Midi Files on an SY-85 (again)

The Yamaha SY85 is a digital music workstation introduced in 1992. Unlike other Yamaha synthesizers of the time (SY77 and the SY99) the SY85 does not use FM synthesis. Instead, its sounds are based on samples, which can be layered and modified to create new sounds.

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Re: Midi Files on an SY-85 (again)

Unread postby m.tarenskeen » Wed Apr 19, 2017 8:47 am


This is an old thread, but I find it interesting. I'm working on software to convert between Yamaha V50 floppydisk data and SysEx and MIDI files.

Reading this thread I see there is some misunderstanding about terminology here. People are mixing uo two different things:
1. Standard Midi File (format 0, 1, or 2) or SMF
2. General Midi Standard or GM

I want to point out that an SMF file (file extension is .mid or .midi) can be perfectly valid without being compatible with the GM standard.
It also should be perfectly possible to convert Yamaha NSEQ/ESEQ data to SMF data. No need for a GM compatible soundset and drumkit in the SY85 or V50.
But you should understand that this MIDI file can only be played correctly using the same instrument, with the same patches and settings, from which the ESEQ/NSEQ data were exported and converted to MIDI. A solution for this is to also save all SysEx data from the current state of the instrument and insert these data at the beginning of the track, before the music starts, in the MIDI file. You can do this in a sequencer or DAW like Cubase I think. It's also possible to convert a SYX file to a MIDI file, I have created a little tool for that.

You should know that the GM standard was introduced in 1991, while the Yamaha V50 was introduced already before that in 1989. There was no General Midi then but there was the Standard Midi File format.

Converting from existing GM compatible SMF files to Yamaha V50 format is almost impossible, but with the SY85 you could have more succes. In that case the SY85 must be prepared by loading a GM compatible patchset and settings.

You can not directly load MIDI files in a V50 (I don't know or own a SY85), but you can play MIDI files using a DAW or sequencer to the V50/SY85.

About drum & rhythm tracks I want to add that the GM standard uses Midi Channel 10 for this. The V50 factory setting use Channel 9 for drums. Also the assignment of the notenumbers to the drumkit is not GM compatible. Again, I don't know the situation with the SY85. But for the V50 I have created drummaps and settings that you can load to make the V50 drums section more or less GM compatible. You can load the files you need here:

I hope adds useful information to this discussion.

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