Roland JD-800 VST - import Sys-Ex?

For fans of synths, pianos or keyboard instruments of any sort.

Moderator: Moderators

Roland JD-800 VST - import Sys-Ex?

Post by The Elf »

I have a horrible feeling I know the answer to this, but...

Is there any way to get from a JD-800 Sys-Ex bank dump to Roland's software (VST) version? I can't find anything that gives me hope, but I'm incredulous if this isn't possible. :?
User avatar
The Elf
Jedi Poster
Posts: 19828 Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2001 12:00 am Location: Sheffield, UK
An Eagle for an Emperor, A Kestrel for a Knave.

Re: Roland JD-800 VST - import Sys-Ex?

Post by Eddy Deegan »

It does seem mind-boggling that anyone would go to the effort, time and expense of creating a virtual implementation of a hardware synth and not support importing SysEx from the hardware.

:headbang:

With some work it would probably be possible to reverse-engineer the format of a patch saved from the VST and convert from the original SysEx to that format but it would be a labour of love and probably a deeper rabbit-hole than you'd have time to tackle.

This chap has done something vaguely similar to get JD-800 patches into a Jupiter X using a spreadsheet: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bEsawbAIkHI ... there may be some glimmers of inspiration to be gleaned from there.
User avatar
Eddy Deegan
Moderator
Posts: 8672 Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 12:00 am Location: Brighton & Hove, UK
Some of my works | The SOS Forum Album projects  

Re: Roland JD-800 VST - import Sys-Ex?

Post by BillB »

Paul, firstly, I have a hardware JD-800 so do let me know if that can help in any way.

Second, doesn't surprise me at all, sadly. Roland seem to have abandoned all MIDI conventions (sysex included) in favour of their own 'ecosystems' like Roland Cloud. As you will know, even the System-8 communicates with its cloud equivalents by some seemingly mysterious message format, and Sysex patch/bank dump is not an option - or at least in no way documented. Why they couldn't just work with and document sysex on their latest hard/software is beyond me. Even 'ecosystems' connect to the world!
BillB
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1890 Joined: Mon Apr 07, 2003 12:00 am Location: East Yorkshire

Re: Roland JD-800 VST - import Sys-Ex?

Post by Eddy Deegan »

I went and had a look at the Roland site to see if the JD-800 VST was a simple buy... I'd quite like the synth and if I'd had it installed and was able to get a saved patch file I'd quite happily have gone on a reverse engineering quest with a view to putting together a small CLI utility to convert from SysEx to whatever the patch format is now.

However, it appears not to be available unless I sign up to the Roland Cloud, get a lifetime key for it and then maintain my Roland account forevermore, which seems rather overkill for a single VST.

I'm still intrigued though. Elf, does the VST allow you to save/export patches as local files on disk (and, conversely, load them back in again)?
User avatar
Eddy Deegan
Moderator
Posts: 8672 Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 12:00 am Location: Brighton & Hove, UK
Some of my works | The SOS Forum Album projects  

Re: Roland JD-800 VST - import Sys-Ex?

Post by The Elf »

I'm only running the demo, but if I could get some of this old Sys-Ex into it I might have had to endure a couple of months of subscription to get this job done, despite my better judgement.

It does seem that Roland are intent on making their subscription system as unpalettable to me as possible, so they lose, and I lose.

I agree that it seems ridiculous that they would go to all the trouble of a software recreation, yet saw off the limb that would have connected it to the real world.

Thanks for the advice and offers of help, guys, but I'm going to pass on this one.
User avatar
The Elf
Jedi Poster
Posts: 19828 Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2001 12:00 am Location: Sheffield, UK
An Eagle for an Emperor, A Kestrel for a Knave.

Re: Roland JD-800 VST - import Sys-Ex?

Post by The Elf »

Eddy Deegan wrote: Fri Dec 09, 2022 4:10 pm I'm still intrigued though. Elf, does the VST allow you to save/export patches as local files on disk (and, conversely, load them back in again)?

It has a save/load, but to some inscrutable bin format.
User avatar
The Elf
Jedi Poster
Posts: 19828 Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2001 12:00 am Location: Sheffield, UK
An Eagle for an Emperor, A Kestrel for a Knave.

Re: Roland JD-800 VST - import Sys-Ex?

Post by sonics »

Let me know if you want me to have a quick look at it. :)
sonics
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1485 Joined: Wed Jul 16, 2003 12:00 am Location: Canada
 

Re: Roland JD-800 VST - import Sys-Ex?

Post by Eddy Deegan »

The Elf wrote: Fri Dec 09, 2022 5:27 pm
Eddy Deegan wrote: Fri Dec 09, 2022 4:10 pm I'm still intrigued though. Elf, does the VST allow you to save/export patches as local files on disk (and, conversely, load them back in again)?

It has a save/load, but to some inscrutable bin format.

I would have sort-of expected so (JSON would have been nice though!), and that's what I'd be reverse engineering. I've created a free account on Roland anyway and might get a rush of blood to the head over the weekend to have a quick look at it to see if I can map the old SysEx spec to the modern save/load file format. If I discover anything that looks useful I'll let you know.

If the world was a beautiful place without any problems then the files would be, or would contain within them, a binary version of the original SysEx itself but somehow I doubt that very much indeed ;)
User avatar
Eddy Deegan
Moderator
Posts: 8672 Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 12:00 am Location: Brighton & Hove, UK
Some of my works | The SOS Forum Album projects  

Re: Roland JD-800 VST - import Sys-Ex?

Post by muzines »

There is a guy who has built one, that I was chatting to a while back regarding Roland's file and sysex formats.

To be honest, looking at the complexities of it compared to my previous Roland Cloud sysex convertors, I'm glad I didn't volunteer to do it (despite many requests).

It wasn't straightforward at all, due to how the ZenCore engine works internally, and apparently there are loads of weird things in the data format (like, "they must have been drunk when they made this" weird!), together with the internal data being compressed and in different, sometimes very different parameter ranges and scalings.

I'll dig out the link...

Edit: https://github.com/sagamusix/JDTools

Given I have an idea of just how much work was required to support that conversion to the ZenCore version, if you find it useful, do throw a few bucks at Johannes for his efforts, I'm sure it will be appreciated.

(Very few of us people doing this kind of detailed sysex/plugin/patch conversion work get much return for that effort.)

Eddy Deegan wrote: Fri Dec 09, 2022 6:14 pm I would have sort-of expected so (JSON would have been nice though!), and that's what I'd be reverse engineering. I've created a free account on Roland anyway and might get a rush of blood to the head over the weekend to have a quick look at it to see if I can map the old SysEx spec to the modern save/load file format. If I discover anything that looks useful I'll let you know.

If the world was a beautiful place without any problems then the files would be, or would contain within them, a binary version of the original SysEx itself but somehow I doubt that very much indeed ;)

It's absolutely not that straightforward, unfortunately - unlike the D50 one that I did, which was quite straightforward and (more or less) conforms to the standard D50 sysex specs, with a few extra things and some wrinkles.

My Roland Cloud conversion tools are here, BTW:
http://www.difficultaudio.com/roland/ (for the D50 and JV1080)
User avatar
muzines
Jedi Poster
Posts: 12179 Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2006 12:00 am
..............................mu:zines | music magazine archive | difficultAudio  | Legacy Logic Project Conversion

Re: Roland JD-800 VST - import Sys-Ex?

Post by Eddy Deegan »

muzines wrote: Fri Dec 09, 2022 6:49 pm There is a guy who has built one, that I was chatting to a while back regarding Roland's file and sysex formats.
...
https://github.com/sagamusix/JDTools


Repo README wrote: It is possible to convert between practically all format combinations:

JD-800 SysEx dumps (SYX, MID) can be converted to...
JD-990 SysEx dump (SYX)
JD-800 VST / Zenology patch bank (BIN)
JD-08 patch bank (SVD)
ZC1 patch bank (SVZ)
...

Excellent! :clap::thumbup:
User avatar
Eddy Deegan
Moderator
Posts: 8672 Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 12:00 am Location: Brighton & Hove, UK
Some of my works | The SOS Forum Album projects  

Re: Roland JD-800 VST - import Sys-Ex?

Post by The Elf »

No idea how you found this!! :clap: Thank you. :thumbup:

It took me long enough just to figure out how to download the compiled program. Github is a nightmare!

From a quick glance. It all looks a bit tecchy (presumably command line stuff), but I'll work out the details tomorrow and give it a go.

I'll be back...
User avatar
The Elf
Jedi Poster
Posts: 19828 Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2001 12:00 am Location: Sheffield, UK
An Eagle for an Emperor, A Kestrel for a Knave.

Re: Roland JD-800 VST - import Sys-Ex?

Post by muzines »

The Elf wrote: Fri Dec 09, 2022 10:59 pm No idea how you found this!! :clap: Thank you. :thumbup:

Like I said, I've already done a bunch of Roland Cloud conversion tools, so the author contacted me to see whether I could help with decoding the BIN files and Roland sysex, so we had a bit of back and forth about what we'd learnt and how to approach things. So that's how I initially learned of his program.

In the end, the JD800, being a ZenCore synth, handled the parameters very differently to the pre-ZenCore Roland plugins (Roland use the "BIN" file extension for any proprietary binary file, they can be vastly different depending on what they are doing and for what plugins, so my previous reverse-engineering wasn't that applicable), so I wasn't that much help in the end, but it was interesting looking at how Roland had implemented things internally, which was... unexpected and interesting, to say the least... :headbang:
User avatar
muzines
Jedi Poster
Posts: 12179 Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2006 12:00 am
..............................mu:zines | music magazine archive | difficultAudio  | Legacy Logic Project Conversion
Post Reply