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KB-800 Tips and Tricks

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Actually I haven't been asked any questions yet, but these seem to me to be the obvious ones. Of course if you have a question don't hesitate to email me.

Q: My KB-800 has no model name on the front and says KB-800B / KB-800N / KB-800H on the bottom. What does the B / N / H denote?
A: KB-800s don't have the model name on the front, just on the name label on the under side of the unit. There are 3 different models KB-800B, KB-800N and KB-800H. The only difference between them is the shape of the power jack, which must have been determined by region. The inbuilt power supply itself is the same, there are selectors for 120V / 220V / 240V and they can operate on either 50HZ or 60HZ.  I have a KB-800N which has a figure 8 connector, I don't know the connector type for the other models.

Q: How do I put the mic signal through the Digital Effector (delay/echo/flanger)?
A: The manual is not much help on this. On page 4 it tells you to see page 16 for instructions, go to page 16 and it tells you to see page 4!  The signal for the mic input if routed to the Solo Synthe pots. So to send the mic signal to the Digital Effector use the FX send level the same as you would for Solo Synthe. The stereo pan position will also effect the position of the mic signal.

Q: Can I put the ext input signal through the Digital Effector (delay/echo/flanger)?
A: No you can't. However I have found putting line level signals into the mic input works fine without distorting. Be careful though high level signals could damage the KB-800. While I think it's unlikely, I wouldn't want to guarantee it wont cause damage to the instrument in the long term.

Q: Is there anyway to turn off the speakers when I have the KB running into an amp or mixer?
A: Yes, press and keep your finger on Memory then hit Key Split. To turn speakers back on, do the same again.

Q: Where can I get an instruction manual or service manual?
A: Info about this can be found on the general info page.

Q: The standby light stays on when I turn the unit off. Should I unplug it while not in use?
A: The manual says to unplug it when not in use. So I wonder what the point of having this stand by mode is? If I'm not going to use it again that day I unplug it.

Q: What is the replacement battery for the KE-10 Digital Composer cartridge?
A: The service manual says it takes a lithium battery type 2032.  In a Dick Smith Electronics (an Australian company) catalogue I found a battery that is referred to as type ECR2032, I assume this is the same as type 2023.  It is made by Energizer, the Dick Smith catalogue number is S 3331.

Q: What does the Guitar Strumboard do? How hard is it to find them?
A: I've never had a chance to use one unfortunately. This is what the manual has to say about them. As to how hard they are to find, well all I can say is good luck!

Q: Can I still get accessories or spare parts from JVC?
A: The simple answer to this is probably not!  I can only tell you about my experience here is Australia. All JVC products, parts and accessories in Australia are handled by Hagemeyer (Australasia) B.V. and have been since at least 1983, before the KB series was released. I was fanatical enough to actually call them and ask about spare parts and accessories. Not surprisingly they didn't have anything. But who knows maybe if you try in your country they'll have something in some dark corner of a store room. Let me know if you uncover anything.

Q: Can it be modded?
A: Yes.  I don't know much about electronics, but at the least there's a bunch of trim pots in there that could be replaced with knobs.  These include filter depth for Orchestral Presets, Solo Synth and Bass, 2 for pitch, and 2 for the Effector. There are some mp3s of the Solo filter being tweaked with a screw driver on the soundfiles page.


-- Send it any sysx data, even just "F0 F7", and lights flash!  Could this mean that the KB-800 does actually have some system exclusive (sysx) compatibility?  Neither the user or service manual mention anything about sysx though.  Interestingly the NS-70, a relative of the KB-800, does have some sysx compatibility, although I don't know if patch dumping, parameter change or what.  JVC's sysx manufacturer ID is 48 in hexadecimal which converts to 72 in decimal.

-- In the version of the owner's manual that comes with the service manual the specifications list is replaced with a special tip not included in the normal owner's manual about using both melody tracks in the same song.  You can see it by clicking here.

-- If both Fascinating Chord and Orchestra Split are on and Accomp Slecet arrow is pointing to the right (ie the side starting with Organ) Rhythm Acommp does not sound.  (clear as mud right?, try it and you'll see)

-- Sometimes when a beat is running and you change variations on the cartridge it'll "remember" the changes and switch between the last two selected.  It can actually be pretty handy having it automatically change but I haven't worked out what causes it to start doing this.  Perhaps it is meant to do this although the manual doesn't mention anything about it.

Technical Information
Below are charts from the service manual of how the Orchestral Presets and Solo Synthe Presets are produced. This doesn't mean you can edit the voices, they are preset, but it is interesting to see how the voices are made.

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