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 Forum index » Clavia Nord Modular » Nord Modular G2 Discussion
Kurzweil for (re)synthesis
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Oli



Joined: May 21, 2008
Posts: 247
Location: i think before i ambient
G2 patch files: 1

PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 12:46 pm    Post subject: Kurzweil for (re)synthesis
Subject description: Any G2 tweakers have experience/opinions on Kurzweil gear for (re)synthesis
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Hi folk,

I've recently been looking at some Kurzweil gear, like the K2500/2600 and PC3 series, and am wondering what they are like for deep synthesis use, and particularly re-synthesis / processing of external audio?

I have never had the chance to use any Kurzweil gear much at all, and my only brief use some years ago had left me with the impression that their products were really engineered towards more conventional / less experimental audio production. However, I have always been told that their synthesis technologies (such as VAST etc) are extremely deep, and anything is possible, with the right amount of effort.

I have always been impressed with what has been possible with sample editing, re-engineering sound in forms which are pretty much uninhibited by a synths limitations. However, I really prefer a more live processing kind of workflow, rather than labouring over samples on a PC/sampler for replay. Reading the marketing specs (hype) about some Kurzweil gear, such as the K2600, it seems that it may be possible to do rather extensive sound processing to live audio from another source such as a G2. The K2600 looka as though it would be a pretty capable sampling synth as well, with the addion of the sampling option.

The demos I've seen online don't do all that much to sell me on the Kurzweil gear, though I think this may be largely due to the styles of the programming. I'm hesitant to jusge too much on this, much like judging a synth by its presets. It seems that the VA-1 (Kurzweils VA modelling) being finally released in the PC3 series is not really any better than what the G2 is already capable of (again based on mp3 demos though), but with seemingly superior onboard effects.

The reason I'm asking this here, rather than a Kurzweil forum etc, is that I believe there to be quite a number of serious, exploratory, and experimental sythesists here, with a good deal of experience in sound and music. I also doubt I will have an oppotunity to explore the possibilities much in a music store, particularly if the porgrammability is as deep as suggested.

So, are there any G2 tweakers also using Kurzweil gear? Any opinions or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers,

Oli

P.S. Another reason I'm looking at these now, is just that they are becomming more affordable in the used market. Previously, I hadn't much bothered touching what I couldn't afford.

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Tim Kleinert



Joined: Mar 12, 2004
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Location: Zürich, Switzerland
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 1:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hi Oli,

I think I can answer your question.

A year ago, I did a public clinic/workshop for Clavia instruments. Here in Switzerland, Clavia and Kurzweil are distributed by the same company. They attended the presentation and liked what they saw, so they approached me to do the same kind of demo for Kurzweil instruments. So, among other things, I got a PC3X (which has the same VAST engine like the K2xxx samplers, save for sampling) to work on, and got to know it's voice architecture pretty thoroughly.

VAST means "variable architecture synthesis technology", and amounts to having a fixed amount of DSP resources per voice, which can be alloted and used according to user-selectable "algorithms". More precisely, each voice has 4 "units" of DSP resources. Some of the simpler processes use only 1 unit (eg. distortion), some 2 (eg. simple filters), some 3 and more elaborate ones even 4. The algorithm defines the basic unit allotment "slots", in which you then can freely select processes that use that amount of DSP units.

This sounds very nice and impressive, but do not expect too much either. Sure, the architecture undoubtedly takes the sonic possibilities beyond mere sample playback, but keep in mind that the VAST technology has been around for more than a decade -and alot has happened since. You can do stuff like eg. ringmodulate a sample with an oscillator and run it through distortion and a simple lowpass filter afterwards -stuff like that. But actually, when I come to think of it, you can easily also pull that kind of stuff off with a Roland sample player too (which features a similar approach with it's "structures" architecture). The VAST engine also features oscillators, but these are not anti-aliased which severly compromises their audio fidelity.

Resynthesis, granular synthesis, elastic audio and other more modern forms of sample manipulations are way beyond it's scope. Also, the filters sound quite bland and the envelopes are rather sluggish. As I say -the VAST-engine sounds more impressive on paper than what it really is, by today's standards. The new OS has a few new enhancements like user-definable signal routing within a structure, some more elaborate 4-unit processes (like an attempted Moog-modeled filter and anti-aliased oscillators, which come from the shelved VA1 project), but that still doesn't change the overall impression that VAST is a dated technology (which it is). Kurzweil has long changed ownership, and AFAIK the original R&D team does no longer work for them. That could be the reason. I like the concept alot, but it needs a serious overhaul.


What is GREAT about Kurzweil are the FX algorithms. These are simply stunning, really professional sounding (so professional actually that they ended up in a dedicated FX processor, the KSP8). Very versatile too. And you can use the audio-ins of the sampler to run external audio through the FX section, turning the synth into a great sounding FX unit. This is really nice.

What I also like is the build quality and hardware. Kurzweil equipment is well made. And overall sound-wise, Kurzweil sounds "classy". I like the sound of their DA converters alot.

If you are interested in a hardware synth with really creative and innovative sample mangling capabilities, the Roland V-Synth is for you. VERY underrated synth. Since the new GT model has hit the market, the first version can be had alot cheaper second hand. And personally, I prefer the user interface of the first version much better anyway. I have toyed with the idea of picking one up myself actually.

I tried to give a balanced opinion here. Hope this gives you some kind of idea.

cheers,
tim

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Oli



Joined: May 21, 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 10:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hi Tim,

Thanks a lot for your reply. I think that is really what I was hoping to find out. It was the oscillators and deep mangling/processing kind of capabilities that I was really interested in. Thanks.

I have generally felt that the Kurzweil gear has a sound like a well mastered recording of fairly conventional kinds of sounds. Listening to the orchestral demos of the PC3X on the Kurzweil site, left me thinking the current software offerings are a little more impressive. The analogue emulations sound a bit like the demo material which was used when trying to sell synths to rock musicians in the 80's.

I'll definitely have a closer look at the V-Synth. I have generally dissregarded that series. I think when the V-Synth was first released, I was pretty much underwhelmed with most gear coming out, and didn't pay it much attention. I just got tired of demoing band in the box, underperforming VA's, and light beam controllers, etc. If anyone has underated the V-Synth, that would probably be me.

Thanks again for your informed opinion. Much appreciated.

Cheers,

Oli

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peterkadar



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PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2009 12:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hey Oli,

I have a V-Synth XT, which I love to death, as well as a G2(w/voice expansion) and a G2X.

The original V-synth didn't blow me away, because I didn't get how cool it was at first. I got a great deal on an XT, and I loved the interface, and the inclusion of the other V-cards as standard. The GT has the vocal processing, but lacks the D-50 card, which is actually very useful for certain things and sounds great for what it is.

The sampling on the V-synth is incredibly cool in some ways and annoyingly limited in others. If you create a multisample, you can't have individually looped notes in a multisample without using some kind of encoding process, which imposes it's own character onto the sound. So if you want to make a piano multisample and you want to loop the first bit, and have say 16 different samples for the range of your keyboard, you can't do it... you can't do traditional sampling like that. But what you CAN do with it is crazy. I've taken drum loops and make string pads out of them. It's really unique and awesome. The 4 track modulation sequencer is killer!

I haven't messed with the Kurzweil stuff that much, because of the expense, but I've been looking into their forthcoming PC3 le, which hopefully hits this summer. I have 2 very good keyboard playing friends who SWEAR by the K series, and who have done some very impressive stuff with even the basic model from back in the day.

I've seen a stock K2600 for $800 Cdn, which is a smokin' deal. But I'd like to see something like the PC3x, with sampling, and USB file transfer, instead of the SCSI of the K series.

So I guess what I'm saying is that I can certainly vouch for the V-Synth XT, but it has some surprising limitations. I've heard very incredible stuff come out of even a stock K2000 as well but it sounds like Tim is more knowledgeable. Which is pretty true for most things synth-wise. And by most things, I mean 'all things'. Wink
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Tim Kleinert



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PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2009 12:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

The V-Synth is not intended for "conventional" sampling applications like multisampled instruments etc., that's not what it's about. And yes, the encoding process does impart a noticeable sonic mark on the sampled material. This however applies to all the modern frequency-domain audio processing algorithms that I've heard sofar. In comparison the V-Synth performs quite well in this regard. It's the price you pay for being able to mangle samples in ways which are impossible with time-domain techniques (granular time stretching/pitch shifting etc.). (These are even possible on the G2 to a certain degree, I made some patches that do that.)

Attention: The Kurzweil PC3 series have no sampling capability, not even as an optional upgrade! It's a fancy rompler, nothing more. If you want to go the Kurzweil route, you have to pick up an K26xx, whose technology is -as I say- even more dated than the PC3. Doesn't mean it isn't usable.

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peterkadar



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PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2009 5:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Indeed. As long as potential buyers know the V-synth isn't also a more traditional style sampler, then it's all good.

As cool as the PC3 series is, I can't help wishing that they included some kind of sample option. As it is, I think my Korg M3-m will get me where I need for most traditional applications, and includes sampling and a few other goodies as well. Plus, it weighs 10 lbs. and can fit in the overhead compartment of an airplane which is great for touring and one off gigs.
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Oli



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PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2009 12:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hi guys, thanks for your replies again. The V-Synth does sound like an interesting device. Can it perform its magic well on an audio feed in real time? That's pretty much what I'm thinking about.

I completely agree with your guys takes on the Kurzweil gear. I looked at the PC3 series, which have the latest features, then looked at their 26** gear, which processes external audio, with lesser features. I would want both in one box, particular for the Kurz price, in 2009. I wasn't sure whether the PC3 series could process an audio input, but not actually sample in the traditional sense.

I have to admit that seeing the promo material for the Kurzweil VA back in the day, did get me excited. Hearing a few demos of it now is a different matter, particularly as I am starting to accumulate a few bits of real analogue kit.

I still think the Kurz gear has a very appealing pro look to the hardware though. I can't help feeling some GAS. I do try to be a little sensible though.

Cheers,

Oli

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Oli



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2009 8:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hi,

Just thought I'd post a link to a PC3X 88 key auction, seing as we discussed it here. It seems a decent price compared to retail. Still too much for me. I have no association with the auction; I just noticed it and thought it looked OK. It is in Melbourne, Australia.

edit - sorry, not Melbourne, Seaford, but close enough

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mister_ludo



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PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2009 12:43 pm    Post subject:  V synth no multi sampling,..not so sure ;-) Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hello everybody,

Well,... that's the first time I react on this forum,... 'cause t'ill now, I only have "stolen" G2'users' patches,...which are so remarquable!!!! really cool!

But at the same time people have developped patches for G2,...I've been working on the V synth v2.0 and now GT.

First of all : Multi-sampling IS POSSIBLE!!!!!!
so the only question is how Wink

Well, the structure of a patch : 2 osc, mod cosm1&2 tva and then FX,....
mm,... a little short ,...but,...thanks to roland R&D :

there is what's called a ZONE Wink up to 16 in patches mode,... and 5x16 in rythm mode

Explanations :

in patch mode you you can split the keyboards freely and compile up to 16 totally different tone structure together. At the very begining this was intended to make drum patches,..but,... that does not mean that you cannot make,...a multi sampled looped piano patche;-)
and that's the cool part of this synth,... because you have the total control of each zone at the same time or independently! sooooo coooool.

The rythm mode is quite special : it's a split of 5 different patches accross the keyboards, from patche n°493 to 497 , so that you can trigger different sample each note.

Now a step further :

the cool thing with the V synth is that you can chop a sample in events and decide the manner of triggering this sample.

there are 4 way of triggering a sample : normal triggering, legato, step and event

normal triggering : like every-synthesizers,... nothing special

legato : mm cool for recorded spoken samples, you play chords and if you play legato, the loop is not re-triggered when you play a melody, so that you can make youre v synth sing ,... like the famous patches " Da 'v' Code"

but,... to me,... the most insteresting are STEP and EVENT

step,... each time you press the keyboards, it goes to the next subdivision of your pre-"sliced" sample,... really cool if you wanna make wave sequencing or,..."granular kinda" synthesis.

And last EVENT : it splits your sample accross the keyboard, each subdivision,..a different note,... so it's also a special way to make multisampling, but this time unlooped.

Cheers

Ludo
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Oli



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2009 6:42 am    Post subject: Re: V synth no multi sampling,..not so sure ;-) Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hi, thanks for the reply. Smile
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peterkadar



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PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2009 9:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Indeed, the zone thing is cool, but what I haven't been able to do is get the front panel controls of the V-synth XT to respond to all of the zones globally - they will only tweak one zone at a time... Which, if I'm editing a a "multisample" in the traditional sense, isn't so convenient

Not to get too off topic, but I love my XT. Almost as much as I love my G2's Wink

...and my Stage Compact...
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mister_ludo



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PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2009 10:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

javascript:emoticon('Sad')
indeed, to do so, you have to use control change,

all the parameters you want to modulate together must be control via control change.javascript:emoticon('Idea')
On the v synth 2.0 (keyboard version) , via the synthesizer itself :

it is possible via the Pad, double D beam, aftertouch, P bend, modwheel , controller 1 and 2, hold pedal expr pedal 1and 2.

of course you can do so via Midi

The only restriction on the V synth 2.0 is the multi step modulators which are limitated to one zone at a time.

for example I always use a Dynamic filter modulation effect I can amplified whether or not via the C1 pot for all zones at a time to give a mellow effect.
Did you already tried with your G2 to control the XT and see if the matrix mod can control all zone at a time?

I don't have an XT version, and I hope Roland R&D did implement the same functionalities,..

On the other hand,..sysex are always an alternative,... Idea
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