Reader question on WX11 and JV1010 Combo

Here’s a question posted by a blog reader:

I am a sax player and recently purchased a used Yamaha WX-11 & Roland JV 1010.  They are working well, but I am having trouble tweaking the set up.  Unfortunately, the JV 1010 did not come with any documentation.  I have found some of the documents online and am in the process of going through them (I have read the WX-11 user manual, the JV 1010 Owners Manual and am now going through the JV 1010 Reference Manual).  But I am still having trouble doing certain things:  primarily configuring the WX-11 to select specific performances or patches in the JV1010.  The WX-11 seems to be fairly limited in it’s transit capabilities (limited to only voice select 1-5 in a specific bank).  The documentation on those topics is not very helpful in any of the manuals so far since the WX-11 assumes you will use the WT-11 and the JV1010 seems to assume you are using a fully capable midi synth like a keyboard.  I am guessing that I can configure the JV 1010 to accomodate this limitation on the WX-11 but I have not been able to figure it out yet.  GUYZ and MRCASE seem to have used this setup and I was hoping that they might know the answer to that question.  It looks like the MFC1 or MFC10 foot controller can help augment the transmit capabilities of the WX-11 and might offer a solution, but I didn’t want to shell out another $200 right now, I was trying to figure out how much flexibility I can get out of the WX-11 and the JV1010 first.

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5 Responses to Reader question on WX11 and JV1010 Combo

  1. Guy Z says:

    I have the WX7. It can send program change messages for patches 1-5 only, so the WX-11 seems to share the limitation. You can use an editor/librarian to move your favorite patches into those slots in the synth, but the WX 7/11 can’t be set up to select, say, patches 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9. At least, I haven’t found it.

    Regarding bang for the buck, I have some other Roland synths as well, and have plugged the SR-JV80-1 Pop board into all of them. I’m guessing around $75-$100 used right now. IMO, many of the stock sounds in the 1010 suffer from quantity-at-the-expense-of-quality. I think the built-in Session sounds are much better, but the selection is limited. Personally, I seldom need patches other than a good trumpet, flute, violin, clarinet and oboe, and I get these using waveforms from the Pop and Session. Those patches reside in program slots 1-5. For the few others I need from time to time, I made up a chart of patches, and simply twiddle the knob.

    The other part of the equation is to get an editor/librarian that allows you to set up voices to respond to Breath CC#2, and to move patches around. The 1010 can be set up to layer and/or split up to 4 voices in a patch, so the combination of the built-in Sessions board and the Pop provides a lot of sonic flexibility, especially if you are into emulating acoustic instruments. The 1010 came originally with the SoundDiver editor, which can be a bit daunting at first, but worth the effort. Once you have a patch laid out the way you like it, you can substitute other waves, tweak, and save the new one to another slot. Thus, the learning curve eventually levels out, and you can create a lot of workable wind patches pretty quickly. You didn’t mention whether the patches you have are “breath controller friendly.” If not, you really owe it to yourself to work in that area.

    As far as operating flexibility goes, my biggest criticism of the 1010 is the lack of serious front-panel editing. You can modify a few system parameters with the knobs and the info in the little chart screened on the 1010’s top, but tweaking a patch or changing a waveform is out. What this seems to mean in the real world is you create several variations on a patch, try them all out, go back to the computer to modify as needed, and ultimately settle on favorites, at which point you forget what you learned.

    Once you sort it out, the 1010 is a decent little synth for wind controller. Its small size and ease of use are a fair trade for some of the limitations, and you can learn to live with the others. Then too, half the battle of wind control is playing technique, which is between you and the WX. Have fun.

  2. ArtW says:

    I play a WX7 with Roland JV1010 on occasion even though my regular synth is Yamaha VL1m. With the WX7 and WX11, as you noted, you can only change through voices 1-5 on whatever bank you are currently set on the synth. Depending on your music performance style, I’m guessing you will settle down to putting your 5 favorites at the top of the user bank, and then manually switch via the synth for others. While bank/patch switching from the controller is the right engineering solution, in practice I find that hopping around with bank and patch switching during a gig isn’t worth the trouble. I rarely need to switch in less than 5 seconds, and if so, bank switching on a WX5 or similar probably is no faster than doing it manually from the front panel. That’s when finding an older MFC1 or MFC10 foot controller makes sense. In key gigs, I do use a MFC1. I still put my voices in the user bank so there’s no bank switching, but that’s not been a problem and well suited to my non-bank switching MFC1 anyway.

  3. Craig Bryant says:

    Great information in the replies!!!

    Continuing the dialog w/ GuyZ:

    Re: moving patches into User 1-5 – can this be accomplished through the JV 1010 front panel interface? Or only through a computer librarian / editor?

    Re: librarian / editor – any recommendations? It looks like there is some freeware out there (i.e. Emagic SoundDiver 3.0.4) or do I need the Roland official version in which case I need to find someone who can sell me a copy of the factory disc?

    Re: SR-JV80-1 Pop – is that the best add-in board for realistic intruments? Like you, I am primarily in having access to a good (i.e. realistic) sop.sax, tenor.sax, flute, clarinet, oboe & trumpet (perhaps a good pan flute and bagpipes/Uilleann pipes if possible) How does the SR-JV80-1 compare to something like the SR-JV80-98?

    Re: Breath CC#2 – Many of the patches seem to respond to breath control although I would like to know how to do some tweaking there as well, both from 1.) initial attack & 2.) swell sensitivity.

    Regarding #1 – there seems to be a fairly high initial threshold set to initiate sound (if I play too softly then no sound is generated). Can you lower the attack threshold?

    Regarding #2 – some patches seem to have greater dynamic range capability that others (i.e. the swell capability doesn’t seem to increase or decrease volume much beyond the initial attack). Is that something I can set?

    Re: make patches “breath controller friendly” – I am not sure I understand or perhaps that is what I am referring to above and do not know all of the correct terminology. I am very interested in dynamic range (both quiet and loud). This is one of the primary reasons I wanted this horn (i.e. expression capability over a traditional keyboard.) As far as my patches go, I have not yet done any editing so as far as I know everything is factory default. Just playing around with different sounds and figuring out which ones I will use has kept me busy since I bought it 3 weeks ago.

    Continuing the dialog w/ ArtW:

    Re: Foot controller – if I go that route, Is there any benefit to the MFC1 over the MFC10?

    Thank you guys so much for your time. This is great information.

  4. Mardou says:

    I’m a much less sophisticated user than probably all of the post-ers. I play a WX11 with a JV-1010. I don’t use the patch change function 1 – 5 per se. I actually created my own user patch list with the help of SoundDiver and so I just switch to each patch using the knob on the front of the 1010. It would be useful to be able to program 1 – 5 with specific patches/locations, but I don’t know how.

  5. ArtW says:

    Mardou – the WX11 can’t be programmed to specific patches or location. It is hard-coded to point to the first 5 patch slots in the user bank that you created with SoundDiver. While it’s really simple, it’s also really inflexible. The WX5 added bank and voice selection via the top keys on the instrument. WX5 software is pretty good, but I detest the hardware.

    Craig – regarding the MFC-1 vs MFC-10, the MFC-10 has a WX connector, control pedal, and can bank switch. The MFC-1 is much simpler (and physically smaller) and is essentially just 8 switches (4 toggled with an A-B switch) that can be programmed to any patch number within a single bank. So like Mardou, I put my favorite voices in the user bank, and then use my MFC-1 to select what I want. When combined with 1-5 on the WX7/11 instrument, you have 5+8 total patches at very, very quick access. That’s plenty for a 2 hour gig.

    And I had no trouble modifying my MFC-1 to install a WX connector.