Roland JP-8000 Distorted Low Output and Repair

Roland JP-8000 Distorted Output
Roland JP-8000 Distorted Output

Recently I acquired a second Roland JP-8000 that actually was in like new condition, but it had a couple of output problems. The first was that the outputs L and R would no longer work, thus they were dead silent. In addition, the headphone jack would output a good signal but only up to level 6 or 7 and would then crackle or produce a loud distorted sound.

After some reading and research, I first changed the battery and did a memory reset. Nothing changed.

I then ordered and changed all of the OP AMPS on the Jack Board and Board B. Something changed! I now started to get output out of my L and R jacks but only to a level of 2 or 3. I also began getting some very bad distortion at higher levels that was very erratic. The OP AMP replacement seemed to have brought the jacks back to life but only to a point.

Thus I’m still faced with having a JP-8000 that doesn’t really produce any useable output. My next step is to replace the caps. I’ve read that replacing the caps on the Jack board didn’t fix much anything with others who had the same problem. However, I did find that if you change the caps on the Main Board, it does apparently fix the output distorted issue. I am now in search of the replacement caps as shown in the photo attached to the article.

It appears the Roland JP-8000 is one of those synths that is doomed to have some major failures as it ages. Not all synths are like this as some age better than others. I’d say pretty soon we’re going to see more Roland JP-8000 synths on the used market broken. Most likely they are going to have the distorted output problem. Note the JP-8080 rack version uses different caps and components than the JP-8000 which maybe is a hint that Roland knew the components used in the JP-8000 were not all that great. The Roland JP-8080 is pretty rock solid and I would recommend that over the JP-8000 if you are looking to invest in this particular synth.

In any event, once I make some progress on the Roland JP-8000, I’ll update this post. Also note that this again is my second Roland JP-8000. I have another in perfect working order which I may use to swap out boards to try and 100% isolate the problematic board. I did this with a couple of Roland Juno-2 synths I had which saved a huge amount of detective work. That certainly would help great in finding the problem with the distorted outputs on the JP-8000.

Stay tuned!!

Dual Boss RC-300 Loop Stations

Dual Boss RC-300 Loop Stations
Dual Boss RC-300 Loop Stations

This week I found another Boss RC-300 at an old secondhand shop in Nagano-city. I actually use my first Boss RC-300 quite extensively and probably will never sell it unless something better comes along. Although I love the RC-505 Loopers, you can’t effectively use it with your feet. So the Boss RC-300 is still “the Boss” for the floor..laugh. What I wanted to do was understand better how to sync the two RC-300 Loop Stations together as explained in the manual. After working with the pair for about an hour I discovered some important points about this setup.

Most importantly is, YES, two RC-300 Loop Stations sync perfectly when setup exactly as indicated in the manual. Set the slave to sync via midi and make sure the Sync All Start/Stop is set to Start/Stop. Also make sure of course that your midi cables are setup properly with the Master out going to the Slave in. You only need one connection from the Master to the Slave.

One MAJOR omission from the manual is that you cannot have the master in “Singular Track Mode”. Singular Track Mode is where you run each of the three tracks in singular fashion rather than layering them. The reason is that when you press the “All Start/Stop” on the Master, it will NOT start the Slave RC-300. You must have it in Layer “Multi” Mode and THEN it will start the Slave RC-300. Now the Slave RC-300 can either be in Track or Layer Mode. It doesn’t matter which, so this is nice as you can then use the slave for your Track Mode if necessary.

On the other hand, you CAN set the Master to Singular Track Mode and it will send the midi clock signal to the slave RC-300. It just won’t start playing any of the tracks. This isn’t a problem if you don’t mind starting the tracks on your own. If you then press “all stop” on the Master, it will successfully stop all tracks.

Basically, my initial plan was to put three different drum loops on the Master RC-300. I then wanted one Bass Loop running on the Slave. I wanted the Track 1 drums to start and have the Track 1 bass start at the same time, however this won’t work as the Master RC-300 is in Singular Track Mode. If I set it to Multi Mode, then all three drum tracks will start playing along with the Track 1 Bass on the Slave. So I basically have to start the drums and THEN step over and start the Track 1 of the Slave if I want it to work my way. Indeed it all will be in perfect sync but it literally means I have to add an extra step…laugh.

Everything else so far works great and MUCH better than trying to sync a Boss RC-50 with the RC-300.

Stay tuned for further updates as I research this setup a bit more.

Nord Lead 2 OS v1.06 Upgrade

Nord Lead 2 v1.06 Chip
Nord Lead 2 v1.06 Chip

Wow! Long time no post!

I picked up a used Nord Lead 2 this week in Japan. They are VERY cheap in here compared to the States, so I’ve been lucky to now have three in my arsenal. I happen to really like the Nord Lead 2 the best actually which I’ll probably explain in a later post. The latest OS version is 1.06 while the oldest is v1.03 if correct. I have two synths on v1.06 but this latest NL2 came with the old v1.03. I found out that the chip used with the version 1.03 NL2 was an ST M27C4001 DIP32 chip made in Singapore. The v1.06 chips are AMD AM27C040 DIP32 chips made in Malaysia. I decided to rip both the v1.03 and v.106 OS to create .bin backup files. I then proceeded to erase the v1.03 EPROM chip using a UV Light Eraser. I was then successfully able to burn a new v1.06 chip using my MiniPro IC chip burner which has been working fantastic. I’ve burned so many chips with that thing. Upon powering up the Nord Lead 2, I was able to see the v1.06 version pop up onto the screen. After testing the sounds, everything seemed to work great. To order a chip from someone with the latest v1.06 OS on Ebay would have cost me about $50 plus a week or two of waiting. I found swapping the OS versions using the original chip worked out great. I highly recommend investing in an IC Chip Burner and UV Light eraser. It really makes updating, programming, and working with your own IC chips much easier and of course less expensive.

By the way, I’m back on the blog front after a nine month hiatus attempting to move my “growing” family from Japan back to the United States. After several setbacks and a few turn of events, I’ve decided to stay put in Japan. I’m so very glad to be out of the job search and agony of deciding whether to move or not. Ultimately I decided to follow the idea that if you’re life ain’t broken, the stop trying to fix it…laugh. Now I’m happily back into music stronger than ever.

Hope to respond to comments and add new posts regularly from May. Thanks everyone for the continued support and viewing of my blog. – Jim

The Original Korg RK-100 in RED!

Jamming on the original Korg RK-100 in red. I bought this about a year ago and I love it. There is a new RK-100s out, but I actually like the original because of the three mod wheels. I am running the Korg RK-100 through a Korg EX-800 which originally was also paired with the RK-100 when released in the 80’s. They make a terrific analog synth combo and I think it sounds great. In this video I recorded some drums and EX-800 loops into the Boss RC-300 on the floor. I then created a custom EX-800 patch for the jam. The RK-100 size, weight, and shape are just perfect for me. Yes, some might think the RK-100 is heavy, but coming from working with a Gibson Les Paul Custom for some years, it’s definitely much lighter than a Les Paul. I don’t mind having a bit of weight on my shoulders anyway. I’ll upload more videos over the next couple of weeks with the original RK-100 from Korg. I’m still a tiny bit rusty with it.

Here is the Korg RK-100 and Korg EX-800 in my studio.

Yamaha TG500 Tone Generator 1992

Yamaha TG500 Tone Generator
Yamaha TG500 Tone Generator

The Yamaha TG500 I recently picked up is turning out to be one great little sound module. If correct it was originally released in 1992 and was used on quite a bit of records during the 90’s. In particular I am very fond of the drum kits so far. They are really punchy and loud. I also like the fact that they are not setup in GM fashion. What I mean is the sounds are spread across the keys in a way that it’s much easier to play drums with. I also found that many of the keys had similar adjacent sounds which helped to vary the feel when tapping with your fingers. It just seems that whenever I “feel like” hitting a certain key, a relevant drum sound is attached to it. I guess what I’m trying to say is that it seems the drum kits were very carefully laid out across the keys to enhance finger jamming. Much is the same with the Yamaha RM-50 drum module from the same time period.

The synth sounds overall are very good. The pads in particular are fantastic. Lately I’ve been using the TG500 in multi-mode with the Roland Fantom X6 and find the editing is pretty easy. In fact you just press edit and you can scroll to the left or right to find the parameter you need to edit very easily. I can also edit the parameters in more detail using a program like MidiQuest which works perfectly. Both Performance and Voice modes offer a healthy selection of both musical and useful patches. Overall I’m pretty pleased with the module and I highly recommend it if you are looking for some classic yet still useful sounds.