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Getting good sounds out of my Jv-80

Harp Heaven

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I bought this synth a couple of months ago, and haven`t used it much until I got a mixer for christmas, and now I`m busy trying to program it. I bought it used, henceforth I don`t have a manual, which is annoying, because I`m used to the pleasing OS of a Korg Trinity. Sad but true.


I use my Korg for:


Lead sounds

Organ sounds

Some pad sounds


And I want to use my Roland JV-80 for


Piano sounds

Bass sounds

Pad, choir and string sounds.


The piano sound is a piece of cake, but I have trouble getting good bass sounds out of it. I`m a beginner at this, since I don`t even know how to modulate Filter EG`s. I would like to know, if anyone of you know how to do this, as well as get things like filter sweeps and swirling pad sounds out of this machine. I know it is far more capable of the stuff that is pre-programmed.


And, btw, I`m new here. Looking forward to getting to know you guys!

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The JV-80 is easy to program. I would suggest that you put it into Patch mode and start by modifying preset sounds until you get a handle on how the various parameters work.


A JV-80 voice is made up of one to four layers that Roland calls "Tones." Each tone corresponds to a single traditional synthesizer voice (oscillator, pitch control, filter, amplifier). Try switching the tones of the preset programs on and off an note the effect of the blend. When you edit a patch, you're actually editing one tone at a time. Sometimes it's better to isolate the tone that you're editing by switching the others off. Sometimes it's better to have them all playing; use your judgement. There is a "Palette" mode that allows you to make changes a parameter across multiple Tones simultaneously.


For filter sweeps, you have to modify the filter's cutoff frequency with the filter envelope. This is done at the tone level, so you can have all tones sweeping in sync, or you can have some tones sweeping and others not sweeping, some sweeping downward while others sweep upward, etc. Lots of combinations.


Check Roland's web site for the manual. If you can't find it, download a manual for a more recent synth like the JV-2080. The voice architecture is similar. The later models have more parameters, but the same basic design.


The JV-80 excels at string and pad sounds. Pianos are okay in a mix. It would be my first choice for basses.


Be aware that you can change the sound of a patch radically by switching the dedicated Reverb and Chorus buttons on and off. The parameters of these effects are programmed into the patch. You can change reverb time, high frequency damping, chorus rate, chorus depth, reverb type, chorus type, and other parameters. The reverb can also be programed for delay effects.


[ 12-26-2001: Message edited by: dansouth@yahoo.com ]

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Let's be careful - the TVA is not an ADSR.


TVA means Time Variable Amplifier. This is equivalent to the VCA (Voltage Controlled Amplifier) of an analog synth. The TVA has a dedicated envelope generator, which as the name implies, can vary the amplifier's level over time. Basically, this means that you can make a tone become louder and/or softer as you hold down the key.


Press the Patch Edit button to the right of the display window. Then press the TVA key. Notice that one of the TONE SELECT buttons lights up underneath the display window. This indicates which of the four tones you're editing. The TONE SWITCH buttons to the left show which tones are active in the patch. Remember, you're editing one tone at a time. Use the TONE SWITCH buttons to turn the other tones off temporarily while you edit tone 1, 2, 3, or 4.


When you're in the TVA page, use the down arrow to scroll down to the TVA-ENV page to access the envelope generator. The TVA's envelope is more complex than an ADSR. An ADSR has three rates (A,D,R) and one level (S). The TVA-ENV has four rates (or times, T1-T4) and three levels (L1-L3).


That's just for the amplifier. The TVF (Time Variable Filter) is analogous to the VCF on an analog synth. The TVF also has a dedicated envelope generator (four rates, four levels). You can also edit this one tone at a time using a similar approach. The TVF's envelope modifies the tone's brightness over time, instead of its volume (as with the TVA).


A good trick when building patches from scratch is to edit one tone and get it where you like it, then use the COPY command to copy the parameters from that tone to a second tone. Essentially, you're cloning the tone. Then you can make modifications to the second (or third or fourth) tone without starting over from scratch. The COPY command is accessiable via the WRITE button.


Still need more motion in your patch, Press the PITCH button (to the left of the TVA button) and you'll discover yet another envelope with four rates and four levels. Keep in mind that all three of these envelope generators belong to a single tone and that four tones can be layered in the patch. That means that you can have twelve envelopes running simultaneously. If that doesn't give you some interesting "moving" textures, I don't know what will.


But wait, there's more! Each tone has an LFO (Low Frequency Oscillator) which can add periodic (cyclical) effects to its respective tone.


It might help to try to draw a little diagram of the JV-80's patch architecture. One to four parallel tones each contain three envelopes, one for each of the following (filter, amplifier, and pitch modulation). Each tone also has a dedicated LFO which can modulate any or all of these destinations.


Hope this helps!

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Originally posted by Harp Heaven:

How come you know so much about this syntheziser? Did you get it at its release?


Ok. Now I am confused. You did say JV-80? The JV's have been around a long time. They evolved to the XP line, which in turn evolved to the XV line including Fantom. I am trying to remember if the JV's had the alternate Osc/Fil/Amp routings.


Originally posted by Harp Heaven:

Though you underestimated me a little bit, because I knew some of the things you said.


Don't worry about being underestimated. If people have to worry that you might be insulted by including things you might already know, they will inevitably leave out things that you do not know.


By the way, great information dansouth.

This post edited for speling.
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Originally posted by Rabid:

You did say JV-80? The JV's have been around a long time. They evolved to the XP line, which in turn evolved to the XV line including Fantom.


I believe that the first Roland synths that used the TVF and TVA were the D series - I remember that the D-50 was the first place that I saw them.


I have always been under the impression that their inspiration for this came from the DX7, which had parameters for rates and levels for each of the points of its envelopes - e.g. Rate 1 and Level 1 to determine that time and amount of attack, Rate 2 and Level 2 to determine the decay, etc.


I was blown away by the flexibility and control of this scheme when I got my first DX, and was delighted to see Roland implementing a similar scheme when I got my D-50.





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Rabid: I see what you mean. I never suggested I was a pro and I don`t expected to be treated as one. Sorry for that if I seemed ingrateful.


Btw, the two questions are separate-


So I wondered why he knew so much about it, AND if he got it at its release. The Jv was released in 1992 if I remember correctly, no?

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Originally posted by Harp Heaven:

That helped a lot! Though you underestimated me a little bit, because I knew some of the things you said. The bit with TVA being more complex than ADSR was new for me though. How come you know so much about this syntheziser? Did you get it at its release?


I didn't intentionally underestimate you. I don't know how much you know or don't know about the JV-80, and you said that you didn't have a manual, so I tried to explain things from the ground up. Even if my explanation was an oversimplification for YOU, it might help someone else who's less advanced. But I'm very happy that you were able to get some use out of this post.


Yes, I bought a JV-80 when it first came out. It's a beautiful synth, and I made a lot of cool music with it over the years. Unfortunately, mine is in bad shape - one channel is weak, a button is broken, and one of the keys plays at full velocity. Pity, because the JV-80 has a warmth that's missing from other Roland synths.


Good luck!

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Originally posted by Harp Heaven:

Dan, I apologize, as I tried to do in my above post. I`m sorry for seeming ingrateful and aloof.


The pads on the JV is just wonderful. Even the preset ones. Do you have any pad you want to share with me?


Harp, we're cool! :)


I have a handful of useful patches for the JV-80 and 880, but it's been a while since I've used these machines, so I don't remember exactly what I have available. How would I get the patches to you?

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