Using Ardour to Update Piano Firmware via MIDI?

A kinda special question here:

I found out that there is an updated firmware for my twenty years old Roland stage piano (RD-700). :joy:
This is distributed via 31 MIDI-files (described as SMF) - I suppose containing a sequence of CC commands or the like…

I tried to import the files into Ardour and playing them back via MIDI-out, but I suppose that did output only a fraction of the commands to the piano (I didn’t see a lot of action happening on the MIDI output and it obviously didn’t have much effect).

I also tried SendMIDI, which I use every now and then very successfully to send single commands, but I fear it cannot handle MIDI-files, anyways I am not able to succeed with it either…

Is it at all possible to do this with Ardour? What do I have to take care of? Or is there some other simple solution you could recommend?

Thanks a lot

It is not usually possible to play a SMF (Standard MIDI File) that contains firmware on a track MIDI track in realtime. The timing may be off, or SysEx messages may be too long.

Firmware updates are usually done offline. On GNU/Linux I’d use aplaymidi (or amidi) command-line tools.

Ardour can do this for control surfaces (which have async, not realtime MIDI ports) via a Lua Script.

In your case to flash a keyboard the following should work:

  • Preferences > Control Surfaces. Enable Generic MIDI. This creates an async MIDI port which can be used for non realtime messages.
  • Window > MIDI Connections. Connect Ardour Misc : Generic MIDI Control Out to Hardware : RD-700
  • Window > Scripting. In the Lua script window select the script “Actions > Send Raw MIDI from File” and press Run.

In the script dialog, pick the firmware .mid file (the dialog says .syx, but any SMF works), and select the port Generic MIDI Control Out as target:


Thank you very very much, Robin!

Unfortunately Ardour didn’t work out though. Although everything seemed to run just fine as you suggested, the piano kept reporting an error after a couple of .mid files… As aplaymidi worked very much straight forward and obviously correctly, I didn’t investigate further…

Thanks again!!

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