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  • Roland BK-7m

    This has been around awhile and wonder if any member have used one on their organ and what their thoughts on it are. Thought it may make an older midi organ sound sort of like a mid or low range Atelier? Any comments are greatly appreciated. Regards, oliver.

  • #2
    Oliver, there is a thread in the Home Organs section here that talks about it a bit. And there is a Yahoo discussion group (search on BK-7M to find it), that is fairly active.

    I have one and use it with my Lowrey Palladium, a full console organ of fairly modern design. It works quite well, but it does take your hands away from the organ at times to use it. Basically if you like fiddling with the organ, you'd probably like the BK, but if you don't like to play with instead of play, you won't.

    It brings a slew of new and interesting voices that you can apply to the upper/lower/pedals depending on your organ and it has some very nice styles to be the backing to your playing. I enjoy mine and use it every day for some function or the other.

    But it doesn't bring so much the Atelier stuff to you, more like the upper end of arranger keyboards in both voices and styles.
    Lloyd
    Lowrey SU-630 Palladium, Lowrey GX-1, Hammond Aurora

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    • #3
      Thanks, Lloyd for the info. Guess my expectation was a little too high! I have a PSR-S900 and with the BK-7m will probably bring it a little closer to a Tyros(of course it may still be very far off.) I also have an Electone EL-400 which will be transformed into a different instrument should I decide on the BK-7m. Noticed there not very many such modules in the market. Checked out the Ketron SD-3 but it was too pricey.

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      • #4
        Roland really hit the sweet spot on pricing with the BK7M compared to similar modules as you've noticed.

        And it does expand the use of the organ quite a bit if you are willing to put up with some of the quirks, and having to take your hands away from the keyboard area.

        On the Lowrey with it, I found that I can change the voicing with the bank presets, but what I can't find is how to get it to change to something I want instead of what the BK thought those signals were telling it to do. So far no luck with that.
        Lloyd
        Lowrey SU-630 Palladium, Lowrey GX-1, Hammond Aurora

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        • #5
          One of the things that really isn't talked about with the BK7M is the ability to massage the hell out of the existing 'tones' (ie; voices). Remember how the Technics organs, like the EA5 and others would allow for modding a tone to give the effect of creating a new voice? Well, that is what EFX brings to the table with the BK7M. And just like on the old Technics organs, it is a daunting task and can be time consuming.

          Another great feature is the Cover feature. The ads I've read talk about 'make your country into disco' or some such. Well it really isn't that, although that is a selection available. What the Cover feature is, is a set of 30 variations on a style. Pick a style, go to the Cover feature and pick a different Cover and the style changes. Sometimes quite a bit, sometimes just a little. Stays at tempo, doesn't change the upper voicing, just the style. I've played with it and found that it is handy as hell. Think of it, 30 variations for each style. And given that between what is built in, and the styles available elsewhere (both free and pay) and you've got a huge amount of styles to use!

          A quickie on the Lowrey Bank Selects and the BK. Yes, using them will change the BK voice selection, but it is fixed and not adjustable from the Lowrey. And I cannot figure out what setting to change to make the BK ignore them. So if you use this with a Lowrey, keep your hands off the Bank Selects and other presets. You might be unpleasantly surprised otherwise.
          Lloyd
          Lowrey SU-630 Palladium, Lowrey GX-1, Hammond Aurora

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          • #6
            Thanks Lloyd for taking the time to provide the additional information. Just downloaded the user manual from the Roland site and studying it. Definitely on my next to buy list along with the Casio XW-P1 when it comes out. Also been following the yahoo BK-7 group you told me about. So much to learn and to know about. Thanks again. Regards, oliver

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            • #7
              For those still interested in the BK7M, there is a new firmware upgrade out at the Roland site. It adds a few new features and fixes some that didn't work right.

              For me, as I use this little jewel, I find myself using it bit differently than I had expected. I had figured on making use of all the new styles it brought to my organ playing, and I do that. But what I find myself doing more is using the voices for the upper keyboard that Lowrey didn't get right. Like the saxes and clarinets for instance. It isn't difficult to add them.

              One thing that is a bit irritating is that I can't figure out how to make the BK7M ignore program changes from the Lowrey when selection the presets or autos. So in order to use the voicing, I also have to manually change things on the fly. One thing I've found that works for me, is that often in the second pass in the song, or at some passage, I'll want a nice solo voice. So I set the voicing and presets on the organ the way I want them to be, play the passage or whatever with the BK part not present. Then I assign that voice to the upper end of the lower keyboard, start playing and when I get to the passage, select the voice on the BK for the lower keyboard's upper split and play that passage, once done with that, I'll then turn the volume to zero on the BK and finish out the song without the BK being part of the sounds produced.
              Lloyd
              Lowrey SU-630 Palladium, Lowrey GX-1, Hammond Aurora

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              • #8
                Hello Mr. Parsons,

                I know I have been absent from this forum far too long, but I wanted to thank you for your kind response to a post I made several months ago regarding the BK.
                I just now have been reading your posts regarding the BK, and I must say, you appear to be the expert on the module at this forum.

                At first I wanted the BK to supplement voices to my Prestige, which it does nicely, but then I wanted more. I have been able to get the Orchestration Plus to set a tempo, and it will be copied to the BK. Sometimes I play BOTH instruments' styles, often increasing or decreasing the background or just drums of either instrument. So now they play in sync with the parts that I deem favorable.

                I have never had the Lowrey "choose" the voices for the BK, though. How did you get that to happen? BTW there is a help line for the BK. If you do not have it, I will gladly share it on this forum. It was given to me by Rick Morales himself last year.
                Thanks for the heads up on the firmware upgrade. I knew it was due, but didn't know when.

                I can now participate here a little more regularly (I hope), so I hope to exchange some ideas with you and others.

                AT55
                AT55

                HISTORY: Lowrey Celebration C-500, GX-225; Wersi EX-10 Expander; Roland RA-90 Expander; Roland AT-80, AT-80 SL; Lowrey Prestige; Roland AT-800AE
                CURRENT: Roland BK-7m; Roland RM-700; BK-7m Partner for iPad; Roland AT-900C w/ATUP-EX

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                • #9
                  Just power both the BK and Prestige up, then select any of the presets and watch UP1, it will change as you select. The presets that I'm talking about are the 1 through 10 preset buttons and others similar.

                  I've tinkered with using both the BK and Palladium styles at the same time. As of yet, I've not found any I really like that way.
                  Lloyd
                  Lowrey SU-630 Palladium, Lowrey GX-1, Hammond Aurora

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                  • #10
                    Ahhhh..I misunderstood which presets. Also, I updated the firmware, and lost a number of my settings on the BK, so I need to re-do them. Not a big deal, really, but at the moment the exact thing I described about independent volumes is no longer working; that is, when I change the volume via the Prestige pedal, the BK responds also. You probably are so much more familiar with the device than I am. Although I started with Lowreys back in the 1970s, I became a Roland fan when the Atelier series was introduced. Now, going back to Lowrey is a real challenge, since so much has changed on digital organs.

                    Thanks for your willingness to help and sharing your knowledge with all of us.

                    On a personal exciting note, tomorrow I have the privilege of having dinner with Seth Rye (known him for years) and in a couple weeks I'll be taking a lesson on the BK, the Prestige, and the Roland AT-800AE from Ric Ianonne! What more could a hack like me ask for!!
                    AT55

                    HISTORY: Lowrey Celebration C-500, GX-225; Wersi EX-10 Expander; Roland RA-90 Expander; Roland AT-80, AT-80 SL; Lowrey Prestige; Roland AT-800AE
                    CURRENT: Roland BK-7m; Roland RM-700; BK-7m Partner for iPad; Roland AT-900C w/ATUP-EX

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                    • #11
                      I think there is a setting to get independent volumes.
                      Lloyd
                      Lowrey SU-630 Palladium, Lowrey GX-1, Hammond Aurora

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                      • #12
                        A further clarification on my playing the styles of both instruments at once.

                        I do not play ALL of the style from either instrument; I generally turn off the Lowrey bass, preferring the BK's. Before I upgraded the firmware, I had independent volume control, so when I wanted a fill, I turned up the Lowrey volume to accentuate it, then lowered it back a little. I prefer the individual voices on the BK, but I still consider myself an Atelier player first. Still, Lowrey quite often has superior intros, fills, and song endings. One thing I like to do when playing a song, is to select it from the Lowrey SONG SELECT, find it on the BK, then pick and choose voices and styles from each. Generally, going all the way up to Variation 4 on the BK will cause way too much audio muddiness, so I stick to Var 1 or 2, since there is no such variation on the Prestige.

                        If only Roland arranged like Lowrey, or if only Lowrey had the quality (sample rate?) of Roland with their individual voices! Lowrey has nicer furniture, better lighting (hate the alphabet lighting, though…it will never be turned on), and has that distinctive "beautiful Lowrey" sound they like to sell. Roland sounds better at doing orchestral arrangements or authentic pipe and theater sounds, IMHO.

                        Still, it is all pretty subjective and pretty much geared to one's preference. When it comes to price, however, Lowreys will always be wayyy overpriced, at least here in the US.

                        I also tend to rant too much!

                        AT55
                        AT55

                        HISTORY: Lowrey Celebration C-500, GX-225; Wersi EX-10 Expander; Roland RA-90 Expander; Roland AT-80, AT-80 SL; Lowrey Prestige; Roland AT-800AE
                        CURRENT: Roland BK-7m; Roland RM-700; BK-7m Partner for iPad; Roland AT-900C w/ATUP-EX

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