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  • Writer's pictureSheldon Kessel

Roland JV-80

The Roland JV series of sounds continues to be a standard in music production -- from the early incarnations in the JD series during the early 90s to today's versions in the SRX series. The JV-1080 is legendary for its versatility and wide palette of sounds. The Vintage Synth Explorer website has this to say:

The Roland JV-1080 was one of the hottest and most popular digital synthesizers ever to come from Roland. Incredible sound quality capable of emulating any instrument imaginable plus totally fat analog synth type sounds and loads of percussion! It has 64 voices of polyphony and 16 part multitimbral, it's no wonder this is part of almost every Film Score Composers set-up as well as many more artists and hobbyists!

In our MIDI classes at McNallySmith College of Music we use the JV-1080 primarily to have students practice navigating through hardware menus. The most important issue to keep in mind when navigating through hardware (as well as software) is to know what you're looking for. “Finger puking”, or pushing buttons until something happens, is never a wise approach, but is the most common one when a musician is confronted with an unfamiliar piece of equipment. You need to know what you're looking for and how that task is organized logically on similar pieces of equipment.

In our classes we have students find patches to use on the JV-1080 by navigating through the hardware, rather than using a software librarian or the librarian function in a DAW. Then, the students must save the patch recollection data (bank select and program change messages) in their sequencer to recall the patches they want to use. The following video demonstrates navigation through the machine to choose sounds in a multitimbral performance. Later videos will demonstrate saving bank select and program change messages in DAWs.

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