FR-8x Tech Info

November 19, 2016

Place holder for all the technical stuff concerning my Roland V-accordion.

Holy crap, I have to admit, this accordion is complex as heck!  I am already quite computer savvy, a true techno geek and familiar with the basics of MIDI, and I was banging my head against the wall there for a moment.  Thanks to Greg V. and others from the Yahoo Roland group and many hours of reading, studying and playing on my end, and I have figured out the first three obstacles to playing my accordion, but there seems to be like a million more newbie questions that I yet have to get answered.  I can’t see how the average person would be able to get anything more other than the most basic of concepts of this instrument.

Anyways, Onward and Upward!

Startup screen showing version and installed expansion sets all before and after the firmware update.

Before the upgrade (v.2.0):

After the upgrade (v.2.01):

Small note:  On October 4, 2017, I have upgraded to v.2.5 of the firmware.  It adds lots of nice things amongst which the ability to use the new v.1.0 editor!

June 21, 2019 I had some work done on the 8X and in the process they upgraded me to firmware version v.2.51.

Challenge:  To have the 8X start up with a custom start-up name come up in the screen

Solution: In the FR-8X MENU 14.10 – Enter the name/words/whatever you want right there.  Don’t forget to save it!   You can see the before and after results in the two videos above.

Challenge:  To NOT have the 8X screw around with any of the volume settings on the Ketron X4, just accept the chord changes and nothing else.

Solution: In the FR-8X MENU 16.4 – set “Accordion” to OFF

Solution 2: I have set ALL PARTS to OFF to prevent other sections of the V-accordion from sending volume information to the BK-7m.

Challenge:  To get the bellows to give adequate volume without me needing to pull like a fool, and also give me the right level of preferred resistance

Solution:  In the FR-8X MENU 14.1 set:
– Status: ON
– Resistance: +20
– Min Bel: 0 (zero)
– Bellows Curve: X-LIGHT

These might change later, but for now this is what I chose as initially being the most comfortable.

Challenge:  To eliminate the artificial valve and button noises that the 8X does by default.

In the FR-8X MENU 2.2 – set both “LEVEL” to “OFF”
In the FR-8X MENU 3.3 – set both”LEVEL” to “OFF”
In the FR-8X MENU 4.1 – set both “LEVEL” to “OFF”
In the FR-8X MENU 4.2 – set Free Bass  “LEVEL” to “OFF”
In the FR-8X MENU 14.9 – set  “KBDBTN NOISE” to “OFF”

Challenge: Set a nicer quality of reverb

Solution:  In the FR-8X MENU 13.1 – set  “MACRO” to “HALL 1”  (Hall Number ONE)

Challenge:  How to turn off the FR-8x’s speakers when externally amplified

Solution:  In the FR-8X MENU 14.3 – set  “SPEAKERS” to “OFF”

Challenge:  How to properly backup and restore the UPG and Sets.

Process not yet documented.

Challenge:  How to access the sounds on the Expansion Sets

Solution:  From a set or the Work Area, press the menu key, go to Orchestra 1, select tones and scroll with the knob.  I see 288 sounds with the factory, Alpine, AcOrchestra and Dallape sets installed.

Note:  Though I see [A] AND [B] sets, I do not see the [C] set (Dallape) sounds shown in the list.  Requires further investigation.
(addendum)  I was looking in the Orchestra section… no accordions there.  Go to the right section and the [C] set (Dallape) sounds are there.

Challenge:  When I use the BK-7m arranger, every time I want to make a bass run, there is an associated change in the chord pitch which drives me crazy, so I need to find the setting that stops sending MIDI chord changes to the BK from the bass side, but still permit the chords to change when I press any chord.

Menu Section 3.6
– Note TX: OFF

With the above option, I can still hear any bass or chord notes that are programmed on the 8X, but no chord changes happen when I press different bass or counter bass buttons, just when I press any chords.

Challenge:  How to extract maximum volume from the 8X when not using external amplification:

Menu Section 14.4:
– Audio Boost:  ON

With the above option, we’ve made the entire accordion louder at any given volume setting.  If using external amplification, do not use as it does decrease battery life slightly.  With this option activated, it releases the full 25 watt amp, letting it get to full volume… perfect for those times you are performing and maybe strolling around or not using external amps/speakers.

Challenge:  What is a SET, a USER PROGRAM and a USER PROGRAM LIST?


In short:  Each set is a type of accordion.  When you change a set, you change your accordion into another accordion.

The FR-8x comes with 36 different accordions (sets) already programmed.

Obviously your “Virtual” accordion is capable of playing also orchestral, organ and drum sounds and all these accordion sounds can be mixed, matched and changed giving you incredible flexibility.

In detail:
Your FR-8x is a “virtual” accordion. It recreates the sounds of various accordion instruments and can even generate orchestral sounds (like trumpet, flute, etc.), organ and drum sounds. There are 100 Set memories and some of them already contain useful settings right out of the box. Each SET has 14 individual settings (one per register), or 1400 settings total.

You can replace them with your own settings. (And if 100 Sets are not enough, you can archive and load new sets using an optional USB memory) see “15.7 EXPORT” (p. 110) and “15.8 IMPORT” (p. 110).

The FR-8x has an extra Set memory called Working Area (W.A). This
area is used to load a Set linked to a User Program (See section 14. Working
with User Programs p. 57).

User Programs
There may be times we wish to place our sets in a specific order or accommodate a song or a set of songs, or create custom sounds or adjust custom parameters without affecting the settings we have made in our sets.  This is done via User Programs.

Like SETS, we have 100 banks of sounds and each bank can have 14 settins (again one per register).  This is again a total of up to 1400 User Programs that are in ADDITION to the SETS we mentioned above.  Think of the SETS as factory default settings and User Programs as being modified settings that we save to a specific BANK (1-100) and REGISTER (1-14).

The FR-8x provides User Program memories that allow you to store almost all settings you make on the front panel and the various display pages. In additional the User Program store the selected Set.

User Program Lists
Now, having 1400 settings can be daunting to try and manage.  To make things a bit easier, Roland has also added the concept of USER PROGRAM LISTS, and basically, these are ways of grouping your settings in a logical manner, like creating a USER PROGRAM LIST that contains settings based on a style (Tango, Waltz) or even events (weddings, Christmas, etc…).  We can create (again), up to 1400 User Program Lists.  User Program Lists can be (and should be) exported to USB keys and saved for future use.  It is wise to export and have backups.  Obviously, these UPL’s can be imported as well.

Challenge:  To get the accordion to make sounds while it being sideways on the table while programming it via the Java editor

Solution:  In the FR-8X MENU 14.1 set:
– Bellows Curve: FIXED MED (medium)

5:32 PM 4/10/2016