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Roland A-50 action and modification


AnotherScott

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picking up on something from the old "Perfect gig rig: Kronos 61 and VAX 77?" thread...

 

I just picked up a used Roland A50... really just because I wanted to try playing with polyphonic aftertouch.

 

FYI, Scott, some early A-50s had a problem with AT sensitivity; some folks found they almost had to stand on the keys to trigger AT. It's a (relatively) simple fix, swapping out a single resistor, if memory serves, so if you do find that AT is tough to coax out of it, don't give up. :)

Both the A-50 and the A-80 (which I owned for nearly a decade) had a relatively awful polyAT implementation- you needed hands of steel to activate it, and the endpoint was very solid (in a bad way)- it was like pressing your fingers into concrete. The resistor fix helped

The CME/Alto thread reminded me that I wanted to revisit this topic...

 

I knew about the A50 aftertouch mod even before I bought it, and sure enough, once I got the A50, I could see where I would want the higher values of AT to be easier. So I did some more searching, and while there are numerous references to this mod, I was not able to find step-by-step instructions of how to do it. Can anyone point me to directions? Some of the best info I found was at http://personal.inet.fi/private/matador/se_roland_a-80.html but there's still no walk-through, and even the information there is not definitive about which resistor should be replaced on an A50, and with what value.

 

Other than that, actually, I think it is one of the best unweighted actions I've ever played, even surprisingly suitable for piano (not as good as a weighted action, but really quite playable), except for one thing... I trigger high MIDI velocities too easily. It's probably most noticeable with piano, which is not necessarily something I would play much from this action anyway (despite its surprising decent feel there), but I'm wondering if by any chance there's any mod for that. For some reason, I seem to remember reading something about it, but I think I may be mistaken. I know there are velocity curve adjustments, but none do exactly what I want, since no matter what, I hit "maximum" sooner than I'd like, and the only way to prevent it seems to be to adjust the curve so I can never hit maximum at all! I guess I have a heavy hand...

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