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Roland Juno-type keyboard song player...

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Kapt.Krunch, Apr 16, 2011.

  1. Kapt.Krunch

    Kapt.Krunch Well-Known Member

    Juno keyboards with the USB flash-drive function on top panel that can play back WAV, MP3, AIFF, etc.

    Downloaded manuals for all applicable models, searched through instructions, analyzed MIDI Implementation charts, and still have no conclusive answer.

    Emailed Roland, got zilch. Following is my email, and their non-answer:

    Product: JUNO-STAGE, JUNO-D, JUNO-Di, JUNO-G, JUNO-Gi
    Subject: USB Song Player
    Question: Downloaded manuals for USB song capable. Don't know what works.

    1) Can USB songs be accessed/controlled (say..Song#23, start-stop, etc) with a MIDI footswitch controller, such as the Behringer FCB1010? I understand I can make playlist, and it will run sequentially. Can random access be achieved, as well as start/stop with MIDI messages?

    2) How long does it take to load. Probably, MP3 loads faster, so probably use that.

    3) If I choose, say Song#23, will it also send a program change to keyboard, so I can use programmed patch I want to play?


    (Non-answer):

    Hello,

    Based on the information you have provided us, we are unable to determine what the problem might be. Please contact us at one of the following numbers, and we will be happy to troubleshoot your setup over the phone.

    Well, Roland...I don't have a PROBLEM! I had some questions, and your techs apparently don't understand plain English!:mad:
    Anyway. My goal?I recently resigned from a five-piece band that seemed to be stalled, and had no ambition to move forward. Hooked up with another guy to work up some stuff to start out as duo, with backing tracks. (Figured if we got tight with a solid backing and got some exposure, then we could start considering adding other like-minded members). We have been practicing to CDs of backing tracks that I worked up, but I figured if I could dump those tracks into a song-playing keyboard as WAV (or higher-quality MP3), AND could control direct access, and start and stop, with a MIDI foot controller, as well as selecting the desired program on the keyboard for the song...would be much easier than trying to control a CD player, or an iPod, etc., which would involve using my hands. (Don't really want to use a laptop. We don't have one, and then we'd have to buy an interface...and the reliability issue, etc.) If the keyboard would work, that would play the songs, and also could be used for recording and live. Seems more efficient. We'd run that through an adequately-powered PA, with subs, to provide full-range, (relatively) full-band sound.

    Does ANYONE know if the song player function in one of those keyboards can be controlled as I would like?

    Thank you,

    Kapt.Krunch
     
  2. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    I think I get what you are saying and if so...

    Very common and actually what started in the early 80's. I've done what you are doing for years for that same reason and also to become proficient in song writing using DAW's.

    Two ways come to mind for you.

    The easiest way is to get a sampler with a good chunk of memory and dump the CD into it, track by track. You can choose your compression in the sampler to save memory but it starts to sound bad and taped so be warned. The early samplers are actually just a broken down DAW with built in midi and much better at some things even now because they had faster response times and zero latency.

    The second way is to program it all via MIDI. This is what I would do and did for years in a live Duo.

    In stead of relying on the CD, I broke down all the sounds and created my own library of my band, my flavour (sound by sound) then programmed it all using sequencers and samplers. This gives you freedom to grow and restructure songs in many ways beyond just the song in a set timeline. You can change speed, add and remove any part of the arrangement or sound and so on. Having this freedom in a live show is a big thing for mass reasons.
    You can develop and it on the road including control the mix of the instruments better in a live show setting. Big topic from here but , yes, you can do this no problem.

    You can find Old Akai Samplers that work great. You can use any midi keyboard to control the sampler. You can assign each key to be that CD track so all you need to do it hit the ( middle C key and so on). You can assign the sample to be triggered by a foot switch. The possibilaties are vast and can get very detailed. I was very heavy into all this to a point that I never retured to playing with bands live. It fascinated me so much so that I never returned to being just a guitar player that relied on others. I went on to making a great living and never looked back.

    Hope this helps some,

    Good luck.
     
  3. Kapt.Krunch

    Kapt.Krunch Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the response, audiokid. The thing about this is that I've spent a lot of time already with MIDI drums mixed/matched through various cards/modules/VSTi's to get the sounds I wanted for each song, and make them breathe a bit, with slightly varying velocities, etc., to get a bit more real sound. Stuff like making cymbals sound slightly different from hit to hit by bringing this hit on this track up, that one down, etc. (It's not unusual for me to have, say, at least 3 snare drums or cymbals playing simultaneously...each with their own strength. This one sounds crisp, that one sounds round, and the other one is good to add reverb to. Stuff like that).

    I have also already played some bass and keyboard parts in...and all of this has already been mixed to stereo tracks. What you suggest is a possibility, but then I wouldn't have some of the sounds I've used from my 'mainly MIDI' and 'mainly audio' computers...which are not portable. I COULD sample all that, but then I'd have to do a HECK of a lot of remixing and experimenting.

    It sounds pretty good, already, by playing to the CDs. I've left some dynamics in to pretty much sound more like a real band kicking it in. In other words, I went to a lot of trouble to purposely futz things JUST a bit to sound more like a live bar band, and less like an overproduced, compressed-to-death, ear-fatiguing current CD.

    That's why I was hoping I could just dump them into a keyboard, and use a MIDI foot-pedal to direct-access any tune on that USB drive, and start and stop it. We are using a dual DJ CD player, and we do have about 20 songs on each CD. (Pre-MP3 player).
    20 or so songs, in two trays..40+ songs, is plenty for any set to choose from, but it's a pain to control the thing by hand when playing guitar or keys. I suppose I COULD possibly rig up a homemade footswitch to control each player's start/stop/track forward/track back/pause functions...but....

    Anyway, that's more what I'm after. I'd hate to start a heavy learning curve on samplers, and then have to mix/match/remix everything now. I can see the benefits of easily dropping out, say, all the bass parts if you wanted a bass player to show up and play along, but I can almost as easily take my final multi-track audio, mute all the bass, and make new CDs, I guess.

    Just wondering if anybody knew for sure if any of those Rolands would do what I wanted.
    At ~$700-$1000...I have a thing or three to possibly trade in to help pay for it.

    Thanks,

    Kapt.Krunch
     
  4. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    You can still dump, sample each CD song into 2 channels and done. Get a sampler with midi ( Akai S series or the old Roland... with enough RAM to sampler 40 mins of 44k 16 bit, Done. Its very easy. I think my S1100 will do 16bit at 44k for 120 mins. I can dump that onto a Zip drive and load another 120min is less than one min.

    One Sampler to drag around is pretty easy. You buy a foot controller, could be a midi guitar box that you assign the sample to a midi channel and done. Make sense? Hit a key that sustains that track until its played out. Done.

    You need to go back one more generation before VST. VST is not what I would consider live and fast. The older MIDI generation before all this looping generation came about is where the magic is.

    Make more sense?
     
  5. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    This is what I'm talking about. I have the S1100 which was a bit beefier but the same. I'll find more info for you...

    Akai S-1000 | Vintage Synth Explorer
     
  6. Kapt.Krunch

    Kapt.Krunch Well-Known Member

    Oh. I knew a sampler could record snippets and even longer phrases to trigger with MIDI...but I never thought about them being used to play entire backing songs.

    You mentioned "Zip Drive". I'll have to see if there are any samplers that use something that is more current than the obsolete Zip format for backup, etc.

    As for virtual instruments...they are on my audio computer, and I don't use them exclusively. They are just handy to have available for mix'n'match MIDI-triggered sounds, along with the two older soundcards in my MIDI computer, and the ones in my keyboards/modules. I just sync them all up, and experiment with different sounds until I get something I like, and then generally mix the combined sounds down to an audio track or two. That's usually AFTER I've recorded real instruments/vocals, etc., on the audio computer with a barebones (but performance-correct) MIDI sequence to monitor. I can then find sounds to work around the audio...instead of minutely tweaking all the MIDI sounds first, and then trying to squeeze the audio around those.

    Thanks,

    Kapt.Krunch
     

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