PL88 Patch Memory Module Brings Thousands Of Presets To Your Vintage Synths

Reader Michael Dennis Raleigh (MIDERA) shared this video demo of the LEWISMIDI PL88 Patch Memory Module – a synth accessory that provides thousands of presets, patch and bank storage, and an arpeggiator for vintage synths.

You can use the PL88 with any synthesizer that can send and receive SysEx (System Exclusive) messages.

Here’s what Raleigh has to say about it:

I recently purchased this device called the PL88 by LEWISMIDI that stores patches and banks from synthesizers, which also has a lot of banks of presets for the JD-800, Korg M1, Roland D-50 (D-05 and D-550), Yamaha DX7 and SY77 (TG77 and SY99). You can have up to 10,000 patches/banks saved for each synthesizer. Users can also add their own synthesizers so they can save their presets/banks. This can replace any number of data cards.

Another interesting feature of this module is that it has a very nice onboard arpeggiator that can repeat up to 4 octaves and its direction can be used as Up, Down, Up+Down, and Random. Plus you can mute and unmute specific steps. You can also use the arpeggiator by adding notes, one by one, to the arpeggiator, up to 64 notes. The developer says that this is similar to the Roland Jupiter 4 arpeggiator.

Anyway, I created a video demonstrating the PL88 arpeggiator attached to my Yamaha SY77. I felt that the arpeggiator really helps open up using FM synths.

Here’s a video from the developer that demonstrates using the patch/bank manager aspect of the PL88:

Pricing and Availability

The PL88 is available now for US $125, plus shipping.

If you’ve used the PL88, share your experience with it in the comments!

17 thoughts on “PL88 Patch Memory Module Brings Thousands Of Presets To Your Vintage Synths

    1. Actually Yamaha had a device (MDF1) that could store sysex banks on QuickDisks (2.8″) and later the MDF2, which used more popular 3.5″ floppies and could also play standard MIDI files (songs). And Akai did have a dedicated MIDI arpeggiator.
      But this neat little device puts all that and more into a simple and affordable package and now I want one too.

      1. dedicated midi arps are dime a dozen, but good note on the MDF1, never seen that before. i guess computer soft librarians made this kinda redundant, even beginning with the AtariST, still cool though.

  1. Very reasonable price too. Add a transposable step sequencer and it matches my homebrew solution.

    Oh wait, it does have a transposable step sequencer! Yay! The perfect device.

    1. Hey Rabid Bat, MIDERA here – Yes, the transposable step sequencer works pretty nicely. However, I’d call it a transposable arpeggiator because you can’t really tell the unit to put in, say, 32 steps and then plug the notes in and have it rotate between 32 steps, i.e., when you hit one note, it won’t go X O O O O… to 32 steps. It will just cycle the 1 note (plus any octaves you have), which is why I want to clarify about the step sequencer versus arpeggiator bit. Well – I actually just say I looked back at the manual and realized that pressing ‘0’ enters a rest, so you can do that at least. Sweet, learned something new!

      But let me say, for the patch saving AND arpeggiator (which works quite nicely) I think it’s worth it.

      I’d love to see the ability to alter gate length on this, I’ll see if Iestyn (the dev) can implement that.


  2. Major draw back to my vintage gear has always been not enough preset storage. This is pretty cool and will definitely think about adding this to my legacy studio.

    1. The guy is local to me, I met with him in person to make me one of these in a special color (I provided the color changing material) but my box was a specific model designed for the Casio CZ series (so not only did it have all the above features, in addition to all the patch memories, it came with a few thousand presets.

      Mine is a medium/dark green that turns yellow when hot(like 80 degrees F and up)…so if you played at a hot venue or wherever it would become yellow.

      I have a bunch of the material left over so if any of you would like one of these boxes built with the same material I could meet with him to let him borrow the roll again and make another unit with it. (or if many of you want it, ill just give him the roll)

      If anyone is interested, just email me at [email protected]

      1. Julian – that sounds sweet 🙂 Already have mine in the standard black, but it’s pretty sweet as is. I think I was a bit of a pain in the ass for Iestyn – so I’m hoping making this video and alerting Synthtopia makes it up to him 😀

        1. Yea I hassled him too, about finding a right material suitable for his specific 3D printer.
          I need to get one of his new universal boxes, back when I got my CZ box made the universal box was still in the works.

  3. arp is odd
    random, but no as played?
    (play notes from buffer in the order they were played)
    these are the 2 arp modes I always use.

  4. While some may prefer hardware, Patch Base iPad app is a great librarian and editor. Just wished it supported TG77 but it has editors for most FM synths and a bunch of others like D50/05 and Blofeld.

    1. Hey Synthesis – you’re correct, patchbase is AMAZING. I love it for my Matrix 1000 (only way I use it really). For some reason though, as you said, hardware speaks to me. I guess maybe I like making things complicated, haha. I like both for sure but definitely wish the SY77 was supported. The nice thing is that this device does work for really any synth that sends and receives sysex for patch/bank data. I’m planning to use this with my Monomachines as well (I could use my computer to save/send bank data, but again, I don’t).

      Also – the arpeggiator is sweet. Having that little box to play an arp while mangling the parameters was really really inspirational. I’ve never really understood the sequencer, so I don’t use that unfortunately.

      Third – another really nice patch/bank device is the Sector 101 Datablade card. That was on my list, but this PL88 caught my eye and I’m pretty happy with it!

      Supporting independent developers is just fun I guess. But that’s true also of Patchbase and Chadwick (the dev).

  5. Excellent work, and I was surprised by the $125 price – I was expecting it to be over $200. This deserves to sell like hot cakes!

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