Korg M3: Using SEQ mode as a "super combi" for live performance

This draft is still under construction. Pardon the dust.


You're confused by the difference between SEQ mode and COMBI mode other than the obvious ability to record music in SEQ mode. Other than that, the pages and tabs for both combis and songs look almost exactly the same but with some minor differences. Why does a song look almost exactly like a combi, but when I try to do typical things that I can do in a combi (like mute and play combinations of voices) it doesn't seem to work right? Why do I see recommendations on the forums to use SEQ mode instead of COMBI mode for live performances or for doing certain things I'm trying to do in COMBI mode that don't seem to be working right?

When COMBI mode is better than SEQ mode and vice-versa

As the next section will describe in more detail, SEQ mode and COMBI mode are nearly identical in many ways. In general, for live performance applications, you can think of SEQ mode as being essentially the same as COMBI mode except that you have access to RPPR patterns which can be used in myriad interesting ways, including the ability to dynamically trigger a lot of SysEx-based parameter changes throughout the M3 with one keypress (or pad-press).

But there are still times when COMBI mode is superior for live performance applications. Here's the executive summary:

  • Use COMBI mode when you need:
    • To be able to dynamically mute and unmute timbres that you are playing with the keyboard/pads in a very rich layered combi. All the play/mute functions in SEQ mode affect only the material being played back from the sequencer tracks — not what you are playing directly. There is one kludgy method to achieve this effect while in SEQ mode but it prevents you from actually using KARMA modules to play anything and it enables only one set of timbres that are either muted or not at any given time.
    • To be able to quickly and easily reset everything in the combi to its stored values, which can be especially useful/important in rehearsals. In COMBI mode, you simply select another combi and then reselect the combi you're working with again and voila! every change you've made throughout your combi is instantly reset to its stored values. In SEQ mode it's a very different story, because every change you make to parameters in a song is remembered even if you switch to a different song and then come back to the song you're working with. The only way to reset the song to its stored values is to reload your saved .SNG file in MEDIA mode. This requires a lot more button presses and a lot more time when your bandmates are waiting on you.
  • Use SEQ mode when you need:
    • To take advantage of the incredibly diverse and useful features of user-created RPPR patterns. RPPR enables techniques ranging from dynamic DJ groove sampler-style improvisation to the ability to dynamically trigger many combinations of backing accompaniment throughout different song sections (unlike just using prerecorded backing tracks, which lock you into a rigid overall song structure and total number of measures).
    • To be able to dynamically trigger a host of diverse parameter changes throughout the M3's architecture at the press of a single key or pad, instead of performing those parameter changes manually by scrolling through multiple different pages and tabs, or parameter changes that would be difficult to perform with pinpoint accuracy using the M3's control surface. You do this by embedding SysEx messages in RPPR patterns so they can be triggered exactly when you want them, instead of embedding those messages in prerecorded tracks that lock you into a rigid overall song structure and total number of measures. this great how-to article by JerrytheK explains the details of this technique, and includes a downloadable .SNG file that demos all the tricks he explains in the article.
    • To be able to use pre-recorded backing accompaniment, either on demand in a flexible way using RPPR, or in a rigid overall song structure and total number of measures in the main 16 tracks of the internal sequencer along with the features of the Cue List.
      • RPPR user patterns can be as long as 99 measures each and they can be set up to play in any track. You can also set up a pattern to play itself out completely after being triggered, and to quantize itself to a beat or even a measure. So you can be playing Track 01 with your main soloing split and when it's time for the chorus or bridge or turnaround or whatever, you can press the keys (or pad) that will play an RPPR backing track for that upcoming song section anywhere in the measure preceding the new section and the patterns will play themselves out fully on their respective tracks. You can make the dynamic playback of multiple patterns easy by assigning each trigger key to a Pad.
      • Of course, if you don't mind being locked into a static song structure and total number of measures, you can just set up your backing accompaniment in a more traditional way using the main 16 tracks of the internal sequencer. The Cue List enables you to record each of your song sections as separate songs, then you can arrange the playback order of the sections and number of times to loop each section before continuing to the next section.

Sequencer songs are just combis with a few extra goodies thrown in

First things first, it helps to understand that a "song" in SEQ mode is almost the same exact thing as a "combi" in COMBI mode. In other words, think of SEQ mode as a special type of combi bank with some extra benefits and some important differences/limitations and you're already halfway there to understanding why it's sometimes better to use SEQ mode instead of COMBI mode:

The article Korg M3: General workflow for using the M3 sequencer goes into a lot more detail about the differences between songs and combis for recording.

But in the context of using SEQ mode for live performance, which is the focus of this article, the main things you need to know about songs versus combis are:

  • Each song slot (S000, S0001, S0002, etc.) is essentially the same thing as a slot in a combi bank.
  • When you save the current (and entire) contents of this sequencer "bank" to external media as a .SNG file, that .SNG file is essentially like one combi bank in a PCG file. So every .SNG file that you create is essentially a custom combi bank that is meant to be loaded into the special sequencer "bank" instead of to one of the regular combi banks.
  • If you're a gigging keyboardist and you spend hours using the M3 Editor to arrange a custom user bank of combis in a particular order that you want to step through them during a live set, you're doing things the hard way. It's much easier and faster to simply import those same combis into the SEQ section as individual songs. (Remember, a SEQ song is a combi, just with some extra goodies you can use.) Select the combi, press ENTER + REC/WRITE, answer OK to the "are you sure?" question, then press REC/WRITE again to turn off recording mode. Rinse and repeat for the next combi on your list: it will automatically go into the next available song slot. You can organize an entire set's worth of combis in just a few minutes this way. Now rename the songs with meaningful song names from your set list and then save the entire contents of the SEQ section into a single .SNG file using the MEDIA mode. You're ready for your gig now.
  • You cannot control the play/mute status of what you're playing on the keyboard/pads with the track play/mute/rec buttons on the Prog tabs of the P0-1:Play/REC page like you can do over in combi mode. Those play/rec/mute buttons affect only what tracks make sounds when you play back your recorded tracks. Instead, to control what tracks you hear when you play the keyboard/pads, you must select that track in the "track selector" field that is located right beneath the big "song selector" field on most P0-1:Play/REC pages.
  • When you select a particular track and play the keyboard, you might hear sounds from other tracks too in either a layered sound or a split. This is because those other tracks are set to the same MIDI channel as that of the track you have selected. And yes, SEQ mode supports splits and layered sounds just like COMBI mode does. All you have to do is make sure the tracks you want to layer or split are all on the same MIDI channel, that the Status field for each track is set to Int or Bth on the MIDI tabs of the P3:Track Param page, and that you have selected one of these tracks in the "track selector" field.
  • In SEQ mode, all 16 tracks can be configured to transmit their events multi-timbrally to an external sequencer (or to pass MIDI and controller data to other sound modules in your setup) by setting the P3:Track Param > MIDI tab Status to Bth on the tracks that you want to send on to external devices. In COMBI mode, the M3 receives multi-timbral input from external sources on all 16 channels, but the M3 transmits events only on Global channel (default channel 01, see Global P1:MIDI > MIDI Basic tab MIDI Channel) when track is set to INT (P3:Track Param > MIDI tab Status).
  • You can easily insert Sysex messages of any type supported by M3 into any of the 16 song tracks or any of the 100 user patterns (RPPR) available for each song. (The M3 has a fantastic dialog for creating SysEx messages in plain English.) Putting your SysEx events in RPPR patterns enables you to trigger the SysEx changes in real time while recording by pressing the pattern's assigned key (which can also be assigned to one of the 8 pads). This gives you the power to dynamically trigger massive changes in the sound of your song with one keypress or pad-press. The possibilities for dynamic sound changes during your recorded performance are endless. You cannot do this to a combi — you can do this trick only in songs. See this great how-to article by JerrytheK for details, along with an .SNG file you can download to demo all the tricks he explains in the article.
  • You can record some simple (or not so simple) backing tracks in the song itself and set them up to loop indefinitely once you start playing anything with the song loaded up. This is another thing you can't do in COMBI mode — only in SEQ mode.
  • The RPPR feature of the internal sequencer is a marvelous real-time performance tool even if you're not using it for SysEx tricks as described in the previous paragraph. RPPR is available only in SEQ mode.
    • RPPR is essentially 100 additional sequencer tracks, called patterns, that are assigned to a key on your keybed, and meant to be dynamically triggered for playback in various cool and useful ways, in real-time, while you are playing.
    • You can also think of RPPR as a "groove sampler" type of functionality (that is limited to MIDI data), which will be come immediately apparent when you work through the Using RPPR chapter of the M3 Operations Guide (on page 73).
    • Each of the 100 user patterns in each song can be as long as 99 measures!
    • There are also 672 preset patterns (all meant for use with Drum programs).
    • Since each pattern is triggered by a specific key that you assign, you can play neat tricks with the Pads 1-8 such as playing a chord and also triggering a pattern along with that chord (or you could assign only the pattern trigger key to the Pad).
    • Each pattern is assigned to a particular track and will play the assigned track's program even if you're playing a completely different track on the rest of the keybed! For example, you're playing a lead synth sound in real-time, but your pattern trigger keys are playing phrases or entire song sections in any voice that's on any track in your song!
    • You can create your song's user patterns in various ways: by recording each one in real-time in a Loop All Tracks mode (which loops continuously over all the measures in the pattern), by using the Step Recording function, or by just copying selected measures from one of the 16 main song tracks into the pattern. You can also use the Event Editor function to fine tune the contents of your pattern in a very granular way (this is how you insert SysEx events into a pattern).
  • You can record some simple (or not so simple) backing tracks in the song itself and set them up to loop indefinitely once you start playing anything with the song loaded up. This is another thing you can't do in COMBI mode — only in SEQ mode.
  • Let's review: a song is not the same as a .SNG file (you'll often hear people on the forums talk about a "song file"). The .SGN file is a snapshot of the entire contents of the SEQ section — essentially the same thing as a "bank" over in the COMBI section. Each song inside the .SNG file is exactly like a combi — it really is a combi for all intents and purposes—with just a few extra pages and tabs that are related to recording and sequencing what you play with this combi — err — song.

So what are the extra pages and tabs in a song, compared to a combi?

The first cosmetic difference between combis and songs is that what's called a timbre in a combi is instead called a track in a song. They're exactly the same thing, except that the Mute/Play status of a timbre affects what you play on the keyboard/pads, but the Mute/Play status of a track ignores what you're doing on the keyboard and affects only which track you hear during playback of a recorded sequence (or RPPR pattern). When you import a combi into the SEQ section with Auto Song Setup (ENTER + REC/WRITE), nothing about the combi's timbres change except that they are now called "tracks" and can be armed to Rec as well as be set to Play or Mute.

The next cosmetic difference is that some of the sub-pages on a page in COMBI mode (the tabs along the bottom) are located on different pages in SEQ mode. Remember, although you can use the SEQ mode like a "passive" combi bank and just use it for playing live, the main purpose of SEQ mode is to record and playback like any MIDI sequencer. So some of the the pages are slightly renamed and reorganized to make sense in the context of recording, overdubbing, track editing, creating RPPR patterns, etc. There are also a lot of new page menu commands geared towards MIDI recording and editing. And finally, there are some entirely new pages and tabs that do not exist in COMBI mode:

  • P6 Track Edit - for editing the recorded track/note/controller/sysex data
  • P10 Pattern/RPPR - for creating RPPR patterns that can be assigned to a key/pad for 1-press playback
  • P11 Cue List - for arranging and looping the recorded songs (like intros, verses, choruses, etc.) if you're actually using the songs for recording instead of just as a passive combi bank with some extra live performance-oriented features
  • Three tabs on the P0 Play/REC page:
    • PlyLoop 1-8 and PlyLoop 9-16 - for independently looping various tracks in the song in a fairly simple way
    • Preference - for controlling the recording overwrite, overdub or manual/auto punch-in parameters for recording takes, and for setting up the click track and lead-in count.

Aside from the entirely new pages and tabs in the preceding list, every single page and tab from over in COMBI mode is in here somewhere in SEQ mode too, usually with the same name and on the same page. You just have to learn your way around the differences. You can really see the similarity in the M3 Editor, where it's hard to tell any difference at all when you're looking at a combi or looking at a song—-the pages and tabs are laid out exactly the same there.

A closer look at using RPPR patterns

The M3 Operations Guide has an excellent intro on Using RPPR starting at page 97. You'll also want to review the sections on the Pattern Edit and Pattern Name pages starting on page 274 of the M3 Parameter Guide. Since using the feature is relatively straightforward and simple, and the Korg documentation is clear and short on this feature, I'll just highlight a few tips:

  • When several related patterns are set up to play back in Manual mode and to sync to the Beat, you can do some really cool "chopper-style" DJ groove sampler improvisation.
  • When several long patterns are set up to play back in Once mode and to sync to the next Measure, you can dynamically trigger backing accompaniment. This is great when, for example, you have to wait for another band member to signal that he's done with his solo.
  • You can trigger several patterns at the same time either by playing the trigger keys as a "chord" or by assigning those keys to Pads 1-8. You can even assign a pattern that contains only SysEx messages to that Pad, along with trigger keys that start some patterns, to bring in some patterns and radically change M3 parameters at the same time.
  • You can create patterns easily by "getting" selected measures from one of the main 16 internal sequencer tracks.
  • You can also easily copy patterns into the any of the internal sequencer tracks, or save a pattern as a User Drum Track Pattern for use with the Drum Track feature of programs and combis.
  • As a side note, Drum Track Patterns don't have to be drums. You can take any program and save a copy of it into the Drum category. Then, a pattern that you've saved as a User Drum Track Pattern can play that program back as the "drum track" for a program or combi.

A closer look at the SysEx tricks you can use in SEQ mode

If you haven't already read the article by Jerrythek of Korg linked further above, the basic technique for using SysEx in SEQ mode for greater control over the M3 during live performances is to embed the SysEx messages in an RPPR pattern. Then when you play the trigger key for the pattern, the SysEx is executed.

You can also embed the SysEx in one of the main 16 tracks of the internal sequencer if you're playing back a rigid song structure with a fixed number of measures, which means you don't even have to hit trigger keys at various points to execute the SysEx changes. An example further below demonstrates how this approach might sometimes be useful.

A typical reason for using the SysEx capabilities of SEQ mode is to free up your hands to focus on playing the keys and pads and joystick and X-Y touchscreen and KARMA RTC sliders/switches without also having to juggle turning KARMA on/off at certain points, switching KARMA scenes (which is harder on the M3 because you have only 4 scene buttons and clunky way to toggle them), turning the Drum Track on/off, turning X-Y mode on/off or the X-Y hold on/off, etc. Instead, the only thing you have to manually worry about is changing which track you're playing to change the voices/splits on the keyboard and pads.

As just one example of this technique, let's take a song that has a bass - organ split and set up the pads 1-8 to play 8 different KARMA-triggering chords silently so that when you press a pad it triggers no audible sound but just tells the KARMA modules what chords to base their note series on. This enables you to manually control which chord KARMA riffs against regardless of what scalar melodies you're playing on the keyboard, which is sometimes very useful. Then we'll use SysEx messages recorded in your backing tracks to turn KARMA on and off at various points during the sequence playback and even to change scenes. This leaves your hands free to play the bass and organ split over the backing arrangement being played back by the internal sequencer, with you hitting the appropriate pads along with the chord changes in the backing arrangement to keep KARMA in sync with the chordal tones of your backing arrangement. Meanwhile, the recorded SysEx events are making KARMA turn on and off at various points or making scene changes for you at predefined spots in the backing arrangement. Best of all, since KARMA is playing in real-time, you can manipulate what KARMA sounds like by messing with the RTC sliders/switches in real time (or by using the X-Y pad if KARMA is set up to respond to X-Y controller changes). You don't have to worry about stopping and restarting KARMA at precisely the right spot, or about making scene changes, etc. because the recorded SysEx events are doing that for you.

Note: This example embeds the SysEx messages in a fixed song structure in the main 16 tracks, but if you wanted to use an octave of your keyboard for RPPR trigger keys and juggle hitting those trigger keys during your performance, you could alternatively set up these SysEx changes to be triggered by RPPR patterns instead.

Combi I-C030 Dreamin' and a Jahmmin' is a great combi to illustrate the value of using SEQ mode in this way. Play with the original combi for a bit to get a feel for how it's set up in COMBI mode and what's potentially wrong with it for a live performance. You'll see that the bass voice on the lower half of the split triggers only Module A of KARMA, which is atonal percussion. In other words, the notes/chords/intervals you play on the bass part of the split have no effect on the note series used by the more tonal modules B and C. Only the right hand piano voice is what triggers modules B and C. Module D isn't used in this combi.

Now, the problem with the right hand is that both single notes and chords/intervals will change the note series that KARMA is using for modules B and C. So KARMA won't "hold a chord" while you play slow riffs/melodies on top of it. With each note you play in an RH melody/riff, you're changing the tonality of KARMA, which might work in some limited applications where you play only chords with your right hand as a backing voice in a larger composition, but this won't work well at all if you're trying to actually play a melody over the top of the KARMA accompaniment.

So here's how we modify this combi over in SEQ mod to be more useful for solo playing in a live gig:

  1. Move the combi over into the SEQ section with Auto Song Setup (press ENTER + REC/WRITE at the same time)
  2. Start and immediately stop recording so the metronome will shut off. We need to do some setup before we actually record anything.
  3. Play a bass riff in your left hand while you play some chords in your right hand. Notice how it sounds exactly the same when it was a combi? And that you're clearly playing a split here in SEQ mode? Some people mistakenly say you cannot play splits when you're in SEQ mode, but here's proof that you can. More on that in a moment.
  4. Turn off KARMA for now, and let's examine how the split is working in SEQ mode
    1. On the P0-1 Play/REC page, go to the Preference tab and notice how MultiREC is on? Turn it off and play your split some more. The split is still working, so it's not MultiREC that makes a split work in SEQ mode.
    2. Go to P3: Track Param and look at tracks 1-4 on the MIDI-1-8 tab. See how they're all set to channel 01? These four timbres will always play when Track 01 is the selected track in the SEQ mode. (I'm talking about the track selector right beneath the song name in most windows.)
    3. Now go to the Other 1-8 tab and look at tracks 1-4. Notice how track 3 is set to On in the KARMA Track Off Control row? But tracks 1, 2, and 4 are set to Nrm?? What this means is that when KARMA is ON, track 3 will be automatically silenced, because KARMA module B is set up to play that same exact muted guitar program, so you normally want to silence that voice from your key/pad playing when KARMA is playing the voice. This setting is something to look for when you're trying to figure out why some voices or even entire splits will suddenly go silent whenever KARMA is turned on. For example, the entire bass split in I-A039 Organ Donor Funk will go silent when KARMA is turned on for this reason.
    4. Now go to page P4:Zone/Delay and look at the key zones section at the top. You'll see that the Bass voice on track 1 is set to the lower half of keyboard, and the other three voices on tracks 2-4 are set to the upper half of the keyboard. So you should be expecting to hear a bass only in the left hand (when KARMA is turned off), and three different layered voices in the right hand: piano, muted guitar, and a horn section.
    5. Play your right hand carefully. You hear the piano and guitar voices layered alright, but where is the horn section? Let's see what's going on here. Go to the Vel Z 1-8 tab and look at track 4 where the horn section is. See how the Bottom Velocity is set to 109? Unless you have fingers of steel and the reflexes of Bruce Lee, it's pretty hard to consistently nail a 109-velocity keystroke when the M3 is set up to a "normal" velocity curve, which is why you're probably not hearing the horn section. Let's dial this *Bottom Velocity** down to somewhere in the 98 - 102 range (or thereabouts) and play with the right hand some more. Now us mere mortals can actually trigger the horn voice on faster chord/note hits, which is a really nice voice to bring into play in this combi/song.
    6. So to review splits in SEQ mode: As you can see, they work essentially the same, with the only difference being that in SEQ mode, it's only the voices (tracks) that are on the same exact channel that can be set up as a split. And you must have one of the tracks in that channel as the selected track (underneath the big song title field). Over in COMBI mode, it works the same way: every timbre used in the split is assigned to the global channel (Gch) which is the same thing as channel 01.
  5. Now we make it so that the keys in the normal right hand keyboard range of C4 through C7 (on a M3-73) no longer trigger KARMA modules B and C, which are the two "tonal" modules. (It's fine to have the right hand trigger the KARMA drums on module A, since there's no tonality to the drums.)
    1. On page P7-1 KARMA1 GESetup, go to the Setup B tab and in the Zone area, set the Btm to C-1 and the Top to B0. This drops the trigger zone for module B down below the normal right hand range of the M3-73 keybed (which starts at C1)
    2. Do the same thing for module C on the Setup C tab.
    3. Now make sure KARMA is on and play your split some more. Both the right hand zone and the left hand zone trigger the drums on module A, but no longer trigger the guitar and organ on modules B and C.
  6. Now we need to change the Pads 1-8 to play the chords you want to use to control KARMA's tonality on top of your backing arrangement. We'll pull a simple MIDI routing trick here to make the notes played by the pads be completely silent by themselves, but their notes will drive KARMA's note series. In other words, the pads will tell KARMA what chords to work from, but they won't make any chordal sounds themselves.
    1. Set up all the Pads to play the chord tones from your backing arrangement.
      1. Play the first chord, let go of the keys, then press CHORD ASSIGN and let go, then press Pad 1.
      2. Do the same thing to assign your remaining chords to the rest of the Pads.
    2. On page P1 DT/XY/Ctrls, go to the Pads 1-4 tab and press the > button at the top of each pad's column and choose 16. Now those 4 pads are sending their notes only to channel 16 which is completely silent in your song right now because track 16 is set to Off on the MIDI 9-16 tab on page P3:Track Param. This means that no MIDI data sent to channel 16 are passed through to the tone generator.
    3. Repeat this process on the Pads 5-8 tab. Now all your Pads are sending their chords to channel 16, but none of the notes are passed through to the M3 tone generator.
    4. Play the 4 pads to see that they make no sound now.
    5. Now we make the KARMA modules "listen" for their trigger notes on channel 16 instead of on the default channel 01:
      1. Go to page P7-1 KARMA1 GESetup and on any one of the Setup tabs, set the In value of the MIDI I/O area to 16 for modules B and C. This tells them to watch channel 16 for their trigger notes.
      2. So at this point we have the pads playing silent chords that tell KARMA what tonality to use for modules B and C. Meanwhile, only the keyboard (which is set to Track 01) will trigger the drums on module A, because module A is still listening to the default channel 01 for its trigger notes.

So let's take a break and mess around with your new song. Try starting a simple intro with only KARMA modules B and C by playing pads alone for two or four measures, then coming in with a bass riff on the left side of the split (which also brings in the drums on KARMA module A). Now play melodic riffs over the chord progression that you trigger with the pads. Hit a pad and let KARMA play the backing organ/guitar comping pattern while you noodle with piano melodies on the right side of the split and notice how KARMA will sustain it's comping pattern in the tonality set by the chord assigned to the pad regardless of what you play in your right hand.

Now we're ready to soup up this song with some SysEx magic to make KARMA come alive in a way you can record and play back as part of your sequence. The basic idea here is to record only some control surface moves onto Track 1, to capture some typical realtime changes to what KARMA is doing, such as turning KARMA on and off at certain points, changing scenes, turning modules on and off, making slider and switch moves to morph the sound of a scene, etc.

  1. Go to page P0-1:Play/REC, then to the Preference tab, and ensure that the Multi REC check box is cleared. Also make sure that you're in Overdub mode since we'll be layering a simple backing arrangement bit by bit.
  2. Go to page P7-1:KARMA1 GESetup and on any of the Setup tabs, switch the MIDI I/O In channel for modules B and C back to channel 01 temporarily. (Remember to set these back to channel 16 once you've recorded all your backing tracks for this song.) When recording your backing arrangement by using the keyboard, it's helpful to have the keyboard trigger KARMA and hear the full KARMA accompaniment to help your timing and dynamics.
  3. Go to P0-1: Play/REC, then to any tab that shows the bar counter.
  4. Pick a good KARMA scene to use as your "guide" while you work out your backing tracks. Don't worry, nothing KARMA is outputting is actually being recorded yet.
  5. Lay down a simple backing arrangement on the split itself, such as one recording pass for the right hand and one recording pass for the bass on the left hand. Since you're in Overdub mode you can build it up phrase by phrase if that's easier for you. Yes, you might not want any recorded data on the split tracks itself since you're going to use those to play live over your backing arrangement when we're all through. That's okay, if we need to we can erase all the MIDI notes from the track later. Or you can choose to put down a very sparse backing track with a lot of "space" over which you can play melodies and bass riffs later during performance. Either way, the point is to lay down a simple backing track of your song's chord progression and structure and hints at enough dynamics that you can make some good decisions on where to change KARMA scenes, where to turn KARMA off, where to play with KARMA sliders/switches etc. when we do our KARMA control surface recording pass later.
  6. Ooops! You made a goof during a take. Since you're in Overdub mode you can't just write over the bad stuff on the next take. How do you fix this? By using what I like to call "the COMPARE trick. Basically, when you're working in Overdub mode and you flub a take, just stop the sequencer, press locate to move back to your lead-in position for the take, then press COMPARE. Now, while the COMPARE button is lit, just arm recording again with REC/WRITE, then press START/STOP and redo your take. You can do this endlessley until you get a good take, at which point you just reset your locate position and prepare as normal for the next take. Why does this work? Because when you press COMPARE you essentially revert everything you just did during that take to how things were just before you started recording. If you then start recording at this point, you're starting again from the exact same point you started when you made the bad take. You're not overwriting the bad take; you're just reverting to how things were before the bad take and starting again from there.
  7. Now that you've made a simple backing arrangement that outlines your chord progression and dynamics, you're ready to practice some KARMA "performance" run-thrus to figure out your controller moves, scene changes, etc.
    1. Set the KARMA modules back to channel 16 so that only the pads will trigger KARMA.
    2. Play back your recorded arrangement and practice hitting the pads at the proper times to make KARMA follow along with the chord progression of your backing arrangement.
    3. Once you're comfortable playing the pads in time with the sequenced chord changes, start figuring out where you want scene changes, where to turn KARMA off and back on again, where to unlatch KARMA, etc. It's best not to get into slider/switch moves just yet — you'll overdub those in a later pass.
    4. Now arm for recording and make a recording pass while playing the pads to keep KARMA moving along with the backing progression, and making the scene changes, etc. that you practiced.
    5. Play back the take and make sure it's good. If not, do "the COMPARE trick and try again until you nail it.
    6. Now repeat this process, playing back what you've got so far, but this time work out and practice your KARMA slider/switch moves. The previous take you recorded will be automatically changing the scenes and whatnot for you, so all you have to worry about is trigger the right chord changes for KARMA with the pads and experimenting with slider/switch moves that will sound good. Remember that you can reset all the sliders/switches for a scene by pressing RESET CONTROLS and KARMA at the same time. (Although this reset cannot be recorded, unfortunately.)
    7. Once you've got your slider/switch moves figured out, overdub them in another recording take.
      • Tip: If you build this whole take slowly just a few measures at a time where you plan to do slider/switch moves, and if you use the Control Surface tab on page P0-2 Play/REC Control to make careful notes of the original values of every slider and switch in every scene you plan to manipulate with slider/switch moves, you can use the Event Edit command on page P6:Track Edit to manually insert SysEx events at the end of the last measure in the take that will effectively reset the scene's sliders and switches to their original values. I'm not going to go into how to do this but by looking at the recorded SysEx events you can figure it out with a little RTFM action.

Okay, when you've completed this process, track 01 of your song now has recorded automation for KARMA. When you play back your song in a live set, all you have to worry about is playing the Pads to create the chord progression that KARMA is playing, and your recorded automation does the rest of the job for you, freeing your hands and your attention to focus on the keyboard itself. You might or might not also have some backing tracks in the song as well. You now have a "super combi" in the form of a song that can do all manner of tricks you could never pull off in COMBI mode.

lotta cleanup to do on the original copypasta below. Probably need to throw out a lot of it

  1. On your first recording pass(es) for the song, you turn Multi REC off so that KARMA will play but not be recorded.
  2. Then you focus on recording one track at a time to build up your backing arrangement. Let KARMA play from the start but don't bother with scene changes or RTC moves; you're only using KARMA as a clock to help you keep your timing as you build your backing arrangement track by track.
  3. When your backing arrangement is done, play back your sequence a few times and practice triggering KARMA with manually-played chords (or pads) over the top of your backing arrangement.
    • Remember to set up KARMA's MIDI I/O In channel to match the channel of the track you intend to play as your main lead/solo voice over your backing arrangement. (This is done on page P7-1 KARMA GE/Setup.) For example, if you plan to play a split on tracks 9 and 10, both of which are set to MIDI channel 06, then you should set the KARMA MIDI I/O In to 06.
    • Remember to pay attention to the trigger zones set up for the KARMA modules, also set on page P7-1 KARMA GE/Setup. For example, if your split is a bass instrument on the left hand and a lead synth on the right hand, you probably aren't generating enough chordal information for KARMA to trigger its note series well. So you probably want to create a third split zone down below the left side of your keyboard (Usually in the range of C-1 through B0), set that zone to


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