Roland FA08 with Roland A800 Pro Midi keyboard

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Roland FA08 with Roland A800 Pro Midi keyboard

Postby FrankP » 20:28, 23 April 2017

Hi everybody!

I bought myself a Roland A800 Pro Midi controller to "play with". I'm new in this whole midi-world, so I don't know that much about it... But I already have a Roland FA08 (and a Juno Ds61).
I'v heard that you can connect te midi controller to the FA08 so you can combine them and use the sounds of the FA08 on the A800 Pro.
I've read both manuals, searched the web and youtube... I can't seem find a way to connect the midi keyboard to the FA08. Is there anyone that can help me with this?

I want to achieve something like Ed Dias does with the Fantom G and the A800 Pro on this youtube-link:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtafPtaJwqM
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Re: Roland FA08 with Roland A800 Pro Midi keyboard

Postby stevel » 23:27, 23 April 2017

FrankP wrote:Hi everybody!


I'v heard that you can connect te midi controller to the FA08 so you can combine them and use the sounds of the FA08 on the A800 Pro.


Hello Frank,

I have an A800 Pro and an FA-06.

There's a terminology issue here. You can't "use sounds" on the A800.

The A800 is simply a controller. It can "play the sounds that are in" either your FA or DS. But the sounds themselves would be coming from the FA, simply being triggered by an external keyboard (the A800) versus the FA's own internal keyboard.

Ed kind of says it backwards in the video (something like, "Send sounds to the A800") but really it's the A800 "triggering" the sounds in the Fantom in his case.

So here's what you can do with your A800:

1. Plug a standard MIDI cable from the MIDI Out jack of the A800 into the MIDI In jack of the FA.

If both are on, if you play the A800 you should now hear whatever sound is called up on the FA! (you could do all this with the DS too by the way).

2. Now what you want to do is use a Studio Set (you could use one of the non-factory preset ones) and set, say, a Piano sound on Part 1. That will be played by keys on the FA.

3. Now set the A800 to send information on MIDI Channel 2 (you do this on its screen). If you then pick something like an Organ patch on Part TWO of the FA, the A800's keys will play the Organ sound.

IOW, since the A800 is sending on MIDI Channel 2, the FA will play whatever sound is set to MIDI CHannel 2, which by default is whatever sound is in Part 2.

4. If you wanted to get really fancy, using the Software that comes with the A800 (which needs the USB connection to communicate with your computer) you could set the "upper", "lower", "dual" and "split" buttons to be MIDI Channels 13, 14, 15, and 16 (or any numbers you like - BTW, just because they say things like "Dual" or "Split" doesn't mean they have to be used that way).

Now, if you press "upper" it will play whatever sound is in your Studio Set on Part 13.

So you could used the FA's own keyboard to play Parts 1-12 in any combination (the keyboard could play in single (part 1), Split (parts 1 and 2), Dual (parts 1 and 2) or in Studio Set (whatever parts you want) modes).

This is kind of confusing about the FA series, but basically you ALWAYS have 16 possible parts to play (though 10 is by default set to drums and the Pad Samples are on 16 by default).

When you press "Dual" on the FA, what you're really doing is just limiting the screen to only the first 2 parts - so you can actually play the others remotely (like with the A800) you just don't see them on the screen.

So it's really actually better IMHO just to play in Studio Set mode all the time, and just use the "keyboard switch" and ranges on the FA to set up which parts play. Because you can actually play in "Dual", "Triple" "Quadruple" and so on, modes - just depends on which of the keyboard switches you have turned on in a SS.

So basically, whatever Parts you don't play with the FA's own keyboard, you can use the A800 to play instead.

Actually, since the A800 lets you split, you can assign at least 2 channels to each of its "upper", "lower", "split" and "dual" buttons. This means you could use up to 8 channels from the A800 and the remaining 8 (or 6 because of 10 and 16) on the FA.

Or whatever way you want to set it up.

So check this out - Let's say you're going to play a song that has Piano throughout, but then it also has Organ in one section, and maybe some Strings in another.

You call up a Studio Set and put:
Part 1 - Piano
Part 2 - Organ
Part 3 - Strings

Each Part (1, 2, 3) is by default set to MIDI CHannels 1, 2, and 3 respectively.

So you set your A800 so that "upper" is set to Channel 2, and "lower" is set to Channel 3.

Play the FA - you have Piano.
Play the A800 with the "upper" button pushed, you have Organ.
Press the "lower" button on the A800, you have Strings.

There are a number of other ways to do this. For example:

You could use the Pads on the A800 to send a Program Change message on channel 2 to change the sound of the FA's Part 2 sound. So it could be set to Organ, and you press "A2" and it changes to Strings ("A1" could take you back to the organ sound).

So now, ALL of this is happening on Part 2 on the FA, being sent from the A800's buttons on Channel 2 (which we'll assume the keyboard is set to for this example).

You could even assign the sliders or knobs to be the VOLUME (CC7) for each Part - so slider 2 could be the volume for whatever is on Channel 2, and slider 3 could be Channel 3.

That way, you could set the A800 on Dual mode with BOTH channels 2 and 3 being sent over the entire range of the keyboard, and play EITHER Organ, Strings, OR BOTH by adjusting the volume levels between them.

Now, here's the kicker - you can also send information from the A800 on Channel 1 to affect part 1 as well!!! So you could change the volume of the piano sound FROM THE A800, or change that Piano sound on Part 1 to a Choir sound FROM THE A800. So even though you're causing the sounds from the FA to be made from the FA's keyboard itself, the A800 could be used to control other things that are not as easy to get to.

Here's a great example - Roland stupidly put no easy way to turn MFX on or off for a given Part - so if you have Electric Piano with Chorus on it, and you want to turn the chorus off and back on again within a song, you have to be on the MFX screen and manually press the buttons on the control panel to do it.

That's a nightmare.

Instead, you could use the A800 to send a SysEx message (which is slightly advanced compared to these other things I'm talking about) to turn the MFX for Part 1 on, then off (takes two separate buttons unfortunately).

So there are a lot of handy things you can do with a controller like the A800, but even the basic "play the sounds on the other parts" is handy enough.

To learn how to do it, I'd suggest you set your FA to play the sound on Part 1 only, and then set the A800 to MIDI Channel 2 (which again can be done on its screen, but you can also use the software to make it a preset) and just simply pick a different sound in Part 2 to be played by the A800.

We used to play "Carry on Wayward Son" by Kansas and I covered the Piano and Organ parts. I played the Piano sound (part 1) on the FA, and the Organ sound (part 2) from the A800.

Since you have an 08, you'll probably want to keep your Piano, and any other sounds that need weighted key tough on that keyboard, but use the A800 for your synth tones, organ sounds, strings, etc - other stuff you want a "synth action" for.

But really, you can mix it up any way you like.

Basically it's like a Laptop with its own built-in keyboard (the FA-08) and using an external USB keyboard (the A800) to type into your computer.

So all you need is a MIDI cable to do this (that's the easiest way - it's possible to do it within DAW software as well but honestly it's not a bad idea to learn how to do it over a MIDI cable as it more clearly teaches you the signal flow).

HTH,
Steve
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Re: Roland FA08 with Roland A800 Pro Midi keyboard

Postby Skijumptoes » 12:18, 24 April 2017

Just be careful when following Steve's great advice above, because if you have the FA in Remote Key mode (I think that's what it's called?)

Then the remote keyboard will match whatever channel is set on the FA, so you can do splits on the FA and use the external midi keyboard as a direct mirror of the FA's keyboard. But you won't be able to focus directly on a per-channel basis.

That can be a little confusing, if you have that mode engaged and you're not aware of it.

Also, one other handy hint is that you can also use the square USB port (Can't remember how it's labelled) on the FA to power a midi controller keyboard if you're using midi. Not sure if this will cause any issues, but i've used my 88 key midi controller like it for months now without issues. You do need a midi cable between the two devices to control it still however.
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Re: Roland FA08 with Roland A800 Pro Midi keyboard

Postby FrankP » 19:36, 24 April 2017

Thanks for the amazing answer Stevel and Skyjumptoes!

But I'm already stuck with the first step... Nothing happens...

So here's what you can do with your A800:

1. Plug a standard MIDI cable from the MIDI Out jack of the A800 into the MIDI In jack of the FA.

If both are on, if you play the A800 you should now hear whatever sound is called up on the FA! (you could do all this with the DS too by the way).

2. Now what you want to do is use a Studio Set (you could use one of the non-factory preset ones) and set, say, a Piano sound on Part 1. That will be played by keys on the FA.

3. Now set the A800 to send information on MIDI Channel 2 (you do this on its screen). If you then pick something like an Organ patch on Part TWO of the FA, the A800's keys will play the Organ sound.

IOW, since the A800 is sending on MIDI Channel 2, the FA will play whatever sound is set to MIDI CHannel 2, which by default is whatever sound is in Part 2.


Is there something I need to do with the settings of the FA08 (settings or in the studio set,...) or A800Pro? I've put the A800Pro in the "factory settings"... The FA08, well... I've never done something with midi on this workstation so I don't know what changes to make... I've put some images here, maybe you could also help me with this? I would be really thankful! :-)

To be clear... The MIDI-OUT of the A800pro is connected with the MIDI-IN of the FA08. I also connected an usb-cable with the USB of the FA08, to give the power to de A800Pro. I've changed the setting of the "Remote Keyboard switch" to "OFF".

And if I have to be honest... The A800Pro seems really difficult to me... I'm really new to this midi-stuff and I regret it already :-D
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Re: Roland FA08 with Roland A800 Pro Midi keyboard

Postby stevel » 21:50, 24 April 2017

Oh, crap, I forgot to mention - there is a setting in the A800 you have to make. Let me turn mine on and see how I have it set...

Ok I think this is it:

On the A800, press both theACT and < keys (the two connected by "edit" bracket).

The cscreen should change to "LCD Contrast".

Use the Value knob to scroll to "MIDI Setting"

Press the Value knob to select.

You should see "MIDI I/F Switch".

Press the Value knob again and you should see "On" come on in the bottom right corner of the screen.

It should be OFF. Turn the value knob one click to the left to change it from On to Off, and press the Value knob again to select it.

I just tested mine - When that switch is "on" it won't send MIDI to the FA. When it is "off", it does.

IIRC, when "on" it sends MIDI through the USB cable rather than the MIDI cable.

Try that and let me know if it works.

(and it is correct that the "remote" thing on the FA needs to be off as well - that's how mine's set but I forgot to mention that before, sorry).

Best,
Steve
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Re: Roland FA08 with Roland A800 Pro Midi keyboard

Postby Skijumptoes » 09:38, 25 April 2017

Well, FrankP, how did you not guess to do all that on the A800 eh?! lol :)

stevel is a human wikipedia! :)
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Re: Roland FA08 with Roland A800 Pro Midi keyboard

Postby FrankP » 07:12, 29 April 2017

Hi
It's really strange but it doesn't work on the FA08... When I follow Stevel's steps on the Juno DS, it works perfectly! But for some reason it won't work on the FA08... I could use the sounds of the DS, but face it... the sounds of the FA08 are more suitable to use :-)

I guess it's something with the settings of the FA08. I've tried several things and different settings, but it doesn't seem to work!

Here are the MIDI-settings in the System Setup on my FA08;
- Device ID = 17
- Remote Keyboard Switch = OFF
- Studio Set Control Channel = Ch16
- USB-MIDI Tru = ON

TRANSMIT;
- Transmit Program Change = ON
- Transmit Bank Select = ON
- Transmit Active Sensing = ON
- Transmit Edit Data = ON
- Soft Trough = OFF

RECIEVE;
- Receive Program Change = ON
- Receive Bank Select = ON
- Receive Exclusive = ON
- Receive GM System On = ON
- Reveive GM2 System On = ON
- Receive GS Reset = ON


When it would work out, the main thing I would do is use this A800 live with my coverband. The following things would be nice to achieve;
- 1 fader for general volume
- A pedal or the pads to switch between Channels (up and down). That would make it easy when I'm on stage

So I don't need to achieve that much on the a800.
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Re: Roland FA08 with Roland A800 Pro Midi keyboard

Postby Skijumptoes » 11:59, 29 April 2017

Frank, to be clear, how is it not working at this point?

No sound being triggered on the FA at all?

If so, double check your MIDI connections, and for the sake of experimenting leave 'Remote Keyboard Switch' to ON, this will rule out any midi channel issues.
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Re: Roland FA08 with Roland A800 Pro Midi keyboard

Postby FrankP » 21:52, 29 April 2017

I don't hear anything... I keep on hearing and playing all the channels and sounds on the fa08, nothing happens with the a800 connected. When the a800 is connected with the juno ds, everything works out perfect, but with the fa08 it doesn't work...

The remote keyboard switch "ON"? I thought it needed to be off...
But anyhow, that seems not to be the problem. It's really strange! That's why I think It's something with the settings of the fa08...
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Re: Roland FA08 with Roland A800 Pro Midi keyboard

Postby R.U.Doin » 22:58, 29 April 2017

Are you sure you have to put studio controle channel on channel 16?
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Re: Roland FA08 with Roland A800 Pro Midi keyboard

Postby FrankP » 08:31, 1 May 2017

I've tried several different channels but it doesn't seem to work. It's really strange because on the Juno ds it works perfect!
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Re: Roland FA08 with Roland A800 Pro Midi keyboard

Postby stevel » 22:01, 1 May 2017

FrankP wrote:I've tried several different channels but it doesn't seem to work. It's really strange because on the Juno ds it works perfect!


Frank, I have USB-MIDI Through set to OFF.

I just tried with it set to "ON" and it killed the sound, and it's fine with it "OFF".

I think this is the same function as the setting you had to change in the A-800 - basically it tells the FA to send/receive MIDI over USB rather than the MIDI cables.

Sorry I didn't think of this one earlier either.

Hope that solves it.

BTW everything else is the same on mine as yours (I have Transmit MIDI Edit Data OFF, but that shouldn't make a difference).

Steve
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Re: Roland FA08 with Roland A800 Pro Midi keyboard

Postby Skijumptoes » 09:31, 2 May 2017

FrankP wrote:The remote keyboard switch "ON"? I thought it needed to be off...

Yes it does when you're up and running as it allows different midi channels from an external keyboard to be used, but until you're getting any sound at all, leave it ON, makes diagnosing issues much easier.

It makes it easier as the FA will respond to a note on any midi channel that way.
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Re: Roland FA08 with Roland A800 Pro Midi keyboard

Postby FrankP » 10:00, 6 May 2017

It works!!! Thanks for the help guys... ☺️ I'm really thankful!
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Re: Roland FA08 with Roland A800 Pro Midi keyboard

Postby stevel » 20:16, 7 May 2017

FrankP wrote:It works!!! Thanks for the help guys... ☺️ I'm really thankful!


Great News! Enjoy.

Steve
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