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hardware synths vs. vst/vsti?

ok...I'm curious, I currently have a rack of samplers and synths, a carry over from my midi days... (aka 5000, Roland 550) and more.

I'm curious to know since the computers are getting far more powerful, and the vst's are getting so good, who has migrated to vst solutions and has abandoned hardware synth all together?

This is coming from my deep dive in Studio One and working with MAI THAI synth and presence XT.

I'm starting to question the value of hardware solutions in My rack ... Yes my sample solutions for the hardware synth are pretty big (1300+ samples for the Roland alone, I've lost count of the Akai samples).

So at this point, the value I see is that I can offload sample processing to hardware with the Akai's. To unburden the processor in the computer.. and I can leverage the analog filtering in the Akai's ...

Anyhow, who's gone all out with vst synth and abandoned their hardware? Is there anything you miss?

Thanks
K

Comments

Sean G Sun, 01/10/2016 - 22:20
I'm using both, but it depends if I'm recording an electronic style of music then I'll lean towards the vsti's...mainly because I'm spoilt for choice with the sample libraries I have aquired and theres literally thousands of sounds to choose from compared to what I have with the Korg synth.
Sometimes it a combination of the two, it really depends on the style and what the track calls for.
I have the Presonus Studio Grand collection which as you are aware is vsti, and this from someone who has a grand piano in the house.
But if I really want the true authentic grand sound I'll mic up the real thing with a Rode NT-2A and Bobs' ya cross dressing aunty...
I do like the full size keys with the Korg synth as opposed to the smaller keys on my midi controller as well, sometimes I just use the Korg as my midi controller.
Some vsti's churn through more power than a Russian 60's-era nuclear sub

DonnyThompson Mon, 01/11/2016 - 03:29
Well, there's a few ways to look at it...

These days, with technology and modeling growing as fast as it is, you'd be hard-pressed to not be able to find VSTi versions/libraries of most of the popular digital and classic synths - although, there's the debate as to whether a digital sample of something like a Roland Jupiter 8 analog synth, or a Prophet Five VSTi, would truly measure up to the real thing(s) sonically; it's the same debate that people have about analog hardware compressors and EQ's vs. the VST emulations of those pieces... and I'm not gonna pull that particular lever right now, I'm just giving you the angle from which to consider things.

If you are using external synths/ tone modules, there's always the chance for latency/delay... not only in the midi data send rate (TRX), but also in the reaction time of the synth (RX) you are sending that midi data to.

And, if you happen to be using MTC ( Midi Time Code) for any purpose - usually used to lay-over and record the audio outputs of the external synth to audio tracks on your DAW- and in sync with the DAW's project tempo - then you need to be a bit wary of that process - as MTC often has a "lag" to its syncro-start time.
When using MTC with exterbal synths, it's not uncommon for engineers to add a few blank measures to the top of a DAW project, in order to allow the MTC enough time to sync with the DAW... because if you start the song right from 01:01:01 on the DAW's timeline, and if there are synth parts that are supposed to come right in with the start of the song, it would often result in "chopping off" the first few notes of the external synth(s).
MTC isn't as commonly used as it used to be; neither is SMPTE for the same purpose, because internal VSTi's have made that external synth synchronization a thing of the past. But, there are still those who use this process.

Now, the other side of that coin, is that using external synths/modules can really take the pressure off of your system's resources.
VSTi's - depending on their quality - can be very CPU and RAM hungry, and can end up taxing the hell out of your system, especially if you have many instances of their use.
This would include all VSTi's: synths, samples, sound FX, drum libraries, etc. The higher the quality of the sample, the more resources it will command from your system.

These days, for the most part, I'm using internal VSTi's, and if they start to bog my system down, I generally export them as .wav files, and then re-import them as audio files... although I never delete the original midi files after this, because I want the option to be able to change parts if necessary, and as the song morphs. I just don't have these midi files assigned to anything. Raw, unassigned midi data tracks take up almost no memory at all, require next to no CPU power.
It's when you assign that data to trigger a VSTi, that the "hunger" for power becomes part of the equation. It's not the midi data alone that taxes your system's resources, it's the VSTi you assign to that midi data that requires the power.

As far as abandoning external syths; I have't gone that far. I still have a few Proteus mods in storage - and in the event that I'm not happy with any of the VSTi choices I have for a particular track or song, I have other things I can try, and maybe that one patch from that one rack-mount Emu I have will do the trick. ;)

But, in all honesty, it's been quite some time since I've had to power any of them up; 95% of the time, I can find what I am looking for in a VSTi.

FWIW :)
-d



Guelph_Guy Mon, 01/11/2016 - 05:13
Thanks Sean and Donny , I appreciate the input, Totally forgot about MTC ...!!!!(where was my head???)...

I've been looking at my hardware, and realize that some of the gear has not been used in a few years (even when running Sonar)
I've spent more time with Dimension pro, Rapture and z3ta+2., novation bass station vst..

Yes, I understand what you're saying about "That one Patch"... and I do question how well VST's emulate.. I have yet to fine a VST for a Super Jx 10 that sounds as good as the "real deal". I also know my S-550s have that great 80's 12 bit "grittiness".

However, my "gear hoarder" instinct is telling me I'll use them for something at sometime!!! The Akai's do punch really well..

I've got EMU gear in the closet too.. Proteus .Donny did you ever grab the EMU library off Cakewalk for all of the EMU Synth?
The patches run in Dimension D.... I grabbed them when they had a promotion on...

What I do find interesting is up and coming composers/producers and Engineers are doing ALOT "in the box". Never to have heard ALOT of the hardware we had coveted during the 80's.. Super JX10, Wavestation AD/EX, M1 ,D50, dx7, Tx16.....Emulator 2, Oberheim matrix 6r,1000...The toolset is changing... and is evolving at a remarkable rate, I was looking at an OmniSphere video last night and was blown away ...(and its been around for awhile)

I think the other reason we hold onto the gear is when we are composing, in our heads we hear it all, bass, melody, rhythm.... and because we have so much exposure to our gear we know instinctively where to look and tweak to get the sound we need..We hear those patches on our head and say "yep that's bank b patch 28".
AHA !!!, now I know why I hoard gear...!!!!

When the wavestation came out, I was hearing ads on the radio where I could actually identify the wavestation patches, heard them in documentaries as well.
Same with the dx7 " tine" piano...

Anyhow, my daughter has been "laying it down" in Ableton and has not bothered with the "hardware rack" I put together :((
The other reason I question keeping gear...


Anyhow, I need to make more room ....

DonnyThompson Mon, 01/11/2016 - 06:10
Guelph_Guy, post: 435206, member: 47293 wrote: Never to have heard ALOT of the hardware we had coveted during the 80's.. Super JX10, Wavestation AD/EX, M1 ,D50, dx7,

I've heard various DX 7 VSTi libraries ... and they sound just as good ( or just as bad, depending on how you personally feel about that particular keyboard) as the real thing did. I mean does. Or, err... whatever.

That being said, I put myself into the category of the latter.
I lived through the period of the real various Yamaha DX FM synths ... in fact, I was working music retail part-time in its retail heyday ('85/'86) and I sold quite a few of them to my customers.
(Not for lack of trying to talk them out of it though - LOL).

I never drank the DX7 Kool Aid. Yeah, I understand it was huge. And I accept that it was a very successful keyboard model. I know, I was there, I saw the level of its acceptance and success.
Every working keyboard player had one... (and a lot of non-working players had them, too).

In short.... if I never heard the DX7 Rhodes patch ever again - or for that matter, the regular DX7 Piano patch, either - that would be just ducky with me. ;)

-d.

Guelph_Guy Mon, 01/11/2016 - 08:38
DonnyThompson, post: 435208, member: 46114 wrote: I've heard various DX 7 VSTi libraries ... and they sound just as good ( or just as bad, depending on how you personally feel about that particular keyboard) as the real thing did. I mean does. Or, err... whatever.

That being said, I put myself into the category of the latter.
I lived through the period of the real various Yamaha DX FM synths ... in fact, I was working music retail part-time in its retail heyday ('85/'86) and I sold quite a few of them to my customers.
(Not for lack of trying to talk them out of it though - LOL).

I never drank the DX7 Kool Aid. Yeah, I understand it was huge. And I accept that it was a very successful keyboard model. I know, I was there, I saw the level of its acceptance and success.
Every working keyboard player had one... (and a lot of non-working players had them, too).

In short.... if I never heard the DX7 Rhodes patch ever again - or for that matter, the regular DX7 Piano patch, either - that would be just ducky with me. ;)

-d.

Guelph_Guy Mon, 01/11/2016 - 08:45
I know it ... The wavestation EX had this sweep in it that was pulsed and flanged at the same time ... I think that keyboard sold more for that one patch then it ever did for the balance of the patches in it ... (I still have one on the keyboard stand) Personally, I found the dx7 to sound weedy but that was my synth programming skills in the day... Sorry FM synthesis didn't really move me ...
I remember the Korg M1 and the D50 to be pretty much the keys in the 80's as well ...both keyboards I enjoyed and they're not my main instrument.!!!

Terry Leigh Britton Mon, 01/11/2016 - 16:53
Guelph_Guy, post: 435159, member: 47293 wrote: Anyhow, who's gone all out with vst synth and abandoned their hardware? Is there anything you miss?

Well, I have two Wavestations - an original keyboard I will forever use as a controller at the very least, and an SR rack module.

I also have hundreds of patches for them, but no cards.

I recently purchased (super-cheaply) the [="http://www.korg.com/us/products/software/korg_legacy_collection/page_5.php"]Korg Legacy Collection Wavestation [/]="http://www.korg.com…"]Korg Legacy Collection Wavestation [/]VSTi, which comes with hundreds of patches from every card ever made and all sounds (waves) ever offered built right into the VSTi.

It threatens to retire the use of the hardware versions entirely! It is soooo much easier to program and make changes to the presets "making them my own" than the hardware versions. It does NOT seem to load my existing sysex banks entirely accurately in all instances, however, which was a big letdown. (I might be doing something wrong, but the performances do not always point to the correct patches and waves.) Still, GADZOOKS does it make working with the instrument easier! With so many patches already, easy editing, the ability to have multiple instances running for ungodly polyphonic layering of sounds, and a very moderate CPU impact, it really takes the cake!

The original Wavestation keyboard is indispensable for its joystick and, as I have the Korg foot pedal, I send out CC#4 to my host(s) and convert it to whatever I need (often to modwheel CC#1) and/or to my other H/W synths.

The SR is likely going into the closet, but then again, the many uses its sounds have make it a nice "No-CPU-Hit" option to keep in there!

I use Samplitude Pro X2 Suite, and connecting the synths as Aux Sends/Returns compensates for the latency perfectly, so no reason not to use my H/W synths.

I also have an Ensoniq ESQm and Yamaha TX81Z in my rack, and use the Kawai K5000s additive synth as my main controller. Using MidiQuest I can finally really get great editing abilities and MANY more patches into those machines. (MidiQuest Pro includes great patch libraries for many of the synths via its online patch portal). Those synths are fun and definitely have their uses as well.

(MidiQuest does not support the Wavestation parent/child relationships yet, so that is another reason to use the Korg VSTi versions for me.)

*IF* I did more traditional arranging and multi-tracking (Keys/Pads/Bass/Drums/Lead/etc.), I would definitely use more of the sounds in the H/W rack to take the load off my CPU during live playing. But I mostly play/perform/compose using my synths as live layers or as left-hand/right-hand sound layers triggered from each of my two keyboard controllers.

Otherwise - for certain - VSTi instruments have taken over my world. I am a huge fan of [url=http://'http://linplug.com/… instruments, and have Alpha3, Octopus, CrX4, MorphoX, Relectro, RMV5, Organ2 and most especially, Spectral, which is totally amazing for a "layered sound" freak like me. That and Samplitude's instruments - especially Independence - have me hooked! I use the about-to-be-released Cantabile 3 (available to [[url=http://[/URL]="http://www.cantabil…"]Cantabile 2[/]="http://www.cantabil…"]Cantabile 2[/] owners only currently) as my host for creative experimentation.

Terry

Guelph_Guy Mon, 01/11/2016 - 17:07
Yes, the wavestation ex here is basically being used as a controller, I was curious about the Korg legacy collection.. nice to know you're on here using it .. I'd consider getting it and retiring the ex (the keyboard not the wife) . I just had no insight as to how good the vsti is.
I have no shortage of synths ..2 Korg t1, a novation remotesl 61, novation impulse, Yamaha kx8, wavestatipn and a super JX... I have gear lust that's on run away

Thank you for you insight..

Terry Leigh Britton Mon, 01/11/2016 - 17:15
Guelph_Guy, post: 435228, member: 47293 wrote: Yes, the wavestation ex here is basically being used as a controller, I was curious about the Korg legacy collection.. nice to know you're on here using it .. I'd consider getting it and retiring the ex (the keyboard not the wife) . I just had no insight as to how good the vsti is.
I have no shortage of synths ..2 Korg t1, a novation remotesl 61, novation impulse, Yamaha kx8, wavestatipn and a super JX... I have gear lust that's on run away

Thank you for you insight..

You will definitely be delighted.

I additionally (recently) picked up the Korg Legacy Collection [="http://www.korg.com/us/products/software/korg_legacy_collection/page_4.php"]M1[/]="http://www.korg.com…"]M1[/] and [[url=http://="http://www.korg.com…"]Mono/Poly[/]="http://www.korg.com…"]Mono/Poly[/] which are also extremely good renditions, easy to edit the patches, modulate with controllers, and tons of patches (downloadable from the same page you download the synths from). Same price as the Wavestation for each.

Terry

kmetal Tue, 01/12/2016 - 14:16
I think the big advantage to the hardware is the dedicated controls. Mapping is tedious for me. Things like an mpc, and moog, maybe wurly and rhodes (to a lesser extent), In particular, I think cannot be duplicated in sound quite yet. That's said for was of use, and $ factors, and the sake of projects easily moving around, I use vsti's almost exclusively.

Imo the most important thing is quality of samples, not quantity. There's millions of sample collections out there, most mediocre. Fishing thru menus, and lists is tedious. I prefer a smaller collection of high quality samples. Particularly drums and strings, which often create a big part of a rythym bed. Also with higher quality sample collections, you get far more authentic performance ability, helping to make your programming more 'realistic', if that's what your going for. Particularly wind instruments suffer in authenticity with lesser sample collections.

That said the korg legacy is a nice collection, and propellor head Reason has the best stock samples of any vsti's I've used.

Edit- plus with the integration of the daw you get layers and automation that is otherwise unattainable, or extremely painstaking.

I will say that the hardware versions do usually have a bit of and edge in sonics in general, and if the synth part was the focus, or a main element, there might be some benefit to the hardware if time and acquisition allow.

Sean G Tue, 01/12/2016 - 17:53
kmetal, post: 435262, member: 37533 wrote: There's millions of sample collections out there, most mediocre. Fishing thru menus, and lists is tedious. I prefer a smaller collection of high quality samples. Particularly drums and strings, which often create a big part of a rythym bed. Also with higher quality sample collections, you get far more authentic performance ability, helping to make your programming more 'realistic', if that's what your going for. Particularly wind instruments suffer in authenticity with lesser sample collections.

You are spot on Kyle...just last night I must have spent 8 hours just surfing through sample libraries to cull the odd high quality sample from the heard.
It is very tedious, having to literally listen to every single sample to build your own sound library. And then you have to arrange them for easy reference, otherwise you just have to repeat the whole process in your own library just to find them again....but it is well worth it after you have listened to 30+ average samples to find that one diamond in the rough. There are times when you may have to download a whole bank for variety, but I try to avoid it where I can.

I find its much better than opposed to downloading everything in an entire sample library...99% of which you probably will never use anyway, all the while clogging up valuable disk space and slowing down your DAW program on start-up while it loads up all these never-used samples into its browser.

2.13GB....the amount of samples I had on HD before I took this approach to cull from the HD and cull from sample libraries before I DL'd new samples.

Guelph_Guy Wed, 01/13/2016 - 08:51
kmetal, post: 435280, member: 37533 wrote: This has the most aurhentic sounds I've heard so far. I will be getting it this year. @ $ 250 for 9+ FB, it's real world priced imp, considering it covers so many bases so well.

https://www.vsl.co.at/en/Vienna_Software_Package/Vienna_Ensemble_PRO#!Epic_Demos
ooks like an interesting collection ... I have to get through everything I got samplewise and separate the wheat from the chaff

Guelph_Guy Wed, 01/13/2016 - 09:06
kmetal, post: 435262, member: 37533 wrote: I think the big advantage to the hardware is the dedicated controls. Mapping is tedious for me. Things like an mpc, and moog, maybe wurly and rhodes (to a lesser extent), In particular, I think cannot be duplicated in sound quite yet. That's said for was of use, and $ factors, and the sake of projects easily moving around, I use vsti's almost exclusively.

Imo the most important thing is quality of samples, not quantity. There's millions of sample collections out there, most mediocre. Fishing thru menus, and lists is tedious. I prefer a smaller collection of high quality samples. Particularly drums and strings, which often create a big part of a rythym bed. Also with higher quality sample collections, you get far more authentic performance ability, helping to make your programming more 'realistic', if that's what your going for. Particularly wind instruments suffer in authenticity with lesser sample collections.

That said the korg legacy is a nice collection, and propellor head Reason has the best stock samples of any vsti's I've used.

Edit- plus with the integration of the daw you get layers and automation that is otherwise unattainable, or extremely painstaking.

I will say that the hardware versions do usually have a bit of and edge in sonics in general, and if the synth part was the focus, or a main element, there might be some benefit to the hardware if time and acquisition allow.

I've noticed that my Akai 5000's sonically punch much harder and the filtering is smoother... I've laid down drum tracks using my digital drum kit mapped too the akai sampler and they are really nice. I periodically get , which patch I used off the drum kit? question ... most of the kits are variations of drums re-sampled from my Kory and tweaked ..,the samplers are good for fat pads as well. I had expanded the samplers to 128 note polyphony so there's lots of room to breath.. I suspect I could do an album off the 2 samplers alone. They are just so capable..

Guelph_Guy Wed, 01/13/2016 - 14:05
kmetal, post: 435303, member: 37533 wrote: I'm a 90s child with eclectic taste, almost all of the hip-hop I was into from that era featured the Akai sampler. There is no question how hard those machines "bump".
I'm still very fond of the Akais now , they're fully loaded with SSD drives so like instant on! They also have the USB interface you can drag and drop samples directly to AKAI Storage..The interface is much easier then the Roland to Navigate

Terry Leigh Britton Wed, 01/13/2016 - 14:21
Sean G, post: 435266, member: 49362 wrote: I find many still sound too synthi...especially the sax ones.

Sean,

Off topic, but responding to your need for better sax sound: The Saxlab plugin from Linplug is truly among the most lauded from what I've read around the 'Net and have heard directly from folks I've recommended it to who bought it. Sometimes a dedicated solution is the best!

Back on topic - I still play a hardware FLUTE! :)

Terry

Sean G Wed, 01/13/2016 - 19:32
Terry Leigh Britton, post: 435305, member: 49617 wrote: Sean,

Off topic, but responding to your need for better sax sound: The Saxlab plugin from Linplug is truly among the most lauded from what I've read around the 'Net and have heard directly from folks I've recommended it to who bought it. Sometimes a dedicated solution is the best!

Back on topic - I still play a hardware FLUTE! :)

Terry
Thanks Terry, I'll have to check that out.

The first instrument I learned to play was the trumpet...I still have a few and still play if required...nothing like a little brass for a touch of class;)

kmetal Thu, 01/14/2016 - 08:12
Terry Leigh Britton, post: 435305, member: 49617 wrote: Sean,

Off topic, but responding to your need for better sax sound: The Saxlab plugin from Linplug is truly among the most lauded from what I've read around the 'Net and have heard directly from folks I've recommended it to who bought it. Sometimes a dedicated solution is the best!

Back on topic - I still play a hardware FLUTE! :)

Terry

That's a pretty cool sounding sax instrument Terry, I'm definitely going to consider it when I'm filling in holes in my sound set.

Guelph_Guy Thu, 01/14/2016 - 19:11
speaking of vsti's and controllers, does anybody have experience with the old Roland A90ex?

I found a mint one for sale just down the road from me so I plan to grab it as a master controller . I know it's pretty dated but it has the sound module option
As well..

I've google it out and it seems pretty good for the time ..

kmetal Thu, 01/14/2016 - 20:19
No, but weren't you talking about the pile of gear you have?? Jk. Lol we cannot Escape G A S, gear acquisition syndrome. Your not alone, I have 2 Bluetooth speaker sets, and 3 Bluetooth headphone sets, still in boxes. 'Waiting for the right time' .... It's doesn't stop.

Holy crap, it sold for 2k in 96' well 2k lbs according to sound on sounds review. It got good marks.

Honestly a well made controller is gonna always feel well made, provided it's taken care of. One of the advantages of higher end stuff. I bet some of the sounds are fun.

I'd be surprise of Chris Donny or Dave haven't had their hand on one.

DonnyThompson Thu, 01/14/2016 - 23:06
"One controller to rule them all, one controller to find them...One controller to bring them all, and in midi data bind them..."

LOL.. sorry for the Tolkien-esque reference. ;)

I have three controllers - as of this writing - which are a culmination of having experimented, tinkered and toyed with for many years, trying to find the right combination that would cover the bulk of what I do, for my own workflow...

kmetal, post: 435335, member: 37533 wrote: "...I'd be surprise of Chris Donny or Dave haven't had their hand on one..."

"... One of the advantages of higher end stuff..."

Oh High end - shmy end ... LOL... ;)

As long as the controller feels good to you for what you are doing, as long as it can TX midi data at minimum latency, has the pedal jacks you need, can change octaves easily, has mod and bend controls, and as long as it responds in the ways you want, then there's no need to spend huge amounts of money on them.

Remember... we're talking strictly midi controllers here - I don't need a keyboard controller that also happens to have 200 gig of internal samples/patches, because I'm using VSTi's 99% of the time.
A keyboard that has internal patches and samples isn't really a "controller" - it's an external synth - and yeah, while you can use any midi device as a controller, as long as it has some way of triggering/sending that data, then sure, of course you can use it for that purpose. You can use anything as a midi controller as long as it's capable of triggering and TX'ing midi data.

For me, there's a bit more to it than just that requirement. For what I do, I have specific controllers for specific needs, that I integrate into my system to make my performances better.

And for some people, one controller alone might be fine, and will handle their own performance and production styles perfectly.

But my own styles and methods require more than what just one controller can deliver.

So:
I have an 88 key, piano-action Casio that I use solely for pianos - acoustic grand's, upright's, Rhodes, Wurli's or other EP's. It's wonderfully expressive, because it "feels" like a piano.
I have an M-Audio Oxygen II 61 key controller with synth-action keys that I use for, well ... synths, of course, but also for B3 and brass samples.
I have a Roland Octapad II for drum sample triggering.

I've not yet been able to find one controller alone that will cover all my needs... it's hard to play solo synth lines, as well as B3 parts ( swells, glisses, fans, fast runs, etc.) on a piano-action keyboard - not only because you can bust your knuckles doing B3 fan-swells, but also because it doesn't react quickly enough - but, by the same token, it's just as difficult to play expressive piano parts on a synth-action controller; which ( for me) reacts too quickly for the expressive way tat I play piano, with those more subtle nuances.

While any midi controller can trigger drum samples, it's difficult for me to do this with any real sense of a drummer's feel and nuance.
The Octapad allows me to do cool things with actual sticks; press rolls, ghost sticking, stick drags, etc. that is nearly impossible to do on a keyboard controller.
If I'm not going to play real drums, or play real drums in order to eventually trigger drum samples with, then I'm going to use the Octapad, because at least I can use sticks with it. Sure, I could use a keyboard controller for basic kick-snare-hat patterns, and I have done that, but for any sense of feel, nuance or realism, sticks on pads work much better.

But ... all of these things mentioned above are for my workflow, and what I've determined over time to allow me to give the best performances on midi-based tracks.

IMO...
-d.

kmetal Thu, 01/14/2016 - 23:20
DonnyThompson, post: 435343, member: 46114 wrote: Oh High end - shmy end ... LOL... ;)

Sorry d. I'm just on a kick lately. Next month it'll be cheap modded guitar pedals. Lol

I've felt the biggest difference in weighted action keys amongst the different types. I like the korg triton, the silver one from the late 90s. If I remember correctly it might be the 'studio' edition. I have limited experience w keyboards in general.

Synth action keys always feel about the same to me regardless of brand make model, and price. I bought a $100 Kork midi controller and an alesis drum machine and was happy.

DonnyThompson Fri, 01/15/2016 - 00:21
kmetal, post: 435346, member: 37533 wrote: I bought a 0 Kork midi controller and an alesis drum machine and was happy

That's all that really matters, K.
As long as your gear supports ( or sparks) your creativity, and allows you to be productive, then very little else matters.

Again, different workflows, production and performance styles will require different tools, and these choices are as personal as the type of drum heads we like, the guitar action or string gauges that we prefer, or, even the coffee that we drink.

It's impossible for anyone to tell someone else what it is that they "need".

Really, the only thing anyone can do, is to let others know about any negative experiences they may have had in relation to a particular piece of gear they've used, present the details, and then from there, let them decide for themselves.

Sean G Fri, 01/15/2016 - 00:30
DonnyThompson, post: 435343, member: 46114 wrote: I have a Roland Octapad II for drum sample triggering.

DonnyThompson Iv'e been thinking about something like this, for the very purpose you state...can you enlighten us more on this and share a few other tips on how it has its advantages over other midi devices for drum applications, and if so other applications you find it good for besides a drum trigger?

The obvious one for me is the response being similar to a drum strike as opposed to a key stike...does it make it more "human" in feel so to speak??

DonnyThompson Fri, 01/15/2016 - 01:05
Sean G, post: 435351, member: 49362 wrote: can you enlighten us more on this and share a few other tips on how it has its advantages over other midi devices for drum applications, and if so other applications you find it good for besides a drum trigger?

well, as long as you're able to play real drums, you can play the Octapad. Think of the Octapad as a mini-electronic drum kit... essentially, that's all it is - pads that can transmit midi data ( either on Omni or on separate midi channels per pad); and you can trigger whatever midi-based/VSTi samples you'd like with them - horns, synths, anything, really - although as you know, the response of the sample will depend on the sample itself.

I'm not even sure Roland makes the Octapad anymore - I got mine years ago, back in the 90's. But there has to be someone who makes some kind of pad-midi trigger device.

I like it for things like press-roles, flams, stick drags, ghost beats, those little nuances that a real drummer incorporates into their playing - things like the way a drummer will drag the stick on the snare, coming into or off of the backbeat strike, or little "ghost" taps in between the backbeat, and to me, those little nuances make all the difference in the world when using drum samples presented as a real kit... in sounding as if a real drummer is playing - because when you are sticking the pads on the controller, ( the octapad) you really are playing.

It's not that a talented midi programmer couldn't also achieve these nuances... yeah, it can be done, but besides it taking a lot longer to do than simply playing the part you like in real time with real sticks on the pads, perhaps most importantly, it's the non-quantized little inaccuracies, the "non-perfect" things - the human element - that is hardest to achieve when programming , and which make a huge difference in how the parts sound performance-wise.

"Programming" is not the same thing as performing. Human performance gives us those little non-perfect nuances, those little inaccuracies that can turn out to be shining gems that give a track human feel and groove and expression.

This method isn't as necessary on drum parts that are obviously drum machines, that are intended to sound like drum machines... songs like Cameo's Word Up is a simple kick/snare pattern, that never changes for the entire song... so in that case, sure, use your keyboard controller @ C2/D2 , play a few measures of the beat, and then copy-paste for eternity - or at least until the song is over.

But if you're wanting sampled drums with "feel", or wanting to present them as what a real drummer/real drum kit would sound like from a performance view, then pads come in handy, if you're not in a position to use a real kit.

Sean G Fri, 01/15/2016 - 01:26
DonnyThompson, post: 435352, member: 46114 wrote: well, as long as you're able to play real drums, you can play the Octapad.
I started my playing in cover bands behind the kit...I still have a nice Pearl custom kit...but having the room to keep it set up full time is another thing...thats where something like an Octopad would come into play.
There are a few on ebay...wow they hold their value well!
They look like a good piece of kit

Guelph_Guy Sat, 01/16/2016 - 13:13
WELL... THE A90 EX IS IN THE HOUSE ... WOW...

The keyboard bed is amazing, it responds really well (been playing it for 2+ hrs)... The onboard sounds are of course dated but there are some pads and sequences in this unit that I'd almost be willing to dump my wavestation ex and my super jx10. The piano could probably hang with my fantom xr pretty well, but the motif is still better for piano..mind you different eras of hardware too..

Midi routing and zones are crazy you can do ALOT with this keyboard....

kmetal Sat, 01/16/2016 - 14:55
Guelph_Guy, post: 435410, member: 47293 wrote: WELL... THE A90 EX IS IN THE HOUSE ... WOW...

The keyboard bed is amazing, it responds really well (been playing it for 2+ hrs)... The onboard sounds are of course dated but there are some pads and sequences in this unit that I'd almost be willing to dump my wavestation ex and my super jx10. The piano could probably hang with my fantom xr pretty well, but the motif is still better for piano..mind you different eras of hardware too..

Midi routing and zones are crazy you can do ALOT with this keyboard....



Ssssssweeeeeeeeeeeeeetttttt!!!!! Congrats, glad you like it.

When you say the motif is better at piano, do you mean the way it feels/plays, or sonically? Jw.
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