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Hints and Tips


Useful Bitz for Retro-Tech/Midi Geeks and Freaks

(Boring Bitz for Anyone Else)

And Pleas for Help!

  1. If you have a JX3P (and why not? Its not a bad analogue machine and is pretty easy to program even without the PG800 programmer) with the earlier midi implementation (April 12, 1984), it powers up in Omni On mode. However you can change it to Omni Off/Poly On mode with the appropriate command ($B0 7F 7F), but it will only receive on midi channel 1. The later software revision (V.2.1 July 9, 1984) powers up in poly mode but still only receives on channel 1. This comes from the possible assumption made by keyboard manufacturers in the early days of MIDI that their wonderful new machine would always be number one. The DX7 is only able to transmit on channel 1.

  2. The TX7 receives volume commands with continuous controller 6 (data entry MSB). This is the control number transmitted by the DX7's data entry slider.

  3. The same controller (6) controls the master tuning of the Casio CZ101. I don't know about the rest of the CZ series - probably.

  4. The Roland 909 drum machine merges incoming midi data with its own data at its midi out.

  5. The Simmons SPM 8:2 mixer is a really neat machine. It is a 1U rack mounting stereo mixer. It has 8 inputs, pan, two sends, two mono returns with pan, three band EQ with sweepable mid, auto-pan and auto mid-frequency sweep, and adjustable fade time between mix changes. It responds to midi patch changes and can store 96 mixes. I have two SPM 8:2's (looking for a third one). I reckon you could make the Simmons mixer much quieter and improve the sound by replacing the TLO81 op amps in it with more expensive, higher performance modern equivalants. Kids, don't try this modification yourselves unless you really know what you're doing. By the way, there used to be - about 10 years ago - an ad at the back of Keyboard Magazine for an operating ROM upgrade for this machine that recognised sys-ex commmands for parameter control. Does anyone know anything about this?

  6. I still use an Atari ST for my sequencing work. This frees up the PC for more important things like games and internet. Seriously, I find the ST quite adequate for midi sequencing and with 4 meg of very cheap RAM in it there's plenty of capacity. With a Midex+ (thanks for the loan, Mike) and a modem port to midi adapter I've got SMPTE syncronisation, 3 midi in ports, 96 channels of midi out, and rock steady midi timing. Update Aug. 2000 - the ST seldom gets turned on these days. Cubase sorted out the midi timing problems with the v.3.553 release of VST.

  7. If you do use an ST with Cubase you should use a reset proof RAM Disk like the Hybrid Arts H-RAM Disk unless you have a hard drive. Save often to avoid major disaster when "MROS Error" or "System Error" messages come up. Use an extended file selector program such as "Def-Sel".

  8. If you can't get hold of an Atari Monitor you can modify a VGA monitor to work with the ST as a mono hi-res.

  9. Many failures of the Atari Hi-Res monitor are blamed on the HT transformer going (which can't be replaced!).  Actually very often this is a misdiagnosis.  The problem is frequently a non-polarised capacitor (near the HT transformer) which is under-rated and has decided not to work any more.  A decent technician should be able to spot the capacitor and check'n'replace it, preferably with one with a higher voltage rating.

  10. You cannot control the DX7 or TX7's pitch with aftertouch. However you can fake it. Set the LFO speed to zero, the waveform to downward sawtooth (ramp down), and LFO sync to on. In the function (performance) mode set the aftertouch to control LFO depth. You can also use this method to get the mod wheel to control pitch. If you have a DX and TX apply LFO to mod wheel for one of them only; this will give detuning effects.

  11. If you have an older K1 or K4 (OK, they're all old now; wot I mean is an early model!)- I have heard that Kawai have newer operating ROM's. Try asking them nicely for a new one.

  12. Finally, does anyone have a service manual for a Crumar (or Chase) Bit 1 synthesiser? This is another good machine; unfortunately the one I have bit the dust.

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