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New member introduction

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New member introduction #6630
Hi there!

I am a new member on this forum. I'm a teacher by trade, and music is my hobby. I have several hardware and software synths, and my latest acquisition is Roland E-80 arranger. I really enjoy this instrument, although I find it buggy. So, I am happy to find such a vibrant community of Roland passionados, offering good company and valuable support.

Together with my family we operate a small studio, where we teach music and produce soundtracks primarily for children. You can listen to some of our work here:
3 months 3 weeks ago Last edit: 3 months 3 weeks ago by raimondsgr.
The following user(s) said Thank You TedS

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New member introduction #6632
Welcome, and thank you for sharing your music!

I am very interested to hear about the bugs in your E-80. I have an E-50 and have often thought about upgrading. On the whole, I find my E-50 more reliable than the later BK-series (at least with regards to the Style Composer functionality.)

Look forward to reading more of your posts in the future. -Ted
3 months 3 weeks ago

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New member introduction #6638
Always fun to hear how others use and enjoy their Roland..!

We have a section for member music (Renditions), so I am going to move this post to it. Please feel free to post more!
3 months 3 weeks ago
BK-9 BK-7m G70. Kurzweil K2500S, Korg Triton. Samick upright piano. iMac 27", HR824 monitors.

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New member introduction #6644
Never had problems nor found really anoying bugs in my Roland E-80.
But I am using the latest version of the O.S. v2.03.

An important point however is, that you need to have sufficiant memory.
It is the best way to use an external PCMCIA card with e.g. Compact Flash
memory (1GB to max. 4GB) and format it only in the Roland Arranger.

Once the system is setup as it should and well arranged, it should be
running without issues for years (but make sure to make backups).
3 months 3 weeks ago Last edit: 3 months 3 weeks ago by Willem52.
Roland E-80 V2.03 + SRX-06 + SR-G01, FC-7, PK-5, SC-8820 and EMU Xboard61.

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New member introduction #6648
Dear Ted,

I also considered E-50, but chose E-80, because of noticeably better sound quality, better mixed styles, and SRX expansion capability. E-80 is a beast (in a positive sense), and it is a shame Roland apparently stopped development in this direction. Though it has its quirks, although some of my issues could be due to my lack of knowledge and information.

The most important issue for me is about using drum kits from SRX expansion boards in MIDI sequences. All works fine only as long as they are on track 10. If not, the kits are selected properly only when the song is loaded and opened in the sequencer window. Whereas, if I play MIDI sequence directly from media window, or if I want to play a style in combination with MIDI sequence, or if I use Song Make up tools, the system apparently messes up bank select messages and selects some internal kit instead. This is a big deal for me, and I would be happy, if somebody could show me solution to this problem.

Then I had issues the first time I played MP3 files encoded with a 320 Kbps bit rate. The synthesizer froze up and continued to emit unpleasant digital noise until I turned the power button off. I reencoded audio files with another software at lower bit rate (192 Kbps) and now it works. Maybe somebody can suggest whether the problem was with the bit rate or with the encoding software, I did not really figure it out. I also could not find detailed specifications regarding mp3 files supported by E-80.

Next I tried loading some styles from BK-9. Of course, I did not expect that all files would be compatible, and I was pleasantly surprised that most of the styles worked fairly well. However, some styles were hanging up the synthesizer, and I could not even normally delete them.

Then one day a bunch of the user programs were gone from the internal memory with no apparent reason. Some members on this forum suggested that there can be problems, if internal memory is full, however I do not think that a couple of songs and user programs are taxing the memory. Anyhow, if you are going to gig with this keyboard, carrying around backup copies is a must.

When playing styles, I have noticed that often it is a problem to get the timing of the chord changes just right, which results in artificial sounding shifting of notes in the accompaniment. I could not find any settings to alleviate this problem. Now I am trying to circumvent this issue by recording chord changes in external sequencer and quantizing them, but I have yet to find the optimal way to sync and record it all.

Finally, I hoped that updating the operating system to the latest version (2.03.) would solve some problems. So far I have not seen any difference in comparison with the previous version (2.02.). The updating process was a bit more complicated than the updating instructions made me believe, which was not a big deal, but to me it showed again that this is not a fully baked product.

That being said, I really love this synth and would not advise against it, if the above is not a deal braker for you.
3 months 3 weeks ago Last edit: 3 months 3 weeks ago by raimondsgr.

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New member introduction #6650
Wow, long post, I'll try to address each paragraph separately.

I have no experience at all with the SRX expansion boards, so I can't help you there. Fran and Diki both use them; maybe they'll chime in.

MP3 bit rate: The .mp3 functionality was a late addition to the feature set. Remember that the E-80 launched circa 2007, so I'm not surprised that it can't handle higher bit rates that came into use much later. I can't find any documentation on Version 2, so I'm not sure what the max bit rate was in the specs. If you're playing your .mp3 from a USB stick, you could try copying it to internal memory. But I wouldn't be surprised if 192Kbps is the best it's going to do.

BK-9 styles: BKs can use two drum tracks in a style, E/G series cannot. Not sure if this is the problem, or what happens if you try and force it. Also if the style refers to user tones, or tones outside the E-80s tone map, that might cause unexpected results. Are these user-created styles, or bone stock factory styles from the BK-9?

Issues with User Programs and memory: It's well-known among G/E-series users that things can get "scrambled." The board actually stores pointers to a location in memory, or locations on internal and external storage media. If UPGs refer to user styles, songs, or user tones which have been moved around or deleted, you will get crashes and unpredictable behavior. As a new owner, what you should do is to delete ALL the existing UPGs and songs, User Styles, etc. Take the machine back to factory spec or as close as you can get, and start over with a clean slate. I'm pretty sure Roland warns against formatting the internal hard drive. Maybe Diki or someone else on here can point you to a post that describes the clean-up process in more detail. Adding your own stuff on top of a shaky foundation is a sure-fire recipe for frustration.

Chord recognition- my favorite subject!! I've experienced the issue you describe on my E-50, and I'm very sensitive to it myself. I presume you're using "Intelligent" chord recognition. If you have the skill to play 3- and 4-note chords, switch to Piano Style chord recognition. In this mode, the chords and bass won't change until at least 3 notes are pressed, which should reduce the tendency to prematurely acknowledge an unintended chord. If you must use Intelligent mode, you may be able to mask the unpleasant effects by changing the bass voice. You could try lengthening the attack on the bass and other accompaniment channels, or use MFX to add a tiny bit of initial delay. I'm no piano teacher, but make an effort to lift your wrist and strike all the keys at once, rather than pressing them down slowly with your fingertips. Even in Piano Style mode, take special care to get the bass (i.e., root note of the chord, or the lowest key) down first. Because a premature false bass note will be very obvious, and it makes your music sound "arranger-ish."

Through a lot of experimentation, I've found that Korg arrangers seem to "batch" their chord recognition, even in the 1-finger modes. So you won't hear those premature false notes, and they won't clutter up your MIDI recordings either. The downside with Korgs is, you have to "lead" the beat a little more to account for the length of this chord input "window." Honestly, I think batched chord recognition is a good feature, and all brands should allow the player to set the duration of this "window," from about a 32nd note to near real time. Unfortunately as far as I know, no other brand has adopted this feature.

For what it's worth, I also own a Roland BK-9. I think chord recognition on the BK-9 is more 'positive', in the sense that it's less prone to prematurely sounding false chords and bass notes. However-- both the BK-9 and the E-50 will occasionally squeal if you change chords or press additional keys when the style playback is in the middle of a recorded note. I think what's happening is that the portamento control repitches the playing note to an octave outside the wrap range. I find this to be more of an issue with my user styles; the Roland factory styles are amazingly playable! Korg and Yamaha definitely have more style control parameters which can be adjusted to reduce this phenomenon. But even Yamaha isn't immune; I've observed exactly the same behavior with some of their "free play" styles. Nature of the beast!

Don't know anything about 2.01, 2.02, 2.03. As I said, can't find any documentation or release notes.
Sincerely hope that my reply helps you put things in perspective!
3 months 3 weeks ago Last edit: 3 months 3 weeks ago by TedS.

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New member introduction #6652
Thank you for your considerate reply. I tried Piano Style chord recognition. It diminishes the problem, but it is still there. Try "Morn Pop" style, if you have it, play the 1st variation, and listen carefully to electric piano part. It is impossible to avoid occasional note swithching, which immediately "gives away" arranger origins of the track. Regarding the experiments with BK-9 data, I used the factory styles.
3 months 3 weeks ago Last edit: 3 months 3 weeks ago by raimondsgr.

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New member introduction #6655
Hmm. The E-50 doesn't have that style. Please try this... go into Makeup Tools. Revoice the electric piano part with a B3 Jazz Organ type voice. Then increase (lengthen) the 'attack' by at least 10 points. You don't have to freeze your edits to demo the style with these changes.

If you're still getting a squeal when you change chords mid-note, then I would copy the factory style to a user style. Go into micro edit, and insert an Alteration Mode event at the beginning of the organ (formerly electric piano) style track. Set the Alteration Mode to "Nearest" and specify a low and high limit centered between low C and middle C, (or least not higher than G above middle C.) I'm not sure whether the portamento control is governed by these Alteration Mode messages, but it's worth a shot.

Please write back and let us all know if this solved it.
3 months 3 weeks ago Last edit: 3 months 3 weeks ago by TedS.

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New member introduction #6656
The important thing to realize about chord recognition is that the rhythm of the input chords should match the rhythm of the style’s chords. In other words, if the rhythm of the style has notes on quarter notes, but you play chord changes on eighth note boundaries, you will get glitchy results.

But, bottom line, if you are using these styles to create sequences, it is fairly easy in a DAW to correct the glitches, and correct the timing of the correct notes. Live, of course, you are always at the mercy of your timing and the rhythm of the style...

As to MP3 rates, 320 was pretty uncommon back then, but if going for best fidelity, try 256 if you want a slight bump from 192. And make sure they are CBR not variable bit rate files. Even if the E80 will play them, they take more processor power. The BK series can handle up to 320 kbps (which is what I use), and .wav too, but a well prepared 192 should still be fine. Try comparing a 192 and a 256 while you play... I would be surprised if you heard much difference! If it boils down to 192 being the top rate, that is still very acceptable. Remember, this arranger came out when 128 was the common rate for internet distribution!
3 months 3 weeks ago Last edit: 3 months 3 weeks ago by Diki.
BK-9 BK-7m G70. Kurzweil K2500S, Korg Triton. Samick upright piano. iMac 27", HR824 monitors.

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New member introduction #6657
I am moving this back to Music Related as it seems to have seriously diverted from being a submission of user music...
3 months 3 weeks ago Last edit: 3 months 3 weeks ago by Diki.
BK-9 BK-7m G70. Kurzweil K2500S, Korg Triton. Samick upright piano. iMac 27", HR824 monitors.

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New member introduction #6658
Thank you so much for your suggestions and ideas. In this case I am primarily concerned about creating decent backing tracks and "speed" and "results" are the main keywords. And I want to stay away from the DAW as long as possible.

For clean recording the most streamlined solution I could find is to record my chord changes in Fantom G sequencer, remotely triggering the style and MIDI clock being slaved to E-80. After that I quantize the track. Then I play it back from the Fantom, press the variation, intro and ending buttons as needed, and simultaneusly recod the resulting style playback in the sequencer of E-80. I can also play the melody during this stage or record additional tracks later in the sequencer of E-80. Thus, in a few takes I get as close to perfect result as possible.

Below I added a demo created in a similar manner. Actually the sync is a bit off towards the end of the song, as I still tried to use Fantom's clock as the master (now I know better), but luckily the introduction of choir and my singing hides the defects. Please tell me, if you can hear the piano glitching. By the way, this is my first foray as a counter tenor.

3 months 3 weeks ago Last edit: 3 months 3 weeks ago by raimondsgr.

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New member introduction #6659
If this is your singing, then very good! To such good singing in the E-80 there are a lot of choirs
3 months 3 weeks ago Last edit: 3 months 3 weeks ago by loshk.
Roland E-80 v.2.01 (SRX-01, 10), Roland Fantom XR, Yamaha Motif-Rack ES, Roland M-GS64, Ketron SD-2, Edirol PCR-500, Edirol M-16DX, TC Electronic M-ONE, Kawai MAV-8, JBL 4312E

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New member introduction #6660
Thank you for positive feedback! I agree that choir sounds on E-80 are surprisingly good. I also have installed SRX-06 Complete Orchestra expansion board for even more high quality sounds for this type of music.
3 months 3 weeks ago

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New member introduction #6662
My system for producing tracks with my G70 (and still with my BK-9) to avoid as many timing glitches as possible was to record the track into the Recorder as slowly as possible... then speed the track back up afterwards. Don’t try to record any leads, simply play the chords and bass inversions (and an FC7 goes a long way to being able to trigger the variations and fills without moving your hands away from playing). Once you have done this, you will usually find that any glitches are inaudible and can be left in unless you really want to waste time editing them out. Remember... if you can’t hear it, it doesn’t exist!

Once I had done this, then was the time to save as an SMF and import into my DAW of choice. At which point I could overdub any comps, solos etc., but also perhaps either replace totally or edit some of the more mechanical Parts. I’ve always had a problem with arranger basslines, which seldom lead towards the next chord (the arranger never knows what the next chord is until you play it!) and are one of the things in my mind that scream automated accompaniment.

Same with some of the guitar Parts, which once again, seldom ‘lead’ into the next chord, just jump there in a most unmusical way.

And then onto the drums... I don’t know about you, but I can’t remember the last time I had a drummer who played two IDENTICAL fills in a song! Going in and editing just a slight variation in each repetition of a fill can add realism. And this is also a good time to edit in some snare ‘ghosting’ (little extra stick bounces and ruffs which very few styles include, but real drummers nearly always add). A little goes a long way... And this might be the time, especially if using the V-Drum kits, to add a few velocity values to the last chorus to make it sound like the drummer is pushing harder, or reduce velocity in the first verse to give yourself somewhere to build from. Remember, making velocity offsets sounds more realistic than simply changing the CC7 or CC11 values (volume or expression) because hitting harder is what a drummer would do!

The end result of all this is a track that is often hard to recognize as largely automatically generated despite being far faster to produce than a made from scratch track.

TBH, I seldom worked with the built in 16 track sequencer, because I find it much faster to edit in a DAW. But I always record the initial style to the Recorder section because I found you get a MUCH better ‘capture’ to that than using MIDI to your DAW. You can often see errors of a tick or so at section boundaries with a MIDI recording to a DAW, but the Recorder always manages to make sure that events that happen on the first tick get placed on the first tick, which then makes for easier cut and paste if restructuring the song.

Perhaps simply slowing down the initial capture could make for a pretty clean glitch free (at least audibly!) and save you the extra step of preparing a guide track, but either way, I think that once created, give the built in sequencer a miss and work in the DAW. The editing power and visibility saves hours of messing with the 16 track Sequencer built in...

I hope this helps and gives you some ideas.
3 months 3 weeks ago
BK-9 BK-7m G70. Kurzweil K2500S, Korg Triton. Samick upright piano. iMac 27", HR824 monitors.

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New member introduction #6663
Some really good tips Diki!

I know that you love the chord sequencer. If you use it to pre-sequence your chords, when you hit "play" then the arranger DOES know what chord is coming next! It would be AMAZING if they altered the style pattern to acknowledge upcoming chord progressions.

I don't want to pre-sequence everything (just my personal preference.) But I might be on-board with a new feature, let's call it a "chord buffer." My idea is this: The chords wouldn't ALL have to be played in real time. Let's say while the first chord is playing, you hold a certain pedal down and input the next 3 or 4 chords in quick succession.
Then you could use that same pedal or a different one to actually trigger the changes when they're needed. Since the arranger knows the next few chords in advance, it could recognize a I, IV, V progression and voice the melodic accompaniment to match the progression. R.I.P. Roland. Maybe we'll see this on Korg or Ketron, who knows?

Which DAW are you using? I want something that's easy to use for MIDI. They're all so complicated! I'm not going to do anything with audio. A long time ago I used XGWorks, which seems to be more MIDI-focused. But it's ancient and not sure if it will run on Windows 10. Good discussion!!
3 months 3 weeks ago

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