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N Series FAQ (work in progress)

This FAQ was compiled by Stephen Edwards. Please mail Ugo (Chris Sciurba) at ugo@ix.netcom.com if you have any questions (or answers) you'd like added to the FAQ. Note: This FAQ has been copied directly from our original N series site and has not yet been reformatted. 1. General 1.1 The manual that came from Korg leaves a lot to be desired, are there any books available? 2. Specific Models 2.1 What is the difference between the N364/N264/N1/N1R/N5/N5EX/NS5R/NXR5? 2.2 How does the N5 compare to the Alesis QS6.1, Roland XP-10, Yamaha CS1X and Yamaha CS2X? 2.3 How does the N1 compare to the Alesis QS8? 3. Operation 3.1 How do I make the N1/N5 default to a different instrument when I turn it on? 3.2 What is the Arpeggiator useful for? What are some recommended settings? 3.3 What is "DISP" mode? 3.4 How do I change the screen color? 3.5 What are the different modes (Performance, Multi, etc...) and how do they work? 4. Program Organization 4.1 How are instruments/sounds/patches/programs organized on the N-Series synths 4.2 How are the banks of sounds organized? 4.3 How are the sounds in each bank organized 4.4 All the ads for the N1/N5ex mention a great Stereo Piano sample, which one is it? 5. Third Party Tools 5.1 What patch editors are available for the N family? 5.2 Where can I get good patches for the N series? 5.3 What do I need to know about using my synthesizer with Cakewalk? 5.4 What do I need to know about using my synthesizer with Steinberg Cubase? 6. Midi 6.1 Why are all my Midi patches off by 1 when I import them from my computer? 6.2 My Korg is playing more than one instrument at a time but the layer function is set to OFF...what's wrong? (also see "setting midi channels for individual parts") 6.3 What are the advantages and disadvantages of using the serial cable (PC I/F) vs. standard Midi cables. 6.4 Where can I get the PC I/F cable for my PC or MAC? Can I make it myself? 6.5 What do I need to know about using the PC I/F cable with Windows 3.1/95? 6.6 What do I need to know about using the PC I/F cable with Windows 98? 6.7 What do I need to know about using the PC I/F cable with my Macintosh?

1.1

The manual that came from Korg leaves a lot to be desired, are there any books available?

Unfortunately no, there is no aftermarket available for any of the N-Series (your not alone, this is the first complaint of virtually every new N-Series owner). Alexander Publishing does publish books about a lot of other Synth's including older Korg models. Korg apparently doesn't want to help pay to write the book, and Alexander doesn't want to do it without Korg's support. I would encourage everyone to send a brief, polite e-mail to both Alexander Publishing and Korg Customer Service telling them you would like to see an N-Series book. [TOP]

2.1

What is the difference between the N364/N264/N1/N1R/N5/N5EX/NS5R/NXR5?

In summary: The N1 is an 88 note synth with weighted keys N1R is the rack version of the N1 The N5ex is a 61 key synth with the same sounds as the N1 N5 is the older version of the N5ex (has slightly less waveform memory) The NX5R is a 64 voice rack module that comes prefitted with an XG daughterboard (32 voices) NS5R is the older version of the NX5R (doesn't come with the daughterboard) The N264 is a 71 key workstation with sequencer N364 is the 61 key version of the N264

See the N Series Info on the Synths page for more details. [TOP] 2.2 How does the N5 compare to the Alesis QS6.1, Roland XP-10 and Yamaha CS1X?

[need an answer here] 2.3 How does the N1 compare to the Alesis QS8?

Most people feel the Korg keyboard has a better simulation of a piano "hammer action keys." The Korg comes with more and better programs. The Alesis is expandable (via PCMCIA cards), and is perhaps more intuitive to operate. [TOP]

3.1

How do I make the N1/N5 default to a different instrument when I turn it on?

The default instrument can be changed by selecting an instrument (called a program in Korgs world) and then saving your current settings (performance)... STEP 1 Select the program/instrument you want to be the default. STEP 2 Press the following buttons in order PERFORMANCE, EDIT, WRITE, ENTER. STEP 3 Turn off your instrument, turn it back on to test. Note: Performances save all of your settings (instruments, splits, knob assignments, etc...). You can save up to 32 performances and select them as needed. [TOP] 3.2 What is the arpeggiator useful for? What are some recommended settings?

The arpeggiator acts as your third hand. It will play notes in predetermined patterns based off of the keys you play. For example, you could split the keyboad and have the arpeggiator play a bass sample on the bottom of the keyboard while you play a lead on the top and still have an extra hand to adjust the knobs and wheels. Although the N1/N5 arpeggiator has settings for several music styles (both melodic instruments and drums) they are most commonly used in electronic music. The one of the commonly desired effects would be to use an arpeggitor at high speeds to add a driving or rushing element to the song. Another common use is to have it play at moderate to slower tempos with perhaps some reverb or delay on the instrument being arpeggiated. These repeating notes and rhythms can give the piece a hypnotic effect. My personal favorite setting is type #7 Arp2. I like to have it set to 16th notes with the velocity set to key, sort = off, zone = all and the swing on 00. The gate setting seems to depend entirely on my mood. I particularly like to use this pattern with synth basses. See pages 13 and 24 of the manual for more info on using the arpeggiator. [TOP] 3.3 What is "DISP" mode?

DISP mode is found by first being in multi mode and then pressing the Multi button once again. My guess is that DISP stands for Display. I say this is my guess because Korg left all mention of this mode out of the N5's manual. The purpose of this mode is to show you the levels of the settings for all the instruments in multi mode all at once. For example, if you are in DISP mode and you move the cursor over to the volume setting you will see now see the volume levels for every instrument. This sort of thing can be usefull if you are trying to get the parameter levels for an instrument set relative to the levels of the other instruments. This mode is by no means essential to completing that task, in fact its not needed at all. Korg just provided it as a convenience.. and then forgot to tell us about it ;-) [TOP] 3.4 How do I change the screen color?

This option was intended to be set so you would know when the synth was recieving GM, XG or GS messages. You can only change the screen color if you have a midi cable plugged into the N1/N5's midi in jack. To change the color press the Global button and then click the right page button until you see "RX. Switch." The bottom row is where you can set your colors. Your choices are either orange or green. If there is a cable plugged into the N1/N5's midi in, then it will think that it is recieving GM messages even if the other end of the cable is not plugged into anything. So if you want to have your screen always green, as I do, then just change your GM color to green. Note: These changes will not take effect untill you shut down the synth and power back up again. See page 65 of the manual for more info. [TOP] 3.5 What are the different modes (Performance, Multi, etc...) and how do they work? Performance mode works in several ways. First off, it is where you can play individual patches and as you scroll through them, the effects will change to the appropriate settings. Performances are also where many particualars can be saved. Things such as layers and splits, octave switch settings, knob settings, arpeggiator settings, multi mode midi assignments, multi mode instrument selections and multi mode master effect settings will all be saved within a performance. In the N1/N5 you have up to 32 performances, all of which are user programmable.

To save a performance: first make your changes (including all multi mode settings.) Next, if you are not already there, return to the performance mode by pressing the "perform" button. Once you are in performance mode again, press the performance button again. You should now see a screen that is all text with no knob setting icons. This screen is showing you several performance settings including the current arpeggiator choice. Now press edit. This will take you to an area where you can make even more changes to your performance including things like knob and expression assignments. When you are done making any additional edits, press "write", choose a performance number to save to and finally press "enter" to save the performance. Since all multi mode setting are saved within a performance, I consider it a branch of performance mode. Multi mode is where you can assign your instruments, related settings, and master effects for use in multitimbral opperations. You can assign up to 32 individual instruments (over 32 midi channels) and have a sequencer play those instruments all at the same time (polyphony limitations permitting). This way the sequencer and the N synth act essentially as your whole band. [TOP]

4.1

How are instrument/sounds/patches/programs organized on the N-Series synths?

On the Korg N-Series synth the basic unit of sound is called a "program" this is similar to a patch or instrument on some other manufacturers equipment. A program is made up of: one or two basic waveforms which Korg calls "Multisamples." a collection of settings that partially modifies the waveform (filters, LFO's, envelope generators, etc...) a collection of settings for effects processing a name

Some of the Multisamples are simple mathematical waveforms, others are quite complicated digital "samples" of acoustic instrument. When we say that N-Series is not expandable, what we mean is that new Multisamples can not be loaded into memory. You can create new "programs" by modifying the settings that go with a "Multisample" and this can yield quite a wide variety of new sounds (you can even purchase commercial sets of programs for the N-Series that make new "programs" from the existing Multisamples). Synths based on the 12 Meg ROM of the N5 series contain 528 Multisamples, Synths based on the 18 Meg ROM of the N1 series contain 563 Multisamples. The N-Series also supports a complex type of "program" called a combination (or "combi"). These combi's can distribute up to 8 programs to play together, in different key ranges. 4.2 How are the banks of sounds organized?

There are four major categories of bank in the N-Series Synths: General Midi Korg Program Korg Combinations Drum Kits

General Midi banks are intended to allow midi files to be played on a wide variety of equipment without worrying about matching the types of sounds the composer intended matching up with the sounds on your device. General Midi is an industry standard that specifies instrument are in a bank and what there relative location is in that banks. The Gm-a was the original General Midi compatible bank offered by Korg on it's older synths. The Gm-b is an improved sounding General Midi compatible bank. Several manufacturers

(notably Roland and Yamaha) created their own standards loosely based on General Midi, Korg provides banks compatible with those manufactures, allowing you to successfully play back a huge variety of Midi files on your Synth. The banks beginning with "r" are Roland compatible banks, while the banks beginning with "y" are Yamaha compatible banks. Drum Kits map different percussion sounds to different notes on the keyboard. The 4 program banks are Korg N-Series original banks based on "programs," and the 4 combi banks are Korgs N-Series original banks based on the the more complex "combination programs." The 100 program slots in PrgU and CmbU are the only slots that can be replaced by user designed programs. Some of the banks are different for different members of the N-Series family, so Midi songs written for one of these banks will not play correctly on a different instrument (the PrgU banks of the N1 is different from the PrgU of the N5 for example). The N-Series synths that feature a keyboard (N5, N5EX, and N1), each have a bank of buttons allowing you to specify the bank and program you would like to play. This is the furthest bank of controls to the right and is labeled "Sound Select." By default only the 4 Prg banks, the 4 Combi banks, the Gm-b bank, the YSFX bank, and the kDrm bank are selectable here (just push the [BANK] button and then push the button (labeled in white) that represents the banks you want). The other banks can be accessed via Midi. Bank name PrgA PrgB PrgC PrgU CmbA CmbB CmbC CmbU Gm-b Gm-a Gm-b Gm-a r:CM r:xx y:xx kDrm rDrm yDr1 yDr2 Description Korg's own preset Program banks Bank of user-editable Programs Korg's own preset Combi banks Bank of user-editable Combi's Old GM-compatible bank (it's found in earlier Korg models) Reprogrammed GM bank, with better sounds. It sounds like Roland's GM synths Reprogrammed GM bank, with better sounds. It sounds like Roland's GM synths Old GM-compatible bank (it's found in earlier Korg models) Roland's CM-compatible bank Bank numbers for Roland's GS-compatible sounds Bank numbers for Yamaha's XG-compatible sounds Drumkit bank (the same found in the X-series) Drumkit bank, GS-compatible Drumkit bank, XG-compatible 100 128 128 128 128 128 ??? ??? 8 12 10 100 100 each # of progs 100 each

YSFX 4.3

Sound effects bank, XG-compatible

52

How are the sounds in each bank organized?

All the sound in the General Midi banks are organized according to the specifications of the General Midi standard (similar instruments tend to be grouped together, i.e. 1-6 are various Piano sounds). You can use the [INC] and [DEC] buttons to step up or down through the programs in a bank (or type the specific program number to go directly to that sound). Drum Kits are also organized by General Midi standards. The 8 unique Korg banks (PrgA, PrgB, PrgC, PrgU, CmbA, CmbB, CmbC, CmbU) have a unique organization. Programs which emulate similar sounding instruments have the same last digit. Piano sounds have the last digit of 1 (1,11,21,etc...) , guitars are 4's, etc... When you press the [HOLD 10's] button and then use the [INC] or [DEC] keys you step through the programs in this order. 4.4 All the ads for the N1/N5ex mention a great Stereo Piano sample, which one is it?

Bank: Prg User (#4), Program: 01 "St. Stereo".