ChromaTalk Archives: January 2011
- Strumenti Musicali (5 messages)
- Happy new year! motherboard, and VB harness questions (5)
- Analog Bach
- eBay Items (2)
- err 15 (2)
- YES! (a working CPS) (10)
- Five Voice Boards on eBay (2)
- Polaris sys ex broken (13)
- Chromas for sale (6)
- Chroma PS for sale
- CC+ with Syntech interface? (3)
- touchosc (7)
Chris Ryan  · Sat, 1 Jan 2011 12:45:50 -0800
New on the site this month is a review of the Chroma from Strumenti Musicali magazine, Italy, January 1983. Thanks to Odysséas Tsakas-Grigoriadis  for the article scan, and to Enrico Dibennardo  and Luca Sasdelli  for the English translation.
The December list archive is also posted. 2010 was by far the busiest year ever on the mailing list, with 1069 messages.
Matrix  · Sat, 1 Jan 2011 13:05:11 -0800
Awesome. Happy New Year Chris and to the list!
On a side note I ported my Rhodes Chroma TouchOSC template for The Missing Link. I can now control the Chroma wireless with the iPad!
The Missing Link is a small, light hardware box that translates OSC to MIDI. You run TouchOSC on your iPad for free and connect to The Missing Link over wireless. The Missing Link has a MIDI out port which you connect to your synth or MIDI merge box. You can then edit away. With TouchOSC you can create custom templates including knobs, sliders, touch pads, keyboards and so on. The Missing Link is not yet available but the makers of it plan to show it at NAMM, so it should be ready soon.
Odysséas Tsakas-Grigoriadis  · Sat, 1 Jan 2011 22:34:58 +0000
First of all, happy new year everyone!!
I want to say again thanks to Enrico and Luca for the translation, and giving some of their free time to achieve it. At last I can say that I understand what this article is all about (my Italian is very bad)!
Enrico Dibennardo  · Sun, 2 Jan 2011 00:34:30 +0100
I never contributed to this wonderful list in the past, so I was happy that I could give a small contribution on this occasion. The list is kept and maintained with constant love and care so it is one person above all we must be grateful to. Chris did even re-type the Italian text and this is a hard job in a language that you don't even know. I think Odysséas, Luca and I were just happy to spend a little part of our time in an useful way for the list.
Happy new year to everybody
Luca Sasdelli  · Sun, 2 Jan 2011 09:17:49 +0100
I agree in highlighting the Chris' effort in typing all the article's text in a foreign language! A very well maintained information source, kept with love like this one, is a pleasure to read each time. A happy new year blessing to all list members.
RJ Krohn  · Sat, 01 Jan 2011 20:37:32 -0700
hello all, hope you all had a nice vacation, and got to do some synthing. i've got 2 questions for you all:
- if anyone happens to have a spare chroma motherboard, please contact me. i have confirmed that mine has problems, not sure if the root of the problem is sourcable (with tech now).
- the little brown harnesses that are on the voice boards that seat into the pins of the MB; are those available anywhere? all the in and out from diagnosing the MB caused the internal pins of a few to pop out. does mouser sell anything that fits these?
thanks for any leads folks!
Paul DeRocco  · Sat, 1 Jan 2011 20:56:07 -0700
- 2-the little brown harnesses that are on the voice boards that seat into the pins of the MB; are those available anywhere? all the in and out from diagnosing the MB caused the internal pins of a few to pop out. does mouser sell anything that fits these?
RJ Krohn  · Sun, 02 Jan 2011 13:19:52 -0700
David Clarke [21030085++] · Sun, 02 Jan 2011 16:59:10 -0500
I'm pretty sure it's Digikey part number WM2817-ND.
Digikey P/N WM3006-ND also works.
Paul DeRocco  · Mon, 3 Jan 2011 01:13:29 -0700
It's odd that they'd have two basically identical parts in the same KK 4455 series. The only difference I can see is that the one you found has a thinner tin plating, and is substantially cheaper. Sounds like a good deal to me--if I didn't already have a drawer full of the ones we actually used back then.
Chris Ryan  · Mon, 3 Jan 2011 17:48:16 -0800
Marco Rosano's Analog Bach – Baroque Synthesizer has been released. There were some sample tracks at the site starting about four years ago, but these were removed last year pending a formal release. This has now occurred, and Marco has very kindly allowed me to post two tracks from the completed album. You can download the whole thing from iTunes—and, soon, buy a physical CD from Amazon.
See Analog Bach.
Chris Ryan  · Wed, 5 Jan 2011 12:27:34 -0800
Items 200561812166 and 200561816561 aren't Chroma, are they?
The seller had indicated someone had identified them as such.
Paul DeRocco  · Wed, 5 Jan 2011 12:31:47 -0800
Nope. Probably from some guitar amp.
Michael Salmon  · Wed, 5 Jan 2011 23:52:44 -0800
does this mean i have a faulty voice board? chroma has cc+ and new psu installed. still sounds good overall and midi works. but still err 15 makes me nervous. any thoughts on what it is and what to do are appreciated
Chris Ryan  · Thu, 6 Jan 2011 00:06:14 -0800
"15" is not a number; it means that boards 1 and 5 have been disabled during auto tune. See Error Messages in the Diagnostics section of the Performance Manual.
(This is in the FAQ.)
Jesper Ödemark  · Thu, 06 Jan 2011 16:33:04 +0100
Now I've just installed the new CPS and tested one of my patches with added pressure control to filter cutoff. I started laughing loud out of joy 'cause when closing my eyes scenes from "Blade Runner" appeared. I guess my mind connect the sound and possibilites of polyphonic aftertouch with Vangelis' magnificent score. :D
A massive amount of gratitude and thanks to Chris B [21030194+] and his patient and extra labour due to my originally flakey CPS.
Also, a happy new 2011 to all friendly key-pushers on this list!
Matrix  · Thu, 6 Jan 2011 12:55:23 -0800
Congrats! Mine is sitting in a box waiting to be installed. How difficult was the installation in your opinion? Any gotchas to look out for?
Jesper Ödemark  · Thu, 06 Jan 2011 22:15:09 +0100
OK, since I've done this 3-4 times now I'll give a few hints. I thought it was quite easy, but do take your time to avoid problems.
Follow the instructions on the site, flipping the stopper, attaching the CPS to the once-upon-a-time top side.
- Ground yourself!
- The MUX board should be facing you and the keys, not the electronics.
- Align the PCB, not the felt nor the wood mount.
- Don't bend/strain the flimsy reeds connected with the key action.
- Mark the wires you unplug so that you install them in the right way afterwards.
- Take care when closing/re-opening. The MUX board is a close fit.
- take your time adjusting the action. There are four places to tighten the screws.
- Make sure you use a good sound with expressive filter sweep or similar, controlled by aftertouch. VCA isn't enough to adjust the action imho.
And as always, keep track of screws. And don't forget to plug the CPS into the correct socket in the Chroma! :D
Matrix  · Thu, 6 Jan 2011 13:24:01 -0800
Thanks! Much appreciated.
Brian McCully  · Thu, 6 Jan 2011 16:56:51 -0800
Congrats, and these are all good suggestions for installation. You might also ask Chris Borman to email you any pictures he may have, beyond what the website instructions offer.
Paul had asked the group at large about removing the front felts after installing the CPS and I wasn't sure why it would be necessary to do this at the time. (Later) after installing and testing the CPS I had two keys (the uppermost C and F#) that were not triggering aftertouch, and after receiving email assistance from Chris B, I ended up removing the front felts on those two keys in order to have enough (extra) 'throw' to impact the individual FSR's on those keys.
Since all the keys and weights, etc. seem to be physically level and evenly spaced, I found it somewhat odd that the adjacent keys triggered fine (and the front felt remains under all the other keys). Also I find the response slightly uneven across the keyboard (but at least all the keys trigger aftertouch now). So I haven't removed all the front felts, but is this required to get an even aftertouch response, or at the very least does it make triggering any easier? Would changing the crossbar height make a difference (I'd rather not as it mimics the old action very well at this point)? I was considering adding a thin 'riser' on top of the key weights that didn't trigger fully (or evenly relative to their adjacent keys) but it seems like too much fuss(?).
John Leimseider [21030434++] · Thu, 6 Jan 2011 18:15:37 -0700
When I installed the Chroma-built aftertouch kit in my Chroma, I removed the front felts, as the instructions said. I found the height of the bar to be EXTERMELY critical. Too low and the velocity was bad, too high and the aftertouch was bad. When it is set correctly, both are great... It is definitely worth the extra effort to get it just right.
Paul DeRocco  · Thu, 6 Jan 2011 18:38:38 -0800
So I haven't removed all the front felts, but is this required to get an even aftertouch response, or at the very least does it make triggering any easier? Would changing the crossbar height make a difference (I'd rather not as it mimics the old action very well at this point)?
My observation is that if you have two pieces of felt that are limiting the same motion, then their relative positions are very critical. If the felt compresses 1/16" under realistic forces (which I think is about right), then 1/8" of adjustment to the bar height will shift all the pressure from one piece of felt to the other. That means that even 1/64" of change will change the sensitivity by a noticeable amount. If you remove the front felts, then that issue goes away.
Having done this, I still find a modest amount of sensitivity variation, but that has to be in the sensor itself, and so far it's not enough to bother me. I suppose the best thing to do would be to keep both felts, and then use paper shims under the front felts to adjust the response of each key, but that's a lot of work.
I don't find that the bar height adjustment affects the velocity feel of the instrument, as long as the upper switch contact closes before the felt is reached. However, be aware that leaf switches can break if flexed too far, so don't try raising the bar too much. Try to keep the key dip around 3/8".
Doug Terrebonne  · Thu, 6 Jan 2011 20:55:58 -0800
Hi JL, I'd figure you'd probably know this, how does the CPS aftertouch feel compared to the CS50? It has about the best aftertouch in terms of feel and range on any synth I've played.
John Leimseider [21030434++] · Fri, 7 Jan 2011 09:11:08 -0700
I haven't tried the CPS.. I have the original Fender aftertouch. It feels great. I also have a CS80 and I have access to a T8 at work.. There are some interesting differences in the 3 types of aftertouch. They each have routings that are unique. I think the idea is to use each for their strengths and not worry about what they don't do. All in all, I like the pressure on the Chroma best...
Murray Macdonald [21030276+] · Tue, 18 Jan 2011 00:10:22 +0000
I can't wait to try the CPS. I absolutely love the T8 aftertouch; the best in the business IMHO. The CS-80 aftertouch (and keyboard) is much less desirable.
Chris Ryan  · Thu, 6 Jan 2011 12:45:23 -0800
Item #180609083199, ends January 9, USD$250.00 each. From the description: "The price is for each board! These boards are left over from my years working for Josef Zawinul (1985-1990) as his electronic technical advisor and keyboard technician. We cannibalized one of his Chroma's to keep his Expander's working and these boards as well as several other PCB's are what is left and have been pulled out of storage. I have the Chroma carcass and other parts that will be listed soon here on EBAY. I will also be selling my Chroma Expander that I bought from Fender in 1986 to use for programming at home."
Odysséas Tsakas-Grigoriadis  · Thu, 6 Jan 2011 20:50:45 +0000
...we'll just have to wait for that Expander then :)
Go to next message in thread, February 2011
Bill Lacey · Sat, 15 Jan 2011 13:05:39 -0500
I sent the sys ex Factory 1 patches from the RhodesChroma web site to my Polaris from my sequencer and it wiped everything and inserted default patches only. If I create new sounds and save them internally that works, so there isn't a battery issue. On the Polaris the Midi Panel switch for In and Out are set properly. When I send the Factory 2 patches I get the same result. Same with the Michael DeAngelis patches. Polaris can send and receive midi note and CC info just fine otherwise. Has been working great up until this event. I connected it to an older Mac running Galaxy Editors and can't communicate with the Polaris. Midi channel is set to the same on both.
Anyone have any ideas why the SysEx transmission with Galaxy isn't working, or why the Factory Patches from the Chroma website just sent default patches?
Paul DeRocco  · Sat, 15 Jan 2011 20:13:22 -0800
When I decode the .syx files that are supplied on this site, I see that they consist of the following:
- 132 commands to store the currently active sound, whatever it is, into all locations in memory. This ensures that an object exists for each program, even if it doesn't have the right stuff in it yet. It is simpler than opening the object, deleting it, and then creating it.
- 132 pairs of commands to open each program object, and then write appropriate data into it.
If you start out with some recognizeable sound that obviously isn't the default program, and after attempting to load the .syx file you get 132 copies of this particular sound, I could understand that: it would suggest that the process got part way through and bombed out. But I can't imagine how any malfunction in the load process would result in default programs.
I'm wondering if this could be a timing issue. The command to open an object in the Polaris's memory returns a Sysex response, so I'm wondering if not waiting for the response, and immediately blasting in the command to write the object causes the latter to be missed. It's been years since I played with these sysex commands, so for all I know it works perfectly, or not at all.
David Clarke [21030085++] · Sat, 22 Jan 2011 08:19:45 -0500
Bill - as noted in the sysex writeup in the Polaris section of the Chroma site [Polaris Sysex], different versions of firmware can behave differently for different commands. The first step to figuring out what might be happening will be to figure out which version of firmware is active in the Polaris you have there.
This can be determined by pressing LF-D-2 and watching to see which of the numbered buttons flash. For instance, if you are running Rev 9 the "9" button will flash.
Depending on which version you have, I can send you a 'helper' SYSEX file which can further help to diagnose where the problem is coming in (e.g., specifically which of the steps are having problems).
Bill Lacey · Tue, 25 Jan 2011 00:27:26 -0500
Thanks for helping out! I checked the firmware and the "5" button is flashing. I appreciate any suggestions you have.
John Leimseider [21030434++] · Tue, 25 Jan 2011 09:51:02 -0700
For sure the first thing I'd do is update it to rev 9 star. The star indicates the rev 5 velocity table (approximately) with the rev 9 features. It will come up as rev 9 on the firmware check...
Chris Ryan  · Tue, 25 Jan 2011 17:38:47 -0800
Is this the version that's currently on the site? That looks like just plain old Rev 9. Does anyone have the binary files for "9 star"? If so send them on and I'll post them.
John Leimseider [21030434++] · Tue, 25 Jan 2011 22:38:28 -0700
I'm not sure what's on the site. I have the 9 star files in 2 different formats, for 2 27128 or 4 2764... I'll send them tomorrow...
Doug Terrebonne  · Tue, 25 Jan 2011 23:25:10 -0800
I don't notice much difference between my Polaris with Rev 9 vs. the one with Rev 5, are you sure you aren't confusing it with the Chroma which did have some special velocity table ROMs?
Chris Ryan  · Tue, 25 Jan 2011 23:29:27 -0800
See David Clarke's Keyboard Velocity Curves.
Doug Terrebonne  · Wed, 26 Jan 2011 02:50:08 -0800
That's about the Chroma, not Polaris, correct?
Chris Ryan  · Wed, 26 Jan 2011 06:38:06 -0800
Correct. Just in reference to your comment about the Chroma having "some special velocity table ROMs."
John Leimseider [21030434++] · Wed, 26 Jan 2011 08:06:27 -0700
No, the Polaris definitely had a second version 9 to change the velocity table… Here are the bin files (labeled .Fen) for the 4 ROM version… You can just change the extension to .bin if your programmer software needs to have a specific extension to tell it what format it is…
I suspect Steve Grom will remember this software change… 9 Star…
David Clarke [21030085++] · Sat, 29 Jan 2011 11:45:07 -0500
... No, the Polaris definitely had a second version 9 to change the velocity table… Here are the bin files (labeled .Fen) for the 4 ROM version…
I can confirm (via binary comparison) that the files recently posted to the list do differ slightly from the files currently on the site.
The difference is isolated to one small area in out of the whole.
Chris Ryan  · Mon, 17 Jan 2011 22:49:55 -0800
Begin forwarded message:
Date: January 17, 2011 10:41:00 PM PST
Subject: Chromas for sale
[...] I have 3 chromas I would like to sell. One is an original Arp Chroma. They are all located in Los Angeles, CA. I would prefer a local buyer unless the they are willing to pay for a professional packing service.
- This Chroma is in good shape. All voices work. cosmetics are very good. It has Midi. $2750
- This one needs work. I believe the power supply is faulty. Very good cosmetic condition. Best offer.
- This unit also needs work. This is an Original Arp Chroma (not a Rhodes / Fender) Best offer.
Reply to: [email address removed]
Paul DeRocco  · Mon, 17 Jan 2011 23:57:36 -0800
Any idea why this isn't on eBay?
Chris Ryan  · Tue, 18 Jan 2011 12:22:38 -0800
The seller writes, "I really dislike dealing with eBay. Between paypal and eBay fees, those costs really add up. Also my preference right now is for a local buyer. If someone really wants them and is happy to cover shipping and packing fees (which will not be trivial) then that's fine too."
Doug Terrebonne  · Wed, 19 Jan 2011 17:51:16 -0800
Chris, were you able to find out the serial numbers for these? I asked but didn't get a response. Also the "ARP Chroma" could be a regular Rhodes one with an ARP panel (there was a guy selling one the list years ago).
Chris Ryan  · Wed, 19 Jan 2011 18:21:26 -0800
The seller writes, "I'll get the serial numbers before they sell. I'll be back in town soon and try to get those for the site."
As for ARP Chromas, perhaps my memory fails but I'm not sure it's possible that there are authentic instances of these. Phil Dodds said, "We trashed the first design architecture and started over, but the concept was solid. We wanted to 'do it right,' but under the conditions of ARP's collapse, we couldn't do it. At CBS we had a shot at doing it right, which was what kept us going." If this is the case, why were some of the components with a presumably new architecture branded ARP? I can understand the case—perhaps for nostalgic reasons, though it's never been clear to me that the likes of this was not just a user mod years after the fact—but the voice boards?
Mark Yurkovic · Thu, 20 Jan 2011 10:57:37 +0000
sigh.............I wish I had the money they're asking for it..........I was an original Chroma owner back in 1984............used it all the way through music school. I went to Berklee........... Had it for years, just couldn't keep it running, or find anyone that could........... Now I collect synths, have just about one of everything, but a Chroma!!! I have a Polaris I found for $100 and it works great...........
Maybe someday......but they seem to go for several thousands of dollars now.......
Tom Moravansky  · Sat, 22 Jan 2011 23:25:13 -0500
I am cleaning out my boxes after a move and found my Chroma power supply. This started life as an original PS that was upgraded based on the various tech notes posted at rhodeschroma.com. Included are new caps, bigger resistors, new regulators, and an additional board with a few trim pots used to tweak the voltages. Basically following along on the power section of Martin Straw's guide. It was working fine before I swapped it out for a new supply when I was adding the CC+ board, CPS kit, and other things.
If someone wants this as a replacement or backup or whatever, make me an offer that includes shipping (about 10 lbs) from Maryland, 21771 US.
Greg Montalbano, Analog Synthesizer Service · Sun, 23 Jan 2011 17:21:25 -0800
I'm performing service on a customer's Chroma with the CC+ upgrade. Normally, when servicing a Chroma I plug in a Syntech MIDI device for testing purposes & easy loading/saving of patches; on this unit, the Syntech is not responding to either MIDI In or Out. On the CC+ page, I find the following:
"The CC+ will work in all Chromas and all Expanders, and maintains compatibility (i.e., full operation) with any/all existing MIDI interfaces which use the Chroma port (e.g., EES, JL Cooper, Syntech). Firmware has also maintained compatibility so that interfaces (such as the Syntech) will continue to operate properly, even alongside the built-in MIDI interface."
Is there some setting of the CC+ that is necessary for this to work, or should it be plug-and-play?
The Chroma is otherwise functioning perfectly.
David Clarke [21030085++] · Sun, 23 Jan 2011 21:31:51 -0500
There should be nothing 'special' required beyond what is needed to use the Syntech interface with a non-CC+ Chroma. Specifically - the Chroma Port needs to be functional and attached to the Syntech interface.
Assuming that is done, [Set Split] should enter programming mode for the Syntech interface. If that is achieved (as seen with the "Pr" in the large, two-digit LED display), then the Syntech interface is running and can communicate with the Chroma. The standard Syntech parameters can then be confirmed/adjusted to ensure MIDI communication. If the "Pr" does not come up in the display - the the connections to the ribbon connector for the Chroma Port (from the I/O board to the rear panel) can be double checked.
Greg Montalbano, Analog Synthesizer Service · Sun, 23 Jan 2011 21:23:08 -0800
Thanks. I'll get out the scope & start checking the cable connector.
Bruce Sklar  · Fri, 28 Jan 2011 13:08:22 -0500
I just saw a demo of the iPad running touchosc controlling a chroma, No instruction though was given. Before I drive myself nuts trying to research this, does anybody know how to set this up? I do have the cc+ w/midi interface, a macbook pro and a motu fastlane, as i noticed something about wifi... I also have had success driving Reason with a wii controller and a third party midi utility ( major fun but a battery hog) if its like that.
Marais · Sat, 29 Jan 2011 21:36:12 -0500
Here is Matrix's original post.
I'm sure he will chime in as well.
Matrix  · Sat, 29 Jan 2011 20:02:26 -0800
I'm here. Let me know if you have any questions. BTW, I redid the template. Sliders where the best for selecting modulation sources and destinations. I have a new template with toggles but haven't tested it yet. I can share it if anyone wants to try it out.
Matrix  · Sat, 29 Jan 2011 20:02:42 -0800
Sliders weren't the best...
Marais · Sun, 30 Jan 2011 13:52:20 -0500
Did you end up going wireless to MIDI btw Matrix ?
Matrix  · Sun, 30 Jan 2011 11:32:56 -0800
Yes. I have the prototype of The Missing Link. Sliders are better than knobs on the iPad. You can jump values as well. You can't do that with hardware sliders and knobs.
Marais · Sun, 30 Jan 2011 15:50:33 -0500
not cheap, by any means are they?
Go to next message in thread, February 2011