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Long holiday weekend = synth re-org!

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Long holiday weekend = synth re-org!

Postby Ben Asaro » Sun Sep 06, 2020 11:35 pm

I got a hankerin' for writing some synth tunes the other day and was able to take advantage of the long weekend to tear down my previous setup, finall get the K2000R permanently installed into my desk bridge (that machine is MASSIVE and doesn't fit in any of my racks), and get a new workflow setup to run alongside my other synths that I'm using on the in-progress As Follows album.

This is a dead simple setup centered around the MC-500 and the DR-550 Mk2. I've always used my drum machines as sound sources, never as actual, stand-alone drum machines, linking patterns together, so I figured I would try writing a few songs around that paradigm. That should leave enough memory on the floppy disks to sequence 4 synth lines.

I didn't want to have a situation where I am disconnecting the synths I have set up for the AF material to work on this stuff, so I put together a setup with a drum machine (DR-550), bass synth (DSI MOPHO) and two poly synths (JV-1010 and Volca FM). Originally, the Volca FM and JV-1010 were supposed to be my travel/rehearsal/gig versions of my JV-1080 and TX7 but then COVID happened, and that project is on hold until further notice.

I am also using the JP-08 as the synth for the BOSS VO-1 vocoder. I am not a singer, so any vocals that appear on this material will have to be through the vocoder. :D

Everything (including the metronome output from the MC-500) runs into the Mackie CR-1604 with an RV-500 in the Aux loop, returning to it's own channel. And I still have 4 channels to spare! :)

My goal here is to capture the spontaneity of the ole PortaStudio days. Will see how that goes lol.

Image

Stay tunes
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Re: Long holiday weekend = synth re-org!

Postby BillB » Tue Sep 08, 2020 8:03 am

Nice one, Ben. Less is more, and there is so much you could do with that setup.

I am guessing you will also need a pencil and paper to keep track of what programs (JP, JV, Volca, Mopho) and drumsets are being used for each song!

The one thing that I would not like personally is the mixer on the floor, but that is a limitation that comes with two small shelves. Presumably it is largely set and forget, so you don’t need regular access.

It will be interesting to see how you get on.
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Re: Long holiday weekend = synth re-org!

Postby Dave B » Tue Sep 08, 2020 10:49 am

Looks very tidy. Nice.

My studio room is being redone so a re-wire is lurking on the horizon. I suspect you’ll hear my cursing all the way in NY ... hopefully it will be as clean a set up as yours

:)
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Re: Long holiday weekend = synth re-org!

Postby Eddy Deegan » Tue Sep 08, 2020 11:00 am

I did a big re-cable and sort out earlier this year and I know how nice it is when everything is as it should be :-)

Unfortunately for me, we then had builders doing work and I had to disassemble a chunk of it, and separately an electrical gremlin has appeared which trips the house breaker every time I switch the gear on so I've been a little hampered using it of late as a result!

I suspect it's just a dodgy terminal in a plug or something - still to track it down, as I've got to womble about in hard-to-reach places to get at some of the power sockets but I'm looking forward to getting up and running again.

I like the setup Ben, it does look proper tidy :thumbup:
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Re: Long holiday weekend = synth re-org!

Postby Folderol » Tue Sep 08, 2020 11:19 am

Quite a lot going on in a small space there. Looks very neat. Presumably you're working on phones - I don't see any speakers.
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Re: Long holiday weekend = synth re-org!

Postby Ben Asaro » Tue Sep 08, 2020 10:27 pm

BillB wrote:Nice one, Ben. Less is more, and there is so much you could do with that setup.
Thanks! Yes, I agree -- it's a compact setup, but not compact in terms of potential.

I am guessing you will also need a pencil and paper to keep track of what programs (JP, JV, Volca, Mopho) and drumsets are being used for each song!
Quite right! I keep a 'bleep book' for writing down patches and such.

The one thing that I would not like personally is the mixer on the floor, but that is a limitation that comes with two small shelves. Presumably it is largely set and forget, so you don’t need regular access.
Right again, I don't really have to adjust anything on the mixer. I would [i]love[/] to be able to get it off the floor but there is simply no space; my little area is ram-packed.

It will be interesting to see how you get on.
Interesting is the word I would use at this point as well! :D
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Re: Long holiday weekend = synth re-org!

Postby Ben Asaro » Tue Sep 08, 2020 10:29 pm

Dave B wrote:Looks very tidy. Nice.

My studio room is being redone so a re-wire is lurking on the horizon. I suspect you’ll hear my cursing all the way in NY ... hopefully it will be as clean a set up as yours

:)
LOL, and thanks! I cannot abide messes when I'm trying to work.
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Re: Long holiday weekend = synth re-org!

Postby Ben Asaro » Tue Sep 08, 2020 10:29 pm

Eddy Deegan wrote:I did a big re-cable and sort out earlier this year and I know how nice it is when everything is as it should be :-)

Unfortunately for me, we then had builders doing work and I had to disassemble a chunk of it, and separately an electrical gremlin has appeared which trips the house breaker every time I switch the gear on so I've been a little hampered using it of late as a result!

I suspect it's just a dodgy terminal in a plug or something - still to track it down, as I've got to womble about in hard-to-reach places to get at some of the power sockets but I'm looking forward to getting up and running again.

I like the setup Ben, it does look proper tidy :thumbup:
Thanks! Sorry to hear about your electrical woes; hopefully it's a simple and quick fix!
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Re: Long holiday weekend = synth re-org!

Postby Ben Asaro » Tue Sep 08, 2020 10:32 pm

Folderol wrote:Quite a lot going on in a small space there. Looks very neat. Presumably you're working on phones - I don't see any speakers.
They are actually just off camera, though I do use cans 90% of the time when I'm writing so as to not drive my family nuts. :)

My setup is extremely compact. I have it set up 'cockpit' style: when I am sat at my desk (Middle Atlantic desk which is quite deep and has 2x4RU racks on top that form a monitor bridge), I have my K2000R, a Lexicon reverb, my interfaces, and patchbay all within reach. Just to my right is my modular synth (12RU x 104hp), and behind me is the X stand with the other system.
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Re: Long holiday weekend = synth re-org!

Postby Ben Asaro » Thu Sep 10, 2020 1:02 pm

Learned how to step write into the MC-500 last night. It’s a shame that the machine is fairly intuitive once you know how to do something, but the manuals are murky at best!

One of the things I love about the MC-500 is that it will record whatever MIDI channel your controller is on. This is super intuitive and makes writing a breeze. Though the initial setup of the MC-500 is a process because you have to flip some toggles every time you turn it on (for clock out and MIDI soft Thru), once it’s up, it is a very quick machine to make music on.

For some reason the MC-500 wasn’t allowing me to copy/paste measures, so I’ll have to look into that tonight, but I already started working on the first piece, it’s sounding pretty cool!
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Re: Long holiday weekend = synth re-org!

Postby Arpangel » Thu Sep 10, 2020 1:32 pm

You could put the mixer on the shelf, the JP08 could go on the flat bit at the back of the mixer, and if you use all right angled jack plugs you could squeeze those two pedals in somewhere, but it may not be worth the bother.
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Re: Long holiday weekend = synth re-org!

Postby Ben Asaro » Thu Sep 10, 2020 1:39 pm

Arpangel wrote:You could put the mixer on the shelf, the JP08 could go on the flat bit at the back of the mixer, and if you use all right angled jack plugs you could squeeze those two pedals in somewhere, but it may not be worth the bother.
Unfortunately, that won't work, the mixer is too big/heavy to safely fit higher up and I really don't need to access it. Thanks for the idea, though!
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Re: Long holiday weekend = synth re-org!

Postby Ben Asaro » Thu Sep 10, 2020 1:41 pm

Solved the copy/paste issue -- and this is NOT in the manual. :madas: :headbang:

You also need to extend the Rhythm track as well, or the MC-500 won't play regardless of how many measures of MIDI data you have in there.

Far less intuitive than the rest of the machine lol ... :think:
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Re: Long holiday weekend = synth re-org!

Postby Arpangel » Thu Sep 10, 2020 1:56 pm

Ben Asaro wrote:Solved the copy/paste issue -- and this is NOT in the manual. :madas: :headbang:

You also need to extend the Rhythm track as well, or the MC-500 won't play regardless of how many measures of MIDI data you have in there.

Far less intuitive than the rest of the machine lol ... :think:

I have a friend who has an MC500, he bought it around 1989, he’s never, ever used it, he bought a Roland U20 at the same time, also unused, he’s thinking of selling them, I may make him an offer.
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Re: Long holiday weekend = synth re-org!

Postby Ben Asaro » Thu Sep 10, 2020 2:01 pm

The MC-500 Mk2 is a much more capable machine, I would have gotten the Mk2 had I known that.
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