Saturday, February 28, 2009

Motif ES 8 and linux

Last year (or maybe two years ago) I purchased a Yamaha ES8 workstation. It's been a great tool, although I just started using it last week after about 4-5 months of disuse. One thing I've been wanting to do was start editing/mixing and otherwise integrating the workstation with my PC.

The big problem is that I run Ubuntu linux at home. On the yamaha site, their software appears only for windows and Mac. Since I a big geek at heart I thought I'd see how far I can get anyway.

For my first step, I thought I'd plug the Motif into the USB port and see what happened... Well, nothing. lsusb didn't even return it as a device. However, dmesg reported a new device.

[67560.034283] usb 2-2: new full speed USB device using ohci_hcd and address 2
[67562.707240] usb 2-2: configuration #1 chosen from 1 choice
[67562.803313] usbcore: registered new interface driver snd-usb-audio

So, just for grins, I restarted the ES with the USB already connected. This seemed to allow the usb subsystem in linux to now see it. lsusb now returns:

Bus 003 Device 004: ID 045e:006a Microsoft Corp.
Bus 003 Device 003: ID 1267:0103 Logic3 / SpectraVideo plc G-720 Keyboard
Bus 003 Device 001: ID 0000:0000
Bus 006 Device 001: ID 0000:0000
Bus 005 Device 001: ID 0000:0000
Bus 004 Device 001: ID 0000:0000
Bus 002 Device 003: ID 0499:1023 Yamaha Corp.
Bus 002 Device 001: ID 0000:0000
Bus 001 Device 004: ID 0bda:8197 Realtek Semiconductor Corp.
Bus 001 Device 001: ID 0000:0000

So it seems we're now getting somewhere. In order to start easy, I thought I'd boot a windows virtualbox session and add this usb device to see if I could you the "out of the box" yamaha software.

So I downloaded the full fledged virtualbox deb from Sun. I already had the open source virtualbox that is included with the ubuntu 8.04 repos installed and I needed to uninstall this before installing the full version. After doing this, I went to the USB tab and added the detected yamaha device to the options.

When I booted into my XP virtualbox session, it detected the new hardware, so I tried to autoinstall. It didn't work so I clicked finish and went to plan B which is to install the software manually.

So I unzipped the usb midi driver to a temp directory, went through the add new hardware wizard and rebooted my machine. I then proceeded to start installing some of the other software I downloaded from the yamaha web site.

First off the voice editor (version 2.2): Being adventurous I tried to install from withing the zip file without first unzipping. First problem I noticed after installation is that it appears to be for the ES6... not sure if that's a problem, but the bigger issue is that is didn't appear to work. My start menu has a broken link to the voice editor user manual, but not software.

A quick search of the web indicates I should have followed the directions (or read them) as it appears the part editor requires the studio manager. Next, hoping I hadn't already screwed things up, I installed that.

On a side note, I discovered I needed to install acrobat reader as all the manuals are in PDF. It seems like a nice option might be to export manuals as html for folks who are viewing them and not printing them. PDF is just kinda sucky on a widescreen monitor and a 33mb download to read a text file seems a bit excessive to me. On another note, the default acrobat installer installs some sort of download manager, just what I needed, more stuff to go wrong on my pc. Well, at least it's just a virtual image and I won't lose stuff outside my VM.

Back on track though I soon discovered I had installed an ancient version of the USB MIDI driver. I had to uninstall the old one and reinstall the new one.

Well, this is as far as I could get so far. For some reason my virtualbox copy of XP cannot interact with the yamaha MIDI device. I think I may send a note to the yamaha folks to see if they can give me a hand and I'll also try to read the F'n manual to see if I missed a critical step.

I'll keep you posted as updates happen.