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No line out
TBH, I have never been impressed with that generation of Behringer amps. A friend had one, and the gain staging difference between mic level and line level was not good.
If you have a friend with a DI box, perhaps you might try that to convert to mic level, which you say is clean? Just make sure you are running the main output of the BK pretty low (try 30% or under).
Quick question. Do you have any other line level gear that is nice and clean through the mixer? And, if possible, can you take a photo of the mixer showing the typical settings you are using for playing through, including the final main output setting?
Bottom line here, the issue is NOT your keyboard. No-one else has reported the issue, and the keyboard sounds fine through headphones, so we KNOW that output is clean. The issue is your mixer/amp.
I am working with the BK-3 and the Behringer mixer/amp tomorrow night so I will take a photo then.
I've noticed that the new mixers have dedicated inputs for mobile devices. Mobile devices only have headphone sockets as outputs so those inputs must be tailored for that kind of signal.
I don't know anyone with a DI box, but I do have a friend with a good PA setup who might let me try the BK-3 through it.
I have attached a photo of my Behringer mixer amp with my typical configuration. Nothing fancy. Channel 1 and 2 are receiving the output from the BK3 via a stereo jack to two mono and the other channel in use is receiving a microphone via a standard XLR cable. Channel 1 and 2 have the pad enabled. The channels gain are pretty high but the BK3 master volume is only set to about 30% as you suggested.
Have you tried running into those RCA ins, as well? As you are running no channel EQ, they should sound the same.
Last thought... I'm presuming you HAVE tried running something normal into those ins? An MP3 player, another keyboard? We haven't yet ruled out that either the power amps are fried, or there's something up with the speakers or wiring.
Everything else full range you have tried into the mixer comes out nice and clean?
I used to have my G800 into the same inputs as the photo and that was cleaner, although it did have line outs.
There probably is an issue with the mixer. It's being about a bit. I'm trying to find the time to go and try it at my mates house. He has a BK9. I would love to try the BK9 just for the feel of the keys.
I am using it tomorrow so will let you know my findings.
Key feel is great, sadly marred by no aftertouch, but at the price, few arrangers have it. No, it's no G70 - same action as your old G800 (I had one of those briefly before the G1000 came out, which also had the same action).
It was a shame so few jumped on board with the BK-9 until it was too late. Nowadays, they are something of a coveted rarity, but poor initial sales no doubt contributed in large degree to Roland's seeming abandoning the upper end arrangers and concentrating on the low end ($1300-ish) stuff.
The E-A7 is a very nice arranger in many ways, but there is far too much awesomeness in the BK-9 missing (the 76, the chord sequencer, the VK Hammond sim, the SuperNatural sounds, etc.) that I can't bring myself to use one. Add to that, Roland have come out with ZERO content for the sampler and the multipads, you are pretty much on your own adding that.
But if I had a BK-3, it would still be a very worthy step up. Just not a BK-9!
The things I find disappointing with the BK3 are:
No line-out, as stated previously.
No bass sound when arranger is not playing. You can have a lower sound, but you can't mix that with a bass tone.
No dual voice when split is active. So can only have single voice when using accompaniment.
But I do like the accompaniments and some of the sounds, like the guitars and organs. It sounds brighter than my G800. One of the little things that bugs me with all Roland Arrangers is the fact that the arranger hold stays on when you stop the arranger. You can't start the arranger with just drums unless you switch the arranger hold off and on after every song.
I will persevere with the keyboard though. I have always like Roland and have given me lots of good service in the past.
Set the track mute to cut all Parts except the drums, and save the Performance with the Track Mute [ON].
Now you can start up with only drums on, then hit the Track Mute Button to bring in all the rest...
Alternatively, save two identical Performances (call them songINTRO/songMain and store them next to each other in the Performance List) the first with all the ACC and ABASS Parts muted, the latter with all on. Then switch the Performances on the fly (there will be no glitch).
Lots of ways to skin a cat in the BK series!
Sadly, even with a BK9, if you split the keyboard, the MBASS Part goes monophonic, so you can't have layered LH sounds even in the TOTL arranger. And, for a $600 arranger, expecting more than two simultaneous BK-3 Parts is a bit of a stretch! However, look around and you will find some stacked sounds. Piano+Strings, Piano+Choir, Stacked Piano... Useful sounds if you are splitting the keyboard.
But perhaps it is time for you to look around for a used BK-5 or an E-A7 if you can't find a used BK-9. You sound like you are ready to move on up...
So, in your scenario above, you make an Intro Perf. with a split bass LH and strings RH, then a main Perf. with the sounds you want for the song.
I will persevere with this keyboard for the time being and hopefully upgrade to a higher model in the future.
Thanks for all your help and suggestions.
And, if you haven't already, dig deep into the Makeup Tools. Amazing things can be done in there to change the overall sound of styles, and to edit older styles to use newer Tones and Kits. You'll also find that few ROM styles (especially older styles) have any MFX on any of the Parts at all. You can do some amazing things like changing suspect distorted guitar Parts into clean guitars then running them through an amp simulator and getting a more realistic distortion, using a nice panner on Rhodes sounds, wah filters on clavs, etc., etc..
Makeup Tools is by FAR the easiest system on any brand of arranger for easily editing your styles and SMF's... Use it!
I found that one of the OTS settings made the NaturalPiano tone sound much better for me. Just by changing the EQ settings from the Tone Part View, the brighter piano sample seems to be triggered easier.
I've never really been one for delving too deep into settings. I just like to select a rythm, select a sound, and play away, but am getting better results by experimenting.
If I only had a line out...
trebleclef wrote: If I only had a line out...
Or a decent mixer!
One of the things to experiment with with older styles is moving the velocities of individual drum sounds within a kit. The older Sound Canvas based Roland arrangers (G800/G1000/RA90 etc.) basically had no velocity switched drum sounds. A drum sounded the same at low velocity and high volume to the same sound at high velocity and low volume. So the overall velocity level of a drum Part could vary quite a bit with no apparent difference.
Newer drum kits are very different! There can be up to four different samples per drum sound (not all of them, but many important ones like snare, kick, hihats, etc.), and where the average velocity of the whole Part sits can have quite a difference in overall energy of the sound. If the style had ANY velocity information in the drum Parts (a lot of Roland styles did, some third party ones, not so much!) you can gradually bump the overall drum Part up or down with velocity (not volume) and listen for when the drum sounds start to change a bit in timbre.
Once you hit a sweet spot where the drums start to cook, you can now go into the drum kit individual sounds, and see if adding any more velocity to certain sounds (especially those critical snare/kick/hihats) moves them into an area where there are changes in timbre. If this pushes them too loud in the overall mix, you can then use the sound's volume parameter to bring them back down into the mix. You can also individually EQ that sound if too bright or dull, and add or subtract some of the overall reverb to wet it up or dry it out compared to the whole kit.
The same applies to many other sounds, particularly E.Piano sounds, piano sounds, brass and strings etc.. Velocity switched sounds didn't really make much of an appearance until after the G800/G1000 series.
The thing is, yes, some of those legacy styles are quite good, but compare poorly sound-wise to the ROM styles. And yes, it's nice to not have to do a thing but turn an instrument on and just play, but especially when using data not created for that specific arranger series, it is something that just has to be done! If the end result of your work is a style you enjoy playing with and one that you don't think sounds worse than the ROM styles, it is time well spent... After all, you only have to do it the one time!
Even if you move on to a BK5/9 or an E-A7, all that work will still translate properly.