Novation Drumstation V2 a TR808 TR909 clone

Novation DrumStation V2
Novation DrumStation V2

Found a mint condition Novation Drumstation for $50 today in the used music shop called “Hard Off” here in Nagano-city, JAPAN. I don’t know much about it but I know that Novation makes some pretty decent products. Besides the price being good, the unit had lots of knobs, outputs, and it was very MIDI capable. The size was small and it apparently does a decent job of cloning the Roland TR-808 and TR-909 drum machines sounds. I particularly like the fact that you can tweak the bass drum, snare, etc. separately and trigger it all via an external sequencer. The OS of the Drumstation is 1.3 which is the latest OS version if correct. The Novation Drumstation looks like a V2 unit, but I’m not sure.

Overall the sound is good and I plan to hook it up to my Korg Triton Rack for making RPPR TR808 and TR909 drum patterns. These patterns can then be triggered by any controller or synth hooked up to the Korg Triton. Once the patterns are playing, I can then tweak the Drumstation to taste and hopefully get some cool grooves going. I’m a big fan of the Roland TR808 so having something similar ( but not the same I know ) will be fun. There is also a DIN Sync connection on the back of the Drumstation. Plus I got a PSU4-100 adapter and manual along with the unit. The Novation Drumstation a really neat drum sound module with lots of knobs and it’s very small for a rack. You can basically stick it anywhere and and it will not take up much space.

Here is a pretty decent video of the Novation Drumstation in action. (Triggered by a Roland TR505)

Roland A-33 Midi Keyboard Controller

Roland A-33 Midi Keyboard Controller
Roland A-33 Midi Keyboard Controller

It’s been a while since I’ve found anything decent in the used music shop I frequent in Nagano city, Japan, but today I found nice little ( or big ) gem.

Just this morning they got a mint condition Roland A-33 Midi Keyboard Controller with midi cables, case, and adapter. They were selling it for $45, so I instantly jumped on it. The keys are slightly yellow and I’m not sure if that’s normal or not, but it didn’t really matter as it played beautifully. Like I mentioned above, the condition is absolutely flawless. The things I like about the Roland A-33 are as follows:

1. The professional weighted 76-note velocity-sensitive keyboard is outstanding. It really feels great to me.

2. The two selectable MIDI Outs, one MIDI In, one MIDI Thru are very much needed with all the hardware sound modules I have.
3. Having the two key zones, Split and Layer modes allows for quick modifications to the keyboard setup.

4. The 32 user patch locations; 32 presets for use with GM/GS sound modules should be useful for custom setups.
5. Dedicated buttons for Octave Up/Down keyboard transposition, +2 octaves is very accessible. Awesome!

6. The A-33 is battery powered, has a Bender/Modulation lever for added expression and a Start/Stop button for sequencer control.

7. There is a Roland A-33 software application to help visually program the keyboard which is nice.

I don’t need any computer connectivity as I don’t use one when performing and if I do use the computer I send the audio through a mixer. The newer USB Keyboard controllers are not necessary for me although I do have an Edirol controller should I need that.

I’m really excited about finding the Roland A-33. It really feels great and when connected to a couple of sound modules, it’s very flexible. It’s a really nice set of keys for just a controller.

Update: Here is a list of CONS in case anybody is interested in the negative aspects of the Roland A-33.

No Aftertouch
The pitch bender is not smooth
Only one data entry slider
Keys are not full size (length is shorter)
No progam up/down button
Velocity sensitivity is not full range of MIDI velocity

I pretty much bought this for the 76 keys and the two midi outs. I think for the price and condition, I really couldn’t go wrong with picking one up to try out.


Sampler Triggers Arppegiator Sync for Roland Juno 6

Roland Juno 6 Synthesizer
Roland Juno 6 Synthesizer

Today I successfully managed to trigger and sync my Roland Juno 6 arpeggiator with my Yamaha RS-7000 Sampler Workstation. AWESOME! It works beautifully and the timing is very tight and doesn’t have any problems at all. I sampled a positive pulse sound and loaded wav up with the Yamaha RS-7000. I then used the Sequencer to create a pattern of pulse beats. After that I connected a cord from the headphone jack of the RS7000 Sampler to the Trigger Sync Jack (In) of the Roland Juno 6. I turned on the Arpeggiator along with the hold button and presto …. the arpeggitaor was triggered flawlessly. You have to turn up the volume on the RS-7000 all the way too so that you get at or above the 5V mark.

The Yamaha RS7000 Sampler is perfect for me because I can also sync with Midi and have any other drum machine, sampler, synth, etc. play in time with the Roland Juno 6. Sweet! You can also program different patterns among a few other things on the Yamaha RS-7000 so that you can get some really cool Arpeggiator arrangements for the Juno 6. After searching around the internet I could find very little if any information, so I was quite thrilled to find a solution so easily and quickly. Now I don’t have to waste money on a Roland TR-707 or TR-626 for simply triggering the Juno 6 or creating patterns. The RS-7000 does it all and more.

Thus getting the Roland Juno 6 in sync with my other gear is now completely solved. Saving patches is the only minor glitch, but that is actually proving to not to be a big problem because I can pretty much program the sounds I need rather quickly anyway. It’s also fun to just be plain different whenever I do a song each time because it adds variety and I can come up with new fresh ideas. The Roland Juno 6 is a fantastic synth and for the price I paid $90 including manual and hard case, I really feel like I’m in Synth Heaven. Much fun indeed!