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#1353588 - 01/19/10 06:24 PM I'm new - I'm ignorant
JimL Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/19/10
Posts: 7
1. I'm not a proficient keyboardist. I flunked college music theory because the teacher said "play everything in this class or flunk." But I love to "mess around" at a keyboard and write stuff I eventually learn to play well. Such stuff as big voiced pipe organ pieces or mellow voiced trombone solos or ye olde Doxology or Mendelsson in piano.

2. I have an old Yamaha YS200 that badly needs to be put in the garbage, because although it plays very expressively it squeals with a relatively low volume but very high pitch (which I would probably say was very loud if I still had my 18 year old ears). I want to get something to replace it, but on everything I have touched - cheap or expensive - the built in instruments seem to me to sound cheap and tinny compared to the YS200. Therefore I want something I can construct my own voices with.

3. So far anyone I've talked to thinks I've lost my mind when I say "construct my own voices." Apparently in the world of keyboards as in the world of computers you are just "out of it" if you can't use exactly the right buzz-words when you ask for help. But while reading messages here I got the impression that this place is different.

I've stumbled across the term "patches." I haven't found a definition for "patches" yet, but I'm wondering if patches aren't the hand constructed (or edited) voices (or sounds) I want.

Oh, I don't really need 88 keys. In fact I don't have space for any acoustic piano or even a big 88 key stage piano.

If I've made any sense so far I can now ask for advice. What kind of keyboard do I want - with lots of "fixable" voices/sounds - within the $500 to maybe $1200 range?

I've noticed that the Yamaha DGX keyboards can apparently be fed by a computer editor (DXG?). If this will do what I want (patches or voices or sounds or instruments or whatever I ought to be calling them), great!

There are some less expensive Rolands that MAY be of interest, but I'm not good enough at the ivories to really find out or quick enough to understand features in a store. So I end up going in circles and buying nothing.

To sum it all up in one word H-E-L-P!!!

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#1353609 - 01/19/10 07:33 PM Re: I'm new - I'm ignorant [Re: JimL]
ChrisA Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 3841
Loc: Redondo Beach, California
Quote:
... I want to get something to replace it, but on everything I have touched - cheap or expensive - the built in instruments seem to me to sound cheap and tinny compared to the YS200. Therefore I want something I can construct my own voices with.


What you have is an aalog synth. It is a "real" instrument. All of the digital sampers are really trying to emulate a real instrument.


Quote:
3. So far anyone I've talked to thinks I've lost my mind when I say "construct my own voices."


The current term is "sound design". This is where you think of what a hollow metal ball might sound like if you struck it and it rang and then you create that sound.

Quote:

I've stumbled across the term "patches." I haven't found a definition for "patches" yet, but I'm wondering if patches aren't the hand constructed (or edited) voices (or sounds) I want.


In the old days you contruct the sound with a set of short audo "patch" cords. cabling the oscilator to the filter and so on. Kind of like and old telephone switchboard

Quote:


If I've made any sense so far I can now ask for advice. What kind of keyboard do I want - with lots of "fixable" voices/sounds - within the $500 to maybe $1200 range



two ways you can go. (1) Buy an analog synthesiser. or a digital version that tries to emulat and old analog. Mogg still makes them.
http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/PhattyStage2/

Or most people today are doing this on conputers. There is software that lets you create patches and mix this with sampling. It is much more flexible and complex then any analog synth ever was

You'd buy a MIDI keyboard or other kind of controller and then hook it up to software. For an example of the software
Go to this URL can scroll down to "Studio Instruments" and then you can click "sculpture" or "synth" and then try out the blue buttons on the bottom to get a feel for what can be done
http://www.apple.com/logicstudio/plug-ins/

Most people will play the sounds using a keyboard. A few will use a drum pad. But must will buy a control surface with sliders and knobs so they can control the software with something more natural than a mouse


Edited by ChrisA (01/19/10 07:42 PM)

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#1354367 - 01/20/10 06:41 PM Re: I'm new - I'm ignorant [Re: ChrisA]
JimL Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/19/10
Posts: 7
Quote:
Quote:

I've stumbled across the term "patches." I haven't found a definition for "patches" yet, but I'm wondering if patches aren't the hand constructed (or edited) voices (or sounds) I want.


Quote:
In the old days you contruct the sound with a set of short audo "patch" cords. cabling the oscilator to the filter and so on. Kind of like and old telephone switchboard

I've always liked knowing where a word came from in the past. Is there a definition for what "patch" means now? That's what I said I hadn't found yet.

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#1354377 - 01/20/10 06:54 PM Re: I'm new - I'm ignorant [Re: ChrisA]
JimL Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/19/10
Posts: 7
Quote:
(1) Buy an analog synthesiser. or a digital version that tries to emulate an old analog. Mogg still makes them.
http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/PhattyStage2/

Sounds like Moogs would be great if they were 5 or 6 octaves instead of 3.

Quote:
Most people will play the sounds using a keyboard. A few will use a drum pad. But must will buy a control surface with sliders and knobs so they can control the software with something more natural than a mouse

The only "controller" I want is a keyboard. I would hope for a computer connection if I can edit sounds/tones with it. Since onboard editors don't seem to exist I'd guess a computer connection would be essential.

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#1354382 - 01/20/10 07:03 PM Re: I'm new - I'm ignorant [Re: JimL]
dewster Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4271
Loc: Northern NJ
What ChrisA said. All the real synthesis is going on in PCs now, hardware synths have fallen so far behind they are almost anachronisms at this point.

You might look at Csound, as it is free. Synthmaker is an incredible way to build just about anything you want, even drill down to the code level.
_________________________
The DPBSD Project!
THE RD-700NX Thread!
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#1354428 - 01/20/10 08:42 PM Re: I'm new - I'm ignorant [Re: JimL]
ChrisA Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 3841
Loc: Redondo Beach, California

The only "controller" I want is a keyboard. I would hope for a computer connection if I can edit sounds/tones with it. Since onboard editors don't seem to exist I'd guess a computer connection would be essential.
[/quote]

Yes, "essential". With yore current system the editor ran on a PC and then downloaded settings into the keyboard and the sound was generated there inside the keyboard.

Today the sound is generated inside the Computer. The keyboard only sends keypress events to the computer. You could use your existing keyboard as a controller.

Inside the sound editor you set many parameters that together define the sound. Sometimes musicians like to be able to change a parameter during a live performance. Modern software allows you to assign a parameter to some hardware control like a pedal or pitch bend wheel. Sometimes a drum pad can switch between two pre-set sounds. That is what I ment about non-keyboard controllers -- basically you can take parts of the sound editor and move them onto physical real-time controls then use those very much like the tone knob or pickup selector on an electric guitar.

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#1354600 - 01/21/10 06:16 AM Re: I'm new - I'm ignorant [Re: ChrisA]
Dr Popper Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/30/09
Posts: 1706
Loc: Hancock Park LA (not again)
You sound like you need a workstation to me. Something like a Yamaha MotifXS8 or a Roland Fantom8 but these are way way way out of your budget. I'd suggest you get a cheap KB midi controller and use software syth's. It will give you what you want to do within your budget.
_________________________
"I'm still an idiot and I'm still in love" - Blue Sofa - The Plugz 1981 (Tito Larriva)
Disclosure : I am professionally supported by but not beholden to various musical instrument manufactures including Yamaha

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#1356256 - 01/23/10 12:05 PM Re: I'm new - I'm ignorant [Re: dewster]
JimL Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/19/10
Posts: 7
Originally Posted By: dewster
What ChrisA said. All the real synthesis is going on in PCs now, hardware synths have fallen so far behind they are almost anachronisms at this point.

Thanks. Actually "far behind" is probably a desired feature for me. I'm EXTREMELY non-multitasking and about equally short on short term memory. I can probably slog through things so I can get a few new voices for my own amusement, given the nature of built in voices I've heard so far, but no more than that.

Quote:
You might look at Csound, as it is free. Synthmaker is an incredible way to build just about anything you want, even drill down to the code level.

Thanks for the recommendation. Now I need to find something to attach the software/computer to.

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#1356296 - 01/23/10 12:50 PM Re: I'm new - I'm ignorant [Re: ChrisA]
JimL Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/19/10
Posts: 7
Originally Posted By: ChrisA

Sometimes musicians like to be able to change a parameter during a live performance. Modern software allows you to assign a parameter to some hardware control like a pedal or pitch bend wheel. Sometimes a drum pad can switch between two pre-set sounds.

It may sound a little odd to say I can just about guarantee you I will never do anything publicly on keyboard, yet that I want to be able to have more control over whatever I can put together. But it is a fact. It's all for my own amazement and amusement.

And for good reason. I love music and I can make up a few pretty good pieces and make them sound great - to my ears. But I have no repertoire and improvisation is out of the question - I am simply not a keyboardist. (My exposure to the public was vocal and 4 or 5 hundred years ago.) When folks hear something they like they want more and I have no more. Put in other words, I'm looking at doing some quality but very limited-in-scope fiddling.

Thanks for the post.

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