Simply put, the Roland SBX-1 SYNC BOX is a master time keeper and translator for electronic musical instruments. Like a coxswain to rowers in a boat, the SBX-1 can keep all connected instruments in extremely accurate time with each other. Or like a personal translator between the Prime Ministers of Canada and Japan, it can allow instruments that utilize different communication protocols to have a conversation.
The SBX-1 can keep many different components in time, no matter how they are connected. Working as a master clock, it can keep components connected via USB, MIDI, and DIN Sync, all in sync and in time. What’s more, the SBX-1 contains a [SYNC] button that can easily correct timing errors with a single press.
It’s not Greek to SBX-1
Fluency in electronic musical instrument languages is where the SBX-1 really shines. It can seamlessly translate electronic languages between three types of connections – MIDI, DIN Sync, USB, Control Voltage (CV), and Gate. These translations allow you to sync things like analog LFO rates with the tempo of a TR-8 or syncing Abelton Live software with the arpeggio patterns from a SYSTEM-1.
The SBX-1 is capable of many other unique feats such as MIDI Note to Gate and Shuffle. MIDI Note data can be input to the SBX-1 to trigger analog gear through its Gate Output – or vice versa. Also, the internal clock can have a Shuffle value applied to it so that any gear using the SBX-1 as its master clock can be shuffled or swung – even if the connected device does not have a shuffle function.
As you can see, this tiny box is capable of performing some grand feats. It makes the life of any musician utilizing electronic instruments extremely easy. Anyone who wants their gear to talk to one another and keep in time with each other – in perfect harmony – should own an SBX-1 SYNC BOX.
Adrian Marsi is the Pro Keyboards & DJ Product Marketing Manager for Roland Canada. Follow Adrian on twitter – @rcmsynthguy.