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Roland BKM7 expander

oldchemist

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Hi experts
Would you consider the Roland BKM7 to be a reasonably modern and capable expander for use with my midi accordion? I am baulking at the cost of something like a Limex. I'd like to have a decent range of right hand sounds. The Roland RA50 which I have at present is fine for left hand but right hand is very limited.
Alex
 

Keymn

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This is an opinion discussion. For me, I think the Bk-7m is more of an arranger backing module then just a sound module. Having to touch your dials on the accordion, then make the proper instrument choice on expander, could be tedious. If you get any expander, make sure it excepts midi control program changes. Even if you do not use it at first, but may be a future endeavor.
BK-7m accepts these messages.
 

JerryPH

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Opinion tI'm for me too. As the owner of a BK for me it is excellent. Is it good for everyone? No.

It lacks a lot of styles and is made more for modern music than folk style. It has a TON of sounds, is a backing track and most people use about 10% of its capabilities.

I am at work now and do not have the time to do a proper post... maybe this weeked.
 

TW

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I have just started to use a V3 Triangle (UK Sonority version) with a Sipario router.
The combination works well (I drive it from a Roland) and provides the folk/Celtic accordion sounds that I like (among a myriad others).
It is early days yet for an opinion but perhaps a visit to the YouTube demos might be useful to you for comparison with the BK?
Backing tracks are not provided....
 

JerryPH

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Now that I have a little more time and a better interface than a phone to type on, I can share a couple more opinions. One of the biggest factors that will help you decide on if the BK-7m is good for you or not is what styles of music you play and how deep your technical understandings can go. Also it is best matched with other Roland products, though it can easily hook up to anything MIDI-based.

Sure one can plug it in, use the wizard to set channels and play along with it, but that is about 5% of what it can do. It can create backing tracks and record them to a USB thumbdrive, it can serve as an expander with over 15 completely different drum sets and over 1,000 sounds and it has the ability to mix and match all of this together seamlessly. At best I would place my knowledge and experience with it as a medium level user because it does WAY more than I will ever need or want.

One thing I will say... if you do feel that the BK and you are a good fit, don't just go out and purchase a new one. There are many deals out there and I found mine in a pawn shop in a box for a Sony Bluetooth stereo system. It was in like-new condition except for the bit of dust and while full retail price here in Canada is around $1500cdn w/tax. I picked mine up for $675cdn with tax (around $475US), and I have heard stories similar to mine, so deals are out there if you can find them.
 

Francisco SC

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As Jerry said, the default styles in the BK-7m are primarily focused on modern music, and quite limited if your interest is folk music. But there comes one extremely powerful feature. Using any midi sequencer software and a converter software freely available from Roland, one can create custom styles and save them into a pen drive for using them in the Bk-7m.

I still did not have much time to play with this; it is not a straightforward process and requires time, but in a couple afternoons I managed to create my own -very simplified- Argentinean Zamba and Chamamé styles.

As for using the module as an expander, there are a few tweaks to be done in the V-accordion settings (at least in the fr-3xb and fr-1b that I have), and also in the intrincated menus of the Bk-7m, in order to have the module using bellows expression instead of key velocity as it does by default. (I read that this may be a problem with the new fr-4x, but cannot speak for that). As you say there are a ton of different sounds inside it, although I am missing non-modern percussion banks in that area.

I'll also add that by using an optional seven switch pedal one can trigger functions on the fly as you play... start stop rhythm, adding automated second voices (although I am not satisfied with the way this has been implemented by Roland, this feature in my humble Casio keyboard is far better), and a lot more.
Edit: I forgot to add that building your own pedals is simple as long as you have some soldering ability. I made my own for a total cost of some 30 euros.

I've had the module for half a year now and only used a fraction of its functions, need longer days to experiment! I got mine for 450 euros second hand, and in fact it was like new, only lacking the owners manual.

A great and powerful addition for a midi accordion, especially a Roland one.



 

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