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 Forum index » How-tos » Micro Tuning
Dave Smith Instruments Pro 2
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GovernorSilver



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PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 6:52 am    Post subject: Dave Smith Instruments Pro 2
Subject description: DSI programmer taking a look at adding "alternate tunings"
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A synthesist well known for his work with just intonation posted this tidbit:

Quote:
Let's just say I have a reputation to uphold. I have publicly begged Dave Smith for so many years to include microtuning in his synths, that he finally gave his permission to one of the programmers to spend some of his own free time on it but only after working double time adding features that actually make money, and fixing bugs, and only if it doesn't mess up the rest of the architecture, and possibly on account of a certain meteorite falling in Siberia but not on the evening of the full moon, because, well, you know, the tides.


This same musician did some of the presets for this new Pro 2 synth. Now he is imploring others to let DSI know if they, like he, want alternate tunings implemented.

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seraph
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2014 1:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

the easiest way to microtune any synth is doing it through dedicated software applications.
Never mind meteorite falling in Siberia, the evening of the full moon or tides.
Wink

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2014 10:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

seraph wrote:
the easiest way to microtune any synth is doing it through dedicated software applications.


With a mono synth, software will work, but as I have understood it, the Pro 2 can play chords too. Not easy to do polyphonic microtuning over MIDI. Or did I misunderstand you?

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 01, 2014 3:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Muied Lumens wrote:

With a mono synth, software will work, but as I have understood it, the Pro 2 can play chords too. Not easy to do polyphonic microtuning over MIDI. Or did I misunderstand you?


there are many ways to retune a synth. using a pitch bend approach each note must be on a different MIDI channel to be independently retuned. this way you can play chords Wink

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 01, 2014 5:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

seraph wrote:
Muied Lumens wrote:

With a mono synth, software will work, but as I have understood it, the Pro 2 can play chords too. Not easy to do polyphonic microtuning over MIDI. Or did I misunderstand you?


there are many ways to retune a synth. using a pitch bend approach each note must be on a different MIDI channel to be independently retuned. this way you can play chords Wink


Ah yes, I'm with you. Smile

In this particular example, the Pro 2 is Paraphonic which makes me believe that won't work, but we'll see.

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GovernorSilver



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2014 1:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Software tools are nice to have, but from the perspective of most users, it's best if the tuning support were built into the synth itself. I think that is why Robert Rich (the musician I referenced in the first post) is begging other people to help him convince Dave Smith to do this.

Ah, I need to find a way to become a wealthy person quickly. Then I could buy a Pro 2 just to show support for Robert Rich and his quest to get better tuning support implemented into DSI synths.

Of course I could just do what Mr. Rich requests, which is to email DSI and say "Hey Dave, I'm with Robert Rich - I too want just intonation support in the Pro 2!". But I don't want to be like those people who always message me whenever I sell something on eBay, asking all kinds of questions, but they never bid on the item I'm selling.

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microtonal



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PostPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2015 8:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

The Dave Smith Instruments Pro2 1.0 manual shows no sign of microtuning.

Sad
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2015 9:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

microtonal wrote:
The Dave Smith Instruments Pro2 1.0 manual shows no sign of microtuning.

Sad


synths (hardware and/or software) do not necessarily need to support microtonal scales if you have the right computer applications.
It is possible to microtune any synth with the application I use: LMSO Exclamation

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microtonal



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PostPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2015 10:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

seraph wrote:


synths (hardware and/or software) do not necessarily need to support microtonal scales if you have the right computer applications.
It is possible to microtune any synth with the application I use: LMSO Exclamation


There is a long history of the MIDI to monophonic pitch bend applications going back 15 or so years. But they have many limitations and don't work for everyone.

1) It requires routing everything through your computer.

2) Computer application dependencies have a history of being obsoleted by newer hardware, operating systems and lack of support. For instance, while LMSO can still be purchased for current MAC OSes, the developer's web site has been hijacked.

3) It reduces an N-note polyphonic synthesizers (where N typically equals 48-256) to a 16 note synthesizer due to monophonic use of each MIDI channel. Not applicable for the Pro2, but it is for most digital synthesizers.

4) More than 16 notes requires multiple MIDI outputs.

5) Items 1 & 2 can be solved by using a dedicated unit such as the H-Pi Instruments Tuning Box. But that is $299 that shouldn't be needed. Most players do not want to take a MIDI out from their synthesizers to another box, then MIDI back in, just to play notes. It should be self contained.

I have a lot more information on microtonal hardware and software solutions on my web site:

http://www.microtonal-synthesis.com
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GovernorSilver



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2015 12:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

microtonal wrote:
The Dave Smith Instruments Pro2 1.0 manual shows no sign of microtuning.

Sad


The DSI guy was looking for feedback from users and potential users like yourself to make the business case to his boss to implement microtuning. Looks like he didn't get enough to build a strong case.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2015 1:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

seraph wrote:
microtonal wrote:
The Dave Smith Instruments Pro2 1.0 manual shows no sign of microtuning.

Sad


synths (hardware and/or software) do not necessarily need to support microtonal scales if you have the right computer applications.
It is possible to microtune any synth with the application I use: LMSO Exclamation


I agree with microtonal's responses to your argument here.

I'm surprised that someone with your education and musical experience does not understand the advantage of turning on a keyboard and having the tuning inside it already.

Hey I have a brilliant idea! Everybody stop making keyboards with patch memory! So now if you want to use your presets you have to connect a computer! Software solves all problems!!!!

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Yasha



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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 11:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

As the LMSO manual states: "The MIDI Tuning Standard sysex format is the one that is recommended by the MIDI Manufacturers Association for all modern synthesizers that support full keyboard retuning."

Even if you can retune a keyboard somehow from its panel, it makes sense to have a way to load and save tunings (to and from a computer or some kind of dedicated MIDI tuning box), and for this sysex dumps are great.

A (not so) quick and dirty method for tuning from the panel might allow the user to either:
    - Retune every key on the keyboard in cents or Hz (for scales that have more or less than 12 notes or which repeat according to intervals other than the octave) or
    - Retune twelve keys within one octave to be repeated up and down the keyboard (for scales such as historical meantones or Turkish makam).
But then you would still need a list of frequencies to enter which have to be calculated somehow by someone.

Any more than that would be out of scope for a hardware synth. There are just too different approaches to microtonality and too many different ways to construct scales. With the MIDI Tuning Standard, a user can obtain the MTS files for the scales they want to use or use one of several dedicated applications to generate a scale in MTS format, then load it into the synth.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2015 2:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

microtonal wrote:

There is a long history of the MIDI to monophonic pitch bend applications going back 15 or so years. But they have many limitations and don't work for everyone.


you are perfectly right and MIDI specs provide better ways of microtuning but very few builders/programmers have implemented them.

arrow http://www.midi.org/techspecs/midituning.php
arrow http://xen-arts.net/vsti/

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2015 2:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

microtonal wrote:

I have a lot more information on microtonal hardware and software solutions on my web site:

http://www.microtonal-synthesis.com


I bookmarked your website a long time ago Exclamation
Lots of great stuff Very Happy

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xjscott



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2015 8:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Thank you for all the feedback, it is valuable and useful to know what people really think of one's work.

I agree in general. MTS is the solution, it's real time, it's portable, it's not some weird text file that depends on line endings and may or may not even have frequency anchoring information.

I devised many many workarounds to compensate for the lack of proper support in instruments. Proper support would be much much much better than workarounds, but many composers such as myself didn't want to wait forever for instrument manufacturers to decide to support non-western cultures, which is something that I once thought was going to happen, but I see now that it probably won't.

LMSO is many different things. In addition to providing editors, instruments, and specific support for instruments that are retunable, one additional subsystem, but one which took incredible investments of time and effort, is the many tuning workarounds and solutions for particular instruments which unfortunately have no tuning support. These have always been intended to be workarounds for deficient instruments lacking MTS support. These workarounds I have designed and invented and innovated so long that many intricate details of the capabilities of the workarounds now vastly surpass best in class specific implementations that have actually been implemented. But even so this has always been a temporary situation, with the hope that eventually instrument manufacturers would transcend their eurocentrism and allow access to their instruments by musicians from other cultures. This has unfortunately not happened though, despite the reality that the white west is of increasingly little relevance to the world or its future.

I don't agree that I haven't provided good service or kept things running. I believe my work was not just good quality, but was overwhelmingly the best ever created. Others may disagree, though they seem to be people who either don't write compelling music, or who have never seen my work at all.

With service most inquiries I got back to people within minutes. Others within hours. Rarely it was longer. Bug reports I would burn the midnight oil and often offer fixes within a day. People with confusion on particular instruments often received personal video tutorials. It's likely not everyone got everything they hoped for, or expected or felt entitled to, but most were happy and many became friends. What am I being compared to to be found so lacking? Do the big corporations out there which offer highly technical and mathematical creations with such personal service that this small artistic craftsmen operation does regarding highly technical and mathematical tools for artists to expressively create?

After shutting down operations due to harassment from white supremacists and colonialism supporters, some asked me to keep things available for sale at the store since they had been saving up and felt it was morally wrong of me to just stop operations. So for 2.5 years the products have been for sale, and I've supported all customers and I've kept things working with updates. I can see here that this work was not appreciated though. That is fine. I understand. I don't need to go where I am not needed or spend time on this, and therefore I have removed the last vestiges of product availability, and there will be no more updates or work on compatibility, due to the general toxic environment of the microtonal field, but also due to a lack of serious interest in the field itself.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2015 5:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

LMSO is the most important piece of software I have in my computer because it has allowed me, for almost ten years now, to retune all synths, hardware or software, that I happen to own. It has certainly changed my musical life for the better and it was a big loss when Jeff shut down operations.

I can testify that I have never received a better support than the one offered by him. He has been very patient with me, always supportive and if I know something about alternative tunings it is mostly because of him.

LMSO is also a good reason to stick to my MacBook Pro with OS 10.6.8

He has never charged me a penny for all the upgrades he has sent me (some of them solving specific problems I had told him about) and those 165USD that I spent in 2006 to buy it were the best thing I could do for my musical life.

Need I say more? Yes, thanks again!

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2015 10:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Could anyone recommend a good alternative to LMSO for logic 9 ? I'm kicking myself now for not purchasing it before they closed shop !
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2015 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I consider myself more of a singer-songwriter than a microtonalist, but I have been interested in other tunings since my junior high school years, when I was introduced to this concept by the ethnomusicology teacher at a summer music camp.

I have never regretted purchasing LMSO and it's always in the dock at the bottom of my screen, ready to be opened and used. I understand if Jeff no longer wishes to support this application. No one should be tied to something that no longer brings them pleasure, and he has already provided free support for years and year. I don't see myself upgrading my MacBook beyond OS X 10.7, so I'll still be able to use it for years to come.

It does make me sad, though. LMSO reflects its creator's philosophy in that its focus is much more on making music now than wallowing in theory. It is so easy to create scales and then immediately try them out. And from its design, it is obviously one developer's unique work of love. (As Henry Kaiser said: "BE YOURSELF. Don't try to be somebody else. Your grandmother should be able to recognize your playing if she heard it on the radio." This is software design that follows the same principle.)

So yeah, I think LMSO is a force for good in the world. I don't know if there are lots of nefarious people in its user base, but I would think its idiosyncrasies would select for users that just want to get down to making music. I would hope that the people who actually own and use it that are not the ones making negative comments about it or its creator. If i'm right, I don't see the sense in penalizing its users for the sins of others, if that's the prime motive for ending support.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2015 10:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

xjscott, I respect your decision. Thank you for your contributions over the years to the music community.

Efforts to make it easier for musicians to make microtonal music should be supported, whether they opt for software along the lines of LMSO or prefer an all-hardware synth solution.

In the case of the original thread topic, it was not helpful at all to discourage people from talking to DSI about improving microtonal support.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 7:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

In reviewing the thread, I realized I went over the top in a couple of my posts to seraph. My apologies.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2015 10:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

GovernorSilver wrote:
In reviewing the thread, I realized I went over the top in a couple of my posts to seraph. My apologies.


I had to re-read this thread to know what you were talking about Wink
never mind, thanks anyway Very Happy

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PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2016 4:14 pm    Post subject: DSI is now the cutting edge in microtonal support Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Dave Smith Instruments is now offering full keyboard, multi-slot MTS sysex support in its newest instruments. MTS support is present in the Prophet 6 and the DSI produced OB-6. A firmware update to the Prophet 12 has also added support to that instrument as well.

Thank you very much to GovernorSilver and the others whose tireless support of this issue resulted in these great synths having great microtonal support.
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PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2016 9:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I totally agree. I am also hoping that this will find its way into the Pro2 eventually.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2018 11:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Well it took a while but this has just happened in the latest OS update, along with Linear FM and a few other new features.

Combined with paraphonic mode and the sequencer, micro tuning and linear FM could be interesting to explore.

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