Frequently asked questions of the Genesys design team


Q. What exactly are REAL SOUNDS?

Generally speaking, the REAL SOUNDS button provides a highlight of some of the best sounds in the instrument. REAL SOUNDS are sounds which have been specially created by sampling particular nuances of the way a musician plays a specific instrument. A good example is REAL TRUMPET. For this sound we asked the trumpet player to play straight notes and then to play the same notes with a scoop effect. The way that the timbre of the instrument changes when a brass player uses his lips to create this effect is unique and cannot be replicated with simple pitch bending.


These two samples were then assigned to a velocity switch which introduces the scoop effect when the key is pressed harder. If you play this sound more softly, you can also introduce pitch variation with aftertouch. This, in combination with the natural scoop effect, allows for great articulation of the sound using a fairly simple playing technique.


Other sounds in this family have more subtle articulation; like REAL CELLO and REAL ALTO. These sounds do not involve velocity switching but they have been sampled with natural player attacks and vibrato for greater authenticity.

 TIP: There are some very impressive sounds which could not be included in the sound presets. You can find these in SINGLE SOUND mode and you might want to include them in your demo as example of how many great extra sounds are inside the machine. A couple of good examples can be found on page 11 of the BRASS family. Here you will find REAL MUTE TRUMPET and TRUMPET FX which come from the same recording session that produced the REAL TRUMPET.

 Why is there an ORGAN family and a DRAWBARS family?

Not everybody understands drawbars and, for this reason, we included a family of purely sampled organ combinations. This family also contains things like Church Organ and transistor organ samples which cannot be well replicated with drawbars.

 The DRAWBARS family is unique because it allows you to construct your own sounds exactly as you might on a drawbar organ. The presets in this family are simply manipulations of the same basic combination which can be easily edited by the user.

 To make your own drawbar sound, first select POP ORGAN2 in the DRAWBARS family, (I chose this particular preset because all of the drawbar sounds are active (some other presets mute the unused drawbars to optimize polyphony). 

Now press ESCAPE and then press PARTS (F5) in the main screen . Notice that the lower of the two leds to the right of the sliders is on. This indicates that the slider mode has changed. The sliders can now be used as organ drawbars. Sliders C thru H can be used as organ drawbars for the main sound. The footage for each slider is shown in the corresponding part of the display.

Sliders A and B will control the volume of the left hand sound in ACCOMP SPLIT and BASS SPLIT mode respectively.

 The rotary, (Leslie-effect) can be controlled from the SLOW/FAST button on the front panel. For more convenience, you can also assign this function to a pedal, (SECTION EDIT/PRESET/PEDALS & WHEELS), or to one of the four pads, (PADS EDIT).

 What does the USER button do in the PRESET FAMILIES section?

If you press USER and then go to the different sound families, you see that they are all empty. These are the empty slots where you can save your own sound presets. There are exactly the same number of these as there are in the preset families. A “power user” could completely change all of the sound presets and then store the results in these locations. This means that you can completely customize the Genesys to contain exactly the sounds that you want. Once you’ve done this, just press USER after switching the instrument on and the preset families now contain your own sounds instead of the factory presets. No other keyboard offers such a simple and powerful system for organizing user-created sounds.


Q. Why are there Bossa Novas in the JAZZ family?

Many jazz players use Bossas for creating a variation in the bridge of a swing tune. In fact, some swing tunes are even written that way. Putting all the Bossas in the LATIN family would have made it difficult to switch between Swing styles and Bossas in realtime. So we put two Bossas in the JAZZ family to cater to this need; one straight time and one double time. Just make sure you press TEMPO LOCK before switching over.

 Q. What’s so special about PRO SPLIT?

PRO SPLIT is the only feature which allows you to use a style correctly when playing a split keyboard patch – bass in the left hand and chords in the right. Most keyboards offer some kind of control over the chord scanning. Usually the choice is left hand or full keyboard (pianist mode). Some keyboards also offer a right hand scanning mode.  However, none of these modes will correctly reproduce a chord played in two halves with a split keyboard – bass on the left and chord on the right. If you use right hand scanning, the bass notes you play on the left side of the split will be ignored and not included in the accompaniment voicing. If you use full keyboard scanning then the bass section must use the same sound as the right hand.

 PRO SPLIT overcomes this problem by diving the bass and accompaniment parts of the style into two distinct sections. The bass section is voiced solely by the notes you play on the left side of the split. It will not be influenced by what you are playing with your right hand (as long as your left hand is playing something). Similarly the accompaniment tracks only look at the right hand notes for their voicing.

 Consider a chord like Fm7/Bb, (that’s Fm7 with a Bb bass). This is a pretty easy chord to play on a piano. However, trying to reproduce such a simple voicing on some style keyboards is almost impossible unless you switch to full keyboard/pianist mode; forcing you to play without a split. In this case, if you wanted to play with a layered sound like piano and choir, the bass notes you played would also play the choir sound in this low register, which will sound pretty awful. Using PRO SPLIT, you can independently select appropriate sounds for the right and left hand sections while the style section correctly interprets the chord voicings from both sections.

 Are there any other special style controls that I should know about?

There are many style controls on the Genesys that have been implemented as a result of extensive research into the needs of arranger keyboard users around the world. There are two which should be pointed out in any demonstration. The first is RESTART.

 The RESTART button was added as a tool for anyone who accompanies vocalists or other instrumentalists who have a tendency to loose their place in the song. Frequently, a vocalist might skip a whole beat or more while singing, (hearing “1” in their head while the keyboard player is still counting “4”). When this happens, just press RESTART on the vocalist’s downbeat. The style is now re-aligned with the vocalist’s count.

 The FREEZE CHORD function is another great tool for the accomplished player. Although primarily designed for use in PIANO STYLE mode, it can be used in any of the keyboard modes. FREEZE CHORD allows you to temporarily stop the instrument from recognizing any further chord changes, “freezing” the last chord that you played. This can be particularly useful in PIANO STYLE when you want to have more control over the auto-recognition of the accompaniment. The freeze chord function can be assigned to any of the three connected pedals and will be active only while the pedal is held. You will find it at the very end of the pedal functions in PEDALS PROG which is a page of the PEDALS & WHEELS menu in SECTION EDIT/PRESET.  


Is there a quicker way to scroll through the directories of a CD or Hard Disk?

Yes. Normally you use the up and down arrows to move one directory at a time. If you want to search more quickly, perhaps to locate a folder right at the end of the list, you can use the PAGE PREV and NEXT buttons to jump one whole directory screen at a time. The PAGE buttons also work in a similar way when you’re scrolling through a directory’s contents.

 Why is SONG, MP3 and WAVE data sorted into specific folders on GEM-produced disks?

This convention is followed to enable the use of the shortcut buttons in the SONG PLAYER / SELECT screen. These buttons, (along the right side of the screen), provide an instant means of locating a particular type of song file without having to search for the folder that contains it. They automatically open the folder with the related name, (MP3, WAVE, MIDIFILE etc.). These folders are fixed on the hard disk and cannot be renamed or deleted. However, if you are going to make your own data CDs containing multiple types of song file, it’s a good idea to use these same folder names so that the SONG PLAYER shortcuts can be used with it. 

 If I want to copy some MP3s, WAVs etc. from my computer to a CD, is there anything else I should know before burning the CD to optimize it for the Genesys?

You should try to use the same ISO file system compatibility as the Genesys. Your CD burning software should allow you to set this up from one of the option or preferences windows, (in Nero they can be found under the ISO tab in the “Burn CD” window).

The settings should be configured as follows:

ISO Level 2, (31 chars)
Character Set = ASCII
Format = Mode 1
Joliet = Unchecked  



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