Roland AIRA TR-8 Hidden Features

The manuals for the Roland AIRA products are a little rough in the making. There apparently are a lot of hidden features particularly inside the Roland TR-8. Below I’ve attached a video found on Youtube that highlights some of the hidden features. Hopefully Roland will be releasing an expanded version of the manual along with a midi implementation chart. Until then, it’s happy hunting for hidden features with the Roland AIRA product line.

Roland JC-120 Jazz Chorus Amplifier Repair

Roland JC-120 Jazz Chorus

Roland JC-120 Jazz Chorus

The other day I picked up a classic Roland Amplifier called the Roland JC-120 Jazz Chorus. I have been on the lookout for a used version of this amp as they can get quite pricey brand new. I found this JC-120 for $125 at the local used music shop in Nagano-city, JAPAN. The serial number indicates it is a 1996 model JC-120U. Brand new these run about $1100 in Japan.

Previously I had found only two used Roland JC-120′s in Nagano on two other occasions. On one of those occasions, the JC-120 had a really bad static sound coming out of the speakers. I thought it might be the distortion, but that was already turned off, so I thought the speakers might have had a problem. The asking price was $500 for the amp and I felt that was a little too high if indeed it had a speaker problem. The second opportunity I had to buy a used Roland JC-120 was about two years later. This time everything worked and the price was $450. I decided to wait and come back the next morning. Unfortunately later that day, another guy came in and bought the JC-120 so I was out of luck. Then, finally a third chance came a few days ago and I decided to not let it go.

The reason for the amp being sold for so cheap was mainly because the staff didn’t really know much about the Roland JC-120. It had several scratchy pots which crackled quite noisily when turning the knobs. They thought this warranted the amp being thrown into the junk bin and sold for cheap.

If you check out other amps in stock at the used shop, you’ll notice they price their Fender and Marshall amps very high. They tend to sell well in Japan. The Roland JC-120 sells well to studios and practice rooms that are rented out. I have also found that most venues that I’ve watched live performances at usually have one Roland JC-120 available. The fact that you don’t hardly ever see them on the used market in Japan also suggests people hold on to them.

For me, I’ve always had an interest in the Roland JC-120 because it’s a very clean sounding amp and I love the chorus in it. I also know it works well with keyboards, especially with the Rhodes and other electric pianos. As a young kid learning the guitar in the 80′s, I grew up listening to a lot of Jazz and 80′s chorus type pop songs. whether the JC-120 was used much in the 80′s I’m not sure, but it definitely gets me the sounds I like so it’s pretty cool to finally have one.

After opening up the JC-120, I managed to completely fix the scratchy pots by shooting Deoxit in and around the pots. I had to take out the electronics bay from the chassis to access the components, but it wasn’t too difficult. The distortion works but it sucks if you use it for distortion as it’s not really that great. I actually like to turn it on and use it for kind of a volume boost, plus it grunges up the clean sound a tiny bit which can be a nice effect for some songs. The Vibrato and Chorus both sound absolutely beautiful.

Now the one area that doesn’t sound like it’s working is the Reverb. It might be working and if so, it’s quite subtle. I didn’t see anything wrong with the Reverb Tank inside, but I may open up the amp again to check. Perhaps if anyone who owns a Roland JC-120 and has a working Reverb could let me know if it’s indeed a noticeable or subtle effect. The distortion on the other hand is way too subtle for most people which is why I think most hate it. I suppose if I had any sort of problem with the JC-120 it could be the Reverb.

Another area that can be a negative aspect of the JC-120 is the loud “hiss” that this amp can generate. On mine it’s there but it’s not too loud. I definitely don’t notice it when I play and I suppose a proper noise gate running through the effects loop would take out that hiss no problem. I can understand how some people would be annoyed by it, but frankly I find most amps I’ve used to have some sort of hiss, buzz, or other crazy sound coming out of it.

Overall, I find the Roland JC-120 to be a very nice sounding amp. I’m very happy with it when playing either a guitar or keyboard through it.

Below is a video on Youtube of someone cleaning their Roland JC-120. I found the info very interesting.

Roland AIRA TR-8 and TB-3 First Impressions

Roland AIRA TR8 TB3

Roland AIRA TR8 TB3

Yesterday I walked into Shimamura Music Store in Nagano-city about an hour after it opened and there on the display they had just assembled the new Roland AIRA TR-8, TB-3, and VT-3 over near the DJ area. It was interesting they elected to display the Roland AIRA equipment in the DJ area and not the traditional synthesizer area. I understand this as the Roland AIRA stuff is also geared toward’s DJs but it’s the first time I’ve seen this. Shortly before this I picked up the Roland VT-3 from the same store so basically I was in there to check out if they had the TR-8 and TB-3 in yet.

Quite frankly I was VERY surprised the store had the TR-8 and TB-3 in stock and out on the floor. They literally had placed it out there right when the store opened, so I figure I was lucky with my timing. Throw in the fact that I’m in Nagano ( the countryside ) and not in central Tokyo, I suppose it was natural that I’d have a good chance at getting a first shot at buying these early. I think I played everything for about five minutes and I was then SOLD!!! Oh My! The TR-8 and TB-3 were amazing!

First, I have NEVER owned a real TR-808, TR-909, or TB-303 before. I also have never seen nor heard them in real life other than on a record or Youtube video. So I must first announce that I have absolutely no idea if they are the same or near the same as the real thing. However, I can say that on their own, they sounded incredible with lots of bass, punch, and warmth. Those three things are basically what sold me on the trio. I likely will never find nor be able to fork over the thousands of dollars to get the originals. The TR-8 and TB-3 quite frankly are close enough to a sound that I like and can integrate with my analog poly and mono synthesizers here at home without issue!

I haven’t had much time to play with the Roland TR-8 and TB-3, but I have had some experience now so I can comment on a few things. First I connected the TB-3 into the external input of the TR-8. I then midi’d up the TB-3 to the TR-8. I did this so that I could just throw on some headphones and jam for a little bit. I haven’t hooked these up to my mixer setup yet but I plan to tomorrow so that I can add in a Juno-106 or Polysix for example to hear how they sound together. I then just pressed play on the TR-8 and had fun without the manual tweaking and checking out all the parameters of both machines.

What I found was that everything was pretty easy to figure out without the manual. I have seen a few videos which helped already, but really both machines are very easy to use. The sound as I mentioned above is better than expected which means GREAT!!

Now since I am sort of a one man band during practice, I found the Roland TB-3 had some exceptional capabilities. First the patterns could be changed seamlessly from one to another. This made it easy to create a “verse”, “chorus”, and then “bridge” sort of bassline and be able to swap them easily and seamlessly. I also found the Scatter to be really cool for a couple of reasons. I discovered that Scatter allows you to tap up to about 10 different variations that work very well as fills or even sections of a song if you momentarily hold them in place. I could jam on a bassline verse and the use the scatter to create an improve chorus bassline or bridge based on the original line. Sure it kind of glitches the bassline, but not as you might expect. It can be controlled a little because of the several variations you have. The other thing is that Scatter is very consistent in that you can get the same result each time so you could use it in a song played live easily. It’s not random unless you want it to be. Thus I find the Scatter function to be ideal for creating fills and creating a live momentary verse/chorus/bridge bassline. It’s beautiful for “one man band” setups.

The effects are also pretty good on both machines, but in particular the Roland TB-3. I actually thought the distortion was excellent and it had several variations too all of which fattened the sound up nicely. In addition, the accent was marvelous. I did have to crank it a little to get the desired effect, but once I did it was driving hard on the accents I wanted. With regards to pattern creation I haven’t dived into that yet, but it doesn’t look hard. I think the Roland TB-3 is going to work VERY well layered with something like a Roland Juno-60 arp on the bottom or on top. I can then switch patterns on the TB-3 or simply hit the desired scatter point and change things up really fast.

Finally, I noticed that adding accent on the TB-3 along with some swing on the TR-8 really made the music groove. I mean my butt was shakin with these two machines not too long after I fired them up. Along with the VT-3 Voice Transformer, the Roland TB-3 and TR-8 are exactly what I’ve been waiting for. These machines groove and they make you smile. I have no idea at this point if Roland could have done a better job. I’d say today I really wouldn’t care as they just sounded awesome to my ears. Perhaps my opinion may change as I incorporate them into my setup and perform with them live. For now I can safely say I will have no problem dropping my lust for a real TR-808, 909, and TB-303. These will do and I can now finally move on and enjoy.

I didn’t comment much on the Roland TR-8 mainly because it worked fantastic right out of the box. The preset patterns kick and you really don’t need to tweak them much to get a good sound. I found myself migrating more to the TB-3 simply because the TR-8 was doing it’s job so well straight away. I did however go back and tweaked the bass drum, snare, and claps with much satisfaction. The effects were a bit tricky to figure out and so I may have to consult the manual on that. I wasn’t quite getting the effects placed on the right drum sounds as I wanted but that is a user issue and not a problem with the TR-8. I also didn’t find the Scatter on the TR-8 as useful ( to me ) as the Scatter on the TB-3. The scatter on the TR-8 was a bit more random which is nice, but I’ll have to again consult the manual to see how much control or variation I have. Again, it’s probably me and not the TR-8.

Let’s see what else… flipping between drum kits was simple. Changing patterns was easy and it was nice having an A/B selection. Bringing the sliders down would effectively mute each part. The buttons and overall build quality on both machines was good. Are they durable? Yes, but I did feel that if I dropped them even once they could break. That’s not good really so I would definitely say you should be a little careful with these on stage. Many people are saying they are solid and built well which I would agree with, but I don’t think they will sustain too many drops. The colors, especially on the buttons of the TR-8 are really cool. It just gives it a great retro feel even if one might not like the green all the time. The green is not a problem for me, but I have heard not everyone likes the color.

I have not seen or heard of the Roland AIRA System 1 yet. To be honest, I’m not that interested in it yet basically because I have quite a few capable old analogs that will work including the ones which the System-1 is trying to emulate. The videos haven’t excited me much and so I’m still on the fence with that particular piece of the AIRA setup. We’ll see how that goes after more info. I believe the System-1 is set to be released in Japan sometime in June which is actually quite far away.

I can highly recommend the VT-3, TR-8, and TB-3 if you do not have the originals nor plan to ever get or afford them. The AIRA set will work in their place just fine. I’m not saying better though because I am not qualified to give that info, but I can definitely say they will hold their own nicely!!

Roland VT-3 Voice Transformer – Rock Rock Planet Rock!!

Roland VT-3 Voice Transformer

Roland VT-3 Voice Transformer

Over the weekend here in Nagano-city, I picked up the new Roland VT-3 Voice Transformer on display at Shimamura music. They had just received two in stock and was lucky enough to buy one to enjoy over the weekend. They had one setup in the store which I tried out and was instantly impressed. I know the VT-3 doesn’t have midi and I also understand so far there is no way to sync much with it, but that is ok. What this does to your voice is really cool and it will sit nicely with my TC-Helicon Voice Live Touch setup. In a couple of weeks the new Roland TR-8 and TB-3 should be available also but I’m not sure yet if I’ll pick those up or not. I actually was mainly interested in the VT-3 because I felt it would be great for creating vocal phrases and effects over analog synth jams and songs.

BOSS VT-1 Voice Transformer

BOSS VT-1 Voice Transformer

I used to own the BOSS VT-1 Voice Transformer but sold it after a short while. It didn’t really sit well with me in the mix and I felt it was rather limited in just creating robot and changing the pitch of my voice. The formant didn’t do much for me either, however there is reverb which is nice. However, the VT-3 is a whole new machine and instantly I felt it was very musical when playing around with it.

I also thought it was extremely easy to use and the size could sit on one of my analog synths quite easily. You also had additional effects such as Synth, Lead, Bass, Megaphone, Radio, Scatter, Auto Pitch, and Vocoder.

What impressed me the most about the VT-3 was the sound and how easily I felt it could be added to a song or groove. Switching the rotary dial allowed you to easily create different characters or vocal phrases on the fly. Limitations might be the lack of more presets to store patches. As I mentioned earlier there is no midi to sync the Scatter effect although that “might” work over USB. It might have been cool to have an on board looper like on the Boss RC-505, but I understand all that stuff likely would have increased the price. For live performance though, having this thing on my Korg Polysix or Juno-60 is going to be real fun.

Roland U-20 Synthesizer Review

Roland U20 RS PCM Keyboard

Roland U20 RS PCM Keyboard

Yesterday I posted an article about fixing the dead keys on my newly acquired Roland U-20. I got the synth for free and didn’t really know much about it. Today I spent the majority of the day playing around with the U-20 and it was quite frustrating to start primarily because of the manual and lack of “how-to” information on the web. The terminology Roland chose for the U-20 along with it’s terrible manual had me overlooking the most brilliant aspect of the Roland U-20. I just had to write a follow-up article because it has become apparent that most people I’ve encountered talking about the Roland U-20 have missed one hugely important detail. The Roland U-20 can be easily split and layered or both at the same time locally without using MIDI. Amazing!!

The Roland U-20 has four modes called KEYBOARD, SOUND, PART, and RHYTHM. This is where the confusion really starts. What the heck do these mean? The manual is not clear and it took me all day to figure out a VERY simple concept. The most important mode is the SOUND MODE. That should have been called “PATCH MODE”. Now inside this “PATCH MODE” you have 6 parts and 1 rhythm part. Instead of parts, lets call these LAYERS!! To create and use a layer, you need to set the MIDI channel to 1. This allows you to play the sound locally. If you now go to layer 2 ( part 2 ) you can set the Midi channel again to 1. You now will have two stacked sounds. Continue this on all parts and you effectively have created a 6 layer sound patch. Powerful!!! You can then set the key range for each layer and split the keyboard up to seven different sections including the rhythm part. Perhaps you want to create two splits with up to three layers assigned for each split. The level of each layer can be adjusted as well. In Korg lingo, a patch could also mean Combi or Combination.

Roland also at the next level has what they call Timbres and then Tones. To me, Timbres pretty much means voices with most synths nowadays. Tones are used to create the Timbres ( Voices ). The limitation here is you can only assign one tone for each voice. You can’t layer the tones or at least I haven’t figured that out yet. So, you can create two Timbres or Voices and then detune them when creating a layered patch as described above. Thus you can fatten up existing Timbres or voices if so desired. You also have ADSR control with each voice as well.

It’s funny when you search for Roland U-20 patches on the web, you pretty much only find the default factory patches. Why is that? Someone mentioned it was because the Roland U-20 was so easy to program so why post patches. Well yes, BUT only if you truly understand how to program the darn thing. I suspect most people do not understand the full concept of programming the Roland U-20. As a result, they are stuck with factory patches without a clue that there is so much more to the Roland U-20.

The first thing I did after I figured out the U-20 patch system, was to take the very first patch and rename it to something like “Layer_Split_01″. I then created three splits on the keyboard with two layers each. All of the layers were set to midi channel 1 and layer key limits were set accordingly. I then assigned a Timbre/Voice to each layer/part and voila I had a great performance patch. This just opened up a whole world with the Roland U-20. Again pretty amazing for such a cheap synth.

Now there is a catch to this. Both the Arp and Chord Memory affects all of the layers allocated to Midi Channel 1. You can’t split the Arp and have it play on the lower left of the keyboard while playing piano for example on the right. Chord memory is the same. So if you are going to layer up and split your U-20 with a complex patches like this you will have to likely forfeit using the Arp and Chord Memory unless you want it to affect the whole key range. You can set the arp to Midi channel two and assign it a layer to be played by an external midi device or sequencer. That is fine, but my aim here is to keep the synth in performance mode without tethering it up to a sequencer or secondary controller.

If you boost the release on any given layer you can effectively create a “hold” or “sustain” which is a very cool effect. You can sustain or hold string on a particular split while you play a bass line or piano chord over it.

Also, you can create velocity layers and trigger them by how hard you press the keys. This adds even more possibilities for dynamic playing in live performances with the U-20. The U-20 also allows for two U-110 PCM expansion cards to be inserted to increase the number of voices. This is cool too.

Here is an example of a patch I did that was really fun to play.

Lower Section of the keyboard I had two layers set to overlapping Synth Bass and Slap Bass.

The Middle Section had two layers set to overlapping Strings1 and Chorus Piano. I also added a third layer with about 7 keys of JP Brass to add some punch on there too.

The Upper Section had two layers set to synth bells and strings1 ( Same strings from the middle section just extended up to the upper area by setting the appropriate key limit ).

I honestly don’t think most people realize you can do this with the Roland U-20 locally and not just via midi.

Finally another huge question was how do you save all this? The answer is you have to press the “data” button and set SOUND to write. Then write the SOUND into an Internal slot or on your memory card. I use a memory card so that I can keep my internal SOUNDS stock for backup. ( For now at least ).

The Roland U-20 is actually an amazing synth for the money. It’s two weakest points are the bad contact keys and horrible manual. If you can get the keys fixed and wrap your head around the patch creation process by chucking the manual, I think you’ll find a hidden gem with the Roland U-20. There are tons of patches to be created with this synth and many of the tones were not carried over into later products I’ve heard. Indeed the Roland U-20 is a rompler, but it can be layered and split to create some exciting performance patches that I suspect most don’t know about thanks to the cryptic manual.

The attached Roland U-20 Editor screenshot below is from MidiQuestXL which gives you a visual of the patch parameters I tried to outline. If you think in terms of layers and not midi parts, it becomes easier to understand. EnjoY!!

Roland U-20 Synthesizer

Roland U-20 Synthesizer

Roland U-20 Synthesizer Key Contact Repair

Roland U-20 RS/PCM Synthesizer

Roland U-20 RS/PCM Synthesizer

Yesterday, I was given a Roland U-20 by one of the sales clerks at a local Hard Off store here in Japan. Only one key was working and rather than just selling it as junk, he decided to just throw into the bag along with my guitar strings that I purchased…laugh. I told the guy that it was a very common problem with the Roland U-20 that the keys were bad so perhaps I might be able to find more info and try to fix it. He said “Good Luck” and I was off on another project. With the success a day earlier with the Yamaha SY77 in my previous post, I was looking forward to the Roland U-20 challenge. This article talks about some things that did not work and some repair methods that worked 100% in fixing the key issue. Below are some points to remember about the Roland U-20 problems.

1. The Roland U-20 is a easy, but time consuming to take apart. You pretty much have to unscrew everything and move the PCB boards out of the way in order to get the keys out of the U-20. It’s very simple to do, but a pain to have to remove everything. I actually just removed the screws and shifted them around to make clearance so that I could slide the key assembly around. The components, especially the ribbon cables are delicate so be careful and take your time.

2. There is a flimsy ribbon cable attached to the key assembly ( see photo below ) which I did not remove. I’ve heard one shouldn’t remove this cable because it “could” result in the removal of some of the traces. If that happens, it’s easy to repair, but I found that I didn’t need to remove the cable. Instead I removed the key assembly and while balancing it in one hand, I reached over and placed the metal bottom cover back on. I then carefully placed the key assembly on a work towel on top. The ribbon cable is just long enough to rest the keys on the bottom of the synth to work from. The reason for doing this was so that I could test each key with the power on when ready. There was NO WAY I was going to put all this back together only to find out one key didn’t work. The keys were going to work perfectly before I reassembled the U-20 and so it was paramount that I could test the keys during my repair. Resting the key assembly on the bottom of the synth meant I could cover the PSU and not worry about bumping any of the other components during the repair process. I worked with the power off until I was ready to test the Silicon rubber contacts.

Roland U-20 Synthesizer

Ribbon Cable Roland U-20

3. The Roland U-20 also has the dreadful red epoxy problem. You can see in the photo that the epoxy is already starting to break down. Usually I soak and wash the keys in a special solution that removes the red epoxy. This can take several days, so for a quick fix that works well, I simply apply some rubber goop cement that actually acts as a sealant to prevent the red epoxy from escaping. Since the epoxy is at it’s earliest stages of breaking down, I found the quick fix to be enough to cure the problem. Now if the weights were falling off and the keys were sticking together, I of course would opt for the full cleaning workout.

Roland U-20 Synthesizer

Red Epoxy Roland U-20

4. The Roland U-20 suffers from the reduction and/or obstruction of the carbon Conductive contacts/prints on the PCB board and Silicone Rubber pieces. In the photo below, I used a product called Caikote 44 which allowed me to apply a thin Conductive Silver/Carbon Coating over both the Silicone Rubber contact AND the carbon print contacts on the PCB board. IMPORTANT!!! In the photo you will notice I did a rather messy job of applying the conductive coating onto the PCB board carbon prints. This is WRONG! I had a “DUH” moment and realized that you MUST apply the conductive coating on each individual carbon contact without touching the others. I later went back with some alcohol solution and removed the excess in between the contacts. Each key has 3 or 4 individual carbon prints to coat.

Some people just clean these with alcohol cleaner and put the key assembly back together. I find this didn’t work at all for me and I felt it was a bit unreliable as well or at least could be. Instead I found with past experience that on the Korg PolySix, Caikote 44 was THE BEST solution for cleaning this annoying problem without ever having to think about it again. This is laughingly why I caked the stuff on the first time because boy it works wonders. My Polysix has been playing beautifully ever since I slapped that Conductive Silver/Carbon Coating on it. I can tell you it works awesome for the Roland U-20 as well. Note, you may need to use a toothpick or something thin in order to apply effectively. When I tested the keys with the slop job I did above, none of the keys worked. I then knew I was suppose to apply the Conductive Silver/Carbon Coating to each contact individually. This makes sense and I don’t know why I did it the messy way…laugh. Actually I’m being hard on myself in that I really wasn’t sure, so I suppose I now have the experience of knowing otherwise.

Roland U-20 Synthesizer

Conductive Silver/Carbon Coating Caikote 44 Roland U-20

After putting the Roland U-20 back together, everything works perfectly. It simply sounds great and all of the keys work 100% as they should. I can also rest assured that with the application of the Conductive Silver/Carbon Coating, I won’t be waking up on a cold morning to discover one key is now dead. It should continue working “hopefully” for years to come. I will say again though as I’ve said it in past articles. You really need to keep playing these synthesizers to keep them in shape. Letting them sit for years on end will not keep them in good “working” condition. They need to be played, especially synths with key issues.

The Roland U-20 is a fun little synth. It has some great sounds on board that don’t seem to exist in later Roland models such as the JV-1080. Some of the Roland U-20 sounds are pretty unique. Furthermore, the U-20 has TWO programmable chord memory buttons instead of one that many other synths have. This allows for some creative playing which I enjoy. There is also an arpeggiator that can also be applied to the chord memories. Plus there are a couple of assignable slider controls. The U-20 has six parts and an additional rhythm part for external sequencing. There is a transpose button, joystick with modulation, and jump button for easier editing of sounds. It’s about the size of a Nord Lead and it’s very light weight. The keys actually feel pretty good once you have them in shape. Mine don’t clack or trip my fingers up at all. There are some classic sounds on board and the effects sound wonderful too. Yes it’s old, dated, and limited a little bit, but it definitely has a bundle of character. Yes, it’s a rompler but the kind I don’t mind having at all. It will do the job just fine.

Yamaha SY-77 No Sound Output Solved – Battery Check!

Yamaha SY-77 Synthesizer

Yamaha SY-77 Synthesizer

Sitting in a store right down the street here in Japan were two Yamaha SY77 synths that were for $10 and $30 respectively. Both were in minty condition and had a note on them that said “No Sound”. The note confirmed that both would power on but had no sound coming out of the outputs. It seemed the problem could be a bad output board, except it still was possible the batteries might needed to be changed in these. I decided to wait until I could come up with some additional space. Both had been in the store for several months which lead me to believe that they could have some major issues. I waited and pondered whether I should gamble or not with these synths.

Well it wasn’t long and I got the itch to take on another project so I went back and bought one of the Yamaha SY77′s in the store with no output. I bought the $30 one because it came with a case, no chipped keys and overall looked in near mint condition. The other $10 one had a chipped key and no case, but it also was in excellent condition. When I got home I found inside the case had the manuals and an MDC64 memory card. I thought if I couldn’t get the SY77 working, at least I’d score on the memory card. I powered it up and sure enough no sound, BUT, I got a delightful message saying the battery needed to be changed. With my past experience at these stores in Japan, the sales clerks most of the time call that “broken” or “junk”. I had suspected that could be the problem because with my first SY77 I had to change the battery and had all sorts of issues which weren’t resolved until that was done. I also took a look at the bottom of the SY77 and clearly it had never been opened. To me this is often a sign that any sort of problem “could” in fact be battery related.

Thus I changed the battery and did the reset procedure. Presto! The Yamaha SY77 came back to life and check out with flying colors. I then threw a disk into the floppy drive to have a laugh because in almost every case they are broken with bad belts. To my surprise, the floppy disk drive worked without a hitch. I was able to format and save data to the floppy. I probably shouldn’t be surprised in that the inside was absolutely spotless with no dust and almost like new. There were a few label stickers on the outside which suggested the SY77 was used in a studio and likely not stored under the house…laugh.

As a result, case closed. The Yamaha SY77 is working great. I suspect the other one at the shop is the same, although I simply don’t have storage to bring in another tank such as the SY77. It’s a great synth but they are big and heavy. I’m sure another tech will snag it sometime.

With my two SY77 synths I can say that the batteries were the root of all issues including the lack of audio output. The battery is soldered in there and my holders don’t fit, so I usually have to solder in custom wiring. If anyone has troubles with their Yamaha SY77, be sure to check the battery and replace it properly. After resetting, you shouldn’t have any further issues.

Last night I played the SY77 for about an hour with some custom patches. It sure sounded wonderful!! It’s amazing how the SY77 was like 3 grand when they first came out.

Nice video here form Youtube: Yamaha SY77 Digital Synth Sounding Very Analog like