A DX7 Expansion “for the rest of us”

The DX7 E! expansion is known for being very hard to use. The SuperMAX is easier, but still there are so many features that it can be hard to remember them all, … and not everyone needs them.  So I’m working on yet another lost 80’s expansion, hereby dubbed “DX7 4x Expansion”.

DX7_4x_Exp_LCD This expansion provides the basic elements that any DX7 owner would want, without the power, complexity or price of E! or SuperMAX.  In a nutshell you get:

  • 128 patches all directly accessible using standard MIDI Patch Changes.
  • Velocity offset to cure the DX7 velocity shortcoming.
  • A bit more MIDI flexibility and keyboard split.

And you don’t need to remember any of it since it’s all adjusted by one simple panel button. Another nice thing is that it also contains the complete latest DX7 v1.8 factory firmware, including the built-in self test. So maybe not all the bells and whistles of a doctorate level SuperMAX+ or E!, but as I said, a DX7 expansion “for the rest of us”.



Posted in Yamaha DX7 | 7 Comments

R & D Break Again – until January 2016

Toward the end of every year I take some weeks off to catch up on other things in my life, do some tech/music R & D and force myself to get away from the eBay/Paypal rat race.

If you are not in a rush, please check back on Jan. 1, 2016 or thereabout. If you have an urgent matter and are interested in trying alternate payment avenues, then email me. At this time I have used Google Wallet and PopMoney with success. I’m always willing to learn more about good alternatives.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

CR2032 Battery Holder PCB Saver Adapter (for DX7, etc)

Here is a quick “freebie” of sorts. I’ve had this PCB for a while and used them now and then to fix dead 3v coin cell batteries on Yamaha DX7’s and other synth’s and drum machines. You can order the blank PCBs yourself or download the BRD file and get them made however you want.

The description is:

This item is a battery holder, coin cell and adapter PCB that lets you mount a standard CR2032 battery holder over top of a PCB layout that uses a soldered-in battery. It basically converts the pin layout from one of many odd 2-pin and 3-pin board styles into the common battery holder style. In the future, battery replacement will be a snap! Save your gear from leakage, damaged traces and lost sounds!

It will work with many synthesizers, drum machines or effects gear provided you have room inside the unit. The board can be mounted using wires, connector pins, component legs, connectors, etc. You can mount the board directly above where the old battery used to be or any convenient location as long as the board and battery are secure and absolutely insulated from any metal.

OSH Park Shared project MTG CR2032 PCB Saver, Rev A

s-l500 (1) s-l500 s-l1600 (1) s-l1600 (2) s-l1600


Posted in Uncategorized, Yamaha DX7 | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Kawai R100 QuadROM (x4) Board

It’s important to have a bunch of unfinished projects on the go 😉 so here is one more on my list. If you recall, I sell a PCB for the Kawaii R100 that has three EPROMs on it. This gives the R100 user access to all 3 Kawai factory sound ROMs. And the ROMs in question are pretty large (40 pins). Each sound ROM contains a full set of 24 instruments.  I call this the standard 3x board and you can see it on a previous post here: http://musictechnologiesgroup.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/P1030676.jpg

And now, the new 4x:

Kawai R100 QuadROM board

4x sound ROM memory expansion

I recently started playing with even bigger EPROMs (42 pins). This means I can put all 3 factory sound ROMs in one chip and still have a bank left over for more custom sounds.  This board I’m calling the “QuadROM” 4x board. See above. It can hold 4 sets of 24 instruments in the one chip. Less soldering for me.

P1040416 P1040417 Of course in both cases the user can make their own EPROMs using my R100 Builder software, but for the 4x it means you need a pretty decent programmer since the cheapie programmers may not do the 42 pin EPROM; at least not without an adapter.

Also, because there are now 4 banks, it means a simple 3-position toggle switch won’t do. I have to invest in a quality 4-position rotary switch that is still small enough to fit in the R100.  Anyway fun stuff on a Saturday. I will work on it more as time allows and see what comes of it.

Posted in Kawai R100 | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Yamaha DX7 ROM Cartridge BINs

DX7 ROM 3 Cartridge EPROM

Yamaha DX7 Cartridge guts

I needed to get the BIN data from some DX7 cartridges, but I don’t have them all. I only have ROM3. So I desoldered the EPROM in the ROM 3 and compared that to the .SYX files found easily on the web. So then I threw together a quick application where I could take DX7 bulk voice dumps and create an EPROM from that.

Note that the Bank B data actually appears in the ROM space before the Bank A data. That’s just because of the decoding on the Bank A/B switch.

MTG DX7 Builder

Make a ROM cartridge from Sys Ex data

As I mentioned in the SuperMAX Redux post I also have the BIN data for the E! presets (256 of them are stored in half of the 27512) as well as the SuperMAX ones (64 of them in half of one of the 27128’s). So it would be possible to replace the data in those EPROMs if one wanted different presets in either of those expansion boards.  Anyway that was my weekend.

Posted in Yamaha DX7 | Leave a comment

Yamaha DX7 SuperMAX Redux

Something else I’m working on…

SuperMAX plus LCD screen

SuperMAX+ LCD welcome greeting

The new circuit boards just arrived and the testing so far is good. The boards are a slight improvement over the original: I’ve increased the size to allow for a screw to hold the board down and I’ve added a battery holder (not installed) for folks that might want to make a better setup for the CR2032 RAM backup battery.

Yamaha DX7 SuperMAX+ PCB

Posted in Yamaha DX7 | 11 Comments

Vintage Synth CPU Updates, Upgrades and Expansions

There are so many CPU upgrades now for our beloved synths of old, that I thought it would be nice to have a catalog of them all in one place. If someone else has done this already, please let me know. Here are a few I can think of. Add new ones below and I will incorporate them into the master list here.

  1. Korg DW8000: Turbo-DW … http://www.musitronics.org/products/dw8000_ex_e.html
  2. Korg Mono/Poly: Midipoly … http://midipolis.blogspot.com/p/midipoly-manual1.html
  3. Korg Poly 6: Kiwisix … http://kiwitechnics.com/kiwisix.htm
  4. Korg Poly 800: HAWK-800 … http://patrioticduo.tripod.com/hawk800/index.html
  5. Rhodes Chroma: The Chroma CPU Plus (CC+) … http://www.rhodeschroma.com/?id=cpuplus
  6. Roland Juno 6: Tubbutec Juno-66 … http://tubbutec.de/juno-66/
  7. Roland Juno 60: Tubbutec Juno-66 … http://tubbutec.de/juno-66/
  8. Roland Juno 60: Minerva… http://midipolis.blogspot.com/p/minerva-manual.html
  9. Roland Juno 106: Kiwi-106 … http://kiwitechnics.com/kiwi-106.htm
  10. Roland Jupiter 4: Io … http://midipolis.blogspot.com/p/manuals.html
  11. Roland Jupiter 6: Europa … http://www.synthcom.com/Europa/productEuropa.html
  12. Roland JX3P: Inque Organix MIDI Expansion Kit … (used market only)
  13. Roland JX3P: Kiwi-3P … http://kiwitechnics.com/jx3pupgrade.htm
  14. Roland JX10: Vecoven Super JX … http://www.vecoven.com/superjx/superjx.html
  15. SCI P600: Teensy P600fw … http://gligli.github.io/p600fw/
  16. SCI Pro One: MTG TurboCPU … http://musictechnologiesgroup.com
  17. SCI Pro One: Per Linné UC-1 … (used market only)
  18. Yamaha DX7: Special Edition EPROM … (eBay and other places)
  19. Yamaha DX7: GreyMatter E! … (used market only)
  20. Yamaha DX7: SuperMAX … http://www.musictechnologiesgroup.com/lcd_upgrades.htm#supermax
  21. Yamaha DX7 4x EXP … http://www.musictechnologiesgroup.com/lcd_upgrades.htm#dx7_4x_exp

And if I get the dashes wrong in the synth name, let me know.

Posted in Pro One CPU, Uncategorized, Yamaha DX7 | 4 Comments

TurboCPU v1.40 (beta) is available

A new version of the TurboCPU+MIDI firmware has been uploaded to the website, along with a new version of the Windows application TurboCPU.exe.

Added: “MIDI Note Priority” which supports 4 modes: Lowest Note, Highest Note, Last Note and my original mode (called One Note). There is a 10 note stack for Lowest, Highest and Last (the default is Last). The Last, High and Low Note priorities read the RETRIG switch live to determine whether a new envelope is triggered on subsequent MIDI keys down or not.



Posted in Pro One CPU | 1 Comment

MIDI Patch Change Editor v3.31

Ok folks, I have uploaded v3.31 of the PC editor for the MIDI Patch Changer. There are several bugfixes regarding Preset Navigation and the MIDI Events Editor. As well, by popular demand, a “Cancel” button has been added to the Midi Events Editor so that you can abandon your changes. Sorry that took so long. The web page and manual need updating a little, but the latest stuff is online at:

Posted in MIDI Patch Changer | 4 Comments

MIDI Patch Changer: Set Patch Range Hack

Here is a relatively easy hack to let you change how the MPC keypad display MIDI Program Change numbers: as 1-to-128 or 0-to-127. This setting is made available as kind of a “hidden” feature. Hidden in the sense that you have to send a System Exclusive (Sys Ex) command to the keypad to turn it on and off.

Send any MIDI data

MIDI Program Changer/Controller

First of all, here is the manual description for the feature:

Set Patch Range

You can set the range for the Patch Change values to be 1-128 or 0-127.  Underneath, the firmware always transmits the hex values according to the MIDI Spec. (0x00 to 0x7F hex which is 0 to 127 decimal), but most MIDI gear uses 1 to 128 for patches.

NOTE: The editor/librarian only supports program change numbers 1 to 128.

You can send either one of these Sys Ex commands at any time. You don’t need to put the keypad in any special mode. To send a command you will need a utility program such as MIDIOX or SendsSX, or perhaps you can a way of sending Sys Ex from a Sequencer PC application.  Here are the commands:

  • F0 7D 22 22 09 00 00 F7
  • F0 7D 22 22 09 00 01 F7

The first is for range 0 to 127 and the second is for range 1 to 128.


Posted in MIDI Patch Changer | 1 Comment