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MIDI: Changing Sounds for KN7000 & Later

The Playlist feature of the SD cards is a significant way to increase the enjoyment and use of many Midi file songs.

"How do I change the sounds in Midi files"?

One of the questions that comes up time and time again!

In the continuing vein of enjoying our Midis, let us take a look at modifying individual Midi files, something that can be universally done with your floppy disk Midis just as well as your SD songs

The most common desire is often to change the lead voice of the melody line to a different instrument. This can be done simply while the Midi file plays but often you may prefer the change and want to save it permanently.

Changing the voice while the track plays is, however, a good way to choose a suitable voice that complements not only the rest of the arrangement, but more importantly also complements the style and action of the track as recorded.

Once your new voice has been chosen and it's effect evaluated you may progress to changing the Midi file permanently and saving the result. Now there are a couple of ways to do this job, and how you do it depends on the circumstances.

I generally edit in step record because often I want to optimise other parameters in the Midi file and this is the correct in depth way of editing. However, many of you may want a simpler method with less button pushes, so let's have a go:

Let's start with an example using the 'Mack the Knife' file from the Strawberry Music 'Frank Sinatra' disk, since this is a popular title that many of you are likely to have. Naturally you do not specifically need this particular song; just follow the steps as a universal guide.

Step 1

The first job is to find the melody track, so load the Midi file normally:

From SD card: Press SD > LOAD > Select SD SOUND > choose the song and press LOAD.

From floppy disk: Press DISK > LOAD > Select SMF if you have Technics songs on the disk too > choose the song and press LOAD. You are now confronted with the Sequencer Play screen showing the tracks that make up the Midi file. Start the song and determine the instrument used for the melody. In this case it is a Vibraphone


Step 2

The next step is to find the track where the melody is recorded. Press MIXER in the screen, and then press Other Parts/Tracks on the panel to get to the Multi-track mixer screen rather than the Technics track mixer screen.


Step 3

Here we can see that there is a Vibraphone on track 4 of this song. Exit the mixer, and with the song still playing click 4 (PART 4) in the sequencer play screen so that the green PLAY icon disappears to confirm the melody stops playing. This is really just a double check for those instances where several tracks may have exactly the same instrument, but only one of the tracks is the main melody track, or the track you wish to alter. Switch Track 4 back on again.


Step 4

The next step is to choose your new voice. Mack the Knife was nicely played with a Vibraphone, a percussive instrument, now normally I would say don't stray too far from this in order not to spoil the laid back, bright 'feel' of this song, and spoil the excellent 'touch' and timing employed in the playing. But for the sake of experiment let's go just a little wild… Start the song again and go back to the MIXER screen. Then press Other Parts/Tr to get to the multi-track screen. Now press SOUND with the top left or right screen buttons and select TR 4 at the bottom.

Step 5

The Vibraphone is highlighted, and the Sound Explorer has now lit up, signifying this is where we can find this Vibraphone because it is a GM voice rather than a Technics voice.

Press Sound Explorer, go to page 11 and choose Echo Drops while the melody is playing and then Stop the song playing before it ends.


Step 6

Now press the PROGRAM MENUS button, select SEQUENCER, then PANEL WRITE and OK to confirm. If you now turn off Program Menus, go back to the Sequencer Play screen and press Fill In 1 to activate the Sequencer Reset, the Midi file will now play with the new melody voice. Pressing Sequencer Reset confirms that the change has been permanently made in the Midi file and the important point is that the voice selection command for the track may be anywhere in the first few measures of the song or sometimes even later.

Therefore stop the song playing after the voice has started playing, change the voice, and then perform the Panel Write procedure.

If you don't like the new voice, repeat the steps with another voice, or load the original song again and start from scratch. This is why it is not recommended to overwrite your original song. It only remains to save the Midi file, and here you should save to a blank space or better, another disk, so your original professionally played song is not overwritten.

Step 7

For SD card: Press SD > select SAVE > SD SOUND then select a location to save your song. Change the name if you wish. Then press PANEL HEADER to ON and change SAVE AS to GM2. Finally, press SAVE.

For floppy disk: Press DISK > select SAVE > SMF FORMAT 0 then select an empty location. Change the name if you wish. Then press PANEL HEADER to ON and change SAVE AS to GM2. Finally press SAVE.


If you have used SD you can go to the SD-SOUND PLAY menu and listen to the two songs to confirm the changes. If you have used a floppy disk you can now go the SMF Direct Play screen and switch between the 2 songs if they are on the same floppy and confirm the change is permanent.

If the melody has a voice change within in, this can be dealt within the Step Record menu, but this is rare, and maybe a story for another day.

We have deliberately kept the format as a GM compatible Midi file here, but you could also have saved as an NX Midi and used Technics voices, but that's also a story for another day! 

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