Working with KN7000 SD Cards on Mac OS
The intention of the KN7000 and KN2600 designers was that adding files to your SD Card would be done using the KN7000.
This would primarily be done by transferring from floppy disk onto SD Card, using the built-in functions on menus of the keyboard.
The Original Technics Software
The Windows programs that Technics released don't actually help a lot with transferring files to the keyboard, so Mac users are not missing out on much as far as the original software is concerned. I'll describe what the Windows software from the original CD can do to give you an overview.
There are Windows drivers for PCs to send and receive audio to and from the keyboard via USB. Drivers are also included so that MIDI can be sent and received over the USB cable.
All of the Apple Macs that we have tried simply detect the keyboard so these drivers aren't necessary for Macs.
The Audio Recorder program receives Audio via the USB cable and records it as a .WAV file. There are many programs available for Mac that will record the USB audio output from KN7000. They are much more capable and sophisticated than the Audio Recorder program.
The Song Manager software for Windows can be used to:
- Upload and download Technics files via USB (this feature does not work unless you use Windows 98. It takes a few minutes per file, extremely slow)
- Upload MIDI files via USB (this feature does not work unless you use Windows 98. It takes a few minutes per file, extremely slow)
- Backup and Restore an SD Card from a Card Reader plugged into the PC
- Merge an SD Card backup onto an SD Card in a Card Reader plugged into the PC
As you can see, Apple users are really only missing out on the last two items above.
Other Ways to Transfer Files
Technically savvy users worked out the directory structure of SD Cards and the naming conventions for the files, helped out by industry personalities such as Alec Pagida and Phil Leader. Using this information you can name and copy files onto your SD Card such that you can use them on KN7000. However, the directory structures and file names are not very friendly or descriptive.
More important, if you start working with the files on your keyboard by renaming, altering and saving them, this will prevent you from adding more files to the SD Card. The KN7000 won't see them once it has created its own database of files (which it saves on the SD Card). More about this later.
Third Party Software
Software such as KN-SDExplorer was developed by third parties in order to make dealing with the files quicker and easier. For example, KN-SDExplorer is able to add a directory anywhere in the list of directories on an SD Card.
When you add or rename a directory on an SD Card with 99 directories (which is the maximum number), or drag a directory to a new position in the list, the KN-SDExplorer program actually renames all 99 directories and re-saves the KN7000 database on the SD Card.
So, even renaming a directory manually would be a long and laborious operation. And you would have to edit the KN7000 database on the SD Card, this simply can't be done by humans!
The vast majority of keyboard owners were content to use the built-in styles or add a few commercial ones via floppy disk. This meant that third party software was not economically sustainable because there aren't enough users to make it viable since Technics left the keyboard market. There are, however, literally one or two programmers (such as our own Gert-Jan de Vos who created KN-SDExplorer with Fred Mellink) who are willing to work on software because they enjoy doing it, as a hobby.
Given that developing these programs takes immense knowledge and hundreds of hours, nothing was developed for Apple computers (but watch this space because our friendly neighbourhood programmer actually creates KN-SDExplorer on a Mac running a windows development environment believe it or not!).
Solutions for Apple Users
The First Option
Floppy Disks! We have tested the following external USB Floppy disk drive on Apple Mac and it works perfectly. Transferring files from floppy disk to your SD Card is easy using the KN7000 itself.
We tested several other USB floppy disk drives and none of them worked.
The second option is actually to buy a Windows computer (don't shout!) and the best computers for this purpose are old ones! What you ideally need is an old computer or laptop running WIndows 98 or XP, which has a floppy drive and USB ports. These are incredibly cheap now on Ebay and other similar sites. I would say that a cheap, old computer is not an expensive accessory for a KN7000!
The third option is to learn about the files and folders structure of SD Cards and work with them carefully due to the limitations I've mentioned above.
In order to help you to do the latter I've been working with my son, Alex, to test some methods and we have come up with 'ways of working' that will help you. Alex is a Music Technology student and it is fair to say that he is an expert Mac user, particularly when it comes to anything connected with Music, Audio and Video. What we have derived is not perfect yet but we will keep working on it as and when time allows, in order to make improvements.
Thanks also to Ron Smith who sent in a zipped set of folders (the folder structure of an SD Card) because this gave me a great idea about how to make Styles available to Mac users.
The result is the KN ORIGINS project (added Feb 2015).