Author Topic: Technics KN7000 keyboard used as an accompaniment backup for the AR100  (Read 4502 times)

Ken Horton

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Technics KN7000 Keyboard used as an expander with the Yamaha AR 100

Having now purchased one hereís my non technical preliminary appraisal after one monthís use as promised.  I know, itís no longer made, there is no manufacturers support any longer, probably spares are scarce, certainly there are few of this model keyboard about for sale, but switch it on and listen, itís not outdated in content.

Earlier I read of guestís posts dating back to around 2006 that one or two were using  KN 7000ís for backing and recently I had posted a request for any interested member already using a KN in this way to contact me but none have been forthcoming so I must assume that no one has or is not using one at present.

Itís big, almost 4 ft long and quite heavy so mounting it above your organ in some way as I believe some owners may have done could be a problem, certainly special brackets would be needed and what would happen to the ARís original music rest, that would be in the way I fear so I doubt that would be a practical way, I only found one reference to location and that had the keyboard freestanding alongside the organ...

The operating panel with itís 8 inch wide screen makes for easy reading but the button identifications are rather small, the panel also doubles as a lid for the keyboard, when closed the whole keyboard looks very smooth and of course it would be easy to store in this manner. .

Setting up was quite straightforward, in fact apart from setting the keyboard chord channel to 2 so it could receive the organís lower keyboard messages the remainder was just tweaking volumes etc.but I did have considerable help from the unofficial Technics KN7000 forum who were only too eager to help.

However my main purpose is to report on it as a backing unit and I must say in my opinion I think it is outstanding. The built in styles available number some 220 with variations and the poor old AR simply canít compete with this when it comes to auto accompaniment, the rhythms are so polished and professional and vary with every different variation of style.  You are really spoilt for choice.

To add to that Technics enthusiasts have re created the original web site and a sister site full of free software downloads taken from many of the other Technics range of keyboards which can give you a further 700 plus styles with different intros/endings, so although the official Technics company no longer has any involvement there is lots of information and support available out there, it is very much alive and well !

Using the AR voices and the keyboard just for backing the set up can be kept very simple, the KN has a mode button which shows individual volume control sliders so you can mute or adjust selectively each item such as the voice parts 1,2,& Left, and all the individual accompaniment instruments as well of course save the setting in the keyboard so it can be retrieved instantly with the push of one button.

The auto accompaniment follows most keyboard arrangements with 4 style variations which can advance one place at a time with a fill or reverse the route if required, this advance function can be turned off and the variation manually changed without using fills, also there is an intro / ending with two choices of patterns.  Some organists find playing and having time to push the fill in buttons etc easy, I prefer to use a 4 pedal foot controller set to fill1 & 2,  and Endings 1 & 2 . there is also the function of auto rhythm start when you play the first chord ,this method makes for a very easy to concentrate on your organ and it gives your hands more time to do other things.

In addition to the Auto accompaniment there are 6 Performance Pads, if set to auto they change to suit each style selected but can be overridden by deactivating the auto button and you can pick the from a menu of 10 different themes such as Latin ,Big Band etc.. These Pads supply a variety of extra accompaniment sounds from pianos. guitars, brass, woodwind to vocal do wahís, many of which loop and all play within the auto accompaniment, also there are two dedicated to 8 bar solos with progressive chord changes in a variety of instruments.

Having got all this set up with the keyboard voices muted all you have to do is whistle up your favorite AR voice/s saved into the pistons. I mention this simply because Technics own voices are restricted to a choice of 2 or 3 depending on if you split itís keyboard controlled by 3 conductor buttons so at best you can only have two choices for the right hand and one for the left whereas as we all know the AR has a wide range of voices available, so this set up allows you to have the best of both worlds.

As is quite common with many expanders the ARís expression pedal will not ( as far as I can find out ) control the volume of the KN7000, no matter which AR Midi mode you choose this I believe is a fault with the AR.
However I find this has never been a problem with any expanders I have owned where the volume canít be controlled from the AR, with both units set with plenty of Ďspareí volume adjustment by just using only the variable AR volume pedal you can increase or decrease to the accompanimentís advantage.

Location in your playing area has to be considered and can be a serious drawback if space is at a premium, but with sufficient length of cabling and foot controllers the keyboard can be placed close by on itís own stand if you have one or on a small table alongside the AR, but desirable as this is with a foot controller you donít have to have it within operating reach while playing, however this would probably be unacceptable for anyone wanting to play a medley where style changes are needed.
I said earlier keep it simple, but the capability is available to save style settings in advance into the panel memories so you could switch styles instantly, but that is getting a little deeper than I intended to explain at this stage.

A final drawback would be if you have to dismantle it every time after playing.

Although there seems no point in the exercise you can of course mute the AR and use the ARís keyboard/s to play the KN using itís own voices, but it is a joy to play the instrument direct as well and much more can be done with the performance this way.

A description of playing the keyboard on itís own and itís features would probably require including the ownerís manual. It is a complicated instrument with so many features and if like myself you have not used one for some years it takes some assimilating. 

There are a multitude of ways of accessing styles with Song lists and One Touch Play features , even a favorites list and very impressive ways of saving your settings into the panel memory , it also contains a floppy disk drive, SD slot, USB outlet for the computer and recording to a sequencer.
 All in all quite an instrument.

Bob Owen

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Re: Technics KN7000 keyboard used as an accompaniment backup for the AR100
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2015, 11:49:19 am »
Hello Ken,

Your write up about Volume control ..  

Sometimes connecting Line out on a keyboard to the Aux In on an Organ will let the organ expression pedal control the volume of keyboard and organ together on the organ. The problem is that the keyboard voice volume needs to be set first to balance with the organ voice because the volume on both instruments will increase and decrease together. Note: The keyboard expression pedal does not control the volume on the organ when connected this way only the keyboard settings. Hope you might find this useful.

Bob

As is quite common with many expanders the ARís expression pedal will not ( as far as I can find out ) control the volume of the KN7000, no matter which AR Midi mode you choose.  This I believe is a fault with the AR.

Ken Horton

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Re: Technics KN7000 keyboard used as an accompaniment backup for the AR100
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2015, 05:28:51 pm »
Hi Bob, From reports I have picked up I am afraid the AR is notoriously bad for midi connections to other units
You are fortunate that both your units are of the same make which I am sure makes for ease of operation.

But you are correct about matching the volumes, I set them both about mid way and find that simply using the expression pedal to control the AR volume is sufficient, you can emphasize either instrument's performance this way if need be.

I am still on a sharp learning curve at present with this KN but enjoying the experience having just bought an SD style card with hundreds of extra styles.
Incidentally I am sure you know of them but there is a web site dedicated to supporting Technics keyboard owners now Technics themselves are no longer doing anything, I have had quite a lot of help from them and they supply FOC software if you join.  regards  Ken

Ken Horton

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I decided that a final update may be of interest to members.

Technics KN700 used as an expander for accompaniment with the Yamaha AR 100

It has taken me about five months to sort out the mass of styles now freely available that I have downloaded and to delve into the fiddly bits of using this keyboard simply as an accompaniment expander and only in the past week have I started to set up registrations and styles to tunes in the first of many of my music books

My method has always been to have a small slip of paper with pre printed setting of voice , style etc attached to the first page of each piece of music I play that can be filled in with the minimum of effort, and saving masses of space putting all these into memory banks and searching for them later!
For the AR floppy registration disk I just note the track number and piston or pistons to be used and for the Technics I enter the location of the style by folder and list position of the style in the folder, this reduces it to only two and four numbers in total ,  there is also provision for ticking a few boxes for other items such as MOC, BPM and so on.

As the keyboard can supply all the base and accompaniments I normally require I copied a few tracks of my AR registration disk with the lower manual and pedals muted and on the Technics by using a programmed one touch button I can mute the right hand voices, by this method you do not have unwanted voices straying into the performance.

After loading the registration voice into the AR and the folder details into the Technics you are instantly ready to play.  Just two other settings require manual adjustment, BPM because you canít save that using the method I employ and also the Music Style Arranger which allows a fill and a  change to the next variation if you want to use this feature.

With the keyboard synchro start enabled aided by a foot controller to change variations and endings and with the ARís foot switch set for registration shift changes if needed you are in complete control,  ( well thatís what I tell myself !) but it does work surprisingly well.

The best of both worlds, well perhaps not but the options are there for changes, the Technics has some very good voices and one can always be added or substituted for one of the ARís on either manual and with the accompaniment section of the Technics being separated into several channels any instrument in this section can be controlled if need be.

Occasionally with even my love for the MOC feature you can make a horrible noise but you soon find how to avoid even this.
The lack of volume control of the keyboard has little effect on the performance and can be an asset by altering the AR's volume instead.
By experiment, although I am pushed for room, the Technics sits at right angles to the organ on the left hand side of the player, apart from initial loading of the style and setting the BPM you do not need to use it again during playing.

My one regret is that this canít be recorded through the AR but only into an external recorder as there are some fantastic backing with marvelous intros and endings from a wide variety of keyboards that I would have loved to have shared with other members in J.O.T.

My final analysis, well for me no regrets its far better than any other expander I have used, perhaps not for the real organist but a great asset for the less accomplished such as myself  !