Discuss & Share your Audio Production, Mastering, Post Production Techniques here.

My travails with the Roland R-5 Human Rhythm Composer

My travails with the Roland R-5 Human Rhythm Composer

Postby Directionless » Fri Nov 14, 2014 7:01 pm

(I didn't know which category to put this is.. its kind of production related. Its really a gear topic though)

So I found a Roland R-5 drum machine for $10 bucks at a thrift store. It was beat to death. The drum pads were all stuck. It has been smashed on so much that the inside base plate was bent. And someone had spilled soda or something all over it -- it was inside the motherboard and casing. And lastly, no power supply. These power supplies are propriety 10+/10-/ground 3-prong plugs that are completely non-standard. I wasn't sure I wanted to try to buy one from Roland for $50 considering I didn't know if the unit even worked, but I called Roland anyway and they said they don't even supply replacements for those anymore. So that was the situation at the outset. And here is what I have done since:

I cleaned up all the insides best I could. I cleaned the motherboard with q-tips and rubbing alcohol. I washed all the intermediary panels. I hammered the base plate underneath the drum pads back into shape. The electronics all looked in tact. None of the capacitors looked burnt out.

Then I ended up doing something really ghetto-tech on this beast. I hardwired power to the motherboard with solder. 12+/12-/ground from a PC power supply. I had the PW plugged into a powerstrip in the garage expecting sparks or a pop and smoke. But to my surprise, she powered on!

I plugged in headphones and was able to jam on this thing. All the drum pads worked with velocity sensitivity! Also plugged in the midi and sequenced something in Renoise and all that functionality was there. Awesome!

Now for the next hurdle...

As long as I was plugged in with headphones, it sounds great. But as soon as I plugged it into any line input, whether from the headphone out or the line-outs, then I got a really bad electronic hum -- no good for recording as is. I tried plugging it into various amps, my Behringer mixer, my PC, etc. All electric hum. So either that excess voltage is transferring power to those lines or there was some kind of ground loop issue. I tried plugging it into the same power strip as my other gear and different power outlets -- all the same result.

And now the ghetto conclusion...

I bought a low quality Memorex wireless microphone transmitter and receiver. The transmitter is just a black box with a monaural 1/8 jack input. I'm guessing It is transmitting at 22khz. There is a very prominent tape-hiss transmission as the only artifacting. Much preferable to the electric hum. By ending the ground loop, or not connecting a circuit for the feedback to travel via the audio line, I now have a 22khz wireless transmission of the beatbox into my mixer. :P

Samples:

http://directionless.mynoisebleeds.com/host/r-5_wireless.mp3
http://directionless.mynoisebleeds.com/host/r-5_wireless_4-bitcrush.mp3

Thanks to Organic IO and my buddy Kevin for feedback and suggestions while troubleshooting this. Maybe someday, I'll figure out how to run it clean with the line outputs without the terrible loud hum. In the meantime, I've got some lofi drums ready for sequencing and running through other midi devices.
User avatar
Directionless
Insomniac
Insomniac
 
Posts: 247
Joined: Thu Jun 07, 2007 11:36 pm
Location: Utah, USA

Re: My travails with the Roland R-5 Human Rhythm Composer

Postby organic io » Wed Nov 19, 2014 4:24 pm

:-D

Dude I still think the buzz is from the +2 extra volts, but I'm so tickled that you made it work and found a ghetto method to eliminate the buzz. Now that's my kind of setup :) Unfortunately I haven't been able to listen to the mp3s yet, but I will comment as soon as I have a chance!

P.S.. One more idea for eliminating the hum in a less ghetto way, is to try one of those guitar DI (direct input) boxes.
They are typically used to convert the output of a guitar or guitar amp to XLR for a long cable run, for example across an auditorium or church.

DUDE!!!!

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/DI400P

Sweetwater knows that grounding issues and hum can be a problem at live gigs. The DI400P sports a ground lift switch to kill unwanted ground loops and hum.


That's your solution right there my friend. :)

I know it's a little more expensive than a thrift store solution, but sometimes perfection hurts :)
User avatar
organic io
Compo Admin
Compo Admin
 
Posts: 1535
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 11:55 am

Re: My travails with the Roland R-5 Human Rhythm Composer

Postby Directionless » Wed Nov 19, 2014 5:14 pm

organic io wrote::-D

Dude I still think the buzz is from the +2 extra volts, but I'm so tickled that you made it work and found a ghetto method to eliminate the buzz. Now that's my kind of setup :) Unfortunately I haven't been able to listen to the mp3s yet, but I will comment as soon as I have a chance!

P.S.. One more idea for eliminating the hum in a less ghetto way, is to try one of those guitar DI (direct input) boxes.
They are typically used to convert the output of a guitar or guitar amp to XLR for a long cable run, for example across an auditorium or church.

DUDE!!!!

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/DI400P

Sweetwater knows that grounding issues and hum can be a problem at live gigs. The DI400P sports a ground lift switch to kill unwanted ground loops and hum.


That's your solution right there my friend. :)

I know it's a little more expensive than a thrift store solution, but sometimes perfection hurts :)


Thanks man, I think you're right. $20 bucks is a very reasonable solution. That will give me mono. Another $20 for qty x2 so I can output the R-5 in stereo. Plus the $15 I already spent on the wireless transmitter. Suddenly, a $50 replacement power cable isn't seeming like such a bad option! grrrr. In for a penny in for a pound though. I already have the hard-wired power and had to cut the R-5 casing to produce a new exit hole. :P

I think i'll order one of those DI400Ps and see how well it works. Thanks again!

Wait, here is one with 2 inputs for stereo:

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/HD400

So I'll have a go at this. I'm still not convinced this will for sure do it as my issue is my ghetto/incorrect power wiring, not typical of something like a guitar i/o hum. There is also this device: http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/HumX but I have no idea that will work for sure either so I will gamble on the cheaper option.

To listen to the R-5, you can just hear it in this demo. http://directionless.mynoisebleeds.com/host/3SynthStack_plusR5.mp3 The beats are in mono of course, transmitting wirelessly to the mixer, along with my 3 synths stacked on one sequence.
User avatar
Directionless
Insomniac
Insomniac
 
Posts: 247
Joined: Thu Jun 07, 2007 11:36 pm
Location: Utah, USA

Re: My travails with the Roland R-5 Human Rhythm Composer

Postby chunter » Thu Nov 20, 2014 1:04 pm

DI's are good to have around even if you stop using it for a while, but if you think the problem is over-voltage, you might be best served putting a resistor on the DC side of the power line.

At least now you have enough taken care of to make us a future pack. ;)
chunter
Insomniac
Insomniac
 
Posts: 258
Joined: Mon Jun 09, 2008 10:37 pm
Location: United States

Re: My travails with the Roland R-5 Human Rhythm Composer

Postby Directionless » Thu Nov 20, 2014 3:08 pm

chunter wrote:DI's are good to have around even if you stop using it for a while, but if you think the problem is over-voltage, you might be best served putting a resistor on the DC side of the power line.

At least now you have enough taken care of to make us a future pack. ;)


Thanks for the input. To put a resistor on would be my first, but not a bad way to learn more of this DIY electronics. :)

And yeah, that's what people were saying in reviews -- that DIs are good to have in your toolkit.

As for the pack, maybe we'll hold off until I get a Behringer ADA82000 next year so I can record clean digital into my EMU 1212m via ADAT without the extra step of the analog mixer.

I'm really enjoying the live gear sequencing, but right now the lack of multiple digital I/Os doesn't allow for adding software effects per channel. So I'm limited to the straight input/output with only effects on the master. Not necessarily a bad thing, but limited compared to how accustomed we are to filtering and effecting individual samples/VSTis per channel.

Also, the R-5 is just rom based beats anyway. But it does seem to provide a more full sound straight out of the box than using samples.

When it is all setup the way I would like, I'll be able to track in Renoise with live gear and samples/VSTis, all on their own channels/effects chains. Then if I could tackle mapping some of the MIDI CC parameters on the synths, it'll really be swell.
User avatar
Directionless
Insomniac
Insomniac
 
Posts: 247
Joined: Thu Jun 07, 2007 11:36 pm
Location: Utah, USA

Re: My travails with the Roland R-5 Human Rhythm Composer

Postby organic io » Mon Nov 24, 2014 1:11 am

Directionless wrote:To listen to the R-5, you can just hear it in this demo. http://directionless.mynoisebleeds.com/host/3SynthStack_plusR5.mp3 The beats are in mono of course, transmitting wirelessly to the mixer, along with my 3 synths stacked on one sequence.


Sweet, enjoyed that one. Nice dark atmosphere. The drums sound nice and oldschooley and good. And I'm just tickled that you got it working. Great job man :)
User avatar
organic io
Compo Admin
Compo Admin
 
Posts: 1535
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 11:55 am

Re: My travails with the Roland R-5 Human Rhythm Composer

Postby Directionless » Mon Dec 01, 2014 10:44 am

The Behringer HD400 Hum Destroyer fixed it!! :)

Wish I had time to play around with it now. But it works. Only thing is it cuts the DB down quite a bit, but otherwise, totally clean! Yay! Thanks for the recommendation.
User avatar
Directionless
Insomniac
Insomniac
 
Posts: 247
Joined: Thu Jun 07, 2007 11:36 pm
Location: Utah, USA

Re: My travails with the Roland R-5 Human Rhythm Composer

Postby Directionless » Wed Dec 03, 2014 5:32 pm

Directionless wrote:The Behringer HD400 Hum Destroyer fixed it!! :)

Wish I had time to play around with it now. But it works. Only thing is it cuts the DB down quite a bit, but otherwise, totally clean! Yay! Thanks for the recommendation.


The R-5 in that same synth stack clean in stereo.

http://directionless.mynoisebleeds.com/host/3SynthStack_plusR5-stereo.mp3

Well, not clean in the effects sense. Clean in that the hum is gone and I'm recording proper line in in stereo. Threw some delay on it.

Also since Renoise won't let me tweak Guru tool parameters on the Juno during 'record to disk live', I plugged my headphones into the mixer board out and played with the VCO filter with the Juno alpha dial while recording.
User avatar
Directionless
Insomniac
Insomniac
 
Posts: 247
Joined: Thu Jun 07, 2007 11:36 pm
Location: Utah, USA

Re: My travails with the Roland R-5 Human Rhythm Composer

Postby organic io » Thu Dec 04, 2014 12:06 am

Directionless wrote:The Behringer HD400 Hum Destroyer fixed it!! :)

Wish I had time to play around with it now. But it works. Only thing is it cuts the DB down quite a bit, but otherwise, totally clean! Yay! Thanks for the recommendation.


Dude! Awesome! Don't think of it just as a power supply fix for the drum machine, but a tool that you can use in future applications too :)
User avatar
organic io
Compo Admin
Compo Admin
 
Posts: 1535
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 11:55 am

Re: My travails with the Roland R-5 Human Rhythm Composer

Postby organic io » Thu Dec 04, 2014 12:11 am

Directionless wrote:http://directionless.mynoisebleeds.com/host/3SynthStack_plusR5-stereo.mp3

Well, not clean in the effects sense. Clean in that the hum is gone and I'm recording proper line in in stereo. Threw some delay on it.

Also since Renoise won't let me tweak Guru tool parameters on the Juno during 'record to disk live', I plugged my headphones into the mixer board out and played with the VCO filter with the Juno alpha dial while recording.


Awesome! Listening now. It sounds really good. I'm not usually a sucker for vintage drum machine sounds, but you make this sound really good... Hmm, maybe I should tinker around with something like this... :) Nah, if I get into a project, I'd much rather make a floppy drive synth.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lx_vWkv50uk <---- Beautiful!!! When it gets to the transition around :45, it gives me chills.

:)

P.S... Let me know if you need any more electronics DIY help, it was fun helping you figure this out!

Noow if I could just get this malware off my coworker's computer. Worst I've ever seen. Right now I'm on my 10th anti-malware software and it's still showing signs of infection. Might require re-install of Windows :(


OK, just random facts time now, I decided to write an email to MrSolidSnake745, the creator of that and many nice floppy drive videos on youtube, asking him if he would sample 3 or 4 octaves of 1 shot floppy drive notes so we could use it in a samplepack. What do you think: SDCompo floppy drive samples only round!?!?!! :D :D :D :D
User avatar
organic io
Compo Admin
Compo Admin
 
Posts: 1535
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 11:55 am

Return to Production / Mastering

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests