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 Forum index » Instruments and Equipment » Strings and things
What synths do you control with your stringed instrument?
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DES



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 12, 2010 9:45 am    Post subject: What synths do you control with your stringed instrument? Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Curious as what synths are working well with the Strings crowd. Obviously there can be issues with the pickup system (Roland, Axon, etc) but after taking that into account - what is working well for you?

I've been having great results with Cakewalk (RGC) z3ta and with my Kurzweil K2000. The Korg Wavestation Legacy package works pretty well too. Fast attack sounds like piano and such can be a bit problematic with all of them but if I concentrate on playing accurately it's not too bad.

Dave

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GovernorSilver



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 8:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

The only MIDI guitar rig I have is my Roland VG-99. I've tried the MIDI out with my Korg M3 and Emu XL-7 - both synths tracked with reasonable responsiveness. I believe Bob The Dog has tried MIDI guitar with his Voyager.

Generally, however, I prefer to use the VG-99's internal synthesis and effects for guitar and electric violin, and play the M3 directly from its keyboard. I do want to experiment some more with using the VG-99's MIDI output to trigger the M3's KARMA function but I have more pressing priorities.

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DrJustice



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 9:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I use the VG-99 internal (re)synthesis. I haven't gotten around to test controlling other instruments with MIDI yet. I guess I'm too fascinated by the VG resynthesis which reacts to every nuance and noise from the strings, thus offering something completely different from the keyboard-type of control which is basically what MIDI offers.

DJ
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DES



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 2:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Yea, the VG99 is pretty cool. I have a VG88v2 - and it focuses more on modeling and fx then synthesis. I've toyed with the idea of getting a VG99...currently not in the budget though. I also have a V-Bass which is much better with regards to synthesis but doesn't work great with guitar pitched input - I think they're rolling off the high freqs so that it tracks bass better...might be able to modify that if it isn't in the system programming...

I've been doing more layering - Stick and synth. Works really nice. The K2000 has a Guitar Mode I have to check out further...didn't realize it was in there until I decided to re-vist the manuals after quite a few years of it sitting on the shelf, so to speak.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2010 7:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I have a friend, Tom Griesgraber, who plays Stick. He uses a little half-rack Roland module (JV series I believe) as his MIDI sound module. He seems to use it mainly for arrangements/layering (eg. one song that calls for a flute part and string pad). I rarely hear him playing fast parts with it.

The problem with Roland's pitch-MIDI gear for fretless instruments (fretless guitar, cello, violin, etc.) is that it rounds MIDI note number values to the next position below whereever you stopped the note. So if your note is closer to A, but still below A, the MIDI note number output would be Ab instead of A. This problem is covered up by MIDI pitch bend, but could be more glaring in other scenarios - eg. you are triggering an arpeggio that is supposed to be in the same key as the note you're playing. I suppose one solution is to not use any vibrato, and switch off MIDI output when you're ready to play your wild solo with slides and vibrato all over the place.

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DES



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2010 9:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I know Tom! He and Bert Lams did a house concert at a friends house a couple of years ago. I've actually found his music to be more accessable to play on Stick then a lot of others out there. We chatted some over the years about the Roland GI interfaces. Really nice guy. He's been doing a lot of touring lately. I think the song you may be talking about is Victors Run...really enjoyable to watch him and Bert play it. Bert was playing his Taylor thru a VG88

Most interfaces (analog to midi) don't track well when the notes are coming at them fast - they take two sample cycles to determine the frequency of the incoming tone and then have to convert it. Axon was able to get around this by looking at harmonics - the sampling could happen faster then. Still, with some patches I get pretty good tracking, at least as fast I need to. One trick is using a mute by the nut (Sticks use a strip of velcro under the strings. You can also use a girls hair 'scrunchy' rolled over the nut or zero fret) - helps keep extraneous tones from triggering the converter. Of course the draw back is that you can't use open strings...

Fretless could really be a pain to track. I suppose a convertor could be developed that would set each string to a default open pitch - like a guitars open strings - and then use only pitch bend-up commands per string. You could then expand your scale length by adjusting how far the pitch bend range was - 1 or 2 octave.

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GovernorSilver



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2010 10:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

DES wrote:
I know Tom! He and Bert Lams did a house concert at a friends house a couple of years ago. I've actually found his music to be more accessable to play on Stick then a lot of others out there. We chatted some over the years about the Roland GI interfaces. Really nice guy. He's been doing a lot of touring lately. I think the song you may be talking about is Victors Run...really enjoyable to watch him and Bert play it. Bert was playing his Taylor thru a VG88


Tom can jam with anybody, but he's definitely more into songwriting than showcasing his chops for their own sake. Cool

I saw he and Bert play earlier this year. Bert was playing a Breedlove through a just-acquired VG-99.

I noticed improved MIDI tracking response with the VG-99 over the Roland interface Tom used with his Stick several years ago, fwiw.

DES wrote:

Fretless could really be a pain to track. I suppose a convertor could be developed that would set each string to a default open pitch - like a guitars open strings - and then use only pitch bend-up commands per string. You could then expand your scale length by adjusting how far the pitch bend range was - 1 or 2 octave.


Pitch bend can be problematic with sample-based sounds, as some samples simply don't sound very good with pitch bend. The Axon AX-50 reportedly has a more intelligent note-rounding implementation than the Roland MIDI convertors. I'll post reports of my progress when I get around to using MIDI violin with my Korg M3. Barring an investment in Axon or Stringport, the most likely solution would be to play violin with no vibrato, pitch bend turned off, then disable (via switch) MIDI output and use only the VG-99 sounds when I want to get expressive in the traditional sense (vibrato, glisses, etc.).

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DES



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2010 11:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

When Tom did the house concert I got his cd with his version of All Along The Watchtower...really neat interpretation of the song.

I didn't know Tom had acquired a VG99. I'm using a GI-20 and so far it's tracking pretty good. Piano sounds and the like are tempermental.

Using samples would be a problem with pitch bend...especially if you are going a full octave ore more, but if you are using traditional waveforms the pitchbend tracking shouldn't be too bad... Of course it might sound like an old minimoog with bad key contacts... Laughing

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2010 12:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

DES wrote:
I didn't know Tom had acquired a VG99. I'm using a GI-20 and so far it's tracking pretty good. Piano sounds and the like are tempermental.


The VG-99 is Bert's. Bert jokingly mentioned a contest to provide a new name for the patch he used (or was it a new name for the song he used the patch on?).

Tom had a VG8 and got rid of it after he realized the only sound he liked was "snowhorn" or something like that. He already had a Boss/Roland processor that gave him all the clean and dirty tones that he liked on his Stick. Being a traveling muso, he's all about saving rack space/floor space - he couldn't justify the space for a VG, because of the space already taken by his MIDI foot controller.

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DES



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2010 1:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I believe he's still using the Electrix Repeater too. As much traveling as he does I can't blame him.

I'm not suprised that Bert replaced his VG88 - when I saw him the display had fallen back inside the case...

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BobTheDog



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PostPosted: Sun Oct 31, 2010 9:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hi Guys,

Only just noticed this thread, been a bit busy lately!

In general I have found any synth that doesn't "smooth" pitchbend works pretty well, obviously having 6 channels is also a benefit.


My favourites are:

For plugins:

Kontakt 4 with Gtak 4 is a fantastic combination (http://evenharmonic.com/)

Spectrasonics omnisphere (everyone should have this!)

Rob Papens Albino 3

All NI synths (apart from massive, dreaded pitchbend smoothing), Reaktor 5 is great and each instrument can be modified to work very nicely with 6 channels (details here http://co.native-instruments.com/forums.html?id=userlibrary&type=0&ulbr=1&plview=detail&patchid=2936)

Arturia plugins work pretty well as well.


For Hardware:

Virus TI is fantastic, absolutely top notch and very easy to set up multis.

V-Synth XT is also very good but a bit of a pain to set up in multi mode.

Arturia Origin works great but not for 6 channels, although this may change in the future.

The Voyager also works surprisingly well, especially if you use an arpegiator, lots of fun!



As for sounds with fast attacks you really need to set up the converter correctly, if there is a setting that alters the trigger sensitivity you need to set that high and maybe also lower the general sensitivity of the strings.

The axons allow this to be easily set up on a patch by patch basis. I cannot remember if the Roland stuff allows you to do it.


Cheers

Andy
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ReaktorFreak



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PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 10:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

i used mostly reaktor synths driven by my homemade monophonic guitar to MIDI reaktor instrument, which i could play as sloppy as i want and it still gives quite accurate and glitch free result, so i have no problem with selecting sounds as any kind of sound is playable Very Happy (although i must be sure no more than one string at a time is sounding - the limitation of a monophonic converter) .

but ocassionally i play GM sounds on my soundcard wavetable synths too Smile

never found any synths or sound that doesn't work well with my guitar to MIDI though..
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GovernorSilver



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PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 9:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

ReaktorFreak wrote:

never found any synths or sound that doesn't work well with my guitar to MIDI though..


What issues are you having?

Is it the tracking, or you just don't like any of the sounds of any synth other than Reaktor?

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DES



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PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 10:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I've also used Atmosphere and all of the NI Komplete synths...in general they work ok. So far though I've found Zeta to respond faster... Not sure if it's how the midi is interpreted in the software or what, it just seems to to.

Something I am working on now is controlling Absynth with the GK on the Stick while processing the Sticks audio through it. Should be interesting. I do need to take Reaktor out and work with it more... I used to mess around with Sync Modular and enjoyed it quite a bit - and it's similar to Reaktor (Dr. Sync, who was the creator of Sync Modular went on to work on Reaktor 3...not sure if he's still there or not.)

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 1:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

DES wrote:
I've also used Atmosphere and all of the NI Komplete synths...in general they work ok. So far though I've found Zeta to respond faster... Not sure if it's how the midi is interpreted in the software or what, it just seems to to.


I'm guessing it's the MIDI implementation in the z3ta+ synth. I remember in the old days of MIDI guitar, the community had to keep track of which synths had the reasonably fast envelopes and such that a MIDI guitarist would need. Reaktor I would think has an advantage in that if you don't like the default MIDI implementation you might be able to roll your own (ReaktorFreak, correct me here).

I'm still digging deep into my Korg M3's Karma features, using Karma Labs' new instructional House 101 DVD. I've given up on using MIDI Note Number to affect the Karma behavior after further thought - I don't really want KARMA to follow all my notes all the time, especially if I want to superimpose a triad from a different tonality on top of whatever key center KARMA is playing on. I think though that an envelope follower or just MIDI volume mapped to a MIDI CC that adjusts the amount of improvisation on a Karma-generated drum part might be cool.

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