Skip Navigation.
Section 0

ChromaTalk Archives: February 2006

How to Load Patches from Cassette Tape

Chris Ryan [21030691]

There have been a few questions recently about how to load patches from audio. It can be a tricky process, and this month's article by Martin Straw [21010093+], How to Load Patches from Cassette Tape, has some good tips which will be useful whether you're loading from tape or computer (audio files).

Re: CC+ update?

Go to first message in thread, January 2006

David Clarke [21030085++]

ben vehorn wrote:

Any update on when the CC+ will be available, or projected price?

Ben - thank you for the update reminder.

I know I've personally found myself promised dates on-line for things, only to find the date slip again and again. Rather than have this occur with the CC+, we have consciously avoided making commitments to dates that we can't easily control.

We both have full-time day jobs so the amount of free-time available to work on the project isn't as predictable as we might like. We're doing the CC+ because of our enjoyment with the Chroma and electronics in general (i.e., this won't be a money making venture for us, just an enjoyable one - so the day job has to take precedence).

All that having been said - our commitment to the project has not lessened, and we've still been working along.

As might be expected, family and holidays were the focus at the end of December and the beginning of January.

When we got back to crossing the t's and dotting the i's we determined that an adjustment to the layout was desired to accommodate the much tighter spacing above the board when fitted inside of an Expander.

That change is occurring as I type. We have also decided on the cable configurations that will be provided (to terminate the external MIDI connectors, etc.)

We'll get back to the list with further details soon.

Jesper Ödemark [21010135]

Thanks for the update... we're looking forward to it!

electronically yours, jesper - who with help of his wife added another software to the house yesterday ;)

Jack Colburne [21030142+]

...added another software to the house yesterday

Hey, Jesper! If that means what I think it does, congratulations (to both of you)!!

Tom Klepacki [210?0025]

It's obvious that's it's a baby micro Rhodes-Chroma/ 'Chromette'!

However, be mindful of a few things with your new unit:

  1. Show care of your input and output... ESPECIALLY the output. Be mindful of a resistive load.
  2. You may experience excessive feedback... squealing and howling. (Generally caused by input or output problems)
  3. There is a soft 'membrane' switch at the top of the head (much like a Chroma). Do not press, as it will scramble your unit's memory.
  4. When transporting, support the unit carefully. Do not drop. Pack in a sturdy case to prevent damage.
  5. Take unit to a competent tech for 'virus protection'.
  6. Clean unit periodically, using a soft cloth and water. Do not use harsh abrasives or solvents.
  7. Start programming your unit early, using simple voice commands. Unit was designed with voice recognition.
  8. Protect unit from excessive heat and cold. Do not place atop radiators, or in the sunlight.
  9. Tweak pleasant, lyrical sounds out of your unit. However, there will be a time when you will experience 'saw-tooth' problems,which may cause squealing and howling. This is a temporary situation that will heal itself. Several new white 'keys' will be added to the front panel, replacing the soft switches. This is normal.
  10. Unit will undergo voice changes at approximately 15 years of age. There is no correction for this.
  11. Unit will exhibit erratic behaviors, at about 16 years of age. Unit will ignore 'Continuous Controller Commands', and do what it damn well pleases. This is normal, and your unit will stablize after a period of roughly 3 years. Do not use and protect unit from self-destuction during this time.
  12. You may lose possession of your unit, as it seeks additional polyphony. Unit will go on it's own, and Sys-Ex with a compatible model. (I couldn't resist the use of the word 'model') As a result, through the use of a 'midi-wife' (groan!), additional voices will be added to the family of instruments.


Chroma Spotting (Herbie Hancock)

Jim Russo [21030433]

Your can see the end of the Chroma once?? in Herbie Hankock's Grammy performance in 1984 of rock it here, if you can put up with the break dancers LOL : ) : [video removed from YouTube due to terms of use violation]

Chris Ryan [21030691]

Here's a screen shot; it does look like a Chroma. Funny that no one was playing it, though I suppose it could have been connected to something else via MIDI.

Jack Colburne [21030142+]

Gotta be. That's the Ultimate Support Versatable under it; the stand that he used for the Chroma. Not much else would need that stand to sit on (as far as keyboards go) it's usually for mixers, etc.

Was featured prominantly on his cover photo on a 198x Keyboard mag. ... boy... I swear I have that issue somewhere around here. I think it was the one with the Chroma review ... cound be mistaken.

Jack sent a scan of the February 1983 cover; see Re: Chroma Spotting (Herbie Hancock), March 2006.

hmmmmm.... that photo really should be here on the site... I'll look for it. I do hope that I didn't trash it years ago.....

Jeff Bova [21030407++]


I saw the Grammy shot. Herbie played the Yamaha KX1 on the show. He played the Lead Melody as well as the solo on the Chroma and Expander. On Rockit I played my chroma doing the phasey pads and Chroma Chiff/Clav riff. On other Songs on the tours I used a KX1 to trigger my chroma also. At that time we used the JL Cooper Chroma face.

The new site looks great by the way.

Chris Ryan [21030691]

On Feb 6, 2006, at 6:37 PM, Jack Colburne wrote:

Gotta be. That's the Ultimate Support Versatable under it; the stand that he used for the Chroma. Not much else would need that stand to sit on (as far as keyboards go) it's usually for mixers, etc.

I used to use that table for the Chroma, but it wasn't stable enough. I now use a rock-solid fold-up Roland stand for my Chroma and KX88.

Was featured prominently on his cover photo on a 198x Keyboard mag. ... boy... I swear I have that issue somewhere around here. I think it was the one with the Chroma review ... could be mistaken.

hmmmmm.... that photo really should be here on the site... I'll look for it. I do hope that I didn't trash it years ago.....

I have that issue. I should scan it and put it on the site somewhere.

Jack Colburne [21030142+]

I now use a rock-solid fold-up Roland stand for my Chroma and KX88.

Heavy beast with big "Roland" printed up the sides of the legs??? The other one I always liked is the Quiklok WS550. Still have my Versatable from 1983. Takes up too much room in a small home studio, though.

I have that issue. I should scan it and put it on the site somewhere.

Always liked that shot of Hancock's studio. Made a Chroma owner feel all warm and fuzzy, kinda.

Chris Ryan [21030691]

Heavy beast with big "Roland" printed up the sides of the legs???

Here are a couple of pictures. I couldn't find the stand on the Web after a quick search. This is the sturdiest stand I've ever seen, and it folds up quite small.

Malte Rogacki [21010091]

If I'm not mistaken this is originally the Rhodes Mark V stand.

21030450 Re-listed on eBay

Chris Ryan [21030691]

Item 7387835682, starting bid US$1150, no bids yet. The previous listing (Item 7385638580, see Two Chromas on eBay, January 2006) received no bids. [See 21030450]

Chris Ryan [21030691]

It's back for a third go-round. Details as before; new item number is 7392823061. Starting bid is again US$1150.

Stu Ervin

what is up with this?? why does it come and go ? 3 strikes and yer out!!!

Re: My Chroma is acting weird

Go to first message in thread, January 2006

David Clarke [21030085++]

I ... replaced the I/O board in my Chroma and it's been working mostly fine since will randomly reboot, go through the autotune mode, then be fine... --- I have a Chromacult midi box for it. ...I'm reading the manual right now and it says to press 48 (I have the older Eprom) to initiate receive mode for sysex. ...

1) What should the Chroma display show when it's ready to receive sysex? How will I know if it's working properly?

Ben - if you want to send sysex _to_ the Chroma (i.e., update the patches in the chroma with sysex data from an external MIDI source), then "48" is likely not what you'd want to do.

48 (or Set Split 48 for newer EPROMs) will actually initiate a transfer in the other direction (i.e., it will prompt the Chroma to send a dump to 50 patches out over the MIDI interface in sysex format).

To receive patch data, you shouldn't have to do anything 'special.' First ensure that you can successfully receive MIDI data from the device that is going to be sending the sysex (e.g., send a few notes to the Chroma). If you're OK to there, then try to send the sysex to the Chroma. That really should be it.

The only real signs of success is that you'll likely see the display LEDs flicker slightly during the MIDI transfer to the Chroma.

In order to hear the new patches, you'll need to select a patch to have the new data loaded.

If the transfer wasn't successful (and there were no error messages in the display) check the memory protect switch on the back of the Chroma, to ensure that you're able to receive patches.

2) Any ideas as to the general nature of why it's crashing and rebooting in the first place? ...Is it possible that the I/O board I put in is somehow a different revision?

All I/O boards should be compatible.

There are as many more ways for a piece of electronics to misbehave than for it to work right (and so I hate to guess the possible problem), but 95% of the grief with the Chromas does come from the Power Supply. Unless you're absolutely certain that it is OK, then that is where my attention would go first.

If the CPU does start up fresh (i.e., it reboots just like it does on power up), then the CPU either thinks it received a set SPLIT 50 (or similar) or something in the reset circuitry has reset the CPU, making it reboot.

The reset circuitry is tied into the power supply/power quality on the board. If you're using the original Chroma Power Supply, I would look at the big capacitor in the middle of it. If it still has the original baby-blue Mallory cap, I would take a brute force approach and replace it before even bothering to look at anything else (I have yet to find an original Chroma which hasn't had developed a problem with the big 47000uF cap.)

Check out the 3rd para. of the "Calibration and Checkout" section of the Service Manual. If you see the voltage on top of the cap normally dipping below 6.2 volts, the cap may no longer be able to hold the PSU up high enough. A drop-in replacement is the Panasonic GAA series (47000uF, 25VDC, computer grade). These run approx. $20ea and are readily avail. through Digi-Key ( under P/N P10074-ND.

This is an easy part to replace - no soldering required - just unscrew the two terminals, and loosen the mounting screw - pull the old part out, put the new part in - tighen screws. That's it.

NOTE TO ALL: While I'm sure there would be other equivalent replacments - this specific Panasonic part is no longer being manufactured (Digikey sent out a notice of this a while back). It looks like they still have 80 or so in stock - so if you did want to pick one up, this might be a good time).

Ben Vehorn [21030757]

Just wanted to say thanks for the detailed response to this. I likely won't be able to tackle this for a week or two, but will definitely report back with my findings and possibly more questions. Thanks.

Framed Hancock Ad on eBay

Chris Ryan [21030691]

This is the second framed copy of Herbie Hancock's Chroma endorsement I've noticed; see "Framed Herbie Hancock Ad (?!)" from June 2002. How many of these are out there hanging on studio walls? Am I the only Chroma owner who doesn't have one?

eBay item #7564980729, buy it now for just US$14.95.

Description and picture:

Original advertisement for Chroma Keyboards featuring Herbie Hancock - 1984. 8" x 10" (20.32cm x 25.40cm) framed in a black plastic format frame with front loading glass, for wall or tabletop, and it can be displayed either horizontally or vertically.

Jesper Ödemark [21010135]

I have none... in fact, I have no frames hanging in the studio 'cause with the type of bass I sometimes generate they just keep vibrating anyway...

_If_ I should put something cool up there it'll be the schematics for my CS-30 (oh Yamaha, how beautiful art thou shematics?) and some EDP-memorabilia since I'm a collector. :)

BTW, it's quite a funny situation with all these references to famous keyboard players that keep popping up on sites and in books. To me it appears like it's mostly americans who is interested. Certain sounds and tracks etc interest me to know what it is, but which old guy who played it? - I don't care! ;)

Rick Wakeman and Herbie Hancock and the rest have a tiny place in my music collection (OK, I own the Rock it single)...

Manuals on eBay

Chris Ryan [21030691]

Original Performance, Programming, and Interface manuals in "excellent condition." Item #7388655226. No bids yet; starting bid $9.99. Ends February 13.


Jesper Ödemark [21010135]

Great - miss one of them at least... my copies are in german! :(

So I'm going to bid... I better let you know so we can avoid bid wars... ;)

Voice Card on eBay

Chris Ryan [21030691]

No reserve. Current bid is US$0.50. Ships worldwide. Ends February 18. Item #7390010270. From the description: "This Rhodes Chroma Voice Board has no pulled chips. That means there are 2 CEM chips and 4 Tempco resistors on this board. No warranty implied or offered."

Picture from the auction:

This was for sale by Analogics.

Parts Chroma on eBay

Chris Ryan [21030691]

Serial #21030638 (new to registry). Item 7392505633. No reserve, current bid US$51.99. Ends March 2.

FS CHROMA CULT midi interface

Jeffrey Koepper [21030671]


Jeffrey Koepper [21030671]

HI I was off about the price, so a mint chroma cult interface for 165$


Jeffrey Koepper [21030671]


Large amount of chroma parts available

Jeffrey Koepper [21030671]

HI I am thinking of selling a big lot of Chroma parts. It includes 6 voice cards (condition unknown), voice card mother board, key contacts, misc hardware, bender assembly, extra tapper, complete power supply with back panel (condition unknown), cables. and lots of stuff. Let me know if anyone would be interested in the whole package for around 500$

David Gowin [21030611]

Are you in the USA? Canada? Overseas? Unfort shipping costs could be a factor, but a few spares for my Chroma would be invaluable. Thx!

David Clarke [21030085++]

Jeff - if there's a S/N on the back panel (the one attached to the PSU) it might be nice to record it in the registry so we can keep track of where the working bits and pieces are.

Jeffrey Koepper [21030671]

HI there the serial # sticker is missing:( thanks cya jeff

Mike Jaynes [21030638+]

Jeff: how do the voice boards look? are they complete? I have been talking to Wes about a similar bunch of Chroma stuff. So I am interested in your assortment if it is still available.

I am guessing the front panel and keys are long gone?

Chris Ryan [21030691]

HI there the serial # sticker is missing:(

The serial number is also hand-written inside each keyboard. See for instance the third to last of the pictures for #21030638.

Power supply advice

Luigi Castelli [21030825]

Hi folks,

what would be the absolute best power supply to replace the factory Chroma one ? I am not trying to save money on my Chroma, so even if it's expensive I am totally OK with that.

Thank you.