Using HX3 with MIDI controllers

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Using HX3 with Doepfer d3c or Voce MIDI Drawbars

Standard HOAX firmware version supports the Voce MIDI Drawbars standard, the Native Instrument B4 standard (default, supported by Doepfer d3c drawbar controller and Böhm/Keyswerk d4b controller), Hammond SK/XK models, Harmichord and KeyB Duo. MIDI controller set may be changed either by menu on XB-2 retrofit kit or with serial commands (see HX3 serial syntax table and Inbetriebnahme der Bausatz-Platine for details.


Please connect MIDI out of your MIDI controller to HOAX MIDI input. The Voce MIDI Drawbars as well as the Doepfer d3c both have MIDI merge inputs. Your keyboard connects here. If your keyboard supports MIDI merge, the MIDI controller should be first, routed to the keyboard and from keyboard to HOAX. This may avoid a few milliseconds of latency. Please note: HOAX does not introduce any audio latency.

As MIDI being a one-way interface, HOAX cannot determine the setting of any MIDI controller value until you touch/use it once. As default, all HOAX controllers are OFF. Do not use any controller button or drawbar unless HOAX is ready to accept its data; it is a good idea to power up HOAX first and later your MIDI master keyboard or master controller.

By receiving any MIDI controller message on channel 1, HOAX shuts down its own controls. Directly attached drawbars, knobs and buttons do not longer work – with the exception of a swell pedal. If you use your HOAX-attached swell pedal, any MIDI expression message will be overwritten. Otherwise, by not touching the attached swell pedal, MIDI expression messages are accepted.

Use with Voce MIDI Drawbars

Using your HOAX board with Voce MIDI Drawbars is straightforward, as the Voce module supports only one MIDI channel (i.e. upper manual) at any time. Please note that Voce MIDI Drawbars does not send drawbar data unless you press the “Drawbar/Save” button, so it’s LED lits up. Local HOAX controls can be switched on again by pressing the “Save” button more than 4 seconds. Be shure not to touch any Voce MIDI Drawbars button as this will lockout the HOAX controls again, as mentioned above.

You may change the Voce MIDI Drawbars send channel (back rotary HEX switch) at any time to lower (2) and bass channel (3), although this is somewhat inconvenient. Have your technician install a toggle switch on the back side so channels may be changed easily. Use with Doepfer d3c or other NI B4 drawbar controller

The Doepfer d3c drawbar controller is a very nice and rugged piece of gear, so we recommend it for use with our HOAX board. It has support for foot controllers and foot switches. You should connect your swell pedal (recommendation: Yamaha FC-7) to FC1 input of your Doepfer d3c. Otherwise, you may control volume with the volume pot alternatively (as it overrides the swell pedal, whichever is used last).

Upper, lower and bass drawbars work as usual. It is a good idea to set all to zero before switching on as this is a “known state” for HOAX. Also the Percussion and Vibrato buttons work as described in d3c manual. There is a small drawback, anyway: Default HOAX Vibrato setting is V1 (but upper/lower vibrato OFF), while the V1 LED will not light when powering up the d3c (there is no “V0” on a real Hammond!). So pressing the V1 button will not change the sound – just it’s LED turns on.

The “Body” and “Brightness” knobs control AO28 equalization in HOAX, not in a Leslie. There is no key click emulation in HOAX (it is just there!), so you may not adjust key click (a real Hammond does not have key click adjustment, either). The “Key Click” knob controls the bass sustain instead. You may argue “a real Hammond does not have a bass pedal sustain, too”. Right, but many aftermarket kits are installed, so this is OK (for me). Do not use the “Harmonic content” knob as it sends the “Percussion” button’s controller number like a continuous controller. Why that? No idea. This is definitely of no use.

Preset buttons may be used, but in a restricted way. First, HOAX yields 15 presets per manual, not 127 like NI B4. When selecting “Bank 1”, all 12 available preset buttons work on upper manual. When selecting “Bank 2”, all 12 preset buttons work on lower manual. Doepfer d3c resends the program change message when changing the bank, which may be annoying. Choose bank 2, lower preset first, then bank 1, upper preset. BTW: Bank buttons do not send bank select messages, they just add an offset to the preset buttons. Blame Doepfer for that.

Doepfer d3c preset 1 is the HOAX “Live” position. It will be saved automatically when switching to a preset sound (2 to 12). If you return to preset 1 “Live”, your last drawbar/button setting will be recalled. Please note: HOAX tracks drawbar and button changes even when in preset position 2 to 12, so it keeps itself updated all the time.

There is no way to save a upper or lower preset/program remotely. You have to use the local HOAX “Save Upper” or “Save Lower” buttons instead. To create a sound, choose the preset button you want. Set upper or lower drawbars and buttons to your taste. Press HOAX “Save” button for at least 2 seconds. The “Memory” LED will blink a few times, showing that your preset has been saved. It is not possible to save a sound to preset 1 as this is the “Live” preset.

HOAX local controllers are switched on again if a preset number larger 24 is received (i.e. bank 3 and up on d3c).