Hints & Tips

Forum for Roland's System-8 synthesizer

Re: Hints & Tips

Postby rsaintjohn » 04:49, 24 May 2017

"Single Performance Mode" - This is one of those things I saw in the Reference Manual and the Performance menu, but never dug into. Wasn't really sure how I would use it, until tonight.

First, note that it defaults to Dual. That's what let's us create splits and layers with two tones/Parts. The unfortunate side effect is that each Part then becomes limited to 4 voices (though, to be honest, I've never felt I hit a wall with that, and the System-8 usually sounds great regardless).

But if you change it to Single, that gives the currently active Part its 8 voices back. So, what's the point of Single mode? You can still use the sequencer of the other Part and run it out via MIDI or CV to drive an external synth that may not have a sequencer, or even keys. That's a huge bonus, and a testament to the great MIDI configuration features of the System-8.

Example: I have a Moog Minitaur (awesome analog bass synth, but no keys, no sequencer) sitting next to my System-8. So I assign the Lower Part of the System-8 to output to MIDI channel 3, and set the Minitaur to receive on Ch. 3. I create a bass line sequence pattern for the Lower Part on the System-8. I switch the System-8 into Perf Mode Single, edit the Key Range of the Lower Part and turn the Lower Part off so that playing on the keys won't play the Minitaur (I just set it to G9-G9), only the Lower Part pattern will.

Now switch to Panel Select Upper and do whatever you want with it. It will be just like Patch Mode, with 8 voices and independent of the Lower Part. And you can still control the external synth and the Lower Part sequencer. And there's still all sorts of ways to customize the performance between the two synths. You don't have to change the key range, for instance. It's a great way to keep your lush strings and pads while another synth does bass, FX or accents, and still control it all from the System-8.
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Re: Hints & Tips

Postby Manic » 07:05, 24 May 2017

Thanks RSaintjohn, thats really useful!
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Re: Hints & Tips

Postby tomloud » 11:06, 14 June 2017

Hi! Does anyone have a preset list for the Juno-106 plug-out? I found the earlier posted list of the other presets really useful.

thanks!
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Re: Hints & Tips

Postby rsaintjohn » 14:12, 14 June 2017

tomloud wrote:Hi! Does anyone have a preset list for the Juno-106 plug-out? I found the earlier posted list of the other presets really useful.

thanks!


I haven't bothered to do it since the default Performances don't include any synths from the Juno 106 plug-out. But it's easy enough to get a list by following the instructions in the 10th post of the thread. Just use a reader on the SD card to find a TXT file that includes a backup of the 106, and all the presets will be listed there.
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Re: Hints & Tips

Postby tomloud » 04:46, 16 June 2017

rsaintjohn wrote:
tomloud wrote:Hi! Does anyone have a preset list for the Juno-106 plug-out? I found the earlier posted list of the other presets really useful.

thanks!


I haven't bothered to do it since the default Performances don't include any synths from the Juno 106 plug-out. But it's easy enough to get a list by following the instructions in the 10th post of the thread. Just use a reader on the SD card to find a TXT file that includes a backup of the 106, and all the presets will be listed there.



Thankyou!
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Re: Hints & Tips

Postby TapedTogether » 19:10, 21 July 2017

rsaintjohn wrote:"Single Performance Mode" - This is one of those things I saw in the Reference Manual and the Performance menu, but never dug into. Wasn't really sure how I would use it, until tonight.....

But if you change it to Single, that gives the currently active Part its 8 voices back. So, what's the point of Single mode? You can still use the sequencer of the other Part and run it out via MIDI or CV to drive an external synth that may not have a sequencer, or even keys. That's a huge bonus, and a testament to the great MIDI configuration features of the System-8.


Great tip! I've been testing the setup with a SlimPhatty, however it's not functioning how I thought it would. I would like to use the Lower Part keyboard to control the Phatty, while Upper Part controls the S8. I have Performance set to Single mode, with Lower transmitting on Ch. 1, with Upper transmitting on Ch. 2. Phatty is set to receive only on Ch. 1. When I select Lower part, the Phatty plays as expected, however when I switch to Upper, both the Phatty & the S8 trigger, as though Note Tx is still active for the Lower Part. Is this functioning as intended? It looks like the workaround, as you suggested, is to set key ranges.

Also noticing that Pitch Bend/Mod joystick doesn't transmit in Performance Mode. Is there a setting I'm missing? Only see Rx settings in Part Edit.
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Re: Hints & Tips

Postby rsaintjohn » 22:28, 21 July 2017

I've just been using Single Performance mode to route the sequencer on one part out, not to play keys on two different physical synths simultaneously. You'll likely need to set up the key ranges for both to split it between synths. The Performance mode on its own won't turn off the keyboard for a part, because some people may want to layer two tones from two different synths. The key range is going to determine what notes are sent out to the MIDI channels.

Put another way: picture the keyboard as a separate thing that transmits notes out to all MIDI channels, and Lower Part and Upper Part as two theoretical synths, external to the keys themselves, with their own MIDI channels (even if they're all on this thing called the System-8). And when you use those Lower Part and Upper Part Select buttons, you're not directing the keys as much as you are saying "the knobs/sliders currently control this Part".

As for the Bend and Mod, they will transmit (to Lower, Upper or Both) in Performance mode. IIRC, you do want to set them accordingly for both Lower and Upper using those Rx Bend and Mod settings, on or off. Here you're simply saying "do I want the Part/Synth to receive data from the stick?", whether that synth is internal to the System 8, or external like your Phatty. So if you want the Phatty to get the data, make sure the Rx parameters are on in the CTRL menu. Also, you'll need to adjust the Bend Range and sliders for that Part accordingly.

One thing that will help is to temporarily take the Phatty out of the equation. Set up an INIT type Performance with INIT patches just on the System 8 alone. Once that's done, change your key ranges and/or audio levels to match what you want to hear between two Parts/Synths sharing the same keyboard. Save it and save those Patches. Once that's done, then hook the Phatty back up, match the MIDI channels and you should be back in business.

Hope that helps and hope I got the details right, I'm not at my synths right now!
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Re: Hints & Tips

Postby TapedTogether » 01:50, 23 July 2017

Thanks rsaintjohn, that was a helpful explanation. It's working out just fine minus the bend/mod Tx. The Rx settings are all set to On inside of the Part options, but they're Rx settings not Tx.
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Re: Hints & Tips

Postby rsaintjohn » 03:31, 26 July 2017

Sorry for the delay, had to wait until I had a chance to update my Minitaur with the latest firmware.

And you're right. While in Performance mode, I can't get the Minitaur (on Lower Part) to respond to the joystick at all. Strangely, it works when in Patch mode and the Patch MIDI channel is set to match the Minitaur. But I have to set the Pitch and Modulation ranges within the Minitaur itself. The Bend/Mod sliders on the S8 or settings within the S8 Patch Edit menu have no effect at all on an external synth. Tested with another synth that is hardcoded to -2/+2 for pitch bend, same thing.

The Lower Part behaves as expected when it's an "internal" S8 synth in Performance mode (Single or Dual), but it appears that that the data is not being sent. As you note, no TX. But I was assuming that if the Lower Part was set to "RX" the data, that would apply to an external synth as Lower Part as well.

I'm going to check with Support. Perhaps this is as intended, but it does seem strange that it works in Patch mode, but not Performance mode, Single or Dual. In the case of a synth like the Minitaur or the upcoming Boutique SE-02, this is definitely a function I'd like to see working.

Which reminds me, I'll have to test it with CV/Gate as well; not much help with the Minitaur because of different voltage specs, but I would definitely want to be able to split the S8 and assign some keys and pitch/mod to the SE-02.
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Re: Hints & Tips

Postby rsaintjohn » 20:19, 26 July 2017

Heard back from Roland Support (fast!!). They tried my scenario with the JP-08, and they were able to get it to respond to Pitch Bend/Mod as a Lower Part Performance, but only when he changed it to MIDI Channel 2.

So I tried it with the MInitaur and a JU-06, still no luck. Bending worked when set on Patch mode, but not in Performance mode.

Then I changed the MIDI Channel for both the JU-06 and the S8 Lower Part to Channel 4... success! Channel 7... success! Channel 5... success! Back to Channel 2... nothing.

So, I don't know why it wasn't responding on Channels 1 or 2, but it's working exactly as we want it to when we can get them on a MIDI Channel where it will work.

Sounds like a bug, I'll keep working with them on it. But at least there is a reasonable solution. Try it and let me know how it works for you, @TapedTogether. And thanks for bringing it up. Sooner or later, I was going to run into this myself.

EDIT: Ignore all that. Yes, it worked, but it was a coincidence. When I went back to try it again, my System-8 had shut itself off. I went to re-do the settings and it no longer worked.

But I figured out what does work: in System Menu, set Upper Part Channel MIDI to n, set Lower Part Channel MIDI to n+1. So if you set Upper Part Channel to 4, Lower Part Channel must be set to 5. If you set your external synth to Channel 5, then it will respond to the Lower Part Pitch/Mod stick.

(actually, I think you can set the Lower Channel to any value higher than the Upper Channel, and it should still work)
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Re: Hints & Tips

Postby TapedTogether » 01:05, 31 July 2017

Thanks for looking into this further @rsaintjohn, and reaching out to support. I was planning on doing that myself. Glad to see it confirmed as a bug. I'll do a test setup on my end with the Slim Phatty tomorrow and will report back with my findings!
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Re: Hints & Tips

Postby TapedTogether » 00:48, 4 August 2017

Sorry for the delay. It looks like you hit the nail on the head, rsaintjohn. So long as the lower part's MIDI channel is higher than or equal to the upper part, the joystick sends pitch bend and mod data to the external synth. I'll send a bug report to Roland as well.

Now back to the Hints & Tips!
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Re: Hints & Tips

Postby rsaintjohn » 02:16, 4 August 2017

TapedTogether wrote:Sorry for the delay. It looks like you hit the nail on the head, rsaintjohn. So long as the lower part's MIDI channel is higher than or equal to the upper part, the joystick sends pitch bend and mod data to the external synth. I'll send a bug report to Roland as well.

Now back to the Hints & Tips!


Thanks for the confirmation. Sometimes we never know if it's something weird with one, a handful or all units. It wasn't clear to me if Roland Support actually confirmed that they couldn't get it to work if they set the Lower Part to a lower channel. I suspect that they just tested against the system default which is already set with the Lower, um, higher :D
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