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  1. Michael
  2. MIDI Hardware
  3. Friday, 29 June 2018
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Hello, this is my first post to the forum. I'm here for two reasons -- I'm very rusty on the ins and outs of MIDI, so I can really use a comprehensive refresher, but my most immediate need is to get my Roland GR-33 guitar synth working again.

I bought my GR-33 years ago -- back in about 2001, I guess it was, and I used it back then on several pieces of music I wrote -- with great effect. Back then I was running my Digital Audio Workstation on a Win98 platform and was using Cakewalk's Pro Audio 9 as my DAW software. I had the direct round MIDI ports in my system as well as a joystick/MIDI port. All were being used because I had several pieces of MIDI hardware connected to my system. After using it for recording thos pieces, I let the system idle -- for entirely too long.

Nowadays, I have no MIDI ports on my system, so I'm having to use USB instead. I have two Midiman Midisport 2x2 MIDI-to-USB converters that I bought years ago, one of which is in use right now. Its drivers have been successfully installed. And I'm running my GR-33's MIDI out into the system using this one Midisport 2x2. The DAW software is still Cakewalk -- Sonar Platinum, which is the direct descendant from Pro Audio 9. Sonar doesn't "see" the GR-33. Instead, it sees the Midisport 2x2. But I have an instrument definition file for the GR-33 loaded and I've associated the Midisport's 16 channels to the GR-33. So now, when I load an instrument in Sonar, it sees the GR-33 instruments.

When I first hooked my GR-33 up to this system, everything behaved normally. Because I had an instrument file installed in Sonar for the GR-33, Sonar was able to access its instrument patches and was successfully playing them in a few pieces I tried it out with. Then suddenly, it stopped working. This was a few weeks ago and I've been struggling to get it back working ever since. I'm not 100% sure, but I think what might have caused it was, one day, I was playing around with the GR-33's buttons, and I punched the "Write" button, which loaded the first patch, A11 and its name. I don't recall what I did after that, but I do know I messed up that patch and a couple of others, so fearing I'd really messed things up, I went ahead and did a system reset -- which resulted in my losing about a half-dozen custom patches I'd made. Unfortunately doing this reset did not solve the issue.

I've gone through the manual, step by step, with anything having to do with MIDI and it hasn't done any good. Now, I suspect the problem might lie with Sonar and my having something set wrong, but then again, I'm not at all sure. And since Sonar loads a fresh page with each new song, it doesn't seem like there would be any carry-over if I had something set wrong in a previous tune. So if I have something set wrong in Sonar regarding the GR-33, it would have to be something in its set-up area, but as near as I can tell, everything is correct.

When I play a piece of music, if I select the Roland in a track, Sonar responds, showing volume in the track's console slider, but the GR-33 is completely silent and unresponsive. If I change instruments, the GR-33 doesn't show the new instrument selected. It stays on the default voice, A11.

I've checked all the physical connections -- the USB cable and the MIDI cables. I swapped USB ports and even changed out the USB cable -- but I didn't change out either of the MIIDI cables because I doubt seriously one or both would have just suddenly stopped working without being so much as touched.

Sorry about the length of this post, but I had a lot of "'splainin' to do."

So, any ideas?
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Michael Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
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Well, it is fixed -- for now. I'm not really sure what did it. One of the things I did -- even though I'd done it to most just a few days ago -- I took apart every connection, cleaned them best I could, then put them back together. I also went back over the GR-33's internal settings. When I fired up Sonar, the GR-33's channel let out a sharp chirp, which surprised me. It settled down to chirping at the beginning of each note played. I had no idea where that sound was coming from -- or rather, I had no idea what patch was making that sound. I had selected a voice patch. It was as if the GR-33 was waking up after a long period of downtime. I kept trying to coax the right sound out of it by repeatedly opening the menu and selecting the voice patch, and by deselecting and reselecting the GR-33 as the synth. This seemed to help. Slowly and quietly at first, the voice appeared. And then I was dealing with sudden spikes in volume and random patches briefly sounding off. But I kept at it. I ended up having to configure the GR-33 a bit differently than I usually do for a synth and MIDI patches, but it was at last working reliably.

So I wish I could state exactly what it was that was causing the problem -- I wouldn't be surprised if there were more than one issue causing it. But I'm so relieved I found it. The GR-33 is a very capable tool, with a set of voices that can be very convincing. And this synth -- or one very like it -- is essential for the work I'm doing right now.

I had become so discouraged with the lack of progress with my GR-33 that I was on the verge of writing it off. At one point I was at GC's website and I came within a single click of buying a clean used GR-55. The only thing that eventually stopped me was that it didn't come with the GK-3 pickup, which would have added enough to the price such that it would no longer have been a good deal at all. And then I started giving the Fishman Triple Play a hard look. Its price was attractive, plus new ones come with a large bundle of useful software. Two of the main software items were superfluous for me, however, since I already owned versions from those publishers that were very close to what was being included in the FTP bundle. Actually, I still find the FTP to be very attractive and I might still at a later date pull the trigger on one.

Okay, well, unfortunately I can't say that my experiences were particularly useful for anyone who might be having the same problems -- except maybe refusing to give up. I guess that accounts for something.
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  1. 3 weeks ago
  2. MIDI Hardware
  3. # 1
Michael Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
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Well, as it turns out, I fixed things so my GR-33 would work with one tune. As soon as I tried it out on another -- same thing all over again, except this time, not a peep. As I delved into things further, I found another tune where it would work, another where it wouldn't, and yet another that had two GR-33 parts. One worked and one wouldn't. Even if I muted the working track, I couldn't get the non-working track to respond, no matter what I tried.

So this odd situation still exists. If you have anything to suggest, I'd be happy to "hear" from you.
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  1. 2 weeks ago
  2. MIDI Hardware
  3. # 2
Clemens Ladisch Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
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Can you check if generating sounds with the guitar pickup works?

What is the difference between the tunes that work and those that don't? Are they using different patches, or effects?
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  1. one week ago
  2. MIDI Hardware
  3. # 3
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