Using the Roland Studio Pack with

I have recently upgraded to a new ASUS 2.6 ghz Motherboard, 1 gig of RAM, WindowsXP and the Edirol 2496. My old version of Unity will no longer run properly under WinXP. UNITY has already shipped me the new version which works fine under Windows XP. If you are a registered owner of version 2.1 contact BITHEADZ FOR YOUR NEW COPY OF V 3.3 ! I will be updating this review soon. THANK YOU BITHEADZ FOR THE NEW UPGRADE!

As you read this review, keep in mind that I write these reviews, in part, while I'm WORKING with the product. When I run into a problem, I will usually jot down the offending feature and the step that I used to workaround the problem. Because I write down more bugs and problems this way, my review will be more critical than some others ,but remember ,as you read my review, that UNITY DS-1 has some very powerful sounds and could replace a rack full of sound modules and samplers. Also realize that I'm using this combo on a P4 COMPUTER. Users of the Macintosh can get a newer version and it may work entirely different on a Mac.

This article is not meant to be an exhaustive review of Unity DS-1 but rather my experience using Unity DS-1 with the Roland Studio Pack. However, you may find some interesting tips and workarounds here. For other reviews and tips, click on the links below.

Electronic Musician Review


I couldn't resist...a rack full of sound modules in a single software package! I picked up my copy of Unity DS-1 Version 2.1 at a Sam Ash near Nashville for only $130.

If you are only planning on using Unity DS-1 to make yourself a ROLAND STUDIO PACK virtual LIVE PERFORMANCE synthesizer/sample this combo together WILL SHINE. The 24 bit 96 khz VM-3100 will make the Unity-DS1 sounds SPARKLE. However if you plan on using your favorite sequencer to drive the Unity engine, you are in for a rough ride.

After re-installing DIRECTX 8.1 ,for the second time, it finally looked like Sonar 2.0 was going to play the DS-1 sounds, but I got the error message "Unityeng has caused an error in UNITYENG.EXE. Unityeng will now close." After Craig Anderton notified me of a SONAR REWIRE PATCH, I found 8 new patches and goodies at TWELVE TONE SYSTEMS and I INSTALLED ALL OF THEM ! After that, I still got unity rewire errors, WHILE USING DIRECTSOUND. I then re- installed directx 8.1 After that, I was still unable to run the UnityREWIRE device. However, while I was downloading I noticed that there were also many other Sonar 2.0 DOWNLOADS including a PLUGIN MANAGER, PLUGIN PATCH, AND TRIANGLE II DXI SYNTH. These all worked fine and I was once again able to hear the DS-1 sounds AS A DXI PLUGIN and I also had a bunch of new TRIANGLE II sounds to add to my music arsenal! Thank YOU!Craig Anderton!

Ok so now I could HEAR the Unity DX device, but couldn't record it to a .WAV. First of all there is no record button on the DX AUDIO channels, and for some mysterious reason BOUNCE TO TRACK produces a FLAT LINE of silence and the Record option in the Unity Mixer also produces a SILENT WAVE. So then I re-installed WinME to clean things up. After that, none of the DX synths worked at all. I suspected that DirectX 8.1 was knocked out so I re-installed it. Then the first time when I tried to "BOUNCE" in Sonar the requester, told me that there was nothing to bounce, but the second time the Bounce worked and I got the following message at the end. "Please restart Unity DS-1 due to your new buffer size" BUT THE UNITY TRACK WAS BOUNCED TO A NEW WAVE FILE and I could hear it ! The Edirol DX SYNTH device was also bounced to another separate track!

I don't know why my system would play the Unity DS-1 rewire device with my old setup and now play DXI PLUGINS better with a CLEAN INSTALL and WinME. (Originally I downgraded my system from WinME to Win98 because I was working with Cakewalk Pro Audio 8. Then I upgraded to Sonar 2.0, DirectX 8.1, WinME and finally added Unity DS-1) So now rather than setting up Unity DS-1 as a DIRECTSOUND device I must set the Audio IO: as "Plug-in" in the Unity DS-1 CONTROL PANEL.For those of you trying to use Unity DS-1 as a PERFORMANCE SYNTHESIZER the ASIO setting is best in the DS-1 control panel. It seems to have the least LATENCY. For live performance also click "Use Direct MIDI Input" in the Unity CONTROL PANEL.

I wasn't completely "out of the woods" yet however. After nearly completing 2 songs using Unity DXI synths as well as other built in SONAR 2 DXI SYNTHS I ran into an unexpected problem. The newest song I was working on was GROOVING real well, but there was a difference this time. This time rather than selecting Unity DXI as my first DXI SYNTH, I didn't try to select it until I was already using 4 or 5 of the Sonar 2 DXI synths. As soon as I tried to play the track with the Unity DXI device IT CRASHED and produced the following message. "Sonar has caused an error in UNITYAPI.DLL Sonar will now close" As soon as I click on that requester, I get the message. "Sonar has caused an error in KERNEL32.DLL" Now on my system when I get the KERNEL32.DLL error, it is impossible to get Sonar to run after that and my system will ALWAYS LOCK UP DURING SHUTDOWN, forcing me to hit the reset button and forcing me to wait for SCANDISK before starting up again. My guess is that resources were very low. I then went to the Unity DS1 control panel and changed "Number Of Voices" to 16 from 64, changed "Maximum CPU %" to 25 and then changed "MIDI Devices" to 3(48 Channels). THIS ALLOWED ME TO USE DS1 DX plugin sound. Keep in mind that this is on a P4 computer at 1.4 GHZ.

I also found another weird thing. It seems that while a Sonar project is open and Unity DS1 is being used the open file is write protected, so you must SAVE AS rather than simply SAVE. Otherwise you will get the message "Access to D:\mysong.cwp was denied"


For me ,registering was a hassle with Unity-DS1. Because I no longer use my production computer to send and receive email, the registration process was a kludge of creating a registration text file and then transferring it to the email-capable computer before sending it up to bitheadz.com. Other software that I have used will simple create the registration file and upload automatically. ALSO if you don't complete the authorization-registration process properly you won't just get 1 requester telling you to register in 13 days, but A HUNDRED OR MORE REQUESTERS FOR EVERY SINGLE SOUND ASKING YOU TO REGISTER IN 13 DAYS I think that this is OVERKILL and very annoying. You will get absolutely no use out of the program if you must spend 1/2 hour each time clicking on hundreds of requests.ALSO IF YOU CHANGE YOUR HARDDRIVE , AS I DID TO MOVE UP TO A FASTER 60 GIG MAXTOR, YOU WILL BE FORCED TO GO THROUGH THE SAME PROCESS ALL OVER AGAIN, EVEN IF YOU DO A COMPLETE HARD DRIVE COPY OF YOUR OLD HARD DISK! I HOPE THAT BITHEADZ AREN'T WRITING TO ANY BOOT BLOCKS!

A lack of space on drive C: will make the Unity synthesizer quiet or distorted. I was surprised to find out that Unity DS-1 used up over 300 megs on the C: partition. Things sounded VERY BAD on my system, because I had only less than 50 megs left and it seems like Unity uses a BIG MEMORY SCRATCH PAD. After deleting 1 gig of JUNK from C: , things sounded much better.

Unity DS-1 seems to TAKE OVER whichever Roland Studio Pack AUDIO OUTPUT that you assign it to. I assigned DS-1 to OUTPUT "A" WAVEOUT 1/2 ROLAND RPC-1 and was surprised that none of my audio .WAV tracks could be heard! This was because , I had assigned all of my audio tracks to RPC 1/2. Why should I be surprised ? Unity DS-1 will play up to 128 sampler sounds out of that single stereo output. The CPU is so busy sending out constantly changing dynamic filter settings and reverbs etc. ,that there is no way that I should expect that it could send out my AUDIO TRACKS AS WELL! I will also try using the SBLIVE output for Unity audio, but for those of you that only have a Roland Studio Pack with no other sound card will appreciate the fact that you can use Unity without an additional sound card to play great midi tracks. Of course , the Roland Studio Pack capable of 8 24bit 96khz output will far surpass the sound of the SBLIVE, and you will still have 6 audio channels left over!

I'm also trying to DISABLE UNITY while running Sonar because Unity DS-1 and Sonar DX synths don't seem to work together. I'm also finding that REWIRE will CRASH my system while Unity DS-1 is present. (This is not an issue when using the DS-1 DX Plugin. Sonar will only run Unity DS-1 if you have added it as a DX synth to your PROJECT *.CWP.)

I'm finding that even though it is fine and maybe even preferable to allow Sonar 2.0 to "Share Drivers with other Programs" this is definitely NOT the thing to do when you add Unity DS-1 to the equation. SONAR 2.0 will lock up and won't let you SHUTDOWN. So go to Options/Audio/Advanced "Share Drivers with other Programs" and TURN IT OFF, DE-SELECT IT, UNCHECK IT!

At this time it seems impossible to get the Unity DS-1 SONAR 2.0 REWIRE DEVICE to work. Try to run the UNITY-DS1 REWIRE DEVICE and almost immediately SONAR 2.0 WILL CRASH with the following message "Sonar has caused an error in KERNEL32.DLL. Sonar will now close."

I spent a few hours making this complex burpy-sweepy-flange-sawtooth sound and it sounded great. I could even play with it on my MIDI keyboard, but when I rebooted the computer and tried to PLAY the sound again with my midi keyboard I would get the following ALERT/REQUESTER "Unityeng has caused an error in UNITYENGINEDLL.DLL. Unityeng will now close." Now I would never get a problem with any of the factory sounds, but every time that I try to load MY CUSTOM sound I still get the problem. As I already said once ,THE SOUND WORKED FINE THE FIRST TIME THAT I PLAYED IT.

As of now, I still haven't been able to even get Logic-RPC a to make a small sound out of Unity SYNTH but I will show you how far I have gone below.

Setting up Unity DS-1 with LOGIC-RPC

1) While the Arrange window is opened DOUBLE CLICK on "AudioInst 1" in the LEFT MIDDLE COLUMN. This will open up an Environment window.
2) Click on "Inst 1" next to the word "Cha" in the left hand column. This will open up a pull down menu.
3) Drag the mouse down to "Instrument" and then "Others" this will open up another menu where you can select which DS-1 Channel you want to assign.
4) To create up to 16 Multi Timbral channels (8 Unity MIDI channel outputs Right and Left) Go back to the main arrange window and select Functions/Track/Create WHILE "AudioInst 1" IS STILL HIGHLIGHTED in the Left/Middle column.
5) Then click on your second instrument to re-assign it by pulling down Audio/Audio Instrument/Audio Inst2 and releasing the left mouse button.
6) Then repeat the process for each individual Audio Instrument starting back at #1)
7)While in the mixer view CLICK ON "INSERT" then Mono->Stereo/DirectShow/Unity DXi

But I couldn't get a sound! I'll try again another day.