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Gauging Interest: New D-50 Librarian / Editor
Posted: 29 May 2010 01:58 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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Hi all,

I recently purchased a Roland D-550 after having only just realised that Jarre used it for most of his Revolutions album. Very impressed I am with it to (and it has some cool history as it used to belong to the BBC Radiophonic workshop!!]

One of the first things I did was to hunt around on the net for new patches as well as a librarian / editor application which I could use to upload new patch sets to the D-550. Although I found lots of patch sets in sysex files, there didn't seem to be any decent programs for creating new patch sets that could be sent to the D-550 - all I could do was load existing sets (e.g. not mix and match patches into a single file). Lots of sites seem to reference something called D50ve (virtual editor) at http://www.d50ve.w3.to/ but the site seems years out of date and looks like it never got past the beta stage - and I couldn't even get any of the features in that app to work (it wouldn't even load any sysex files without erroring).

So I decided to write one myself and wanted to find out if it would be of use to other people. The main features so far are:

- Reading and writing of D-50/D-550 .syx and .d50 sysex files
- Reorganising of patches within sysex files.
- Creating new sysex files with any patches you like
- A library for storing all your patches and with the ability to rate and comment each one.
- An importer for importing all your patches (from sysex files) into the library
- Send and receiving patches to and from D-50/D-550 (via the sysex files)

See example screenshot below:

D50 Librarian screenshot

I'm planning on extending it to feature editting facilities (i.e. mimicking the PG-1000 which I only just recieved) but for now it's still fairly useful.

Anyway if I think there might be enough interest, I'll package it up in a nice installer for people.

Thanks,

Chris
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Posted: 29 May 2010 02:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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Hello & welcome Chris.

A D-550 with some history - the radiophonic workshop on less. Nice

Well I have a D-50 as my main controller (ex Adam Wakeman's son of Rick)
There is one in the loft that belongs to a friend who went to Australia, and the band I work with uses one live.
There was a D-50 card for the V-Synth, that might be another possible source of interest if it would work with it via MIDI, not owning one I wouldn't know.

What would it run under?
Win 7, XP, Mac Os X? (ZX81???)

Cheers,
Paul



I have SoundDiver, which is what I tend to use for editing / librarian duties.
Another 'stable' program wouldn't go a miss.
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Posted: 29 May 2010 03:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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Hi Paul,

The app is primarily aimed at Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 as it's written in .Net [I don't think there is a version for the ZX81 - but you never know wink ]. It's the first version at the mo so has only really been tested by myself which it seems to work pretty well as it does exactly what I want.

Thanks,

Chris
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Posted: 29 May 2010 04:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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Sounds promising, especially as you've written it yourself.
I've no idea what .Net is.

Do you own a hat with a propeller on it?


I admire your skill, and knowledge.
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Posted: 03 August 2010 02:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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Newbie,

I would be very interested in this. I have loads of great sounds for the D550, but all spread out over various sysex files. I've been looking for a patch organiser on the net also, but no luck.

Have you completed your version yet? I’d be interested to give it a whirl!!

SL
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Posted: 03 August 2010 04:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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Hey there Stephen,

Yes it's almost ready I just have a few more tests to do - but it's probably good enough for an initial test - barrring a few quirks.

It's actually got a lot more functionality now than compared to what I mentioned above and actually has a virtual version of the PG-1000 as well as an extended real-time editor which allows you to edit all sound settings in real-time - it works really well actually. You can also send single voices straight to the D-50/D-550 without needing to initiate Bulk-Load mode (although this is still supported for an entire 64 patches)

If you are still interested I can send you a link when it's ready which could be by the weekend - oh btw, it's only available for Windows in case that's an issue (sorry I only have a Windows PC and develop for Windows - never even used a Mac!!!)

See below for more screenshots of what it contains:

Sysex File Window

VPG-1000


Thanks,

Chris
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Posted: 03 August 2010 06:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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Looking promising, I wouldn't know where to begin with such a project.

Windows of course comes in many shapes & forms. Just ask Roland. I sometimes get the feeling that adding a USB port to anything was a bad idea, as someone always seems to find a device that their version doesn't support.
A fine example is a new BR-800 owner who has discovered their XP 64 OS has no driver for the BR-800. Ouch!

XP, Vista, and now Win 7, all have 32, and 64 bit variants. So what is it being developed on?


Either way, I'm still impressed with your efforts Chris.
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Posted: 03 August 2010 07:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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Hey there S-E-A,

Well thankfully being a developer as a profession helps - as well as that "dull" techie stuff at the back of the manuals that most people fall a sleep to is pretty useful.

It's developed in .Net Studio so is pretty much supported on most of the modern versions of Windows. I have tested it on XP (my fav!!!) and Windows 7 but can't say what will happen on 64bit versions - I can't see it being a problem other than maybe the MIDI interaction - but we shall see smile So if anyone else wants to give it a try then let me know.

It certainly has proved helpful for myself as obviously I wrote it from a user's point of view and can now mix and match patches, upload and download patches, and even edit them in real-time which is very important as the D-50/D-550 editing menus are a little confusing (not that I have even bothered using them yet!!!)
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Posted: 04 August 2010 09:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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Chris,

Sorry just realised I called you Newbie before, was looking at the wrong bit....

Anyway, yeah this looks really good, very impressive! I like how you can edit the sounds in real tme now with your version. I've noticed with my PG-1000 any edit you make doesn't take effect until the sound is next triggered.

Have you tried the editor that Sound Quest developed for the D50?? I bought it from them before I got the PG-1000, but it wouldn't work on my machine for some reason. Fair play to them though, then gave me a full refund.

Yeah feel free to send me a link when your happy with it and I'll give you some feedback. I'm also on a PC with XP so shouldn't be any probs there.

If you've got any spare time can you knock an editor for my JD-800 as it's pretty much knackered now wink

Cheers,
SL
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Posted: 04 August 2010 09:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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Hi Stephen,

Yes the VPG-1000 I produced suffers from the same problem in that you have to trigger another note to hear the difference. It's basically down to how the D-50/D-550 works as my version just sends the same MIDI messages. It works in pretty much the same way (well hopefully, although the Monitor Mode and Previous Values logic did fry my brain on the odd occasion!!) but with a few added extras like did you know if you hold down Partial Mute and press Manual twice it sends a "Store" command - only found that out in the MIDI section.

I created an alternative Real-time editor window which uses the same interface as on the Sysex File Window which allows more parameters to be editted and makes things like the envelopes a little easier to visualise than just sliders by allowing you to drag the points around. It also have functions like being able to copy and paste common and partial parts.

You mentioned that you also use a D-550 and have XP - well hopefully it should work fine for you (he says crossing his fingers!!!). The only thing you may need is 2 sets of MIDI ports as you effectively need two outputs (1 for output from D-550 to capture patches and 1 for output from a keyboard to play the notes)

I never used the editor by Sound Quest as I couldn't work out if you could buy just individual editors or not - but it seemed a lot if you were buying a whole suite of editors. Which is what prompted me to create my own!!

I'll have a look at finishing over the weekend and post a link then.

Thanks,

Chris
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Posted: 06 August 2010 06:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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Hi all,

I have put together a first version for people to play with. Let me know if you have any problems as I have only been able to develop and test in on my own setup which is a Roland D-550 but hopefully it should be pretty much the same on a D-50

There is a help file included with the install which should explain how most of it works - just Press F1 or click on the Help menu on the main menu.

You can install it via one of two installers. The D50 Librarian requires Microsoft .Net Framework 2.0. One of the installers includes it, the other doesn't to make the download smaller. If you have .Net Framework 2.0 already on your system (chances are you will) then install the one without but if in doubt download the one with .Net

D50 Librarian v1.0.0.0 (With Microsoft .Net Framework 2.0)

D50 Librarian v1.0.0.0

Let me know if you have any issues using it

Thanks,

Chris
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Posted: 13 August 2010 11:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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Hello Chris.

Taken a while to get around to loading it up and trying it out (supposed to be looking for a job!) but as it's Friday 13th I dare not go out.

Some excellent work there sir.
I have had a few issues, that is to be expected, but on the whole I am impressed.

The basics work well, the editors very well, in fact I don't think there are any issues with them. The only issue I have with them is as my D-50 is normally set to MIDI channel 11, I have to constantly tell the programs what channel to work on.
Most of the problems I have had so far are with the librarian part of the program.
For your information here is what happens on my D-50, and PC running XP Pro SP3 (32 bit):

Doing a bulk dump for the D-50:
I get a message box at the end with;
"Invalid sysex data received
Value must be between 0 and 2"

Loading in files / banks not always possible, I've had;
Failed to open D50andD550additionalvoices1.sys due to the following error:
Value must be between 0 and 14

Doing a bulk dump to the D-50:
When files do load in, most, but not all of the patches load in. The D-50 display will read "loading" once data is sent, but will read "MIDI communication error" after a period of time.
It manages to load in patches up to patch 61, the rest being the patches previously loaded. Seems to be around the 23K mark on the computer screen.

Using the 'Send to D50' selection via the right click menu brings up:
Error:
Could not load file or assembly 'MicrosoftVisualBasic.PowerPacksVs,Version=9.0.0.0,Culture=netrual,PulicKeyToken=b03f7f11d50m3n' or one of its dependencies. The system cannot find the file specified



I'm still impressed with what I've seen, it's version 1.00, there is bound to be a few insects in the system. It could be my D-50 has a different OS to yours, and the slight differences are enough to yield different results.
Hope you find the info useful.
Cheers,
Paul
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Posted: 13 August 2010 05:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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Hi there Paul,

Great - thanks for trying it out.

The issue about the VB Power Pack is an obvious one and I'll fix it right up - it's down to a couple of graphical lines drawn on a dialog - doh!!

The other ones about "Value being between value X and Y" are due to the fact that the data being sent or recieved doesn't seem to conform to the spec as outlined in the original roland manual. I don't know if this is down the what someone claimed was "better" midi support in the D-550 (or like you said different versions) but I certainly found some Sysex files that I downloaded just didn't make sense so I didn't bother supporting them.

I will make a note of them and look into them. And if you have some example Sysex files which are causing a problem then it would be helpful if you could let me have a look at them.

There is a registry setting which can be used to tweak the "sleep" time between sending Sysex data blocks which can help as sometimes newer PCs send data too quickly for the older MIDI equipment. There isn't a UI option for it so it has to be done using RegEdit (just type it into the Run command box). Then just locate the registry key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\CJN\D50Librarian

Within there add a new value of type "DWORD Value", set the name to "MIDITransmissionBlockSleepInMilliseconds" and the value to a number which represents the number of milliseconds to sleep between transmissions (e.g. 100). I found this did help in some cases. Other cases of having MIDI Communications was early on in the development when I was generating "Bad" sysex files.

As for the MIDI Channel thing - I'm looking into some of the user workflow stuff and actually have added some quick links for sending a single patch to the D-50 as I found it too slow to have to right-click and then bring up another dialog. So I have a Bank/Patch selection toolbar with MIDI Channel selector which is then used throughout the app - so you can then just select a patch and fire it straight off. I discovered this when trying to audition lots of patches one after another!!

Thanks again,

Chris
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Posted: 18 August 2010 09:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
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Hi Chris,
I just stumbled across this thread while looking for info about the D50. The application looks great & I'll try it out with my Varios and VC1 card (D50 emulator) when I get chance and pass on any feedback.

Regards,

Zak
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Posted: 18 August 2010 09:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
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Hello Chris.

Had another play around with it tonight, setting my D-50 to MIDI channel 1 seems to help.
I was able to dump my D-50's internal memory, where it wouldn't before.

Sadly it still stalls at patch 62 when dumping info back in to the D-50.
I think a tweak to the registry to slow down the data rate being sent to the D-50 might help..

I've saved a few files that the program seemed to be unable to load in to a memory stick, along with the error messages generated, you might want to PM your email address to me.
I loaded them into SoundDiver, and most loaded in fine. I say most, as there is a file or two that even SoundDiver didn't like, but did load in when I clicked 'cancel'.

Cheers,
Paul

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Posted: 19 August 2010 05:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]  
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zakala - 18 August 2010 09:13 PM
Hi Chris,
I just stumbled across this thread while looking for info about the D50. The application looks great & I'll try it out with my Varios and VC1 card (D50 emulator) when I get chance and pass on any feedback.

Regards,

Zak


Hey there Zak,

Thanks for the interest - I'm actually in the middle of producing an improved version which should be ready by the weekend which addresses some of the issues that Paul (S.E.A.) pointed out as well as a few other improvements. So you can either take the one in the links above of wait until the weekend when I can upload a newer version - which actually is a better idea because I'm about to change the library so it won't be compatible with earlier versions.
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