What is the difference between a GS midi and a XG one?

Discussion in 'General Sequencing' started by Terry, Feb 26, 2003.

  1. Terry

    Terry New Member

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    Can some of you experts help me with this? Sometimes when I go to order one, they ask if I want a GS or XG and I don't know what the difference is. Please explain. Thanks, Terry
  2. olly

    olly Member

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    Does this sound right?

    Dont quote me on this because I could be wrong? but I have been of the belief that a "GS" midi is set up for Roland sound sources and a "XG" midi is set up for Yamaha sound sources such as Keyboards, sound modules and so on. I use a Korg module which will play both fine but sometimes have to adjust the sounds on the midi file to suit my module, but like I said, I may be wrong? Goodluck!
  3. Terry

    Terry New Member

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    Thanks for the answer Olly. Does anyone else have a different answer or is Olly right? Let us know if you know for sure. Thanks, Terry
  4. seacruzinal

    seacruzinal New Member

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    I concur with oily on this one.
  5. Terry

    Terry New Member

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    Thanks so much guys. That helps! This board is so great when people are actually sharing midis and information! Terry
  6. updater

    updater New Member

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    i guess that apart from the roland vs yamaha aspect of gs/gm and xg, in xg there are more standard sounds defined. but maybe i'm wrong....
  7. Stringman11

    Stringman11 New Member

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    A GM file uses only the 127 voices standard on any keyboard. I'm thinking the GS is somehow similar to GM. XG would use other voices that may or may not be carried on your keyboard.
  8. sheffers

    sheffers New Member

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    Olly has it right. :thumbsup:

    Here is a more detailed breakdown:

    GS:
    Some companies felt that General MIDI didn't go far enough, so Roland created a superset of General MIDI Level 1, which they call GS Standard. It obeys all the protocols and sound maps of General MIDI and adds many extra controllers and sounds. Some of the controllers use Unregistered Parameter Numbers to give macro control over synth parameters such as envelope attack and decay rates.

    The new MIDI Bank Select message provides access to extra sounds (including variations on the stock sounds and a recreation of the MT-32 factory patches). The programs in each bank align with the original 128 in General MIDI's Instrument Patch Map, with eight banks housing related families. The GS Standard includes a "fall back" system. If the Sound Canvas receives a request for a bank/program number combination that does not exist, it will reassign it to the master instrument in that family. A set of Roland System Exclusive messages allows reconfiguration and customization of the sound module.

    This means that a Roland GS Standard sound module will correctly play back any song designed for General MIDI. In addition, if the song's creator wants to create some extra nuance, they can include the GS Standard extensions in their sequence. None of these extensions are so radical as to make the song unplayable on a normal GM sound module. After all, compatibility is what MIDI - and especially General MIDI - is all about.

    XG: (from Yamaha)
    General MIDI was a terrific idea that has also proven to be a commercial success. It has opened up the world of MIDI to thousands of musicians who do not wish to get involved in technical intricacies. But GM is limited to basic MIDI functions and is unable to support the full powers of today’s multi-timbral tone generators. As we enter the multimedia age, it is time for the introduction of an enhanced format that builds on the foundation laid by General MIDI—and that format is XG.

    Yamaha’s development of the XG format has focused on the following three key goals:
    1. Compatibility - Any XG instrument, regardless of model or manufacturer, will provide faithful reproduction of XG music files—
    and will also be completely 100% General MIDI-compatible, since it is an enhancement to, and not a replacement for, General MIDI. You can think of General MIDI as being a kind of minimum “building
    code”—all XG instruments are built “to code” but then add a large
    number of new features (we’ll talk about these shortly) that make
    them more like luxury condos!
    2. Scalability - There are actually three different levels of XG
    compatibility. The first level is implemented in instruments such as
    the Yamaha MU50; the second level is implemented in instruments
    such as the Yamaha MU80; and details of the third level will be announced shortly. These different levels mean that we’ll be seeing a wide range of XG instruments in the years ahead, each with its own character and each offering a unique feature set at a different price point. Each, however, will faithfully replay XG data in accordance with its level of sophistication—if a particular instrument doesn’t support a variation voice, for example, it will automatically substitute the corresponding basic GM voice.
    3. Expandability - The XG format—like MIDI itself—is an “open”
    architecture, which will allow for the addition of new enhancements as future technology continues to evolve.
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2003
  9. xtremidi

    xtremidi New Member

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    Whew! Very well answered. Thanks, I didn't know what the difference was either. I have another question though. You say that any XG instrument will reproduce the files. Does this refer to software on the computer too? Or can programs play both types?
  10. midiprog2000

    midiprog2000 New Member

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    Hi xtremidi,

    Sequencer software will play all types of midifiles, GM, GS or XG. In fact, it has nothing to do with the software, only with the receiving device.

    However, I have already seen a software sequencer that was not capable of sending System Exclusive messages ! This means, this sequencer is not able to send GM, GS or XG reset messages.

    Kind regards,
    Alain
    www.midiDesign.be
  11. Ray_48200

    Ray_48200 New Member

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    Thanks alot because I wanted to not that too
  12. diller

    diller New Member

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    ok... cool
  13. Terry

    Terry New Member

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    Thanks again guys! Great info! Terry
  14. Peter Aragon

    Peter Aragon New Member

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    Yeah, XG files sounds well on Yamaha equipment but needs some tweaking when using traditional pre-XG devices

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