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In-depth Feature:  Edirol PCR-30 USB MIDI Control
The Edirol PCR range brings advanced features at a competitive price
Nick B writes: .

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I must confess being new to Edirol gear, it’s not that I haven’t heard of them, far from it, but I’ve never had any first hand experience of their products. Which is surprising, as for some years now Edirol have been beavering away working on a range of USB devices for both MIDI and audio.

There’s been a spate of increasingly well specified USB MIDI controllers – M-Audios Oxygen8, Evolution’s MK225 – review (a,b,) plus the Novation . Edirol have significantly raised the bar with the new PCR series, packing a lot of controls into a small case – plus an additional MIDI input – making it effectively 2 in, 1 out. It’s also one of the first in it’s price range, to transmit both controller, after-touch, SYSEX, tempo, NRPN and RPN parameters (non-registered and registered parameter numbers). This makes it pretty flexible on paper – but we all know that in actuality things can be very different – we discover how it performs.

The PCR comes in three flavours, the long cool PCR-80 a 61-key (five octave), the 49 key PCR-50 and the smaller and some might say cuter – certainly easier to find space for – PCR-30. We review the PCR-30 here – there’s only so much room at the offices these days, but all models sport identical brains and controller sets.

They are described as MIDI Keyboard controllers and indeed they are, with plenty of assignable sources comprising: eight programmable knobs (R1-R8), eight sliders (S1-S8), 9 assignable function buttons (L1-L3) plus (B1-B6), two pedal inputs (P1,P2) and a bender/lever – which handles pitch bend and modulation Roland style but cannot be assigned to any other functions.

This is a pretty high count by any standards and when you consider that all of these can be assigned not only controller, but SYSEX, non registered and registered parameters numbers (constructed from pairs of MIDI Control Change messages ). Compared to SysEx, RPNs and NRPNs are broadly-speaking more usable for MIDI devices and software such as sequencers and VSTis. So all in all you get to wiggle up to 23 parameters. The PCR comes with 16 pre-installed templates, memory 0 is pre-configured for GM2 and is read only.

More templates are available from the Edirol website (with more being added on a regular basis from PCR users), along with the PCR editor, which makes programming your own considerably easier than through the front panel.

As well as the assignable controllers the PCRs are equipped with key-transpose, octave shift (+/-4 octaves) program change, bank select, midi channel select, panic and snapshot functions. There’s also a V-LINK button for using the PCR with V-link equipped video equipment.

More Resources              Articles - full listing
  • PCR Video
  • PCR Resource Centre
  • Edirol User Group @ Yahoo
  • RPNs + NRPNs explained

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