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Notes_Norton

Does anyone else prefer hardware MIDI modules to software synths?

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2 minutes ago, paulo said:

Can't believe that you dropped the C bomb in July........

 

Go and hang your head in shame.😎

Well, the plan was to record a bunch a Christmas songs and give them as gifts on CD to family.  Wanted plenty of lead time. :)

 

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39 minutes ago, O.K. Johnson said:

Well, the plan was to record a bunch a Christmas songs and give them as gifts on CD to family.  Wanted plenty of lead time. :)

 

Well I guess if you really hate them that much, then who am I to argue?

 

 

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2 hours ago, paulo said:

Well I guess if you really hate them that much, then who am I to argue?

 

 

Love Christmas Music.  Can do lots with it.  Dynamics in particular.

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I like Christmas music. Every non COVID year I play a dozen holiday parties. I get to see old friend/clients who hire us every year, the women look good dressed in red, the mood is festive, I get to play music all night, and at the end of the night they pay me money.

What can be wrong with that?

Notes

 

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Like several members here I started MIDI orchestration with Yamaha DX11, then upgraded to Proteus/2 Orchestral and Ultra Proteus hardware. A lot of MIDI cables and ancillary equipment was required to create a MIDI project and reproduce a decent sound, quite satisfying. Cakewalk 1.0 came in just in time to simplify sequencing and basic editing. It evolved  and is now a great software by Bandlab. And along came the free Proteus Vx which included the Ultra samples (Composer) and Virtuoso Emu samples also became available for PVx. They are the Proteus/2 set and more., 

The sound obtainable with such early hardware was distinct and could be quite good, at least for my classical music purposes. Today, practically the whole MIDI and sound chain is digital in software. It is (can be) extraordinarily clean, no hum, vanishing noise and distortion, flat frequency response 20 Hz to 20kHz or more. 

Do I still use my old hardware ? Yes for simple projects and its distinct sound. But now driven by Cakewalk Bandlab. For more substantial projects ( Intro Lohengrin, Tanhauser, Chaconne Vitali, etc. ) I use all software and digital processing until and including the recording phase. No cables.

Do I prefer hardware sound ? Not necessarily. It is unique and very good. As in art and music, it depends on what one is after.

 

 

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Last time I remember, a sufficiently powerful PC coupled with a decent PCIe interface can do under 1 ms of latency without breaking a sweat, something almost no hardware synth can do, especially those vintage ones. There's also the issue that many of these pieces of gear use proprietary components that you can no longer find available for purchase anywhere. Once it goes, you either are lucky to find another broken unit with that part still working or have to sell yours for scraps. There's also the MIDI issue. Many machines are pre MIDI standard and have implementations that simply do not play well with post MIDI standard hardware. Another thing to consider is the following:

- Virtual synths occupy no physical space.

- Virtual synths use a negligible amount of power compared to some hardware units.

- Once you buy one virtual synth, you can have as many of that synth as you want.

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2 hours ago, Bruno de Souza Lino said:

 Once you buy one virtual synth, you can have as many of that synth as you want.

Now you're singing my song!

I can recall when spending $1,000+ for a new keyboard seemed normal! 🤪

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Good points. But we would not be here if it were not for those early pioneering starts. I never imagined that a powerhouse like Cakewalk by Bandlab and the unequalled Proteus Vx would be had for free. Or the BBC Discovery for that matter. The one aspect of MIDI music that has not advanced enough to be useful is score sheet recognition and conversion to MIDI. Very disappointing performance. Step record and some direct keyboard entry far outstrip in quality and speed the current crop of music recognition programs. But, I suppose that progress is inevitable and a suitable, affordable program will eventually emerge. 

 

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12 minutes ago, August Spencer said:

The one aspect of MIDI music that has not advanced enough to be useful is score sheet recognition and conversion to MIDI. Very disappointing performance. Step record and some direct keyboard entry far outstrip in quality and speed the current crop of music recognition programs. But, I suppose that progress is inevitable and a suitable, affordable program will eventually emerge.

Not sure what you meant here. Can you elaborate? "One aspect of MIDI music that has not advanced" implies that you are not referring just to Cakewalk, but in general.

There are programs dedicated to scoring sheet music that can output MIDI.

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3 hours ago, August Spencer said:

Good points. But we would not be here if it were not for those early pioneering starts. I never imagined that a powerhouse like Cakewalk by Bandlab and the unequalled Proteus Vx would be had for free. Or the BBC Discovery for that matter. The one aspect of MIDI music that has not advanced enough to be useful is score sheet recognition and conversion to MIDI. Very disappointing performance. Step record and some direct keyboard entry far outstrip in quality and speed the current crop of music recognition programs. But, I suppose that progress is inevitable and a suitable, affordable program will eventually emerge. 

 

I used this program called SharpEye about 10 - 15 years ago. It scanned in your sheet music (using a standard flat bed scanner) and converted it to a MIDI file. It worked pretty well:  http://www.visiv.co.uk/

I only used the demo version at the time, as I only needed it for one project.  I think it maybe got one or two notes wrong out of the whole score.

I did try it out with handwritten scores, just for giggles.... that worked too!

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I tried sheet music to MIDI when it first arrived, and immediately saw the shortcomings. We don't quantize our music when we play it. Scanning sheet music is like step entering, no groove, no dynamics, no ornaments, no phrasing.

IMO the best way to enter MIDI is get a good controller, and play it into the sequencer or DAW in real time.

There are plenty of continuous controllers that can shape the notes while playing (see http://www.nortonmusic.com/midi_cc.html for a list) that if used properly, and especially if done with your MIDI controller while playing the parts in, that give life to the otherwise expressionless notes. The music isn't all in the notes, it's mostly in the nuances of how you play those notes.

Insights and incites by Notes

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5 hours ago, Notes_Norton said:

The music isn't all in the notes, it's mostly in the nuances of how you play those notes.

 

I've also heard it said that the silent space between the notes is just as important!

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Indeed music is both note playing and interpretation. Otherwise it is robotic and dull.

I stated that aspects of MIDI music creation had advanced significantly over the years ( Cakewalk, Proteus ) except for Optical Music Recognition of printed sheet music and scores. Therefore, I still use Step Record and simple keyboard entry. Then, thanks to the variety of MIDI commands, the phrasing, volume, accents, attack, and other nuances written by the composer or perceived by ear on other performances, can be approximated to satisfactory levels. It is a great productive hobby. 

 

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There are those that can achieve dullness without being robotic though!

 

 

.

 

 

.

 

 

*Sigh...* 😞

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23 hours ago, abacab said:

I've also heard it said that the silent space between the notes is just as important!

John Cage was a big fan......

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1 hour ago, paulo said:

John Cage was a big fan......

I should post my extended remix which uses over 45 different ethnic instruments and a few of those cardboard toilet paper tubes... 😆

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