWN PERSONAL – Archive File… a FILE that is “with Samples” that represents YOUR PERSONAL configuration of the data.
Loading Tips and Concepts:
The data on your WAVEFORM LIST cannot be easily or mistakenly overwritten. Here’s why: there are only two ways to remove data from the WAVEFORM LIST – you have to DELETE it or you have to FORMAT the BOARD. Each time you give LOAD INSTRUCTIONS to the MOXF, the data that requires custom audio will automatically be directed to the lowest numbered empty Waveform location on the List. So the List simply gets longer – you do not overwrite data on the BOARD.
The MOXF will not unnecessarily LOAD a Waveform, creating a DUPLICATE, if you are loading the data from a FILE that YOU have created. In other words, from a FILE that contains a backup of your Waveform List. Once you begin to create a WAVEFORM LIST, it is automatically backed up in every file that YOU make. That’s right! EVERY FILE. I can hear the question – But what if I saved “without Sample”. It does not matter, every FILE that you create will back up your WAVEFORM LIST. The Waveform list is mainly text and a small amount of data. You only need to make a back up FILE that is “with Sample” when you add new Waveforms to your instruments WAVE ROM.
As soon as you load a second Library from a File, it is guaranteed that the location (Waveform number) will differ from those of the author of the File. This is why YOUR Waveform List will quickly become unique to YOUR instrument. Your files will keep a record of what is installed on your Flash Board, and as long as load your Voice data from one of your files, the MOXF will “know” whether it needs to install any samples to make the Voice or Voices you wish to load make sound.
In the example, you can see that the three Waveforms that make up the S700 Voices are the first Waveforms I installed to my Flash Board. I now have maybe 3 dozen files I’ve created with my MOXF (in theory, that’s hundreds of Voices – every one of those FILES has the S700 Waveforms on the List as 0001, 0002 and 0003. Out of all my files only a few actually have the S700 pianos earmarked for the internal USER Bank locations; But it doesn’t matter, I use those S700 piano Voice often enough that I always want them there, as an integral part of my instrument’s WAVE ROM. If I need that S700 VOICE I can either load the individual Voice in a matter of a few seconds, or I can recall it the MOXF6/MOX8 Editor as “Standalone”, or as “VST” from the Sound Browser function in Cubase – which bulks the VOICE data into the MOXF’s Edit Buffer.
So when I need it, it will be seconds away, not minutes of LOAD time!
Simply put: By installing the Waveforms and Samples of Voices we like to our Flash Board, we ensure we can quickly access them by simply loading the (smaller) Voice parameters, without having to wait for the (larger) audio data to reload. Just like you may not use the Full Concert Grand on every SONG or PATTERN you create, it is there for quick access because its Waveforms and Samples remain in the MOXF’s internal WAVE ROM. Think of the FLASH BOARD as your customizable addition to this WAVE ROM.
Fact: VOICES, which are loaded to the internal USER 1, USER 2, USER 3 and DRUM USER banks, can be overwritten without disturbing the Waveform List or the Samples on your FLASH BOARD.
Fact: Each VOICE contains parameter instructions about “where” to look for its audio. Be that on your Flash Board or from the internal MOXF Wave ROM.
Fact: YOUR parameter instructions will be unique to YOUR MOXF instrument.
You will wind up with far more Voices than you can load into the MOXF at once, you want to have a way to have access to every sound you own, quickly and conveniently – This is what is compelling about the HARDWARE/SOFTWARE Integration that we are always talking about. Once you begin to recognize how the WAVEFORMS work, you are on a quest to add your favorite Waveforms to that List. There is never a need to put a Waveform on your List that you do not absolutely NEED. Why would you? You get to hand pick each ONE! That’s what it is all about.
You will experience that once you approach filling a Board LOADING and SAVING – an ALL data file “with Sample” take quite a long time………………….. Yes, it does. The word FLASH here does not denote the speed at which you can Load (INSTALL) and Save (BACKUP) data. It totally is referring to the access time that this type of expensive memory affords. We get many questions concerning memory. If a USB Flash Memory Stick that you use for storage is like $20 for 16GB, how come the FLASH MEMORY EXPANSION BOARD is so much money? It’s just storage and I can stream audio playback directly from the cheapest of these flash sticks, what gives? Well, it’s a different kind of FLASH Memory. It is all about access time. When you stream an audio wav from a USB stick – it is a stereo (2CH) wave and you don’t know how much latency there is between you pressing play and the audio actually beginning. Could be 300ms, could be 750ms, you don’t know and it is not a concern in that kind of use case.
Well, the FLASH BOARD can handle complex instructions coming from the keyboard to turn on and off multiple audio channels on demand. NOT just a single stereo bus, but 128 audio channels of input. And do it fast enough so that you can play that screaming riff without a second thought about the word latency! You know – hardware! Not that there isn’t any latency, it’s just that its always been small enough to be in the “who cares” realm. But Flash in how fast it has to be to access the audio and deliver it in a musically timely fashion, as they say.
I did some math and figure in a year’s time, a Flash Board saves me almost an entire work week of wait time (I play everyday, and had a basic set that took my Motif XF over 28 minutes to load) – I now turn my instrument ON and MY PERSONAL WAVE ROM is available. Now selecting VOICES is as quick and easy as click-click.
Once organized, your entire MOXF Library of sounds can be Categorized and Rated (by you) and available for instant access – and this will be true for all Voices, even those that use custom Waveforms and Samples.
Troubleshooting: What you want to avoid is DUPLICATING data on your WAVEFORM LIST. This unfortunately can happen when you don’t yet appreciate the fact that data will go to the END of the list (or the lowest numbered empty location). How can the MOXF know that you have not already LOADED the data? This is the beautiful thing – it will keep track of what is in memory already as long as you use one of YOUR custom Files. All of my files “know” that “S700SftSt”, “S700MedSt”, and “S700HrdSt” are situated at Waveforms 0001, 0002 and 0003 of my Flash Board, in the same way every MOXF File “knows” the Concert Grand Piano’s “CF3 Stretch Sw St” Waveform is located at PRESET Waveform 0001.