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How to upload SYX files to synthesizer via MIDI or USB

Synths with MIDI interface
I will describe the procedure for the PC, though exactly the same process applies for other computers such as Mac, Linux etc. In here i will detail the use of free MIDI/SYX utility program called MIDI-OX which is used among many other things, for system exclusive (aka Sys-Ex aka SYX) transfers. First step is to obtain a MIDI cable that can be connected to your soundcard MIDI jack. If your soundcard does not provide MIDI jacks then you will have to buy a MIDI-USB interface. This will let you connect MIDI cables to your computer via USB and transfer SYX files. The cable that you purchase (ie via eBay) should look something like this:

USB Midi Cable

After you’ve purchased the cable and installed its drivers (important!) then you can proceed with the next step. And that is to download MIDI-OX software which is available here. If you’re on a Mac there also freeware available for MIDI transfers and is called Sysex Librarian by Snoize, available here. There is also a cool guide for using Snoize available here.

Ok back to PC. Once you start the MIDI-OX first step to do is to look for MIDI Devices in one of the menus and make sure that your USB cable device is selected there under MIDI Outputs. Although the picture below shows selection of MIDI Inputs, please make sure you have MIDI outputs selected with the USB cable and its name. If you have a soundcard that already features MIDI jacks, then in the below dialogue you will select your soundacrd’s MIDI outputs, and that’s it.

Using_MIDI_OX_2

Once you have the device selected, close the dialogue. At this point connect MIDI Out jack from your USB MIDI Out cable (or your soundcard’s MIDI Out jack) and connect it to MIDI In jack on the back of your instrument (ie Roland JD-990). Now go back to main window and select the following command:

MidiOx1

The program will ask you for the location of the .syx file. It is the same file that you have purchased, so you will guide program to its location on the hard disk and the transfer will begin. Wait for around 1 minute for transfer to finish, and you’re done. In case device does not receive patches, you will have to read user manual of the particular synthesizer and look for System Exclusive Enable/Disable setting. Most synths have this enabled by default, however, if any problem occurs at this stage it is most likely because System Exclusive on the synth was disabled. For example on Roland JV/1080 this setting is under system as Rx.Exc ON/OFF. Another problem might be wrong Device ID. On most units i can think of, it should be set to Unit#17 or Device ID=17. This is also set under System or MIDI settings within the synth. If you still have problems, try resetting the unit to factory defaults.

blo

Synths with USB interface (i.e Waldorf Blofeld)
If you own a synth with USB interface then you don’t have to purchase USB-MIDI cable. Just download latest USB driver from the synth’s manufacturer’s web site and install it into your computer following the provided instructions. Once you do that, and the USB MIDI drivers are installed, connect the synthesizer to your computer via USB cable. Now start your MIDI/SYX utility of choice (MIDI OX or Snoize) and select the MIDI Outputs, which in this case should be USB Audio Device <synth name>.

mx

One important thing for Waldorf Blofeld users: make sure the buffers in the MIDI transfer program are set to number larger than 1024 bytes. For example in MIDI OX program go to View menu. Inside you will see a command called Sysex… Click on it and the Sysex view window will open. In its header you will find Sysex menu. Inside that menu you will find a command that says Configure… Image above shows the window that should be open. Click on it and set Low Level Input and Output Buffers Size to 1048 bytes. Leave other values at default. Click Ok. Close the Sysex window as well. The rest of the procedure (transfer) is exactly the same as was described earlier and that is: Actions / Send / Sysex File…

Addendum
As of the MIDI-USB cable interface, while it is cool thing for transferring system exclusive messages i do not recommend using it for MIDI sequencing. Please google for: midi jitter usb. :)

Comments (39)

  1. “Sysex Librarian” is the name of the program made by the company Snoize. Thought I’d mention it as I was about to write that I use ‘Sysex Librarian’ and not ‘Snoize’.
    No biggie.

  2. Björn Nilsson

    Any chance this soft would work for saving songs from the sequencer?

  3. In case of the Waldorf Blofeld:

    is it possible to transfer your Analog Voltage soundset also with waldorf spectre to the waldorf blofeld?

  4. Tim

    Hi there! You’ve engineered a lovely sound bank :)

    I’m having a bit of trouble loading them onto my Blofeld, however. I’m using Bome SendSX to transfer them via USB, but it’s only loading half of the bank (i.e. all of the odd patches, but not the evens).

    Any idea what I might be doing wrong?

    • Tim

      Ah! Never mind :)

      I played around with the SendSX settings a bit. Specifically, I set the transfer speed to ‘low’.

      Time to start enjoying the other 50% of this bank!

  5. Matt

    No luck on uploading your beautiful sounds yet, using spector, MBP and a USB cable. Thank you in advance, Looking forward to using these in my Blofeld

  6. Rick

    Hi Don,
    I purchased your sound bank the other week and have since gotten as far as getting the total list of presets recognised in the user patches of the super jv 1080 module using a generic usb midi cable like the one pictured above (am using it with an emu driver which seems to validate it) to transfer the soundset over via midi ox.
    The problem is that I haven’t been able to hear any sound from the user patches despite being able to still hear things perfectly fine in the performance mode and being able to see the midi light flash green… Upon more recent attempts to put the soundest onto the module and after much fiddling with the settings inside the module and with the buffer speed on midi ox etc. it has come to my attention that a message appears on the JVs display reading “data dump error, check sum error” while the sysex file still sends away in midi ox and the midi usb cables light turns green.
    Today I tried a factory reset which was to no avail so I was wondering if you could think of anything else I can do to help fix this problem as I am overly eager to get these beautiful sounds you’ve created in action.
    Thanks in advanced, Rick.

    • Don Solaris

      hmmm, i ensure you over the past 2 years I’ve sold over 100 sets. No a single problem or complaints whatsoever. I think by now the comment section would be crowded with complaints. Perhaps someone of the folks who bought this set can chime in if they had similar problem. But just FYI, factory reset is available on 1080. I’ve just reset mine the other day. For start i would reset the unit and read user manual – section MIDI dump. I will send you another copy of the set. Please try with that one. Maybe the file got corrupted. Then report back here and we will see what can be done.

  7. CP

    Hi Don,

    I have a quick question regarding Analog Voltage. Do you know if it will work with Studiologic Sledge 2.0?

    Thanks,
    CP.

  8. Johannes Auvinen

    With the JV-1080 sound set, can I chose to overwrite the GM bank (or which bank the new sound set overwrites)?

  9. Jamie

    Hello Don, I recently bought Roland JV1010 and found your soundest, which I love. I’d love to put it onto my Roland but unfortunately am utterly useless with this kind of thing. If I purchase the sound set, it downloads to my mac pro, then I send it via the cables to my Roland? Sorry to ask such a stupid question, but I really am a total ass when it comes to computers. I just use my mac to record music and make films. Also…where does it go in my Roland (user?) and… will I loose/overwrite any of the patches already on the Roland? The guy I bought it from was great and reset it to factory resets for me. Thanks for your help and sorry to ask such dumb questions! Take care, Jamie

  10. Jamie

    Hello again. I wrote to Roland UK, and got an email back today from the Tech support guys. They basically said it was too risky to try and upload 3rd party sound sets as I would loose the Roland’s patches and risk corrupting other data on the module…The JV1010 is too old… So…Would anyone be able to tell me if I can still download the sound set to my macbook pro, then use the sounds in Logic pro X with a midi controller/keyboard? Thanks in advance!

    • Don Solaris

      If you’re on a Mac, then there is nothing special you have to do. I will assume you installed drivers for your audio interface. If not ask manufacture for instruction on how to install audio interface. Before doing anything, set the COMPUTER switch on the JV-1010’s rear panel to MIDI. To transfer actual patches, just connect a MIDI cable from audio interface MIDI OUT into JV1010 MIDI IN. Install Sysex Librarian by Snoize, load the SYX file and press Play. After some 60 seconds patches will appear in User bank. You should not worry about User bank being overwritten because that bank is a COPY of existing sounds you already have in the machine.

  11. Very instructive helpful article!

    It also proves that you do not need the much more expensive Roland USB/MIDI cable that many users indicated.

    Using my Linux Open Suse computer with Simple Syssexer it was easy to transfer .syx data to the Volca FM. When using this utility, the MIDI Connection Check fails, but when I do a Request, it actually does the data transfer perfectly.

    Under Windows/XP I could not get MIDI-OX transferring the data successfully at all. The Out LEDS fire, but the Volca FM gets nothing.

    • Jamie

      Hi George, could you help me get this soundest onto my Roland JV1010? I have two good midi leads that are recommended for sysex, and a Scarlet 2i4 interface, the Don Solaris Soundest is in a sysex file on my MacBook pro. I’ve downloaded Sysex Librarian… I haven’t a clue what to do, cannot understand these instructions or the manual, and am lost. I don’t want to accidentally overwrite the sounds already on my jv1010…Thank you.

      • Simon P.

        Mate, this text isn’t technical manual. This is idiot’s guide. Even a guitarist like me can figure it out. Mate, have you considered paying a visit to a fellow musician or a tech and have them upload this sound set for you? Mate, imagine I decide I want to fly to Sweden tomorrow, yet I know nothing about airplanes. And now for the next 5 months I repeat the same question: “can someone tell me how to fly an airplane to Sweden! Boeing 747 manual is so complicated”. Don’t you think it would be more wise to hire a real pilot instead?

        • jimmy

          Hi simon, why do you have to be such a cunt? if you can’t help, why write anything at all? And, I’m not your ‘mate,’ – I spend my life trying to avoid people who call other people ‘mate’ all the time.

  12. Don Solaris

    @Jamie: If you’re on a Mac, then there is nothing special you have to do. I will assume you installed drivers for your audio interface. If not, ask manufacturer for instruction on how to install audio interface drivers. Before doing anything, set the COMPUTER switch on the JV-1010’s rear panel to MIDI. The EASIEST part is the transfer itself: just connect a MIDI cable from audio interface MIDI OUT into JV1010 MIDI IN. Install Sysex Librarian by Snoize, load the SYX file and press Play. Job done. After some 60 seconds patches will appear in User bank. You should not worry about User bank being overwritten because that bank is a COPY of existing sounds you already have in the machine.

    Option B: just send the unit to any musician friend with MIDI interface, to upload this bank for you. It is 2 minute job or less. Or ask about any local music studio, bring them the unit, buy some beer and let them transfer the patches.

    • Jamie

      Awesome, thanks so much. Thanks, Don. Take care.

      • Don Solaris

        Where exactly are you located? I know a lot of producers around the world. I can ask them to upload this for you if it is too complicated.

  13. Jamie

    PS… Do I have to do anything to the Roland before I press play and the sound set downloads? (The switch is already on ‘midi’) – What I mean is…do I need to turn the selector switch for ‘category’ to ‘user’ before I start to download? Thanks.

    • Don Solaris

      No. MIDI is extremely “dumb” protocol. It is from 1983. It doesn’t know drivers, installations or anything for that matter. You just press play and it should come up in the unit after 1 minute.

  14. Jamie

    I’m in South London, UK…

  15. Daniel

    hello don solaris, i ‘m trying to send syx file to my jd 990, but i have a problem because the jd 990 don’t receive the library. I use sysex librarion with a imac. Is there any option in the menu of the jd that does not let write in the user bank?Could you explain step by step how would you do with the jd 990 touching the options of the jd until sending the syx? Thank you.

  16. Dave Stevens

    Great information! Walked me through the process with 100% success. If you’ve got a fan club I’m joining!

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