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Indian E-music – The right mix of Indian Vibes… » 2019 » September » 05


FCC Issues Public Notice on Implementation of New Children’s Television Rules and the Filing of October’s Quarterly Children’s Television Reports

Delivered... David Oxenford | Scene | Thu 5 Sep 2019 4:50 pm

Many of the revisions to the FCC’s Children’s Television rules become effective on September 16 (as we wrote here), though there are portions of the revised rules whose implementation will be delayed pending approval by the Office of Management and Budget under the Paperwork Reduction Act. The FCC earlier this week released a Public Notice detailing which provisions will become effective on September 16. That notice also discusses how stations should report on their educational and informational programming directed to children on their next Quarterly Children’s Television Report, due to be filed at the FCC by October 10.

As we noted in our earlier article on the effective date, many of the new rules, including the following, will go into effect on September 16: (1) allowing “core programming” (i.e., the programs which meet the educational and informational programming requirements) to air starting at 6 AM (instead of 7 AM under the current rules); (2) eliminating the obligation to air additional core programming for each multicast channel operated by a station; (3) allowing some core programming to air on multicast streams instead of the main program channel; (4) allowing some short-form programming to substitute for core programming of at least 30 minutes; and (5) allowing more flexibility in the preemption of children’s programs. Not going into effect for now are rules relating to changes in the notifications to program guides, rules relating to public notice of preemptions and “second homes” of preempted programs, and the elimination of the need for noncommercial TV stations to display the E/I symbol in children’s programs. Also awaiting OMB approval and thus not yet effective are the rules changing the FCC reporting requirements from a quarterly obligation to an annual one. Yesterday’s public notice addressed how stations are supposed to complete their Quarterly Reports in this interim period.

For the Quarterly Children’s Television Programming Report due to be filed at the FCC by October 10, stations will report on their performance under the old rules through September 15. Programming aired after September 15 will be addressed on the station’s new Annual Report to be filed in January 2020. Thus, the amount of average core programming per week reported in the October filing will be averaged over the 11 weeks that the old rules were in place. The broadcaster will not need to respond to the Form’s question about children’s programming that it plans to air in the future, a requirement that has been eliminated.

For the period after September 15 through the end of the year, the broadcaster will report on its performance on the first Annual Children’s Television Report which will be due no later than January 30, 2020. A station’s programming obligations will be computed based on the pro rata share of the year after the effective date of the new rules. The FCC expects the new form to be approved by OMB before the form needs to be filed. Watch for a public notice about the approval of the new form and the instructions for filing in January.

It is interesting that these instructions on the new rules were issued one day before significant fines were imposed on two stations that had not complied with the old rules during the last renewal term (see the FCC decisions here and here). We will write more about those cases tomorrow.

Roland brings back the MC groovebox: MC-707, pint-sized MC-101 [Deep Dive]

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Thu 5 Sep 2019 3:41 pm

The move back to hardware jams is in full force. And what better sign than Roland re-introducing the MC groovebox line – with the full-sized MC-707 and pint-sized MC-101. The reason you know it’s not the 1990s? They advertise them as replacing your laptop.

MC-707: US$999.99
MC-101: US$499.99
Available this month.

Roland originated the term Groovebox when it introduced its MC-303 in 1996. But the idea is pretty simple – if for a lot of genres, you want something that does sequencing, makes sounds (pitched and drum), and plays back samples, maybe you might like all of those things in a single box.

So, for instance, you could right now fairly easily put together a TR-8S (for drums), a TB-03 (for bassline), and, say, a polysynth or sampler, but you’d then need a fair number of cables and a mixer. The groovebox ditches the cables and integrates the workflow.

Inside that generic template, it’s not totally clear what a groovebox should look like exactly. So let’s have a first look at the 2019 Rolands.

Full Dinner or Happy Meal

As per usual, the numbers (707 and 101) have nothing to do with previous Roland models, since the MC line have a more or less generic character. (So don’t confuse them with the TR-707 and SH-101.)

The idea now is, there’s a full-sized, 8-track model, the MC-707, which looks a lot like a TR-8S. And then there’s a baby sibling, the 4-track MC-101.

Roland gave me a choice of which I wanted, and me being me, I immediately said – send me the ones that’s cheaper, smaller, and battery-powered. I mean, obviously. (That kind of gets away from the all-in-one MC groovebox approach, but then that’s exactly what makes it interesting.)

You might think the MC-101 had a different engine inside. It apparently doesn’t. Both units share what Roland calls the “ZEN-Core” sound generator, which is capable of playing both tones (that is, it’s a synthesizer), and drum kits (so it’s doing sample playback.)

That means both MC models include a sampled drum machine, a simple synth, play back samples (as drum kits / one-shots), play back loops, and provide effects.

You get pads for playing melodies, triggering drums, and triggering loops/patterns, some faders for mixing, and knobs for effects and sample manipulation (time/pitch).

And you get those on both units – the most noticeable difference on the MC-707, aside from having more of everything, is a bigger screen and more dedicated buttons.

Roland have also kept the assumption from the ’90s and noughts MC models that you want a bunch of sample content preloaded. They’re so convinced of this, in fact, that they’ve screwed a protector over the SD card slot – but of course, that’s absurd, and you’ll take it off and use your own samples, too. (More on that in a bit.)

Hey, Roland, I want at that SD slot. (Yes, you’re allowed to screw off the cover; it doesn’t void the warranty.)

The result looks for all the world like a TR-8S had a love child with a Novation Circuit, then got into the same Kindergarten that trained the MC-505. But it’s got a workflow that feels most like the TR-8S than anything, down to similar menu navigation (and clearly shares some architecture, as well as elements of the mechanicals and form factor). This is a product that came out of someone taking the TR-8S and saying it needed to have pitched playback and looping and work as an MC.

By the numbers

Specs – which as you’ll see are weirdly almost the same on the MC-101, even in a fraction of the size and half the price:

MC-101 – so cute.

Tone, Drum Kit, Looper (Audio Loop) track types / sound generators

4 tracks (MC-101) or 8 tracks (MC-707)

16 clips per track (so 64 clips on the 101, 128 on the 707)

3000+ preset Tones

80+ preset Drum Kits

Effects: Chorus/Delay (9 types), Reverb (7 types), 90 Track Multi-Effects, Track EQ, 90 different Master Effects, Master Compressor, Master EQ

64-step Step Sequencer

SD card slot

256 x 80-dot backlit graphic LCD (MC-707), 16 characters, 2-line LCD with backlight (MC-101) – that 101 screen is the same as on the TR-8S

The TONE generator is not to be overlooked, in that this engine has tons of presets for classic Roland gear. I’m talking to Roland about how these are produced, since they seem not to be the ACB we know from the Boutiques, but they’re at least usable – even if you can’t tweak them so much.

Taking a page from the Circuit, you get four macro controls for tweaking. There are dedicated buttons that let you control sound parameters (for that TONE generator), filter, modulation, and effects. (The MC-707 misses the opportunity to do eight encoders instead of four so — basically, just get the 101, as I said!)

It’s not hard to see where the MC-707 and TR-8S fit in with one another.

Connectivity. The biggest difference between the MCs is actually I/O. On the MC-707, you get a 1/4″ headphone jack, mix out stereo, assignable out stereo, and dedicated stereo send/return, plus MIDI in and two outs, and USB (audio/MIDI.

The tiny MC-101 of course can’t fit that, so you get just a minijack headphone, 1/4″ stereo output, MIDI in, MIDI out, and USB (audio/MIDI).

I/O on the MC-101 (minus the headphone jack, round the front).
The MC-707 does a lot more – two MIDI outs, dedicated send and return, external input, and an assignable out. Nice! Overkill, maybe, but nice.

Sample power – or lack thereof. The Looper supports samples up to about 60 seconds. So, this isn’t a backing track machine or an Ableton Live killer, but that’s not the point – you’re supposed to be playing live, so the MC isn’t really about leaving anything going for longer than a minute, if that.

The trick is that internal sample memory is limited – irrespective of how spacious a sound card you use. That tops out at 6 minutes stereo, 12 minutes mono, at 44.1/16-bit WAV (which is the minimum format). Here’s where Roland is unpleasantly stuck in another decade. There’s no earthly reason a modern device couldn’t have more internal sample storage or support decoding lossless formats, or both.

But then I think the thing to do is ignore all this “replace your laptop” business and judge this as an MC.

More disappointing than the hardware limitations, there’s no live sampling. That’s a shame, because it would start to define the MC series more as a hardware instrument – and it has been a feature on an MC in the past.

Why you might want the 707

Roland PR didn’t really describe the MC-707 as I would. Yes, one is four track and one is eight track.

But apart from being eight track, the major difference in the MC-707 is that the workflow mirrors that of the TR-8S. Take a look at the panel:

Not only are there more dedicated controls generally, but you get the ability to control motion recording, and per-track parameters for effects/mod/filter. Just having a similar layout to the TR-8S means you can make use of some muscle memory acquired on the TR.

And the added display opens up real on-hardware sample editing.

The larger screen is accompanied by heads-up displays and more editing features.

If you don’t own a TR-8S, you might just opt for the MC-707 alone – and do everything on one unit. If you do, you might put the two side by side for lots of dedicated controls.

And this might give TR-8S owners some buyers’ remorse just as the TR-8S (with its better effects and custom samples) did for the original AIRA TR-8.

I am pretty happy keeping the TR-8S for its dedicated modeled drum controls. And I think there’s some appeal to the MC-101, in combination with another drum machine – partly because you can tuck it into an existing gear bag, and because while its workflow is pretty basic, it gets interesting as an instrument.

Hands on. And I have small hands. It’s really, really small.

First look: MC-101

I’ve already started learning and practicing the MC-101. And practicing is really what it’s about, because I think you want to play this thing like an instrument.

Unboxing the MC-101 is actually a treat. This thing is tiny. It makes even a Novation Circuit look large. That means it starts to take on a new role that its larger sibling and MCs of the past never had. It’s suddenly easy to add some pitched sample playback next to your drum machine, or just easily fire off loops and patterns.

In other words, it lets the groovebox have an entirely different role than the one for which it was first envisioned. The MC-101 fits in easily with your drum machine and bassline synth and whatever effects and pedals you’ve got for a live rig.

The size and form factor of the MC-101 also make it a logical add-on to my utterly beloved TR-8S – which should also silence any complaints about why the TR-8S didn’t add some of the features on the MC-707. Here, things make sense – looping and pitched sequencing and pattern triggering all get their own dedicated controls, which the TR-8S lacks anyway.

I also very much appreciate having faders instead of just encoders, unlike the Novation Circuit. Also, with all due respect to Novation, it’s a relief having something where the knobs are labeled and there’s a screen. Whatever charm you get from turning encoders without knowing what will happen, I do prefer… this way instead.

I’ll do a more complete review and video shortly, once I’ve really worked through this in detail.

But there are some impressions to have right away:

The lo-fi time/pitch stretch is awesome. Confession: part of why I like old jamming gear is, low fidelity is often more musical than high quality. You get grungy pitch and time stretching that is very, very satisfying to use. It’s s*** in a good way. Watch for those demos; hopefully I convey that.

Effects are nicely accessible. The effects engine is clearly related to what’s on the TR-8S. It’s nothing so special, but there’s lots of variety and it’s definitely good enough. (You have your computer for applying fancy stuff later when you finish tracks; this works live without question.) The main thing about it is, you have easily accessible knobs to get at all the time. Also, that SCATTER track is not the same SCATTER as on the early AIRA series – none of this horrible EDM nonsense. It’s really just a way of sequencing and triggering different effects, which actually is useful.

Workflows are accessible, mostly. Triggering patterns and playing the tone and drum modes is intuitive and easy. Some of the sequencing and menu diving gets more involved, and I’ll cover that in the full review accordingly (and with some feedback from Roland).

Sample loading is inexcusably bad. It’s bad enough that the TR-8S makes you put sounds on an SD card, then go through a manual menu-diving approach to load those sounds into kits. On the MC-101/707, it’s worse. The whole appeal of a box like this to many of us is being able to take bits and pieces of tracks and sound designs and load them into hardware so we can ditch the computer and jam or perform live. Roland doesn’t have to do something elaborate – just give us a way to connect the USB cable and load samples from the computer directly without touching the menu system.

The only slight upside is, you can edit kits and loops on the hardware itself. But then… that shouldn’t be your only avenue.

There’s no external sequencing – that I can find. It kind of makes sense that the TR-8S can’t sequence an external synth – it doesn’t really have the interface for it. It makes no sense that the MCs lack this. (How perverse is this? You can literally set one of the 4 or 8 tracks to ‘none,’ but you can’t use it to sequence external gear.)

I kind of think here that there’s missing documentation or a firmware update forthcoming – especially given the MC-707 has two MIDI outs. I’m waiting on confirmation from Roland now.

If we’re really lucky, I’ll have this working by next week, because then the MC-101 starts to look really invaluable in my rig, and probably yours, too.

The documentation is Roland documentation. Apologies. I would really like to see a more friendly approach to how to use this stuff.

All in all, this is a promising box. The absence of easy sample loading might have you considering waiting to see what Novation will do to follow up their cult favorite Circuit, since Novation at least do give you friendly Web interfaces for loading samples and storing patches. There is no reason whatsoever why Roland shouldn’t do the same – a Roland Cloud service for editing and backing up performances.

If you want to focus on sampling manipulation, I think you definitely want something like the Elektron Model:Samples we reviewed earlier this year. And even Roland can sell you something that’s better for sampling and sample manipulation.

But the MC series does look like a different beast – something that lets you trigger clips and loops alongside jamming with samples using pitch, all with multiple tracks.

And mainly I like that the MC-101 does the same things with four tracks and runs on batteries and takes up less space. (Sure, it lacks those sends/returns, but you’ve got loads of onboard effects anyway.)

More on how the MC-101 fits in and complements the TR-8S shortly.

Product pages:

https://www.roland.com/us/products/mc-707/

https://www.roland.com/us/products/mc-101/

I want my MC TV

Video roundup from the Internetz:

Follow through to their channel for performance, production, and sound content demos.

Oh yeah, so I better get my 101 video together next week, huh?

The post Roland brings back the MC groovebox: MC-707, pint-sized MC-101 [Deep Dive] appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Roland brings back the MC groovebox: MC-707, pint-sized MC-101 [Deep Dive]

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Thu 5 Sep 2019 3:41 pm

The move back to hardware jams is in full force. And what better sign than Roland re-introducing the MC groovebox line – with the full-sized MC-707 and pint-sized MC-101. The reason you know it’s not the 1990s? They advertise them as replacing your laptop.

MC-707: US$999.99
MC-101: US$499.99
Available this month.

Roland originated the term Groovebox when it introduced its MC-303 in 1996. But the idea is pretty simple – if for a lot of genres, you want something that does sequencing, makes sounds (pitched and drum), and plays back samples, maybe you might like all of those things in a single box.

So, for instance, you could right now fairly easily put together a TR-8S (for drums), a TB-03 (for bassline), and, say, a polysynth or sampler, but you’d then need a fair number of cables and a mixer. The groovebox ditches the cables and integrates the workflow.

Inside that generic template, it’s not totally clear what a groovebox should look like exactly. So let’s have a first look at the 2019 Rolands.

Full Dinner or Happy Meal

As per usual, the numbers (707 and 101) have nothing to do with previous Roland models, since the MC line have a more or less generic character. (So don’t confuse them with the TR-707 and SH-101.)

The idea now is, there’s a full-sized, 8-track model, the MC-707, which looks a lot like a TR-8S. And then there’s a baby sibling, the 4-track MC-101.

Roland gave me a choice of which I wanted, and me being me, I immediately said – send me the ones that’s cheaper, smaller, and battery-powered. I mean, obviously. (That kind of gets away from the all-in-one MC groovebox approach, but then that’s exactly what makes it interesting.)

You might think the MC-101 had a different engine inside. It apparently doesn’t. Both units share what Roland calls the “ZEN-Core” sound generator, which is capable of playing both tones (that is, it’s a synthesizer), and drum kits (so it’s doing sample playback.)

That means both MC models include a sampled drum machine, a simple synth, play back samples (as drum kits / one-shots), play back loops, and provide effects.

You get pads for playing melodies, triggering drums, and triggering loops/patterns, some faders for mixing, and knobs for effects and sample manipulation (time/pitch).

And you get those on both units – the most noticeable difference on the MC-707, aside from having more of everything, is a bigger screen and more dedicated buttons.

Roland have also kept the assumption from the ’90s and noughts MC models that you want a bunch of sample content preloaded. They’re so convinced of this, in fact, that they’ve screwed a protector over the SD card slot – but of course, that’s absurd, and you’ll take it off and use your own samples, too. (More on that in a bit.)

Hey, Roland, I want at that SD slot. (Yes, you’re allowed to screw off the cover; it doesn’t void the warranty.)

The result looks for all the world like a TR-8S had a love child with a Novation Circuit, then got into the same Kindergarten that trained the MC-505. But it’s got a workflow that feels most like the TR-8S than anything, down to similar menu navigation (and clearly shares some architecture, as well as elements of the mechanicals and form factor). This is a product that came out of someone taking the TR-8S and saying it needed to have pitched playback and looping and work as an MC.

By the numbers

Specs – which as you’ll see are weirdly almost the same on the MC-101, even in a fraction of the size and half the price:

MC-101 – so cute.

Tone, Drum Kit, Looper (Audio Loop) track types / sound generators

4 tracks (MC-101) or 8 tracks (MC-707)

16 clips per track (so 64 clips on the 101, 128 on the 707)

3000+ preset Tones

80+ preset Drum Kits

Effects: Chorus/Delay (9 types), Reverb (7 types), 90 Track Multi-Effects, Track EQ, 90 different Master Effects, Master Compressor, Master EQ

64-step Step Sequencer

SD card slot

256 x 80-dot backlit graphic LCD (MC-707), 16 characters, 2-line LCD with backlight (MC-101) – that 101 screen is the same as on the TR-8S

The TONE generator is not to be overlooked, in that this engine has tons of presets for classic Roland gear. I’m talking to Roland about how these are produced, since they seem not to be the ACB we know from the Boutiques, but they’re at least usable – even if you can’t tweak them so much.

Taking a page from the Circuit, you get four macro controls for tweaking. There are dedicated buttons that let you control sound parameters (for that TONE generator), filter, modulation, and effects. (The MC-707 misses the opportunity to do eight encoders instead of four so — basically, just get the 101, as I said!)

It’s not hard to see where the MC-707 and TR-8S fit in with one another.

Connectivity. The biggest difference between the MCs is actually I/O. On the MC-707, you get a 1/4″ headphone jack, mix out stereo, assignable out stereo, and dedicated stereo send/return, plus MIDI in and two outs, and USB (audio/MIDI.

The tiny MC-101 of course can’t fit that, so you get just a minijack headphone, 1/4″ stereo output, MIDI in, MIDI out, and USB (audio/MIDI).

I/O on the MC-101 (minus the headphone jack, round the front).
The MC-707 does a lot more – two MIDI outs, dedicated send and return, external input, and an assignable out. Nice! Overkill, maybe, but nice.

Sample power – or lack thereof. The Looper supports samples up to about 60 seconds. So, this isn’t a backing track machine or an Ableton Live killer, but that’s not the point – you’re supposed to be playing live, so the MC isn’t really about leaving anything going for longer than a minute, if that.

The trick is that internal sample memory is limited – irrespective of how spacious a sound card you use. That tops out at 6 minutes stereo, 12 minutes mono, at 44.1/16-bit WAV (which is the minimum format). Here’s where Roland is unpleasantly stuck in another decade. There’s no earthly reason a modern device couldn’t have more internal sample storage or support decoding lossless formats, or both.

But then I think the thing to do is ignore all this “replace your laptop” business and judge this as an MC.

More disappointing than the hardware limitations, there’s no live sampling. That’s a shame, because it would start to define the MC series more as a hardware instrument – and it has been a feature on an MC in the past.

Why you might want the 707

Roland PR didn’t really describe the MC-707 as I would. Yes, one is four track and one is eight track.

But apart from being eight track, the major difference in the MC-707 is that the workflow mirrors that of the TR-8S. Take a look at the panel:

Not only are there more dedicated controls generally, but you get the ability to control motion recording, and per-track parameters for effects/mod/filter. Just having a similar layout to the TR-8S means you can make use of some muscle memory acquired on the TR.

And the added display opens up real on-hardware sample editing.

The larger screen is accompanied by heads-up displays and more editing features.

If you don’t own a TR-8S, you might just opt for the MC-707 alone – and do everything on one unit. If you do, you might put the two side by side for lots of dedicated controls.

And this might give TR-8S owners some buyers’ remorse just as the TR-8S (with its better effects and custom samples) did for the original AIRA TR-8.

I am pretty happy keeping the TR-8S for its dedicated modeled drum controls. And I think there’s some appeal to the MC-101, in combination with another drum machine – partly because you can tuck it into an existing gear bag, and because while its workflow is pretty basic, it gets interesting as an instrument.

Hands on. And I have small hands. It’s really, really small.

First look: MC-101

I’ve already started learning and practicing the MC-101. And practicing is really what it’s about, because I think you want to play this thing like an instrument.

Unboxing the MC-101 is actually a treat. This thing is tiny. It makes even a Novation Circuit look large. That means it starts to take on a new role that its larger sibling and MCs of the past never had. It’s suddenly easy to add some pitched sample playback next to your drum machine, or just easily fire off loops and patterns.

In other words, it lets the groovebox have an entirely different role than the one for which it was first envisioned. The MC-101 fits in easily with your drum machine and bassline synth and whatever effects and pedals you’ve got for a live rig.

The size and form factor of the MC-101 also make it a logical add-on to my utterly beloved TR-8S – which should also silence any complaints about why the TR-8S didn’t add some of the features on the MC-707. Here, things make sense – looping and pitched sequencing and pattern triggering all get their own dedicated controls, which the TR-8S lacks anyway.

I also very much appreciate having faders instead of just encoders, unlike the Novation Circuit. Also, with all due respect to Novation, it’s a relief having something where the knobs are labeled and there’s a screen. Whatever charm you get from turning encoders without knowing what will happen, I do prefer… this way instead.

I’ll do a more complete review and video shortly, once I’ve really worked through this in detail.

But there are some impressions to have right away:

The lo-fi time/pitch stretch is awesome. Confession: part of why I like old jamming gear is, low fidelity is often more musical than high quality. You get grungy pitch and time stretching that is very, very satisfying to use. It’s s*** in a good way. Watch for those demos; hopefully I convey that.

Effects are nicely accessible. The effects engine is clearly related to what’s on the TR-8S. It’s nothing so special, but there’s lots of variety and it’s definitely good enough. (You have your computer for applying fancy stuff later when you finish tracks; this works live without question.) The main thing about it is, you have easily accessible knobs to get at all the time. Also, that SCATTER track is not the same SCATTER as on the early AIRA series – none of this horrible EDM nonsense. It’s really just a way of sequencing and triggering different effects, which actually is useful.

Workflows are accessible, mostly. Triggering patterns and playing the tone and drum modes is intuitive and easy. Some of the sequencing and menu diving gets more involved, and I’ll cover that in the full review accordingly (and with some feedback from Roland).

Sample loading is inexcusably bad. It’s bad enough that the TR-8S makes you put sounds on an SD card, then go through a manual menu-diving approach to load those sounds into kits. On the MC-101/707, it’s worse. The whole appeal of a box like this to many of us is being able to take bits and pieces of tracks and sound designs and load them into hardware so we can ditch the computer and jam or perform live. Roland doesn’t have to do something elaborate – just give us a way to connect the USB cable and load samples from the computer directly without touching the menu system.

The only slight upside is, you can edit kits and loops on the hardware itself. But then… that shouldn’t be your only avenue.

There’s no external sequencing – that I can find. It kind of makes sense that the TR-8S can’t sequence an external synth – it doesn’t really have the interface for it. It makes no sense that the MCs lack this. (How perverse is this? You can literally set one of the 4 or 8 tracks to ‘none,’ but you can’t use it to sequence external gear.)

I kind of think here that there’s missing documentation or a firmware update forthcoming – especially given the MC-707 has two MIDI outs. I’m waiting on confirmation from Roland now.

If we’re really lucky, I’ll have this working by next week, because then the MC-101 starts to look really invaluable in my rig, and probably yours, too.

The documentation is Roland documentation. Apologies. I would really like to see a more friendly approach to how to use this stuff.

All in all, this is a promising box. The absence of easy sample loading might have you considering waiting to see what Novation will do to follow up their cult favorite Circuit, since Novation at least do give you friendly Web interfaces for loading samples and storing patches. There is no reason whatsoever why Roland shouldn’t do the same – a Roland Cloud service for editing and backing up performances.

If you want to focus on sampling manipulation, I think you definitely want something like the Elektron Model:Samples we reviewed earlier this year. And even Roland can sell you something that’s better for sampling and sample manipulation.

But the MC series does look like a different beast – something that lets you trigger clips and loops alongside jamming with samples using pitch, all with multiple tracks.

And mainly I like that the MC-101 does the same things with four tracks and runs on batteries and takes up less space. (Sure, it lacks those sends/returns, but you’ve got loads of onboard effects anyway.)

More on how the MC-101 fits in and complements the TR-8S shortly.

Product pages:

https://www.roland.com/us/products/mc-707/

https://www.roland.com/us/products/mc-101/

I want my MC TV

Video roundup from the Internetz:

Follow through to their channel for performance, production, and sound content demos.

Oh yeah, so I better get my 101 video together next week, huh?

The post Roland brings back the MC groovebox: MC-707, pint-sized MC-101 [Deep Dive] appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Roland’s Boutique JU-06A JUNO is insanely fun

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Thu 5 Sep 2019 1:10 pm

It doesn’t look like much. The latest Roland Boutique might even give you a sense of deja vu – because Roland did a tiny JUNO before. The difference: this time they got it right.

I’m the last person to want endless remakes of old synths. But a JUNO is something special. I assume I’m not alone in this – if I’m in someone else’s studio and there’s a JUNO-106 or JUNO-60 lying around, I’ll usually say let’s plug in that. It’s not even necessarily that they’re my favorite analog polysynths; it’s that something about them has a unique ability to blend into a mix, and be versatile in a number of situations. It’s also a pleasant early 80s sound that seems to blend well with more contemporary timbres, too. (I’ve found plenty of other artists who seem to feel similarly, ones whose opinion you should probably value more than mine, so I don’t feel I’m going out on a limb.)

Okay, so a JUNO is something you just want handy. And you don’t want it to be a plug-in – that’s terrible for jam sessions and live. The full keyboard is now pricey on the used market, takes up a lot of space, and is now at an age when it starts to break down. (I’m a few years older than these Rolands, and I start to feel their pain. Literally. I look forward to the digital remake of me.)

So you do really want an inexpensive hardware remake.

You would then presumably want it to be small and portable, so you can always keep it around.

You’d want it to still sound like a JUNO.

You’d want it to be playable, so you could use it as a sketchpad or easily work it into jams and live sets.

You wouldn’t want it to be terribly expensive.

The JU-06 that launched this whole oddly-named Roland Boutique phenomenon almost got this right, but then mostly screwed it up. There’s a step sequencer, but no external clock in. (There’s MIDI clock in, just not analog clock in.) It’s overly authentic in that modulation isn’t tempo synced – even though it’s now a MIDI device. There’s a step sequencer, but it shares the same buttons as the patch controls, a guarantee that you’ll wind up accidentally changing patches at an inopportune moment.

It sounds good, like a JUNO-106. But lots of things sound good now – and the JU-06 was mediocre enough that you start to go back to the thought that maybe a plug-in isn’t such a bad idea.

Roland are now back with the JU-06A, and not only does it fix all the issues with the JU-06, but I think it’s just edged out the SH-01A as the Boutique synthesizer I would buy first.

Step sequencer, external clock in, and a little toggle switch to make this either a convincing JUNO-60 or JUNO-106.

Everything is fixed now

Courtesy Roland. Apologies to anyone wanting to sell your JU-06.

The JU-06A doesn’t look radical, but little differences make this something you want to keep rather than return.

JUNO-60, too. Inside, Roland have added a second sound engine to emulate the 1982 JUNO-60, as well as the 1984 JUNO-106. There’s a toggle switch on the front panel that lets you swap models – an advantage of going digital. As with the other Boutiques (apart from the Studio Electronics collaboration), this is circuit modeling (ACB). But it sounds terrific.

Adding the JUNO-60 adds some more idiosyncratic sound options. In addition, you can reproduce the noise of the vintage chorus (with parameters tucked in settings for off/half/full noise). There are lots of other details that give this tiny box some of the growl and warmth of the original and its filter without taking up much space. Someone I’m sure will do some obsessive comparison, but it’s uncanny enough to be fine in a mix.

In addition to the step sequencer, the arpeggiator and chord modes here replace the less-useful touch strips for pitch and mod. HOLD works with both arp and chords, and the arp works with chord mode, too. Unfortunately, you can’t program individual chords into the step sequencer.

Chord and arpeggiator modes. This makes a major difference in playability. There are now simple chord playback and arpeggiator controls on the left-hand side of the unit, replacing the mostly pointless touch strip pitch and mod. Chord mode is lovely on a poly, of course; you get just 16 slots for chords, but that’s about the amount I can remember, anyway. Each memory slot can be edited from the front panel.

The arp is similarly basic but useful – you get up, down, and up/down modes, a range (from 1-3 octaves), and a rate knob, which always divides the master clock. It’s pretty basic, but all the controls are dedicated, which is great live.

There’s also a dedicated HOLD button, and the arp will work with both the HOLD and CHORD modes.

On its own, that would still be too limiting, but fortunately there’s also —

A step sequencer. 16 steps times 16 patterns, all monophonic. And now this also works with external clock – there’s a little minijack next to the sequencer itself (odd positioning, but it works).

The step sequencer is surprisingly usable, with practice, on the front panel. You can switch steps on and off, TR x0x style, and also enter in steps one at a time from the onboard keyboard. You can also use an external keyboard for pitch entry – like the Roland Boutique keyboard dock, or something else via MIDI in.

What’s evidently missing, which was on the SH-01A, is the ability to add individual chords to steps. That’s too bad, though what you get instead is, the monophonic step sequencer becomes the root note of the chord when chord mode is on.

LFO and Delay Tempo Sync. Both the LFO and Delay effect can now be clocked free, or synced to the master tempo. That’s obvious, but for some reason the JU-06 lacked it.

There’s more user memory. You get both 64 dedicated slots for each mode – JUNO-60 and JUNO-106 – which doubles the slots on the JU-06, and lets you effectively keep a library for each instrument.

The Ribbon Controllers are gone. If you particularly desire touch strips for pitch and mod, you should pick up a used JU-06 and not this. I don’t miss them, though, and I think most people will vastly prefer the chord and arp.

Fun in use for fans of tiny things

If I had one gripe about the JU, it’s the ongoing Boutique form factor. These units are compact and lightweight, but there’s still this strange docking scheme. That lets you choose either a keyboard or a little box that lets you tilt up the unit. (That’s the DK-01 docking station and the K-25m keyboard dock.) They each run a little under $100 street, with the keyboard costing more.

Back panel I/O. A minijack affair, but you do get full-sized MIDI DIN.

The upside is, of course, if you buy multiple Boutiques they don’t all have to have keyboards. But they do make you feel like Roland is squeezing you for extra cash (well, because they are), and the impression of the actual design is sort of toylike. My JU-06A review unit came without either, and my delicate aesthetic sensibilities made me not want to dock it in the silver 303 or beige 909 docks I had around, so I found… okay, actually, the thing is even more portable and lightweight without it, is still usable, and just has some funny edges. In an ideal world, this would have USB host so you could plug in anything; in this world, I’d probably still use a different keyboard and not the keyboard dock.

Roland wants you to budget extra for a dock that folds up the unit, or this kinda-okay mini-keyboard.

But I got over it. I love tiny things. The JU is small enough to fit in your backpack, and since it’s battery powered, you can sprawl in bed and program nice step sequences for a gig the next day.

This thing is definitely Japanese in scale – the land that miniaturized electronics in the first place. So if your fingers fit comfortably on tiny controls, you’ll love it. If not, you’ll (justifiably) hate it.

Assuming you can handle it, though, I think the JU-06A is a total joy. I took it to a jam session with some studio neighbors and a live club gig (disguising the unreleased hardware’s identity), and it excelled in both cases – enough that people clearly responded to the sound.

The step sequencer would definitely benefit from parameter locks, but then maybe that isn’t the way to think of the JUNO. With the stupid-simple step sequencer, chords, and arp, you can just go wild with the (tiny) LFO and (tiny) envelope controls and (tiny) filter, and this thing is a performance beast.

I’m sure I’ll get some pushback from people who think it’s still a toy, who hate that it’s digital, who are interested in a certain clone manufacturer rather than the company that did the first JUNO. But no matter. This thing is still affordable, it’s got loads of controls, the sound engine is clearly good enough, and the digital aspect makes it practical, flexible, and power efficient.

It’s not the only compact remake poly in town – the Yamaha reface cs is now running about $300 street, with a keyboard. But the JU-06A to me is now an ideal addition.

So yeah, Roland I should… probably let you know I’m keeping this one.

The post Roland’s Boutique JU-06A JUNO is insanely fun appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Roland’s Boutique JU-06A JUNO is insanely fun

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Thu 5 Sep 2019 1:10 pm

It doesn’t look like much. The latest Roland Boutique might even give you a sense of deja vu – because Roland did a tiny JUNO before. The difference: this time they got it right.

I’m the last person to want endless remakes of old synths. But a JUNO is something special. I assume I’m not alone in this – if I’m in someone else’s studio and there’s a JUNO-106 or JUNO-60 lying around, I’ll usually say let’s plug in that. It’s not even necessarily that they’re my favorite analog polysynths; it’s that something about them has a unique ability to blend into a mix, and be versatile in a number of situations. It’s also a pleasant early 80s sound that seems to blend well with more contemporary timbres, too. (I’ve found plenty of other artists who seem to feel similarly, ones whose opinion you should probably value more than mine, so I don’t feel I’m going out on a limb.)

Okay, so a JUNO is something you just want handy. And you don’t want it to be a plug-in – that’s terrible for jam sessions and live. The full keyboard is now pricey on the used market, takes up a lot of space, and is now at an age when it starts to break down. (I’m a few years older than these Rolands, and I start to feel their pain. Literally. I look forward to the digital remake of me.)

So you do really want an inexpensive hardware remake.

You would then presumably want it to be small and portable, so you can always keep it around.

You’d want it to still sound like a JUNO.

You’d want it to be playable, so you could use it as a sketchpad or easily work it into jams and live sets.

You wouldn’t want it to be terribly expensive.

The JU-06 that launched this whole oddly-named Roland Boutique phenomenon almost got this right, but then mostly screwed it up. There’s a step sequencer, but no external clock in. (There’s MIDI clock in, just not analog clock in.) It’s overly authentic in that modulation isn’t tempo synced – even though it’s now a MIDI device. There’s a step sequencer, but it shares the same buttons as the patch controls, a guarantee that you’ll wind up accidentally changing patches at an inopportune moment.

It sounds good, like a JUNO-106. But lots of things sound good now – and the JU-06 was mediocre enough that you start to go back to the thought that maybe a plug-in isn’t such a bad idea.

Roland are now back with the JU-06A, and not only does it fix all the issues with the JU-06, but I think it’s just edged out the SH-01A as the Boutique synthesizer I would buy first.

Step sequencer, external clock in, and a little toggle switch to make this either a convincing JUNO-60 or JUNO-106.

Everything is fixed now

Courtesy Roland. Apologies to anyone wanting to sell your JU-06.

The JU-06A doesn’t look radical, but little differences make this something you want to keep rather than return.

JUNO-60, too. Inside, Roland have added a second sound engine to emulate the 1982 JUNO-60, as well as the 1984 JUNO-106. There’s a toggle switch on the front panel that lets you swap models – an advantage of going digital. As with the other Boutiques (apart from the Studio Electronics collaboration), this is circuit modeling (ACB). But it sounds terrific.

Adding the JUNO-60 adds some more idiosyncratic sound options. In addition, you can reproduce the noise of the vintage chorus (with parameters tucked in settings for off/half/full noise). There are lots of other details that give this tiny box some of the growl and warmth of the original and its filter without taking up much space. Someone I’m sure will do some obsessive comparison, but it’s uncanny enough to be fine in a mix.

In addition to the step sequencer, the arpeggiator and chord modes here replace the less-useful touch strips for pitch and mod. HOLD works with both arp and chords, and the arp works with chord mode, too. Unfortunately, you can’t program individual chords into the step sequencer.

Chord and arpeggiator modes. This makes a major difference in playability. There are now simple chord playback and arpeggiator controls on the left-hand side of the unit, replacing the mostly pointless touch strip pitch and mod. Chord mode is lovely on a poly, of course; you get just 16 slots for chords, but that’s about the amount I can remember, anyway. Each memory slot can be edited from the front panel.

The arp is similarly basic but useful – you get up, down, and up/down modes, a range (from 1-3 octaves), and a rate knob, which always divides the master clock. It’s pretty basic, but all the controls are dedicated, which is great live.

There’s also a dedicated HOLD button, and the arp will work with both the HOLD and CHORD modes.

On its own, that would still be too limiting, but fortunately there’s also —

A step sequencer. 16 steps times 16 patterns, all monophonic. And now this also works with external clock – there’s a little minijack next to the sequencer itself (odd positioning, but it works).

The step sequencer is surprisingly usable, with practice, on the front panel. You can switch steps on and off, TR x0x style, and also enter in steps one at a time from the onboard keyboard. You can also use an external keyboard for pitch entry – like the Roland Boutique keyboard dock, or something else via MIDI in.

What’s evidently missing, which was on the SH-01A, is the ability to add individual chords to steps. That’s too bad, though what you get instead is, the monophonic step sequencer becomes the root note of the chord when chord mode is on.

LFO and Delay Tempo Sync. Both the LFO and Delay effect can now be clocked free, or synced to the master tempo. That’s obvious, but for some reason the JU-06 lacked it.

There’s more user memory. You get both 64 dedicated slots for each mode – JUNO-60 and JUNO-106 – which doubles the slots on the JU-06, and lets you effectively keep a library for each instrument.

The Ribbon Controllers are gone. If you particularly desire touch strips for pitch and mod, you should pick up a used JU-06 and not this. I don’t miss them, though, and I think most people will vastly prefer the chord and arp.

Fun in use for fans of tiny things

If I had one gripe about the JU, it’s the ongoing Boutique form factor. These units are compact and lightweight, but there’s still this strange docking scheme. That lets you choose either a keyboard or a little box that lets you tilt up the unit. (That’s the DK-01 docking station and the K-25m keyboard dock.) They each run a little under $100 street, with the keyboard costing more.

Back panel I/O. A minijack affair, but you do get full-sized MIDI DIN.

The upside is, of course, if you buy multiple Boutiques they don’t all have to have keyboards. But they do make you feel like Roland is squeezing you for extra cash (well, because they are), and the impression of the actual design is sort of toylike. My JU-06A review unit came without either, and my delicate aesthetic sensibilities made me not want to dock it in the silver 303 or beige 909 docks I had around, so I found… okay, actually, the thing is even more portable and lightweight without it, is still usable, and just has some funny edges. In an ideal world, this would have USB host so you could plug in anything; in this world, I’d probably still use a different keyboard and not the keyboard dock.

Roland wants you to budget extra for a dock that folds up the unit, or this kinda-okay mini-keyboard.

But I got over it. I love tiny things. The JU is small enough to fit in your backpack, and since it’s battery powered, you can sprawl in bed and program nice step sequences for a gig the next day.

This thing is definitely Japanese in scale – the land that miniaturized electronics in the first place. So if your fingers fit comfortably on tiny controls, you’ll love it. If not, you’ll (justifiably) hate it.

Assuming you can handle it, though, I think the JU-06A is a total joy. I took it to a jam session with some studio neighbors and a live club gig (disguising the unreleased hardware’s identity), and it excelled in both cases – enough that people clearly responded to the sound.

The step sequencer would definitely benefit from parameter locks, but then maybe that isn’t the way to think of the JUNO. With the stupid-simple step sequencer, chords, and arp, you can just go wild with the (tiny) LFO and (tiny) envelope controls and (tiny) filter, and this thing is a performance beast.

I’m sure I’ll get some pushback from people who think it’s still a toy, who hate that it’s digital, who are interested in a certain clone manufacturer rather than the company that did the first JUNO. But no matter. This thing is still affordable, it’s got loads of controls, the sound engine is clearly good enough, and the digital aspect makes it practical, flexible, and power efficient.

It’s not the only compact remake poly in town – the Yamaha reface cs is now running about $300 street, with a keyboard. But the JU-06A to me is now an ideal addition.

So yeah, Roland I should… probably let you know I’m keeping this one.

The post Roland’s Boutique JU-06A JUNO is insanely fun appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

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