Edirol PCR 300/500/800 - First Impressions

Anything about hardware musical instruments.
w00
KVRer
3 posts since 16 Feb, 2007

Post Fri Feb 16, 2007 11:05 am

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Hi all,

am a long term reader here - but no poster. But i feel like i wanna share my first impressions of this new NAMM-Release with you:

http://www.rolandus.com/products/produc ... rentId=114 (http://www.rolandus.com/products/productdetails.aspx?ObjectId=865&ParentId=114)

I have used the PCR 30 and PCR M30 before. Now Edirol released the new PCR series, i have the PCR 800 here.

Lets go straight into it: apart from these pads the hardware is very good.

Keys: nice semi weighted with a good touch .. dont see a big difference btw. m30 and pcr 800 (or pcr300 which should be identical). quality comparable to novations keys i.m.o. and by no means so crappy like m-audio axiom keys

Pitch/Modwheel: rubber coated, like in most pcr-m series. feels sturdy. but crappy for modulation - as all roland/edirol combinations of pitch/modwheel - its just the wrong technique for modwheel-usage putting a spring onto it, which u can not disable. but u know that if u buy ANY roland/edirol keys/synth.

Rotary encoders: very good improvement compared to pcr-m series - better quality now, feel more solid, turn not so easily as pcr-m but have a nice "resistance" when moving them from left to right - perfect i.m.o. they are not endless rotary encoders and dont have small "steps" when turning - perfect for smooth filter fades etc. compare these to the axiom's endless rotary encoders which DO have small "steps" when u move them - no way for nice smooth sweeps, u never know where u are (since those are endless). if u try they rotaries on the pcr 300/500/800 u want this machine. 9 rotaries instead of 8 like in the pcr-m series.

Additional endlessly encoded "value" rotary encoder: changes values, e.g. program changes. very useful.

normal buttons: easy go, as in all of the pcr-m series. now its 4 transport buttons instead of 3 on the pcr-m series.

Faders: quality about the same as pcr-m series but now they are longer by means of the way u have to move them to change values from 0 to 127 - for ppl who felt the older ones were too short, here ya go. quality of all faders seems to be almost similar - not like in a pcr-m i have used where a few were moving very easily while others had more "resistance" to it. but thats a question of quality control - which seems to have been good in my pcr800 here. plus its 9 faders now, it was 8 on the pcr-m.

crossfader: moves really easily, lika in a real mixer-crossfader, and of course much easier than the faders on the pcr 800. but for me i cant find a real use for that yet - all u dj's might love it.

pads: hmm, velocity sensitive, yes. but in my opinion way too "unsensitive" - as unsensitive as these damn pads on the novation remote sl-series. (dont get me wrong - apart from the pads and the price the novation sl's are wonderful). have to hit em pretty hard in order to get sounds out of them - am not sure if they are round or square sensors - meaning i still have to try how well they react when u dont hit'em in the center but on the corners. best pads around in my opinion: korg - e.g. on the oasys system - these pads are just perfecty sensitive i think. havent tried the Korg PadControl - but that should be the best pads around.

"dynamic mapping": well, thats a feature which isnt discribed even in the manual of the keyboard. the only software i know supporting this is sonar (le) which is bundled with the keyboard but i havent tried it yet. as i understand it "dynamic mapping" should be like novation's automap - which would be wonderfull - but hey this is still beta i guess, even in the manual ;) the day cubase and some plugins support "dynamic mapping" it should be a nice feature - like in edirols's advertisments.

aftertouch: yes, one channel aftertouch. edirol says its improved. i dont now what is improved, but i am not a big aftertouch user ;)

all ports on the left side of the keyboard: crap. not necessary in my opinion, but it depends on where u place your keyboard(s).



Summary: good quality hardware, would buy it again. or maybe buy some korg hardware (oasys) for the worlds best drumpads ;)


Lemme know if i forgot anything or you wanna know more.

Cheerio,

Yours

w00


P.S: And dont forget to update your driver and editor for the complete pcr-series to 2.0 - which is out on the new cd's coming with the pcr300/500/800 or as a download for e.g. pcr-30 at roland.com. and if you know what is new in those drivers lemme know :)
Last edited by w00 on Fri Feb 16, 2007 3:26 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Rad Grandad
27887 posts since 6 Sep, 2003 from Downeast Maine

Post Fri Feb 16, 2007 11:12 am

my pcr50 has a dead key, it got it probably after 2 years which I believe to be unacceptable...I know several other people here have reported the same thing with edirol controllers...unfortunately it would be impossible for you to tell yet...but if the keys give you issues would you let us know?
Albert Einstein may have been a genius but his brother Frank was a monster

spookyricky
KVRist
148 posts since 26 Mar, 2005

Post Fri Feb 16, 2007 1:04 pm

I use the pcr80 I'm very happy with it!I lov the V link shit!

www.tecquilarecordings.be or www.myspace.com/darkdeejayz

Dayl
KVRian
666 posts since 29 Dec, 2006 from Auckland, New Zealand

Post Sat Feb 17, 2007 6:56 pm

Yeh, I have the PCR 50. bought sec hand. is prob 2 years old. I ve owned it for 1. When I first got it, 2 of the keys in the upper octave weren't working but I could work arount that as it cost me $200 NZD as opposed to the new price of (Then) $500 NZD. 6 months ago a couple more key went, then some others and today (as it has been for a month or so) i have only the bottom octave less the Gsharp key. bummed out. It has to go back to roland and will now pretty much cost me the balance of a new one to get fixed. I dont sledge hammer my keys, transport the keyboard or keep it in a dust laden enviroment. To be fair, I dont have a comparison.

kaverka
KVRist
156 posts since 23 Feb, 2007

Post Fri Feb 23, 2007 2:05 pm

Would you think it's worth upgrading a PCR-M30 to a PCR300? I know the technical feature differences, but is it really worth the money? Or should I just keep my PCR-M30?

w00
KVRer
3 posts since 16 Feb, 2007

Post Sat Feb 24, 2007 5:18 am

kaverka wrote:Would you think it's worth upgrading a PCR-M30 to a PCR300? I know the technical feature differences, but is it really worth the money? Or should I just keep my PCR-M30?
well, the pcr300/500/800 is a good passive controller, dynamic mapping does NOT work except in sonar - and i.m.o. probably will never work in any other host. if it should work in the future - good - now it doesnt.

why should u get yourself a pcr 300 instead of your m30? only if u need: pads, aftertouch, crossfader, 4 transport buttons instead of 3. the pots work smoother in the new pcr 300/500/800 series. is it worth the money? you decide.

but if u need somethink like novations automap - stick with novation, they are going to release an improved version on monday. and i dunno when edirol is gonna release any dynamic mapping update for anything, because this feature has to be supported by the host itself (e.g. implemented in a new cubase version - if steinberg wants to do that - which i highly doubt).

think about investing some more money and getting myself a novation automap keyboard.

cheerio

waveriderarts
KVRian
1213 posts since 2 Jun, 2004 from Québec, CANADA

Post Sat Feb 24, 2007 6:38 am

Well I have a pcr-30 and a Novation re49.

Edirol has nailed down the interface a lot better in my opinion. The hardware ergonomics are better too.

I wanted more trigger buttons so I got the Novation re49. Good keyboard, aftertouch, but it stops there. It is not very well made like when you want to change some stuff while playing live it is not practical. Some stuff is outragously badly implemented (like program changes) IT IS ALSO BUGGY, SENDING GHOST MIDI MESSAGES AND ALL. Pressing more than 3 buttons at the same time sends ghosts messages (actually it sends midi messages assigned to in-between buttons). Stop/play buttons also can send ghost messages, like when using ableton, you can have catastrophic consequences like stopping your set while playing etc...


So anyway it is finished for me with Novation. That keyboard costed a fortune and it is very buggy (confirmed by novation support).

The Edirol has a cheaper non-aftertouch keyboard but everything you want to do is 2 button presses away and it has no bugs.

and the automap stuff or whatever (by others brands) is a marketing fad because in reality you will always want to map the exact param you need in the end. but it may be a time saver for some but I never believed that it would work practically.

kaverka
KVRist
156 posts since 23 Feb, 2007

Post Sat Feb 24, 2007 8:02 am

w00 wrote:
kaverka wrote:Would you think it's worth upgrading a PCR-M30 to a PCR300? I know the technical feature differences, but is it really worth the money? Or should I just keep my PCR-M30?
well, the pcr300/500/800 is a good passive controller, dynamic mapping does NOT work except in sonar - and i.m.o. probably will never work in any other host. if it should work in the future - good - now it doesnt.

why should u get yourself a pcr 300 instead of your m30? only if u need: pads, aftertouch, crossfader, 4 transport buttons instead of 3. the pots work smoother in the new pcr 300/500/800 series. is it worth the money? you decide.

but if u need somethink like novations automap - stick with novation, they are going to release an improved version on monday. and i dunno when edirol is gonna release any dynamic mapping update for anything, because this feature has to be supported by the host itself (e.g. implemented in a new cubase version - if steinberg wants to do that - which i highly doubt).

think about investing some more money and getting myself a novation automap keyboard.

cheerio
Thanks for your feedback (and that from waveriderarts as well)... so now you've made me think of a lot of other questions. I appreciate any time you take to answer any of them...

I really don't want the dynamic mapping to get in the way. The last thing I need is another layer, so does it interfere with what the hosts do anyway?

Or can it be set up as a basic controller?

For example, Sonar 6.2 already has an ACT plugin for it... does it screw with that, or does it work fine with the ACT thing... or does the dynamic mapping go above and beyond the ACT plugin?

I also use Live 6, Samplitude, ACID Pro 6, and a few others as well... any other comments on that?

I also am getting the Akai MDP24 for pads, so I don't need the pads on the PCR300 (I doubted they'd be any good anyway). You said the PCR300 pads aren't that great, so should I even have that as an extra bonus consideration?

You say the pots are better on the PCR300, but that much better?

Also, how are the ergonomics? Style? Design? Build quality? I can see the pictures, but does the PCR300 look and physically feel, in person, better than the PCR-M30?

Finally, even though the PCR300 has aftertouch and the PCR-M30 doesn't, how is the actual keyboard FEEL in comparison... is it BETTER key action than the PCR-M30?

Thanks again for all your input!

j100
KVRer
2 posts since 28 Feb, 2007

Post Wed Feb 28, 2007 5:48 pm

I just bought the pcr-300 partly cause i didnt have the cash to stretch to the novation remote which i have to say did look good but also on the various recommendations of people who had got one. especially you woo.
Anyway only had it one night and it s my first midi controller but to me the keys feel nice and weighted. The drum pads seemed to only play 120 or 127 in terms of velocity though i couldnt work out how to assign my drum sounds to them from reason as i live in japan and sadly the manual was in japanese and they didnt have a pdf manual in English on the install disc like I thought they would. So there s gonna be alot of trial and error on my part though i guess thats also the best way to learn.

Again to me the knobs and sliders felt nice and i dont mind that the knobs arent infinite rotation. My main problem at the moment is in Reason as the PCR-300 is new so when i go to the select midi keyboard section it doesnt have a template for it and i cant seem to get all the sliders and faders working but i m sure i ll get there.
Will post more later as i get to know and i hope love the little bugger.
cheers

w00
KVRer
3 posts since 16 Feb, 2007

Post Thu Mar 01, 2007 2:51 am

if any1 has question on the new pcr-series, be quick. i am gonna return my pcr800, because obviously dynamic mapping is not working except for cakewalk sonar. neither german tech-support nor european sales departement could tell me ANY serious info on dynamic mapping: tech support say it works only in sonar and probably will never be inplemented in cubase or logic and other daws. sales department europe tells me dyn. map. whould work with every daw WITHOUT them daw-companies having to implement anything - which is complete nonsense in my opinion. only automap universal does that. and now in the event of automap universal i will probably get a remote sl - and just forget about the cash i will have to pay for that one :)

and just to let you know again: the hardware itself is really nice in the new pcr series (except the pads). but to me its too much of a hassle mapping having to switch in e.g. cubase remote templates EVERY time u use another plugin.

hardware ++ (out of +++)
software 0 (cuz just a passive controller doin nuttin without you programming the heck outta you)


cheerio

w00

stoolz
KVRist
57 posts since 28 Mar, 2007 from leeds

Post Wed Mar 28, 2007 3:13 pm

I just bought a pcr 800 and it doesnt seem to work, i cant find any control maps and transport doesnt work when set to cubase memory 3, i previously tried the novation sl remote to try control my vsti's but found it impossible to use and very buggy so i took that back to get this hoping it would worl like the old pcr 50 where there were loads of memory presets to load in,am i doing something wrong here, do i have to install it as a generic remote to get the transport working, hellllllp pleeeease
laziness is nothing more than resting before you get tired.

himalaya
KVRAF
4930 posts since 23 Mar, 2006 from pendeLondonmonium

Post Wed Mar 28, 2007 3:26 pm

The SoundExpo'07 rep said that this new line-up of PCRs has poly aftertouch ( accepts poly at), and yet the spec on Roland's website mentiones channel aftertouch only... :?

kaverka
KVRist
156 posts since 23 Feb, 2007

Post Wed Mar 28, 2007 4:21 pm

I just picked up a PCR300 and am playing around with it... definitely better than the previous products from Edirol. The "Dynamic Mapping" is just a marketing joke... it is really referring to the ACT control panel in Sonar 6.2. And I can honestly say that the ACT control panel/preset in Sonar 6.2 works GREAT with the PCR300. As for working in Cubase it behaves like a Roland MCR controller, which is to say, nothing really special... it's just a "normal" controller. I have gotten it working in MCR mode (as the manual suggests) just fine in Cubase. Of course, the little Editor software that comes with it allows you to totally customize the contoller, which is good too. But in general you can't compare this to Novation's Automap AT ALL. It just is not the same thing in any way, shape or form. So don't get confused.

As for the hardware itself, it is excellent... the best Edirol controller I've ever used. The little pads are a total joke, but who really cares. Do you really expect to program drums on the little pads? Again, just marketing. Even on the Novation stuff, the pads stink as well. So that is not a problem. As a basic controller, it is really good. And for Sonar 6.2+ users, it is better than good.

For Cubase, Live, FL, etc... it's just a basic, normal controller, and with some effort, I believe it will work well with those. If you want Automap type features, get Novation. Of course you'll be dealing with buggy software since Automap Universal, as of right now, is nowhere near mature enough to handle all the plugins I use. Automap Universal has many issues with plugins since it basically wraps them... To be quite frank, Automap Universal seems in some ways very much like a two-way slicker version of Cakewalk's one-way ACT which is built-in to Sonar. Hard to say what I like better in real life. Automap's general goals are ambitious and potentially huge, but it is buggy. ACT is simpler, and it seems to be working quite well in Sonar, so for me ACT is actually more productive... as of right now. Eventually, if Novation gets their software running well with all the plugis I use, then Automap Univeral will be a no-brainer and will really be ideal. Until then, the PCR300/500/800 really are quite excellent when dealing with Sonar... and as generic controllers in other DAW's they hold their own.

kaverka
KVRist
156 posts since 23 Feb, 2007

Post Wed Mar 28, 2007 4:24 pm

Oh, forgot to mention that Edirol already has 64-bit drivers for the PCR300 series too, so if you work in Windows Vista x64, then the new PCR series is right on the money.

stoolz
KVRist
57 posts since 28 Mar, 2007 from leeds

Post Wed Mar 28, 2007 4:33 pm

i understand the difference between automap and this keyboard, they are as far away from each other as mackie universal is. my problem here is that i expected it to work right out of the box, basicll turn it on, swithc it to cubase memory slow 3 and off i go, that didnt work and neither did assigning it as ageneric remote and setting the keys manuall, you said you are using yours in mcr mode, what does that entail, i cant see anything in the manual about that
laziness is nothing more than resting before you get tired.

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