Roland D2 (Vintage) Review

I saw this box for sale cheap a few months ago and snapped it up. I had been looking for some kind of master clock sequencer, actually to replace my Mobius CV sequencer. Nothing wrong with that, except its only 1 voice, and take up 3 U. Would have like a Sequentix Circlon.. but.. way out of my price range Im afraid!

The Roland D2 came out over 10 years ago, and almost immediately died. I suspect because of it biggest flaw.
Its orange… ORANGE I TELL YA! What were they thinking?
d2
It being a low end Roland, they have gone with an annoying segment display, and therefore you have to get used to the fact that h is 4 and s is 5 etc.. and everything is shortened to 3 letters so ntr means metronome, and Ocr is Octave Range.

But.. the good side… its sounds great! masses of patches (256 user) and many many sounds, haven’t counted but maybe 1024?
Most (ok all) of the pre made patterns are horrible, as this is definitely meant as a dance oriented machine, and (again, being Roland) you must scroll thru them to get to the user editable patches… so you end up hearing the 1st, horrible patch many time.. YIKES!
Plus it has a Pre conceieved but useful External Midi config. In that the 7 tracks all send out midi on midi channels 1-7, and the rhythm track send out on channel 10 (as per the GM standard) Per track you can use sound from the internal G2 voice, the External sound module or both! The only stupid thing is that in order to program a part on an external sound module, you wil hear the internal sound, too WHILE you play. On playback, if you have the internal sound muted only the external will sound. This if obviously a bug.

Programming is a tad funky, they expect you to input notes by using the “D-field”, which is their attempt at a kaos pad type controller. Its not however, no feel at all and very unresponsive, often doesn’t trigger at all. However you can plug in a midi keyboard and suddenly it all becomes easy.

You have 2 ways, Real time and Step Time.
Realtime works for me, as you can play in from your external keyboard and delete by pressing the erase combo when you want to remove mistakes. Its fine.. There is quantise that you can apply on the way in, forcing your playing to 8th 16 32s etc.. or apply afterwards… Careful though.. NO UNDO!!!
The problem with this method is that its impossible to edit one note, say you hit a G instead of an F. Only way I have found is to delete that one note and try to drop it in again.
Step recording however, is a right old palaver, but probably no worse than most drum-machines. You know, you scan to the beat you want to add, press a button to audition the note you will add, change it till its correct and hit enter… more to new location for next note. Slow, but precise. The good thing is that all notes are shown on the LED display, so you can go back and edit them after they have been edited. No such luck with the notes you added via Real Time mode… no way to see them buggers.
So its strange that the 2 input methods are not really mix and match…

However, its in performance that this thing has so many amazing options. Things Ive never even thought of, and have NEVER seen on other sequencers, hardware OR software.
On the D2 you can: Drop the track to half speed or up to double speed. Instantly, you can drop the pitch of all instruments an octave, or up an octave, you can play it backwards.. Did you hear that? You can instantly mute all parts apart from the bass drum and bass instrument, You can use the D field to remove notes from a track, Just randomly… You can perform improv snare rolls, with kinda good control, and apply 3 levels of effects. Delay, Reverb and a multi effect (that is mostly distortion and modulation effects, but also has a cool reverse reverb and some ok filters.. These effects can be tweaked live,

There are some other things that I haven’t really gotten to the bottom of yet, more DJ style things, particularly the so called and DJ named “MEGAMIX” function.. Cant see myself using this, but still. Its where you can grab a track from other patterns and try them on the current pattern. I guess if you have lots of variations, you can switch between them. But I haven’t tried this yet.

I am using it to send clock to my analog sequencers (the Doepfer and the Mobius) Im using to sequence my ancient Proteus Orchestral and and my Korg MS2000. My parts on the upcoming Electricity Album are all being done from this.
Incidentally… We have a special PRE-ORDER offer on the new Album.
The album is going to be called PLANT, and as such we have an album on Bandcamp called SEED: This is Pre-mixes and experiments or the Plant album, and Purchase of this album will entitle you to the Plant Album absolutely free, when it is released on CD. (A vinyl version is also in the pipeline, but maybe subjected to a different deal for now)
Head over and get it from https://electricityplant.bandcamp.com/

Its just Kaoss here!

I have just bought 2 Kaoss pads!
Im loving them… with some reservations/wishes!

I have NOT been so interested in them before now, as..
A) Im a guitarist with only 2 hands. Although I have seen the thing where they have been inserted into some guitars, but only as USB trackpads I think…
B) They are quite a bit of desk-space and Ive been more into space-saving racks tingys

Anyway, I have had my eye on the Kaosscilator, as a synth that can add a quick sound into the looping mix, in a pretty improv way, not much pre-planning. But was put off by the original cos of no midi sync…
But along comes the Kaosscilator PRO.

Loving it, great sounds, fast to use. Even Nikolas (5 yr old) is knocking up some pretty cool things on it. It has 8 banks of sounds, divided into leads, Acoustic, basses, chords, soundFX, drums, patterns and vocoder. ALL of the sounds I can use, some for more silly weird shit than others admittedly, but basically no fluff. Picking the right scale took some time for me, nothing quite worked with what I play on the guitar, (not knowing exactly what THAT scale is really!!!) In the end I wrote down MY scale, and found that Aolian was the closest, now it always sounds great with what Im doing on the guitarm and I dont have to worry about WHAT to play ha ha… wonderful time we live in…
I think that the way to save and recall sounds, and loops onto the card is a bit headachy, and I cant quite figure out HOW I wanna do that, Im not sure that Ill save any loops though… well maybe… maybe Ill save some drum loops, if I have made them from scratch… but TBH I dont thank that will happen untill it gets undo… its too easy to make a mistake, for me to want to KEEP that loop… Id much rather make loops on the flay and accept the individual quirks I create.. (rather have UNDO tho… see below) Of course ALL saving ystems are limited when all you have is a little green alpha-numeric screen and not a “proper” LCD with good space to write you patch names…

And then the Kaossilator QUAD.


I got instead of the KP3, cos I was interested in 4 simultaneous effects, as I wanted something to put right on the end of my chain, that EVERYTHING, guitar, guitar synth, loopers (3) and the Kaosscilator would go through.

After a few days play I have a few things I would like Korg to take note of, and CHANGE. In the Kaosscialtor Pro, that can send out a new firmware update, as a fix, with the Quad, it will have to be another version of the box, as the Quad has no midi or USB.. or nutting, so no updating there (See gripes below)!!

Heres the Gripes:

Kaoscilator.
1. NO UNDO!!! Please fix this!! I need to be able to fuck up an over dub on a loop and then go back one step to before the fuck-up. Even if it was only implemented on the PRESS REC button way of recording, so if you didnt like a loop, you could hit del after insted of Rec one more time, and then remove the new layer…
2. Need a quicker way to delete all, to clean slate… currently its Hold Del, press on all tracks then fumble to the little flashinh write button… whats wrong with a long (2 sec) press of Delete? or Delete AND REC for 2 secs?
3. Hissy on the mic channel when you are NOT kaossing, might just be my mike, but why is the sound OK when I am effecting it?
4. The main criticism is something I wouldn’t have known about if I hadn’t read some Kaoss forums. Apparently the ORIGINAL Yellow or pink one, apparently had a feature where you could get ARP PATTERNS… where are they on the PRO version?
Never remove a feature for the PRO version… ADD features!
If this can be implemented, the ARP PATTERNS could be sorted into banks, like the sounds, but maybe you must press ARP while you press a bank to access them?, once pressed, the ARP button could flash showing you are in pattern select mode, you select one, and then its loaded, and maybe the slider selects variations on that Pattern?
5. Just a gripe about the screen… Can anyone else memorize 200 patches… (not something they can fix NOW tho)

KP4
1. Obvious but… no midi!! No midi synch (Tho I must say that’s not a prob as it syncs wonderfully to input audio, and sometimes its nice to take it off auto sync and hand crank the bpm button.. cool) NO the real reason, is that there’s no update possible, so what we have.. we are stuck with!
2. Why OH WHY??? Cant they have kept the KP3 “record touch” function (or whatever its called). Being able to record your finger movements and play them back would ahve solved for me the “well you are a guitarist” thing… BUT.. I hear that on the KP3 its not possible to sync to the beat via midi or audio, this is silly, I would LOVE to be able to record a finger motion and have that motion “quantise” to the loop. Are we sure it doesnt do that? Ill have to borrow a kp3 to check… Again.. why TAKE AWAY features??
STUPIDO!
3. theres no 3rd gripe!

Overall I LOVE thse 2 boxes, I just need to memorize 200 patch numbers!

Pepe gets in touch


After about 15 years Pepe, finally go in touch!!! The wonderful spanish photographer, who once GAVE, yes GAVE me his Elektor Formant modular synth.

I used the synth alot during the 90’s in my band eardrum, but neglected it for a while when I moved to NORWAY. I’m currently having a renaissance of my interest in synths, and have started collecting modular modules from other manufacturers. Some of Pepes modules have been fixed up and I have had new panels made. Including the name “Pepes Elektor Formant”.