PLG150DX - Yamaha DX board in a modular system?

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parasitk
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PLG150DX - Yamaha DX board in a modular system?

Post by parasitk » Wed Oct 29, 2008 3:09 pm

Warning - DIY noob zone!

So I have a DX200 here. It's a cool little DX groovebox, but it has a couple (documented) problems. Like the data entry knob not really working, and this sequencer bug where it drops the first note. In addition, today the Play/Stop button stopped working...

I really only use it as an FM sound module - I really couldn't care less about the sequencer, drums, blah blah. Also there is no OS X editor that lets me get at the parameters that the front panel hides. Yaargg. :mad:

Anyway today I opened it up to see if I could fix the data entry knob (until I read this is a common problem, and is likely software related) and button, and noticed the "Modular Synthesis Plug-in" FM board - the PLG150DX (which Yammy now sells standalone) - is right there at the top, and it's really not too big at all. It could easily sit behind a Frac panel. Of course that got me thinking...

Thing is i wouldn't even know where to start on a hack like that - plus I'm sure there is proprietary yamaha nonsense all over the place. But if I could somehow end up with a CV controllable FM module - fuck, I'd be a happy happy boy. It would shut me up for a bit until I can afford the ModCan digital oscillators.

So all you clever DIY people - thoughts? I googled this thinking maybe some enterprising person had messed with this idea, and came up with nothing. Same at electro-music.

//Chris
Last edited by parasitk on Wed Oct 29, 2008 4:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by flts » Wed Oct 29, 2008 3:19 pm

I'm guessing you'd need a sizeable bit of electronics and control software around the board to get it to work - simply put, it probably isn't a simple tone generator but an additional DSP board that the main instrument communicates with using some proprietary Yamaha protocol.

So you probably would have to start hacking both the hardware and software side of things and things would get messy and complex easily... It could be doable but my guess is it would require quite a lot of skill and time to figure anything out.

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Post by parasitk » Wed Oct 29, 2008 3:27 pm

Yeah I figured it would actually be more of a software exploration than hardware. Still I've seen people do crazier things, so I have hope :P

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Post by Kent » Wed Oct 29, 2008 3:37 pm

If you can get me a set of schematics of that board, or the whole damn thing, I'll take a look at 'em and let you know if it is even remotely possible.

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Post by BugBrand » Wed Oct 29, 2008 3:38 pm

Hey, have a look over at electro-music DIY forum in the Thomas Henry subforum -- there was a project called the GM Voice which, I think, used little daughterboards in a ?similar? manner.... I haven't really looked into the details of it and I thought it didn't sound *so* wonderful/what-I-want, but ..... go check!

Here::
http://electro-music.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=21634

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Post by parasitk » Wed Oct 29, 2008 3:39 pm

Funny, I just downloaded the service manuals from the DX Yahoo Group. I'll upload them and send you a PM in a sec - thanks!

These contain:
Parts lists
Disassembly diagrams
Circuit block diagrams
Circuit schematics (including PLG150-DX and PLG150-AN cards)
Test diagnostics
LSI chip pinout tables
and more.

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Post by parasitk » Wed Oct 29, 2008 3:41 pm

BugBrand wrote:Hey, have a look over at electro-music DIY forum in the Thomas Henry subforum -- there was a project called the GM Voice which, I think, used little daughterboards in a ?similar? manner.... I haven't really looked into the details of it and I thought it didn't sound *so* wonderful/what-I-want, but ..... go check!
Hey thanks! Yeah GM isn't too exciting here either, but if it can be applied to this thing, it would rock. Thanks!

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Post by flts » Wed Oct 29, 2008 4:12 pm

The thing that's easier with GM voice is that the Waveblaster thing is quite easy and well documented - basically the connector just routes MIDI signal in to the daughterboard and audio out of it - the daughter board is pretty self contained, so you just have to power it properly, feed it MIDI (with a trick or two maybe) and route the audio from the right pin to output. I think Thomas' design (and various others) are at least somewhat based on an article in Elektor magazine.

I'm not sure if the Yamaha PLG-boards are as self-contained, but if there's a documentation / service manual and pinout, it should be vastly easier to figure out what's going on. I'd be interested in taking a peek at those myself... With good luck, you just need to feed them some simple digital control (MIDI or whatever else) and take out the audio, with bad luck you'll be looking at reverse-engineering a protocol and adding DACs etc to the hardware around it.

Parasitk, if you could send me a link to the documentation via PM too, I'd be really grateful. Thanks!

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Post by parasitk » Wed Oct 29, 2008 4:21 pm

Sent! Thanks guys.

If someone figures something out, it'll be pretty cool since those DX boards are out there and seem readily available.

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Post by flts » Wed Oct 29, 2008 4:32 pm

Got it, thanks! I'll have a look a bit later - I'm not too knowledgeable about this stuff but I still might be able to figure something out.

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Post by parasitk » Wed Oct 29, 2008 4:43 pm

If anyone else wants a peek at the service manual, let me know.



BTW for reference - the board looks like this:

Image

Image

That connector at the top left connects it to the rest of the DX200. I imagine that's how any CV/control hack would interface with it as well.
These PLG boards are compatible with S80, CS6X, CS6R, S30, MOTIF-Series, 9000Pro, SW1000XG, MU-Series, S90 and MOTIF ES-series keyboards and modules, as well as the new S90ES keyboard.

One of the most important things to note about the MSPS plug-in boards is that they offer extra synthesis, polyphony and effects to the currently available facilities of your Yamaha keyboard or module. They don't just add extra ROM samples.
http://www.yamaha.com.au/products/music ... efault.asp

Also Kenton at one point made this for hosting PLG cards:

http://www.kentonuk.com/products/plugstation.shtml
Plugstation - up to four synths in one box

Become a PLGenius - and use up to four of Yamaha's amazing synth-on-a-card PLG cards in one unit - giving you the possibility of thousands of different sounds at your fingertips.

The amazing Kenton Plugstation is a 1U rackmount unit that allows you to use & control up to four Yamaha ‘Modular Synthesis Plug In System’ PLG cards simultaneously, either as a standalone module or with the option to connect to an SW1000XG soundcard.

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Post by Kent » Wed Oct 29, 2008 5:04 pm

I checked out the Service Docs that you sent. The first thing to notice is the awesome use of Engrish throughout.

Image

I can see the design goal of the plug-in board. They are simply drop in engines for whatever type of synthesis that Yamaha wishes to accomplish.
This is to say that there is a a lot of ancillary support required in order to do anything with the PLG board. You need a means to control its parameters and you need to add DACs in order to even get any sound out.

None of this is impossible. However, it would be a hell of a project. I suggest dropping the idea unless you've done plenty of DIY work and you know how to access (and properly make use of) the various data and and address busses.

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Post by parasitk » Wed Oct 29, 2008 5:11 pm

Kent wrote:None of this is undoable. However, it would be a hell of a project. I suggest dropping the idea unless you've done plenty of DIY work and you know how to access (and properly make use of) the various data and and address busses.
Thanks. "Plenty of DIY work" is not me - NO DIY work is more like it at this point. I'm just getting started/learning now. :bang:

However, I won't give up on this idea - I just know I can't do it now. Maybe one day I will be able to, or at least be able afford to pay someone smarter than I. :D

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Post by Roycie Roller » Wed Oct 29, 2008 5:22 pm

First ninja: "Wanna fight...? Fight me!!! Hey-ya" (insert karate chop)
2nd ninja: "Why you doity rat!... I make regurator of yor face wif my frash rom!"

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Post by Cat-A-Tonic » Wed Oct 29, 2008 5:45 pm

At least they didn't get all INBERTER with the VIRATERAL SWITCH.

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Post by parasitk » Wed Oct 29, 2008 5:58 pm

Well, there is all kinds of crazy shit on that CIRSUIT BOARD.

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