"The Chroma is a heavy instrument to program." – Oscar Peterson, Keyboard interview, October 1983
And so it is. Well, there are thousands of remedies to this problem available here, from the five (maybe six) original factory banks to the Chroma Cult banks from the mid-1980s, to more recent offerings from a few current Chroma owners. The patches are supplied as Syntech/Chroma Cult sysex files — mostly in 50-patch banks — in a variety of compression formats (Zip for Windows and Mac OS X; TAR GZIP for Mac OS X/Unix). Many are also available as Galaxy librarian files, compressed in older StuffIt format, for anyone still using that librarian on "classic" Mac OS. Both sysex and Galaxy can be translated to other formats using the Patch Conversion Tools.
Please send me any patches you'd like to share!
Please note that these patches cannot be posted elsewhere without permission of the authors.
Files and Info
5 banks provided by CBS/Fender. Sets 1-3 shipped with the Chroma (at least mine , bought in late 1983); 4 and 5 were available on a separate cassette. The patch names are included in the Galaxy banks; see also Factory Patch Descriptions and Program Printouts. The factory sets are also available as a sound file in cassette interface format (thanks to David Clarke [21030085++]).
- factory1.wav (900K)
- factory2.wav (900K)
- factory3.wav (900K)
- factory4.wav (900K)
- factory5.wav (900K)
Mark Smith [2103-PT-02+] writes, "I created most of the patches in Factory Sets 4 and 5. (I do not know of a set 6.)" [February 2008]
These 11 banks, submitted by Scott Harper , are mostly from Ian Underwood (of The Mothers of Invention and, later, a well-known film composer—see his Internet Movie Database entry). See Underwood-Harper Patch Info.
47 banks. Ernst writes, "They are as I received them from the former owner of the synth. He traded some banks and developed a few banks ('Film' and 'Studio' as far I know). ... The four factory banks ('WERK1' ... 'WERK4') [the last actually seems to be Factory Set 5] and some traded sound banks ('TAUSCH1' ... 'TAUSCH7') are also included." [June 1999]
Marco Rosano  writes, "I found an old cassette tape that was with my Chroma when I bought it; it is a collection of patches from two programmers called 'Maas-Lupp'. Marco made a list of program names for the set.
The zip file contains three banks of 50 patches.
One bank of 50 patches.
A single bank of patches, which were for sale at this site in the early days but have now been released into the public domain by the author. Walt wrote "they are great patches, a good mix of useful stuff." [May 1999]
42 banks by various authors: see Chroma Cult Patch Credits. Ken Ypparila (supplier of the Syntech MIDI retrofit) set up a club called "Chroma Cult," circa 1986. He had people send in their favourite patches. These banks are the result. I would guess that the "Random" bank may be a "best of." One set (FS06) is also available here in audio format, thanks to David Clarke [21030085++].
FS06.wav (and the corresponding Chroma Cult FS 06.syx file in the archive) is probably Factory Set 6.
3 banks which I received in 1996 from Bruce Paine of Opcode. There don't seem to be any synthesizer-related references to "Synasty" on the Web. It sounds to me like one of the short-lived patch subscription services of the early 1980s.
- synastygalaxy.sit, compressed Galaxy patch library file (rather than separate bank files)
David Clarke [21030085++]
4 patches by David Clarke [21030085++] who was, unfortunately, the only person to contribute as suggested in the April 2003 ChromaTalk thread Chroma Patches. See Dave's descriptions in the sub-thread Some Patches to Share. I haven't bothered to make these available in a Galaxy bank; if you're on a pre-Mac OS X system, use sysex to get them into your Chroma.
"I have a few variations of this sound, which I first put into my Chroma in 1983. The variations are more or less chorusy/flangy, deeper, brighter, etcetera. This one is a nice generic '80s-ish flangey guitar sound. I like it best with the Chroma's mid EQ slider taken down a little. It suits the mid-register of the keyboard best. I've never saved a single sound as a sysex MIDI file from SoundDiver before. I managed to load it back into my Chroma by playing it from the Magix sequencer." [February 2005] David Clarke [21030085++] translated the MIDI format patch to sysex (and a text listing of the parameters) and writes, "This is set up so that if you download it, the sound goes into Program 0 (i.e., the current working patch)." [April 2005]
- paulflangedguitar.txt, parameter listing
- paulflangedguitar.mp3, sample/demo of patch
"Well, I dug thru my archives, and what I'm sending you now is the best I can do until my Chroma is operational again. It has been out of commission since the summer of 1991, so the most recent sysex dump is dated 3/15/91. Since its been 8 or 9 years, I can't remember all the patch numbers as well as I used to, and since my Chroma is silent these days, all I have to go on is just memory, but I remember a few of my favorites, or at least I think I do. If you can get these in your Chroma and poot around a little, I'm sure you'll find the ones I'm describing, even if my numbers are a little off here and there. Check them out, I can't possibly describe them all, but the whole set was a carefully constructed palette for a live band situation, and they served me very well. Some of my favorites:
- #9 - screaming backwards "guitar" lead, use Levers
- #16 - unison/poly mode "clean" guitar good for lead
- #45 - linked to a lower octave of itself heavy cello/bass patch, great for grim symphonic low-end strings
- #50 - gnarly ring modulator/gong noise with serious lever mutation capability, dangerous patch! only one note necessary! its alive!
- #13 - my favorite clavinet, good lever modulation
"I also had a low-end strings linked with a whistling mono melody line, but I don't recall the location, maybe #44(?), that patch always turned a lot of ears in the audience (and the band). Look around, there's organs, electric pianos, apreggiated electronic dots flying everywhere, synth horns, clavinets, eerie choir, fake guitars, and many lush, Chroma style pads, you'll have to find them with your ears, at least until I get mine running again. Don't forget to test Levers 1 & 2 on these patches, I used those little flappers on just about everything. I always liked #32 a lot, it's a good rock band synth sound. I used all these patches at a really loud level in live situations, if its up loud enough, usually 1 to 3 notes at a time was plenty! I always liked simple notes played really loud, as opposed to standard keyboard 10 finger chords. These patches are too powerful to play lots and lots of notes with. Regular piano or organ chops would be too thick, so I liked to keep things incredibly simple, and alarmingly loud." [August 1999]
Thanks to David Clarke [21030085++] for translating Kurt's patches from Club MIDI PROLIB format to Syntech sysex.