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Roland JD-XA Noise Issues Keyboard Synthesizers
Old 24th October 2018
  #91
Gear Nut
@Chevron
this is a clip of the E-field That is originating from the digital board.

Readings were taken from non-shielded and non-twisted power cable that runs to the analog board

CN4 on the digital Board to CN2 on the Analog board.

Dropbox - PA220060.MOV

The noise originates from the digital board. And passes through the ribbon cables and the power cable harness assembly to the analog board. Once I apply the RFI tape to the cables and build a copper plate housing for the chipsets CPU etc. then I will be able to evaluate the sum of the changes. The LED cable from the top board needs to be shorter as it is it sags and rests onto a bottom board.


All of this could have been avoided by proper selection of hole through processes and basic RFI/EMI BBP's.

Last edited by Itchy; 24th October 2018 at 01:43 PM.. Reason: Clarification
Old 24th October 2018
  #92
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Itchy View Post
@Chevron
this is a clip of the E-field That is originating from the digital board.

Readings were taken from non-shielded and non-twisted power cable that runs to the analog board

CN4 on the digital Board to CN2 on the Analog board.

Dropbox - PA220060.MOV

The noise originates from the digital board. And passes through the ribbon cables and the power cable harness assembly to the analog board. Once I apply the RFI tape to the cables and build a copper plate housing for the chipsets CPU etc. then I will be able to evaluate the sum of the changes. The LED cable from the top board needs to be shorter as it is it sags and rests onto a bottom board.


All of this could have been avoided by proper selection of hole through processes and basic RFI/EMI BBP's.
dont add all that to the design faults thread, to many here, the jdxa is perfect..
Old 24th October 2018
  #93
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goldphinga's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Synthstrategy View Post
dont add all that to the design faults thread, to many here, the jdxa is perfect..
JDXA is one of the best synths around however, the analogue signal path is noisy as hell and it’s now proven that the digital board bleeds noise into the analogue path. This is due to insufficient screening. I want mine cleaning up to get rid of all the interference and so this info form Itchy is like gold to me! I await his final report and fixes with great interest!
Old 24th October 2018
  #94
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Crikey, that sounds like the pink noise I'd use to make snare sounds!

That unshielded ribbon cable sure does hang down in close proximity to the analog board. Good find on the noise source
Old 24th October 2018
  #95
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Chevron's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by goldphinga View Post
JDXA is one of the best synths around however, the analogue signal path is noisy as hell and it’s now proven that the digital board bleeds noise into the analogue path. This is due to insufficient screening. I want mine cleaning up to get rid of all the interference and so this info form Itchy is like gold to me! I await his final report and fixes with great interest!
Absolutely!
Old 24th October 2018
  #96
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Itchy View Post
@Chevron
this is a clip of the E-field That is originating from the digital board.

Readings were taken from non-shielded and non-twisted power cable that runs to the analog board

CN4 on the digital Board to CN2 on the Analog board.

Dropbox - PA220060.MOV

The noise originates from the digital board. And passes through the ribbon cables and the power cable harness assembly to the analog board. Once I apply the RFI tape to the cables and build a copper plate housing for the chipsets CPU etc. then I will be able to evaluate the sum of the changes. The LED cable from the top board needs to be shorter as it is it sags and rests onto a bottom board.


All of this could have been avoided by proper selection of hole through processes and basic RFI/EMI BBP's.
Would be interesting to see if this concerns all batches of JD-XA and if they fixed quality control latestly with SE-02.
For all sides i hope they did.
Old 24th October 2018
  #97
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Chevron's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Prophonic View Post
Would be interesting to see if this concerns all batches of JD-XA and if they fixed quality control latestly with SE-02.
For all sides i hope they did.
I fear it does affect all JD-XAs, as I have yet to hear a unit that is not. Including, if you see my earlier post the unit used on Roland's own youtube channel.
Old 24th October 2018
  #98
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Itchy, a very BIG thanks for your work.

I will wait for your conclusions before sending back my unit.
I still have one year and a half of guarantee

I can't believe such a poor building for what is supposed to be a top level synth at Roland...

Soldering issues are more a concern for lifetime IMO. What do you think about ?
Old 24th October 2018
  #99
Gear Nut
My biggest concern is about safety. Safety of the owner and safety of the bystanders. Those metal brackets if not adjusted to fit correctly will continue to wear against the inside of the circuit boards. Until they hit a powered trace. Then it will be smoke and fire. When people see fire they panic. I have completed the grounding and bonding corrections re-routed cables and applied twist to each cable to help off set the current issues and have sent Chevron the sample. To compare against his reference.

Once I get the Copper and Silver and Aluminium tapes in I will start to kill some more sources of circuit noise.

I have to find a way to create a copper cover that will fit over the CPU and the ESC2 chips. This may not fully correct the cable cross talk from the digital ribbons to the analog board. I wont know that until I try.

If they(Roland) are offering digital boards with properly soldered parts on a one for one exchange or even as a service return then that would be great. Some of those copper pads are a real bugger to reach.
Old 24th October 2018
  #100
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by Itchy View Post
Once I get the Copper and Silver and Aluminium tapes in I will start to kill some more sources of circuit noise.
It seems that you are doing very through work with this! Thanks! Do you have a hunch if this noise is a sum of many small things or do you expect to find a single major source of leakage between the boards?
Old 24th October 2018
  #101
Gear Nut
@eighteenisnine
It is a sum of things.
Old 25th October 2018
  #102
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chevron View Post
I fear it does affect all JD-XAs, as I have yet to hear a unit that is not. Including, if you see my earlier post the unit used on Roland's own youtube channel.
I would expect Roland - as other manufacturers - perform quality control with each production run. If they haven't caught it with earlier units, they still might have corrected it at a later point or correct it now after being informed.
But i agree with you, Itchy pointed out several things, some factory related, some design related.

More importantly, is this a limited one time flaw with one model or is it a result of a systematic problem ? That's why i'd like to know if similar flaws occur with the SE-02, being the next analog they have released.
After all Roland have to protect a 40-year reputation as a manufacturer of high quality instruments.
Old 25th October 2018
  #103
Gear Nut
I changed out the power supply with a precision bench test unit. As the supplied unit has no ground. Which leaves only the ground terminal (TER1) as a single ground point for the whole unit. Another bit of sound improvement came from that. I sent @Chevron the new sound file for comparison. Small steps for a great journey.
Old 25th October 2018
  #104
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dirtROBOT's Avatar
This seems to verge on a class action lawsuit. Esp if there's potential hazard.
Old 25th October 2018
  #105
F5D
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Very interesting investigation, Itchy. I am looking forward to your full findings. However, I need to mention that most synthesizers and audio equipment that have external PSU, do not have ground connection, possibly to prevent ground loop hum and due to regulations. There are many synths also with internal PSUs that use only 2 pin power connector, such as Nord leads and Waldorf XTk. Many audio hi-fi amplifiers also have a 2-pin non-grounded plug to prevent the ground hum. In the case of JD-XA, the ground of the mixing desk or audio interface will provide ground for the analog output board and this provides grounding of the cable shield. The connection is further improved by using balanced cables. I noticed a clear improvement there.

It is possible that Roland tested different ways to implement the grounding and some of the unsoldered points that you found may be actually intentionally left like that, although the PCBs have such reservation. Most of the time, following good design practices, including how to properly ground the different PCBs, will lead to good results, but not always. It is possible that Roland simply found that grounding some of the boards like they originally designed led to worse results, for some reason. Leaving the original (possible already manufactured) PCBs as they are, and programming the machines to skip some solder points is also possible to accomplish a last minute change in the manufacturing. It could also be a mistake, but I doubt it. I have been in my JD-XA also, because I dimmed the LEDs with a black pen (quite nice now), and can confirm that the synth being plastic etc. does not have much shielding of any type. I wish it was built better, metal chassis, nice keybed etc.
Old 25th October 2018
  #106
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This investigation is very interesting. But I wonder if at the end of it all the signal will be so clean that the life is sucked out of it. Then we'll be complaining the DCOs are sterile.
Old 25th October 2018
  #107
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Chevron's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by HaveItAll View Post
This investigation is very interesting. But I wonder if at the end of it all the signal will be so clean that the life is sucked out of it. Then we'll be complaining the DCOs are sterile.
I say this as a guy who LOVES dirty sounds. This noise issue is not a musical sound that I want to be part of a patch, it is an erroneous noise that corrupts the purity of the analog section. A bit like Donald Trump non-stop talking loudly at a Brian Eno gig
Old 25th October 2018
  #108
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chevron View Post
I say this as a guy who LOVES dirty sounds. This noise issue is not a musical sound that I want to be part of a patch, it is an erroneous noise that corrupts the purity of the analog section. A bit like Donald Trump non-stop talking loudly at a Brian Eno gig
That would be COOL. Someone must do a Trump monologue and ambient glitchy broken distorted soundtrack underneath
Old 25th October 2018
  #109
Here for the gear
 

Hi guys, I’ve been using JD-XA intensively for almost 2 years and this noise issue has never been a big problem for me. I noticed it immediately and It’s present in every unit I have tried so far, but you can hear it clearly only if you set “drive” and amp to high levels. I’m used to noise, since I’m not so young anymore and back in the 80-90 lot of keyboards and synth were a little bit noisy. DX-7, D-50…It’s not so high and it’s not a big problem for me, let’s put it this way… it adds “character” to the sound :D
Other recent analog gear have problems like this. For instance, Prophet 08 has heavy audio bleeding through its filters and if you modulate VCA with high intensity modulations you can hear strange noises… MS-20mini has a very high noise in VCA… there’s noise also in Arturia mini and micro brutes… I think that noise in JD-XA is nothing compared to this.
That’s my thoughts about it… in the end I like JD-XA very much and I’m still having great time with it.
I’m sorry if I will not be able to answer questions following to this message I’m quite busy these days, working with synth prototypes… I can’t tell you anything… but stay tuned for some Roland news @ NAMM 2019
Old 25th October 2018
  #110
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Hi Gattobus, thanks for the post. I love your demos, and your 10 covers video made me want a JD-XA, which I also love.

I am also from an era when noise from synths was common place. I have a Juno 6 and we all know about the noise in the chorus circuit, but we deal with it because the chorus is awesome and the hiss has a somewhat 'musical' quality. I have also come across some issues with more recent synths - a DSI Mopho keyboard with audio leaking through the filters, Moog Minitaur with the same in addition to some nasty noise when using the USB connection. From the same companies though, my Pro 2 has no audio issues whatsoever and the Moog Mother 32 is the same.

With the JD-XA noise this is a show stopper for certain patches and sounds for me. For example, check track 6 in the link below, the track number may change as we add newer recordings with Itchy's mods. This is just the A05 Rounder Bass sequence with a hi-pass filter applied to the recording in Pro Tools. I am using my JD-XA a lot for different patches, and for fuller sounds with the analog section it's not an issue, its just as I keep saying the noise limits the sonic territory I can go with in with the JD-XA, which I don't have with many other synths.

JD-XA GEARSLUTZ BASS TEST by @MattFoster | Matt Foster | Free Listening on SoundCloud

I also noticed the noise immediately but imagine the synth without the noise? This is what I am hoping for...
Old 25th October 2018
  #111
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Coorec's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chevron View Post
With the JD-XA noise...
You keep repeating your problem with the noise in drastic words every view posts. In this and the other thread.

You are expecting us to believe how problematic this is for you. I think its just fair to expect in return, that you believe us too, that its no problem for some of us, or in fact we may even like it.

Its not on you to decide whats musical or non-musical for all of us. Right?

@Itchy ... great work, i am following with interest.
Old 25th October 2018
  #112
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flat's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by gattobus View Post
I’m sorry if I will not be able to answer questions following to this message I’m quite busy these days, working with synth prototypes… I can’t tell you anything… but stay tuned for some Roland news @ NAMM 2019
I hope it isn't going to make the JDXa redundant! (I have a feeling it will be Rolands answer to the Prologue & REV-2)

Btw good to see you on here! Your 'Winter Solstice' P-08 demo is imo the best ever demo I have ever heard. An utter masterpiece!
Old 25th October 2018
  #113
Gear Nut
@F5D hello and thank you for reading the thread!

If you look at the Picture that shows TER1 That is your main ground connection. TER2 is also a ground. The USB shields are also grounds. When you have a ground It must be electrically and mechanically bonded. I went from having to have the spectrum analyzer at 30 dB of attenuation to 12 db by repairing the grounds.

USB connections love to radiate. The JD-XA being a Class B digital device and a Computer being a whatever it wants to be Digital device are going to have different radiation issues. And it can get out of hand real quick. Laptops like a Macbook seem more RFI behaved. Full tower or the cooler master pizza box cases seem to create a TEMPEST nightmare.

Ground paths and loops I hate them. Nothing like going to the hospital because someone created a loop with a 15kw HF station and a 450kw generator. And yes you are right with the balanced cables. I am testing with balanced/unbalanced and from USB to daw. I promised to test all the modes and connection ways. Because the JD-XA deserves the best testing.

With reference to the power supply. It was getting hot. the power supply is rated at 4 amps and the Roland pulls 3 amps. 75% duty factor E-field readings would increase as it increased in temperature. So as part of my testing to eliminate the sums of the noise I replaced it. I did not harm it or throw it away!

I caged the CPU and DSP/FPGA's and DMA this morning. And RFI taped the Ribbon cables that interconnect the digital to analog board. I am still waiting on the copper tape for the led cables and the Boundary Bus. I sent @Chevron the new track.

I really like this JD-XA old parts and new parts all in one box. And after poking around on the inside I have found some ways to hot rod the poop out of it. But that is for another topic and thread.

Last edited by Itchy; 25th October 2018 at 03:39 PM.. Reason: noise not nose
Old 25th October 2018
  #114
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Chevron's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Coorec View Post
You keep repeating your problem with the noise in drastic words every view posts. In this and the other thread.

You are expecting us to believe how problematic this is for you. I think its just fair to expect in return, that you believe us too, that its no problem for some of us, or in fact we may even like it.

Its not on you to decide whats musical or non-musical for all of us. Right?

@Itchy ... great work, i am following with interest.
Okay I will chill on the drastic dialog, but I am certainly not trying to decide what anyone's view of what is acceptable or not. I am curious, if the noise doesn't bother you why are you interested in Itchy's progress mind? I have found through posting around on my little mission, that a fair few people do take issue and that has lead to some interesting discussions, insightful information not posted here and of course, to Itchy doing the sterling work he has done so far.

In the interest of debate, check out what is now track 8 in the link below and the patch that would be treated like this when in context. I would be surprised if anyone thought this is okay?

JD-XA GEARSLUTZ BASS TEST by @mattfoster | Matt Foster | Free Listening on SoundCloud

Bear in mind this a keyboard I've bought recently, have already used and will continue to use a lot. I am just frustrated that I can't create all the sounds that I want from it
Old 25th October 2018
  #115
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Coorec's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chevron View Post
I am just frustrated that I can't create all the sounds that I want from it
I get that. Mainly from you repeating it, constantly.

All i say is, please expect some of us are not frustrated, but whole heartedly happy with the XA and its noises.

And i personally think you are blowing things out of proportion, but thats just me.
Old 25th October 2018
  #116
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coorec View Post
I get that. Mainly from you repeating it, constantly.

All i say is, please expect some of us are not frustrated, but whole heartedly happy with the XA and its noises.

And i personally think you are blowing things out of proportion, but thats just me.
Have you listened to the sample? Thoughts?
Old 25th October 2018
  #117
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coorec View Post
I get that. Mainly from you repeating it, constantly.

All i say is, please expect some of us are not frustrated, but whole heartedly happy with the XA and its noises.

And i personally think you are blowing things out of proportion, but thats just me.
I can fully understand that.
Personnally, the first thing I tried to have fun with is to have massive bass sounds from analog part.
And I immediatly heard that noise which according to me ruins the bass sounds...
I'm not a professional musician, so no worries, but as it is probably the only synth i can buy for a moment I feel frustrated with what is for me a fllaw.

And obviously this is hard to not to hear that noise.
Maybe it tends to disappear in a mix ?
Old 25th October 2018
  #118
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Coorec View Post
I get that. Mainly from you repeating it, constantly.

All i say is, please expect some of us are not frustrated, but whole heartedly happy with the XA and its noises.

And i personally think you are blowing things out of proportion, but thats just me.
If you are bothered by posts on noise issues, I don't understand why you are reading a thread titled "noise issues"
Old 25th October 2018
  #119
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VennD68's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by gattobus View Post
Hi guys, I’ve been using JD-XA intensively for almost 2 years and this noise issue has never been a big problem for me. I noticed it immediately and It’s present in every unit I have tried so far, but you can hear it clearly only if you set “drive” and amp to high levels. I’m used to noise, since I’m not so young anymore and back in the 80-90 lot of keyboards and synth were a little bit noisy. DX-7, D-50…It’s not so high and it’s not a big problem for me, let’s put it this way… it adds “character” to the sound :D
Other recent analog gear have problems like this. For instance, Prophet 08 has heavy audio bleeding through its filters and if you modulate VCA with high intensity modulations you can hear strange noises… MS-20mini has a very high noise in VCA… there’s noise also in Arturia mini and micro brutes… I think that noise in JD-XA is nothing compared to this.
That’s my thoughts about it… in the end I like JD-XA very much and I’m still having great time with it.
I’m sorry if I will not be able to answer questions following to this message I’m quite busy these days, working with synth prototypes… I can’t tell you anything… but stay tuned for some Roland news @ NAMM 2019
I have stated above that I think the noise floor issue is a bit of a non issue pretty much based on my experiences with other gear as well. My DX77IIFde with grey matter board had more noise, same with my DX11 I used to own. The MS20 Mini has crazy VCA noise and I find this quite than the Nova Desktop.
It certainly does not impact on an overall mix scenario when using it.
And it certainly isn't 106 Chorus Noisy either.
Old 25th October 2018
  #120
Gear Nut
Well, I am at a stopping point until The copper stuff comes in. OCT30 for that. Gives me time to prepare a death by powerpoint for the gang here. And gives me time to Go give an estimate on a Hammond B3 with some bad keys [probably beer (again). The same gentleman has a B2 that someone superglued one of the drawbars. (No Slide 0 Mundo).

I may poke around the JD-XA a wee bit more over the next few days and If I find anything new I will update the thread. Now if Bossy Lady isn't around I am going to go burn spleef outta my stash.
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