VOGONS


First post, by Silent Supporter

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Good day,

I'd been entertaining the idea of owning a Roland SC-55 for quite some time. I did some basic research and thought it would be a great piece of hardware to have.
I pulled the trigger and am now the owner of a Roland-SC 55 mkII. I'm proud to say it's in fairly good condition.
I knew the Japanese power supply presented a risk of disaster if I were to plug it in, so I especially hunted down a Roland one to act as a replacement.
So far so good. The device turned on, and if I plugged in headphones, I could listen to the demo tunes which offered a taste of things to come.
Of course I needed a means by which this device could communicate with my computer. Enter the Roland UM-ONE mk2. USB. What could be easier?
I plug in the device. My computer identifies it and it shows under the control panel. Coming from Windows 11, this of course needs to be mapped, since Microsoft gutted the functionality to change one's MIDI setup years ago.
I downloaded CoolSoft's MIDI mapper. I switched to the Roland UM-ONE mk2 and braced myself.
Of course, nothing happened. Which brings us to the present and this thread.

I made a rookie mistake. I operated under the naive assumption that the Roland UM-ONE would act as a magical bridge between my computer and being able to output MIDI music using the SC-55. I thought it would "just work" and was very wrong.
I have dug around quite a bit in this regard, but I am very uninformed when it comes to almost anything that leans towards sound and I've not had a lot of luck in the way of getting a simple explanation of what is needed to actually succeed in what I'm doing. That is to say, I'm out of my depth here and am just a layman now sitting with a fancy device that I don't have the wisdom or insight to actually enjoy.

It seems like RCA cables attached to the output ports on the SC-55 are necessary, but what should they connect to? I've read something about them having to connect and be treated as a mic input and am now completely lost.

My desired use case is to be able to actually listen to MIDI tracks using the device. I would also like to be able to play old video games and take advantage of it. Ideally, I would like to be able to directly record its output so I can play it back later.

I currently own an Asus Xonar D2X as my soundcard. I use this to output to a surround sound speaker system. Here's an image of its inputs:

Asus Xonar D2X.PNG
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I also own a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2. I use this as an input for a condenser microphone to record in high quality, and I use it to output to headphones. Here's an image of its inputs:

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2.PNG
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I alternate between these two devices to output sound depending on my mood (headphones vs speakers).

Could you please offer some insight as to how I can solve this problem? How can I use my "new" SC-55? Can I connect it successfully to anything I currently have? Can I achieve my ends with what I have?
I am willing to buy whatever components might be needed to solve my use case above and money is no object, but ideally I want to take advantage of the device on my modern system; I don't want to buy a special retro computer specifically for the purpose of using the SC-55.

Any help is appreciated and I thank you for reading all the way to this point.

Reply 1 of 8, by BloodyCactus

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What I would do is get an rca to xlr cable like this https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07SHWYDVQ/ and feed it into the rear of your 2i2, leaving the front inputs for your microphone, but its not ideal because it wants a mic level in, not a line level in.

my comment is misleading!

Last edited by BloodyCactus on 2024-03-20, 15:25. Edited 1 time in total.

--/\-[ Stu : Bloody Cactus :: [ https://bloodycactus.com :: http://kråketær.com ]-/\--

Reply 2 of 8, by Oetker

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Does the sc-55 actually receive midi data from the PC, i.e. can you see anything happening on its screen?
The sc-55's output should not be treated as a mic, it's line level. Run it to the line in on the Asus.

Reply 3 of 8, by BloodyCactus

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i just realised the cables i reccomended wont work with the mic because its only 2 inputs.... i was thinking like the 4i4 or something... so yeah running into the xonars line in is much better with an rca to trs such as https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01D5H8LDM/

personally if your gonna add stuff... a mixer would be better.

--/\-[ Stu : Bloody Cactus :: [ https://bloodycactus.com :: http://kråketær.com ]-/\--

Reply 4 of 8, by Silent Supporter

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Oetker wrote on 2024-03-20, 14:33:

Does the sc-55 actually receive midi data from the PC, i.e. can you see anything happening on its screen?
The sc-55's output should not be treated as a mic, it's line level. Run it to the line in on the Asus.

Hi Oetker, thanks for responding! I am a bit concerned about that, since I would assume that the display should show changes, but that is not the case. The USB indicator light does flash, though. I assumed that the SC-55 would display activity on its screen despite not outputting sound (or perhaps more specifically, myself not being able to hear the sound). Regardless, once I know that the audio can work with what I physically have, I'll tackle that challenge.

BloodyCactus wrote on 2024-03-20, 15:25:

i just realised the cables i reccomended wont work with the mic because its only 2 inputs.... i was thinking like the 4i4 or something... so yeah running into the xonars line in is much better with an rca to trs such as https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01D5H8LDM/

personally if your gonna add stuff... a mixer would be better.

Thanks a lot, BloodyCactus! I'm interested in what you were originally trying to suggest, though. Would the Scarlett 4i4 work as well? Are you specifically looking at the inputs 3 and 4 in its rear side, which mine lacks? How do you suppose that would look, then?

My Asus Xonar can record its output directly, which is pretty cool and I hope that that could be a solution for recording the MIDI side of things, but there would be a benefit (I presume) if I had the option of outputting to my headphones if I were to replace the Scarlett with the 4i4 as well.

As for mixers, that is a solution which would be pretty intelligent, but I am a little intimidated as I don't understand at all how it would all come together and how it could act as a solution for me.

Reply 5 of 8, by Oetker

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The sc-55 should definitely show things happening on its screen. I'd connect a pair of headphones directly to the unit, make sure you can hear its built-in demo songs, and then try getting midi files from the PC playing. Finally, tackle routing the sc-55 output to your speakers.

Reply 6 of 8, by Silent Supporter

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I can hear the demo tracks, but I am not hearing MIDI music play despite having set CoolSoft's MIDI mapper to use the UM-ONE, and as mentioned, I am not seeing any activity on its display despite playing tracks through Soundfont Midi Player 6.
I will continue to look into this, though. Maybe I've got the UM-ONE hooked up incorrectly to the SC-55 or something. I'll take another crack at this in a bit despite it not being possible for me to output the audio to my computer just yet.

Reply 7 of 8, by sfryers

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Make sure the connector on the UM-ONE labelled "Connect to Midi In" is attached to the MIDI In 1 port on the rear of the device, and that the small switch to the right of the MIDI In 1 port is set to the 'MIDI' position.

MT-32 Editor- a timbre editor and patch librarian for Roland MT-32 compatible devices: https://github.com/sfryers/MT32Editor

Reply 8 of 8, by Silent Supporter

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I am pleased to announce that I have succeeded in getting my SC-55 to work. The soundfonts were very good at approximating its sound, but there are definitely layers to its audio that the soundfonts fail to reproduce.

In the end, here was my setup:
SC-55 mkII connected to computer via USB (Roland UM-ONE) with the tiny switch on the UM-ONE set to TAB, and with the "Connect to MIDI in" connected to "IN 1" on the back of the SC-55, while the "Connect to MIDI out" is connected to "MIDI OUT".
The SC-55 switch on the back is set to "MIDI".
RCA cables connected to the "OUTPUT" on the rear of the SC-55 which connect to my soundcard (Asus Xonar D2X)'s Line In port through 3.5mm.

I have succeeded in getting DOSBox to utilise it. I've been able to playback audio through certain applications that support it, and I can even directly record any audio.
It seems like it's a bit of a dice roll as to whether certain applications are able to communicate with it, but that seems like something that either requires some troubleshooting, or some applications simply can't take advantage of it, which I suppose is to be expected.

Consider this a total success. Thank you to everyone for their answers and input!
Until the next audio question...