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#1983267 - 11/06/12 12:15 AM How to connect Ivory II?
brettr Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 33
I haven't used virtual instruments with keyboards. For a complete newbie, how does this all connect? My understanding is midi out from the keyboard via a midi cable of some type into a laptop, where the software is installed. I'm not sure what happens from there.

I'm guessing as you play the piano, sound comes out of the laptop using the Ivory II samplings. But that seems impractical as there would be too much latency. Are there any youtube videos of this complete setup or does someone here have a video? I see people on youtube playing keyboards using this type of setup. However, they only show the keyboard and nothing else, which gives an incomplete picture.

I have a Kawai MP10 and Macbook Pro (2.2Ghz Intel core i7 with 8GB RAM and SSD drive).

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#1983279 - 11/06/12 01:37 AM Re: How to connect Ivory II? [Re: brettr]
RafaPolit Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/20/11
Posts: 263
Loc: Quito, Ecuador
You have the picture right. The latency issue depends on several factors, computer speed, audio hardware, effects added, etc. But in most cases you can configure it to be so low as to not bother you. Your computer has great specs, are you using the onboard audio or do you have an separate audio card?

The usual setup has the computer audio output either returning into the DP or to external monitors.

Rafa.


Edited by RafaPolit (11/06/12 01:38 AM)
_________________________
Roland FP-7F

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#1983283 - 11/06/12 02:11 AM Re: How to connect Ivory II? [Re: brettr]
TwoFiveOne Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/15/12
Posts: 13
You can use the USB port on the MP10 to connect with your laptop (MIDI over USB) Use the build in audio of your macbook.


Edited by TwoFiveOne (11/06/12 02:12 AM)

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#1983308 - 11/06/12 05:10 AM Re: How to connect Ivory II? [Re: brettr]
MacMacMac Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 3863
Loc: North Carolina
I posted a diagram here.

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#1983314 - 11/06/12 05:51 AM Re: How to connect Ivory II? [Re: brettr]
Macy Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/09/10
Posts: 614
Originally Posted By: brettr

I'm guessing as you play the piano, sound comes out of the laptop using the Ivory II samplings. But that seems impractical as there would be too much latency. ...

I have a Kawai MP10 and Macbook Pro (2.2Ghz Intel core i7 with 8GB RAM and SSD drive).


That should be a quad-core i7 so you won't have any latency issue with Ivory II on that MBP as long as you load the sample library on the SSD. If you have both an SSD and a HD installed in the MBP load the Ivory II program on the HD and the samples on the SSD. Ivory II is MUCH more disc intensive than the Vintage D virtual piano for instance, and unless you have a fast disc drive (an SSD is very fast) you would have to use a larger audio buffer which would increase latency. But with an SSD you will have no problem using around 100 voice polyphony (a setting you make within the Ivory II standalone application). You should be able to use a 128 sample buffer (also set within the Ivory II standalone application) or possibly smaller (depends on that i7/SSD combination and the number of voices chosen) and won't notice any latency.

You don't need an external audio interface. You can run the digital audio output of the MBP to an audio receiver to drive speakers. Connect the USB to Host output of the MP10 to the Mac USB port. No additional Mac MIDI driver is required for that keyboard according to the MP10 manual.
_________________________
Macy

CVP-409GP, Vintage D, Ivory II GP's & American Concert D, True Keys American D, Ravenscroft 275, Garritan Authorized Steinway, Alicia's Keys, EWQL Pianos, MainStage, iPad/forScore/PageFlip Cicada, Custom Mac MIDI/Audio Software Design, Macs Everywhere

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#1983361 - 11/06/12 09:44 AM Re: How to connect Ivory II? [Re: brettr]
brettr Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 33
Thanks all. This is very helpful. @MacMacMac, great diagram.

The MBP has a 250GB SSD and that's the only drive. There's 10GB of free space available. I'll have have to make more but what does Ivory require?

I'm mainly interested in the 'Steinway D Concert Grand' (or at least I think I am).

I use the headphones so won't need to go with an external speaker setup. Does that mean I only need a USB cable (no midi)?

Can Ivory also record what you are playing? Will that tax the system too much, creating unreasonable latency?

Since I don't know if ultimately I will like Ivory, do they have a demo that allows a full try out? I think they do. I just have to get a USB cable now.

I drag my laptop all over though. To avoid constantly setting it up and taking it down with the MP10, is just getting a Mac mini or something ideal? Something that is dedicated to the MP10 and remains setup? I'm looking for something small that can be somewhat tucked away.

The MP10 has superior action but crap sound. Rather than getting an Avant Grand at this point, The MP10/Ivory setup might do for the time being and I don't have to worry about hauling around some hulking piano. Even with some dedicated computer for Ivory + the MP10, that will probably come to around $200 (Ivory) + $1500 (computer) + $2100 (MP10) = $3700. If the sound can be made as good as the action, that will be an excellent deal.

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#1983428 - 11/06/12 01:00 PM Re: How to connect Ivory II? [Re: brettr]
MacMacMac Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 3863
Loc: North Carolina
Ivory takes up LOTS of disk space. If you have only 10 GB of free space, that's a problem. I have a variety of piano libraries, some as small at 4 GB, some approaching 10 GB ... and the full Ivory v1.5 package, which takes around 60 GB for it's four pianos. For that reason, I had to replace the original 80 GB drive with a 330 GB drive. Not expensive.

But I wonder ... how is it that you've nearly filled up your 250 GB drive before loading up on piano stuff? I presume that this is not a piano-only laptop?

Mine is dedicated to the piano. I have no non-piano stuff on it, aside from a web browser. Everything fits into around 180 GB ... Windows, tools, and piano libraries galore.

But if your laptop will be a do-everything box, you'll need more storage.

As for connections ... If the MP10 has a USB-to-host connection, you won't need an external sound card ... well, maybe ...

I use the Presonus sound card because my laptop's sound card exhibits too much latency. The Presonus solved that. It also offers a MIDI interface. I use the MIDI connection, but I could just as well use a direct USB connection.

If your laptop sound card does not show much latency, then you could skip the external sound card. All you'd need is a USB cable. (You'll probably need the freebie ASIO4All driver, too. But I don't know much about Macs, so I'm not certain about that part.)

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#1983447 - 11/06/12 01:55 PM Re: How to connect Ivory II? [Re: brettr]
brettr Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 33
Thanks. I have a lot of stuff on this MBP and will need to clean it off. I haven't used for anything piano yet. If this all works out, I may get a machine dedicated to the piano.

Does Ivory II offer a trial?

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#1983463 - 11/06/12 02:46 PM Re: How to connect Ivory II? [Re: brettr]
MacMacMac Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 3863
Loc: North Carolina
No trials for Ivory.
Nor for any of the Galaxy pianos (Vintage D, Vienna Grand, Steinway, Giant, Alicias Keys).

You can book an online tryout seesion at try-sound.

They have a bunch of pianos (and other instruments) that you can try. The network introduces a lot of latency, so you can't play properly. But you can get an idea of what the pianos sound like. And it's free.

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#1983469 - 11/06/12 03:14 PM Re: How to connect Ivory II? [Re: brettr]
RafaPolit Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/20/11
Posts: 263
Loc: Quito, Ecuador
As for recording: you can use any DAW or other recording software to play and record, but I find it much easier to record to a midi track (if you are unfamiliar, midi tracks only record numbers: which note you played, how fast you played it, for how long, if you depressed the pedal or not, etc.) and then I play back that midi track to the sampled sound for record.

This allows several advantages:
- If your latency is an issue, you can 'lower' the settings of the piano for your original play but put them at max for the recording, as latency will no longer bother you.
- You can try different settings for the piano sounds, including varying the amount and type of reverb, etc., or even change the sound completely (for instance, you decided an EP was more suiting for that particular song).
- If you made any mistake when playing, you can correct a single note you missed instead of recording that part again.
- You can make your playing into a score for others to play or to comment on.

Recording midi data puts almost no burden on the computer.

Rafa.
_________________________
Roland FP-7F

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#1983497 - 11/06/12 04:33 PM Re: How to connect Ivory II? [Re: brettr]
Macy Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/09/10
Posts: 614
Originally Posted By: brettr
Thanks all. This is very helpful. @MacMacMac, great diagram.

MacMacMac is trying to be helpful but the diagram shows an external sound card. There is no reason to use an external sound card in this way with a Mac. That is PC thinking. Correct me if I'm wrong MacMacMac, but despite your name you are a PC user, right?

Run the USB to Host connection from the MP10 to a Mac USB input directly. Run the digital audio output from the Mac directly to the audio receiver that is shown in the diagram directly. No sound card. Also according to the MP10 manual, the built-in Mac USB/MIDI driver works, so you don't even load an external driver for that keyboard.
_________________________
Macy

CVP-409GP, Vintage D, Ivory II GP's & American Concert D, True Keys American D, Ravenscroft 275, Garritan Authorized Steinway, Alicia's Keys, EWQL Pianos, MainStage, iPad/forScore/PageFlip Cicada, Custom Mac MIDI/Audio Software Design, Macs Everywhere

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#1983503 - 11/06/12 04:45 PM Re: How to connect Ivory II? [Re: brettr]
brettr Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 33
I setup a session with try-sound. But after downloading and trying to open their apps, I get an error that they are both from an unidentified developer. Looks like they don't support the latest OS X. So that's a no go.

Is the only option to shell out the 200 bucks? I like the Ivory II Steinway D sound. In the beginning, I liked the MP10 sound but that all changed fast since the adjustments can't improve it. I think the Ivory II will be a dramatic improvement/difference but I haven't played it so can't be sure.

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#1983513 - 11/06/12 05:00 PM Re: How to connect Ivory II? [Re: Macy]
MacMacMac Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 3863
Loc: North Carolina
Yes, I'm a PC user. My name was Mac long before the Macintosh was born ... and even before Steve Jobs was born.
Originally Posted By: Macy
Correct me if I'm wrong MacMacMac, but despite your name you are a PC user, right?

And yes, you can run audio from the macINTOSH to the amplifier without using an external sound card. I needed one because I'm running Win XP on a rather ancient laptop. I could not get low latency with the built-in soundcard, so I went with an external.

In other fora people running Win 7 on modern hardware seem to have success without the external sound card. And likewise with the Mac.

I've also read discussion that the external cards give better sound ... for techno reasons. Maybe that's true, but I didn't have any problem with the sound quality of the internal sound card. Only the latency was troublesome.
Originally Posted By: Macy
Run the USB to Host connection from the MP10 to a Mac USB input directly. Run the digital audio output from the Mac directly to the audio receiver that is shown in the diagram directly. No sound card. Also according to the MP10 manual, the built-in Mac USB/MIDI driver works, so you don't even load an external driver for that keyboard.

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#1983515 - 11/06/12 05:05 PM Re: How to connect Ivory II? [Re: brettr]
Macy Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/09/10
Posts: 614
Originally Posted By: brettr
I setup a session with try-sound. But after downloading and trying to open their apps, I get an error that they are both from an unidentified developer. Looks like they don't support the latest OS X. So that's a no go.


Did you try to right-click and then Open? They probably haven't registered with Apple. This is simply the new GateKeeper security function in Mountain Lion (OS X 10.8)

Originally Posted By: brettr
Is the only option to shell out the 200 bucks? I like the Ivory II Steinway D sound. In the beginning, I liked the MP10 sound but that all changed fast since the adjustments can't improve it. I think the Ivory II will be a dramatic improvement/difference but I haven't played it so can't be sure.

Are you talking about the Ivory II German D (part of the Ivory II Grand Piano collection) or the Ivory II American Concert D? I would recommend the latter, and it's less expensive since its only one piano, but that's a matter of personal taste. The American Concert D is larger however. It takes 49 GB of drive space.


Edited by Macy (11/06/12 05:45 PM)
_________________________
Macy

CVP-409GP, Vintage D, Ivory II GP's & American Concert D, True Keys American D, Ravenscroft 275, Garritan Authorized Steinway, Alicia's Keys, EWQL Pianos, MainStage, iPad/forScore/PageFlip Cicada, Custom Mac MIDI/Audio Software Design, Macs Everywhere

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#1983516 - 11/06/12 05:08 PM Re: How to connect Ivory II? [Re: MacMacMac]
Macy Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/09/10
Posts: 614
Originally Posted By: MacMacMac

I've also read discussion that the external cards give better sound ... for techno reasons. Maybe that's true, but I didn't have any problem with the sound quality of the internal sound card. Only the latency was troublesome.


No advantage at all (sound or latency) if you take the digital audio out of the Mac. Just unnecessary complication and expense.
_________________________
Macy

CVP-409GP, Vintage D, Ivory II GP's & American Concert D, True Keys American D, Ravenscroft 275, Garritan Authorized Steinway, Alicia's Keys, EWQL Pianos, MainStage, iPad/forScore/PageFlip Cicada, Custom Mac MIDI/Audio Software Design, Macs Everywhere

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#1983524 - 11/06/12 05:25 PM Re: How to connect Ivory II? [Re: brettr]
brettr Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 33
@Macy: Thanks. I got it open. My session doesn't start for another 2 hours. But when I open their app, I don't have the sound card field or any of the other stuff. I just have the latency drop down. Is this right?

Screenshot: http://d.pr/i/Ys4g

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#1983565 - 11/06/12 08:44 PM Re: How to connect Ivory II? [Re: brettr]
brettr Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 33
I was able to get try-sound working once the session started. It wasn't loud but I could hear the difference. I'm going to purchase it and later get a dedicated laptop for the MP10. Thanks.

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#1983743 - 11/07/12 12:08 PM Re: How to connect Ivory II? [Re: brettr]
brettr Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 33
Thanks. I didn't know about the iLok issue. So you guys leaves this goofy key plugged into your machines all the time? Plus it's another $50 for nothing.

Is there anything comparable to the Steinway used in Ivory II's American Concert D that doesn't require a USB key?

What would be a reason to not get Steinberg The Grand 3 instead of Ivory II American Concert D?


Edited by brettr (11/07/12 12:29 PM)

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#1983749 - 11/07/12 12:51 PM Re: How to connect Ivory II? [Re: brettr]
MacMacMac Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 3863
Loc: North Carolina
All of the Ivory version 2 pianos require the Ilok key. That's one of the reasons I stayed with the older version 1.5, which did not require Ilok.

Another reason I did not buy Ivory v2 is that I bought Vintage D (and others) that I like immensely.

As for Steinberg The Grand 3 ... I've not seen any mention of it here, nor heard any samples/demos. Have you? What are your impressions?

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#1983767 - 11/07/12 01:25 PM Re: How to connect Ivory II? [Re: brettr]
brettr Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 33
There isn't much on the Steinberg The Grand 3. Lots more of people playing Ivory II American Concert D. I'm guessing Ivory II's American Concert D is top of the line?

By the way, I really like what I've heard coming from Ivory II. I just don't like the iLok nonsense. But if that is the only way to get the best virtual piano, I have no choice.


Edited by brettr (11/07/12 01:28 PM)

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#1983770 - 11/07/12 01:27 PM Re: How to connect Ivory II? [Re: brettr]
gvfarns Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3484
Loc: Pennsylvania
Originally Posted By: brettr
Thanks. I didn't know about the iLok issue. So you guys leaves this goofy key plugged into your machines all the time? Plus it's another $50 for nothing.

Is there anything comparable to the Steinway used in Ivory II's American Concert D that doesn't require a USB key?

What would be a reason to not get Steinberg The Grand 3 instead of Ivory II American Concert D?


Yeah, the iLok sucks. I don't use any iLok pianos, which include all the Ivory pianos. Besides costing extra money, I find it offensive that they require us to buy an expensive and inconvenient copy-protection mechanism. There are a number of audio software products that require the iLok. Apparently piracy is really big in the audio realm or something.

As an alternative, you can get Galaxy. You can buy Galaxy Vintage D, which is a very much beloved piano here. The Galaxy suite itself is pretty good too, or you can buy the pianos individually for like $150 or less each (download only). Is it comparable to Ivory? Yes, though Ivory is newer (I think) and probably has an edge in the reviews. At least, Ivory appears to have a larger advertising budget and larger file sizes, for whatever those things are worth.

Personally I just use Vintage D. It seems that everyone who buys it comes back and reports that they love it without qualification, so I'm always confident recommending it. In a recent thread we had a piece played on Vintage D and American D (among others) and to me and others Vintage D sounded better. American D is definitely cutting edge technologically (and brand new) but whether it's actually a better piano has yet to be established. Vintage D is already kind of a classic.


Edited by gvfarns (11/07/12 01:32 PM)

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#1983781 - 11/07/12 01:48 PM Re: How to connect Ivory II? [Re: Macy]
gvfarns Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3484
Loc: Pennsylvania
Originally Posted By: Macy
MacMacMac is trying to be helpful but the diagram shows an external sound card. There is no reason to use an external sound card in this way with a Mac. That is PC thinking. Correct me if I'm wrong MacMacMac, but despite your name you are a PC user, right?

Run the USB to Host connection from the MP10 to a Mac USB input directly. Run the digital audio output from the Mac directly to the audio receiver that is shown in the diagram directly. No sound card. Also according to the MP10 manual, the built-in Mac USB/MIDI driver works, so you don't even load an external driver for that keyboard.


PC's do often have inferior latency characteristics and are often benefited by the addition of a USB interface simply because it will come with a better driver. More powerful PC's and Macs sometimes have good enough built-in drivers and hardware to have good latency when running directly from the board.

However it should be remembered that external audio interfaces also often feature superior DAC and other hardware. Of particular note is that they may have better headphone amplifiers, which can make a difference when listening with high-end, high-impedance headphones. They also have convenient things like analog volume control, good ADC, MIDI-IN, etc.

But I guess I do think that it's better to start with direct connections and only get an external interface if you find that you need one or if you suffer from an acute case of gear acquisition syndrome. My impression is that a large proportion of forum members do use external interfaces, partially because we love the gear.

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#1983811 - 11/07/12 03:36 PM Re: How to connect Ivory II? [Re: gvfarns]
Macy Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/09/10
Posts: 614
Originally Posted By: gvfarns
PC's do often have inferior latency characteristics and are often benefited by the addition of a USB interface simply because it will come with a better driver. More powerful PC's and Macs sometimes have good enough built-in drivers and hardware to have good latency when running directly from the board.

There are no latency issues with a Mac, although you might be able to create one using external USB audio interfaces and 3rd party written drivers.

Originally Posted By: gvfarns
However it should be remembered that external audio interfaces also often feature superior DAC and other hardware. Of particular note is that they may have better headphone amplifiers, which can make a difference when listening with high-end, high-impedance headphones. They also have convenient things like analog volume control, good ADC, MIDI-IN, etc.


The original diagram I commented on showed an analog audio output from an external sound card fed to the analog input of an A/V receiver. It is extremely unlikely that a cheap external USB audio card is going to have better DAC/analog output circuitry than a decent A/V receiver, and of course good A/V receivers will have extremely good DAC/analog output circuits. The same can be said about any other part of the audio chain including a headphone output, etc. Of course one can spend thousands of dollars on external audio equipment in the form of external DACs, A/V preamps, etc.

Originally Posted By: gvfarns
But I guess I do think that it's better to start with direct connections and only get an external interface if you find that you need one or if you suffer from an acute case of gear acquisition syndrome. My impression is that a large proportion of forum members do use external interfaces, partially because we love the gear.


I expect a large proportion of forum members also use PCs, which it seems explains the reason for using external interfaces. I'm not immune to the love of gear. On the contrary, (simply to illustrate the point and not to brag) I have 10's of thousands of dollars of equipment and speakers for hi-fi and home theater purposes, and a $20K+ Audio Precision Dual Domain Audio Analyzer for test measurement purposes. But I still don't use an external USB audio interface on any of my Macs for anything.
_________________________
Macy

CVP-409GP, Vintage D, Ivory II GP's & American Concert D, True Keys American D, Ravenscroft 275, Garritan Authorized Steinway, Alicia's Keys, EWQL Pianos, MainStage, iPad/forScore/PageFlip Cicada, Custom Mac MIDI/Audio Software Design, Macs Everywhere

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#1983825 - 11/07/12 04:28 PM Re: How to connect Ivory II? [Re: brettr]
slowtraveler Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/14/12
Posts: 231
Loc: Chicago, IL USA
Originally Posted By: brettr
... I use the headphones so won't need to go with an external speaker setup.


Since the OP says above that he primarily uses headphones, I believe he will certainly want an external DAC/amplifier of some kind. Either using the MBP's digital output as @Macy suggests if he wants to connect his headphones to a nearby AV receiver, or monitoring via a good external USB interface, will give much better results than headphone monitoring via the Mac's native analog output, IMO.

B.

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#1984003 - 11/08/12 04:27 AM Re: How to connect Ivory II? [Re: brettr]
Gigantoad Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/02/12
Posts: 336
Mac internal soundcard is better than most PC's so there may be less need to get an external solution. However, saying that there wouldn't be any benefits in doing so is a bit misleading. Most every proffessional I've encountered uses an external interface like a RME fireface or similiar. Better connectivity, possibly less latency and certainly better sound quality. How much a cheap USB card would increase quality is a valid question though.

For home use and just for playing the piano with its limited dynamic range, Mac internal sound is probably enough. Also worth mentioning that PC desktop users can also buy an internal soundcard that usually has even less latency and similiar sound quality unless they are cheaply made and not shielded enough (more prone to picking up interference noise from other components in the PC).

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#1984074 - 11/08/12 09:24 AM Re: How to connect Ivory II? [Re: brettr]
brettr Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 33
@gvfarns: Does the Galaxy Vintage D have any lag or popping issues when using the sustaining pedal. I've read this is an issue with Galaxy and not Ivory II.

Also, does the Galaxy player software tend to peg the cpu?

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#1984090 - 11/08/12 10:01 AM Re: How to connect Ivory II? [Re: brettr]
MacMacMac Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 3863
Loc: North Carolina
I run Vintage D in Kontakt on an old, lame laptop. No problems with latency nor with CPU utilization.

The first release of Vintage D has some odd behaviors. These were fixed in an update over a year ago.

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#1984094 - 11/08/12 10:12 AM Re: How to connect Ivory II? [Re: brettr]
brettr Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 33
Thanks Mac. Since I have a Macbook Pro, I should have no issues going USB to USB and bypassing all of the midi stuff? I plan to record sound and not as interested in midi (yet).

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#1984101 - 11/08/12 10:25 AM Re: How to connect Ivory II? [Re: brettr]
MacMacMac Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 3863
Loc: North Carolina
USB-to-USB is as simple as it gets. You should be good to go.

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#1984108 - 11/08/12 10:42 AM Re: How to connect Ivory II? [Re: brettr]
kwyn Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/27/12
Posts: 11
Vintage D is awesome. However one issue, not a big one cause I don't use them that much, but the pushing or letting go of the sustain pedal while holding a note or chord will kill the pads. Not sure why.

However, vintage D comes with the old vintage D instrument too, and it works fine.

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Gear4Music-who makes these?
by LarryShone
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Bach WTC: Good Editions?
by DaveInJapan
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Odd Baldwin
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Building Piano From Scratch
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Hanon 6 Awkward Fingering
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