Kiwi-3p - Experiences?

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Dr. Phibes
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Kiwi-3p - Experiences?

Post by Dr. Phibes » Tue Jul 17, 2012 1:14 pm

I was thinking of selling my Jx3p recently, but as usual, while checking it over I grew fond of it again and have changed my mind (plus the prices for them seem to have fallen a bit :roll:).

So I'm toying with the idea of installing the Kiwi-3p mod. I was wondering what peoples' experiences of it have been? (I found the original thread but the responses sort of petered out.)

The various aspects of the mod certainly sound good, but I've heard that it significantly changes the functioning of the interface - is there any validity to that?

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Re: Kiwi-3p - Experiences?

Post by Zardoz » Tue Jul 17, 2012 2:29 pm

I'm with Doc on this one, I'd like to know all about the Kiwi.

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Re: Kiwi-3p - Experiences?

Post by adhmzaiusz » Wed Jul 18, 2012 8:23 pm

I installed it into mine... the interface is pretty confusing at first, but once you actually get into it it's a snap. I printed and laminated the menu legend to stick over it... which really helps since it is quite complex.

My favorite thing to do with it is combine the pattern generator with the arpeggiator. You can get all sorts of new patterns out of it, which also lead to weird time signatures and stuff. The pattern generator is like the individual trig on a jp8000, except the cool thing is you program the pattern sequence by activating steps using buttons 1-16.
Unison with detune is good and thick, also just using detune is cool too since it gives the 3p an imperfect character. As cool as it is, it is still not my most used synth though, as you could imagine why. But it is very cool and I highly recommend it.

Also like to add- install it yourself only if you are good with desoldering and own proper desoldering equipment. Removing the 40 pin cpu would be a nightmare with only a soldering iron.
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Re: Kiwi-3p - Experiences?

Post by fh991586 » Thu Jul 19, 2012 1:52 am

Considering that the mod would cost me more than what I paid for the synth + PG200 combined, I'm still waiting for a good video which shows what are the good things about that mod. If there are so many already modified versions out there, why no more videos of what it can really do?
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Re: Kiwi-3p - Experiences?

Post by adhmzaiusz » Thu Jul 19, 2012 9:14 am

fh991586 wrote: If there are so many already modified versions out there, why no more videos of what it can really do?
I really want to make a vid and have the capacity, but I'm super lazy :mrgreen:
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Re: Kiwi-3p - Experiences?

Post by Dr. Phibes » Thu Jul 19, 2012 2:29 pm

adhmzaiusz wrote:I installed it into mine... the interface is pretty confusing at first, but once you actually get into it it's a snap. I printed and laminated the menu legend to stick over it... which really helps since it is quite complex.

My favorite thing to do with it is combine the pattern generator with the arpeggiator. You can get all sorts of new patterns out of it, which also lead to weird time signatures and stuff. The pattern generator is like the individual trig on a jp8000, except the cool thing is you program the pattern sequence by activating steps using buttons 1-16.
Unison with detune is good and thick, also just using detune is cool too since it gives the 3p an imperfect character. As cool as it is, it is still not my most used synth though, as you could imagine why. But it is very cool and I highly recommend it.

Also like to add- install it yourself only if you are good with desoldering and own proper desoldering equipment. Removing the 40 pin cpu would be a nightmare with only a soldering iron.
Interesting, thanks for feedback. I personally don't use arpeggiators all that much but I can see how merging it with the onboard sequencer could create some interesting results.

The aspect of the mod that really appeals to me is the addition of another independent envelope generator. Having fiddled around my Matrix-6 a lot recently, I got used to having to having a bunch of EGs to play with. Synths with just one EG now seem a bit limited to me. Of course, having another LFO, detune capability, chorus control and all there rest of it, sounds great too.

One thing that did occur to me though is whether model of JX-3p is relevant when installing the mod. I believe mine is one of the very early units and only has MIDI in/out functions - no thru. I don't really care all that much about using the MIDI interface but I wonder if there may be other side effects.

Also, the fact that you use your JX-3p at all with the gear you have is quite an honour for the little synth of many colours! :D

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Re: Kiwi-3p - Experiences?

Post by Dr. Phibes » Thu Jul 19, 2012 2:34 pm

fh991586 wrote:Considering that the mod would cost me more than what I paid for the synth + PG200 combined, I'm still waiting for a good video which shows what are the good things about that mod. If there are so many already modified versions out there, why no more videos of what it can really do?
Yes, it is rather expensive (although my JX-3p certainly wasn't as a cheap as that! :evil:) - hence my initial skepticism. It would be good to see a few more vids. The youtube user Syntegrator made a good series of videos about actually installing the mod, but you didn't really get to see the new functions afterwards.

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Re: Kiwi-3p - Experiences?

Post by Jinsai » Thu Jul 19, 2012 9:20 pm

It's pretty cool. It's just about now not buggy enough to use. I am one firmware rev behind the current release, and sometimes it won't boot. If I adjust the filter using MIDI CC while holding down a note, it usually freaks out.

But the addition of the new features does open up a world of possibilities, and the unison mode is...mighty.
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Re: Kiwi-3p - Experiences?

Post by Don T » Fri Jul 20, 2012 1:08 am

I've added the Kiwi upgrade to mine, and I would say: Go for it!

To me, the interface is much easier to use than the original, as long as you have the graphic of the menu path handy. Yes, that sounds confusing, there's more "stuff" to keep up with, but the editing makes sense. The synth also will give you visual feedback via the program buttons as to what is being edited. Also, all the pitch, cutoff, resonance, ADSR controls, or any other parameter we normally expect to be continuously variable, are all 0-127 steps. I can't remember if the resonance control was limited to 7 steps originally. The upgrade also adds sysex and midi CC capability.

If used with an external midi keyboard with the capability, the upgrade adds velocity and aftertouch.

I also added the chorus speed mod (WELL worth the trouble) to mine, and also rigged it to where it still responds to the PG-200.

Mine seems to be bug-free at the moment, and if you contact Murray at Kiwitechnics, he is VERY responsive to getting bugs fixed as they are found. I found an arpeggiator bug in an earlier version, emailed him, and within 36 hours I got an email from him saying, "Try this one (software upgrade), and let me know if it works for you."

No, it isn't cheap, but it is well done. Remember, price doesn't always coincide with value. I'll put it this way: Once I had a customer bring me a Belles Model One power amp to rebuild (If you haven't heard one, I pity you). The bill was going to be in the $500 area (due to some heavy-duty power supply parts and all new output transistors), You could've bought another one used for less, assuming you could find one. I thought the owner would say no, because it couldn't be done cheaper. He grinned and told me: "Tell me something I can get currently for $500 or less that sounds better than this?" We both knew the answer was "Nothing". He told me to please get right on it. :)

Point being: If you already have the synth, what are you going to get for $236US that is better?

I would consider making a demo video, but my polyphonic playing skills are weak, so it would be limited to: It can do this, followed by an edit and a really short passage. But, even at that, it would be a REALLY long video to go through everything.
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Re: Kiwi-3p - Experiences?

Post by Dr. Phibes » Fri Jul 20, 2012 3:49 am

Don T wrote: Point being: If you already have the synth, what are you going to get for $236US that is better?
A small porcelain figurine of David Duchovny?

But yeah, I see you're saying. I think I'll give it ago. In all honesty though, I was already predisposed to the idea since I've long since come to the inescapable conclusion that this is a modification designed and produced by Murray Hewitt.

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Re: Kiwi-3p - Experiences?

Post by adhmzaiusz » Fri Jul 20, 2012 4:30 am

Jinsai wrote:It's pretty cool. It's just about now not buggy enough to use. I am one firmware rev behind the current release, and sometimes it won't boot. If I adjust the filter using MIDI CC while holding down a note, it usually freaks out.
I haven't used mine with midi cc's yet, but it has never crashed or froze up on me yet. The only issue I've had so far was updating to version 2 from 1 failed on me, and destroyed my cpu so my unit wouldn't boot. But Murray is a customer service expert and sent me a new cpu since i was so bummed. It works great now.

And about the second lfo and env, yes a whole new palette of sounds are obtainable now. Go upgrade!
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Re: Kiwi-3p - Experiences?

Post by fh991586 » Fri Jul 20, 2012 5:13 am

Considering the shipping to Canada + tech time (I can't do it myself), this mod is costing well over $400 for me. And since I already have fun with the original synth, I can't do it without a better example of what it would do if everything went perfectly.

If I ever get a second unit in good shape, then I'll seriously consider the mod: I'd have nothing to lose then!
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Re: Kiwi-3p - Experiences?

Post by Jinsai » Sat Jul 21, 2012 4:20 pm

Well, in my case I only bought the synth because this mod was coming out! Granted, I got mine for cheap, but the original JX-3P, while very nice, is pretty limited.

Just to recap the new features:
- 256 patches, 8 sequences (122 max steps, polyphonic), and 16 patterns can be stored and edited
- MIDI CC support for all parameters (that was enough for me to buy it)
- Poly, Unison, and Mono key modes
- Separate detune for DCOs
- 2 envelope generators (plus gate mode)
- 2 LFOs
- 6 waveforms for each LFO
- Arpeggiator is now, u, d, u+d, random, 0, 1, 2 octaves

It basically turns the JX-3P into something approaching a Jupiter. I'll see about making some videos or something this weekend.
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Re: Kiwi-3p - Experiences?

Post by DesolationBlvd » Sat Jul 21, 2012 5:49 pm

I read that they've put the MKS-30 upgrade on hold, as they are making an upgrade for Polysix instead. (Personally, I would call the MKS-30 mod "Planet-KIWI")

Too bad. I've always been interested in KIWI-3P. I bought my MKS-30 to try for a while and then flip, but fell in love with its character and would seriously consider selling the MKS-80 if I had the KIWI-3P features in my MKS-30.

In particular, the added aftertouch sensitivity would make more sense on the MKS-30 than the JX-3P. Another thing that KIWI-3P has over MKS-80 is that mod wheel and aftertouch are independent.

Are the envelopes faster after the mod? I would assume so, seeing as there's a new (faster?) processor in there.

As for adhmzaiusz keeping KIWI-3P even with JP-8 around, I assume that it's because of the velocity/aftertouch - none of his other analog Rolands do that.
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Re: Kiwi-3p - Experiences?

Post by Don T » Sat Jul 21, 2012 11:55 pm

fh991586 wrote:Considering the shipping to Canada + tech time (I can't do it myself), this mod is costing well over $400 for me. And since I already have fun with the original synth, I can't do it without a better example of what it would do if everything went perfectly.

If I ever get a second unit in good shape, then I'll seriously consider the mod: I'd have nothing to lose then!
This reminds me of one caveat:

If you are not VERY skilled at unsoldering, or do not own a vacuum desolder station such as a Hakko 808, you may want to find a friend who has one, or a good tech. That said, the basic installation is EASY if you have the desolder skills. You basically remove the processor, put a socket in its place, and plug the new processor in. Done (unless you add the optional mods).
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