Using Roland Integra-7 with Ardour

I still like to use hardware synths. The most common one currently is the Roland Integra-7. Posting this just in case anyone else out there is also using it. I did notice that someone worked on a .midnam file for the Integra-7 here but with a bit different approach.

The Integra-7 works with the concept of Studio Sets which are practically a collection of 16 patches with associated effects. On earlier Roland synths the (roughly) equivalent mode was called Performance mode. The Integra-7 does not have a separate patch play mode anymore. You are always in a Studio Set. I like to work so that I’ll have a certain Studio Set to use with a certain Ardour session. Nothing is preventing changing them on the fly but for me there is no benefit in doing that.

Workflow wise what I’ll need is Ardour to tell the Integra-7 which Studio Set to bring up when I load an Ardour session. Roland does provide a AU/VST plugin that does that and also enables editing the Studio Sets and patches. The plugin is a bit troublesome though. It has a tendency of crashing Ardour and recalling the Studio Sets is unreliable too. I’d only recommend using them for editing the Studio Sets and Patches but to do that in a separate session and not to add the plugin to any actual session you work on.

A better way to do this is to use the Restore Patch functionality of Ardour. I tried the included patch name configs for other Roland synths but none of them did exactly what I wanted. To work around this I created a minimal .midnam file for the Integra-7. Practically all it needs to do is to send MSB: 85 and LSB:0 on the MIDI channel you’ve set as the control channel on the Integra-7. Dropping this file into Contents/Resources/patchfiles (on a Mac) does the trick perfectly. Simply set one of your midi tracks to use Integra-7 patch list, switch patch restore on, set the midi channel and the Studio Set you want and you are good to go.

One could ofcourse create a comprehensive patch name file for all the thousands of patches the Integra-7 has. You could then have Ardour set a patch for all channels on the fly when loading a session. That would have little value in my case at least. I’ll rather do the editing either on the Integra or the plugin separately and save them. When working with Ardour I’ll simply recall the ready made Studio Sets. This way the sets will be usable as is when playing live as well as a single Studio Set normally is all you need for a given song to play.

Having this kind of a .midnam file in the Ardour distribution would be a bit misleading as it does not have what the functionality is meant for - the actual patch names. What might be useful would be Ardour checking the ~/Library/Preferences/Ardour7 folder for .midnam files. This way one could have their personal dirty hacks like this easily available. What I need to do now is to manually drop the file in place with every new Ardour version. That does take about 30 seconds so it is not an issue really.

Anyhow - hopefully this is useful to anyone using the Integra-7 with Ardour. Or an older Roland synth for that matter - the same file works with at least Fantom XR and JV-1080 given that you’ve set them to Performance mode. I believe it will work with other JV’s and Fantoms as well.

Midnam file:

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