Update 2015-10-23: The latest release of El Capitan 10.11.1 that was released yesterday fixes the auvaltool. It seems like a lot of other plugin manufacturers had the same problems as well.
Unfortunately one of my favourite plugins, RC-24 by Native Instruments, does not validate in the new auvaltool that comes with El Capitan. This does not only apply to the Reverb Classics bundle, but to many plugins in NI’s portfolio. The recommended “solution” from NI is a hack by a forum member which simply is finding an older version of auvaltool and replace the new one. I find it very strange that NI or anyone else didn’t notice this in the developer test releases of El Capitan.
RC-24 is a faithful recreation of the Lexicon 224 digital reverb, the only reverb I use.
The kit is not as advanced as the Forat or JL Cooper ones, on the other hand it’s just a fraction of the price. It simply has a GM midi-mapping and supports only note on/off. It’s only midi in, not out.
It works by simply hijacking the signals between the cpu-board and voice board of the LinnDrum. This is done by placing a new midi board inside the LinnDrum, disconnect the flat cable between the LinnDrum’s cpu board and voice board an connect it to the midi board instead. From the midi board a similar flat cable is then connected to the voice board. The kit comes complete with all mounts and a midi connector and no non-reversible modification is required on the LinnDrum. You have to solder power and ground to the kit, but thats all.
The first midi board I got had some kind of problem, when the LinnDrum was turned on, all leds lit up and the numbers 00 were shown. This was very scary – had I destroyed my LinnDrum? Panic! I emailed Dtronics who were very helpful and immediately sent me a new board. I installed it and it has been working flawlessly ever since. I recommed these guys, the do great products and are very supportive!
I decided not to write a step-by-step guide of my installation since there’s already a nice one at Dtronics web site.
Last night I upgraded my Juno-60 with the MDCB60 midi kit from D-tronics. Even though I prefer not to use midi, there are situations where midi is nice to have, for example when doing quick sketches that you want to save, or try different sounds without manually having to play the same sequence over and over.
The DCB port
The Juno-60 was an upgraded version of the Juno-6, with the main difference that it had memory section, just like it’s main competitor Polysix. Another addition was the DCB port, which was Rolands predecessor to midi. Remember, this was back in 1982 and midi was first introduced in 1983. Before midi, Roland had DCB, Oberheim had it’s own proprietary protocol etc. Too my knowledge, only the Juno-60 and some of the Jupiter 8s had DCB . The JX-3P was the first Roland synth with midi, so DCB didn’t live more than a year or two. We should be thankful that the manufacturers actually managed to agree on the midi standard, that still lives 32 years later, even though it has its flaws.
Luckily, DCB is quite primitive and therefore simple to convert to midi. The MDCB60 only adds note on/note off, so there’s no pitch bend, program change, arpeggiator sync etc.
The installation was very straight forward:
Open the Juno
Remove the DCB-connector from the back
Cut one zip tie so the DCB-connector reaches outside the synth
Unsolder all wires
Insulate the green and purple wires
Solder the wires to the MDCB60
Screw it to the back of the Juno-60
Add a new zip tie
Solder the wire from the MDCB60 to the gate pin on the Juno-60 board for 5V power
There’s a video here describing the installation, however, they seem to take the 5V power from another place than the gate pin.
The installation took less than an hour in total, and it worked straight away! I recommend this kit if you need basic midi on your Juno-60.
I’m not a big fan of software synthesizers, at least not for my kind of music. For effects however, I’ll have to settle with the software counterparts – I simply don’t have the cash and space for an SSL desk and other vintage high end gear.
What I’m trying to do is to find the best software counterparts: channel strips, tape emulation, chorus, reverb, delay etc. UAD has all this, but their weak hardware and pricing would set me back a lot of money, which I’d rather spend on hardware synths and drum machines. For example, the cheapest UAD PCIe SOLO, which you can find for $200 used, only allows 17 SSL channel strips at 24/44.1 – I’m recording at 24/96.
I found that IK has a lot of vintage emulations, and the last days JRRshop had a 50% sale. So this is what I bought:
IK T-RackS British Studio Series
A bundle containing the British Channel (SSL 4000 channel strip), the White Channel (SSL 9000 channel strip) and the Bus Compressor (SSL 4000 bus compressor).
The BSS has had very good reviews and is one of the top rated ones along with UAD. Waves SSL has a similar bundle, but it’s now almost ten years old and a bit behind in the competition. Waves has had their bundle on sale for $249 lately. I got the BSS bundle on JRRPlugins for $71.82 – a steal (RRP $169)!
I honestly can’t compare the BSS it to the real hardware, since I’ve only spent a couple of minutes at a real SSL 4000 desk. But the plugins do their job, and the lack of a graphic eq feels liberating and forces you to use the ears (you can cheat by adding a standard Logic eq after to see it graphically). By the way, even though IK has updated the British Channel GUI, it’s still looks cartoonish and is the ugliest in the competition.
Browsing the IK Custom Shop application I found the Tape Echo plugin that’s a highly praised emulation of the Echoplex EP3 tape delay. I got it for $31.78 RRP (€74.99). All IK products have a free 14 day trial, which is a bit dangerous…
Having no experience in real tape delay, it’s hard to judge whether it’s authentic or not, but it has gotten very nice reviews. Looking at this video for example, I immediately recognise its sound and behaviour.
The GUI is very true to the original, and the naming of the knobs can be a bit confusing. Volume is the wet/dry mix, and Sustain is the number of echoes. Differences to the original is that it’s stereo and has a BPM sync option. Clicking the Echoflex logo reveals additional controls for Rec Level, Tape Wear, Wow/Flutter & Noise.