Bėker, my equipment and hacks. A very long winded description.

This didn't start as a blog, but I have a blog for almost everything else.

The old blog was getting too long so I started another one

Jan 16 2016

Today I am feeling quite awful. I returned from my holidays and a day or two later started having tummy issues, I hope it doesn't last long. So while I wasn't feeling good I started playing the keys. I opened the four songs I haven't finished recording yet. I think Challenge is probably ready to go, Supernova/Supercollider just needs a solo and lyrics. Opus is still in an early stage, but could be completed quite quickly and Snowangels I couldn't even check as I don't have the D-110 hooked up ATM. No new aquisitions although I am keeping my eye on a couple of things. I am looking very seriously at a chip that would change MIDI clock signals into Sync-24 signals. My biggest problem would be that I would still have to monkey around in the inside of my EP-11 to make it work because the Sync-24 on the EP-11 is OUT only! I'm sure I could tap into the proper places to accept an incoming signal, but I would have to disable the panel controls. BUT then I could possibly use and sync the drums and appreggio. That could be alot of fun. I found a new way to set the JX-3P to not OMNI, just press POLY on the MKB-300! Easy. Still waiting for chips for my stupid amp, I ordered more from the states so hopefully I will finally have them in a few weeks. Then I can try to start repairing other things.

Jan 29 2016

Well I moved the bass amp off of the bench because I installed the power transistors and it still didn't work. So I really wasn't planning on doing anything, but I thought I would just open the Jx-3p and see if the chip I need to replace for the MIDI upgrade kit was in a socket or not. I thought I had some sockets but after looking, I don't, so I figured I should see if I need to order some. Luckily it was socketed. Then I thought I should see if I can fix my repair. There is a crack in the panel circuit board, and I tried jumpering across by using wires connected to the closest solder joint. I retraced the paths to make sure everything was right, then I found a join that didn't seem very good. After playing with it, there was something that was preventing a good solder join there like an oil or something that I can't seem to clean away. So I used a different join and made a connection to the other bad place. I also added a jumper for the ground, just to make sure and finally I can access number buttons 9 to 14! I wasn't going to do any more but figured I could drop in the chip for the MIDI upgrade solder the one wire to the main CPU and leave it at that. I did that and it took literally one minute, so I unhooked the MIDI jack board and quickly looked at what I would have to do to that. After a bit of looking I decided I could probably put this together fairly quickly too. So I had to open 2 paths on the circuit board, remove a resistor and a jumper wire, then solder 10 wires on various places on the board. It actually took longer to put the JX-3p back together. I plugged it back in and tried it out. So number one all the number buttons are working again!! Then I started playing it with the MKB-200. I wanted to make sure the OMNI was off. It didn't seem to be as the MKS-7 was playing as well, then I realized the JX-3P was receiving MIDI channel 3, and ONLY MIDI channel 3! I shut it off and tried the velocity mode, that was cool, then I shut it off and set the MIDI channel to 1. Then I set the MKB-200 to send CC's to the JX. The first one was the VCA level and sure enough I could play with the volume. I then HAD to try the cutoff level, and that worked great too! I played with the JX for about a half hour and decided all was good. I guess I have to open the S-220 now. Hopefully it is something I can fix. Oh and I have 5 80017 chips I can drop in the acetone bath, when ever I am ready to try that again.

Feb 24 2016

Progress has been very slow. I opened the S-220 and checked the voltages on the power supply and everything looked great, so my only guess is the capacitor by the cyrstal supplying the sample chip, or maybe even the crystal. Unfortunately there isn't ANYWHERE close that carries capacitors!! All I need is a 10 cent frigging part! So it is waiting. I also opened the MKS-30 and started removing the chips and dropped the chips I had into the acetone bath. Holy frig those chips were hard to remove! I finally just broke the last two out and will have to replace the legs. So I am just waiting for some DIP sockets (I couldn't get SIP sockets), they shouldn't be too hard to modify for the single 12 pin arragement. Then I will see if I have 6 chips that still work. I accidently broke one trying to get it out, so I have 10 80017 chips and 1 clone. Hopefully I can get both of these going soon.

Mar 28 2016

Weird I thought I wrote an entry here, I guess I didn't. So I got tired of waiting and just hooked up the S-220 and it seems to be fine. Who knows? So about a week ago I worked the MKS-30 and installed the sockets. I put in and tested 6 chips and they seem ed to work so I thought I was done and closed it up. Turns out one of the chips won't work at first, but after some tinkering it will come 'on'. So I tonight I tried some of the other chips I have but unfortunately they don't work. So the MKS-30 is sorta working, I guess I will have to order at least 1 chip. 2 nights ago I opened and repaired the M-120 mixer, I replaced a couple of op-amps and it works fine now. (I think). So the tinkering continues.

April 2 2016

I finally installed the handles and wheels I bought for the new rack. I also installed a little strip of wood across the back to reduce the stress of the cords on the mixer. This entailed unplugging all the MIDI and 1/4 inch cords and when I had the strength put it all back together. I wanted to know how long it would take, so I set my timer. 52 minutes! And after a bit of testing of course I had to fix some mistakes. But I think I finally have a handle on what is where. I will have to make a new MIDI chart and the mixer set-up. Because the main controller can controll ALL of the devices, I have had to change a few MIDI channels. Most notably the MKS-10 which for now is settled at 12. I just realized that the JUNO-106 and the D-110 are on the same channel, I may have to do more tweaking. The RS-5, U-20 and alpha JUNO-1 are not being used at the moment. In fact the U-20 and JUNO have been replaced by thier corresponding rack synths (U-220, and MKS-50). The U-20 and JUNO will now be used excusively for another project. I am thinking of selling the RS-5, maybe, I don't know. So the only fixing left is the adjustment of the JUNO-106 and when I order some D80017 chips to replace them in the MKS-30. I do wish I could have 2 fixes for the programming of the JUNO-106. I wish it would memorize the MIDI channel, and I wish you could send a CC to put it in MONO/POLY modes. Sigh. If I get ambitious I may look at trying to control some of the functions on the EP-11 by MIDI, but that seems quite far off.

Really all this is old news, but because the keyboards were finally set up again I ran through the Bėker set and then started pissing around. I have really wanted to play with the keyboards as drums, so I started with a couple of things. I was going to program a sound on the JX-3p and then realized I could program it from the sequencer! I am finally getting to use a small bit of my investment of the Organix MIDI upgrade! I brought up the jet sound (B16) and shortened the attack and the release and set up a 16th pattern. I programmed a lower note for the snare sound on 2 and 4 but it really didn't cut through enough. I was going to use the MKS-30 but I found the MKS-7 sound chart first. There is a noise crack sound that worked great. Then I found this low sound on the JUNO-106 and added it as a kick sound. I programmed this for 100 bars. I had a simple little pattern that repeated with different bass notes, and at first I was going to use the MKS-10 for the verses, but I may not be able to, I'll explain later. I sound a cool sync sound for the bass using the MKS-30. For the chorus after playing around alot I found this classical inspired sort of chormatic climbing thing. I settled on the orchestra sound I made for the U-20 (U-220). The chorus needed a bit of a boost rhythmically so I looked my Fdrums for the S-220 and doubled the kick and snare, just for the chorus and added a cute little snare pitch thing at the end. I thought just to set the melody I had in my head I would program the VP-70 in vocoder mode, but I liked it and programmed the whole song. The VP-70 is only hooked up to the right mic, so for now the only keyboard I can play with my right hand is the EP-11, I may be able to change this later as I have a Electroharmonix V-256 pedal on it's way (I actually had a new one at home, but it kept turning off randomly, so I had to send it back). So I had 2 verses and 2 chorus' I was thinking about an instrumental or a solo, but didn't really think it felt right, so I just played the intro, but added the phaser from the GP-8 for the 8 bars. Then I added a third chorus and decided that should be it. I made a cute little ending flourish for the vocals at the end. It just needs lyrics. And I may have to clean up a bit of my sequencing, especially the VP-70 stuff as it is tough to program. I am quite happy with this, AND it incorporates alot of new stuff, or stuff that I haven't used alot yet. OH! and I took the new photo at the top.