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Can you sync the new Boss RC-5 with the Digitech Sdrum?

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by Ragged Tweed, Oct 8, 2020.

  1. Ragged Tweed

    Ragged Tweed TDPRI Member

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    A while ago I sold my Boss RC-3 and replaced it with a Digitech Jamman Solo XT because you can run a cable between the two so that your looper doesn’t drift out of time with the drum beats on the SDrum.

    I’ve done this, but I think the Jamman is cumbersome to use so I’m less likely to actually play with it. Has anyone tried to use the Midi out on the new Boss RC-5 pedal to synch it with the Sdrum?

    I can solder if it’s necessary to create a special cable.

    Also open to suggestions about pedal order and amps or systems/speakers people have used to amplify the Sdrum pedal. I like the touch pads on the Sdrum and like the pedal (though I think it could be even simpler— I often just use the bass and snare drum).

    I’m only using it to practice and to have fun, not trying to gig or busk.
     
  2. telel6s

    telel6s Tele-Afflicted

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    You can have an SDRUM be the source. SDRUM is sending midi signal. RC-5 has a midi I/O jack. BOSS website says that the RC-5 has "Full MIDI I/O provided with space-saving mini TRS jacks (BMIDI-5-35 adaptor cable available separately)".

    What you can't do is send the RC-5's signal to the SDRUM. The SDRUM is midi-out only; it does not have midi-in.

    Both SDRUM and RC-5 use mini-TRS jacks so in theory the same cable you use with the Jamman should work with the RC-5.
     
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  3. Ragged Tweed

    Ragged Tweed TDPRI Member

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    Thanks so much!
     
  4. thorforshort

    thorforshort NEW MEMBER!

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    I just tried this yesterday myself and it kinda works.... but not fully :S

    Connecting the SDRUM to RC5 with the same TRS cable you'd use for your Jamman Solo XT works perfectly. The RC5 receives MIDI clock, start and stop messages no problemo. You can even use the jam sync out on your Solo XT and have them both connected to the SDRUM as long as the Solo XT is 1st before the RC5 (SDRUM>TRS>Solo XT>TRS> RC5).

    The RC5 does react a bit differently compared to the Solo XT but it's still very usable. The major difference is that the RC5 will start every time you start the SDRUM and the only way to start the SDRUM by itself is to make sure the RC5 is on an empty memory bank. My work-around for this is to record a silent memory to be played back in time with the SDRUM. This way, when I use the external footswitch to change the memory bank, the next memory will playback automatically when I switch over to it.

    The HUUUGE problem with it all is that on the RC5 currently has no way of turning "tempo sync" off, a feature already available in the RC500 but not the RC5.

    This means the RC5 constantly reacts to the fluctuations in the SDRUM's MIDI clock messages and tries to match the playback speed of your memory to them. This results in glitchy wibbly-wobbly sounding playback whenever the RC5 is MIDI slaved to the SDRUM and/or pretty much any other device that sends MIDI clock (even another RC5! although not as bad). This is exactly why the Solo XT DOESN'T slow down or speed up if you adjust the tempo of the SDRUM after they've been jam synced.

    I've sent a support enquiry to Roland/Boss about this and I'm really hoping they fix it in a firmware update. Again, it's a feature they've already included in the RC500 to address this exact problem so why ignore it with the RC5?
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2020
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  5. thorforshort

    thorforshort NEW MEMBER!

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    One more noteworthy thing is that multiple will RC5s relay the SDRUM's MIDI messages from one RC5 the next. They don't all receive MIDI clock, start and stop simultaneously from the SDRUM like a chain of multiple Solo XTs would.

    As the master, the SDRUM will always start and stop both of my RC5s. But if I start playback on the 1st RC5 by itself, it will also start the 2nd RC5 and begin to ignore the SDRUMs start and stop commands if I start the SDRUM afterwards. It essentially keeps receiving MIDI clock from the SDRUM but it becomes its own MIDI start and stop master with control over the 2nd RC5 (and any other devices behind it in the MIDI chain). It does sync back up with the SDRUM fully and returns to normal after you stop it though.

    At first, this wasn't an issue that the silent loop trick couldn't solve. However, it does cause an issue when you want to stop a memory at the "LOOP END". If you set the 1st RC5 to wait for your loop to finish before it stops playback, it will also affect the RC5s after it too. Even if they're all set to stop playback immediately.

    For songs where you'd want the SDRUM to stop early and the 1st RC5 to keep going till it finishes its round, the 2nd (3rd, 4th, and so on) RC5(s) will also keep going too because they won't receive the MIDI stop message directly from the SDRUM. Each RC5 only receives MIDI stop messages from the RC5 that's placed before it. Always place the RC5(s) that you'd want to keep going till the loop finishes at the end of the MIDI chain to avoid this.

    I know it's a smaller issue, I doubt most people would care about, but to get around it I'm looking at using a MIDI Solutions Quadra Thru V2 box or a Disaster Area MIDI Box 4 to split the SDRUM's MIDI messages 4 equal ways. I only need a 2-way split right now but in the name of future-proofing, it'd be nice to have 2 more MIDI outs spare. All in all, this will let me control the RC5s more independently and I won't have to worry about the order of the MIDI chain relay anymore.

    I would lose the ability to make the 1st RC5 the new MIDI master of the rest of the chain as I mentioned before though..... so I guess each method does indeed have its own pros and cons. I'm personally gonna go with splitting the MIDI 4 ways to make it feel as close to jam syncing my Solo XTs as possible.

    One must jump through many hoops to jam sync the RC5 and the SDRUM haha I'll definitely have to make a youtube video explaining this all at some point.

    Oh and if you'd made it this far lool, I run the SDRUM out into the aux input of my Fishman Loudbox Mini and it sounds pretty good to me :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2020
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  6. Ragged Tweed

    Ragged Tweed TDPRI Member

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    Thanks for posting this. I’d only be using one looper, but I’m sure this information will be useful to someone down the road.

    Thanks for posting your Fishman Loudbox mini too— I’m still trying to figure out a set up and debating whether I should buy a solid state amp like the Loudbox or buy a PA speaker/flat response speaker like the Headrush.
     
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  7. Olly J

    Olly J NEW MEMBER!

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    Hi thorforshort,

    Any chance you've heard back from Roland on the tempo sync issue at all?

    I must say, this hang-up is making the pedal pretty much redundant for me. Especially for live situations.
    Also, I'm surprised to find that when I look this up, your comment is literally the only piece of information I can find on the internet.

    Thanks in advance if you have any info,

    Olly
     
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