Thursday, 12 May 2011

Expansion Boards

When I started playing the Roland JV-90 keyboard back in 1995, I always was intrigued by the word 'expandable' written in big lettering on the side. I liked the sound of that: just the feeling that more COULD be done, should I want to ...
However, over the years, my non-technical brain proved to be too inflexible to be wrapped around the idea of what this 'expansion' actually was or, even less, HOW to actually bring it about. So I always left it the way it was.

That is, until about half a year ago, when I was strolling through ebay and actually found the key to that which expands the keyboard! To my delight, I found it was possible to buy 'cards' that, exciting exciting, add new sounds and instruments to the keyboard. They go by the name 'Expansion Boards', and it turns out that there are about two dozen different ones, such as 'orchestral', 'vintage synth' or 'world'.
Evidently, production of these JV-keyboards and of their expansion boards stopped about a decade ago ... Which means shops don't sell these anymore ...

Off to ebay it was again, only to find that there is a blooming market of people selling these second-hand for quite inflated three-figure prices.
Nevertheless, I bided my Ebay-time, and eventually bid on (and won) a more affordable (and less popular) expansion board: 'Hip-Hop Collection'.

The card arrived in the post, and consisted of a mere piece of metal with some funny transistors and sockets sticking out at the back.

This had to be inserted in the inside of the keyboard: yes, I had to unscrew a few back-panels and stick my hand into the inner workings! But if the Roland-manual itself told me to do this ...

Switched it on, and yes: 255 new sounds in the can, including exciting selections such as 'Funky Voxy', 'Freakout Sax', 'Plop Bass', 'Phuzzphat', 'Ya Mon' etc. etc. For a complete list, I refer you to

- to be continued

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