PC 1600 FAQ

1. How do I determine what version of the software I have?
2. What is the difference between the original PC 1600 and the PC 1600x?
3. Will the PC 1600x work with any MIDI device?
4. How do I re-initialize the PC 1600x? Will I lose my presets?
5. Is the Data Wheel Programmable?
6. What are CHANNEL messages?
7. What about System Real Time Messages?
8. What are System Exclusive messages?
9. What about System Common Messages?
10. What is update mode?
11. How are the Parameter Formats used?
12. How do I change presets on the PC 1600x remotely with MIDI Program Changes?
13. What is a scene?
14. What happens if I save a Scene from one preset, but send it when I'm on another preset?
15. How do I "fine tune" large parameters that I'm controlling with faders?
16. How can I learn more about SysEx & Hexadecimal numbers?
17. Are there any undocumented features?
18. How are "Note Off" messages dealt with?
19. What is a MIDI string?
20. What messages can the buttons transmit?
21. What messages can the faders transmit?
22. What is the "Send Fader" feature?
23. How are buttons accessed remotely?
24. What's up with the note capture feature?
25. What types of Checksum calculations are supported?

1. How do I determine what version of the software I have?
The version is indicated at power up. Also, by holding the left arrow and up arrow buttons at power up, the version is displayed.

2. What is the difference between the original PC 1600 and the PC 1600x?
  • Expanded SysEx Control
  • Checksum-- Now it is possible to designate a byte as "cs" for checksum calculations.
  • Global Channel Bytes-- Many MIDI products use SysEx messages that include a MIDI channel and/or device ID. This is, of course, handy for differentiating among multiple units of the same type. Normally, changing this byte would require editing of each fader/button individually. Now, a new byte can be a part of the string that specifies the global MIDI setting or global device ID. By simply changing the global setting, all messages are changed.
  • Improved SysEx Transfers-- New MIDI delay parameters to slow down the MIDI stream if you have a unit that "chokes" on the data at full speed.
  • Expanded Button Facilities
  • Send Fader-- This feature provides an easy way to send specific fader values. When a button is set to "send fader," it must be pressed to enable a fader value to be transmitted. Fader movement is used to select a specific value and the button is pressed to send it. BTW, continuing to hold the button down will enable the fader to work as usual.
  • Send Scene-- This new button function allows any scene to be sent from any of the 16 buttons.
  • Fader ID-- With a button programmed to "Off/Fader ID," pressing the button displays the fader name.
  • Remote Control-- All 16 buttons can now be triggered externally via MIDI notes or program change messages. This is particularly handy for control from a footpedal.
  • Note Capture-- This makes it easy to capture clusters of notes (chords) and assign them to a button.
  • Left Arrow(Mute) Button-- When the left arrow button is pressed, the PC 1600 will not generate any MIDI messages.
  • Preset Initialization-- This new utility feature allows a preset to be returned to an initialized state. This is handy for programming from "scratch" or freeing up more dynamically allocated preset memory.
  • Enhanced Scene Features
  • Preset Identity-- The scene display now indicates the associated preset number.
  • Scene Initialization-- This new scene function allows an existing scene to be initialized which disassociates it with any preset.
  • Setup String Additions
  • Scenes-- A scene can now be assigned to each preset. Anytime the preset is recalled, the scene will be transmitted.
  • Flexible Bank Select-- Bank Select editing is now expanded to include MSB or LSB programming.
  • New Factory Presets-- New factory presets present a wide range of applications.
3. Will the PC 1600x work with any MIDI device?
The PC 1600x will work with MIDI devices that respond to external MIDI messages. Since the PC 1600x is a generic MIDI device, it can be programmed to work with just about every MIDI product. Up to 50 presets can be customized to your setup. By the way, we provide several "example" presets that represent a variety of devices.

4. How do I re-initialize the PC 1600x? Will I lose my presets?
With the power off, hold UTILITY and ENTER while turning the power on. This will restore the factory presets (Yes, you will lose any presets you created and the factory presets will be restored).

5. Is the Data Wheel Programmable?
The Data Wheel can be linked to any fader, or the last moved fader, as well as CV1 or CV2.

6. What are CHANNEL messages?
Channel messages communicate the following: note off, note on, poly pressure, control change, program change, channel pressure, and pitch bend. These messages are typically two or three bytes in length and are input using hexadecimal numbers. Examples include (n=MIDI channel):
  • Note On=9n, x1, x2 (x1=note number, x2=velocity)
  • Control Change=Bn, x1, x2 (x1=controller number, x2=value)
  • Program Change=Cn, x1 (x1=program change) (n=MIDI channel)
7. What about System Real Time Messages?
These one byte messages are used to transmit the following types of messages:
  • Start=FA
  • Continue=FB
  • Stop=FC
  • Clock=F8
8. What are System Exclusive messages?
These are MIDI messages designed for specific products. That is why they are called "exclusive." SysEx messages start with F0 (SysEx status) and end with F7( End of Exclusive). SysEx messages can be of any length and usually consist of the Manufacturer's ID and Device ## followed by the command and data information. SysEx messages can be used to create patch editors on the PC 1600. For example, to change the filter ##1 cutoff on our Spectrum Bass module, the following message is required: F0, 00, 00, 1B, 02, 0D, 00, 08, 00, 21, pr, pr, F7.
NOTE: the pr bytes are the values that are altered by fader position.

9. What about System Common Messages?
Although System Common messages are not used very often on the PC 1600, they consist of the following messages:
  • MIDI Time Code Quarter Frame =F1, x1
  • Song Position Pointer=F2, x1, x2
  • Song Select=F3, x1
  • Tune Request=F6
  • End of SysEx=F7
10. What is update mode?
Update mode is used when the PC 1600 is connected BETWEEN two devices where one device is transmitting continuous controller (CC) information to the other (data is going through the PC 1600). Typically, the PC 1600 is used in this mode to replace the INCOMING data with new data generated from fader movements. Update works like this: Incoming CC messages (that match a fader) pass through (from the PC 1600 MIDI In to its MIDI out) until the fader is moved. When you move the fader (to edit the data), the value that the fader transmits matches the last value coming in (regardless of fader position). This allows seamless editing of CC messages. A common application is when sequenced tracks are sent to a sound module for playback. If the tracks already have MIDI volume (CC 7) information recorded, the PC 1600 can be used to edit this data seamlessly. By connecting the unit between the sequencer and the sound module, updated CC 7 messages can be "punched in" without worrying about the fader position.

11. How are the Parameter Formats used?
Parameter formats determine how the variable "pr" bytes in a fader string are computed by the PC 1600. The single byte format is the most basic. It allows for 128 distinct values, usually 0 to 127 (0-7FH in hex). [Remember, a MIDI data "byte" is essentially only 7 bits, since the 8th bit can't be set that would make it a MIDI "status" byte.] When this range isn't large enough, the data must be represented with more than one byte (the PC 1600 supports up to 4). After these bytes are sent to a MIDI device, that device must translate all the bytes into a single value. There is no industry standard for this translation, so the PC 1600 is able to send the data in several formats to support the most popular translation methods. The choice of parameter format will tell the PC 1600 three important things:

The number of bytes that make up the data value (1-4).

The size and weighting of each byte (4-bit binary [Nibs or nibbleized], 7-bit binary, or 4-bit BCD [binary-coded decimal]).

The order of numerical significance [high to low, or low to high].

To determine the proper parameter format for your receiving device, consult your owner's manual or SysEx documentation. Remember to make sure that the number of "pr" bytes in your MIDI string matches the number in the parameter format. For example, if you choose "2Byte, Nibs,hi->lo," you must have at least two "pr" bytes in the string. If you choose to put more than two in the string, the 2-byte data value will repeat as necessary. This is useful if you want to use a single fader to program two different parameters simultaneously (as long as they have the same format and range, of course).

12. How do I change presets on the PC 1600x remotely with MIDI Program Changes?
In its default state, the PC 1600 will echo Program Changes, but not respond to them. To make it respond, you must go to the "MAP: Curr Midi map" screen in the utility menu and switch on one of the three maps (instead of "Off"). Then the PC 1600 will respond to Program Changes on its MIDI IN channel ("ChIn" parameter on the first utility screen) according to the map. The three maps can be reordered randomly to select any Preset or Scene with a specific Program Change number, but from the factory maps 1 & 2 are set normally: Program Change 0 will choose Preset 0, etc. Map 3 maps program changes to scene transmissions.

13. What is a scene?
A scene is a "snapshot" of the current fader positions and values of the messages at the time of the save.

14. What happens if I save a Scene from one preset, but send it when I'm on another preset?
Nothing different. When you save a Scene, the PC 1600x remembers the fader and CV pedal positions from the current preset. So, when you send a scene, the messages are always from the preset location from where you saved it, not from the one you are currently on. Note that any changes to the source preset will alter the scene since the scene references a preset location.

15. How do I "fine tune" large parameters that I'm controlling with faders?
The PC 1600x uses 8-bit A/D converters for its faders which supply 256 discreet steps for parameter adjustment. This covers most situations, but sometimes you must edit larger ranges (e.g. 0 - 1000), and each movement of the fader results in a value change larger than 1. In these cases, program the Data Wheel link to "Last Fader" in the preset you're using. Use the fader to get the parameter value close to where you need it, then use the Data Wheel to fine tune the value from there.

16. How can I learn more about SysEx & Hexadecimal numbers?
We recommend the "Next MIDI Book" by Katamar Entertainment. Their phone number is 805-375-7388.

17. Are there any undocumented features?
Yes! It's actually possible to move horizontally (fader to fader, etc.) when editing. For example, when editing several faders to transmit continuous controller data, after setting the MIN and MAX, press EDIT and hold the button down. Now move the next fader and release the EDIT button. This takes you directly to the MIN and MAX pages of the newly selected fader.

18. How are "Note Off" messages dealt with?
Midi allows Note Off messages to be handled two ways:
1. Using the Note Off command
2. Using a Note On command with a velocity value of 0

The PC 1600x uses method two when assigned to function "note on/off." However, notes can be created using the MIDI string function and in this case, either method could be used.

19. What is a MIDI string?
A MIDI string is a group of hexadecimal messages that communicate a MIDI message. These include, channel, system real-time, system exclusive, and system common messages.

20. What messages can the buttons transmit?
Mute fader, solo fader, program change, note on/off, MIDI string (up to 80 bytes), string toggle, string prs/rls, fader send, scene send, and fader ID.

21. What messages can the faders transmit?
Continuous controller, master fader, MIDI string (up to 80 bytes)

22. What is the "Send Fader" feature?
By programming a button to "Send Fader," fader movements are muted until the button is pressed. This allows the user to easily send specific single messages vs. "Sweeps" of messages. Notice that the display signifies a "M" in the lower right corner of the LCD indicating the mute status. When the button is pressed, the "M" disappears.

23. How are buttons accessed remotely?
This feature is set up in the Utility menu, and allows the PC 1600x buttons to be activated by external Program Change or MIDI Note commands. Now, remote MIDI pedals, for example, can duplicate the button functions.

24. What's up with the note capture feature?
In times past, to program a button to transmit chords, a hexidecimal MIDI string would have been used. Now, notes can be captured via the MIDI input and stored for button activation. To set up this feature, go to the Utility menu and scroll to the MIDI DevNum/RecChn screen (look for the note logo). RecChn stands for Record Channel. Set this parameter accordingly, then move to the button edit menu. At any of the "String" edit areas, press the right arrow button to move the cursor to the edit field. Recording of chords will automatically occur by any incoming notes. For additional details, check out the manual's in depth description of this process.

25. What types of Checksum calculations are supported?
Roland for now, and possibly more later.