Update Sounds

Posted by: BronzeWomn

Update Sounds - 03/10/02 04:57 PM

I don't know if this is the correct room to ask these questions, so here Iam. I would like to know if I can use any kind of sound module to enhance the sounds of my keybroad? For instance, if I have a Yamaha P80...and I like the sounds thats on the Roland RD150...Would I be able to play this roland sound module on the Yamaha P80 and still have the YamP80 sounds?. Hope you understand what I mean. See love the Roland RDl50, the Kurzweil Piano sounds they offer, and the Yamaha p80 has alot of features..so I want to take the other sounds {Roland and Kurz} on myYamP80. What do I need to consider purchasing to make this happen :p
Posted by: SteveY

Re: Update Sounds - 03/10/02 10:40 PM

Hello Bronzewomn. The good news is that YES, it's possible to supplement your existing system with new sounds. However, it's going to involve a little learning on your part about how this works. Also, it would be helpful to know how you're currently listening to your keyboard (amplifier, powered speakers, etc.).

What you'll need to purchase is called a "MIDI tone module". It's also sometimes called a "tone generator", a "synth module", or even a "sound module". An electronic keyboard or synthesizer is essentially a "musical computer with piano keys". A tone module is a "musical computer WITHOUT piano keys". Another way to describe it is to say it's the "brain" of the keyboard without the keys. Using MIDI, you can "control" the tone module by playing the keys on your P80. Perhaps you already understand some of this, but I'll explain it here as simply as I can just in case others lurking here might benefit.

MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) is often mistaken for an object or a device. Rather, it's a language -- a system of communication between electronic musical instruments or devices. Various information is passed between devices that enable the two instruments to "work together". This allows some pretty neat things to happen. In your case, connecting your P80 to a tone module will allow both devices to create sounds while only playing one set of keys. By connecting the P80 to a tone module with a MIDI cable, MIDI messasges such as note information, volume, sustain, etc. are passed through the MIDI cable and essentially played by the tone module even though the tone module doesn't have keys. The P80 in this case is called the "controller", and the tone module is called the "slave" as it essentially mimics what the P80 is doing. For example, if your P80 is set to a piano sound and the tone module is set to a string sound, when middle C is played, both the piano and string sounds are played simultaneously. This is a great way to keep your sounds current. It's no longer necessary to replace the entire keyboard once it's deemed obsolete. Rather than spending thousands on a new keyboard, a tone module with state-of-the-art sounds can be purchased for several hundred dollars. It is important to realize however that MIDI is not the same as "audio". You still need to connect BOTH the P80 and the tone module to a speaker or amplifier in order to be heard. However, if you didn't want to hear the P80, it's possible to just connect the tone module to a speaker or amplifier.

Real life example: I travel fairly regularly for work (music), and need to have great sounds with me. Instead of bringing a large selection of keyboards on a flight, I just bring a module or two. I usually don't even bring a keyboard. I make sure that I have a MIDI keyboard available to me at the venue. All I need to do at that point is connect my module to the supplied MIDI keyboard. I don't even connect the supplied keyboard to the sound system!!! I don't care how old it is, what it sounds like, etc. If it has a decent keyboard action, I'm content. Everything will sound just like it did back home since I'm using my own sounds instead of the ones on the keyboard.
I can even fit my tone modules in the overhead bin on the plane. I have been stopped several times going through security lately!!! You should see the security people when I'm trying to explain what these things are!
Posted by: Shadorunnr

Re: Update Sounds - 03/11/02 03:09 AM

Steve is correct, but allow me to offer a bit more explanation about MIDI itself: MIDI is a computer language and does not contain any sound information. It simply says you have played a note, ( middle C as an example) at a desiginated velocity, (double forte) for a certain length of time, ( 2 seconds) What the music sounds like is no concern of MIDI itself, but is determined by which sound is programed into the sound module. Another way of explaning this is my computer, which is a Macintosh, uses a computer language to communicate, via the internet, to your computer, which probably is NOT a Macintosh, yet understands my computer even though you may be using Windows, (which Macintosh does not.) Some brilliant people, back in the 80's, came up the the MIDI protocal, so that devices made by different manufactures could communicate with each other. Imagine if all Fords burned gasoline, all Chevys burned coal and Dodges burned fruitcakes. Refilling your car would be more difficult, (WHAT!?? NO fruitcakes in Oklahoma?? I guess I'll have to buy a Ford!) Your choice of car would depend on fuel availability in your area. MIDI has done to music what gasoline did to cars...make them all compatable.
Posted by: SteveY

Re: Update Sounds - 03/11/02 09:06 AM

Great explanation Shadorunnr. I knew I liked you -- You use a MAC!!!
Posted by: BronzeWomn

Re: Update Sounds - 03/11/02 10:09 PM

Thanks guys so much for your input and now that I have two very good instuctors I shall never have to have worries in the music area at all. I do understand what u mean shadow...and now I want some fruitcakes. LOL.