Using Roland JX-1 As A MIDI Controller

I am using this keyboard as a secondary controller for my tonebank (Yamaha PSR 540). For example, I’m playing the Hammond sounds of the PSR 540 using my JX-1 while I’m playing the Piano sounds of the PSR 540 with the keyboard of the PSR 540 itself. All of the sounds are coming out of the PSR 540.

For that purpose, the JX-1 is VERY easy to use. Just buy a MIDI cable, plug into the MIDI IN – MIDI OUT sockets of the keyboards and there you go! You can start using the sounds of your Tonebank right away (after configuring your tonebank, of course).

Although it’s very easy to use, I encountered some problems with the features of JX-1. This keyboard has many buttons with the names of the sounds written above them (like Piano, Hammond, etc). But, they just don’t seem to match the XG/GM MIDI standarts of my Yamaha PSR 540 (probably many other tonebanks are incompatible the same way). For example, when I push the Analog Bass button on the JX-1, I hear the Hammond sound of my PSR 540.

Solution? Well… There are three solutions I’ve found to fix this problem:

1) Memorize the corresponding sounds of the buttons! (OK that’s not too technical, but it surely works well) Bad thing about this solution is, that you can’t change the corrsponding sounds of the buttons. To do this, read solution 2 & 3.

2) (For tonebanks which can assign sounds to MIDI channels directly) Assign your favorite sounds to different channels of the tonebank and access them by changing the MIDI channel of your JX-1. For example, let’s assume that you’ve assigned the sax sound of the tonebank to channel 3. To access that sound from JX-1, press the MIDI & Channel3 buttons at the same time.

3) (For tonebanks which can NOT assign sounds to MIDI channels directly – like my PSR 540) Using your favorite MIDI software (mine is Cakewalk), create a new MIDI song with 16 tracks which use different channels and save the (empty) MIDI file to a floppy disk. Then, insert your floppy into your tonebank (PSR 540), assign your favorite sounds to different tracks of the song and voila! Everytime you load that file, you can access these instruments by changing the MIDI channel at your JX-1. For example, let’s assume that you assigned the trumpet sound of the tonebank to track 3. To access that sound from JX-1, press the MIDI & Channel3 buttons at the same time.

Except for that, JX-1’s polyphony is good enough. It has built-in reverb and 4 effect slides which can be saved as different presets (note that they don’t have any effect if you use JX-1 as a controller). It has MIDI IN, OUT, THRU and 4 channel jack outputs.

Enough for any gig, I suppose – if you aren’t going to need to switch sounds very often and very fast.

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