Welcome! If this is your first visit, you will need to register to participate.

DO NOT use symbols in usernames. Doing so will result in an inability to sign in & post!

If you cannot sign in or post, please visit our vBulletin Talk section for answers to vBulletin related FAQs.


No announcement yet.

TD9KX Quick Record File Format...

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • TD9KX Quick Record File Format...

    Hi all,

    So I recently got myself some roland TD9KX drums and now that I've had them for a week, I can confirm that they indeed rock!

    However there is one problem with them that I would like to solve, and that is the inability to use the quick record files on my computer. I realise that I can use the midi outs from the module to record the midi data, but the process isn't very organic for me and I'd just like to be able to quick record something while I'm practicing and use it later on the pc when I've got more time.

    I guess what I'm after is an application for my computer that can convert the quick record files to midi files. If such an application were to exist, I'm sure it would have to come from Roland as the file format they use is proprietary, however, I don't think they've got any such application which is a shame.

    Anyway, I'm not the kind of guy to give up easily and as I'm a Software Engineer I thought that maybe I might try to create that tool instead!

    However, the problem is that the file format is proprietary, and though I can look at the binary data and decipher some of it, there is a little bit too much I don't know to really make any head way.

    So, if there are any Roland employees reading this thread, I wonder if maybe you could take some requests on board?

    1) Perhaps Roland could create such a tool and make it available to TD9 owners?

    2) If Roland doesn't want to create such a tool, then perhaps consider documenting the file format and letting me know so that I can write the tool myself. I would of course do this at no cost to Roland, and would make the tool freely available. I would even donate it back to Roland if you wish.


    Thanks for reading!


  • #2
    Try using the search function first because there have been other threads about subjects like yours. Take a look at: .TD9 files


    • #3
      Hi, and thanks for the reply. However, yes, I'd already searched the forums for td9 file info, and had seen the Roland employee's mention of a proprietary file format.

      Just to be clear...

      No I'm not wondering how to rename the files or their internal names either. Though a quick viewing of the file in a hex editor shows that neither of those would be too tricky...

      No I'm not wondering how to save more than one quick record. The module is actually nice and easy to use, and I can do that already.

      Yes, I know that I can use midi out while playing live or using the quick record function.

      Yes I know that I can use the line outs to capture the audio.

      Both of the capturing solutions work fine, but when I want to record a quick phrase, personally I think using quick record is better, because it's right in front of me. But I don't like that I have to go and turn on my module and my pc, and then hit the record button on my pc, and then the play button on my module, when a file that obviously contains all the necessary data could just be imported in to my recording app.

      Perhaps Roland don't agree that this is a convenient capturing technique, but I think it is...

      Of course, this could just be me being a little too much of a Software Engineer, and a little too little of a musician...



      • #4
        OK, the threads didn't go into much detail about the specs of the .TD9 format. Being a semi programmer myself, I also took a hex view of the file to determine the file type.

        I guess Roland must have its reasons for choosing this file type like they chose to support only the play back of wav files and not mp3 or other compressed files. Because they made this choice, I doubt if they will make the specifications public.


        • #5
          Yeah, it's hard to be sure of their reasons for the features they have and haven't provided, however, from my experience it's a lot less about keeping things secret and a lot more about convenience of implementation.

          In their case, they have very specific hardware in their module, which needs to peform a specific function at a specific price point, and with every feature they add, they make it harder for themselves to hit that price point. The reason that they support wav but not mp3 I'm sure is something to do with this. Though I haven't looked in to it in any detail, I'd imagine it takes a lot less computing power to decode a wav compared to an mp3. Plus if you use mp3 in your product, you probably have to license it from someone...I think it used to be fraunhofer, and I think they make a lot of money from this!

          With regard to the (apparently) midi-like file format of the td9 files, I suspect that they just chose a format which would work optimally given their hardware limitations and type of data they need to store. No-one ever chooses a proprietary file format to keep things secret, because secrecy through format obscurity doesn't work, and people seem to be able to reverse engineer anything! People often like to throw the word 'proprietary' around like they've got some huge secret, but there's never anything secret going on. It's just the way they made it.

          Anyway, a bit of a ramble, but I think the only good reason Roland might have for not documenting the format, or providing a tool is because it means that they would have to support the format or tool. And that can be a hassle...

          All that is just my opinion of course, and I could be entirely wrong, but the way I see it, you don't ask, you don't get, so if my request somehow finds it's way to a Roland employee, then please consider passing it on to your tech guys!


          P.S. If you look at the td9 files, they are actually the same size regardless of how much you record. That is, I suspect, because they are actually just direct memory dumps of the run-time data structures that the quick record function uses. Also if you look at the size of the files, they're all a little under 256k, and as we programmer types know, memory chip sizes and other memory allocations are commonly performed in powers of 2! I suspect the reason that they're not exactly 256k is because there's some other internal data stored in that same chip and so they can't use the whole chip for recording. Anyway just a thought.
          Last edited by taliska; 07-19-08, 12:01 PM.


          • #6
            I have also run a hex viewer over the Roland TD-9 files and I agree that the quick record saves appear to be a direct dump of the in-memory structures. The drum kit backup files are somewhat similar.

            Reverse engineering of these files should be fairly straight-forward. For the drum kit backups simply save a backup, change a single item, and save again. The difference between the two backups is (hopefully) the location and setting of the item that was changed. Given that the file is highly structured it shouldn't take too long to build up a picture of where each setting is for each kit.

            The quick record files are a little more tricky. One way to do this would be to record several hits of a single pad each time with exactly the same force and tempo to build up a 'library' of files that could be analysed to work out what each value means. Vary the force and tempo to fill in the gaps. Methinks that this would best be done with some sort of electronic circuit to simulate the drum hits, but somebody with a suitably robotic playing style might do also ;o)


            Kit: TD-9, TMC-6, 2x MDS-3C, 2x PD-105, 3x PD-85, CY-12R/C, 2x CY-8, CY-5, KD-8, FD-8
            VEx: HodgePodge, Toolbox, Acustix