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The cult of Roland JD-990
Old 19th August 2020 | Show parent
  #421
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grasspike's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Singleton View Post

Lastly (this is splitting the hair but since this is a vintage Roland thread), what do we actually know about the architecture of these ICs? We seem to be assuming they are "DSPs", but given the MHz etc. limitations of the day, it would make a lot of sense to me that these ICs had substantial fixed-function capabilities (ie stuff you can't easily change by changing the SW, apart from maybe some coefficient tables). I.e. even if the TC6088AF ran the R15239120 algorithms, I doubt they were interchangeable *if* they were otherwise a major revision apart.
Except Roland/Boss used them in several products with different algorithms. So not much is actually fixed

Moore's law is double the power at half the cost.

So why wouldn't Roland have fabricated chips that could do more in some applications and simply have the benefit of being cheaper in others, plus the more you make the cheaper they all become

You also wouldn't need or want the software guys to constantly have to reinvent the wheel so having the ability to use older code is a big plus
Old 19th August 2020 | Show parent
  #422
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Singleton's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by grasspike View Post
Except Roland/Boss used them in several products with different algorithms. So not much is actually fixed
Yeah, I wish we could get an internal schematic for the R15239120 as well as a programmer's manual (in Japanese only, no doubt). Would be quite interesting to see how these things were designed.
Old 19th August 2020 | Show parent
  #423
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Singleton View Post
Yeah, I wish we could get an internal schematic for the R15239120 as well as a programmer's manual (in Japanese only, no doubt). Would be quite interesting to see how these things were designed.
Yeah it would. Roland and Yamaha sure did recycle a lot of their effects from device to device over a long period of time

Be interesting to see how they pulled it off
Old 19th August 2020 | Show parent
  #424
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grasspike View Post
Except Roland/Boss used them in several products with different algorithms. So not much is actually fixed

Moore's law is double the power at half the cost.

So why wouldn't Roland have fabricated chips that could do more in some applications and simply have the benefit of being cheaper in others, plus the more you make the cheaper they all become
If they are truly custom and unique to Roland/Boss, then the manufacturing runs would have been quite small compared to consumer electronics or PC-destined chips, therefore the economies of scale (i.e. and thus the unit costs) wouldn't be the same.

So it's hard to know.

Quote:
Originally Posted by grasspike View Post

You also wouldn't need or want the software guys to constantly have to reinvent the wheel so having the ability to use older code is a big plus
Yes, in theory that would be a big advantage, but the software in the late 80s and the early 90s probably wasn't all that complex because other hardware would be doing most of the work that a distributed system would do entirely in software today.

I wouldn't be surprised if the algos, or at least the interface for them, were rewritten a number of times for different synths, effects units, hard disk recorders (e.g. VS-880 etc), you name it.

Fully admit this is all speculation.
Old 20th August 2020 | Show parent
  #425
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gear_up View Post
If they are truly custom and unique to Roland/Boss, then the manufacturing runs would have been quite small compared to consumer electronics or PC-destined chips, therefore the economies of scale (i.e. and thus the unit costs) wouldn't be the same.
Roland/Boss uses the same chip on many products for a long time since the SSC.

http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthrea..._nekkid_p.html

The ESC2 is their 2nd gen SoC and is featured in all their products since circa 2010. As a main, scalable computing unit (Boss RC-30, RC-3 pedals, TD-30, SuperNatural synths, Aira series, digital Boutique series, digital pianos), COSM effect processor (Demora), USB audio interface (Mobile UA), or just a slow bus management bridge (Integra-7, SE-02)

https://www.roland.com/us/company/pr...ses/2011/1200/

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phys...ling_synthesis

Yamaha has the same industrial approach with their SSP2 tone generator:

http://sandsoftwaresound.net/tag/tone-generator/

On a technical side, I believe there's a whole specific microchip ecosystem in Japan that's based on NEC or Hitachi SH technology (RISC I think). They were all over the place in consumer electronics products (gaming console, synths, whatever) in the 90s.

Roland has ties with this ecosystem. Their latest "proprietary" ZEN-Core platform use licensed RTOS dev tools from japanese academic :

https://static.roland.com/assets/med...01_eng01_W.pdf

Quote:
• This product contains eParts integrated software platform of eSOL Co.,Ltd. eParts is a trademark of eSOL Co., Ltd. in Japan.
• This Product uses the Source Code of μT-Kernel under T-License 2.0 granted by the T-Engine Forum (www.tron.org).
https://www.esol.com/embedded/lineup_rtos.html

I would'nt be suprised if they had now switched to ARM architecture, given the SBX-1 sync box is ARM based already. The platform embraces low power and hi-perf DSP for lightweight mobile devices. Waldorf Streichfett is a good example of such product on the electronic musical instrument industry, not to mention the ubiquitous and incredibly powerful mobile phones or tablets.

Last edited by Poumtschak; 22nd August 2020 at 11:36 AM.. Reason: Terrible spelling
Old 22nd August 2020 | Show parent
  #426
Gear Nut
Quote:
Originally Posted by Poumtschak View Post

On a technical side, I believe there's a whole specific microchip ecosystem in Japan that's based on NEC or Hitachi SH technology (RISC I think). They were all over the place in consumer electronics products (gaming console, synths, whatever) in the 90s.

Roland has ties with this ecosystem.
...since at least the 1990s, as many of their 1990s products use Hitachi processors, often with the same processors shared between their professional gear and more consumer-oriented products.
Old 24th August 2020
  #427
Gear Nut
 

Found a good deal in the states over the weekend for a mint unit with vintage expansion, £700 including shipping to the UK. Hope I remember to use a step up transformer with it when it lands...
Old 24th August 2020 | Show parent
  #428
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Indeed, if it were the other way 'round (UK->US) it wouldn't blow anything up, but 110v->240v... better be careful!
Old 27th August 2020 | Show parent
  #429
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rasi View Post
I did the replacement several weeks ago, quite easy. I also would suggest recapping the electrolytics in there. Especially the PSU. Also the expansion card smt cap. Google for the service manual for cap values.

A tip for removing the screen cover off your old display: Use a hot air station ~100c or hair dryer to apply generous heat. Use a guitar pick or a soft plastic store card/ID card to break the glue lengthwise between display/cover. When you go to reassemble everything, it's probably best you replace the glue & display cover as the very final step once everything is all together again. There won't be any guessing with alignment that way.
Thanks for the tip removing the screen cover! I just swapped the old one out today - the new one looks great. At some point I may have it recapped, but I’ll leave that to a tech.
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Old 28th August 2020 | Show parent
  #430
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DJBarrister View Post
Found a good deal in the states over the weekend for a mint unit with vintage expansion, £700 including shipping to the UK. Hope I remember to use a step up transformer with it when it lands...
Congrats. If you open it up, its really easy to convert it to your local voltage by moving a wire or two on the power supply. Basic soldering and almost impossible to butcher even with the most inept soldering skills like mine!
Old 31st August 2020 | Show parent
  #431
RDP
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No, I don't think so. I'll buy a car instead.

https://page.auctions.yahoo.co.jp/jp/auction/b479229925

RDP
Old 31st August 2020 | Show parent
  #432
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drxcm View Post
Congrats. If you open it up, its really easy to convert it to your local voltage by moving a wire or two on the power supply. Basic soldering and almost impossible to butcher even with the most inept soldering skills like mine!
Do you happen to know at what point Roland started using power supplies similar to this one where you can just move a couple of wires to change the voltage? Mid-80s? Early 80s?

Is this only possible in export versions (i.e. 120V and 220V versions)?
Old 31st August 2020 | Show parent
  #433
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RDP View Post
No, I don't think so. I'll buy a car instead.

https://page.auctions.yahoo.co.jp/jp/auction/b479229925

RDP
Type R, or JD800? Hmm.

It does look very nice though. But damn, that price is pure insanity.
Old 31st August 2020 | Show parent
  #434
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gear_up View Post
Do you happen to know at what point Roland started using power supplies similar to this one where you can just move a couple of wires to change the voltage? Mid-80s? Early 80s?

Is this only possible in export versions (i.e. 120V and 220V versions)?
Don’t know sorry
Old 31st August 2020 | Show parent
  #435
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Singleton's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by RDP View Post
No, I don't think so. I'll buy a car instead.

https://page.auctions.yahoo.co.jp/jp/auction/b479229925

RDP
No red glue issues I hope?
Old 1st September 2020 | Show parent
  #436
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Singleton View Post
No red glue issues I hope?
No, it features a custom Eggshell White glue issue
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #437
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Eagerly awaiting the JD990 Cloud to kill my GAS for the hardware, seen some at £700 but a bit much to shell out for an old digital module in this day and age. Its taking a long time so guess they must be taking their time to get it right.
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #438
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grabme View Post
Eagerly awaiting the JD990 Cloud to kill my GAS for the hardware, seen some at £700 but a bit much to shell out for an old digital module in this day and age. Its taking a long time so guess they must be taking their time to get it right.
It would be nice to see a cloud or boutique version, but i doubt it.. i understood they did the D50 because its that recognizable sound, but a JD990 is much more elitist and hum.. boutique..that means that people interested by it will be very picky about the sound, and in the case of the JD990 i think the sound is a sum of its parts, not only the waveforms/rom
Old 4 weeks ago
  #439
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IMO, Cloud could come close.

The sonic signature of the JD-990 and 5080 are very similar, and the Cloud 5080 is extremely close to the hardware 5080 (and ROMpler section of the Integra), albeit with different effects, so it stands to reason that a Cloud 990 is doable.

The superior 990 filter is the most important thing they'd need to get right, along with a number of more minor differences (like oscillator sync, the ability to change the pitch keyfollow to 99 or 101 to add very subtle detuning, and the 990's effects routing)
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #440
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grasspike's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by grabme View Post
Eagerly awaiting the JD990 Cloud to kill my GAS for the hardware, seen some at £700 but a bit much to shell out for an old digital module in this day and age. Its taking a long time so guess they must be taking their time to get it right.
I think you are far more likely just to see the Factory Rom show up in Zen Core (if it's not already there)

Unlike most Roland Rompler factory roms, the factory rom in the JD series includes a lot of sounds that just sound cool when run through the engine. Like Eric Persing said one day "hey this is a cool sounding synth engine let's put some cool sounds in it so it can do unique things".

The same idea he had with the D50 to make a unique instrument.

The JV line from the same period have some sounds like that but mainly have a sample set designed to mimic other instruments rather than make it's own instrument

Of course the JD Rom is in the XV rom so its probably already in there

Also wouldn't be surprised to find the XV effects section show up at some point in the cloud or in the Zen Core

That would of course include the JD effects block as well as the superb SRV reverb algos in the XV line as well as the COSM effects
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #441
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Polar Star's Avatar
Check out this cover of Blade Runner opening titles I made with JD-990. I used JV-2080 also, but mainly for percussion sounds and some windchimes. I know Vangelis used real analogs in the making but I think this comes pretty close. JD-990 is a powerful machine.

Edit: I also used the SR-JV80-04 vintage EXP board installed in the JD-990.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxSakQcu4_4
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #442
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polar Star View Post
Check out this cover of Blade Runner opening titles I made with JD-990. I used JV-2080 also, but mainly for percussion sounds and some windchimes. I know Vangelis used real analogs in the making but I think this comes pretty close. JD-990 is a powerful machine.

Edit: I also used the SR-JV80-04 vintage EXP board installed in the JD-990.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxSakQcu4_4
You made a very good cover ! An End theme cover would be a good idea too.
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #443
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polar Star View Post
Check out this cover of Blade Runner opening titles I made with JD-990. I used JV-2080 also, but mainly for percussion sounds and some windchimes. I know Vangelis used real analogs in the making but I think this comes pretty close. JD-990 is a powerful machine.

Edit: I also used the SR-JV80-04 vintage EXP board installed in the JD-990.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxSakQcu4_4
Great cover. Pretty convincing CS80 around 2:20!

If you roll the top off the CS80 sound just a touch, detune very slightly (analog chorus could do the job also), and use portamento instead of pitch bend to shift downward, you might just win the CS80 emulation competition.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #444
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Thanks for the appreciation!

Quote:
Originally Posted by gear_up View Post
Great cover. Pretty convincing CS80 around 2:20!

If you roll the top off the CS80 sound just a touch, detune very slightly (analog chorus could do the job also), and use portamento instead of pitch bend to shift downward, you might just win the CS80 emulation competition.
First I tried pitch bend but it didn't feel right so I programmed those sounds with pitch envelope. Although, I think I used portamento on one of them too.

I believe Vangelis used the ribbon controller of the CS which makes his bends sound very natural. Unfortunately my MIDI controller doesn't have that so one has to get creative.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #445
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polar Star View Post
Thanks for the appreciation!
Quite a close match to the original, I'd say.

You didn't mention how it was mixed, though. External FXs, that sort of thing.

We know the Lexicon 224 was a major part of the Vangelis sound of that era.
I'm not sure the onboard effects of Roland romplers from the 90s were on par to this.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #446
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Monkey Man's Avatar
 

They weren't, but they were still great for an old ROMpler.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #447
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Polar Star's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Poumtschak View Post
Quite a close match to the original, I'd say.

You didn't mention how it was mixed, though. External FXs, that sort of thing.

We know the Lexicon 224 was a major part of the Vangelis sound of that era.
I'm not sure the onboard effects of Roland romplers from the 90s were on par to this.
I mixed it in Cubase and didn't really add much. Some EQing, panning and reverb for pads and leads. I might have used internal effects for some sounds too although I am not sure.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #448
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gear_up View Post
...the Cloud 5080 is extremely close to the hardware 5080...
Except that it isn’t, I’ve done a side by side. Ok, it’s mostly due to different effects, but still.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #449
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mach1na View Post
Except that it isn’t, I’ve done a side by side. Ok, it’s mostly due to different effects, but still.
Right, the effects are a little bit different on the hardware 5080.

What differences do you hear when the effects are disabled?
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #450
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Poumtschak View Post

We know the Lexicon 224 was a major part of the Vangelis sound of that era.
I'm not sure the onboard effects of Roland romplers from the 90s were on par to this.
Yes, the bright Roland reverbs are a bit of a giveaway.

VVV can get pretty close to the 224 Concert Hall algorithm, especially if you put a steep LPF on the input and another on the output to simulate the not quite fully hifi frequency response of the 224.

You might also notice some wow and flutter on the Blade Runner soundtrack. I believe there's a thread on the forum with some speculation about exactly what he did (I can't recall off the top of my head but may have been overdubbing at low IPS).

Anyway, the larger point is that the 990 with the vintage board can cover a lot of ground. I'd love to nail the VP-330 string sound from Blade Runner next time I'm in front of my 990.
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