Roland GP-8 guitar FX for keys / TB MIDI Stuff real-time controller

Recently I bought a Roland GP-8 guitar processor to use as an FX box for keys and other stuff. It only accepts Hi-Z instrument signal, so you’ll need a Lo-Z to Hi-Z converter (I use a Radial X-amp re-amper). Real-time editing isn’t what it should be when using the alpha dial on the Roland, so I built a real-time controller in the TB MIDI Stuff app. Roland sysex has been hard to program, in my experience, but it was really straightforward in the TB MIDI Stuff app.
The Roland GP-8 (1987) is like having 8 BOSS pedals in one rackspace. 6 Of them are analog (dynamic filter, compressor, overdrive, distortion, phaser and EQ) , the delay and chorus are digital. What strikes me the most when you compare it with guitar oriented plug-ins like NI Guitar Rig, is that the GP-8 has much more punch/attack in it’s tone and has a more dense sound. The great thing is that these boxes are really cheap (I bought mine for €50,-)! They sound absolutely great!! My experience with Roland gear from the 80-ties is that they just keep on working, built quality is very good.
For GP-8 / TB MIDI stuff users out there, here’s the template:

GP-8 controller.tbms

Here’s a short demo:

 

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  sysex 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 😉

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,  not 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  rewritten 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