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Service need for Roland MKS-80

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Service need for Roland MKS-80

Postby tc99 » Sat Feb 24, 2018 1:25 pm

Hello

the output (as in where the jacks go) on my MKS-80 are getting dodgy, occasionally cutting out. Also there is some occasional distortion on the sound, possibly also due to the output, so thought might be a good idea to put it in for a service. Near Manchester if possible, but would post if i have to. Any recommendation?

thanks
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Re: Service need for Roland MKS-80

Postby The Elf » Sat Feb 24, 2018 4:00 pm

I'm not saying don't get it fixed, but until you do you could use the XLR outputs - balanced line outputs are are big plus for the MKS-80 and it's worth using them anyway, if you can, rather than the unbalanced jack outputs.
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Re: Service need for Roland MKS-80

Postby tc99 » Sun Feb 25, 2018 12:52 pm

Hi ELf

thanks for that . . .that's nuts, i've had this nearly 10 years, and i'd never even noticed the XLRS outputs!!

i'm going to take a look at that will hopefully be a solution, as you say, rather than getting it fixed

cheers
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Re: Service need for Roland MKS-80

Postby Steve A » Wed Feb 28, 2018 12:19 pm

If it helps, I just had my MKS-80 looked at by Jim McKenna / Singing Cat who is based near Glasgow and in conversation, he happened to mention that the other two people in the UK that he knows with specific MKS series experience were Kent Spong / KSR and 'Ben' by whom I assume he meant Cyberwave / EMS (although I'm sure all of the established techs would be perfectly capable of general servicing work on a mainstream model like the MKS). Even if the XLR outputs get round your current problem, it may well be worth letting someone have a look at it in the near future as the distortion you are hearing might be a sign of electrolytic capacitor degradation or a failing power supply. While the caps are usually easy enough to replace with modern equivalents, other parts are now in short supply and need a bit of hunting down so it's arguably worth doing now if you can, if only to ensure the longevity of the unit! My PSU got pretty much renewed aside from the transformer itself and some of the parts needed were very specific and not easy to obtain. Fortunately these guys know where to look, but supply won't last forever!
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Re: Service need for Roland MKS-80

Postby tc99 » Thu Mar 01, 2018 10:45 pm

thanks Steve that's very useful info. XLR has made a difference, and there was some other weirdness going on with my setup as well, but the jacks outputs are definitely not right.

I have often wondered about getting it service and checked out generally anyway. I think it sounds great as it is (at least on XLRs), but i wonder if a general service would improve it. I take what you are saying about the parts getting scarcer.

Is your MKS noisy? not as in output noisy just the unit itself when you turn it on?
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Re: Service need for Roland MKS-80

Postby The Elf » Thu Mar 01, 2018 11:03 pm

My MKS-80s certainly aren't noisy in any way. They do take a while to warm up, though, and until they do I'm busy with the tuning button!
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Re: Service need for Roland MKS-80

Postby tc99 » Sun Mar 04, 2018 11:32 am

that's interesting, mine is easily the most noisy bit of kit i have, i wonder if changing the internal power set up might work. Ok, two more question.

Do you know any good PC software for saving and loading patches?

Do you have the MPG unit as well? If so, what is it like to work with. I've got a very decent emulator, but would love the real thing
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Re: Service need for Roland MKS-80

Postby The Elf » Sun Mar 04, 2018 1:09 pm

No, mine are not noisy at all. I would tend to suspect that there's something going on inside that needs some TLC. It's well worth it for such a fabulous synth.

I have an MPG-80, a Rev 4 and a Rev 5 MKS-80. I keep the patches identical in the two. I typically use them as a stereo pair.

I'd love to say that the MPG-80 isn't necessary, but I doubt I'd make as much use of my Jupiters without it. I haven't had a PG-800 programmer for my MKS-70 for many years, and although I do use it, I noticably haven't bothered creating new patches on it since (though that drought is about to end very soon!). If the MPG-80 has a snag it's that moving a fader will make it jump to the current position. Other than that I can't think of anything not to like; it opens up the MKS-80 to being a 'proper' synth.

You could look at the Kiwi Editor as an alternative to the MPG-80. Those that have one seem to speak very highly of it. There was a VST editor doing the rounds a couple of years ago, but I tend not to find that kind of thing so useful, TBH.

I don't save patches to my computer. I just use a few cartridges to shuffle sounds around.
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Re: Service need for Roland MKS-80

Postby Steve A » Mon Mar 05, 2018 11:24 am

I'm still not sure what you mean by noisy but if you mean physical noise emanating from the unit itself and not via the audio connections, I have on occasions experienced a mild but noticeable hum from the transformer on mine. I am told that this is due to components in the power supply / transformer loosening over time and because of heat but can often be fixed without wholesale replacement of the PSU circuit.

As for programming, I have an MPG also and personally I probably wouldn't have got very far programming my own sounds without it, I think Elf sums it up well when he describes it as not feeling like a proper synth without it.
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Re: Service need for Roland MKS-80

Postby tc99 » Tue Mar 06, 2018 9:47 pm

I would love the MPG, but last time it looked it was around a grand. Maybe one day
I have a vitrual software version of it (which looks like it as well), which is excellent, and like yourselves with the MPG, it would be incredibly frustrating having to programme through the little screen. The only thing i really don't like is having to look at a computer screen while using my virtual MPG, i just don't like looking at computer screens when making music

I will have to have a look at this KIwi editor.

Yes Steve that exactly the type of noise i am talking about the physical noise emanating from the unit, as in if you put your oven on it hums away . . not that bad but just annoying. It's obviously unique to my unit then, and i've never had this from any other piece of music kit
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Re: Service need for Roland MKS-80

Postby The Elf » Tue Mar 06, 2018 11:14 pm

I have an Oberheim Xpander that gently hums to itself in the corner. It doesn't affect the audio from it, though.
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Re: Service need for Roland MKS-80

Postby Steve A » Wed Mar 07, 2018 5:00 pm

TC99, you can probably get that sorted quite easily. As it was described to me, it's probably more of a physical fix than an electronic one - it's down to the age of the machine and the build up of heat over time which causes the glue holding certain parts together drying out and allowing certain things to vibrate and that's what you are hearing. Probably worth getting it seen to just in case there's a safety issue but I don't think it's that uncommon.
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Re: Service need for Roland MKS-80

Postby James Perrett » Wed Mar 07, 2018 8:20 pm

These sorts of hum are usually down to loose laminations or windings in the mains transformer. Sometimes just tightening the transformer mounting bolts can help but there are other possible remedies - depending upon the transformer design.
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Re: Service need for Roland MKS-80

Postby tc99 » Thu Mar 08, 2018 2:41 pm

thanks guys. So really there are two seperate noise issues. The first being the one i originally described (noise on the signal output) which is the major problem, and the second which is just a little annoying, the noise from the unit itself (yes imagine this would be easy to fix). So if i do go for a service i can get it all done at once.

I know you guys have MPGs, but here is the virtual MPG i use just in case you want a backup / need to make a sale at a later date. It took me a while to find it, it was buried quiet deep in the web.

http://razaudio.com/mks80-tools.html

:thumbup:
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Re: Service need for Roland MKS-80

Postby The Elf » Thu Mar 08, 2018 4:08 pm

Thanks! :clap:
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