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#509081 - 10/25/23 08:49 AM Finally got the Roland BK9
DannyUK Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/09/99
Posts: 1130
Hello All, I hope you'are all doing well smile

It's taken me ages but I've finally managed to acquire the BK9 and it's a fantastic keyboard indeed and much prefer it to the EA7 I already have.

All those posts of the past from the likes of Fran (not sure if he's around here anymore), and of course Diki, praising the great sounds and styles of Roland and how favourably they stack up against the likes of Korg, Yamaha and even Ketron, I can see why people would say that.

The EA7 was my first and only experience of Roland and I although it's very good as well, the BK9 is a different and more pleasant Roland experience I think. I don't understand why the BK9 didn't do so well, apart from the obvious cosmetic exclusions such as touch screen, it still sounds fantastic.

The BK9 has made me even more curious about previous Roland keyboards such as the G70 and E80, but since they do not have USB or even SD I would be reluctant to use them.

I do have a quick question. On the BK9, is there a way to save registrations like you can on the EA7? I can't seem to find how to do it.

All the best,
Danny

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#509085 - 10/26/23 11:26 PM Re: Finally got the Roland BK9 [Re: DannyUK]
Nick G Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/16/05
Posts: 1105
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Great Purchase Congrats! They are extremely rare!!

I absolutely love my BK9 (and G70).

The BK9 is probably one of the most underrated keyboards out there.
It has an incredible sound quality overall with amazing capability and functionality... However my experience is that it is let down by poor navigation and controls - It is not the ideal keyboard to be tweaking and making changes on the fly...

In terms of setting up registrations - its very easy to do in the Performance List section. It make take you a few attempts at getting your head around it. Sadly the Scroll wheel is about to become your best friend smile There is a BK9 performance editor app which you can use on your Ipad (requires USB connection) and allows you to have a full touch screen graphical interface to manage and edit your performances on the BK9 which is an awesome aid for the BK9...

regarding the G70 and USB - Since it takes a compact flash card for memory storage, you can just buy a (very cheap) card and USB reader off ebay to get going. It has never ben an issue for me.

Best of luck!
Nick
_________________________
Yamaha PSR SX900 / Roland G70 / Roland BK9 / Korg PA700 / Roland GW-8L / Roland Fantom O6

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#509106 - 10/30/23 02:51 PM Re: Finally got the Roland BK9 [Re: DannyUK]
Diki Online   content


Registered: 04/25/05
Posts: 14173
Loc: NW Florida
I went from the G70 to the BK9… and at first, yes it WAS a bit of a shock to go from a huge responsive color touch screen and tons of buttons to the minimalist BK9. Editing was a LOT slower using that scroll wheel, but the iPad app made all the difference (although there’s still a lot that only navigating the keyboard itself will be allowed).

Great frustration at the start, then gradual realization that, with a Performance List of 999 entries (G70 series only 128 UPG’s) it was easiest to prepare a Performance for each section of a song, and reduce the faffing around with the screen and buttons, live. I can get my entire song list in one Performance List with multiple sections (I generally gig with about 400 songs ready to go).

Once I embraced the change in workflow, I found that playing live became a joy again, not having to do anything other than switch to the next Performance (easy to move them around in the List to organize them any way you wanted!). You can even do Performance up/down with a pair of switches into the FC7 input…

Congratulations on finding a good BK9… they are pretty rare..!
_________________________
An arranger is just a tool. What matters is what you build with it..!

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#509129 - 11/04/23 04:13 AM Re: Finally got the Roland BK9 [Re: Nick G]
DannyUK Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/09/99
Posts: 1130
Originally Posted By Nick G
Great Purchase Congrats! They are extremely rare!!

I absolutely love my BK9 (and G70).

The BK9 is probably one of the most underrated keyboards out there.
It has an incredible sound quality overall with amazing capability and functionality... However my experience is that it is let down by poor navigation and controls - It is not the ideal keyboard to be tweaking and making changes on the fly...

In terms of setting up registrations - its very easy to do in the Performance List section. It make take you a few attempts at getting your head around it. Sadly the Scroll wheel is about to become your best friend smile There is a BK9 performance editor app which you can use on your Ipad (requires USB connection) and allows you to have a full touch screen graphical interface to manage and edit your performances on the BK9 which is an awesome aid for the BK9...

regarding the G70 and USB - Since it takes a compact flash card for memory storage, you can just buy a (very cheap) card and USB reader off ebay to get going. It has never ben an issue for me.

Best of luck!
Nick


Hi Nick,

Thank you for your reply. Yes I figured out how to use Performance List and now find it second nature, very nice indeed and I like it better than the EA7's version of UPG lists because on the EA7 it has banks of 1-1, 1-2 up until 1-9, then it goes into a second bank as 2-0, 2-1 etc etc and I don't like that, I want it in a complete list 1-999 which the BK9 does superbly.

I am aware of the iPad application and I need to get the correct cables first for the iPad before I can use it, but I have seen it in action already.

I don't think I will pursue a G70 (or E80) any longer, I actually have a second BK9, also in immaculate condition which will be more than enough!

Take Care,
Danny

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#509130 - 11/04/23 04:24 AM Re: Finally got the Roland BK9 [Re: Diki]
DannyUK Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/09/99
Posts: 1130
Originally Posted By Diki
I went from the G70 to the BK9… and at first, yes it WAS a bit of a shock to go from a huge responsive color touch screen and tons of buttons to the minimalist BK9. Editing was a LOT slower using that scroll wheel, but the iPad app made all the difference (although there’s still a lot that only navigating the keyboard itself will be allowed).

Great frustration at the start, then gradual realization that, with a Performance List of 999 entries (G70 series only 128 UPG’s) it was easiest to prepare a Performance for each section of a song, and reduce the faffing around with the screen and buttons, live. I can get my entire song list in one Performance List with multiple sections (I generally gig with about 400 songs ready to go).

Once I embraced the change in workflow, I found that playing live became a joy again, not having to do anything other than switch to the next Performance (easy to move them around in the List to organize them any way you wanted!). You can even do Performance up/down with a pair of switches into the FC7 input…

Congratulations on finding a good BK9… they are pretty rare..!


Hi Diki,

Appreciate your reply thank you smile. I actually have two BK9's!! A bit of a long story on how I got them (one was by mistake) but turned out to be a great move anyway as they are both in pristine condition, and as you say, very rare! You wait so long to try and find one, then a couple turn up!! Like waiting for a bus!!

So far I am really enjoying this keyboard, it is like owning something brand new because as mentioned before I've not experienced any Roland arrangers in the past when they were in the mix with the others and so it does feel like something fresh. It really does compliment my Pa5x and Event very well indeed, does not feel out of place at all. It has relegated my Genos/SX900 event further away!

I do agree regarding the clunky OP system though, I've noticed it most when after creating a performance and saving it into the list, using the 1-9 buttons to select the lettering, I know it's similar on the EA7 but I can't help but think that it didn't need to be like this! Other than that, I can't really fault it. I've been on it almost every day since I bought it (them!!).

One thing I am having some problems with is re-voicing some of the midi files using makeup tools. If it's a midi file that was made specifically for another brand, say GEM or Yamaha, it won't allow me to change it. I presume I'd need to use the sequencer for that? I've not tried it yet.

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#509137 - 11/04/23 09:44 AM Re: Finally got the Roland BK9 [Re: DannyUK]
Diki Online   content


Registered: 04/25/05
Posts: 14173
Loc: NW Florida
If working on Yamaha files or any other non-responsive files not Roland specific, I’d put it into a sequencer and delete ALL sysex. It will be Yamaha specific and may very well stop the file playing.

Get really familiar with Makeup Tool’s drum editing section. You can do miracles with this!
_________________________
An arranger is just a tool. What matters is what you build with it..!

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#509167 - 11/11/23 11:48 AM Re: Finally got the Roland BK9 [Re: DannyUK]
Bill Lewis Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/12/08
Posts: 2441
Loc: Bluffton/Hilton Head SC USA
Glad to see another musician discovering the overlooked BK9. It does all I want or need for live performance. I avoid the wheel by using the OTS which were at first hard to program but now very easy.IT sounds great too with my edited SMF's.
I also have two and two BK7m's so you can tell I'm a Roland BK guy for a long time.

Good luck with your new board.
_________________________
Bill in SC --- Roland BK9 (2) Roland BK7M, Roland PK5 Pedals, Roland FP90, Roland CM30 (2), JBL Eon Ones (2) JBL 610 Monitor, Behringer Sub, EV mics, Apple iPad (2) Behringer DJ mixer

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#509171 - 11/12/23 03:48 PM Re: Finally got the Roland BK9 [Re: DannyUK]
Diki Online   content


Registered: 04/25/05
Posts: 14173
Loc: NW Florida
One easily overlooked BK9 feature is the 3 MFX inserts for the song or style. They can be quite transformative! A phaser on a style Rhodes Part, a cranked up amp sim on a rock rhythm Part (change the sampled distortion guitar sound to a clean one, it will be massively more realistic as the distortion changes from chord to chord).

It may not have as many MFX as the new SX900 or a Genos, but compared to any previous gen arranger, that’s more effects for the style or sequence than even a TOTL PA4X or Tyros4!

No more having to use different sounds in styles and sequences than the Keyboard sounds, because the MFX is such an integral part of the sound.

Well worth the editing time… 🎹😎
_________________________
An arranger is just a tool. What matters is what you build with it..!

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#509198 - 11/16/23 05:20 AM Re: Finally got the Roland BK9 [Re: Bill Lewis]
DannyUK Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/09/99
Posts: 1130
Originally Posted By Bill Lewis
Glad to see another musician discovering the overlooked BK9. It does all I want or need for live performance. I avoid the wheel by using the OTS which were at first hard to program but now very easy.IT sounds great too with my edited SMF's.
I also have two and two BK7m's so you can tell I'm a Roland BK guy for a long time.

Good luck with your new board.


Hi Bill,

Thank you very much for your reply. The BK9 is fabulous and I can't stop playing on it, almost daily (when my job allows!). I wished I had owned it sooner than now but I'm just glad I have it anyway. It's really refreshing and the styles are killer, especially the Live Band stuff, it sounds so realistic and does not sound out of place against the Pa5x or Event using similar styles. But every category has a lot of great styles, one after the other. The drum kits are fabulous sounding. I've also found a better way to select items than always using the wheel, it's not so bad after you get used to it. The only tiny small gripe I have is the screen, I preferred how they done it on the Ea7 with black background and white text, much easier to see. I still have the Ea7 anyway and that's also not going anywhere anytime soon!

All the best to you.
Danny

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#509231 - 11/20/23 12:26 PM Re: Finally got the Roland BK9 [Re: DannyUK]
Diki Online   content


Registered: 04/25/05
Posts: 14173
Loc: NW Florida
That’s a pretty comprehensive list of current arrangers you have, Danny. It’s gratifying to hear how you find the decade old BK-9 still competitive in terms of overall sound and live ‘feel’, given you have most of the latest, greatest!

I’ve been saying for decades that it often is way more than 10 years between arrangers that TRULY take a really noticeable change in live sound and believability. Roland’s ‘live’ sound has always been its strong suit, and it is taking other brands a long time (and a lot more money!) to catch up and finally pass…

While the BK series might be a bit barebones as a true ‘arranger player’s arranger’, there was never a doubt its raw sound was incredibly ‘live’.
_________________________
An arranger is just a tool. What matters is what you build with it..!

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#509237 - 11/20/23 05:30 PM Re: Finally got the Roland BK9 [Re: DannyUK]
cgiles Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 09/29/05
Posts: 6690
Loc: Roswell,GA/USA
I love my BK7m....but mainly as a convenient and very capable drum machine. I also use the excellent (to me) acoustic piano controlled by my VP770 which sits atop my organ (KeyB Duo MK111). This is my rehearsal configuration and I wish I had another (BK7m) for my studio which is in another room. IMO, the BK's drums are even better than my upgraded full kit Alesis. However for convenience, I usually use configurable drum tracks for recording. I'm thinking about getting a hardware drum machine for my studio but can't settle on one that I think justifies the money. If I ran across a deal on a used BK7m in prime condition, I'd buy it.

chas
_________________________
"Faith means not wanting to know what is true." [Nietzsche]

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#509240 - 11/20/23 09:49 PM Re: Finally got the Roland BK9 [Re: DannyUK]
zuki Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 09/20/02
Posts: 4709
Chas, check the buy section. I just listed my bk7m. zuki
_________________________
Live: Korg PA4X/Zed 6FX/EV Everse 8s/Senn 935/K&M stand

Studio: Korg PA4X/Yamaha DGX670/Boss BR900CD/Tascam DP24SD/MTM Iloud/Senn 935/K&M stand/Shure SM57 studio

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#509242 - 11/21/23 04:42 AM Re: Finally got the Roland BK9 [Re: Diki]
DannyUK Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/09/99
Posts: 1130
Originally Posted By Diki
That’s a pretty comprehensive list of current arrangers you have, Danny. It’s gratifying to hear how you find the decade old BK-9 still competitive in terms of overall sound and live ‘feel’, given you have most of the latest, greatest!

I’ve been saying for decades that it often is way more than 10 years between arrangers that TRULY take a really noticeable change in live sound and believability. Roland’s ‘live’ sound has always been its strong suit, and it is taking other brands a long time (and a lot more money!) to catch up and finally pass…

While the BK series might be a bit barebones as a true ‘arranger player’s arranger’, there was never a doubt its raw sound was incredibly ‘live’.


Hi Diki,

Thank you for that, yes I do have a lot! I've kept a few even when upgrading and some I've purchased back that I used to own but still wanted to use them. Some are unique, like the Pa700RD and some are very rare like the Ketron SD60, I've never seen one used for sale in the UK. I am looking to offload a couple more though whilst the trade in prices are still decent for them, but some on my list will be with me permanently.

Yes there is no denying the quality of the BK9 and those live band styles are quite fantastic. That sound quality is across all the styles so that's a great benefit. I think the EA7 loses that a bit, plus it doesn't have A LOT of the major styles from the BK9 anyway which I was quite surprised about.

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#509254 - 11/21/23 02:41 PM Re: Finally got the Roland BK9 [Re: DannyUK]
Diki Online   content


Registered: 04/25/05
Posts: 14173
Loc: NW Florida
Yes, the only new technology that offers a substantial increase in realism of live sound is (imho) the audio loop tech that Ketron have adopted, but it comes with issues, most importantly is a lack of full chord recognition in many styles. Plus, of course, the inability to change the sound or edit the Part.

So that one style will always sound the same, and you will sound identical to everybody else with a Ketron. I always liked the ease of editing the factory styles and just doing some minor stuff (change one guitar sound for a different one, or changing the snare sound etc) and knowing I had something a little bit different!

There’s something to be said for taking the EA-7 styles and using them in the BK9 rather than the other way round. Roland added the ability to have two or more Drum Tracks to the BK series, but afaik not ONE of the ROM styles used the feature! I guess they didn’t tell the style creators about it, or it was added too late in the style creation timeline for the creators, plus of course, probably 80% of the styles were legacy styles (as most arrangers do) so you couldn’t add an extra drum track without losing an existing track…

However a FEW of the EA-7’s ROM styles made good use of the feature, and are backwards compatible with the BK9 (if they didn’t use some of the new percussion stuff in the EA-7). Some of those BK9 percussion kits have GREAT sounds, it’s a shame the style creators didn’t add them instead of using the pretty sub-par percussion in the stock kits!

Try adding the EA-7 styles to the BK9 rather than the other way round! 🎹😎
_________________________
An arranger is just a tool. What matters is what you build with it..!

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#509298 - 11/27/23 10:18 AM Re: Finally got the Roland BK9 [Re: Diki]
DannyUK Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/09/99
Posts: 1130
Originally Posted By Diki


Try adding the EA-7 styles to the BK9 rather than the other way round! 🎹😎


Hi Diki,

I tried exactly that I was quite surprised at the results, they sound superb. Only a very small amount sounded off, but it would usually only be in the drums if it did.

However I also did notice that some of the styles that are in both the BK9 and EA7, the EA7 version of the style sounds better in the BK9 than the BK9 factory version!! This I was quite surprised with!

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#509303 - 11/28/23 01:10 PM Re: Finally got the Roland BK9 [Re: DannyUK]
Diki Online   content


Registered: 04/25/05
Posts: 14173
Loc: NW Florida
That’s the result of a few years of tweaking the factory styles between the launches of the BK9 and the EA7… I definitely got the impression that Roland leaves creating or tweaking the styles until preproduction keyboards are available for the style team, and by that point the sales division is screaming for them to finish so they can start selling them..!

I’ve already alluded to how not one single BK9 style uses more than one kit, and I think you are hearing the results of just a bit more time spent EQ-ing and balancing the styles than Roland gave the BK9. A company more committed to making arrangers might have brought out an update that replaced the original ROM styles with those tweaked for the EA7, but so much about the last two Roland ‘pro’ arrangers seems half finished.

On the BK9 there were plans for expansion ROM sounds that never got designed into even the motherboard (there are no expansion slots á la G70), and zero factory content for the Key Audio feature (which would have made for an excellent substitute for no multipads). Not to mention, no way to Link Chord Sequences to Performances or Link .jpg’s to Performances (for sheet music display on a connected monitor), relegating both those features to disuse (if you can’t bring up everything you need in one go, it’s no use live!).

On the EA7, 128MB (that’s not a typo!) of RAM for the sampler is almost useless in these days of multi-GB sized RAM on Yamaha’s and Korg’s. And once again, no factory audio multipads and no way to take SMF’s and import them to multipads (basically rendering it only useful with the ROM multipads).

It just felt like Roland no longer cared (G70 got quite a massive update in v2.0) enough to fix the launch shortcomings. And given that Roland basically bailed on the entire segment after the EA7, I think there’s a good case for this being true!
_________________________
An arranger is just a tool. What matters is what you build with it..!

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#509342 - 12/05/23 05:45 PM Re: Finally got the Roland BK9 [Re: DannyUK]
Nick G Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/16/05
Posts: 1105
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Am I able to obtain a copy of the EA-7 Factory Styles so I can import them into my BK-9? are they available to download anywhere?

Thanks
_________________________
Yamaha PSR SX900 / Roland G70 / Roland BK9 / Korg PA700 / Roland GW-8L / Roland Fantom O6

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