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TD-8 bulk file storage

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  • TD-8 bulk file storage

    Here we go again.....

    I apologize in advance for bringing this up for what seems like the umpteenth time, but I just don't understand why I'm having problems getting my Alesis DataDisk and my TD-8 on the same page with respect to moving bulk file information back and forth.

    The TD-8 is one of two pieces of MIDI gear I have that the DataDisk does not seem to function with. Ironically, the other device in question was also manufactured by Roland (an older Alpha Juno 2 synthesizer). The Juno has an excuse; it's not equipped to perform any kind of bulk reception/transfer, but I don't know what the TD-8's story is. I also have a Yamaha TMX, an Alesis D-4, a Peavey MIDI Master patchbay, an E-mu Proteus FX, a DigiTech Studio Quad and Quad V2, a Behringer UltraCurve, a Behringer Virtualizer, an ART Nightbass SGX, and a Yamaha QY-10, and the DataDisk is fully functional with all these devices. I guess when Roland "recommends" the use of one Roland product with another, you'd better do it or else.....

    Which brings me to my question: has anyone on this site been able to successfully bulk transfer information back and forth from their TD-8/-10 using a stand-alone hardware-based sequencer or MIDI data filer (Yamaha MDF or QY series, Peavey MIDI Streamer, Roland MC series, etc.)? I know that there's some highly recommended librarian software out there for PC (MIDI-Ox, Sound Diver, etc.), but what good is that going to do me in a live situation? I found out the hard way what happens when someone connects you to an unregulated power source while about 3,000 bikers await the start of the show just as soon as you've completed soundcheck: your equipment freaks out, reinitializes, all your precious patches are gone and I almost was as well! Now I don't know about anyone else out there, but I'm afraid I don't have the luxury of being able to bring my PC with me on live dates for any number of obvious reasons. In order for the show to go on for an electronic drummer in crisis situations like these, there's got to be a Plan B, and MIDI-Ox and the like wouldn't have done me a damn bit of good here....

    So, since Roland seems to be really anal about using only their products in conjunction with one another, I'm specifically curious if anyone has used an MC series sequencer for the purposes described above. I've found a pretty good deal on an MC-50 locally, but the decision as to whether or not I buy it rests solely on its bulk transfer compatibility with the TD-8.

    Of course, I'd prefer to continue to use the DataDisk, so if someone out there has the answers to my prayers, I'd be very grateful for your help.....

    TD-30 / SPD-SX /Alesis Strike Multipad

  • #2
    I know some people who use a Data Disk which I'll try and borrow and mess with. In the mean time, what exactly are you having problems with? Are there any errors appearing on either machine? Or, are you just not getting anywhere. Even when I use a software based sequencer I need to make transfer adjustments particulaly with buffer size and time. Again I do not have a Data Disc at my disposal at this time ( I'll work on it) but if there is any way to adjust (lower) either the buffer size or the time/delay on the sequencer try that first. Hope this helps. Chuck


    • #3
      Thanks for the reply, Chuck:

      The thought has crossed my mind that maybe my problem was related somehow to the sheer bulk of information being sent to the unit at a particular speed. However, it may surprise you to know that the unit that's having trouble receiving the information is the TD-8, not the DataDisk! Let me explain in detail exactly what I was trying to do tonight and the results I was getting....

      My intention was to simply transfer one of my custom kit patches to the DataDisk as a single bulk file and then transfer it back to the TD-8 after doing a factory reset on that patch only. I copied kit #64 to kit #7, and then set the Datadisk to receive this kit by putting it in "RECEIVE ONE SYSEX--WAITING FOR DATA" mode, where it is on standby until the dump is initiated. I then accessed the TD-8's Bulk Menu, where I selected "DRUM KIT 7" as the information I wanted to transfer. I hit F3 to execute the procedure, at which time the TD-8's screen read "BULK DUMP TRANSMITTING" along with a numeric percentage figure and meter readout showing how far along the procedure was. At the same time, the DataDisk's display read "RECEIVING ROLAND MKS-80". The entire transfer took about one second, after which time the DataDisk's display read "STORED AS ROLAND MKS-80 FILE 01". The next thing I did was to factory reset kit #7 so that I could bulk dump the customized kit #7 to that location and overwrite the factory kit. I've done dozens of dumps practically identical to this over time (most of them involving transferring the entire contents of some of my other modules back and forth), and everything so far was working exactly as it was supposed to be. So how much trouble could it be to transfer one little kit back to the TD-8 from the DataDisk, right? Well,......

      The only thing I needed to do to complete the procedure was to hit the SEND button on the DataDisk, after which time the DataDisk read "SENDING ROLAND MKS-80 FILE 01" after a confirmation prompt. The TD-8's display read "BULK DATA RECEIVING. PLEASE WAIT...." for a very brief moment after the send command was initiated and then disappeared. Immediately afterwards, the message "OPERATION ABORTED" showed on the DataDisk. The kit that was supposed to have been overwritten on the TD-8 hadn't changed in any way, shape, or form.

      I've tried one MIDI cable, I've tried two MIDI cables. I've tried using "MULT SYSEX" instead of "ONE SYSEX". I've tried "handshaking". I've also tried saying "please", "thank you", and a dazzling assortment of words you don't repeat in front of your kids. The only other result of note I got was when I used a single MIDI cable for the whole procedure and physically repatched the cable to the appropriate jacks for the send and return of the bulk dump. The DataDisk said "TARGET UNIT NOT RESPONDING" when I tried to return the bulk file to the TD-8. Yahoo.....

      So there you have it, Chuck. If you can figure this one out, you will have earned my instant respect, admiration, and the chance to down several frosty beers at my expense the next time you're in Wichita! Best of luck to you, man!

      [This message has been edited by Mick Wade (edited March 05, 2001).]
      TD-30 / SPD-SX /Alesis Strike Multipad


      • #4
        Hey Mick, I had the same results the first couple of times I tried this with my sequencer. Try lowering the buffer and or increase the delay time between buffers (if this is possible with the Data Disc.) I didn't get my hands on the machine yet, my friends out of town but as soon as I do I'll repost. Good Luck..........Chuck


        • #5
          >So how much trouble could it be
          >to transfer one little kit

          Believe me, I know -
          and would not wish it on anyone to have to find out the hard way like I did.

          How much trouble?
          6,824 bits worth -or-
          853 bytes -or-
          13 sysex packets -
          1 'common' settings, 1 each for the 12 pads.

          The *gotcha* is found on page 156 of the TD-10 Owner's Manual - quote:

          "If (the sysex packet) is transmitted successfully, there must be an interval of at least 45 ms."

          add 'between packets' to the end of that quote - believe me!

          45ms. is about 1 week in computer years - and you must wait that full week before sending the next packet or else.

          I bet the DataDisk just goes too fast.

          It is amazing that Roland produced the MPU-401 standard and then went prehistoric compared to most other manufacturers. They impose an arbitrary 128 byte limit on packet size, so that *anything* meaningful sent to it must come in a gazillion (no exaggeration!) packets, and then you *must* pause for a week and twiddle your thumbs (not easy to teach a computer to do - it has no opposing thumbs you know...) between packets.


          • #6
            Oops -

            I just realized that we're talkin' the TD-8 - but that doesn't matter one bit (Don't get me wrong, it's not that bits don't matter in all this!)

            Most, if not all, Roland MIDI product implementations have the one week delay requirement (give or take a few hours) between sysex packets. I think they use an internal analog abacus to figure the checksum.


            • #7
              Chuck and Lee, thank you both for your replies.....

              Believe me, Chuck, I'm eagerly awaiting your next one after you get your hands on your friend's DataDisk! And by the way, no, the DataDisk offers no options for controlling buffer size, transfer speed, etc....

              Lee, thanks also for being so brutally honest about my situation. I guess I basically know where I stand at this time, unless Chuck is able to pull off some kind of miracle. Did I understand you correctly in your second post? The impression I got from it was that even using a Roland MC series sequencer is not going to solve my problem. Or is it just that the bulk transfers will work but be pathetically slow?

              Aside from using MIDI-Ox, SoundDiver, and the like, am I just totally screwed here? Is using an outboard sequencer/data filer for TD-8 bulk dumps/transfers simply not possible? I can just see myself now in a club dragging a 100' MIDI cable up to the bar: "Excuse me, miss. Does your computer have internet access? If not, would you mind letting me load some software on it? Could you please move that Stoli bottle? I need to plug this MIDI cable into your computer's USB port..."

              Any suggestions, Lee?
              TD-30 / SPD-SX /Alesis Strike Multipad


              • #8
                Hey, feefer:

                I appreciate the tip! My Yamaha QY10 has a bulk dump feature, might as well give it a shot. Stranger things have happened, and it's not like I have a multitude of choices at the present time. You've now got me wondering how the Yamaha MDF-1 would fare in a situation like this.....

                Anyone have a QX-3 they want to sell?
                TD-30 / SPD-SX /Alesis Strike Multipad