Original artwork by Andrew Morgan

DX Manager MIDI Troubleshooter


At some time or another you are likely to have problems getting DX Manager to "talk" to your synth.

The tips below for handling MIDI related problems given apply to any synth or tone generator in the DX/TX series.

  1. I can't get DX Manager to work with my MIDI setup - what's wrong ?

    1. Does your MIDI device look like this ?


      This is a non-branded, low cost, Chinese made, MIDI cable usually found on E-Bay or Amazon. Unfortunately such devices either won't work at all with DXM or will only handle short MIDI messages like Notes.

      DXM exchanges much longer blocks of data (sysex) with your synth which these devices can't handle due to various hardware problems - see this thread for more detail.

      Note also that these devices rely on the so-called Class Compliant MIDI software driver which is part of Windows. Unfortunately the driver is not actually compliant with the official MIDI specification in that it limits the size of sysex messages to 255 bytes. Many of the DX/TX synths send sysex much longer than 255 bytes so DXM uses larger buffers to manage incoming sysex.

      In summary, avoid cheap MIDI cable devices and spend a little more to get a reliable, branded, device that will have its own fully compliant driver.

    2. Check that your MIDI devices are correctly installed.

      • From the Windows Start Menu choose Control Panel (WinXP to Win8.1) or Right-Click the StartMenu (Win10).
      • Click the Device Manager entry.
      • Look in the Sound Video and Game Controllers section to identify your MIDI hardware.
      • Right click on the entry and select Properties.
      • In the tabbed dialog that opens you should see the message: This Driver is working properly.
      • If there is a problem with your MIDI hardware or the driver isn't working properly you will see a description of the problem.
      • Depending on the nature of the problem Windows has identified you may either need to reinstall your MIDI hardware or the drivers, or both.
      • You can update or roll-back your drivers directly from the dialog (driver tab).
      • Hardware problems are more difficult to resolve but again Windows will normally assist in troubleshooting problems such as device conflicts.
      • For USB devices always try disconnecting and then re-connecting the device as this usually resets the hardware interface.
  2. "I can select MIDI devices when DX Manager starts but then get an error message: DX Manager is getting no response from your synth.."

    Assuming your synth is turned on and your MIDI devices are working OK, there are two possible reasons why DX Manager can't communicate with your synth:

    • Possible Cause 1: Your MIDI cables are incorrectly patched.

      Check that the MIDI cable connected to the MIDI Output socket on your PC is connected to the MIDI In on your synth and vica versa.

    • Possible Cause 2: Your DX's internal settings are preventing communication

      There are two ways this can happen : either your DX's internal memory protection is switched on or it's internal settings for receiving/transmitting patch data (sysex or system exclusive messages) are incorrect.

      • Memory Protection

        Each time you switch off your DX, memory protection is automatically switched ON to prevent accidental overwriting of patches in it's internal memory.

        So before you can send new patches to your DX you must switch the memory protection off :

        • On the MKIDX7 - Press the green internal memory protect button on the front panel. If the LCD display shows MEMORY PROTECT INTERNAL ON, switch the setting to OFF by pressing the NO button.

        • On the MKIIDX7 - press the Edit button then Button 14 - if the LCD shows MEMORY PROTECT INT ON, switch it OFF by pressing the NO button.

      • Sysex Settings

        The DX7 uses device numbers to "tag" outgoing sysex messages and to filter incoming messages. Device numbers are used to identify the source of sysex messages in much the same way that channel numbers are used to associate key note and other channel information with a particular instrument.

        The device number of any sysex message must match the internal device number setting of your DX for incoming sysex messages. The procedure for checking device numbers varies depending on which synth model you are using:

        • MKIDX7

          As MIDI was only a couple of years old when the MKI DX7 was launched it has only a rudimentary MIDI specification. There are two specific limitations that can affect communication : the MKI cannot recognise requests for sysex information, and it only ever uses Device Number 1 when transmitting sysex data.

          These limitations mean that DX Manager cannot automatically initialise a MKI DX7 - you must set your synth up manually.

          To check the MIDI settings on your MKI do the following :

          • Press the FUNCTION and 8 buttons simultaneously on the DX7's front panel
          • Set the MIDI receive Channel to Channel 1 using the DX7's Data Entry Slider
          • Press button 8 again: the DX7's screen should display SYS INFO AVAIL.

          If the screen shows SYSINFO UNAVAIL press the + (On) Data Entry Button.

        • MKII DX7 and all other DXxx

          The MKII DX7 has a much more comprehensive MIDI specification than the MKI: specifically it recognises external sysex requests and can send/receive sysex data using any of 16 device ids. Other DX7 compatibles from the TX7 on also recognise sysex requests, but vary slightly in their midi specifications.

          The following guidance applies specifically to the MKII DX7.

          If you selected a synth type other than the MkI DX7 in DX Manager's initialisation dialog, DXM tries to detect your synth by sending a request for a patch dump - 32 internal voices - using each of the 16 possible device numbers in turn. If DX Manager receives the requested sysex within the timeout period then it uses this device number setting for all sysex exchanges until the next time you initialise.

          If no sysex is received for any of the device IDs and you get the ".. no response from your synth " message then check your settings as follows:

          • Press the Edit button on your DX7
          • Press button 32 (possibly several times) until the screen shows MIDI DEVICE NUMBER.
          • If the device number is set to OFF then set it to 1 using the Data Entry slider
  3. "I've tried all the above but still can't get DXM to work with my synth "

    Most MIDI problems fall into one of the two categories above or are caused by faulty MIDI hardware setups.

    However if you are certain your hardware setup is OK and you still cannot complete DX Manager's initialisation procedure:

    • Press IGNORE on the Initialisation Failure dialog to continue without initialisation.
    • Check that the “MIDI Input On” option is selected in DXM's MIDI |Options menu.
    • Select the MIDI manager icon in the taskbar.
    • Play some notes on your synth. If MIDI input is working OK you should see the MIDI data appear in the Midi monitor window.
    • If MIDI Sound is not switched on switch it on now by clicking the toolbar sound (loudspeaker) button.
    • Check the Resend Messages box and select one of the incoming messages ( eg Note On) you have just received.
    • If MIDI output is working OK then you should hear the note play on your synth ( Select the equivalent Note Off message to switch it off !).

    If either MIDI input or output messages don't appear in the MIDI Manager window then check your MIDI devices are correctly installed as described above.

    If both MIDI input and output are working OK but you still can't send or receive sysex messages, then the most likely cause is a problem with the software drivers for your MIDI device or the device itself.

    In particular some early drivers for USB and Firewire devices can corrupt sysex data and you may receive a shorter message than DX Manager expects. If this happens check you have the latest drivers for your device.

Still Not Working ?

If you still can't get DX Manager to work with your synth then please contact FM-Alive Technical Support.

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