Skip Navigation.
Section 0

Fender/Chroma Music System

Fender was working on a version for the PC but I'm not sure it was ever finished. See Manuals for a scan of the Sequencer Manual for Rev 5 of the software. See also Playing the Rhodes Chroma with the Apple II Sequencer from Electronics & Music Maker magazine, for some screen shots. Thanks to David Clarke [21030085++] for supplying the information on this page.

Revision 6

The Chroma Music System is designed to be used with any Chroma produce (Polaris, Chroma or Chroma Expander) and an Apple II+, Apple IIe or Franklin ACE 1000 computer. The Chroma Music System Interface Kit Model 1611 (P/N: 30-8513-601) contains everything needed to complete a synthesizer/computer set-up. The REV. 6 software in the Chroma Music System has the following features:

Chroma Music System Interface Kit Model 1611: $495 U.S. Retail Price

Revision 6 Software Update (disk and manual): $50.00 U.S. Retail Price

To order the Rev. 6 update send $50 check or money order to:

Fender Musical Instruments
Chroma Software Update
1130 Columbia St.
Brea, CA. 92621


16 Track Polyphonic Sequencing – Each track contains note information, velocity, sustain pedal, pitch bend, modulation lever, parameter change within a track, program change within a track, program number, volume number and user assignable name. With the Addition of the Chroma Translator from Syntech Corp., one or both of the "ports" in this system can be converted to MIDI. It will be possible to have sequences that use both the Chroma Interface and MIDI simultaneously.

Sequence Editing – Extensive edit menu allows for adding and/or deleting tracks, groups of notes or individual notes. Measure commands are displayed on the screen to facilitate note locating.

Disk Storage – All data, sequences and voice programs can be stored on disk and recalled quickly. The interface can distinguish between a Chroma or Polaris and store the voice programs properly. The disk catalog will identify program groups by instrument; Chroma or Polaris. Sequences from the Polaris' internal sequencer can also be stored on disk, these Polaris sequences can even be edited (quantize, delete notes, add notes, etc) using the Rev. 6 software.

Punch In/Punch Out – Any two tracks, once recorded, can be punched in or out. In addition any track can be copied or any two tracks merged together. The punch in and out is silent and can be used in a similar fashion to a tape recorder.

Clock Configuration – The timing information can be either internal or external. If the clock is internal there is a click track option that is generated by the interface hardware and can be heard through any amplification system. If the clock is external it can be configured to several different clock rates (24, 48 or 96 clocks per beat). The clock set-up for a given sequence can be stored on disk.

Quantizing – This auto-correct feature is one of the best and most natural sounding quantizing programs available from any software developer. Notes values ARE NOT cut off or shortened, but rather moved around in time. The end result is a very accurate sounding track, without the strange "mechanical" effect generated by some quantizing programs.

Multi-Instruments – This provides the ability to access multiple keyboard splits (up to 7 over the keyboard) and voice layering of up to 8 sounds (6 with Polaris). There are 3 types of Multi-Instrument set-ups:

  1. Unison – This layers voices on top of each other
  2. Ordered – Each time a key is played, a different sound is triggered
  3. Split – Multiple keyboard splits are assignable to a maximum of 7 different sounds

All of these Multi-Instrument set-ups can be stored on disk for easy recall. There is also a "Fast Load" feature that allows 5 set-ups to be re-called from a pre-determined front panel location. No other software package currently on the market for ANY instrument offers this feature.

Arpeggiator – An external trigger can be used for syncing this Arpeggiator feature to a drum machine. There are 5 different modes for the Arpeggiator:

  1. All Notes – Full chords can be triggered.
  2. Arpeg. Up & Down – This uses single notes
  3. Arpeg. By Lever – lever 2 will change the direction of the arpeggio.
  4. Sequence – A group of notes will be re-played in the order they were depressed.
  5. Random – Single notes play randomly.

Up to 3 octaves can be added to any of the modes creating an extensive pitch range for the patterns. If a keyboard split has been set-up it is possible to have the Arpeggiator work on only half of the keyboard. If a second instrument is used on the Expander Port that instrument can be turned on or off.

Reconfigure – The overall set-up of the computer can be changed a stored on disk. This includes RAM expansion in the computer, internal or external clock, the computer slot in which the Interface Card resides, click track emphasis, stop/start footswitch. This feature also allows the user to view the current configuration of the system including which instrument is on which port and available memory in expanded RAM mode. Trough the Reconfigure mode the timing information on any sequence can be changed to double time (2X), half time (1/2X) or quarter time (1/4X). This allows for interesting and complex rhythmic patterns to be played at a slow tempo and played back fast.

Expanded RAM – With a compatible RAM Expansion Card (Saturn Systems 128K, Alpha Byte or Second 128K) the note capacity of this system will be about 8,000. In the non-expanded mode the capacity is about 2,000 notes.

Chroma Parameter Display – When using a Chroma or Chroma Expander it is possible to get a 2 page read-out of the parameter values. The first page provides parameters 1-26 with the remainder on the second page. As parameters are changed using the Chroma's Parameter Slider the numeric information changes on the computer's screen. Both the A and B sets of parameters can be displayed separately or together.

Documentation – Learning how to use a piece of software so the maximum results can be achieved is directly proportional to the quality of the documentation. The manual provided with the Rev. 6 software is very extensive and will give all the needed details of all features. A second Computer Programming Manual with technical data is also available.

Source Code – Many companies will not give there Source Code to anyone. We at Fender encourage our customers to develop and augment their software and so we are more than happy to provide a copy of the Source Code to those qualified software developers. Our only requirement is a signed "non-disclosure" agreement between Fender and the end-user.