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In-depth Feature:  Edirol PCR-30 USB MIDI Control
Nick B writes: .

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In Operation

Supplied PCR Editor (OS X)
The key to getting the most out of the PCR is how you set it up, and in this respect it does have the advantage of the PCR editing software (Win ME/98/2000/XP and Mac 0s 9.x/OS X) – this is a godsend, although you can program from the front panel, you really wouldn’t want to unless you enjoy that sort of thing. The software communicates both ways - receiving the current memory or sending the setup you have loaded into the PCR. Modifying current memories is a great way to start customising – just double click on the on-screen control to edit the MIDI string to send. Switches can be either latching or toggle and the MIDI setup dialog is adaptive dependent on what kind of MIDI message you select. Once you have your desired configuration, simply squirt it into memory location of your choice.

Play mode is where you’ll be most of the time, as you might imagine, the PCRs keys and controllers transmit their given signals – eg – note on/off and the controllers send the data they are programmed to send. Out of the box, these are the parameters printed on the GM2 stick-on template. That’s one nifty thing that Edirol have beaten the competition with - the PCRs come with two lay over templates, one as mentioned labelled to the GM2 preset (0) and the other with user scribble pads for user definition. I know Kenton have been talking about this for some time but have yet to produce theirs for their excellent Control Freak series (see review). If you need more overlays, you can download a template to print out from the PCR resources page on the Edirol site.

The keyboard feels pretty good to my stubby fingers – it has a nice progressive velocity response which is fortunate as it’s not possible to modify this apart from Velocity Offset – which adds a user specified amount to all velocity values. It also seems to be well damped so as not make much mechanical noise.

The one thing that is a little annoying is the centre dent on every rotary control – this makes smooth sweeps, say a filter almost impossible without a ‘clunk’ as you pass the dent – I’m not sure why they added this to all the knobs. You can work around this by using a fader instead of course, and there are some advantages – at least for controlling Pan.

The Program Change and Bank modes are simply for selecting and transmitting Bank and program change values. The keyboard is disabled as it is used to enter data as well as the INC/DEC buttons. Pressing Enter after selecting a new value will commit the changes made. It is possible to assign these functions to controls to avoid the keyboard disabling – a much better option in my opinion. In addition, there’s a Panic mode for killing hanging sounds and the like.

I use Logic as my everyday sequencer, currently I’m working in version 6.1 under OSX 10.2.6. I did try several times to use the downloaded templates for using the PCR in a sort of dummy Logic Control mode but kept losing connection. This is not too surprising as the setup involves fooling Logic into thinking that the PCR is a Logic Control, so it ain’t exactly integrated. It would be preferable if the PCR could be selected from the list of compatible hardware – Edirol, Emagic can’t you sort it out?

However, just setting it up to access particular parameters on the currently selected through channel proved very effective, suiting my needs very well. Also being able to plug another input device into the PCR meant I could use drum pads alongside. The extra half an octave really does make a difference for playing parts, but of course, makes it a little larger.

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

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