David Kronemyer

Using a Moog Voyager as a Master MIDI Controller

July 25th, 2010 by David Kronemyer · No Comments

DAVID KRONEMYER: We have a Voyager and wanted to use it as a master controller for a dozen or so downstream MIDI modules (MIDI to each of them distributed from the Voyager through a MIDI splitter/patch bay). We noted, however, that MIDI out on the Voyager affected most of the downstream MIDI functions, in particular, program change and volume. Thus, e.g., when one changes the master volume on the Voyager, the volume on each of the downstream MIDI modules increases or decreases accordingly; same with program changes. We found this to be inconvenient, as we desired to control program change and volume on each of the downstream modules separately. There is no discernible way to do this from the Voyager itself. So we would like to recommend the Midi Event Processor made by MidiSolutions (we are an independent third-party studio and have no affiliation with the company). This little box was inexpensive and easy to program (unfortunately one must use a PC and not an Apple computer to do so). While it can perform several other interesting and useful functions, we now are using it as a MIDI filter. The Voyager’s MIDI implementation (p. 78 of the user’s manual) identifies MIDI continuous controllers (CC’s) #7 and #39 as those affecting downstream master volume. They confusingly are identified in the manual as “7 MSB” and “39 LSB.” “MSB” stands for “most significant byte” and “LSB” stands for “least significant byte.” Basically what this means is that the MSB is a “coarse” control addressing 128 MIDI steps; LSB is a “fine” control addressing 128 MIDI steps within each of the original 128 MIDI steps (for a total of 128 x 128 = 16,384 steps altogether). One need not worry about this, though, for the purpose we describe; simply use the event filter to disable CC’s 7 and 39. Then one can use the master volume on the Voyager and it will not affect the volume of any downstream modules, thus enabling one to devise interesting combinations of sounds using each downstream module separately. We also filtered out MIDI program change messages using the same procedure, so patch changes on the Voyager will not affect the patches on the downstream modules. One can filter out any number of the other MIDI CC’s identified at pp. 76 – 78 of the Voyager manual, however, we decided to leave them on. This enables one to use e.g. the modulation wheel and finger pressure on the Voyager keyboard to modify the sound of the downstream modules, too. We like this capacity a lot, however, as I mentioned, it would be simple to disable those controllers also.

Illustration of the problem – how to control the modules on the right with the Voyager