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Roland PMA-5 Sequencer - MIDI file exchange success!
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> General Gear  
Author Roland PMA-5 Sequencer - MIDI file exchange success!
thekernel
After spending a couple of hours researching this, I thought i’d share the solution to get the Roland PMA-5 Convert Tool software to work with a standard MIDI interface and Windows 3.1, 95 or 98 computer. The serial port is not needed for the PMA5 to connect to the MIDI file software, and any midi interface and normal MIDI cables will do for the computer to connect via a ‘MIDI Handshake’.

The PC version of the software is still available at the Roland website:

PMA-5 Convert Tool software for PC
Roland - Support - General Apps & Tools
https://www.roland.com/us/support/general_apps_tools/

There are a number of caveats to use the software successfully however, and they are as follows:

1. Once you have downloaded the software, you MUST put it on a HD floppy disk - the program will not install from a hard drive or usb stick. etc. This means you have source an HD floppy disk and format it in a PC (not MAC). USB floppy drives are cheap to find and this is currently the most convenient way to format the disk and put the PMA5 MIDI file software folder on it.

2. Once you have put the program on the floppy, you need to install to a Windows 3.1, 95 or 98 computer that has a floppy drive and a working MIDI interface with drivers installed. For a tower this would be something like a Sound Blaster MIDI card or any parallel MIDI interface (Opcode/MOTU etc). attached to the printer port with Windows 3.1, 95 or 98 drivers.

3. When you are sure that your MIDI interface is working, put the disk in the PC floppy drive and double click on the installer.

4. Follow the on screen instructions to install the software, and once that’s done, open the program. In the PMA5 software, you need to set the MIDI In/Out to the MIDI interface. Click on ’Setting’ and ’Select Driver’. In this window, you assign the In/outs of you MIDI interface to work with the program.

5. Two midi cables are needed to perform a ‘MIDI Handshake’. (In to Out, and Out to In as it were).
The computer select switch on the side of the PMA5 MUST also be set to ‘MIDI’.

6. To check the connection, click on the icon of the PMA5 in the software and this will report back to you and hopefully tell you that a connection was made. The first thing to do beyond this is to request a ‘bulk MIDI dump’ from the PMA5. The PC will ask you where you want to save the data. Once you have done this, the software is fairly self explanatory. There are icons to convert PMA song files to MIDI and and icon to transfer a MIDI file to the PMA-5.

Selecting functions from the icons can sometimes be a little flaky, so if something doesn’t work first time, try the same request from the software menu. (There is a menu called ‘Convert’ that has all of the same functions as the icons).

If you really, really want to use the serial port on the PMA5, you’ll have to find a 3.1, 95 or 98 computer with a RS232C port, source the correct interface cable (good luck) and install the ‘Roland Serial Windows Driver’ (ideally version 2.1). You’d then have to select that driver in the PMA5 software. This would leave your normal MIDI interface free for other functions, but the MIDI handshake approach is far more acessible.

Finally, here is a link where someone offers a solution to install the program on a Windows XP machine.
(This is something that I haven’t tried).
Oblivea
http://oblivea.blogspot.co.uk

The guide in this link says:
‘The conversion software must be loaded from the "A" drive. Which is fine on a machine with a floppy drive, but will require creating a virtual "A" drive on most current floppy-less windows machines.

Running the installer and program under the windows 95 compatibility layer is also necessary to get it running under XP. This is accessed in the properties box of the .exe files’.
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