New VL1 editor in development

Until now, the most recent VL-1/VL1-m editor and librarian software required OS 10.6.8 to be installed on your computer. To run the original Yamaha editor requires OS 9.2.2 and a Mac "Mirrored Door" model for optimum performance. But we're bustin' through to today with a new VL-1 editor program written by Rudy Verpaele in Belgium. Rudy has already programmed an up-to-date editor for the Yamaha VL70-m tone generator, so he can deliver the goods. He also has a librarian program (called VLibrarian) for the VL1/VL1-m/VL-7 that is in pre-release.

The capabilities of the new editor will include all the same functionality of the original Yamaha Expert Editor software plus useful new features and it will run on today's hardware and operating systems. The cost will be in the €150/US$175 range. If you're interested in finding out more about the editor, please contact Rudy Verpaele and mention the VL-1 editor.

You can download the Librarian program here. Click on the VL1 Software link, then choose the Windows ro Mac version. There is also a small library of free VL-1 patches you can download. Please make sure to register on Rudy's site so you can keep updated on this exciting project. Here's a video tutorial by Rudy explaining the operation of the VLibrarian:


Yamaha VL1/VL1-m - OS 9 Software

The Yamaha VL1 keyboard and VL1-m rack synth remain among the most powerful and subtle physical modelling synthesizers ever mass manufactured. I won't go into what physical modelling is or how it is used, there are plenty of pages about that.

The VL1 and VL1m were not great commercial successes and their heyday was the mid 90s. As a result, the editing software for them dates from that era. If you want to get serious about programming the VL1/VL1-m, you're probably going to have to get an older Mac running with OS 9. You may be able to use an OS 10.4 box running the Classic environment, but since you're communicating with MIDI hardware, this may or may not work. You could use a pre-2000 beige Mac, but Macs manufactured as late as 2002 can run OS 9 natively and do it faster than older machines. Later Macs also feature USB, so you don't have to hunt down a serial port MIDI interface.

Download Notes
VL Analog Editor This editor gives you the interface of an analog synth, you can get some basic sounds happening using a something with which you may already be familiar.
Analog Manual The VL Analog Editor Manual
VL Visual Editor The Visual Editor provides a graphic sound editor, but does not give you access to all VL parameters.
Visual Manual The VL Visual Editor Manual
VL Expert Editor The Expert Editor is a bear to learn, but gives you complete access to every parameter in the synth.
Expert Manual The VL Expert Editor Manual. This does not contain all the VL parameter information, for that you need the VL Feature Reference manual.

No OS9 computer? No problem! You can usually buy a suitable G4 Mac on eBay for around $200. You need a model that will BOOT to OS9, Classic mode is not good enough for the VL1 editing software above. Here's a link you can consult to find which models will work for you. The fastest model that boots OS9 is the Mirrored Drive Door G4 Tower (referred to as the MDD model). Be forewarned, the cooling fan is atrociously loud on this one!

Below is a generic OS 9 operating system that you can install on any qualifying Mac. This will give you OS 9.2.2, the final version.

Download Notes
OS9General.dmg OS X disk image of the generic OS 9.2.2 operating system.

Installation Notes

You'll need either 2 disks or 1 disk with 2 partitions. One disk or partition is formatted with OS X Leopard (10.5.8) or lower. This is what you'll use to boot the Mac then open and copy the disk image.

The second disk or partition can be formatted in MacIntosh Extended format using Apple's Disk Utilities. It must be formatted with OS9 disk drivers, or it will not boot OS9. If the disk is already formatted, you can check if it has OS9 drivers by opening Disk Utility, clicking on the drive (not the partition below the drive), then clicking on the Partition tab. You will see a checked check box greyed out beside OS9 disk drivers if they have been installed.

You cannot add the drivers later. If they aren't installed, you must reformat the disk.

Once you have the above items in place, boot into OS X. Open the disk image. Copy the contents to the disk or partition with OS9 drivers. You're done! Using the Startup Disk control panel, you should be able to boot to OS9 and install the VL1 editing software.

If you haven't used OS9 software before, here are a couple of fora that can give you support:
Mac OS9 Google Group Mac OS 9 Lives

Yamaha VL1/VL1-m - OS X Software

Download Notes
Sounddiver 3.1 beta 2 Sounddiver was an excellent universal patch librarian and editor that was purchased by Apple and killed. I have not checked if you can edit as many VL parameters with this as you can with the Expert Editor. This is the OS X beta of Sounddiver. I run it under 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard). It's a little flakey, but gets the job done. I believe this is the last OS that runs Sounddiver, but I haven't tested this. There are also reports of people running it under Logic and it screwing up their system. I just use it for patch editing and haven't had any problems. You will need a Logic Studio version 7 dongle to use this. Back up any drivers that your instruments use, in case you need to reinstall them after installing Sounddiver.
Sounddiver 3 Manual The package above includes the manual, but here it is a separate download for your reading pleasure.
Link Notes
VL ONE70 Here is Bruno Degazio's software VL ONE70. Bruno took it down from his site, but very graciously allowed me to make it available. This is a multipurpose app that acts as a librarian for the VL1 and the Yamaha VL70m. It is a full voice editor for the VL1 and it also allows you to transfer voices between VL70m and VL1. I haven't done much with it yet, but it does run under Snow Leopard even on an Intel Mac. Later versions of OS X have removed the Carbon library that supported PowerPC processors, so keep your old Mac!
VL ONE70 Readme File Some useful notes on using VL ONE70.
VL1 Parameter List Here is the best available list of parameters with a comparison to the equivalent VL70m address. This gives youa glimpse of why the VL1 is such a powerful beast. Thanks Bruno!

Yamaha VL1/VL1-m - Platform Independant

Download and Unzip Notes
Tutorial Manny Fernandez' excellent tutorial on programming the VL1/VL1-m. Manny programmed all the original factory voices for Yamaha, so he knows what he's talking about.
Download Notes
VL1m Manual 1 The Getting Started manual for the VL1m rack module.
VL1m Manual 2 The Feature Reference manual for the VL1m rack module. Serious reading for serious programming.
VL1 Manual 2 The Feature Reference manual for the VL1 keyboard.
VL1 Version 2 The newer version 2 features for VL1, VL1m and VL7. Many vital features added, another must-read.

Yamaha VL1/VL1-m Patches

I am now hosting a mirror of Ken Barry's collection of patches for the VL1/VL1-m here.