Friday, 30 September 2016

Recreating the Roland MPG80

The rackmount version of the Roland Jupiter 6 was the MKS-80, released in 1984. A dedicated programmer was then available, the MPG80.

30 years later, the MKS-80 is a sought after intrument and the MPG-80 is even rarer.

My project is to recreate a MPG-80, based on modern components, Because of the position of the MPG-80 in the MIDI chain, I take this opportunity to add some goodies:
- a main power switch to swith on/off both units
- a upper/lower toggle switch which avoids to select it on the MKS-80
- an arpeggiator syncable on MIDI and External trigger
- More memory to store paches and tones
- Menu switches & LCD display to add further goodies

In the original MPG-80, there is no feedback from the MKS-80. Hence, no protocol is possible (ie the MPG-80 cannot read the settings from a patch; it only sends the new values to the MKS-80).

In the new version, there are 2 MIDI IN, which allows a feedback from the MKS-80. The MPG-80 can request the parameters from a patch and change the LED display accordingly.
The second MIDI IN allows the keyboard to drive the internal arpeggiator, such as on the Roland Jupiter 6. Furthermore, I added an analog sync in / sync out to allow syncing the arpeggiator clock to an analog signal, or syncing an external arpeggiator (such as Roland Juno or Korg Polysix) to the MIDI clock.

Current status:
- Redesign of the pannel layout: finished
- Redesign of the electronic: almost finished
- Programming: started
- Redesign of the casing:started

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