[ANN] JDXi Manager - a Roland JD-Xi Editor

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tux99
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[ANN] JDXi Manager - a Roland JD-Xi Editor

Post by tux99 »

IF you are using a Roland JD-Xi synthesizer (IMHO probably the best budget synth currently available to buy) here is the editor for Linux for it:

Main page: http://jdxi-manager.linuxtech.net/
Linux specific page: http://jdxi-manager.linuxtech.net/linux.html

It's not FOSS licensed but free as in beer and the source code is available to download and to inspect for everybody (it has to be since it's written in a scripting language). Patches are also welcome. :)

I also have no problem with it being packaged up and distributed in Linux distros and repositories, but only in Linux distros, not for any other OS such as MS Windows or OS X. Due to this restriction I can't use a standard FOSS license.

Here's a screenshot (it's from Windows 7 but the Linux version looks nearly identical, just slight font differences):
Image
Last edited by tux99 on Sun Dec 16, 2018 9:41 am, edited 2 times in total.

glowrak guy
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Re: [ANN] JDXi Manager- a Roland JD-Xi Editor

Post by glowrak guy »

This could fill a lot of gaps in a linux based studio.
Sound engines
Drum Machine
Vocoder/guitar-synth
Sequencer/arppegiator

How is the midi-learn and midi in/out, send/receive functions?
Are there any standard functions that aren't working in linux?
I read about the midi-thru steps at the 'clan', but if the sounds
can be played as a sound module from an 88 key controller,
with basic i/o ports available in qjackctl, the JD-Xi with editor
will be a powerhouse without the huge price!

Is your code designed to be repurposed for other hardware synths
and effects gear?
Cheers

tux99
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Re: [ANN] JDXi Manager- a Roland JD-Xi Editor

Post by tux99 »

glowrak guy wrote:This could fill a lot of gaps in a linux based studio.
Yes it does and I prefer hardware synths rather than software synths anyway as they do not require cpu power on the PC and latency is a not an issue.

How is the midi-learn and midi in/out, send/receive functions?
I'm not sure what you mean by 'midi learn'?
Are there any standard functions that aren't working in linux?
My editor is not complete yet, it's missing the controls of the FX units, the vocoder and the 'program section' but that will follow in future releases, technically it's not a problem, it can all be controlled from any MIDI capable PC, including of course Linux.
The only thing that I didn't get working in Linux is the Audio via USB that the JD-Xi provides (I haven't tried recent kernels and ALSA versions so it might work with those), but I simply use the analog stereo output of the JD-Xi connected to my sound card input.
can be played as a sound module from an 88 key controller,
with basic i/o ports available in qjackctl, the JD-Xi with editor
will be a powerhouse without the huge price!
Yes, the JD-Xi can be controlled from an external controller and the USB MIDI works fine with Linux.
Is your code designed to be repurposed for other hardware synths
and effects gear?
Partially. This is not my first editor, I have written others before (see for example: viewtopic.php?f=24&t=13497 ) and a lot of code is re-used from those, but it's not so modular that you could use it as a universal patch editor library.

glowrak guy
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Re: [ANN] JDXi Manager- a Roland JD-Xi Editor

Post by glowrak guy »

Thanks for replying and answering questions. I've been reading up on the synth,
and your editor is mentioned/appreciated quite often.
Implemented midi-learn capability means you can activate the learn feature
on a software, select a gui element, move a controller knob/slider etc on connected hardware,
and that connection is remembered for further use. Maybe there is
another name for that, besides 'midi-learn'.

Now it might seem like an extra step, if a hardware midi-controller device
can be mapped to JD-Xi controls, but your editor exposes so much
under the hood, that having midi-learn the extra editor capabilities,
to be used on 61, 76, or 88 key controllers would be great.
Cheers

tux99
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Re: [ANN] JDXi Manager- a Roland JD-Xi Editor

Post by tux99 »

The JD-Xi does not have MIDI-learn (synths don't normally have MIDI-learn, only controllers have this) but all of its knobs do send CC or NRPN so you can use the JD-Xi to control soft-synths providing the soft-synths allow you to assign CC/NRPN to their parameters.

The other way round works to, you can use any generic hardware MIDI controller to control the JD-XI, as all the parameters of the JD-XI can be controlled via MIDI CC or NRPN and/or Sysex (some of the NRPN parameters are undocumented but people have found them and done you tube video tutorials about it, search for 'jd-xi hidden parameters' on youtube).

My editor does not have MIDI-learn as it has no need for it, it's designed as an editor for the JD-Xi (not as a generic controller for any synth) so the parameters are set to match the JD-Xi.

glowrak guy
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Re: [ANN] JDXi Manager- a Roland JD-Xi Editor

Post by glowrak guy »

tux99 wrote: My editor does not have MIDI-learn as it has no need for it
Thanks for the info. I do think an editor with midi-learn would be
a valuable tool, perhaps a commercial variant? Especially for those
wanting the Roland/Korg sounds/sequencers for use with 88 note controllers,
and whose eyes glaze over when viewing CC tables. I'll grab some
youtube videos later.
Cheers

tux99
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Re: [ANN] JDXi Manager- a Roland JD-Xi Editor

Post by tux99 »

I think I still don't understand you correctly as I don't see how MIIDI-learn on my editor could help you use a keyboard controller with the JD-Xi. :?
Surely if you want to program your keyboard controller so that it controls the JD-Xi, then it's your keyboard controller that needs to have MIDI-learn?

glowrak guy
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Re: [ANN] JDXi Manager- a Roland JD-Xi Editor

Post by glowrak guy »

Simplicity is a great thing. With Zebra2, i can enable 'learn', move a resonance knob on the gui,
move a slider on my controller...voila

With a complex powerful hardware synth/workstation, repleat with some deep 'menu-diving',
being able to perform such a simple action on most/all parameters, via a 'learned' editor gui, would be great.
Essentially, a Rolandbeast softsynth for linux. (forgive me if I seem to
put semantics in a looping spin-cycle :wink: )

tux99
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Re: [ANN] JDXi Manager- a Roland JD-Xi Editor

Post by tux99 »

glowrak guy wrote:Simplicity is a great thing. With Zebra2, i can enable 'learn', move a resonance knob on the gui,
move a slider on my controller...voila

With a complex powerful hardware synth/workstation, repleat with some deep 'menu-diving',
being able to perform such a simple action on most/all parameters, via a 'learned' editor gui, would be great.
Essentially, a Rolandbeast softsynth for linux. (forgive me if I seem to
put semantics in a looping spin-cycle :wink: )
Hmmm, now I think you are misunderstanding things. Zebra is a soft-synth, which is why it needs to learn the sliders of your hardware controller so that you can use your hardware controller to control Zebra.

In the case of my editor the situation is the other way round. The software is the controller and the hardware is the synth. My editor already knows the sysex strings to send to the JD-Xi as it has been programmed for that purpose. There is nothing it needs to 'learn'.

If you want to use a hardware controller with a JD-Xi to avoid menu diving then my editor is not necessary at all for you (at least not for this purpose). All you need to do is connect your hardware controller straight to the JD-Xi via a MIDI cable.

Since the JD-Xi itself does not have MIDI learn you need a hardware controller that has MIDI learn and AFAIK many/most hardware controllers do have that. For example I have a Behringer BCR2000 that does have MIDI learn and even supports Sysex so it should be fairly straight-forward to pair it with the JD-Xi (I haven't actually tried doing that yet as I use the BCR for other purposes).

Drumfix
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Re: [ANN] JDXi Manager- a Roland JD-Xi Editor

Post by Drumfix »

I think what is meant is to use Midi Learn for the editor controls amd then do the remapping of the values sent by the controller to the sysex string reqired by the synth.

E.g. Knob A on the midi controller send CC 20 to the editor which converts it to lets say the sysex string for the cutoff of the JD-Xi.

glowrak guy
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Re: [ANN] JDXi Manager- a Roland JD-Xi Editor

Post by glowrak guy »

Yes, that's the usage I would hope for. Maybe such a task would be a good 'summer of code' entry?

I installed the windows version of the editor by wine, and must say it's super fast, and all of the controls
work as expected, except for the profound lack of a JD-Xi. But I am now confident that
both the editor and the instrument would be good investments, and am starting to twitch just a little :wink:
And just when U-he are preparing a new coupon offer...

tux99
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Re: [ANN] JDXi Manager- a Roland JD-Xi Editor

Post by tux99 »

Drumfix wrote:E.g. Knob A on the midi controller send CC 20 to the editor which converts it to lets say the sysex string for the cutoff of the JD-Xi.
Yes, that's something theoretically possible, but it would require my editor to constantly listen for MIDI IN messages which it doesn't do as it currently has no need to do that, so it would require quite a bit a code changes.
Since I still have a long to-do list for the editor (I still need to add the editor window for the program, effects and vocoder part and then I want to add some patch librarian functionality) adding a MIDI translation feature for a hardware controller is not something I'd be able to do anytime soon (assuming that I decide to do it).

From a practical POV IMHO it makes more sense to just connect the hardware controller directly to the JD-Xi and configure it to send the correct CC/NRPN messages directly to the JD-Xi rather than depending on a PC with a software application in between which will only add latency.

tux99
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Re: [ANN] JDXi Manager- a Roland JD-Xi Editor

Post by tux99 »

glowrak guy wrote:Yes, that's the usage I would hope for. Maybe such a task would be a good 'summer of code' entry?
I doubt it would qualify for the 'summer of code' as I'm not using a FOSS license, but as I said in the first post: patches are welcome.
I installed the windows version of the editor by wine, and must say it's super fast, and all of the controls
work as expected, except for the profound lack of a JD-Xi.
Why wine when there's is a native Linux version?
But I am now confident that both the editor and the instrument would be good investments, and am starting to twitch just a little :wink:
And just when U-he are preparing a new coupon offer...
You know the nice thing about a hardware synth is that you can sell it on on Craigslist or Ebay or similar places when you no longer need it, in a year or in 5 years or in 20 years, it will always have a market value, while softsynths are hard to sell on and worthless after a few years as nobody would buy a 5 or 10 year old softsynth (unlike old hardware synths which gain 'vintage' status and in some cases actually increase in value :wink: ).

glowrak guy
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Re: [ANN] JDXi Manager- a Roland JD-Xi Editor

Post by glowrak guy »

tux99 wrote: Why wine when there's is a native Linux version?
When using multiple distros, sometimes it's far easier, when wine handles the dependencies.
Well programmed apps often work perfectly. What ain't broke ain't in the fixit bin,
and dependencies sometimes are labeled fixits, when time is short. :wink:

Beyond that, for anything with both windows and linux versions,
each one will be considered and used as a tool, in the best ways
I can muster.
Cheers

tux99
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Re: [ANN] JDXi Manager- a Roland JD-Xi Editor

Post by tux99 »

Ok, you are right, it would be easier for you if I was providing deb packages for the Linux version, but I have no idea how to make a deb package and no time to learn it. I could make a rpm package as I know how to do those but then I would have to do many of them for all the different rpm based distros, so again not enough time for that.

The manual installation I described on the Linux page of the JDXi Manager is actually fairly straightforward and only takes a few minutes so I think it's the best compromise for now.

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