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Obtain multipad functionality with external hardware?

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Obtain multipad functionality with external hardware? #5777
Here's a question for you out-of-the-box thinkers: Start with any Roland arranger that lacks multipads... How do you obtain this functionality with external hardware?

Let's think about the various use cases... if the goal is to trigger a .wav sound, you could use a "launchpad" controller and some sort of hardware DAW (do they even make such a thing?) If the goal is to trigger a MIDI sequence, you could use an external sequencer with the tempo slaved to the arranger's style engine. I think something like the MC-80EX or a DisCover5 module with mark and jump would be pretty good for this purpose. (The DisCover5 would net you a vocalizer, too!)

If you wanted to trigger a chord-matched MIDI sequence, you would need a second arranger. Or you could program the phrase or arp into one of the unused accompaniment tracks, and mute that track until it's needed. But... if you wanted the chord-matched sequence to launch from the first bar on demand, you would have to program it as a fill or intro. And really, to maintain continuity you would have to copy the whole style into the fill or intro, and then cannibalize one of the accomp tracks for the "multipad" phrase.

Now for something really tricky... Some brands of arrangers let you store chord progressions in the pads. When you launch the pad, it drives the style for a certain number of bars, or indefinitely if the pad is set to loop. You could emulate this with an external sequencer that feeds pre-recorded triads and tetrads to the N.T.A. (note to arranger) channel. Again, an MC-80, DisCover5, or even a little Yamaha QY-70 would work. The stored sequence would probably have to call a user program that opens the MIDI channel to N.T.A. This implementation approximates a chord sequencer (although without the flexibility or convenience of Roland's best implementations to date.)

Bottom line, some GREAT Roland arrangers like the G70 lack multipads. The newest E-A7 lacks the chord sequencer of the BK-9. Arrangers are just musical computers- collections of hardware and software. So theoretically, there should be a way to augment the missing functionality with external hardware modules. What do you think!?
2 months 2 weeks ago Last edit: 2 months 2 weeks ago by TedS.

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