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How to make a very basic use of the Roland E-50 arranger

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Published on Jul 21, 2011

What should I say? The arranger is quite usable for occasional fiddling. One of the big secrets concering E-60 and E50 is that functionally these instruments are clones of the famous G-70. But, the Marketing Dept made it sure that if you purchase cheeper models, something is missing as always and some basic things are notably crippled down. Vocoder with the micpre is missing. There are less of automatic acco tracks and the drum sound is relatively mono while compared against the original G-70. You cannot connect complex pedals to E-50 and please do not even dream about the 75Ohm video output.. However, in most aspects, INCLUDING the style files, E-50 is a clone of G-70. It means that most G-70 *.STL files available on the net, are perfectly suitable for the minor brother.

The trick is to use PCMCIA-CF converter and obtain some old-fashined 4GB CF cards for the cradle. Another trick is that the internal memory can be "mapped" via USB. The last but most important trick is to use the RECORDER to save everything valuable you ever played (as a MIDI SONG). The rhytm and acco tracks will be recorded into the resulting MIDI file. This is your ticket to heaven. Micro-editing inside of the 16-track sequencer works, but believe me - Cubase is much more suitable for the purpose.

I very much recommend the styles from Mart Weeho, google for these. I have successfully loaded some 1600 styles onto the memory card ... it took hours (because the instrument is creating index records for all these) but the result was OK except some slowness while choosing styles from the menu.

The official cover story from Roland is that the E-50/E-60 arrangers are for musicians to assist the song creation. While it stimulates the fantasy a little bit, indeed, the instrument is still most suitable for live perfomances. It means, if the music you perform is simple and standard ... and you somewhat earn by your perfomances, this is the instrument to go. But as said, you should prepare the instrument - load it full with the styles, your customized programs etc... and learn to use all the knobs in real time. The most important value of the E-50 is related to auto acco and auto rhytm, while the algorithms are of exactly the same quality that G-70 has.

The sound quality ... heh, you decide ;)

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