Yamaha MU2000 Owner`s manual
S90 and the Modular Synthesis Plug-in System
Analog Physical Modeling
Plug-in Board
A Getting Started Guide
yS90 & PLG150-AN
The VOICE EDITOR for S90 will let you
program USER Bank Voices for the S90. That is,
AWM2 Normal User Voice, Drum User Kits and
PLG150 Series User Plug-in Voices. Then why do
you need the AN EXPERT EDITOR? Because the
EXPERT EDITOR will let you edit the analog Voice
Element itself. The S90 editor will let you
integrate a finished AN Element with the S90.
The AN EXPERT EDITOR will let program the
analog engine itself. Many parameters affecting
the AN board are available from the S90 front
panel and via the Voice Editor for S90, however,
the fundamental and complete set of edit
parameters are available only via the AN EXPERT
EDITOR. It would be impossible to include in the
S90 architecture all of the parameters for each of
the possible plug-in boards available. Several of
the PLG150 Series boards are entirely different
technologies: AN is a physical model of an analog
synthesizer – there are no samples in this
technology. The DX is a Frequency Modulation
(FM) synth equivalent to a DX7 – there are no
samples in this technology. The VL is a physical
model of an acoustic blown pipe/bowed string
instrument – there are no samples in this
technology. The PF, DR and PC boards are
sample playback (like the S90). The parameters
for these technologies are each a whole
synthesizer by itself (and each has been). If you
want to program from scratch, the AN Expert
Editor will allow in depth editing. If you are just a
tweaker – one who likes to fiddle with existing
sounds – each board will give you plenty of data
to work with and plenty of parameters to play
with, as well. If, however, you do enjoy making
sounds from scratch, you will love the way the
S90-PLG150-computer system works. It will take
some getting used to but is very powerful.
Ultimately, you will be able to make custom
sounds via the computer editor’s graphic
interface and save the data to SmartMedia card
or SCSI drive and restore them when you are at
the gig (the computer remains safe at home
where it belongs). You will not be editing from
scratch while on stage – you put the voice in the
S90 in a form that allows you to perform them
via the available controllers.
The PLG150-AN will add its own 5-notes
of polyphony to the modular system.
PLG150-AN Analog Physical Model
The PLG150-AN is a single part plug-in
module – capable of reproducing one virtual
analog Voice at a time – capable of contributing
one Part to the host product. It is like a separate
synthesizer that you add to the S90 or other
Modular Synthesis Plug-in System product. The
board is a separate synthesizer but it must use
the hardware of the host product to be heard.
There are several levels of accessing sounds on
the PLG150-AN when it is inserted into the S90.
To better understand this, let’s take it a step at a
time. The PLG150-AN board is a part of the
Yamaha PLG150 series. These synth series
boards add a single part to the host product.
They are not multi-timbral. The AN board has
256 preset voices and RAM locations for 128 user
board voices. The Presets are divided into 2
banks of 128 each. The user bank for your own
custom board voices is available via bulk dumps.
The 128 user board Voices can be created and/or
loaded in with computer software, AN Expert
Editor, and they exist in a volatile RAM bank on
the board. They can also be saved in a special
bulk type file to SmartMedia card. The AN Expert
Editor will allow you to create your own analog
voices from scratch. (More on the AN Expert
Editor and custom ‘from-scratch’ analog User
Voices in the next installment). First, lets
understand how to access, edit, save and load
sounds made from the supplied preset data.
An important part of the concept to the
plug-in boards is that although the PLG150-AN is
an analog synth, it does not have wheels, or
knobs, or a screen, or keys, it has a distortion
but no other effects…all of that must come from
the host product, the S90. The AN board has
some 256 preset sounds on it, but until you
integrate them with the S90 parameters they are
what we call a BOARD Voice. Once you have
routed them through the S90 effects and
assigned S90 controllers etc., they become what
we call a PLUG-IN Voice. When the PLG150-AN is
properly installed in a S90 and you power up, the
S90 does a system check and scans the PLG
board slots. When it finds a PLG150-AN board it
will automatically load 64 finished PLUG-IN
Voices (PLGPRE1). With each of the PLG150
series boards you will also find 64 blank PLUG-IN
Voice locations for you to store your tweaks or
customized versions of the sounds (PLGUSR).
You will find that you can use two editors
when you have both a PLG150-AN and a S90.
Summary: The PLG150-AN is part of a ‘modular’
system. It is analogous to adding a hardware
synthesizer to your host product, the S90. The
S90 will address certain performance-oriented
parameters on the board via offset values. The
Voices on the board are programmed via a
computer Voice Editors (AN Expert Editor and the
Voice Editor for S90) which can send Voice
setups to the S90. The idea is to do “in depth”
editing of the voice in the computer editor (AN
Expert Editor), then integrate with the controllers
and effects of the S90 (Voice Editor for S90). The
PLG150-AN board is like adding a separate
component to your host product. As you will see
there are some sounds that come directly from
the board (Board Voices) and others that you
will make that integrate the Board Voices with
the host products routing, controllers and effects
(called Plug-In Voices). Think of the Board Voices
as the raw data you build the Plug-In Voices out
of. The PLG150 series are synth boards that are
capable of playing back a single Part within the
host product. When you install a PLG150-AN into
the S90 you will be able to create 64 PLUG-IN
USER (PLGUSR) Voices using any of the board
voice data plus you are given 64 all ready made
Preset Plug-In (PLGPRE1) Voices that have been
made using the S90 routing and effects. In a
multi-timbral setup (MIXING) the S90 will have
16 AWM2 Sample playback sounds on Parts 116. You can replace or layer/split a PLG150 voice
with an AWM2 Voice in one of the 16 Parts. Or if
you are using the USB(MIDI) connection and an
external sequencer you can address the S90 on
one Port and the PLG150 boards on another Port.
Please read this guide carefully – as the PLG150
boards are quite unique. Even if you have owned
other manufacturer’s products that take plug in
boards, the Yamaha Modular Synthesis Plug-in
System is a unique arrangement – these are not
just new sounds, they are different technologies!
PLG150-AN can give you a maximum of 10 notes of
analog polyphony in Expand poly mode. A third PLG150
can give you 15 notes total. Because the System is
modular, this polyphony does not take away from the
64-note polyphony of the mothership host (S30 / S80 /
CS6x / CS6R / S906-7-8)- Nor does it contribute to a
pool of notes – they are completely separate. You, of
course, can use multiple boards as individuals, thus
increasing how many Parts you for which you will have
analog sounds available.
Checking Installation
PLGUSR – 64 blank locations for your first
creations integrated with the S90 controller /
effect parameters.
Banks of sounds
Sixty-four Plug-in Voices are pre-loaded into the
S90 when the PLG150-AN board is detected on
power up – you can select between ‘Banks’ from
the main [PLG] Voice screen by pressing [F2]
Bank, then use [INC/YES] and [DEC/NO] buttons
to change banks. There are two Plug IN Voice
banks – one for the 64 pre-loaded sounds and
one for you the user.
PLGPRE1 – a bank of 64 already made (preset)
Plug In Voices loaded in at power up.
Check to make sure your board or boards are
properly installed. The wire with one Orange
connector is slot 1, the wire with one yellow
connector is slot 2 and the single Green
connector is slot 3. A PLG150-series board can
occupy any slot.1 The boards should always be
installed with the S90 off – the boot up routine
will check the plug in slots and automatically load
64 Preset sounds for the detected board. (The VL
board is the exception. It has actually 3 banks of
64 – one for Aftertouch, one for velocity play and
one for breath control). Here’s how to verify your
Additionally, PLG150 series boards can
have many ‘raw’ Board Voice banks on them (the
PLG150-AN has 2 banks of 128 preset Board
Voices and one bank of 128 user locations).
Those Banks are named 036/000, 036/001
and 036/002, respectively. The 128 user RAM
locations in 036/002 are for your ‘from scratch’
analog sounds created with the AN Editor
program. (More on this later)
Play through the PLGPRE1 bank (Plug-in
Voices). Press [PLG1], [PLG2] or [PLG3]
(depending on which slot you have placed you’re
an board) and select sound A01, the sound called
‘Killer’. There are 64 Plug-in Voices (A01-D16).
The screen should read “Px—P:” in the upper left
corner; where ‘Px’ is the Plug-in slot number and
On the S90: Press [UTILITY]/[F6] PLG/ SF1
Status to check the status screen:
The “Expand” parameter will be active only when you
have 2 or more PLG150 series boards of the same type
installed and polyphony expansion is possible. A second
HINT: Find a consistent slot layout for your boards
and stick with it. When making bulk files that reload
your custom sounds, it matters which slot the board is
found in.
‘P’ is for Preset, for example, a PLG150-AN in slot
three would read “P3—P: 001 Killer”
What is a Plug-in Voice and what is a
Board Voice?
The Plug-in Voices are found from the front
panel of the host synth under the [PLG1], [PLG2]
and [PLG3] buttons. The S90 will load 64 Plug-In
PRESET (PLGPRE1) Voices pointing at elements
on the PLG150-AN board. What that means is
that out of the 256 sounds provided by the AN
board, 64 have already been integrated with S90
effects and controller routing. PLUG IN Voices
use the mothership’s parameters, routing and
effects but call on a synth element data resident
on the board. The PLGUSR bank is blank and
awaits you to create your own variations. The
element voice data on the board are called the
Board Voices. Instead of using ROM samples
from the host, the PLG-AN Voices point to data
that is resident on the PLG board. The Voice data
contained on the PLG150-AN is not based on
sampled data like the internal voices. The sounds
of the AN board are generated mathematically
through complex physical modeling technology.
Physical Modeling is a technique that uses
computer computations to render a result from
data that is input. Physical Modeling is used in
such things as architecture, weather prediction,
flight simulation and other ‘virtual reality’
devices. In this case, modeling is used to
construct a mathematical representation of the
voltage controlled analog synthesizer. With this
model it is possible to recreate analog synthesis,
virtually. These calculations take place in the CPU
on the plug-in board. When you explore the AN
Expert Editor be sure to check out the routing
overlays so that you can see how signal flows
from VCO-VCF to VCA etc.
Plug-In Voices are Board Voices that
have been integrated into the mothership’s setup
and are stored in either bank [PLG1], [PLG2] or
[PLG3] –depending on where you’re an board is
*Other banks (are for XG extension) 084/000,
084/064~084/081, 084/096~084/107, 100/000,
and 100/064~100/076 are PLG extensions for
use in XG/GM systems
*These are basically the preset board Voices arranged
into various banks for use non-Modular Synthesis Plugin System products that can also access sounds on the
PLG150 series boards. They are the same 256 sounds
just rearranged for GM/XG category use. You can
ignore these. For example, all synth bass sounds, as
per GM, will have a Program Change of 39 and 40 – but
XG offers you many substitution or variations on the
Synth Bass.
To listen to the 256 ‘preset’ Board Voices
provided, from Voice mode:
Press [F2] Memory from the main Voice screen.
Use [DEC/NO] and [INC/YES] to switch between
AN Plug-in and Board banks.
Select the Board Voice bank you wish to explore:
the Board Voice preset banks are:
036/000 = preset1; 036/001 = preset2.
Notice that the upper left corner of the main Voice
screen will read P1-B for slot 1, P2-B for slot 2 or
P3-B for slot 3. The ‘B’ denotes a board voice, not
yet integrated with the S90 host parameters
(effects, etc.). Raw data.
The banks of Board Voices are arranged
according to their Bank Select (MSB/LSB) and
Program Change (1-128) numbers. If this is your
first experience using MIDI MSB/LSB bank select
commands it may seem a bit confusing at first
but you will get used to it. MIDI uses two Control
Change messages (cc) to allow for some 16,384
possible banks – each with up to 128 locations
(see below). The two ‘B” or Board preset banks
(named 036/000 and 036/001) each contains
128 Voices each (A01-H16). The user RAM bank
(036/002) is volatile – meaning Voices here
need to be backed up before powering down.
This is the bank where the AN Expert Editor
software will deposit sounds. You can store your
totally original creations here and back them up
The AN board has several banks of sounds as
follows: The numbers represent MSB/LSB for
bank select – (MSB and LSB Bank Select
numbers are used to facilitate remote changes
from a device like a sequencer. More on that
PLGUSR = 64 blank locations (Saved in ALL
DATA File)
PLGPRE1 bank = 64 locations with Preset PLUG
IN VOICES loaded on detection of the PLG150AN; (Loaded automatically on power up)
036/000 = 128 preset1 Board Voices
036/001 = 128 preset2 Board Voices
036/002 = 128 user RAM Board Voices
in a bulk type file. When the unit is powered
down these voices will disappear. Each time you
power up, this bank reverts to 128 voices
collected from the other presets that act as
default placeholders. The placeholders are not
important and are to be written over! Voice data
you create can be saved to SmartMedia card and
stored so that they are retrieved automatically
on power up. See PLG150-AN Owner’s Manual
pages 38-45 for Voice Lists. See the S90 Owner’s
Manual for instruction on creating Auto-load files
for user bulk data.
Note on Bank Select: MIDI provides for 128 program
changes – so when a product has more than 128
sounds, the sounds can be organized in multiple banks
of 128 or less programs. When you load in or create
new AN voices via the computer editors you will be
using the user RAM area, bank 036/002, writing over
the default ‘placeholder’ voice set. Your edits will be in
volatile RAM so you will have to save your work before
exiting. Like working with a computer word processor,
you are working in RAM and you must save your work
or document before exiting the program. You can save
your work via the editor or to SmartMedia card via the
synth. Don’t waste time looking through the default
036/002 voices or the various XG extension banks. All
those voices are just repeats of the 256 presets that
are contained in the 036/000 and 036/001 banks. [The
XG banks are for use with the XG/GM ‘voice
substitution’ system (modules like Yamaha MU128,
MU1000/MU2000) interface. If you are using the
PLG150 board in a S90, S80/S30, CS6x/R, you can
ignore these additional bank configurations.]
How to create a finished S90 Plug-in
Voice from a PLG150-AN Board Voice.
Press [JOB] and select the Initialize [F1]
function. Initialize the current Voice position.
Press [ENTER], then [INC/YES] to execute.
Press [EDIT]
Select the OSC page – Touch track
button [1] to select element level edits.
Press [F1] OSC / [SF1] Wave
Using the data wheel select Bank 036/001;
Select Program Number = 001[Cracker] 2.
Explore the Element parameter pages; Use
the [F] keys to navigate the different
Use button [F4] to select the ‘Native’
(parameters) page. Native Parameters refers
to parameters that address the data on the
PLG150-AN board. You are offsetting data
that originates on the board. Use the cursor
arrows to navigate the pages. The concept of
programmed data for a parameter was set to
100, for example, and you set that Native
Parameter to a value of –25, then the
parameter will be set to 75. You are simply
adding or subtracting values from the preset
Experiment with making edits – both on the
Element level and the Common level. On the
Element level check the [F] keys for
parameters. You have a dedicated modeled
Distortion and EQ. You can add S90 level
parameters on the COMMON level. Push the
[COMMON] button to edit Common
navigating the edit area. Try adding some
S90 EFFECTS. Press [F6] Effects/ [SF1]
There are the Dual Insertion Effects available
on the Common level. INS1 has 25 effect
algorithms and the INS2 has 104.
Also available are the KNOB CONTROL
FUNCTION parameters. You have the 4 knobs
that can be selected:
Let’s use “Cracker”, a Board Voice bass sound, to
learn something about how the AN synth works
using on board (S90) parameters. Don’t be afraid
to explore when you are paging through the EDIT
From [VOICE] mode select the [PLG] bank
that contains your PLG150-AN, [PLG1],
[PLG2] or [PLG3]
Top row: knobs for Pan, Reverb, Chorus,
Tempo (when appropriate)
You may notice that response time to selection is
slower than the internal AWM2 sounds. This is the twoway editing communication between the Host and the
Board – it is quite normal. When each configuration of
the model is recalled all of its data is communicated.
Element level (Program button [1]) and Common
level ([COMMON] button) – are available. S90 effects
are Common level.
level. You can set the poly-mono-mono/legato
parameter in the AN Expert Editor. You may find
some parameters make no difference when you
move the knob – this can happen when the
original Voice data does not use that parameter
in the current configuration or it is already at
maximum or minimum and you cannot offset it
further. To fully view the entire list of parameters
available you must open the AN Expert Editor
software. The host product will give access to a
smaller set (see below) of the full list (see editing
Second row: Cutoff, Resonance, Attack and
Third row: ASA (assignable knob A) is set to
control envelope initial Decay and ASB
(assignable knob B) is set to control envelope
Sustain. AS1 and AS2 are assignable per Voice
in the Voice Edit - Common level CONTROL
SETS, [F4] CtlSet.
The bottom row: gain controls for 4-bands of
EQ (storable per Voice)!
When you press [STORE] your work will be
saved to one of the 64 PLGUSR locations
and become a proper Plug-In Voice. They
will go to the “Px—U” PLGUSR bank- ‘Px’ for
your Plug-in slot, ‘U’ is User. You have made
a complete PLUG IN VOICE from Board Voice
When you save your first data to the PLGUSR
Bank your Voice will be there alone. Don’t
panic if you press a program button and all
the other places in that bank say “---:------“.
Simply press [F2] Bank and select a bank.
When you attempt to store you are
automatically taken to the USER bank, of
When you save an ALL DATA file type the
PLG bank Voice data will be saved to
SmartMedia card. However, as we will see, if
you have made any custom user Board
Voices (those voices made from scratch via
the editor in bank 036/002) will need to be
saved separately in a bulk type file (.w2b).
As long as your S90 Plug-in Voices point to
preset Board Voices your Voices will be
backed up in a regular ALL data file. It is
when you have used the 036/002 user bank
to create brand new AN sounds that you
must also save a bulk file.
The PLG150-AN has its own clock that
controls the working of the its arpeggiator
and step sequencer. This is independent of
the arpeggiator and sequencer of the host
unit. (By the way, to sync the AN clock to the
S90 host, simply set the Native parameter
TEMPO on the board to ‘MIDI’ clock. This is
done on a per Voice basis).
Explanation: The Native Parameters are parameters
that are native to the technology on the board in
question. Each PLG150 series board represents an
entirely different technology. These are available from
the front panel of the S90 and for the AN board
Unison Switch
Arp/SEQ Switch
LFO2 Speed
Sync Pitch
FM Depth
VCO Detune
VCO1 Edge (harmonic content of source wave)
VCO1 Pulse Width
VCO1 Pulse Width Modulation Depth
VCO2 Edge (harmonic content of source wave)
VCO2 Pulse Width
VCO2 Pulse Width Modulation Depth
Mix VCO1
Mix VCO2
Mix Ring Modulation
Mix Noise
Mix Feedback
VCF Filter Modulation Depth
Filter Envelope Generator Depth
Filter Envelope Generator Attack
Filter Envelope Generator Decay
Filter Envelope Generator Sustain
Filter Envelope Generator Release
VCA Amplitude Modulation Depth
Amplitude Envelope Generator Attack
Amplitude Envelope Generator Decay
Amplitude Envelope Generator Sustain
Amplitude Envelope Generator Release
Distortion Drive
Assignable Control Parameter
Assignable Control Depth
This makes an impressive, but incomplete, list of
AN parameters (there are many, many more).
The others can be reached only via the AN
Expert Editor software. You will notice that most
of the parameters in the host offer you an offset
value +/- 00, or a choice that sets the value to
“on”, “off” or default as programmed in the
original Voice (you’ll see “vce”). If you see “***”
– this denotes the parameter is not available, at
all. These offsets are offset from the original
programming value. To get at the real AN
parameters for each setting, use the AN Expert
Summary: We learned a few things. You may
have noticed that changing certain S90
parameters make little or no difference in the
sound on the PLG board. The COMMON:
POLY/MONO mode switch is overridden by the
poly-mono-legato setting of the AN board Voice
itself (set within the editor). Polyphony issues of
the PLG150-AN board are handled at the board
Editor. For example, if you want to change the
source waveform or change the routing of the
oscillators within the model. This kind of editing
is done on the computer. The parameters that
you manipulate form the host product are those
that are performance oriented.
Here is the thinking: You hook up to the
computer when you are ready to “sound design”.
Put the Voice in a condition that is performance
ready…download the results to your keyboard
…back the data up on a SmartMedia card…leave
the computer home and go rock-out at the gig.
voice data in a slot not containing the right board
will cause a TYPE MISMATCH error or you will
simply not hear your sound (even with the name
showing). The board for the voice data must be
in the S90 in order to play.
For more information on programming
with the AN physical modeling engine visit the
Yamaha tutorials on line at:
In the MIX
Performance Mode
Until now we have mainly been discussing the
creation of PLG Voices in the host product. You
can also use the sounds on a PLG Board directly
in a Performance. From the main PERFORMANCE
screen you can use the [F3] Voice button to
customize Performances – you can ADD and
DELETE Internal Voices and/or PLG Voices, set
combinations. You will find this quick page ideal
when you need to try out a new setup or
Performance mode is used for multi-Voice
layered sounds for real time play. You can layer
4 Voices, whether from the S90 native sample
playback sounds (AWM2), Plug-in Voices from
the PLG boards, or board Voices directly from the
MSB/LSB board banks. Each Performance has its
own memory for controller setups and effect
routing. Further you have the option of using the
Master Keyboard function to create even more
unique situations via ZONES. It can help you
setup splits, layers and zones for both internal
and external gear.
If you wish to address the PLG150-AN in an S90
multi-timbral MIX you can assign the PLG150-AN
like you would any internal PART. It can be set to
receive on a MIDI channel. The UTILITY screen
above shows the F6 PLUG/ SF2 MIDI screen
where you can select a PORT to communicate
with the PLG boards. In the example above the
DX, VL and AN boards are set to receive via USB(MIDI) on PORT 2. The internal S90 Voices are
fixed on PORT 1 (MIDI channels 1-16) and the
PLG150 board can occupy any MIDI channel on
When a PLG150 series board is set to PORT 2 or
higher, it can only be communicated to via
connected software and ECHO BACK (THRU ON).
Typically you would assign a Track of your
external sequencer to address the PLG board via
the Device Setup/MIDI router. If the PLG150
series boards are set to OFF or PORT 1 they will
share or replace an internal S90 sound for a
PART of the MIX. The S90’s internal playback
sequencer can only address PORT 1.
Phil Clendeninn
Product Specialist
Technology Group
©Yamaha Corporation of America
Push [F6] to see PLG.
Final Note: When setting up Performance, you
can activate up to 4 Voices – In Performance Part
edit you have a “PART Switch”. This includes
selecting one sound from your PLG150 series
board (AN, DR, DX, PC, PF and VL). Each 150
series slot, PLG1/PLG2/PLG3, can contribute one
sound at a time. Alternatively, you can use the
Performance mode Initialize JOB to create any
combination of AWM2 Internal and PLG Voice
slots. Please note: When you have multiple
PLG150 Series (single part synthesizer) boards,
each board must ‘see’ its own data through the
proper slot. P1, P2 or P3 – attempting to recall
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