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PATCHMAN TURBO VL FAQ

This is the place for answers concerning the PATCHMAN TURBO VL upgrade chip for the Yamaha VL70-m Virtual Acoustic Tone Generator.

For complete details and over 200 audio demos of the PATCHMAN TURBO VL chip click here.

TURBO VL Chip Akai EWI Yamaha VL WX AEMAkai EWI Yamaha VL WX AEMAkai EWI Yamaha VL WX AEM
Check out the INCREDIBLE PATCHMAN TURBO VL Upgrade Chip for the Yamaha VL70-m
Akai EWI Yamaha VL WX AEMAkai EWI Yamaha VL WX AEMAkai EWI Yamaha VL WX AEM


Q.) Where can I buy the PATCHMAN TURBO VL chip?

A.) PATCHMAN MUSIC is the only source in the world for buying the TURBO VL chip. It is only available direct from us. We can ship the chip anywhere in the world. If you already own a Yamaha VL70-m, you can purchase just the chip and install it yourself. Click here for complete details on how to buy just the TURBO VL chip.

Additional wind controller and VL70-m questions are answered in THE WIND CONTROLLER FAQ


Q.) What is the PATCHMAN TURBO VL chip?PATCHMAN TURBO VL

A.) The PATCHMAN TURBO VL chip is an EPROM chip containing 256 new state-of-the-art Voices. The chip is installed inside the VL70-m replacing the factory EPROM chip. It can be easily installed by the user or installed by Patchman Music for a small fee. The 256 new Voices contained on the PATCHMAN TURBO VL chip have been meticulously edited by expert wind controller programmer Matt Traum. The TURBO VL chip includes tons of amazing new sounds, the very best Voices selected from the Patchman Music VL70-m Volumes 1 and 2 optimized, as well as improved versions of the best of the factory presets. The Turbo VL chip represents nearly a year of intense physical modeling programming. All of the Voices on this chip have been carefully programmed for maximum realism, re-tuned, and tweaked to respond in a far more satisfying and dynamic manner. The effects have been optimized (e.g. the reverbs have been carefully selected and tweaked for smoothness).


Q.) Can the PATCHMAN TURBO VL chip be used with the PLG150VL card or any other synth with VL technology?

A.) No. The TURBO VL chip only works with the VL70-m. It is NOT compatible with any other synth or any of the PLG cards such as the PLG150VL. If you want to use the TURBO VL sounds, you will need to get a VL70-m.


Q.) Can the PATCHMAN TURBO VL chip be used with the Yamaha VL1, VL1-m, or VL7?

A.) No. The TURBO VL chip only works with the VL70-m. It is NOT compatible with any other synth. If you want to use the TURBO VL sounds, you will need to get a VL70-m.


Q.) How do I install the PATCHMAN TURBO VL chip?

A.) It can be installed by the user or installed by Patchman Music for a small fee. Most users install it themselves. Installation is easy and requires no soldering or special tools. Detailed, step-by-step instructions are included with the TURBO VL chip. Please note that if your VL70-m is still under warranty, you may void the warranty if you open up your VL70-m.


Q.) Why do I need the PATCHMAN TURBO VL upgrade?

A.) In response to numerous customer requests for a way to get around the severely limiting 6 Custom Voice limit of the VL70-m and to provide far better quality preset banks, we created the Patchman Turbo VL upgrade chip. You still have only 6 Custom slots in your VL70-m, but with 256 EXTREMELY HIGH QUALITY VOICES built-in, the need to even use the Custom bank is greatly diminished! That's right, those bland, quiet, plastic sounding presets are gone forever! So the need for more Custom Voices is a moot point. The PATCHMAN TURBO VL chip gives you 256 great sounds specially tweaked for use with a wind controller or breath controller permanently burned in ROM!


Q.) What is the VL70-m's Internal Bank for?

A.) With access to 256 permanent high quality sounds in the two Preset banks, you can now use the Internal bank to arrange 64 of your favorites from the Pr1 and Pr2 banks any way you wish without having to worry about what 6 Custom Voices you have loaded and without having to jump between the Pr1 and Pr2 banks. You can set the controllers, change the transposition, adjust the effects and save your edits in one place to the Internal bank for quick acces at any time.


Q.) How much is it?

A.) The price and the available discounts are detailed on the main TURBO VL page at: http://www.patchmanmusic.com/turbovl.html


Q.) Why is the TURBO VL chip more expensive than your other VL soundbanks?Patchman TURBO VL Chip

A.) At about a dollar per Voice we think the price is quite fair and reasonable considering it took nearly a year of intense programming to create and optimize 256 physical modelling Voices. If you have ever tried to program a single physical modeling Voice you will quickly understand this. There are well over 1000 parameters in a single VL70-m Voice! Additionally, Patchman Music has invested a significant amount of resources into researching and developing the technology to make the TURBO VL chip possible. Consider that the price of the TURBO VL chip is about the cost of a good sampler CD ROM or ROM expansion board yet producing this project took much more time than a sampler CD, and the market for this product is extremely limited. Also, there is value in the simple added convenience of having 256 professional quality VL Voices at your immediate disposal without having to use a computer. Once you install the TURBO VL chip you essentially have a new, ultimate, wind controller synth module. Remember that a physically modeled VL Voice represents a real playable instrument complete with the quirks and reactions of that instrument. You play these Voices as you would the real thing. How much would it cost to buy a truckload of 256 "real" instruments from your local music shop? What does a Bass Clarinet sell for these days?


Q.) Will these sounds be available on floppy disk or some other form other than an EPROM chip?

A.) This is not likely. This project was conceived to be a complete "remodeling" of the VL70-m in EPROM format. These sounds work together as a whole. There are no plans to make these sounds available in any other format or for any other synth.


Q.) I don't feel comfortable opening up my VL70-m. Do you offer a service to install the EPROM?

A.) Yes. If you are in the USA and you would like Patchman Music to install the VL Turbo chip we can install, test, and ship your VL70-m (along with the factory ROM chip) back to you for an extra fee. This fee includes installation, testing, shipping and insurance back to you. If you want us to do this, contact matt@patchmanmusic.com to make arrangements to have this done. If you are outside the USA, you will need to find someone locally to do the installation. Any competent service person can do the chip swap.


Q.) Are these sounds permanent or can I edit them?

A.) Like the original built-in factory ROM sounds, these are permanent sounds. But you can make edits to them using the front panel of the VL70-m and save the edits to one of the 64 Internal bank memories like you could with the original ROM sounds. The big difference is that now you are working with 256 high quality Voices to begin with!


Q.) What if I liked some of the original sounds?

A.) If you have the Patchman Music TURBO VL upgrade chip installed in your VL70-m and still wish to use some of the factory VL70-m sounds, we offer a special service whereby we can generate a custom Midifile that contains your 6 picks from the factory set. You send us the list of 6 factory patch names (specify the number and name), and we can create the Midifile, email it to you, and you can transfer it via a MIDI dump using your computer once the TURBO is installed. These 6 Cst bank sounds will remain in the VL70-m even after you power it down. This is a nice way to continue using your 6 favorite factory sounds even when the TURBO VL chip is installed. If you would like to take advantage of this service, contact matt@patchmanmusic.com to make arrangements.

If you want to try it yourself, here are the original 256 factory VL70-m Voices in VL Expert Editor (.lib) file format...

PC Version (ZIP file 159k)

Mac Version (StuffIt file148k)

You can load any 6 of them into the Custom bank using an Expert Editor. We provide links to these third party editors as well as all the info we have on its availability at the bottom of our VL70-m page here. Please be aware that this software is very old and may no longer run on newer computers and operating systems.


Q.) Does this EPROM wipe out the original VL70-m sounds?Patchman TURBO VL Chip

A.) Yes. But the good news is that the TURBO VL chip contains the very best that VL physical modeling synthesis has to offer. The best Voices from the Patchman Music VL70-m Volume 1 and 2 soundbanks are included but have been greatly improved. We also very carefully selected and reprogrammed the best of the original factory sounds and those improved Voices are contained within the TURBO VL chip. You get all the very best VL voices ever- only SUPERCHARGED by an expert wind controller programmer!


Q.) Does the VL-XG Voice map still work with the TURBO VL chip installed?

A.) The VL-XG Voice map will still function but the Voices will be all different since the Factory Presets are no longer in the VL70-m. We doubt this will be a problem since our experience tells us that almost no one uses the VL-XG mode on the VL anyway.


Q.) What about the two Patchman Music VL70-m banks? Are they included?

A.) Those soundbanks will continue to be sold as a separate product, but the very best Voices from our Patchman Music VL70-m Volumes 1 and 2 are included in the TURBO VL chip- only now most are VASTLY improved. ALL the Voices in the TURBO VL chip have been re-edited to some extent but many have been DRASTICALLY improved- many to the point that they are completely different even though the names might be the same.


Q.) Do you still offer the older VL70-m Volumes 1 and 2?

A.) Yes. We will continue to sell those soundbanks as well as separate products. Details on the Patchman Music VL70-m Volume 1 and 2 soundbanks can be found here.


Q.) I have the TURBO VL chip and I no longer use the Volumes 1 and 2. Can I sell or transfer Volumes 1 and/or 2 to someone else?

A.) No. Patchman Music software is licensed to one user only and cannot be sold, transferred, or used by any other party. To read the complete license pertaining to Patchman Music software, please visit: http://www.patchmanmusic.com/LicenseAgreement.html


Q.) Which wind controllers can be used with the TURBO VL chip?Patchman TURBO VL Chip

A.) To make use of the TURBO VL Voices you simply need to set your wind controller to send breath controller data, pitchbend, and velocity. Foot Pedal (CC#4) is also used to add an extra element of expression to the sounds but this is not necessary for normal use. The Yamaha WX5, WX11, and WX7, Akai EWI and EVI series, Nyle Steiner's MIDI EVI, The MDT Morrison Digital Trumpet, Roland Aerophone, Softwind Synthophone, and others all work great with the TURBO VL Voices. Of course, keyboardists can enjoy the TURBO VL sounds by simply using a Yamaha breath controller (BC1, BC2, BC3) with the VL70-m.


Q.) Can I use a Casio DH Digital Horn such as the DH-100 or DH-200 with the TURBO VL chip?

A.) Yes, but you will need to use a mapper to map the DH-100's MIDI Aftertouch data into MIDI breath controller data (CC#2). Midi Solutions makes a device called the MIDI Solutions Event Processor that will do the trick. Patchman Music can pre-program the MIDI Solutions Event Processor to do the conversion if you buy it from Patchman Music. Also, Anatek made the "Pocket Mapper" but they are no longer in business. These can sometimes be found on the used market.


Q.) Some of the Voice names are the same as others I recognize. Are these Voices the same as those?

A.) The Voices in the TURBO VL chip are not available anywhere else. The TURBO VL chip includes improved versions of the best factory presets and the Patchman Music VL70-m Volumes 1 and 2. In some cases we simply had to use a name that exists elsewhere such as "Alto Sax" or "Trumpet" even though the Voice is completely different because it makes the most sense. Overall, the TURBO VL chip represents the state-of-the-art in VL programming and it is doubtful that you will desire or find better VL70-m Voices anywhere. It should satisfy most people's needs for VL sounds for a good long time.


Q.) The TURBO VL sounds don't sound right. Why?

A.) You may need to reset the controllers on your VL70-m. To do this, simply play one of the built-in demos. You don't need to play the whole demo, just play it until you hear a sound then stop it. You might also do a "FactoryRest" and "SystemInitialize". These are accessed via the VL's UTIL button. If you do that, then you will need to set the VL to VOICE mode (via the MODE button), and use the BREATH button to set the Breath Mode to "BC/WX", and set the "Breath Control" parameter to "BC". You should also set the breath curve to "+00". Also make sure your breath sensor is sending MIDI breath controller data (CC#2) only.


Q.) When I save a Voice to the Internal bank it doesn't sound the same as the original. Why?

A.) Unfortunately this is normal. It appears this is a quirk in the way the Internal memory bank is implemented in the VL70-m. We aren't sure why this happens but this is normal for the VL70-m. If you don't believe it, install the stock factory chip and store Pr1 GuitHero to the Internal bank then carefully compare the tone between the Pr1 and Internal bank version. We suspect it is due to the way the VL70-m stores its effects settings- or lack thereof. We suspect that a few of the parameters are not saved when a Pr1/Pr2 Voice is saved to the Internal bank. And unfortunately this problem is magnified since the TURBO VL Voices utilize the effects much more creatively and dynamically than the factory presets did. The good news is that you can tweak the Internal bank Voices to your liking and simply resave them and all is well.


Q.) Some of the TURBO VL Internal bank Voices don't sound exactly the same as their counterparts in the Preset banks. Why?

A.) Same reason as above.


Q.) How can I change Banks (Pr1, Pr2, Int, Cst) on my VL70-m from the VL70-m front panel? How do I access the other 128 sounds in the other bank?

A.) Changing banks on the VL70-m is very easy. Use the SELECT buttons to move the cursor to the left of the bank name (i.e. Pr1, Pr2, Int, etc..) so that the little triangle is BLACK. Then use the VALUE buttons to change to the desired bank. Then push the right SELECT button one time to move the cursor to the left of the patch number (the little triangle to the left of the 3 digit patch number should be BLACK). Now you can use the VALUE buttons to select patches within the bank.


Q.) The built-in demos sound different now. Why?

A.) This is because the demos were originally designed to play certain Voices in the Factory ROM. Since you now have different Preset Voices, the demos are playing a different Voice with completely different controller assignments etc... . If you really want to hear the demos as they were intended you would need to install your original factory EPROM.


Q.) When playing the Turbo VL Voices, they all seem to be transposed an octave or two different than I would prefer. Can I adjust this?Patchman TURBO VL Chip

A.) Yes, very easily. Since we all play different types of wind controllers and "middle C" is in different spots on different controllers, it may be desirable to change to Global Transpose of the VL70-m to match your wind controller. If the TURBO VL Voices generally feel like they should all be shifted an octave you can globally transpose the VL70-m using the SysTrans parameter. To do this, simply push the SELECT> button several times until you see the "SysTran" parameter then set this to your liking (generally it will be +12, or +00, or -12 half steps). The TURBO VL Voices were all designed to play in their most useful and comfortable range once you have this global "SysTran" transpose parameter set to match your wind controller.

It is also very easy to change octave or transpose on a PER Voice basis as well. To transpose an individual Voice, simply push both "PART" buttons at the same time, then use the right SELECT button to get to the transpose parameter. Use the VALUE buttons to set the desired note shift then save to an Internal bank memory slot.


Q.) When I put the VL70-m into VL-XG mode, the icons that show in the display are all incorrect. Why?

A.) This is normal and just the way it is when the TURBO VL Chip is installed. If only this were the worst problem in the world...


Q.) The TURBO VL sounds are much louder and punchier.

A.) Yes, this is one of the wonderful features of the Patchman Music TURBO VL chip. You may notice also that the TURBO VL voices all have the volume set to 127 instead of 100 as was the case with all the factory Voices. This provides approximately 4 more db of gain in addition to the higher gain we achieved within the optimized Voice programming.


Q.) Some TURBO VL sounds are louder than others. Why is this and is there anything I can do about it?

A.) When programming these Voices we decided to generally try to get the very best possible dynamic range out of each individual Voice. This helps to reduce the noise level of the VL70-m (which was a frequent complaint with the stock VL70-m.) The TURBO VL voices are all noticeably louder and more dynamic than the factory voices. All of the Voices were very carefully programmed to play as loud and dynamically as possible. A small number of Voices simply could not be boosted as loud as the others without distorting. So instead of compromising the dynamic range of ALL the other Voices to match the few that had lower volumes, we decided to make each Voice as dynamic as possible. We did balance the volumes slightly but opted towards maximum punch in general. If you need to balance some Voices, we suggest that you adjust the volume to your liking then save the edit to the Internal bank.


Q.) Some TURBO VL sounds seem to a bit play out of tune on some notes or at different breath controller levels. Why is this and is there anything I can do about it?Patchman TURBO VL Chip

A.) On the VL70-m, pitch can be affected by a number of things including pitchbend data, how hard you are blowing, how hard you tongue a note, and other MIDI controllers. You will have fewer problems with pitch when the TURBO VL Voices are played at the right breath level. On Voices where pitch is more strongly related to breath controller level, make sure you are sending the proper amount of breath controller (CC#2) data to "center" the pitch. Generally this is somewhere between halfway and full (64-127). Finding the "sweet spot" may take a bit of experimentation and adjustment to your controller's wind/breath gain settings. The TURBO VL Voices were very carefully hand tuned with a tuner while actually playing a wind controller. They are in tune when played with the proper amount of breath support, i.e., breath controller (CC#2) data.

Nevertheless, there will always be some pitch variation in response to various controllers as you would expect from a real acoustic instrument. This is critical to making a sound "alive"- especially when layering with other Voices to make section sounds. It sounds very unnatural to have layered sounds precisely in tune with no variation. Try layering a sampler with perfectly tuned and non-wavering samples and you'll hear what can sound something like an organ. Not very organic!

The pitch variations were not purposefully exaggerated. They were in fact controlled as much as possible. But it is often times simply not possible to make every note of a VL patch perfectly in tune at all breath levels. Certainly there are places in some patches where it would have been nice to have them more in tune with low breath controller levels, but the reality is that there are a limited number of break points in the VL70-m synthesis algorithm. You simply cannot tune every note 100% perfectly so that it never varies from the absolute center pitch. You wouldn't want it that way anyway. It would sound too perfect to be real.

Special note to WX Series Users: Unless you have a physical reason to have to use "loose lip mode", it is strongly recommended that "tight lip mode" is using WX series wind controllers. "Tight lip mode" provides the ability to bend both upwards and downwards as on a real wind instrument. Folks that use the WX "loose lip mode" are missing out being able to bend down with the lip to make important "real time" adjustments to pitch. And that's a big limitation.


Q.) Some TURBO VL sounds are out of tune. The harder I blow the more out of tune the sound gets. Why is this and what can I do about it?

A.) Some of the TURBO VL plucked string sounds and a few of the wind instruments such as the harmonica were programmed to bend pitch when they receive aftertouch data. This is great for keyboardists for natural sounding bends, but wind controller players need to make sure their wind controller is NOT sending aftertouch data or the patch will play wildly out of tune. The Akai EWI4000s has aftertouch turned on as a factory default controller sent from its breath sensor. EWI4000s users playing the TURBO VL should turn this off. To turn off aftertouch data transmission from the EWI4000s breath sensor, push and hold down the SETUP button on the EWI4000s and use the side keys to select the "bS" parameter. Release the SETUP button and use the side keys to scroll through the parameters for the breath sensor. You should see a small dot between the digits in the LED display ONLY for the "br" and "vE" parameters. If the dot is lit for the "AF" or any other parameter then push the TRANS button to turn it off. When all parameters are set correctly, push the SETUP button once to exit.


Patchman TURBO VL ChipQ.) The guitar sounds play differently on the TURBO VL chip compared to the Factory guitars. When I play the TURBO VL guitars and plucked Voices without tonguing, the notes fade away as I play a long legato melody. Why?

A.) This is because most of the factory guitar Voices are programmed to re-attack every note even if you play legato. We find this very unnatural sounding on guitar Voices and it is very restrictive offering less overall flexibility. Most of the factory plucked Voices have their "Port SW" parameter set to OFF and the TURBO VL Voices have this set to "ON". But if you want, you can edit a TURBO VL Voice to constantly re-attack by doing the following...

Push the EDIT button
Select "OTHERS", then push the ENTER button
Select the "Porta SW" parameter and set it to "off"
Then save the Voice to an Internal slot.

(Another way to set this TEMPORARILY is to send MIDI Controller #65 at value "0".)

When you play a guitar Voice it is essential to keep in mind how a guitarist plays. That is, they pluck almost every note. You wouldn't see a guitarist pluck, in our case tongue, ONLY the first note then play a 4 bar bebop melody by wiggling JUST his left hand. He is constantly plucking notes but he also is occasionally sliding into or out of notes. But the slide generally encompasses only 2 or 3 notes before the note dies away. A long legato line (a single pluck with multiple notes after it) just doesn't happen commonly on a guitar. So when playing guitar/plucked patches you need to adjust your playing technique to tongue much more often.

Unlike most of the factory preset Voices, we chose to make the TURBO VL plucked patches glide like a real guitar would. By doing it this way, you have the option to either glide or tongue a note. This allows for smooth slides and trills when needed. We find a Poly-mode guitar to be very unnatural sounding. Instead it is better to learn the proper technique and re-tongue appropriately on guitar patches. With a small amount of practice, this will allow you to have complete control to choose when to tongue notes and when to glide notes. Listen carefully to the TURBO VL acoustic guitar and steel guitar mp3 demos and how they are played. You will hear that most of the notes are tongued and slide only to one other note when a slide is actually desired. It takes a completely different technique to play a plucked patch than it takes to play a wind instrument patch. So keep practicing!


Q.) I can't control the volume of most of the plucked patches (guitars / basses). Why?Patchman TURBO VL Chip

A.) Keep in mind that a guitar is basically a STRUCK percussion instrument like a drum or marimba etc- not a continuously variable wind instrument. Consider what you are trying to play. That is, a physical model of a real guitar. A real guitar generally does not sustain forever. It is simply plucked once at the beginning of a note (generally EACH note) and the sound dies away. Any sort of breath control to the note would sound unnatural.

PS: Note that some of the DISTORTED guitars in the TURBO VL chip indeed do respond to breath control for added expression.


Q.) When the VL70-m TURBO is connected to my Akai EWI5000 the VL70-m responds sluggishly and jumpy and the VL's display seems to slow down. Why?

Patchman TURBO VL ChipThis is because from the factory the EWI5000 sends way too much MIDI which overloads the processor in the VL70-m. Fortunately there is an easy fix for this. If you are having trouble with delays in response and random problems when connecting the EWI5000 to MIDI synths and softsynths you will need to set a few things on the EWI5000...

The EWI5000 factory defaults are not right. Simply put, they were unwisely chosen by Akai (yes, we have notified Akai of this many times to no avail). The Akai EWI5000 sends far too much MIDI data as it comes from the factory and this overly dense MIDI data stream causes problems with most receiving synths. Most MIDI synths will get choked up with this needlessly over-dense MIDI data stream which can cause strange behavior on the synth. So you need to make adjustments to the EWI5000 to reduce the density of MIDI data it sends. So...

Make sure the EWI5000 breath sensor is set to Low Resolution ("Lr") mode. See page 15 of the full version of the EWI5000 User Guide for details (download it from the www.akaipro.com website). This will dramatically thin out the amount of MIDI data the EWI5000 sends with absolutely no negative side effects to the response.

There is a also a parameter on the EWI5000 that adjusts the breath sensor's "rate of change". See page 23 of the full EWI5000 User Guide. Try a setting of 25. (You can also adjust the rate of change parameters for the other sensors on the EWI5000 and we suggest you adjust them as well. This will help thin out the amount of MIDI data the EWI5000 sends.

Also, double check to make sure the EWI5000 is sending ONLY one MIDI controller from its breath sensor. In most cases this should be MIDI Breath Controller data (CC#2).


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