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The Yamaha RS7000 Live Performance Howto
Yamaha RS7000
Live Performance Howto
collected and written by Timo A. Hummel
Version 0.2
Thursday, November 7, 2002
The Yamaha RS7000 Live Performance Howto
This document was collected and written
by Timo A. Hummel. All trademarks within
this document are property of their
respective owners. All information within
this document is intellectual property,
unless mentioned otherwise.
This document has the purpose to serve as
a source for your own ideas. Therefore, I
cannot take any liability if you damage
your music equipment, your toaster, or
your cat. I also don't take any liability
that the information within this document
is working as specified.
The purpose of this document is to make
the Yamaha RS7000 Product more popular,
shows much of the flexibilities, and to
fascinate more and more users – no
illegal activity and/or damage to Yamaha
is intended.
New versions of this document can be
found on http://www.monday-rec.com/rs7000
I can be reached at timo.hummel@gmx.net.
If you have contributions to this
document, or if you have found false
information, just drop me a line.
The Yamaha RS7000 Live Performance Howto
1 Introduction
Welcome to the Rs7000 Live Performance Howto. I hope you enjoy reading it and use the
tips and tricks you find in there. All this is free of charge, however, if you find these hints, tips
and the document as whole useful, you are encouraged to send me a CD of your live sets
(preferably detroit techno style), or book me if you like to. Feedback with not-so-nice points
or invalid hints is also nice to have. Have fun!
1.1 Motivation
The reason why I wrote this is to publish my tips and tricks to the RS7000 User world and the
idea to get feedback from other people using the RS7000 in their live sets.
1.2 About me
My name is Timo A. Hummel. I use the RS7000 in my live performance to make people
dance on the ceiling (almost). My philosophy when playing live is to have control over many
aspects of my live performance, and it is also my philosophy which forbids me to just press
play and the whole performance plays on its own. In my live performances, when I don't do
anything, then nothing will happen. I hope many RS7000 owners share this philosophy and
make use of this document.
1.3 Topics covered
Some of the topics covered in this document aren't that much RS7000 specific, but are more
ideas how to organize and create a live performance with the ability to have full control over
what's happening.
The chapter 2 is dedicated to some basic live performance techniques I use in my own
In chapter 2.1, I'll try to explain the goals for the chapter “Getting Started”.
In chapter 2.2, I'll try to explain some of the RS7000 operating modes and why everything
else than the pattern mode is evil in the context of live performances.
In chapter 2.3, I'll try to explain how to organize the pieces of information (like phrases and
tracks) and how to get direct access during the live performance.
In chapter 2.4, I'll try to explain how to integrate the RS7000 into the live equipment setup,
including using the RS7000 master effect with all devices you've got.
Currently, there are only chapters 1 and 2, which will change in the future (chapter 3 will
most probably contain information how to prepare and pre-arrange live performances in the
2 Getting started
I hope this isn't your first session using the Yamaha RS7000, if it is, please stop reading now
and use some other tutorials on the web and/or the Yamaha RS7000 operation manual. I
assume that you know how to perform basic tasks and jobs, and that you are able to find
menu entries on your own.
2.1 Goals
In this chapter, you learn how to organize your patterns for quick'n'dirty access on the stage
without loosing all control possibilities, as well as what a good track layout looks like.
The Yamaha RS7000 Live Performance Howto
Additionally, you learn how to integrate the RS7000 with your exisiting equipment to create a
2.2 The RS7000 Operating Modes
You should already know the 3 RS7000 operating modes, which are named “Pattern”,
“Pattern Chain” and “Song”. You cannot switch between them while the box is running, so it
is important that you choose one first.
Usually, live performances for electronic music don't have pauses inbetween, so it's
important to find a way to organize all your stuff so you can really have a performance which
takes 45 minutes, one hour, or even more.
2.2.1 Pattern Mode
The Pattern mode is the most basic mode, depending on the point of view. From the point of
view from a live performer, it is the most powerful mode since the performer has full control
over every aspect. There is nothing which happens automatically during playback which isn't
in the phrases, so there are no automatical tempo, pattern and section changes. Live means
that somebody has to do something in order to create sound changes.
2.2.2 Pattern Chain Mode
The pattern chain mode has some automatism in it, you can program section and style
changes. That's one step away from performing live. Imagine the following situation:
You notice that your audience likes a specific sound a lot, and you want to use that sound at
a later point of your performance. Since the pattern chain is fixed, you can't step back without
interrupting the sound.
Additionally, the pattern chain mode is limited to 999 measures, which is way too short for
many live performances (at 140 BPM, this makes around 20-30 Minutes of playback).
2.2.3 Song Mode
The song mode is the “let's-automate-it-all” mode. If you use this mode, I won't call you a live
performancer anymore. Of course, this mode is very nice to create songs which you maybe
want to release later, but this mode is nonsense for a live performance. Let's quickly forget it
2.2.4 Pattern vs. Pattern Chain Mode
Using a pattern chain, you are fixed to a specific arrangement of your live performace. This is
bad, as already said above – and we want to have full control, don't we?
To change phrases, you have to interact with the RS7000. Press the pattern button twice,
you'll see the Patch view. In this view, you can switch your phrases during performance.
Select the Track of which you want to change the phrase, and turn the knob 2 to select the
phrase (see “Information Management” for how to organize your phrases). Since abrupt
changes are bad in most electronic styles, it is very nice since you can smoothly advance
from one song to the next, just by exchanging the 16 tracks (or less) step-by-step. You can
access the Patch view from every other view just by pressing the Pattern button twice.
Remember: If you are stuck in any view, just press exit until you see the main overview
again. From there, just press “Pattern” once and you are in the patch view.
2.2.5 Pattern vs. Song Mode
The same which applied to the pattern chain mode applies to the song mode – and
The Yamaha RS7000 Live Performance Howto
2.3 Information Management
In order to play a perfect performance, you have to kill a few braincells before you climb onto
the stage for the information management. You already know that there are phrases, but
usually, you didn't change them or used sections to switch them (or even the pattern
chain/song mode).
2.3.1 Phrases
One big problem on the RS7000 is that switching styles causes a little (but still noticeable)
delay since it switches the effects unit. Another problem (which isn't directly RS7000 related)
is that when you switch sections, that all phrases are switched. So why don't we just setup
one huge section which contains all stuff we need? 256 phrases should be enough for one
live performance, and you can put other (different) live performances into other
sections/styles, maybe with a single sound that bypasses both sections. Using this
technique, you could create a live-performance which can last half a day – and that should
really be enough. Organizing the phrases
I usually split my live performance into several tracks, and I organize my patterns after a
specific schema. You have to know that I have set a dedicated track for each part of my
songs – since it is possible to use 256 phrases and 16 tracks, I decided that I have a
maximum of 16 songs. In my live performance, I used the following track layout:
Short name
Bass Drum
Hihat Closed
Hihat Open
Ride Cymbal 1
Ride Cymbal 2
Loop 1 / Efx 1
Loop 2 / Efx 2
Loop 3 / Efx 3
Loop 4 / Efx 4
Aux 1
Aux 2
As you can see, each track has a dedicated “Instrument” which it plays. Therefore, it is very
easy to split up the 256 phrases into chunks of 16 tracks. For example, the Bass Drum of
Track 1 is on Phrase 1, the Bass Drum of Track 2 is on Phrase 2, the closed Highhat of
Track 1 is on Phrase 17, the closed Highhat of Track 2 is on Phrase 18 and so on. You can
The Yamaha RS7000 Live Performance Howto
download an excel sheet so you can easily manage your patterns.
I hope you understood the concept, since it makes it possible to switch phrases track-bytrack and without skipping too many phrases (which costs a lot of time). Phrase naming
In order to get the concept of the stuff above, it is important that you name your phrases. I
used the short names of the tracks to identify the phrases. Example:
001 bdaud
002 bdflip
“aud” and “flip” are short names for the songs I've made. Since phrase names are limited to 8
characters, they have to be very short. The TESA hints
To have a full overview over my tracks, I attached some tesa (transparent tape) below the 16
knobs of the RS7000 and wrote the track shortcuts on it. It's not a big deal, but it's nice if you
are nervous on stage and want additional security.
2.3.2 Knob assignment
Almost every knob on the RS7000 can be assigned to other functions, including track
assignment. Assigning knobs for mixing
In my live performance, I use the effect send knobs for setting the volume of lp1-lp4, and the
EG knobs for the cutoff of lp1-lp4. You can set the knobs to what you like, just what you
need. The label hints
To make life easier, just attach some white sticky labels to the RS7000 (make sure you can
detach them easily) and write the new knob function below it. Makes your live life a lot easier!
2.3.3 Live Equipment Integration
If you have other equipment, you might want to integrate that also into the live performance.
Read on! MIDI Cabling
The Yamaha RS7000 has two dedicated MIDI output ports, but unfortunately, you are limited
to the 16 tracks. In my live performance, I've set track 15 to a dedicated MIDI A track and
track 16 to a dedicated MIDI B track. You can change these using the setup button, and you
can also apply the phrase change technique I've explained above. Audio Cabling
To get the best results, turn the audio colume to 100% and set the gain on your mixer
correctly. High-quality cables are a must (but that applies to every device in your setup). No
tricks, just straight-forward cabling.
The Yamaha RS7000 Live Performance Howto
7/7 Using the RS7000 as insert device
Sometimes, you surely want to use the master effects of the RS7000 with all your devices. If
your mixer has master insert plugs, you are out of trouble, since you can just insert the whole
mixer signal into your RS7000 (audio in), and then use the regular audio outs to return to the
mixer. A wiring diagram follows soon! Mastering Chain
Using the trick above, you can also use mastering effects. In my live performance, the audio
signal coming out of the RS7000 is inserted into a BOSS VFX-1 (which does EQ,
Compression etc) and a delay unit. The output of the delay unit (last device in the chain) is
returned to the mixer – and bingo, there's great sound.
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