One of my favorite synths is the Oberheim Matrix 6. I have two and currently have one integrated into my live setup. While doing some midi sequencing I learned that my Oberheim Matrix 6 had the old OS version 1.05 inside. I was curious because I was getting frequent shutdowns of the Matrix 6 and many of the available editors would not work properly. After some research I discovered there was an update OS version 2.13 and 2.13A available around the net in .bIN format. So I finally decided to investigate how to burn my own EEPROM chips so that I could upgrade my Matrix 6 and other synths that I’ve collected OS update files for. After asking some questions around various forums, I was recommended from reputable sources that the USB MiniPro TL866CS Universal BIOS Programmer was a decent choice. People were having success with it and EEPROM burning so I decided it was about time I got into the practice of making my own firmware chips.
Later, I realized that in storage I had a second Matrix 6 that I didn’t know the OS version of. So I took it out of the closet and opened it up. Inside I was surprised to find it had the OS chip version 2.13. So I swapped my Matrix 6 synths around in order to finally have a version that would work properly with my Midi Patch editors. I still plan to use the Programmer to create the version 2.13A chips which clears up some bender issues.
with regards to editors there are quite a few available for the PC. There is a MidiQuestXL Matrix 6 editor, A SoundDiver editor, Ctrlr editor, Synlibmx6, Obiex401, and OB6000 editors. For Mac OSX, I could only find MidiQuestXL for the Matrix 6. Finally, I found a template control map for the Behringer BCR2000 which worked well too. Ultimately though, I decided to create my own editor on the iPad using the popular Midi Designer. I found that the iPad sat nicely on the Matrix 6 and I could program specifically what parameters I wanted to edit.
Furthermore I created a Midi Designer Matrix 6 editor that I have been tested a couple of times during a live performance recently. So far it’s been working nicely, but there are a couple of parameters that are sluggish and need to figure out if I need them. On another page I’m currently working on the Tracking Generator, The Modulation Matrix, Global Parameters (Common/Vibrato/Midi), and the ability to do Patch Changes. The Mod Matrix is very tricky, so I’ve decided to hard code only the matrix selections that I use the most. Software editors are much better for complete Mod Matrix control until Midi Designer adds multiple command functionality. I find Ctrlr for the Matrix 6 and OB6000 to be the easiest editors to work with on the PC (Bootcamp unders OSX is what I use). I do a lot of Envelope tweaking so I need good sliders and not dots that fight with my computer mouse. The Midi Designer Matrix 6 editor I’m working on is a bit crowded, but it’s ok so far. It’s a work in progress.
The Matrix 6 is a great synth. I primarily use it in Split Mode which makes the synth fully bi-timbral. The levers combined with the Mod Matrix makes for some great sound modulations as well. I’m also now experimenting with putting each of the six voices in mono mode and sending a midi sequence to each. You can do this with OS 2.13 which allows you to send midi data to six individual midi Channels on the Matrix 6. It’s still a two patch bi-timbral synth, but you can split and allocate 2/4 voicing with each voice having a separate midi channel. You can then send up to six individual sequences or arps, one to each voice. Pretty cool I think! I also have the Mutable Instruments MidiPal connected to the Oberheim Matrix 6 for some fantastic arp sequences. I LOVE the MidiPal device. That thing is amazing!! I highly recommend one of those by the way.
I’ll post updates shortly about how the OS chip programming goes. Currently I’m awaiting for all my tools to arrive in the mail this week from China.