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TR707 TR727 reset, midi out, tricks etc

Reset your TR707 or TR727 to factory settings.. here is the buttons combination to give your drum machine a fresh new start and to check leds and screen, buttons.

Keep pressed CLEAR and INSTRUMENT/GUIDE and switch on the legendary (yes, legendary) drum machine.

All the lights will turn on, then step leds will blink one by one.

After the light show, press ENTER/CARTRIDGE to proceed with the screen test.

Press the buttons and see the relevant dots show up on the screen.

Switch off.

How to use the TR707 or TR727 to output midi notes, and use it as a midi controller to play other midi modules, samplers (bear in mind its defaut midi channel is 10):

STOP the pattern/track if it is playing.

Enter TRACK PLAY mode.

Holding SHIFT press INSTRUMENT/GUIDE and MIDI CHANNEL.

This procedure will mute the instrument’s internal sounds but will allow you to control external gear using the TR707 or TR727.

To revert back to default, using the internal sounds but NOT transmitting midi notes, and if you have a TR707/727 that is silent, just use the same keypresses again.

Common troubles with these machines:

PSU jack fail, power transistor 78M05 (can be substituted with 78S05), power supply section electrolytic caps.

Dim screen=check the power supply section.

Try different psu transformers too: Roland’s own are recommended, etc

These are machines that heal themselves.. put them aside for a while or leave them turned on for some time and they will fix themselves.

Maybe.

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Roland CR8000 buttons repair made easy

Roland Compurhythm drum machine CR8000 with faulty or worn buttons.

Sounds a lot like the TR808, but a design fault makes these buttons useless after a while.

You need to pull the plastic covers first, to reveal the spring and rubber dome under which we will drop a bit of conductive paint..

To pull the plastic part you need to push the sides using a screwdriver or two like on this video:

SammichSID Novation Zero SL mkii template

Those geniuses at Novation shipped this controller with a couple of software disks but alas, no TEMPLATE EDITOR for people who dont use a pc to make music.

Download the template editor program from their support pages, connect the Zero SL to your pc via usb, switch it on and fire the software. Press Global options on the SL, choose mem protect off.

Load the syx file provided by yours truly:

Masuto’s SammichSID template 😊

and then.. select

Press Write, and bob’s your uncle.

I saved it in location 20 (empty) and made it the startup template.

For your reference, heres a crudely PAINT assembled wildcard:

Happy knob twiddling!

Akai S612 sampler

I opened my newly acquired Akai S612..to check for spiders and animal residue from its previous owner – i was intrigued by the “cassette interface”. Mine was screwed behind a closed metal door.

I realized right away it is the same cassette port as the Commodore 64.

And yes, you can save, verify and load your samples using an old (non)trusty tape Datassette!

I sampled a sound, got some tape to record, went fast forward 004 counts on the tape counter, pressed rec and play and then pressed save on the Akai panel. Red light, it’s recording.

Counter reading 044, the Datassette automatically stopped. I rewound the tape, switched off the Akai (remember with these old machines it is better to switch them off before plugging or unplugging devices from serial ports..), on again and Load. Pressed play on tape, and yes. It’s working. Easy.

No need to buy the MD280 rack to load discs on the S612.. you just need a Commodore Datassette (clean its heads and fix azimuth before doing anything)!

Creating a drum program on the Akai S900

Ok this is as basic as it gets, but still it’s nowhere to be found on the actual Akai S900 manual, since it deals mostly with pitched sounds and how to spread them on the keyboard.

How do you make a drum program from recorded samples on the Akai S900, and play those sounds from a controller in midi in?

Well, first of all you must understand what a keygroup is.

The keygroup is the number of samples in the program. Or something like that.


Here the guide, how you do it, step by step:

-press the function button sample rec, press “letter” function and enter the name of the new sample, scroll down and set the sample rate: choose 16000 for best definition (it will be punchy nevertheless) then scroll the page down until you can assing that specific sample to a key on the keyboard- I normally start from A1. For easier operation, use a keyboard plugged in the midi in port.

-record sample.

-press edit sample function, since they are drum samples you dont want any scaling of the single hits so deactivate any transpose function, then set the sample start and end points.

Scroll the page down and choose (right arrow twice) to discard whatever is before the start and after the end points (aka sample truncate).

-press edit program and choose (right arrow) the name of the sample you just recorded.

At Program screen 03, KEYGROUP,  add one more keygroup to the total keygroups by pressing + on the COPY line. Then scroll page down, assign the keygroup to the sample you just edited, and set the sample pitch range-since it is a drum sample, you want the range to be of just one key, so set it to the key you assigned upon recording for both range figures. If you assign it to another key, the sample’s pitch will be affected. You will not be able to listen to the sample as you do this so make sure you write down what note the sample was assigned to.

-press save, scroll down page to (right arrow twice) save prg and samples.

That’s it, plain and simple, easy guide to make drum programs on this legendary sampler.

Remember to drive the inputs a bit when recording-i always record at 16000 (best quality) but sometimes in a drum kit i like to have also low fidelity drum hits, so i record also some kicks and snares at like 8000-they add some dirt, just dropping them in the pattern, they add character.

x0xb0xes: made in China, Germany and USA

Ages ago i bought my first Mode Machines x0xb0x from Touched by Sound in Germany. They were the first fully assembled x0xb0xes on sale here in Europe and hence they have been reviewed a few months later on Sound on Sound. They came with those horrible looking MC303 knobs, but the idea of having a fully operational, Bassline clone with onboard sequencer was embarassingly exciting. In 2017 all this has changed, since the advent of the RE303!

From the description given to me by TBS and the sticker on mine, they indicated that they were Made in Germany.

One year later Mode Machines came up with the x0xb0x mk2, this time “guaranteed” to have been made in Germany. 

Would this second statement imply, mine was actually made somewhere else other than Germany, EU?!

Today i decided to pop my Mode Machines x0xb0x open and have a look inside.

The machine itself, sounds good but it loses more of the lower frequencies than it should as you turn the cutoff and resonance up, but it sits nicely in a mix because of this and it is quite squelchy.

Now on with the gutshots:

Dirt on the pcb, almost like corrosive traces of handling, etc

Components scattered on the board and soldered, clearly assembled as quickly as possible.

Grey looking solder joints. I dont know if rohs approved solder is supposed to look like this but it’s not shiny, they look almost like cold solder joints.

Rubycon electrolytic caps.. part of the standard kit i suppose..

More traces of handling.. dirt..
All in all, the only other example i can think of of a pcb that bears the same, corroding handling marks, grey solder joints and cowboy assembling like this, is my chinese made, battered components sporting, bog standard, cheap as hell, barely working, terrible looking digital oscilloscope. They even smell bad, the same way.


My personal feeling: my Mode Machines x0xb0x was really either made in China or made in Germany by hurried chinese workers in a very dark and unpleasant cabin.

BUT: it sports original 536 transistors, that give it a very impressive TB303 character! 

Sometime later, i got my hands on a NY made, x0xb0x from x0xs0urce: a whole different story.

Rounder sound, red leds instead of purple ones, and check these gutshots..careful assembling and soldering, etc. a work of love-mind you it costed twice the price of the mode machines..

Welcoming greenie caps as per the original tb303..

But ouch! This has 945 transistors (Roland mass production’s transistor of choice in those days)- it doesnt sound as wild as the Mode Machines!!