Roland JX-10 virtual controller for Logic Pro

The JX-10 is my favorite analog synth for pads and synthstrings and it also does a good job for leads and basses. The thing is (or was) that it was almost impossible to edit the sounds in realtime without the PG-800 programmer. The only way was to look up one parameter at a time in the menu and then turn the Alpha-dial wheel a thousand times to get the sound where you wanted it to be, a lot of button pushing and wheel turning! The MIDI implementation was a disaster but luckily Colin Fraser rewrote the ┬ásysex code for the JX-10, so now it can communicate with MIDI editors/controllers, DAW’s, etc… I still got a copy of Emagic SoundDiver, and I was able to program the JX-10 using a modded JX-8P preset and MKS-70 preset, but it wasn’t really stable. Another downside was that it couldn’t be controlled in real-time in combination with Logic Pro, so I decided to give a try and build a JX-10 editor in Logic’s Environment. Last time I used the Environment was almost 15 years ago, my programming skills are very limited, so don’t expect the editor to be a work of art! I only used faders, no knobs for switching the waveforms, there’s no reading of value’s in the editor, but luckily the JX-10 display tells you what you are doing.

In fact, I build 2 versions of the editor, one that only reacts when moving the virtual faders in the Environment and one that can be controlled by a hardware MIDI controller, in my case the assignable control faders on the Kurzweil K2500. With my limited skills I couldn’t combine those two into one version without very noticeable artifacts (sloppy timing when using more than one fader at one), but you can combine them both. That’s how I use it, because I can only automate 32 parameters of the virtual controller with the K2500, the ones that aren’t controlled by the K2500, can be controlled in Logic by hand that way . Now I can record all changes made in the sound into Logic in real-time, just like you would do when using a plug-in, but now it sounds good too ­čśë

You can look at the JX-10 as two JX-8P’s in one box, it has literally two JX-8P boards in it. Another thing they didn’t get right at Roland at the time is the way the JX-10 saves it’s sounds. One sound (called patch) build out of 2 tones (1 tone=1 JX-8P). Those tones can be used in more than one sound (patch). So if you save a tone in one patch, other patches using that tone will also change….. If you got the M-64C memory cartridge you can do sysex dumps, so that would be a wise thing to do before you starts messing up great patches. Being two 8p’s, you can only edit one tone at the time, ┬ánot a big thing if you’re only editing a sound, but if you’re recording the sysex changes, it would have been way cooler if it could handle both tones at the same time. But still better than turning the Alpha-dial and not recording sysex at all!

I really like the sound of the JX-10, while creating the editor I finally heard the full sonic power of the JX-10. Sometimes you read that people find the JX too slow for basses, but with a few tweaks in the editor I got punchy basses with a lot of weight. It’s so much easier now to get the sounds you want.

I’d be happy to share the JX-10 environment with you. I think you can also use it with the MKS-70 module version of the JX-10 and if you can change sysex code yourself, you can also use the JX-8P (change the 3rd hex nr “36” into “35”, change sysex view into hex). The JX-10 MUST be upgraded with the ┬árewritten sysex code, version 2.3 (latest version) in order to work.

If you want to program your MIDI controller, please check the “JX-10 CC info” file for the CC numbers.

If you’re a Kurzweil K2500 user you can load the “MIDI_SET.K25” master file into your machine, then all 4 fader banks are automatically ajusted with correct MIDI channel and CC number settings.

Click HERE to download

“Opus 10 – Vintage” media music CD out now!

You can download it for free from the Media Music Player.

There are 10 new tracks on this CD, each with several underscore versions so you can edit them more easily. The main theme is vintage, so what can you expect? A lot of Fender Rhodes (see pic below), real analog synths, fat, funky basslines and guitars, punchy drums, uptempo tracks and a couple of downtempo funk-ballads. All the songs have underscore versions.

analog vs digital summing

I’m convinced! Analog summing works better for me than digital summing.

I’m working on an album and wasn’t happy the way Logic did handle the mixdown. It sounded flat and messy. I then did a mix on my Soundtracs PC MIDI desk and I was really surprised, it sounded a lot better. More definition, better stereo imaging, etc. Lowering the levels in Logic did improve things, giving it more headroom, but I had to work very hard to get it to sound a bit like the “analog” mix (the digital mix was done in Logic using the SSL Duende Channel strip mostly for EQing and compression, the TC Electronic System 6000 for reverb). The mix on the Soundtracs was done very fast, only using one compressor (a Behringer T1952) for drum, bass and guitars and also one reverb (Korg A1) for most parts (using the auxes).

Because the fast Soundtracs mix did sound so much better I thought it could have something to do with analog vs digital summing. It always seemed a bit of a myth to me, but I wanted to hear it for myself:-) I made a submix trough the TC System 6000, returning in Logic (4 stereo busses) and send it into the Soundtracs. I’m also a proud owner of the Crane Song Spider, an very high quality 8 channel mic-pre/mixer. The same submix was also send trough the Spider for analog summing. So I ended up having 3 mixes:

1.) the digital summed mix in Logic.

2.) the analog summed mix using the Soundtracs console.

3.) the analog summed mix using the Crane Song Spider

As I expected in the meanwhile the Logic mix was the worst one. The Soundtracs did sound a lot better, which is actually pretty amazing when you consider it’s age (late 80-ties model). The Spider mix was a bit better than the Soundtracs mix, more focussed sound, especially the snare had more punch and detail, the same for the acoustic guitar. The Soundtracs mix had a bit more bass in it, but not necessarily better than the Spider, a matter of taste…..

If you have a decent mixer somewhere and you haven’t tried it using as a summing device, just do so, it could make an improvement to your mixes!

Hardware integration in Logic Pro (or any other DAW)

If you’ve taken a look around on this site, you’ve probably seen that I still have (and use) quite a bit of hardware (synth’s, samplers and FX gear). Software is great for ease of use, but it’s not always the best sounding option when compared to hardware. My DAW software, Logic Pro 9, is great in what it does, but is poor when it comes to hardware integration. There used to be the Emagic SoundDriver hardware editor software, but this was dropped when Apple bought Emagic in 2003. Woudn’t it be great if there would be a synergy between these two products? Imagine that you could load your specific editor of your synth in a Audio Instrument channel slot and edit it as if it were a software instrument?

Please your opinions and/or comments!!

New studio: construction

Finally, after months of hard work rebuilding the loft in our new house into a studio, it’s ready to rock! Here’s a photo report:

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Yes!! It’s true, Logic Pro 9 on PPC G5!!

Want to try? Make sure you’re running OS 10.5.7, then install LP9 and then it should be working…..

Glad I tried this first, I was almost fooled in buying a new Mac Pro. My G5 Quad is still a very capable machine, so I hope it will run at least another year.

Logic-Pro-9-on-G5