How to get 32 tracks of music from your K2500

C.K. Haun, Ravenware Music -

The K2500 allows you to have 32 tracks of sequenced music driving internal and external sounds. This is a very very powerful feature, even if you are not using all 32 tracks. The K2500 sequencers ability to easily control routing MIDI track information can be of great benefit. Even if you don't want 32 tracks, the ability to flexibly control external devices is very important. I have quite a few MIDI devices, and each has some sounds that are unique, or particularly cool, that I don't want to give up. I could sample them into the K2500, but no matter how excellent a sample you get, you won't end up having the *exact* feel of the other instrument. So I don't sample, I just tell them to do their thing from a track on the K2500.

However, it may not be obvious exactly *how* to find this power, or how best to exploit it on your projects. To help I've written this, and a small sample song (OVER16TRK.sea.hqx or OVER16TRK.ZIP) to show the technique.

There are two 32 track paths you can take, either 16 tracks of internal sounds and 16 tracks of sound being controlled by the K2500 but being "voiced" by external MIDI devices (another keyboard, sound module, or whatever), or 32 tracks of internal sounds.

I'll cover 16 internal and 16 external first. The SONG mode of the K2500 unleashes the power of 32 tracks, so please refer to chapter 12 of your Performance Guide for the details of all this, specifically pages 12-27 and 12-46.

If you have an external MIDI device (or 12) have them on for the rest of this.

To begin, I set up 16 tracks of internal-recorded K2500 sounds (see the song Local 16). This song is four bars (of jaunty junk that I did in 3 minutes, so don't complain about the musicallity) long. To listen, select that song in SONG mode and hit PLAY.

You'll be listening to what you usually get from your K2500.

If you have an external MIDI device and have it hooked up and on, you'll notice that it does NOT sound while you are playing "Local 16". Pretty weird, huh?

The secret lies in the track destination. Stop the song, and hit EDIT. Look 2 lines from the bottom of the screen at the line titled "TrackDest". In the past when you've been on this page it has looked like this "---- ---- ---- ----". Now it looks like "LLLL LLLL LLLL LLLL".

What this means is that all the tracks in the current song are set to only send MIDI data "L"ocally, i.e. only to the K2500's internal sound engine. So anything you play on a track with "L" set will only play internal K2500 sounds, and will not be sending any MIDI data down those cables in the back.

This is very handy in itself, as you can imagine (and probably are right now).

But lets go further.

We have 16 tracks of music recorded in "Local 16", now how do we get another 16 tracks of music with is *different* from those?

Scroll to the other SONG in the sample, "Remote 16".

"Remote 16" is using the power of the K2500's ARRANG feature to get 32 tracks. Hit EDIT, then the soft button ARRAG. Look at the top of the screen, and you'll see that the first Step in this arrangment is "Local 16".

Hit Exit to get back to the main SONG page. Fade your external device all the way to 0 on your mixer or on it's volume controller.

Hit PLAY, and you'll hear "Local 16" again, played in your K2500. Now fade UP your external device and fade DOWN the K2500, and you'll hear your external device play 5 tracks of sound that is *completely different* (and musically worse) that the stuff the K2500 is playing!

BTW, I created the external tracks on a Yamaha QY22 since it was the closest so unless you ave one of those hooked up the sound being played will probably be pretty weird, but you still get the point. But it does bring up the important point that you need to remeber (and exploit) that not only are you sending notes, you are also sending program changes and controllers.

Hit STOP, then EDIT.

Look at the "TrackDest" line, and you'll see the secret. This time, instead of "---- ---- ---- ----" or "LLLL LLLL LLLL LLLL" you see "MMMM MMMM MMMM MMMM". Which, as you guessed, means "Send all the data on this track ONLY to MIDI, do NOT play on the K2500".

And that's the whole secret to 32 tracks. Have 16 Local tracks (set to L in track destination) in one SONG, have another song use that song as a Step, and have the enclosing song use MIDI only to fire off the external sounds.

Obviously, you can use this in many more ways than straight 16 local, 16 remote. You can set track destinations to any combinations you want (remeber that the "-" means "Send data to the K2500 AND to the external device"). You will want to be very familiar with the MIDI implementations on the external devices to do this right, since everyone's MIDI reaction may be different (try having Yamaha, Kurzweil, Roland, ensoniq, and Korg all on the same MIDI bus as I do, and you'll know why I have grey hair).

And it can be a bit tricky to get this just right in a song that has multiple steps.

But the capability is there, and it really works very well.


Back to Kurzweil Support Page