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Old 12-04-2008, 03:00 PM
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hook & lateral hook & lateral is offline
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Default Roland SPD-S & MIDI

Hi... it's been a while since I've posted on this board... I have a Roland SPD-S sampling/sequencing pad, and I'm trying to sync it with a Boss Dr. Beat metronome so that when I start/stop the SPD-S, it will trigger the metronome to start/stop as well. I connected a MIDI cable from the SPD-S' MIDI-out jack to the metronome's MIDI-in jack and followed the setup instructions in both manuals.

There's nothing complicated about the Dr. Beat metronome--the manual says to make the proper MIDI cable connection and then press the "MIDI" button... from there the metronome goes into "slave" mode and receives start/stop and tempo commands from the external MIDI device, which in this case would be the SPD-S.

The problem is somewhere with the SPD-S, because when I start a pattern in the SPD-S, nothing happens with the metronome. It's not receiving the start/stop message. The same thing happened with another drum machine that I tried (Boss Dr. Rhythm) --everything connected and set up according to the manual, but still nothing.

The SPD-S manual says that the only System Real Time MIDI message that the SPD-S transmits is "Active Sensing", which is basically useless. I need it to transmit the start/stop and tempo commands.

Has anyone ever tried doing this with the SPD-S and have any success with it? I've seen video footage of R.E.M. using two SPD-S units --I'm assuming they're sync'd together with one unit sending start/stop and tempo messages to the other unit, unless there is some other external device controlling both of them...

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 12-06-2008, 10:38 PM
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Shedboyxx Shedboyxx is offline
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Default Re: Roland SPD-S & MIDI

I own an SPD-S. Haven't used it as much as I'd like but have messed a bit with it.

As far as I understand, The SPD-S can't send a MIDI tempo signal.

The confusion comes from the fact that you can use the SPD-S metronome to record and adjust when using 'Phrase Maker'. This is the only way I know of using the metronome onboard. After that you are just triggering an audio sample that doesn't respond to or generate any MIDI tempo information when playing a loop and hooked to external devices (MIDI IN/OUT). You can only use the SPD-S as a MIDI triggered sound source. i.e no sequencing capabilities. You can also play external MIDI sources - but only manually by striking the pads

As I understand it, what needs to be done is to record a click as a looping phrase. You would create a separate loop at the same tempo, imported as an audio file or created as a phrase (again resulting in an audio file) with Phrase Maker. You would need to trigger them at the same time or at least on the same beat. Then pan the click sample hard left or right, hard pan the other loop to the opposing stereo side (in the SPD-S) and only connect the non-click stereo side to your PA or amp.

Keep in mind that if you are monitoring via headphones, you'll get both in your cans, albeit panned hard to what ever side (left or right) of the cans they are panned to. The only way around this is to run both left and right outputs through a mixer and create a mix for yourself and others using typical monitor send/aux channels.

Complicated but...that's the only way I know of.


BTW: Kind of OT but..I would consider, if you haven't already, buying a couple of 512mb compact flash memory cards soon. The SPD-S will NOT see any card larger. Meaning the currently popular 1 GB-2GB sizes won't even work in the SPD-S . This is per Roland tech support. I can see these cards being discontinued some time soon in the future and then it will be a very expensive option to order a CF card of this size.

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Old 12-07-2008, 10:56 PM
MusiQmaN MusiQmaN is offline
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Default Re: Roland SPD-S & MIDI

Actually it should sync when you put a link from the Spd-s out to the Boss in. I did that before. If you have a tempo of a loop than it should sync with the Boss (just press midi button when connected) then it just follows the temp of the loop. At least here with me out of the box. I did the same with the metronome connected to ableton trough a midi interface (witch was working the same as the Spd-s but only easier to edit en load samples in Ableton.
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Old 09-03-2009, 09:06 AM
alvinthedrummer alvinthedrummer is offline
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Default Re: Roland SPD-S & MIDI

I tried using Midi out to my metronome....same thing, in midi mode (metronome), my metronome doesn't recognize any signal from SPD-S. Mine's a Yamaha ClickStation.

Another question, it is possible to set the SPD-S up like ableton live? Meaning, when you hit the trigger a little earlier than on the beat, it will only start playing the sample when the next beat in the bar begins? Or is it possible to set the 1st trigger running, then when you hit the next trigger (despite of your timing accuracy), it automatically syncs with the first loop that is already playing?

This can help me pull everything back on sync when any member of the band goes out of sync....
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