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Kenton auto tune??

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Kenton auto tune??

PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 5:35 pm
by Kolakube
Hi guys,

I once owned a mark 1 Kenton midi to cv convertor. It was about 20 years old and out of tune.

Are the newer mark 2 items more stable and capable of auto tune?

Re: Kenton auto tune??

PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 8:15 pm
by vinyl_junkie
Why don't you just get a Novation Bass Station Rack? Never heard of tuning issues with them, a mate has has one for his 101 and it's fine..

Re: Kenton auto tune??

PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 11:01 pm
by flo
Hello Kola

You can 'tune' the mk2 for the synth to play the right pitch. You will have to do it manually, though. It also allows to correct 'non-linear behaviour' of a synth so that it stays in tune over several octaves.
Cheers flo

Re: Kenton auto tune??

PostPosted: Wed Feb 17, 2010 10:00 am
by Kolakube
Hmmm, I had a 101 and a Kenton solo mk1 last year and loved it.

Then I tried to add the sequences I'd made on
my 101 to a sequence I had ready on another synth and it was well out of tune.

I couldn't work out of it was the Kenton or the 101 but people on here felt 101s don't really go out of tune that often.

Just hoped this was fixed in the mark two version as I also owned an andromeda that would tune itself each time it started so I now know this is possible.

I wouldn't know where to start getting a midi/cv convertor in tune??

I'm guessing this happens to the novation bass racks too? How would I tune one of thoese?

Re: Kenton auto tune??

PostPosted: Wed Feb 17, 2010 10:59 am
by The Elf
The 101’s tuning is unlikely to be the issue, regardless of if it has gone out of tune. You have to tune the MIDI-CV box. No MIDI-CV box can tune itself, because how would it know how the attached synth is reacting? So there's no 'fix' for this - no 'auto' tuning system. Some synths (like my MiniMoog) are not a true 1 Volt-per-octave, so you need to trim the span differently to other synths. MiniMoogs also have F as their lowest stable note, so you need to set a tuning offset down to F to get the rest of the notes in place. Your 101 wouldn’t react in the same way as a MiniMoog – and all the poor MIDI-CV box is doing is sending out voltages, agnostic of what’s hanging on the end of them.

When you plug an external CV into a synth it is *that* CV that is controlling the synth’s span tuning, not its internal voltages, so no amount of span tuning on the synth will make any difference (though it’s offset tuning may make an overall pitch difference).

Of all the Kenton MIDI-CV’s I’ve seen they have a couple of holes where you can poke a small screwdriver in to adjust tuning offset and span (I believe some of the later models could be tuned in software). If your 101 is sounding fine on its own, then all you need to do is plug the MIDI-CV box into it and tweak those little tuning screws until you have the offset and span set correctly. It’s really very simple to do...

Just play a very low note on your MIDI keyboard and tweak the MIDI-CV box’s offset to get that note in tune (I’m assuming you have a digital synth somewhere you can use as a tuning reference). Now play a high note and tweak the MIDI-CV box’s span control to tune it in. Ideally that would be job done, but you need to go back to the low note and check the offset again (offset and span will interact to some degree), then play a high note and set the span again... repeat a few times until you can make no more improvement.

In summary:
Play low note – tweak offset; play high note – tweak span. Repeat until done! :D

Re: Kenton auto tune??

PostPosted: Wed Feb 17, 2010 11:04 am
by Kolakube
Thanks elf that's great.

I'm thinking of following VJs suggestion of a novation bass rack. Why buy a Kenton when I can get the same with a free synth.

Would the novation be tuneable on the same way?

Re: Kenton auto tune??

PostPosted: Wed Feb 17, 2010 12:12 pm
by The Elf
From what I can see in the manual there’s no ability to trim the Bass Station’s outgoing control voltages – span or offset. Assuming the Bass Station is putting out an accurate 1 Volt-per-octave, and any attached synth responds accurately, then this shouldn’t be a problem, but if there’s any variation you’d be a bit stuck.

The Bass Station does allow you to make an overall setting that defines the octave offset and Volts or Herz operation, but that appears to be as far as it goes.

Also, I’m not sure exactly what the Bass Station would produce in it’s CV output. Does it include portamento and pitch modulation in its CV? For me that’s important (I play a lot of lead parts with locked portamento and vibrato), but for others it would be a non-issue.

My MIDI-CV box also puts out additional CV signals that I can use to control volume from velocity, or sweep the filter cut-off from a mod wheel, for instance.

The Bass Station includes a basic MIDI-CV function, which is a great option to have available, but it doesn’t purport to replace a well-specced dedicated device.

Re: Kenton auto tune??

PostPosted: Wed Feb 17, 2010 8:24 pm
by flo
Well, I cannot add anything to the excellent explanations of the Elf regarding midi/cv boxes.

I have used however synths with a 'cv out' - not the basstation but FR revolution and a xoxbox.

For some synths they work, for some not! might be the gate settings though that differ from synth to synth.

The roland mc-202 (which is similar to the 101) did work well with both though, so it seems not to be 'picky'.

Tuning: with that setup, I always had to tune the synth to the project I was working, and sometimes even fiddle the midi notes to hit the right tone. Have to say that my rather primitive mono-lines did not jump too much around in octaves so that never was a problem. Just record it before going to bed!!

Have to say that with a properly tuned kenton it is much nicer, as I don't have to do trial and error but just use the correct notes and it works.

If you plan more analog stuff, it is well worth looking at 'expert sleepers' SW version of 'volta'. This software (with the right audio interface, mind!) can actually tune itself to any synth. And you can send lfo's and stuff out as cv out of the audio-outs! If only the behringer ada's would create the necessary voltage :-( To just buy a motu for that purpose seems a bit steep but surely that is the way to go if you plan on a bigger setup.

sorry for the long post this is just a topic I love ;-)

Cheers flo

Re: Kenton auto tune??

PostPosted: Wed Feb 17, 2010 9:32 pm
by nathanscribe
From my own experience, the older Kentons, like a lot of MIDI-CV units dating back to the 90s, do require a tune-up - but my Pro Solo II has been fine even across different synths with different CV/Gate systems. The technology seems to have improved somewhat in the last few years. I'd certainly recommend a new Kenton over anything else.

Re: Kenton auto tune??

PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2010 8:52 am
by Kolakube
Thanks Elf (as always), And thanks flo.

Nathan, you just swung me back to the kenton.

I have also had my eye on the Pro 2000. Can anyone enlighten me how many CV synths I can plug into one of these things?
From what I see its two?? Would have thought this info would have been in the tag line of the item but I cant find a straight answer.

Re: Kenton auto tune??

PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2010 9:39 am
by The Elf
There's a link to a download of the Pro-2000's Manual on the page you've linked to.

In it's most basic use the Pro-2000 can control two monophonic gate/CV synths.


You can also press the 'Aux' CV outputs into generating gate/CV/trigger signals too (albeit tied to the two main MIDI channels). If you need to go that way the manual covers it.

EDIT: A second glance at the manual suggests you can set individual channels for the Auxes?

In addition...

It can also re-channelise one MIDI channel (e.g. for an old DX7 that could only receive on channel 1). It has a digital port that has options for DCB (older Roland machines, such as Juno 60, Jupiter 8), Wasp, or it can control some old drum machines (John made me a cable that triggers sounds from my Simmons drum brain). It also has a sync 24/clock output for old drum machines/sequencers/arpeggiators.

Those extra CV outputs are fantastically flexible. The Pro-2000 has its own LFOs, so you can create vibrato, or filter mod, either in the main CV output, or from the Aux ports. This is a big deal, because you have no other way to get vibrato into the CV output.

Very, very flexible.

In many ways it's similar to my older Pro-4, which scores in being a four monosynth controller, but needs a screwdriver for trimming, which the Pro2000 doesn't, and needs additional hardware for Volts/Herz, which the Pro-2000 doesn't.

I can claim some responsibility for Kenton adding a portamento 'lock' option to its abilities, which I discussed with John when I first bought my Pro-4 from him many years ago. The fixed rate/time option is fantastic - I don't know of any other MIDI-CV box that has that option, and it is crucial to getting a synth's character correct over MIDI.

If I didn't have the Pro-4 I'd be buying two of these right now! :D

Re: Kenton auto tune??

PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2010 7:59 pm
by Kolakube
cheers Elf.

So with this could I run 4 x SH101s from one single Pro 2000? (for a hypothetical EG)

Re: Kenton auto tune??

PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 4:54 am
by Adam Inglis
Agree with Elf.
I've had a Pro 2 since er, mid-nineties (?) and a Pro 2000 since 99. Solid units, no problems. The Pro 2000's porta and LFO options are superb, as are the negative CV options on the auxs, the pos/neg arp clock, the huge range of coarse and fine transposition, all software configurable. This one unit controls my JP8 (notes via the DCB option, also VCF and VCA mod via two auxs), minikorg 700, a homemade 1v/oct monosynth, the arp clock of an AX60, and the filter and VCA of a modded Yamaha CS01 (see my studio tech page for details), and there's still a couple of auxs free!!

Re: Kenton auto tune??

PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 8:40 am
by The Elf
kolakube wrote:cheers Elf.

So with this could I run 4 x SH101s from one single Pro 2000? (for a hypothetical EG)
I believe so - worth giving John Price a ring at Kenton and I'm sure he'll put you straight. Nice man.