Retroaktiv MPG-8X is a controller for MKS-80 synthesizers. This unit is not a clone of an MPG-80 programmer, it offers a completely new, elevated user experience and allows users to edit, store, layer, and animate the sounds of their MKS-80.
The MPG-8X features all of the same capability of the MPG-80, but offers much more than the original did. Features of the MPG-8X are:
Heavy-duty 5U powder coated enclosure, available in desktop format (17.25" x 8.75" x 1.75") and available with optional 5U powder coated rack ears. Rear panel where midi jacks and power are located is a recessed compartment, allowing for convenient access to cables when racking the unit.
Modulation matrix lets users control any combination of MKS-80 parameters with any CC, wheel, pedal, breath, or aftertouch input.
Durable multi-color buttons like the classic Jupiter series
Large white OLED display with capability of displaying envelope shapes, text, other graphics.
Multi-unit-poly mode - If you have 2 MKS-80, using this mode, the MPG-8X can treat them both as a single 16-voice polyphonic synth when in WHOLE mode, and it will operate as an 8-voice poly in DUAL mode. This in effect doubles the polyphony of the synth.
Assignable modulation matrix - control any MKS-80 parameters in any combination, through any range you want using the 3 hardware assigns and 3 "soft assigns". Hardware assigns include CONTROL A and CONTROL B sliders, as well as an external expression pedal input. Soft assigns can be controlled with any CC (0-127), aftertouch, or mod wheel. Any parameters on any layer can be controlled with pedals, mod wheel, aftertouch or any CC. Do things like make the filter sweep up on the UPPER layer while filter sweeps down on LOWER layer. Make this happen with the CONTROL A & B, footpedal, or any CC/aftertouch. Each assign can control 5 separate parameters, where user sets the active layer (UPPER/LOWER), range (0-100), direction (Inverted or non-inverted) and unit (MKS-80 #1 or MKS-80 #2) CC ASSIGNS make DAW automation simple.
Can control 2 MKS-80 units simultaneously and independently. Keeps track of 4 tone parameter arrays at once, so when you switch layers, the correct graphics and LEDs are displayed on the panel.
Mapping feature allows unit to receive and read incoming data on one set of channels, then send that data back out a different set of channels. This will break any feedback loops when loop recording with a DAW.
Midi data filter - Filter out data like notes, CCs, aftertouch, program change, pitch bend, and sysex. DAW RECORD MODE automatically configures the MPG-8X to record in a loop with a DAW, while automatically filtering and mapping messages to prevent any feedback loops. MPG-8X has an automated warning that detects feedback loops if they occur.
PEEK mode - Move any slider with SHIFT button held to see its value. LED switches provide instant feedback when switching layers, so user always know which modulation sources, key assign modes, and layers are selected.
Intelligent Patch Generator - multiple categories of patches can be created, including bass, pads, struck/plucked string (harpsichord, clavinet, harp, ac. guitar), piano/clavichord, organ, brass, hard sync, string, and more. (These are musical adjectives, conveying characteristics, not cheesy imitations of said sounds. Each category is very "synthy") Each section of the synth can be masked, so the randomizations won't affect masked sections. Each category of the patch generator has sub-categories, allowing users to hone in on the exact type of sound they want.
scratch patch generator gives users generic patch starting points for quickly normalizing a new sound. Choose from basic dual saw, env sync, and LFO PWM patches.
Ability to translate and transmit CCs. Translates CC into sysex for easily recording parameter movements with a DAW. Multiple modes of cc translation/transmission. This can be done independently on all layers.
Program changes can be used to select any object type on any layer.
CC to sysex translation works independently on all layers, so the UPPER and LOWER layers of each unit can be automated independently from eachother.
Built in memory library - Allows users to save patches in a single button press. On-board object library stores24 User CC Maps (For controlling other synths and midi gear) 24 ASSIGNs, 64 SETUPS (A setup is 2 PATCH + 1 ASSIGN, so 64 setups = 256 tones) , 3 banks of 64 PATCH (A PATCH = 2 TONE + 2 layers of PATCH data) for a total of 384 individual tones) , and 3 banks of 64 TONEs. This allows for a total of 832 individual tones to be stored on the unit. An optional memory card will be available soon, which will add another 256k of flash memory (Increasing the memory capacity by 5X)
Each bank, patch, assign, setup can be names (up to 16 characters).
Sysex utility lets user import and export objects to synth, as well as to a computer.
MIDI bootloader, allowing for easy software updates using a simple MIDI file.
Ability to back up entire memory on MPG-8X in a single sysex file (Contains all saves objects and settings on MPG-8X)
Manual mode sends out the current slider positions to the synth.
To load update, power up MPG-8X with ENCODER button held. Crossmod INV LED will blink one time, to indicate that unit is now in bootloader mode. A sysex librarian such as MIDI-OX or Sysex Librarian is used to load the new firmware file into the MPG-8X. Set the delay after F7 to 160ms or greater. (This is the delay between sysex strings from the computer) Send the file to the MIDI IN of the MPG-8X. The INV LED will blink once for each sysex packet. INV LED will light solid when the OS has been loaded. Now you can restart the unit.
The process is shown below, using MPG-50 as a demonstration. The only difference between the 8X process and the one shown below is that the MPG-8X must be powered up while holding the encoder, and not the glide button, to enter bootloader mode. Aside from that, the process is identical.
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