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When playing different MIDI files on my Roland SC-55 I found that not all of them explicitly set their own Reverb and Chorus. This results in the playback of subsequent files having otherwise random settings applied to them as a result of inheriting whatever values existed from the previous one.

To compensate for this, I have to manually reset the synthesizer from the display panel buttons between each file.

The defaults for this device are: Level: 100 / Pan: 0 / Reverb: 40 / Chorus: 0.

How can I construct a MIDI file that I can play between tracks which will reset my synthesizer to these default values so that music will play back as expected?

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  • Pages 72-85 in the user manual cover this. There's a whole section about constructing SysEx messages and they've even made it easy by using standard CC implementation (07=Level, 91=Reverb, 93=Chorus). Use your DAW or midi tool to set those CC channels to the values you want. You could even set up a controller so that you can adjust these values on the fly. There are a number of groups on Facebook and other social media that specialise in the workings of particular synths, I suggest you find and join one that is relevant. They will help you get more specific support. Jan 17 at 9:07

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You can reset specific controllers by sending your chosen values -
CC07 Volume 100
CC10 Pan 64 [zero is hard left, centre is 64]
CC91 Reverb 40
CC93 Chorus 0

There is a Reset All controller 121, however it specifically avoids resetting FX params, so won't be useful to you in this case.

The accepted method to reset everything before playback of a new GM song is to send
SysEx F0 7E 7F 09 01 F7
which is the universal GM System On message, right at the head of your track. This will default the entire machine & prepare it for GM playback, so each song will contain only the changes applied by the programmer for that specific song, no left-overs at all from the last song. Allow 200ms for it to react before sending your song setup. If you do this in a dedicated setup bar, you will have plenty of time for even something as old as the SC55 to respond in time.

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  • Is there a free tool I can use to convert these hex values to a MIDI file? Ideally, I would like to inspect other "reset" .mid files I've found that did not work as expected for comparison.
    – Zhro
    Jan 17 at 18:57
  • You just need any DAW with a "list" edit mode. You should be able to just click new event data in, usually with a pencil tool or such. There should be a menu in the editor to add Note, CC, SysEx etc, which you can then just type into the list once the blank event is entered. Any GM file with a proper [or even improper] setup bar will be throwing out all the necessary data to set up the song in that first bar. At the head of it should be the SysEx reset. [I'm aware from vast personal experience that many many many amateur Midi song file makers don't really know how to do this properly;)
    – Tetsujin
    Jan 17 at 19:03

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