Recording the Yamaha Genos MIDI with Reaper DAW

Recording the Yamaha Genos MIDI with Reaper DAW

This post describes how I record MIDI files on my Yamaha Genos and edit them with Reaper which is my DAW (digital audio workstation). For the record, Reapers is a low cost DAW and available as a free download from the Reaper website

Yamaha Genos USB connecitons

To make the process as simple as possible, I connect the USB cable from the Genos to one of my computers free USB ports. This way, the software can communicate with the instrument and playback the edits as I make them.

Additionally, I also use a USB flash drive to record the initial MIDI file. There are some YouTube videos on how to record straight to the computer but the process is complex. I think that arranger keyboards were not meant to connect with a DAW like individual synths and modules do but as the saying goes, where there is a will, there is a way.

Sound monitoring during recording and playback

The next step to master is monitoring the sound while playing as well as during the editing phase. Again, simple is key to success and therefore, I just use the Yamaha Genos speaker system instead of my Mackie monitors. It is possible to monitor the sound trough the DAW but that requires substantial changes to the keyboard which have to be reversed after a recording session. My time is limited so I chose the fast option when ever possible. There is an advantage to hearing the sounds trough a familiar sound source and I am not planning on changing this setup any time soon.

Reaper software

I try to use opensource software for all of my work and if something runs on Linux, then I am very interested in learning about it. Reaper fulfills that requirement although I don’t use it on Linux for the time being. If I had a longer USB cable so that I could hook up the Genos to my second workstation then I probably would but for convenience reasons, I record on Windows for the time being. Eventually this will change because once in a while, I reorganize the layout of my studio but until then ….

MIDI export and import

Once a song is recorded, I save it on the Genos to an USB flash drive. That file is then used to drag it into Reaper which will automatically split the MIDI recording into individual tracks. All that’s left to do is assigning the track output to Workstation 1 in order to hear the sound.

Once the tracks are hooked up to the Genos which is my only sound source, I do some clean-up like volume adjustments and removal of annoying artifacts which, for some reason, pop up here and there. I have not found out why the Genos litters a MIDI file with odd tiny notes before certain chord changes but it could be that I play a few milliseconds late. I don’t know. Ether way, it’s a quick fix and a few minutes later, I have a song ready for export.

Audio Interface

Like many musicians, I used to frown when I hears the word “Behringer”. Originally, I bought a Steinberg UR22 mkii to record audio from the Genos but that interface had a major software glitch after the last Windows update. I am not a fan of any Microsoft product and this is one reason why. To make a long story short, I bought a Behringer U-PHORIA UMC404HD and all I can say is WOW. If I could go back in time I’d skip the Steinberg interface but I hope that I get it back one of those weeks and we’ll see how or if it works.

Earlier, I mentioned that the Genos connects to the computer and software via a USB cable. Because of that connection, I do not need any MIDI cables which makes for a clean setup.

Conclusion

Recording the MIDI output of the Yamaha Genos directly into a DAW is a royal pain. The instrument does not respond to program change numbers except the ones that Yamaha uses which are system exclusive messages and use the hex format instead of the much easier to read MSB LSB PC method.

The Genos is young and my hope is that Yamaha will improve the operating system quite a bit in order to make the Genos more user friendly. If they chose to market the improvements by releasing a version 2 of the Genos, then my money will go to Korg but I cross that bridge when I get there.

I hope that my post inspired you to record MIDI files on the Genos and import them into your DAW of choice. If you don’t have a DAW or audio interface then I highly recommend to check out Reaper and Behringer or something similar. This hookup works particularly well for me and the more I use it, the more I like it. Eventually, some of my work will be available on the audio files page. Thank you for reading.

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