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Notes_Norton

Does anyone else prefer hardware MIDI modules to software synths?

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I used to prefer using actual synth. My collection Roland D70 (not working, battery needs replacement, ROM needs refresh) Yamaha SY55, Alesis QS 8.2, Roland R8, Boss DR880, Alesis DR 18). These are all not connected at the moment. My MIDI patch bay is not in working order.. Mixer not setup.

Space is an issue for me right now. I've just purchased the V Collection 6 and looking forward to setup a more compact work space.

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5 hours ago, synkrotron said:

I hope you don't mind me asking, but what do you use for recording all that hardware?

I don't use them all that often, but they come handy when I need them. Sequencing & recording the audio in CbB off course.. :)

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The PM soft synths (thanks for the links) don't approach what the VL does. There are different degrees of PM. The VL has models of single reeds, double reeds, cupped mouthpieces, plucked strings, bowed strings etc., plus models of the various pipes (conical or straight) boxes and other resonators, and finally various dampers like bells, bridges, and so on. In addition it has models of throat growl, flutter tongue, lip slur, and various other physical things that the players do to influence the instrument. If you model only one of these things, you can say PM.

Here is a clip of a synth sax I did in 2004. It was recorded live, on a gig, with a pre-iPod Archos GMini Juke Box recorder and a cheap mic. Low fidelity, hung out in the crowd, so don't expect the tone to be great. It's the sax expressiveness that seems natural. All the instruments are synthesized with various early 20th century sound modules. I used a Yamaha WX5 Wind MIDI controller and a Yamaha VL70m synth for the sax solo.

http://www.nortonmusic.com/mp3/_sunshinesax.mp3

I had some fellow wind synthesizer players bring their soft synths over on Mac and PC computers. We like to share what we have because we are a small community and visit each other whenever we are close enough. Nothing I tried feels as much like playing a real instrument (as opposed to controlling a synth) as the VL does.

The VL unfortunately after 15 years went out of production. I have two now. The main drawback is it is monophonic, so with two I can layer sounds.

And yes, when I hardware lasts forever, that was a figure of speech. Software synths tend to last until the next OS upgrade or two. I always use either a UPS or a line conditioner to feed current to my synths. It might be why they last so long. The only thing I had to repair so far was a floppy disk drive hardware sampler from Peavey. It still works.

If I were recording in a studio, I'd probably try to mix soft synths with the hardware modules. After all, there are some soft synths that aren't available in a hardware package. But I've been a live performer since I was a kid, and while I'm amazed at what the folks on the other side of the glass do with their computers, sliders and knobs, whenever I've been in the studio, I've been in the microphone side of the fish tank.

Insights and incites by Notes

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5 hours ago, Notes_Norton said:

...The main drawback is it is monophonic, so with two I can layer sounds...

Now, if you could do both at the same time... 😀

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11 hours ago, synkrotron said:

I hope you don't mind me asking, but what do you use for recording all that hardware?

Since James has already answered, I thought I'd chip in on how I handled this (hey, it worked!).

10-Studio2010-02.jpg11-Studio2010-03.jpg

Using smaller versions of the pics I posted earlier, there are actually three mixers pictured.  In the top left rack (first two units) is an analog mixer Rolls RM 203x) and a digital mixer (Roland M1000).  The primary sub-mixer is on top of the rack to the right (a Mackie 1202-VLZ).  The stereo outputs from the 1202-VLZ went to two channels on my main mixer (a Mackie CFX-12).  My main keyboard synth (a Korg N5) went directly into the CFX-12.  The 1202-VLZ had separate channels for both of the rack mixers, my V-Drum set (not pictured, but just off to the right), and the Korg MS2000 at the bottom of the right picture.  All other samplers, ROMplers and synths were combined using the rack mixers.  

So, why the extra rack mixers?  Three reasons.  First, I had too many devices for the available channels on the 1202-VLZ, second, I kept the mic channels available for the rare occasion where I had more than one person over that could actually sing and, third, there are no digital inputs on the Mackie so the Roland took care of the A/D conversion.

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After my EMU Proteus FX died (LCD display whacked out, pans got staticy) I never went back to modules. I have a few rack spaces-so room isn't the issue for me, but the granular flexibility of soft synths just can't be duplicated--and for someone who takes very good care of their equipment and doesn't gig with it (stays in studio) I say they have a shelf life that soft-synths don't.

I fought for the traditionalist equipment for years--starting as a drummer and in an analog world, but the reality of space, cost, flexibility, practicality, etc. etc. I'm all in the box these days with everything but my mic pre.

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18 hours ago, James Argo said:

recording the audio in CbB

I see. I was interested to hear that a recording professional is using Cakewalk as their multi-tracker.

Thanks.

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12 hours ago, craigb said:

I thought I'd chip in

Thanks, Craig, and interesting insight.

The question I asked, and you quoted was, 

12 hours ago, craigb said:

what do you use for recording all that hardware?

 

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I'm not a dinosaur by desire. I accept whatever works for me.

I started using backing tracks in 1985 (I created them myself with a 4 track real to real Teac), when digital with the Atari/ST and primitive synths as soon as they were introduced, started writing aftermarket style and song disks for Band-in-a-Box in 1992 (and still do), went wind synth when the Yamaha WX7 was introduced, and tried a few soft-synths. I even have a Morph Sensel alternative controller on order.

I've ordered a few software synths and tried a few of my friends' but as of yet, haven't found anything that works for me onstage. Perhaps someday. Technology marches on.

Insights and incites by Notes

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On 4/6/2019 at 8:50 PM, msmcleod said:

I've got a stupid amount of MIDI modules/synths:

Kawai K1R, Kawai K1
Yamaha TX81Z, TG500 x 3, MU10 x 3, MU100R, SY77
Roland D110 x 2, U220, CM64 x 3, MT32, D550, JV1010 x 3, JV2020, VariOS
Korg Wavestation SR, X5DR, NX5R x 2, X5D
Casio VZ-8M x 2, CZ3000, CZ1, VZ1
Evolution EVS-1
Alesis D5, SR16
SMPro V-Machine

I sampled all the sounds I liked from most of them (which took me literally months), and now I hardly ever switch them on. The only two that get any use is the X5D (a great live workhorse) and the SMPro V-Machine, which can play the samples of all the rest. Apart from that, I do everything in the box nowadays.

I still have some of them "wired up" in the studio though. so I can always go back to the hardware synth and edit a sound / re-sample if I really need to.

I have an X5DR i use in Cakewalk by bandlab  Can you please tell; me how to change the bank s?

Thank you

Stan

 

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2 hours ago, Mcu pro said:

I have an X5DR i use in Cakewalk by bandlab  Can you please tell; me how to change the bank s?

Thank you

Stan

 

I tend not to change banks, but instead use a single Combo patch with the patches set already - that way it's just a single program change.

The manual says this:
Bank A (A00–A99) CTRL#0=0 CTRL#32=0
Bank G (G01–128) CTRL#0=56 CTRL#32=any number
Drum Program (G129–136) CTRL#0=62 CTRL#32=any number

Which would imply, (if the "Patch Browser" setting is set to normal):

0 = Bank A
7169 = Bank G
7937 = Drums

It may be easier however, to just import the .ins file and use the patch browser itself.

The Korg .ins file is located in C:\Cakewalk Content\Cakewalk Core\Instruments

The .ins file actually lists the banks as follows:

0  = Bank A
768 = Bank A Preset B
1536 = Combi Bank A
2304 = Combi Bank Preset B
7169 = Bank G
7937 = Drums
 

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Notes. 
Wow you have a Korg DS-8. I have one I’ve not used for nearly a decade. Still wrapped up and stored on a shelf in my shed. 
I struggled for a long time moving from hardware to the virtual world. I need plugs and cables. 
My DS8 was supported by a SQD1 and a DDD1. A bit of a KORG fanboy from back in the day. 

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I've been programming a Montage for live use... and have really been enjoying the synth-engine.

Unlike past units, there's no separate "single-patch" and "multi-patch" paradigm.

All patches are "Performances".  Each performance can use up to 8 internal parts (individual sounds).

Each individual sound can be comprised of up to 8 "elements" (oscillators)... with some advanced triggering/switching options.

Not as flexible as Kontakt, but you can setup some advanced/detailed sounds.

If you're working with your own samples, John Melas' "Waveform Editor" is a tremendous help... as is Sample Robot.

 

I like having a balance of hardware and software synths.

Each have strengths/weaknesses.

 

 

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My brother the programmer has an old Korg synth he's hardly used. He would like to get rid of it, and an M-Audio controller (also lightly used).

craigb, what model was it? I forgot which one it is and you wrote that you once had one, even posted pics.

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Posted (edited)

Not sure which one that was.  I had three different Korg's (including both the keyboard and rack versions of one).  I liked my Korgs! 🙂

 

An N5:

KorgN5-1.thumb.jpg.6bc32a47bceb73d8786ba9e2ceadf416.jpg

 

And an MS2000 (and MS2000R - the rack version):

MS2000-1a.jpg

MS2000R-1a.jpg

 

And this little guy:

Korg-EA-1-1.jpg

Edited by craigb

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14 hours ago, Michael Vogel ( MUDGEL) said:

Notes. 
Wow you have a Korg DS-8. I have one I’ve not used for nearly a decade. Still wrapped up and stored on a shelf in my shed. 
I struggled for a long time moving from hardware to the virtual world. I need plugs and cables. 
My DS8 was supported by a SQD1 and a DDD1. A bit of a KORG fanboy from back in the day. 

The DS8 is a nice synth. Some of the melodic percussion sounds are better for many songs than the newer synths I have. Some of the synth sounds are just unique to that model. I just use it as a sound module now. I use the Korg  i3 for keyboard playing.

I used to have a Korg DDD-5. Good drum machine for it's day, but drum sounds got better so I retired it. I sampled what I wanted and gave it to a young student musician.

I've got Korg, Roland/Edirol, Yamaha, Ketron, Akai, and Peavey synths/samplers.

Nothing rare that would get a buck on the used market, but very workable and good sounding machines if you pick the better sounds of each in the same song.

Notes

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On 4/6/2019 at 7:35 PM, Notes_Norton said:

 Hardware MIDI synths last forever. I have a Yamaha TX81z, a Korg DS-8 and a Roland MT-32 that were manufactured when PCs still used DOS-5 or maybe Windows 3.1, Atari/ST computers had built in MIDI ports, and Mac computers used Motorola CPUs. Some of the sounds on these modules are stale, but others are stellar and have no contemporary equal.

If you are lucky - I have several dead pieces of hardware. I am intending to try to resurrect my Korg Poly800 at some point as I believe the issue is a bad backup battery that was never designed to be replaced so it will need some soldering on the circuit board, not my strong point! I also have a Yamaha DX 100 that is dead, possibly a similar issue and a Roland XP-10 with a bad LCD that's not economically repairable.

I do regret parting with my SH101 many years ago, I bet that would still work! One misses the tactile element of hardware but I am generally happy with software, particularly due to space considerations.

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I feel a good mix of both is best.  While the software variety can provide FAR more options without taking up tons of physical space (see image below of going overboard!), there's just so much fun in playing a REAL instrument and twiddling with knobs and sliders!  Striking a good balance is best I think.

 

image.thumb.png.e83ae0702fb7982c213e6cb100456fc1.png

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