Juno-6 bought, Juno-106 for sale

I just bought a Juno-6 from someone in the hood. It will replace the Juno-106 I bought less than two weeks ago. So far I’m very impressed by the Juno-6! It doesn’t have midi or polyphonic portamento (is it really useful?) but it does have an arpeggiator! And it sounds fantastic! More on the sonic differences in a later post.

Some quick history:
1982: Roland launches the first Juno ever – the Juno 6 – a six voice single DCO analog
1982: Because of the Korg Polysix and it’s ability to save patches, the Juno-60 is introduced which is a Juno-6 upgraded with patch memory. It also adds DCB (Roland’s own pre-midi standard)
1984: The Juno-106 replaces the Juno-60. The Juno-106 has midi and portamento, but the arpeggiator is gone. Also, some of the chips are now integrated. Time will later tell that these chips are prone to break

The Juno-106 is now for sale.

Roland Juno-106 bought, JX-8P and TX81Z sold

Today I bought a Juno-106 in very good condition. It works perfectly, cosmetically I would say it’s 8/10. Selling the JX-8P was a bit hard for me, but I believe four JX-engines are enough. I can still get the same sounds on the JX-10 and MKS-70. The TX81Z has Lately Bass, but it’s nothing compared to the TX-816. If it wasn’t for the lack of rack space I’d probably kept the TX81Z.

Back to the Juno-106 – my first impression is that it sounds very early 80’s, and that’s something good. My second impressions is how simple it is to program with it’s sliders and simple structure. It’s obvious that the Juno-106 was engineered before the FM boom and that it’s analog and proud of it. Compare this to the JX that has a lot of presets that mimics

DX7 presets like marimba and electric pianos. The JX is like an ashamed analog that wanted to be born digital! All respect to the JX – it is a great analog whether it wanted to be or not back in the mid 80’s! It’s just a matter of programming, and that matter is actually the second problem with the JX. The Juno has very hands on programming, the JX uses buttons and menus, if you want sliders you have to get the overly-expensive PG-800 programmer or a Behringer BCR-2000. The BCR-2000 works great, but it’s still not the same thing.

The reasons explained above are the reasons the Junos are more expensive than JXs. Remember, that when new, the pricing was the other way around! The JX is technically more superior with it’s two oscillators per voice, more high end and more complicated. It’s this complicity that is the problem! I like them both – in different ways!

Miami Vice snare for Drumtraks, LM-2 and other drum machines


Today I spent a couple of hours converting a wav-sample of Jan Hammer’s snare drum to my Drumtraks.
Download it here VICE-SNARE.ZIP, and read more about it below (this is the readme.txt included in the zip).


Jan Hammer's Miami Vice snare installed in my Drumtraks
Jan Hammer’s Miami Vice snare installed in my Drumtraks

Jan Hammer’s Miami Vice snare for vintage drum machines

This is the legendary snare that Jan Hammer used on several Miami Vice tunes like the Main Theme, Chase, Last Flight, Tubbs and Valerie, to name a few…

I’ve heard rumours that Jan himself sampled a real snare and put it in his Linn LM-2.

A couple of years ago I found a file called VICE-SNARE.WAV in a Miami Vice forum some years ago and saved it on my hard drive. This wav is a heavily reverberated recording, probably from the output of a Linn LM-2. Getting the original EPROM data would be a dream come true, but this will have to do!

These are the steps I’ve performed:

1) Resampled the file to 24 000 Hz, which is the normal sample rate
2) Cut away the first 4096 samples, because this is the length that the snare has in the Linn LM-2 and SCI Drumtraks. I discovered that this is just the length needed, the rest is the reverb tail.
3) Converted the wav to the special audio format that these drum machines used using WAV2DMX from Electrongate
4) Saved the final result to a bin file. This can be burnt to a 2732 EPROM if you have a Linn LM-2. For the convenience of the Drumtraks users, I also joined it with the Linn LM-1 rim (downloaded from Electrongate) that can be burnt to a 2764 EPROM. On the Drumtraks, the snare and rim shares the same EPROM.

The sample has a very abrupt end, and this is probably how it originally was. Jan used reverb, like most engineers did at that time, to mask this. If you listen to the recordings, you can hear that there’s a lot of reverb on every one of them.
Another thing that is important is the tuning. Both the LM-2 and the Drumtraks allows tuning, and you can hear on Jan’s recordings that the tuning varies from song to song.

VICE-SNARE.WAV – the original file found on the Miami Vice forum. This is probably sampled from his drum machine (Linn LM-2) and fed in to a reverb unit.
VICE-SNARE cut.WAV – this is what’s left of the above file, the first 4096 samples.
VICE-SNARE.BIN – the above file converted to the drum machine format. This should be used if you have an LM-2.
VICE-SNARE_LM1-RIM.BIN – the above file joined with the rim sound of the LM-1 (this is not sampled, it’s the original binary data). This should be used if you have a Drumtraks
VICE-SNARE demo.mp3 – short demo tune recorded from my Drumtraks. First a beat with a reverberated snare. Then all the possible tunings of the snare are demonstrated.

Credits to Jan Hammer for creating it in the first place.
Credits to the guy who uploaded the

Converted by Carl Jakobsson, http://www.nattvard.com/cmi , 10th November 2013

Repairing an E-MU Emax having a key always on

I’m about to sell my Emax since I don’t use it very much, and it takes up a lot space. It did have one problem though, that I hadn’t looked into at all. The problem is that as soon as the Emax had loaded a disc, the E4 note was always on. I suspected it had something to do with the that particular key, and hoped that maybe some cleaning with alcohol would do the trick.

I turned the Emax upside down and opened the bottom lid. I must say it’s very easy to open, less than ten screws and then you have access to almost everything. The key error was easily spotted as soon as I got the lid off. The spring wasn’t in position, so I simply put it back, did a little cleaning of the Emax, and put the lid back on. Worked perfectly.

This is the spring that needed to be put back in place. After doing that, that note wasn't always on anymore. A very easy fix.
This is the spring that needed to be put back in place. After doing that, that note wasn’t always on anymore. A very easy fix.

So, if you ever hear about an Emax with an always-on-key, it’s probably a very easy five minute fix.

Some other stuff worth commenting regarding my Emax.

  1.  It has the revision 3 CPU board, I’ve read that this is the easiest one to upgrade to SCSI.
  2. The Emax was probably factory upgraded to SE, all the SE markings are separate stickers as you can see on some photos. The serial number of the Emax is fairly low, so this is one more evidence that this is an upgraded non-SE.

Yamaha TX-816 arrived

This mean looking Yamaha TX-816 just arrived! The TX-816 is a monstrous FM synth from the 80’s. It’s actually eight (!) Yamaha DX7s in a 4U rack.

Each “DX7” is called a TF1 module, the TX-816 has eight TF1s. Two cheaper versions were also sold, the TX-216 and TX-416 with two respectively four TF1s. Those were of course upgradable to TX-816 by adding additional TF1 modules.  When new in 1984 a TX-816 cost more than $5000. I payed less than $400 which is a bargain.

View video on YouTube (opens external site in new window)

This particular unit was used on the big hit “Highland” from the early nineties. I don’t know if that’s good or bad. It was a bargain anyway, got it for a good price since the second module shows error number 4, which actually is no worse than low battery. In other words, the internal battery must be unsoldered and replaced.