- Erwin Vos
- Topic Author
In this chapter, we'll talk about the performance controls of the LN-4 — those functions that can be changed while you're playing. Get to know them well, as they can help make your playing more expressive and controlled.
The Volume Knob
The Volume knob is actually a permanently assigned MIDI continuous controller. It’s assigned to MIDI controller #7, which is MIDI Volume. Let’s try it out.
First, if you have more than one synth connected, turn down or off all but the synth set to MIDI Channel 1. Next, make sure that the Volume knob is turned fully clockwise. If you've connected everything correctly, you should be able to play the LN-4 and hear sounds from your synth. If not, make sure Master Program 11 is selected and that the synth is set to MIDI Channel 1.
Now, hold down a note or chord on the LN-4 and turn the Volume knob slowly counter-clockwise. Do you hear a change in volume from your synth? If you do, great. Your synth is set up to receive MIDI Volume messages.
If you don't hear volume changes, get your synth manual out and look at the MIDI Implementation chart in the back. MIDI Implementation charts have not been completely standardized yet. Search around in the chart under "Control Change" and look for either "control change #7" or "Volume". There should be a legend of some sort telling you whether or not the synth receives MIDI Volume messages. If it doesn't, check your other synth manuals until you find one that does. Make that your new "number 1" synth, and try the Volume knob again.
If the MIDI Implementation chart says that your synth does receive MIDI Volume changes, but you didn't hear any volume change when you turned the knob, you'll need to assign Controller #7 to Volume or Level in your synth. Refer to your synth manual to see how to do this.
The volume knob can serve as a master volume control for all your synths. Changing Volume will still preserve the relative balances between your synths (refer to the next chapter, under "Setting the Levels of your Synths"). It's a good idea to set your synths so that they all will respond to MIDI Volume when you're controlling them with the LN-4. That way you'll always have a handy volume control available, even if you're far removed from the synths.
Make sure that the Volume knob is up before proceeding.
The Left Hand Controls
As you stand with the LN-4 around your neck, grasp the left hand extension. Under your fingers you'll find the Pitch Bend wheel, the Mod wheel or Assignable Controller wheel, and the Master Program Increment and Master Program Decrement switches. The Pitch Bend wheel is the leftmost or outside wheel. The Assignable controller wheel is next to the Pitch Bend wheel. The Master Program Increment switch is the one furthest away from you, the one closest to the floor if you're standing. The Master Program Decrement switch is the one closest to you. We'll look at them in order.
The Pitch Bend Wheel
The Pitch Bend wheel is permanently assigned to transmit MIDI pitch bend messages when moved from its center position. For it to work, pitch bend must be enabled on your synth. The range of pitch bend is also set in your synth. Make sure that pitch bend is enabled and set to the range you want in your synth. Now play some notes and bend 'em!
You'll notice that the Pitch Bend wheel bends pitch up in one direction and down in the other. You can reverse the direction of bend by following this procedure. Turn off the Power Module. While it's off, hold down the Output Enable switch on the LN-4. Still holding it down, turn the Power Module back on and continue holding down the Output Enable switch until the Output Enable switch LED lights up. Release the switch and press it again, so that the LED goes off. You've just reversed the direction of pitch bend.
Your choice of pitch bend direction is strictly a matter of personal taste. Once you've set it, it applies to all Master Programs and stays set even when the Power Module is turned off. You can change it any time by repeating the procedure above.
The positioning of the Pitch Bend wheel on the LN-4 makes it a very expressive controller. We urge you to play with it to get a feel for using it.
Note that some synths don't respond to Pitch Bend commands. Note also that if you're using the LN-4 with more than one synth, you may want to set each one to the same pitch bend range. Or you may not. Try different settings and see what you think.
The Assignable Wheel
We referred to this wheel before as the Mod wheel. In fact, you can assign it to any MIDI controller number, not just to modulation amount. It's set at the factory to modulation amount, so if you use it now, that's what it will control. Again, make sure that modulation is enabled on your synth and set to the parameter you choose. A common modulation parameter is vibrato amount. Moving the Assignable Controller wheel will increase the degree of low-frequency modulation in that case. The further the wheel is moved from the center position, the greater the degree of vibrato. Try it and see.
The center position of the Assignable Controller wheel sends a MIDI value of zero, meaning no modulation amount. Full rotation in either direction produces the maximum MIDI value of 127, meaning maximum modulation amount. Note that moving the wheel in either direction has the same results — in other words, the same MIDI data is produced no matter which direction the wheel is rotated.
Try using the Pitch Bend and Assignable Controller wheels together. It will take some practice, but they can give you a great deal of control over your sound.
We'll show you how to change the wheel assignment in the next chapter.
The Increment/Decrement Switches
These two switches allow you to step up and down through the Master Programs while you're playing. The Increment switch, the furthest one from you, selects the next highest Master Program. The Decrement switch, the one closest to you, selects the next lowest Master Program. If you step above 88 or below 11, the programs "wrap around" to 11 or 88, respectively. Try stepping through some different programs.
First, notice that selecting a new program sends a Program Change message to your synth. The program change sent is the same as the Master Program number unless a different one has been set in the Master Program itself. If your LN-4 is fresh from the factory, you won't have any different program changes in there.
You'll need to press the switches each time you want to change Master Programs. The Increment/Decrement switches have been designed so that if you accidently hit one, you're only one step away from where you were. Try working with the Increment/Decrement switches until you're familiar with them. We'll discuss them again in the next chapter.
The Hold Switch/Panic Button
The last performance control we'll consider here is the Hold switch. As a performance device it has two functions. First, it lets you sustain selected notes from the keyboard while you play other notes without sustain. Second, it functions as a "panic button" when you get stuck notes while performing
The Hold Function
To use the Hold function, first select a sound on your synth that will sustain indefinitely, such as organ or string sounds. Next, play and hold the notes you would like sustained — for instance, an open chord in the lower range of the keyboard. Now, still holding the notes, press the Hold switch. Its LED will light up. Release the notes you've been holding, and they'll continue to sustain. Now play some notes above the
sustained chord and notice that the notes you play don't sustain. Hit the Hold switch again, and the notes will shut off.
Now play another chord and "latch" the notes with the Hold switch. Play some melody notes in the range of the sustained chord and listen to what happens. When you play a note already being sustained, some synth types will assign another voice to the note, while other synth types will reassign the same voice to the note. Listen and see if you can tell what's happening. At any rate, you should hear a new attack at that pitch.
Now try latching some notes using wind sounds that respond to velocity. Play the notes to be sustained softly on the keyboard and press the Hold button. Notice that the notes sustain at the loudness at which you played them. Now, if you play some melody notes with high velocity, you should be able to hear them clearly over the sustained chord. This is a good way to make sure that melodies will be heard over sustained notes. It will only work, obviously, with velocity-sensitive sounds.
Try using the Hold function with some sounds that don't sustain indefinitely, such as electric piano sounds. Listen to the results.
With practice, you can switch in and out of the Hold function quickly and easily in performance
The Panic Button
Finally, the Hold switch also functions as a panic button in performance. This is how it works. If you're performing and you hear a stuck note coming from your synths somewhere, it's usually very difficult, especially in a high-pressure situation, to locate the offending synth. The quickest solution in these situations is to send out individual Note Off, Sustain Off, and All Notes Off messages to all your synths. Admittedly it's a radical step, because all your synths will stop playing, but it happens quickly and it's usually better than having an unwanted note hanging around.
Pressing the Hold switch without holding any notes on the keyboard sends 16 All Notes Off messages, one on each MIDI channel. Then, for as long as you hold the switch down, the LN-4 sends 2,048 Note Off messages, one for each MIDI note number on each channel; 16 Sustain Off messages, one for each channel; 16 Pitch Wheel to Center messages, one for each channel; and 16 Modulation Off messages, one for each channel. All these messages are sent from each output of the Power Module.
Basically, keep this switch depressed until you hear the stuck note released. The LYNC will stop sending data the instant you release the switch to minimize the amount of data sent to your synths. Press the Hold switch now, and you'll see the MIDI Data LED on the Power Module light brighter than you'll ever see it.
Remember, this is a desperate solution for a desperate situation. It's a good idea to try it with all your synths offstage to see how they'll respond. Some synths take a while to recover from such a massive influx of data. Others respond with "MIDI buffer full" or "Overflowed", which means that the synth missed the last few MIDI messages. The synth should still function properly. You may need to clear its display manually, though. This procedure won't cause any damage to your synths, but let's hope you won't have to use the Panic button anyway.
That covers the performance controls in the LN-4. The next chapter will take you through all the programming functions and controls and show you to program a complete setup.