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#1730567 - 05/17/21 03:00 PM Modiifying the VS-880 series OS, to suit taste (you are all invited to participate in the thread)
JohnM Offline
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Registered: 07/28/08
Posts: 3483
Loc: Massachusetts, USA
Modiifying the VS-880 series OS, to suit taste (you are all invited to participate in the thread)

That is somewhat of a joke, inspired by another thread.

In any case, it seems that the SD card "conversion" is becoming
more desirable, at least I know I may wish to try it in the
somewhat distant future, and sooner or later my HD will fail.

A lot of great useful information is being compiled in the thread
about the "no sys drive" or whatever message comes up, when the
bootstrap of the VS can't find an expected IDE-based system disk!

\:\)

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#1730577 - 05/17/21 03:52 PM Re: Modiifying the VS-880 series OS, to suit taste (you are all invited to participate in the thread) [Re: JohnM]
JohnM Offline
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Registered: 07/28/08
Posts: 3483
Loc: Massachusetts, USA
Step 1 of making any modifications to the OS would require that
quite a bit of documentation from Roland would have to be made
public, and available.

I am not sure if Roland Corporation would release it, but I
may inquire in the near future.

The VS is just a computer running a propriety OS.

And, adding some extra features, to accommodate:

HD to SD card conversion, providing many benefits
HD to CF card conversion, providing many benefits

Depending on how much unused storage space is available on the
flash media that is utilized internally to hold the "OS", it
might be possible to add many new features, and also possible
for the user community do fix newly discovered defects in
the existing OS.

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#1730628 - 05/17/21 06:21 PM Re: Modiifying the VS-880 series OS, to suit taste (you are all invited to participate in the thread) [Re: JohnM]
JohnM Offline
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Registered: 07/28/08
Posts: 3483
Loc: Massachusetts, USA
Notes - VS-880EX standard behavior:

Each note is numbered for easy reference, to simplify discussion.

1 - The unit, should be shutdown according to the manual at all times.

2 - The unit, after the shutdown process takes place, must always be manually
powered off. It will display a "Power Down" type message, but will never
power down by itself, similar to a a typical computer.

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#1730694 - 05/18/21 03:00 AM Re: Modiifying the VS-880 series OS, to suit taste (you are all invited to participate in the thread) [Re: JohnM]
gyorpb Offline
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Registered: 05/11/19
Posts: 206
 Originally Posted By: JohnM
Step 1 of making any modifications to the OS would require that
quite a bit of documentation from Roland would have to be made
public, and available.
Chances of that are slim to none. I say „slim to none“, because I cannot possibly be one hundred per cent certain that they are actually none. But they are, though.
 Quote:
I am not sure if Roland Corporation would release it, but I
may inquire in the near future.
Even if they wanted to, which I doubt, and if they still had it, which is less likely with every passing day, there is a good chance they aren‘t allowed to, because of licensing issues.
 Quote:
The VS is just a computer running a propriety OS.
More or less, yes. Proprietary, however, does not necessarily mean, „written and owned by Roland“. Most likely, the VS‘s run some sort of RTOS, one that was suitable and popular among embedded developers in the mid-nineties, with the VS application software (most likely this was actually written (or commissioned) by —and therefore wholly owned by— Roland) running on top of that.
 Quote:
HD to SD card conversion, providing many benefits
Connecting SD media involves hardware conversions. This is already available in the form of IDE/CF-to-SD adapters.
 Quote:
HD to CF card conversion, providing many benefits
CF cards are, from a hardware standpoint, simply IDE devices, which are already natively supported on the VS series.
 Quote:
Depending on how much unused storage space is available on the
flash media that is utilized internally to hold the "OS", it
might be possible to add many new features, and also possible
for the user community do fix newly discovered defects in
the existing OS.
Look, as entertaining as this idea is, one has to consider what is to be gained. The VS‘s have a, admittedly rather niche, use case today. They still, mostly, do what they did back in the day. But for many if not most of today‘s demands they do not meet, more fitting solutions are available on the market, at prices that rival the costs involved in bringing the VS‘s up to snuff.

One area where one might see real gains, is in the audio encoding. But the limitations of the VS‘s in this regard were chosen for two obvious reasons: storage cost and processing power. The former hardly poses a problem anymore, but the latter is intrinsic to the hardware.

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#1730702 - 05/18/21 07:42 AM Re: Modiifying the VS-880 series OS, to suit taste (you are all invited to participate in the thread) [Re: gyorpb]
JohnM Offline
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Registered: 07/28/08
Posts: 3483
Loc: Massachusetts, USA
Thank You so much for that great post, and the data. \:\)

I found some helpful info on the standard "upgrade", and although
it does not contain any internal OS architecture, it does provide
the some data on version numbers, etc.

https://flylib.com/books/en/4.337.1.70/1/

It is my belief, that Roland probably still has every engineering
document that that ever existed within the company.

It is possible, but I also suspect that it may not be legal in
some companies to examine the OS binary image, to learn from it,
or to reverse engineer and modify and possible "improve" it for
one's particular needs.

Some folks, including myself enjoy using the VS-880 series, and
other "rock solid" and "predictable" devices, for composition
and other needs that they fulfill. A gained advantage of what
I proposed in my opinion can possibly be very subjective.

Thanks again, I have only yet skimmed the forum and your post today,
as some other business consumed some of my morning so far.

And, it is nice to see that this forum is still active. \:\)

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#1730704 - 05/18/21 07:54 AM Re: Modiifying the VS-880 series OS, to suit taste (you are all invited to participate in the thread) [Re: JohnM]
JohnM Offline
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Registered: 07/28/08
Posts: 3483
Loc: Massachusetts, USA
For inspiration, motivation, and a reminder :

https://www.amazon.com/Roland-Recorder-P...&s=books&sr=1-1



Edited by JohnM (05/18/21 07:56 AM)

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#1730710 - 05/18/21 08:49 AM Re: Modiifying the VS-880 series OS, to suit taste (you are all invited to participate in the thread) [Re: JohnM]
gyorpb Offline
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Registered: 05/11/19
Posts: 206
 Originally Posted By: JohnM
Some folks, including myself enjoy using the VS-880 series, and
other "rock solid" and "predictable" devices, for composition
and other needs that they fulfill. A gained advantage of what
I proposed in my opinion can possibly be very subjective.
Once you start messing around with hacked firmware, based off of incomplete documentation and sketchy reverse-engineering, they won‘t be rock-solid and predictable for very long.

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#1730745 - 05/18/21 11:39 AM Re: Modiifying the VS-880 series OS, to suit taste (you are all invited to participate in the thread) [Re: gyorpb]
JohnM Offline
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Registered: 07/28/08
Posts: 3483
Loc: Massachusetts, USA
You appear to be using the word "hack" in it's original
and positive, harmless, and community-improving meaning, right? \:\)

I will refrain from commenting on the presumptuousness
statements, for now, at a minimum, but as some say, "I hear
what you are saying", and it is somewhat helpful, in some
regards. \:\)

So much these days can, and is, in some cases, misinterpreted,
and some of the words, in my ever so humble opinion, have loose
meanings, leading to becoming a somewhat significant factor,
in making it tedious to arrive at a best solution for online
posting "regulations" and "policies". \:\)

Just some opinions... That I cared to share, here... \:\)

BTW, I have gained a lot of respect for some of you after reading
some of the recent threads in this forum. Best Wishes to all. \:\)

I'll check back during the week, and possibly later, so if
you happen to ask me anything soon, there may be a very slight wait
involved for a reply to arrive...


Edited by JohnM (05/18/21 11:44 AM)

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#1731044 - 05/19/21 12:56 PM Re: Modiifying the VS-880 series OS, to suit taste (you are all invited to participate in the thread) [Re: JohnM]
JohnM Offline
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Registered: 07/28/08
Posts: 3483
Loc: Massachusetts, USA
Information soecific to the Roland VS-880EX model.

https://flylib.com/books/en/4.337.1.12/1/

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#1731473 - 05/21/21 07:05 AM Re: Modiifying the VS-880 series OS, to suit taste (you are all invited to participate in the thread) [Re: JohnM]
Geefresh95 Offline
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Registered: 03/03/21
Posts: 74
I'd make the Pan knob or fader assignable for EQ/effects/the parameters of whichever page you're on.

Edited by Geefresh95 (05/21/21 07:06 AM)

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#1731583 - 05/21/21 07:49 PM Re: Modiifying the VS-880 series OS, to suit taste (you are all invited to participate in the thread) [Re: Geefresh95]
JohnM Offline
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Registered: 07/28/08
Posts: 3483
Loc: Massachusetts, USA
 Originally Posted By: Geefresh95
I'd make the Pan knob or fader assignable for EQ/effects/the parameters of whichever page you're on.


Thank You. To be honest, I did not use the EQ functions very
often, as I found them, as you may be implying a bit tedious
to navigate to, and from, when I initially experimented with
the VS-880EX in 1999.

I recently watched at least one Roland "demo" video, very recently,
and saw the EQ features in use, with the somewhat rudimentary by today's
standards, graphical display, but considered perfectly adequate and
useful display being one of the first such consumer-level devices to
include such a feature.

Thanks. \:\) I will make it a point to check out the EQ(s) the next time
that I use my VS, so I can gain a better perspective on your suggestion. \:\)

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#1731630 - 05/22/21 04:21 AM Re: Modiifying the VS-880 series OS, to suit taste (you are all invited to participate in the thread) [Re: JohnM]
Geefresh95 Offline
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Registered: 03/03/21
Posts: 74
Not just the eq but all channel parameters. Of course, you'd still have to navigate the pages. But being able to use the fader to adjust the currently displayed parameter would be a lot easier and 'smoother'. Adjust the fader between 0-127, flick across to the next page; adjust the fader between 0-127, flick across to the next page...and so on. Rather than having to whip the jog wheel round and round and round. It'd make it so much quicker to dial in a sound.

I know hardly anything about electronics and code etc but I imagine, the bit of code that links the parameter adjustment to the jog wheel *might* be able to be changed to the fader for that channel? Or maybe just one nominated channel fader regardless of the channel being adjusted? The 2nd channel fader in two linked channels controls Aux Send while the 1st fader continues doing Level when the channels are linked, which suggests it may possible?

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#1731706 - 05/22/21 04:46 PM Re: Modiifying the VS-880 series OS, to suit taste (you are all invited to participate in the thread) [Re: Geefresh95]
JohnM Offline
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Registered: 07/28/08
Posts: 3483
Loc: Massachusetts, USA
Well. technically any modification is possible, but the probability of
actually someday embarking on this, without the internal documents, as
well as the source code, is very low.

I believe at a somewhat cursory glance and read, of your post that it
would be useful, if one was going to spend a lot of time tweaking
various EQ parameters.

One thing that I found about the VS, and don't get me wrong, I still like
using it, and I greatly appreciate the product that Roland offered at that
point in time, at that price, with that capability in such a relatively
small package.

But, one of the drawbacks was the fact that the shared use of faders
across the three modes, input/track/effects inherently causes the
data value in one mode, not to always match the fader position, which is
solved by having motorized faders on other equipment, but at an increased
cost. I got used to using it and keeping that fact in mind, but sometimes
it was not obvious that a value did not match fader, especially when
someone was used to analog mixing equipment.

So, if the EQ was to be controlled by the fader, it would compound that
"issue", a bit.

I got in the habit of always moving each fader to 0, and if was at 0,
raising it a bit, then moving it back to 0, when I loaded up a song,
in both the input and track modes, to prevent some unwanted tracks or
input signals to be added to the mix, irregardless of what the physical
fader position was.

I was, and still am amazed at what the VS is capable of doing. \:\)


Edited by JohnM (05/22/21 04:51 PM)

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