KDFX and sequencer effects control, A simple example

C.K. Haun, Ravenware Music

KDFX is very very powerful. One of the most powerful aspects is the ability to have a SONG that has different effects for each instrument in the SONG, and has the ability to control effect parameters for different effects independently in realtime or recorded.

This is hugely powerful, but can be somewhat confusing when you first approach it in KDFX. Instead of storing effects control message in the track that they apply to, you need to have a separate "effects track" that contains the effects modifiers that apply to a "global" song effects studio.

Please note that this is to allow you the full power of KDFX, the power of having different effects for different instruments. If you want to do a simple effects scenario you don't have to mess about with effect tracks and such. But you would be missing out on a great deal of power, don't do it!

Also, it's easy. Getting your head around the concept is the hard part, once you've sequenced multi-effects and multi-mods once you'll see that there is nothing difficult about it. That's what this sample is all about, I've done it once for you, just look at what's here, and modify it for your music!

This sample consists of this document, and the K25 file KDFXSEQ.K25 (or KDFXSEQ.K25.zip for windows users). That file contains the song, the modified programs, the effects Studio, and everything you need to see this in action.

NOTE: The effects in this sample are extreme! This is not a sample of how to create good effects, rather a sample of how to use the sequencer to control FXMods.

I'm assuming that you've read the documentation and have played around a bit with the effects, and understand terms like PAUs and Bus Mods. If not, go read the docs. The documentation does a great job of explaining the relationship between studios, programs, and songs, but a little hands-on really helps too!

First things first.

To control multieffects and effect modifications in a sequence, we need a program that will occupy a song track and will contain effect information. Lets set up an Effects Program to be the home of our Effects studio and effects modification messages.

Setting up the Effects program.

To control effects with the sequencer, you need to have a place to record the MIDI messages that will affect the effects. Slider moves, mod wheel moves, all of those actions need to be stored someplace for later playback.

In SONG mode, MIDI data is stored in a track, and a track needs to have a program assigned to it. That means that you have to have a master effects program for your song.

Program 200,effects program is the heart of this example. Lets look at it in detail.

From the top (program) level of your K2500, select 200*effects program, and hit EDIT.

Now go to the Keymap page, and the first thing you'll notice is that there is no keymap assigned to this program. That's because we don't want it to sound, we don't want any intstruments on this track, all we want this program for is to be able to assign it to a SONG track so we can record our effects controller changes. Those changes have to be recorded somewhere, and the place they get recorded is a track.

Note: If you are really stressed for track space, you could use this track with a real keymap also, I guess, but that would make your effects laying-down harder, because you'd be hearing the notes on the effects track while you were trying to adjust the effects on other tracks.

Since we're using this just for effects, lets go to the best part, the KDFX page. Arrow around until you get to the KDFX soft button, and press it. You'll see at the top 200*FX samp studio. Below that you'll see some other stuff, ignore it for now.

200*FX samp studio is the FX studio assigned to this program, which means of course whenever this program is the KDFX controlling program, this studio is the KDFX controlling studio (see FX modes in the manual for details).

Lets look at this studio. Hit Edit, and you'll get into the studio itself.

As you drop in to studio editing, you'll always be looking at FX bus 1, and that's where we are. FX bus one is using the multieffect 176 Squeeze Flange. Hit Chan/bank up to look at the other 3 FX busses, and you'll see that bus 2 has no effect, bus 3 152 Chorusier, and bus 4 has 925 LazerfazerEchos.

So we've got 4 FX busses with 4 different effects ("none" is an effect, dang it). Do the Chan/Bank thing again, and look at the SIZE parameter on the top line. You'll notice that each of the effects I've chosen for this example use one PAU each, so there is one left over. Managing PAUs is something you'll have to get good at.

NOTE:For this example I have not used the Aux effect or done anything with the mix, so ignore those. The KDFX manual covers these in depth, read about 'em there.

That's really all we care about in the studio itself. All I did there was select 4 different effects for 4 different busses, I did NOT make any controller assignments inside the studio itself! The program FXMods that are already in place take precedence over whatever I do in the studio, so it's pointless to do that here. Look at the FXMods flowchart in the manual and you'll see why.

In this case, since I've already set this studio and programs up, KDFX is wise to me, and shows you the overrides I already have in place. Hit Chan/Bank to get to bus 4 and you'll notice that the Wet/Dry parameter says "FXMod", that means that a user of this bus has already overridden the wet/dry level. Pretty cool.

Hit Exit to get back to the FX program. Now lets look at bus modifications. If you have clicked correctly, you're at EditProg*KDFX, if not click EXIT until you're back at the top level of the K2500 again, make sure program 200 is selected, hit EDIT, and arrow 4 times left, and hit KDFX, we'll wait....

At the bottom of this page are some bus modification input areas. This is the fun part, the part where you get to set up how effects will change under program control.

I've set up three bus modifications on this page;

For the Squeeze Flange on FX bus 1, I wanted to adjust the feedback level of the effect with my Foot continuous controller. So I set...



controller is affecting bus 1


Fdbk Level

I want to adjust the feedback level of the Squeeze Flange



This is the staring point for my adjustment, when my footpedal is at 0 the feedback level will be 0



use my CC pedal on CC 1



This means that we'll add up to 80 more percentage points of feedback to the effect, starting at 0% (the Adjust parameter). This means that when my foot pedal is fully depressed the mix will be 80% feedbacking (adjust + depth)

That's the only modification I'm making to this effect. You could make a lot more, of course, but I want to keep it simple for this example.

For effects bus 4, I want to adjust the wet level. I could use the pedal for this also, but I want to be able to control this independent of the foot, I want to adjust the wet level with slider B.

Wait a minute! What happened to bus 2 and 3?

Oh, I'll get to them. I did this out of order on purpose, to make sure you were broken free of misconceptions. You don't need to do anything in a strict order in KDFX or in the K2500 sequencer!

Back to bus 4....



controller is affecting bus 4



I want to adjust the wet/dry mix



This is the staring point for my adjustment, the mix will always be 5% wet even my slider is at 0



This is slider B



This means that we'll add up to 30 more percentage points of wetness to the mix, starting at 5% (the Adjust parameter). This means that when my B slider is fully up the mix will be 35% wet (adjust + depth)

I wanted to do one more thing with the LazerfazerEchos, I wanted to vary the fazer delay parameter. But I didn't want to set up another controller to do it, I want it to vary at the same time the wetness varies.

So I did.

The bottom bus mod on this page is set up like so....



controller is affecting bus 4


Dly Coarse

I want to adjust the coarse delay time



This is the staring point for my adjustment, there will always be 300 milliseconds of delay even my slider is at 0



This is slider B. Same as the wet/dry adjustment, KDFX is cool with that.



This means that we'll add up to 1000ms more delay to the fazing. This means that when my B slider is fully up the delay will be 1300ms (adjust + depth)

Dang, I have no room to do anything to bus 3! Well heck, did you thing KDFX was only going to allow you 3 mods??? Of course not! Hit the FXMOD2 soft button on the bottom of the page for 5 more!

You're now on the 2nd FXMod page. and there are 5 more modification you can make on this page. There are 4 FXMod pages, allowing you to control, in real time, up to 18 FX modifications on 4 different buses! Very very powerful and amazing!

On this page I'm working with the effect on bus 3, Chorusier. Again, I did this out of order so your brain wouldn't be in a rut. In this case, I'm controlling the feedback level of the delay loop on the chorus on effects bus 3. This is, by the way, a stereo chorus so I'll have mods for both left and right.



controller is affecting bus 3


R Fdbk Level

I want to adjust the feedback level of this effect on the right channel



When my controller is at 0, there is 15% feedback



This is the data slider, slider A on the K2500



This means that we'll add up to 84 more percentage points of feedback control to the mix, starting at 15% (the Adjust parameter). This means that when my data slider is up the feedback level will be at 99% (adjust + depth)

The next bus mod is the same, just acts on the left channel.

That's it for the FX controlling program. We now have a program that contains a FX studio, and has modifications to some FX parameters that will allow us to control and record FX parameters.

I only modified one parameter for each effect, there are so many things you can do here it's mind-boggling, as you create real music you'll want to play around a great deal more!


Setting up the song programs

Hit exit, then hit SONG. Scroll to song 200 KDFX sample This is my simple, 20 bar song to show how this all comes together.

This song has 5 tracks, one track devoted to the effects, the other 4 tracks have the programs that actually create the music. Lets see what I picked


FX samp studio


Cee Tuar


Synth fretless


light kit


meditation pad

Wait a minute! All of those sounds are stock sounds on the K2500, what are they in the 200s bank and not in their regular positions????


OK, here's the deal; Every program on your K2500 is designed with a specific KDFX studio. Cee Tuar, for example, normally works with Studio 52 auxChrMDly Room. But I didn't want that, I wanted my own effect and my own bus modification.

That means I have to modify the programs I am using in this song to work with the effects studio I want to use in the song, which means I have to change them and re-save them as new programs.

You have to drum this one into your head. Change the effect and bus mod, duplicate the program. Uuuuh, better buy the P/RAM upgrade.....

What did I change? Lets see. Chan/Bank to channel 2 and hit EDIT. Hit the left (or right) soft arrow until the KDFX button is shown, and hit it. You'll see that the top parameter now says Studio: FX Samp Studio. This means, as you might expect, that this program now uses our sample effects studio.

There is one other modification you need to make to a program to make it fit your studio. Arrow around until the OUTPUT softbutton shows up, and press it.

The top parameter on this page defines the routine for this program. You'll see that this one is set to KDFX-A, that means that we're feeding this program to FX bus 1 (why doesn't it say FX Bus 1 then, instead of KDFX-A? Ask Kurzweil ).

Just another thing to remember. When you change a program you have to change both it's studio (usually) and it's bus routing to get the effect you want.

The only change I made to the Cee Tuar program was to change all of it's routings on the OUTPUT page to be routed to KDFX-A, and changed its KDFX studio to 200.

Our routings in this song are


Cee Tuar

FX bus 1 (KDFX-A)


Synth fretless

FX bus 2 (KDFX-B)


light kit

FX bus 3 (KDFX-C)


meditation pad

FX bus 4 (KDFX-D)

Important! Always make sure that you route all the layers of a program to the correct bus! Multi-layer programs need all their layers set or you won't get what you expect. Of course, the flip side of that is that you can have different layers going to different busses. Are you getting how very powerful KDFX is yet?There is a key combo to change them all at once, I forget what it is.

These routings mean that the Cee Tuar is using the Squeeze Flange effect, Synth fretless has *no* effect, light kit has Chorusier, and the meditation pad has LazerfazerEchos.

Do we have all our routings done yet? Not quite.

KDFX allows different studios to be in control at different times based on master setting. This is similar to the way you control controllers and the like in setups. Lets see what we're doing here.

Hit exit a few times until you're at the top level of the K2500. Now hit Effect.

This should be set at mode Auto, Chan current, and will show the FX samp as the one being used. Leave this set this way.

Auto could mean that the studio and effect will change based on what program you're using, but no! It's easy to manage this in a song, you don't have to think. Hit SONG, now hit EDIT. 3 parameters down the left side you'll see a new parameter, EffectChan. Here's where you tell your song where your effects program lives, in this case it's set to 1. Whatever studio is associated with channel 1 will be the effects studio that controls all the effects in this song. So, once you set (or verify) that this is the case you don't need to think about it again.

Lets listen to the song once (You did already, didn't you?). Hit EXIT to get back to the main SONG page, hit MISC and set playback to loop if it already isn't, hit MAIN again, press STOP 2-3 times to make sure the SONG is reset to defaults to remove any messing around you may have done. Now hit PLAY. You'll hear the song play, This is the main theme to my soon-to-be award winning score of "Chariots of Fire II:The Nike Generation". You should be able to hear changes in wetness and in the laserverbing as the song plays.

Lets get into the details.

The song was built in two steps. The first step was recording the performances, I played and recorded tracks 2-5 just like you normally would with the K2500 sequencer. I didn't do anything with effects at this point, just played and recorded.

Adding the effects was just as easy as creating the instrument tracks. I set the recording track to be track 1 (the track containing "effects program") and recorded my controller moves.

To get the increased wetness in the Cee Tuar, I recorded track 1 and pressed the foot pedal down fully every now and again to get a 100 wet level. Then I recorded the track again (record mode "merge") and moved the B slider to get the variable wetness level I wanted on track 4. For the additional Laserverbing, it was the same thing, I started recording track 1, and moved the data slider to get the variable depth. The laserverbing is actually the easiest to hear, listen to the drum and cymbal to hear the variable effect.

I didn't even need to start and stop the sequencer, of course, I could have had things set to loop record and added all the effects I wanted without stopping.

I didn't, because I actually did something else when I recorded. I wanted to hear just the track I was "effecting", so when I added the effects to track 2, I had track one in "R", track 2 in "P", and the other tracks in "M", or mute, so all I heard was the track I was working with.

Switching track muting adds another dimension to this, also. If you don't want to hear the effects actions, just playback with track 1 muted! That keeps any of the controller actions from being "played" and you hear a unmodified song. Very cool.

Of course, you get a lot of controller actions recorded in your effects track. Drop into the event editor and look at all the data on track 1. You probably don't need all of this, after adding an effect sweep I would recommend thin'ing (in the TRACK editor) out the controller messages, you will probably get the same effect with less data being used up.

And of course, if you need to tweak an effect event, you can see only those events using the "view" feature of the event editor.

That's the basics. You now have a SONG with music on tracks 2-5 and effects information on track 1.

OK, so what do you do if the effect or the mod doesn't sound quite right? KDFX allows you to change parameters and all that stuff live, when the sequence is playing. This is way powerful ladies and gents.

Try this;

Get to the main SONG page.

Mute all the tracks except 1 and 4. Wait a few seconds for older note and effect data to die away. Now all you're hearing is the drum track and the lasering. Maybe it doesn't sound right to you, lets fix it!

Chan/Bank to channel 1, the effects program. Move the cursor so effects program is highlighted and now hit EDIT. Arrow left 4 times and hit KDFX (there has to be a simpler way to do this, I know it's somewhere but I forget). Hit EDIT to edit the studio.

As usual, we're looking at FX bus 1 when we first drop in. Chan/Bank up to FX bus 3 where the effect for the drums is. Arrow to bus 4 for a minute, then back to 3. Notice anything? The arrow is flashing in FX bus 3, and not flashing in 4. This shows you graphically that the channel we want to mess with is feeding in to bus 3, when a program is muted the arrows won't flash, which is pretty cool. As I was writing this I thought I had set channel 4 to FX bus 4, the arrows kept me from being frustrated by trying to change something and not hearing any results.

OK, we're on FX bus three. Lets dive down one level so I can show you something;

The 152 Choursier should be highlighted, hit EDIT to see the actual effect. Shows up as 152 Dual Chorus 1. Hey! Look two lines up from the bottom, the L Fdbk lvl and R Fdbk lvl show that these parameters are being FXMod controlled! Very handy, KDFX keeps track of, and shows you, any changes you've made so you don't make mistakes.

Hit Exit to get back to the studio. Scroll twice to select 154, SlowSpinChorus. You can instantly hear the changes, you can change to any effect you want and audition them real-time.

One problem with this; If the new effect you've selected does not have the same parameter that you have a FXMod on, you will not hear the controller action. When we switched to SlowSpin we still get the periodic increase in the feedback level, because this is a chorus and has a feedback to modify. However, now switch to l38 SpectraShapeTaps. Hmmm, sounds a bit plain.

You *only* get the mix level changes, you don't get a change to tap delay or another parameter you may want to modify. Feedback delay is not part of this effect, so that bus mod is not affecting anything. This is fine, since you would want to change that to something else yourself, just something to be aware of.

NOTE: If you do change effects or mods BE SURE you go back to your effects track and ERASE (in the track editor) the controller moves you used before. It's easy to have dead, unused, controllers build up in your effects track if you're not careful.

NOTE: When you change effects, you may run out of PAUs. If you switch to a 4 PAU effect you may lose your other effects, and you won't notice until you get back to the song.

Scroll back to 152 Chorusier.

If you've done the things I said in the last few paragraphs you may notice something. Listen closely. Hey! It's not adding the delay thing! Hit EDIT to see the basic effect. HEY!!!!!!! The FXMod on the two feedback levels is gone!

Yes, it is. When we switched to 138 that mod didn't exist, remember? KDFX forgot about it, so when we scrolled back to an effect that could use it didn't get replaced. Not to worry or panic, just hit EXIT and say NO to saving changes. Wait a few bars, and you'll see the effect is just the way it originally was.

OK, change the effect to 154 and hit EXIT, say YES to saving changes. You'll hear a new effect, with the mods in place.

That's a basic SONG with KDFX and variable effects. Pretty straightforward once you get the hang of it, I encourage you to tweak with this sample to get a good feel for everything.

Text and music copyright 1998, C.K. Haun, Ravenware Music, used with permission

Ravenware Music http://www.ravenware.com

Mac users: Visit our site to find the K2500 Companion, an external control, library, and editing program for your K2500.


note: Some have written asking if this sample works on a K2600. Yes it does, all the info on this page applies to the K2600 -- ckh 2/2007