A little over a week ago, I compiled my thoughts on my Korg MS1 microsampler into a “review”… which concluded with some consideration of hacking into it’s little plastic body to overcome some of the limitations of it’s “unevenly graceful” User Interfacing.
After studying this thread by Orchards in the Korg Forums about soldering wires to remote-short the contacts of the onboard switches right at the internal printed circuit board (PCB), I decided it was time to buy a new, smaller solder tip and take it…
To the Bench !
Here’s a photo-document of
As always, hacking and modifying any electronic gear is a warrantee-voiding, do-at-your-own-risk affair. Be careful, plan ahead, and work slowly.
Doing something like this tends to go smoothly with a proper and prepared start. Working our way INTO the device can be the scary part, so let’s break that down;
Wiring the “short-off”s and re-assembly
The essence of this hack is electronically dead-simple; the onboard buttons make a short (electrical connection) between two sensor points. We’re just wiring those points to onboard jacks to connect rugged, external switches of our choice.
However, given how the UI board in question is the front-most in the stack, and we’ve gone in from the back (through the daughters), it’s key keep our wires long enough to reach the mounting of the jacks, and keep their identity straight.
Installing the CORRECT “jack”s (…JILLS)
Now on to the final stage; soldering these leads to whatever I’ll plug the switched into.
While we’re on the subject; why are the panel-mounted female receptacles (which a MALE connector plugs INTO) called the “Jack”.
In the interest of keeping this hetero-normative metaphor straight, I vote we start calling that part the “Jill”…
Time to see what fits:
This took a LOT of patience and clever clamp work, as I had to solder the parts before screwing them together. That required
- soldering grey ground wire to the collar tab.
- threading blue lead wire through the tension nut, then ground collar and then the panel hole.
- soldering blue sensor wire to the tab on the Jill
- backing assembly back into hole
- priming the now-soldered wires with a few anti-clockwise twists of slack so they wouldn’t tighten or rip when
- holding the nut still while twisting the (fragile) RCA jill-head to screw tight.
This was the part of the work with the most sweating and swearing, but eventually, I got all 8 jills mounted.
The above photo shows all 8 connections (right to left)
- Tap: to change the Bank tempo by foot (while drumming, etc) to so the Pattern Sequencer, the Sync’ed loops and/or timed effects can keep up with me for a change.
- Hold: to latch on looping samples, or sustain Keyboard chords. Press/releasing this without (un)latching single keys will un-hold all. Very handy to do one-handed.
- Mute: prevent triggering of select slots by Pattern Sequencer. Creates breakdowns within a pattern.
- Play/Stop: to start-stop the pattern sequencer.
- Rec: to enter Pattern recording, or while recording, jump between “write” and “rehearse” mode.
- Sample: manual start/stop of sample recording. This was the button remote-switched by Orchards on the Korg Forums.
- Shift/Enter: (using a hybrid of their typewriter graphics), used to confirm changes, or get various short-cuts from the other buttons I’ve foot-ed…
- Shift + Hold: hold all loops; will set HOLD for all samples set to Loop “on”
- Shift + Mute: mute all sequence; doesn’t stop Held keys.
- Shift + Play/stop: re-zero sequence; resets and plays sequence from start.
- Shift + rec: undo/redo; for previous cycle of recording activity
- Edit: allow jumping into various menus by the keyboards hot-keys. This way I can keep the right hand on the Page and Value knobs, page around with foot-and-left-hand.
After (re)testing all 8 jacks with some momentary-closure pedals…wow I just have to figure out how I’m going to organize 8 foot switches, especially considering the abundance of shift-sensitive actions.
Makes me consider drilling some remote jills for the FX Switch, the Exit button, and perhaps others.
Let me know what you think about this hack and report in the Comments section below !