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Winter NAMM 2003 Gear Reports
#1108328 01/16/03 10:29 PM
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Please post your Winter NAMM 2003 gear reports here, for those of us not fortunate enough to go to the show.

Feel free to discuss the announced gear in this thread as well.

Thanks,

Geoff

P.S. Harmony Central posts regular NAMM gear updates here throughout all of the days of the show.

P.P.S. I'm recovering from a long bout with illness; and I won't be going to the show today, opening day, Thursday 1/16/03. I'm hoping to be well enough to go tomorrow, so that I can attend our dinner . If I'm up to doing that, I will take Saturday off from the show to recover from having pushed myself on Friday; and I should post a report to this thread on Saturday as well.


Enthusiasm powers the world.

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Re: Winter NAMM 2003 Gear Reports
#1108329 01/17/03 01:08 AM
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The Roland V-Synth looks interesting.

Quote:
It’s the first synthesizer to offer multiple oscillator technologies with realtime control over a waveform’s pitch, time and formant. Sounds can then be processed through new COSM® filters, a killer apreggiator and powerful realtime controllers including the TimeTrip Pad.


Enthusiasm powers the world.

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Re: Winter NAMM 2003 Gear Reports
#1108330 01/17/03 01:14 AM
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But who is number 1 ? ...
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Batteries for the Powerbook and digital camera are charged and ready to rumble. I'm running late today, and may not make onsite registration before 6, but I'll sure as heck be there bright and early tomorrow.

Hot damn, it's time for NAMM! \:\)


"I'm just a confused musician who got sidetracked into this damned word business..." -Hunter S. Thompson

Stephen Fortner
Principal, Fortner Media
Senior Editor, Music Player Network
Former Editor in Chief, Keyboard Magazine

Re: Winter NAMM 2003 Gear Reports
#1108331 01/17/03 01:41 AM
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Morten

Access Virus TI keyboard,Alesis ION,Yamaha Motif ES 6,Roland Fantom XR.
Re: Winter NAMM 2003 Gear Reports
#1108332 01/17/03 01:53 AM
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Re: Winter NAMM 2003 Gear Reports
#1108333 01/17/03 04:51 AM
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Thanks for the photos!

This is a good chance for me to scout what I'll see at the show. I think that I'll be up to going tomorrow.


Enthusiasm powers the world.

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Re: Winter NAMM 2003 Gear Reports
#1108334 01/17/03 07:02 AM
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Logic 6 looks HOT!!!

I like the offline dubs and the Freeze function - very clever for using dense, plug-in and soft-synth arrangements...even on slower CPU's.

The project management feature looks interesting, too.

Waveform display, wave editing, and MIXING right there in the Arrange Window - WOW!!



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Re: Winter NAMM 2003 Gear Reports
#1108335 01/17/03 07:25 AM
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Repeat after me!
I will not mortage my house for a Hartmann Neuron synth. I will not mortage my house for a Hartmann Neuron synth. I will not...

k

Re: Winter NAMM 2003 Gear Reports
#1108336 01/17/03 11:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dan South:
Logic 6 looks HOT!!!
Tip of the iceberg, Dan.

Re: Winter NAMM 2003 Gear Reports
#1108337 01/17/03 12:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by ksoper:
Repeat after me!
I will not mortage my house for a Hartmann Neuron synth. I will not mortage my house for a Hartmann Neuron synth. I will not...

k
I will not con someone by selling ksopers house as my own for a neuron


Names to Remember:
Charles Stepney & Emory Cook
Re: Winter NAMM 2003 Gear Reports
#1108338 01/20/03 10:14 AM
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Here's my submission:

=================================
HARDWARE

ROLAND
I already reported on the VK-8m and V-Synth in other threads. The VR-760 looks like a nice bread & butter performance synth aimed directly the Nord Electro. List price of $2500 so it's very close to the Nord 73-key in price. It's really three modules (organ, pianos, synths) that can be easily combined in splits and layers. The acoustic pianos are from the RD/FP series and supposedly the EPs are all new. I did think the Rhodes patches were the best I've heard from Roland and might come close to the Yamaha EPs. Plenty of bark and bite (but if you're troubled by velocity switching there might be an issue here).

Included are a selection of other bread/butter sounds like strings, chorus, synths, etc. From what I could tell, with each category there are three variations, so within the EP category for example, the variation button would give you two different Rhodes patches and one Wurly. Still, there are more sounds built in than on the Nord, plus you can add SRX boards. I do prefer the real drawbars.

The VK-88 will have a list price of $4995 for base unit. Pedals and other extras can bring that up to $9,000 fully loaded.

Didn't get much time to play the new Fantoms. Supposedly the ROMs and patches are completely new, but for some reason they seemed very familiar to me.

KORG
Nothing new.

YAMAHA
Outside of the previously announced Motif Rack, not a lot new here.

EMU
Saw a keyboard version of the Vintage keys. The clavs are pretty good.

KURZWEIL
My only comment on the K-266I is that the keys are VERY shiney. The synth was either not operational or not plugged in.

VOCE
Played the Key5. It was hooked up to a real (old, tube) Leslie so not surprisingly it sounded very nice. Controls looked to be about the same as the V5; drawbars seemed to operate smoother though. Case is odd. Very black. Somewhat crude look and feel. I plastic case looked similar to the type found on the SKB cases. Probably quite durable but not a great looking piece. Don't know how easy it is to setup/ take down. Competition is stiff with the BX and VK-88.

CREAMWARE
I had high hopes from the Noah. Maybe it's going to be great when it's all finished, but I wasn't as impressed as I thought I would be. The Minimax and ProOne sounded great. Didn't spend a lot of time with the Lightwave. I wasn't knocked out by the six string (plucked string model). Didn't sound as good as the OASIS in this area. Not a lot of depth to the parameters. I wasn't expecting VL-1 model sophistication, but what I saw was very basic. B3 emulator wasn't operative. The rack will come out first. According to one Creamware rep, the keyboard was uncertain. Also, the interface isn't what I was expecting it to be.

ACCESS/WALDORF
Didn't notice anything new. Missed the AFB16 Analog Filter Bank.

NOVATION
Apparent no-show.

MOOG
Six new exotic woods are available (Purple Heart, Sapele, Rhodesian Teak, Bubinga, and Papau New Guinea Walnut or North American Curly Maple). Will increase cost of the unit at least $300-$500. Existing Voyagers can be sent back to the factory to be put in a new case, if desired. Contact Moog for details. Note: I really liked the Bubinga wood.

ALESIS
Walked by the booth twice but both times someone was on the ION. Will have to wait till it hits GC.

TC Electronic
M4000 reverb. Stereo version of the M6000 (same quality, just stereo) plus includes M5000 presets. Also includes Mac/PC software to program/control with reverb in software. Looks like a M3000. $2995 retail. HOT, IMHO.

========================
SOFTWARE, SOFT SYNTHS, VIRTUAL SAMPLERS, MASSIVE SAMPLE LIBRARIES

DIGIDESIGN
Protools 6.0 looks great. Lots of new plug-ins on the horizon.

SPECTRASONIC
Trilogy is shipping. The ultimate in terms of variety of bass sounds. Some of the analog synth bass were small (10MB) while some of the larger libraries were more like 150MB. Supposedly not as taxing on the CPU as Atmosphere.

NATIVE INSTRUMENTS
I was a little disappointed in their "big" announcement. The Vocorder product might be cool. The other stuff looked like a re-packaging of Kontakt. I hope NI hasn't lost sight of the fact that B4 is probably their most used and respected product and a lot of us would like them to produce more products like it.

YELLOW TOOLS (distributed by East West)
Heard YT Culture (percussion) and Majestic (Bass). Both were VERY impressive. They come with their own sample engine (not the UVI-Engine). Both sets come with over 9GBs of samples. Extremely detailed with tons of nuances and velocity/keyswitched layers. In contrast to Trilogy which contains all manner of basses, the bass library only includes electric basses. The difference is that the Majestic library contains MUCH more detailed instruments. The 9GB is devoted to a dozen or so basses. I have never seen this much detail outside of GigaSampler stuff. Their stuff exceeds GS. The sample engine doesn't have much in the way of FXs, but does have some very useful features which make the layer switching more natural. They also have two other libraries, Candy (sax) and Heartbeat (drums) on the horizon.

Universal Sound Bank
All of their PlugSound library is now shipping. Fairly basic libraries, but very nice sounding and good value. Other libraries coming soon include Ultra Focus, Xtreme FX, and Charlie (B3)&Virtual Church Organ. USB is out of Germany and their UVI-Engine is used by Spectrasonic (Atmosphere, Trilogy, Stylus) and MOTU (Mach Five). Appears to be very stable, with excellent sound quality and good protocol support. This idea of including the sample engine with the library seems to be a strong trend. It has its advantages. (Note: a special version of the NI Kontakt engine is being used in the StormDrum, Hardcore Bass, and East/West Symphonic Orchestra libraries. It will be interesting to see if either one of these sample engines comes to dominate.)

MOTU
Mac Five is a surround capable virtual sampler using the lastest incarnation of the UVI-Engine. Looks very nice and supports formats other than MAS.

VIENNA SYMPHONC LIBRARY
Most impressive to me in the demo was the legato mode in the Performance Set. What they did was to sample the note and the transition to the next note. So if you play a flute sample of C4 followed by G4, you don't just get a C4 sample then a G4 sample, you hear C4, the transition, then G4. It sounds like a musical phrase, not just two notes triggered. They have some software (like Maestro Tools) that sits between the incoming MIDI and GigaSampler that makes all this happen. Very cool. I don't know of anyone else who has come up with a solution like this for legato phrases, but this seemed to work very well. I only heard a small portion of the entire library, but my opinion as to whether the Vienna sounds better than the others isn't worth all that much anyway. Pricing is a bit complicated, but not cheap.

EAST WEST QUANTUM LEAP SYMPHONIC ORCHESTRA
Like the Vienna, what I heard sounded beautiful. The demo setup had probably $50K-$100K in surround-sound audiophile speakers, preamps and mono blocks. It did sound wonderful in surround and of course lost some of the magic when collapsed down to stereo. I thought the brass was exceptional. No equivalent to the Vienna Performance Set. It will come with a special version of the Kontakt engine. They will have a GS version once GS 3.0 comes out with 24-bit support (yes, now I heard from a reliable source that GS 3.0 will support 24-bit files). They expect it to be available in approx eight weeks. Pricing is $3,000 for the entire library.

SONIC IMPLANTS
I still really like the sound of these strings. They can sound very intimate. They've also been programmed to be highly playable out of the box. The MINI version looks to be a good value.

There were a lot of other cool soft products demoed. I tended to focus on the Protools compatible ones as that's what I use. The above are just some of the things that grabbed me.

Busch.

Re: Winter NAMM 2003 Gear Reports
#1108339 01/20/03 10:52 AM
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Thanks Busch!
Great rundown!
- DJDM

Re: Winter NAMM 2003 Gear Reports
#1108340 01/20/03 05:48 PM
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Thanks, Busch, for the thorough report.

I'm hot for the MOTU Mach Five, but who knows when that will see the light of day.

It's very ironic that Moog is using the same exotic woods found in expensive boutique basses for new incarnation of the "king of the synth bass".

Re: Winter NAMM 2003 Gear Reports
#1108341 01/20/03 08:43 PM
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The items that jumped out at me

Spectrasonics' Trilogy. I had gone to check out Atmosphere, but came out drooling over trilogy. Atmosphere is excellent, but it did not blow me away the way I had expected, but trilogy ... wow!!!!!

Sonic Reality Sonic Station. This is a univeral wave bank, wwith native programming for a number of samplers (i.e. all the native patches use the same samples, with programming specific for each sampler added on). Also checked out Sonic Refill, which is like a Sonic Synth for Reason/NNXT users. There is also the UFO, which is a specialized version fo Chicken Systems Translator, which only works with the SR product line, and doesn't just convert, but also adds parameters native to each sampler type. Still in the works.

Open Synth Eko. Wow. Very impressed. THe concept is great. THe floor model had no latency and looked and felt very nice. Can't wait to see this product hit the market, and hopefully sell enough to keep the idea going till I can afford it.

Alesis. The ION was difficult to get to wasn't it. Spent most of time on the Andromeda \:D

Waldorf. The AFB16 is a great product for those who want to use analog filters with the software instruments. The software interface to the AFB16 was really cool.

Applied Acoustics. Tassman 3 was absolutely amazing. Great interface, great sounds. Definitely a modular worth looking at.

G-Media/Fxpansion/Ohmforce. This was a booth shared between three quality companies. I spent most of my time with the Oddity (emulation of the Arp Oddyssey), and I must say I came out very impressed. Great interface, amazing patch morphing, quality sound. Throwing faders is a breeze and totally cool. The Ohmforce influence is visible in a good way.

Clavia. I must say everytime I play the Electro, the less I like it.

Korg. Nothing new

M-audio. Lots of stuff, but too crowded to spend much time there

Roland. Covered by other people

Novation. Should have been there.

Creamware. I liked the Noah, esp the Minimax. The 6-string was bad .. hated it.

TCworks. The Spark FX machine is really cool. Would liek to spend more time with it some day.

Re: Winter NAMM 2003 Gear Reports
#1108342 01/21/03 03:46 AM
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(Please note: Most of you know me as soapbox, but this post is under my real name.)

Thank you all for your posts!

I'm sorry that I'm a little late in posting a NAMM report. I'll also need to post in installments because I'm burned out after having pushed myself to go to NAMM while recovering from illness. It was quite an experience to go from being bedridden for 3 1/2 weeks to being on my feet walking the show floor for three days!

I'll start with the Open Labs eKo OpenSynth .

The eKo OpenSynth is a keyboard workstation centered around VSTi software. It incorporates a user-specified choice of PC hardware and operating system with a choice of built in display and control surfaces. Open Labs has a "Build-Your-Own-Keyboard" ordering system that allows the user to choose (and later upgrade) just about every component of the workstation. Click on the link above to get more details.

Even though the eKo OpenSynth is PC-based, I was told that the keyboard starts up in seconds. It also stays on despite power interruptions. In addition, it includes an Ethernet port for Internet access and downloading VSTi upgrades, sounds, etc.

When I played the eKo OpenSynth, its latency was inaudible and the keyboard action was fine. In other words, the playing experience was just like playing an ordinary synth.

I felt like Open Labs "got it" in a way that few keyboard manufacturers seem to nowadays. I like their use of a flat panel display (and controller surfaces) as part of the keyboard. It's the only way I can think of to have a screen in front of me in a multi-tiered keyboard setup without blocking access to some of the keyboards. I also appreciated its "wow" factor, when comparing it to any normal keyboard display.

As a Mac guy, I like the fact that Windows is hidden under the hood. Via Open Labs' interface, I can just click on a VSTi from the menu and go. Now don't get me wrong, I don't hate Windows; but I'll already have to learn a new operating system when I switch to OS X. That's enough for now! ;\)

The eKo OpenSynth won't be right for everyone, but I liked it and I don't think I'm alone. For many of us, it was the hit of the show!

Best,

Geoff


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Re: Winter NAMM 2003 Gear Reports
#1108343 01/21/03 07:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Geoff Grace:


I'll start with the Open Labs eKo OpenSynth .

The eKo OpenSynth is a keyboard workstation centered around VSTi software. It incorporates a user-specified choice of PC hardware and operating system with a choice of built in display and control surfaces. Open Labs has a "Build-Your-Own-Keyboard" ordering system that allows the user to choose (and later upgrade) just about every component of the workstation. Click on the link above to get more details.

Even though the eKo OpenSynth is PC-based, I was told that the keyboard starts up in seconds. It also stays on despite power interruptions. In addition, it includes an Ethernet port for Internet access and downloading VSTi upgrades, sounds, etc.

When I played the eKo OpenSynth, its latency was inaudible and the keyboard action was fine. In other words, the playing experience was just like playing an ordinary synth.

I felt like Open Labs "got it" in a way that few keyboard manufacturers seem to nowadays. I like their use of a flat panel display (and controller surfaces) as part of the keyboard. It's the only way I can think of to have a screen in front of me in a multi-tiered keyboard setup without blocking access to some of the keyboards. I also appreciated its "wow" factor, when comparing it to any normal keyboard display.

As a Mac guy, I like the fact that Windows is hidden under the hood. Via Open Labs' interface, I can just click on a VSTi from the menu and go. Now don't get me wrong, I don't hate Windows; but I'll already have to learn a new operating system when I switch to OS X. That's enough for now! ;\)

The eKo OpenSynth won't be right for everyone, but I liked it and I don't think I'm alone. For many of us, it was the hit of the show!

Best,

Geoff
Geoff, as we discusse on Sunday (good to see you again BTW, too bad I had to miss Dave's celebration at the end of the Raider's game, but I heard it from Long beach airport) I think the OPenSynth was the best new gear at the show.

The thing I love about it is that I can tell my wife that I'm mgetting her that computer she wants for the apartment so that she can surf the web at home, while I also get a new keyboard!! Everybody wins!!

It is a scary thing to own though since it'll be soooo tempting to go online and get sounds from Illio, East West, ect. right from the keyboard while playing each day. Talk about paying to play, it could hurt the wallet without some restraint.


Joe McDonough
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Re: Winter NAMM 2003 Gear Reports
#1108344 01/22/03 02:23 AM
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(Please note: Most of you know me as soapbox, but this post is under my real name.)

Quote:
Originally posted by mcdonough@musicplayer.com:
It is a scary thing to own though since it'll be soooo tempting to go online and get sounds from Illio, East West, ect. right from the keyboard while playing each day. Talk about paying to play, it could hurt the wallet without some restraint.
LOL Joe! I guess the eKo OpenSynth is the temptation that keeps on tempting! \:D

BTW, I had fun hanging out with you as well. Be sure to let me know the next time you'll be in town.

Now, on to today's installment!

A lot has already been written in these forums about Mark of the Unicorn's new Mach Five universal software sampler.

Anyone with a Mac or a PC running any relatively new Mac or Windows OS will be able to use this software sampler with just about any host program and just about any sample library. Supported production platforms will include MAS, VST, Audio Units, HTDM, RTAS and DXi. Soundbank import formats will include Akai S1000, S3000, S5000, and S6000, Akai MPC2000 and MPC3000, Roland S7xx, E-mu EIII, ESI, E-IV, and EOS, TASCAM GigaSampler and GigaStudio, Emagic EXS24, Digidesign SampleCell, Creamware Pulsar STS, and Steinberg HALion. Considering that Digidesign announced that there will be no future SampleCell development (no OS X versions, for example), MOTU's Mach Five may attract an especially large contingent of SampleCell users.

As a user of Pro Tools, Digital Performer, Logic Audio, and Cubase on Mac OS 9 (and soon on Mac OS X), and as a possible future owner of a PC based Open Labs eKo OpenSynth (see my post above), this will be the only software sampler in existence that may meet my needs on all of my setups! I was a little concerned about the limitations of importing libraries that utilize sample streaming, as no streaming feature was mentioned during the demo. However, a MOTU rep told me that sample streaming would be part of the first software revision and available as a free update to existing users.

Mach Five will support sampling rates of up to 24-bit/192kHz. It will also allow drag and drop import of samples and banks as well as all major audio file formats including Wave, AIFF, SDII, REX and more. It is slated to be the first sampler to support playback of surround audio files. Other slated features are unlimited polyphony and "ultra-low" software latency, as well as zone-edit, dynamic mode, and multitimbral operation, using a large selection of built-in effects with four effect slots for each part.

MOTU demo'd the Mach Five drag and drop feature using audio soundbites from Digital Performer. The process was quick and easy, with a half a dozen or so options for automatic placement of samples on the keyboard. For example, it was possible to drag multiple files in one step to map chromatically, on white keys only, according to their names, and also according to their pitch, which Mach Five can determine automatically.

Because the possibility exists that I may want to use this software sampler on both a Mac and a PC, I wonder if a second license will be necessary; and if so, how much will one cost? MOTU's copy protection of Digital Performer is very easy and straightforward as it is serial number only. If this policy continues for Mach Five, multiple installations would be easy, if allowed. My recollection is that the program is slated to retail for $395.00 and is due in the Spring.

I doubt that I will go into this much detail for much of what's left of my future NAMM report installments, but there will be more to come.
Stay tuned…

Best,

Geoff


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Re: Winter NAMM 2003 Gear Reports
#1108345 01/22/03 03:38 AM
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Phew, you guys sure now how to work up a GAS lather.
I just felt bad about buying a little BOSS reverb pedal the other day. Now I see genuine trouble on the horizon.


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Re: Winter NAMM 2003 Gear Reports
#1108346 01/22/03 08:12 PM
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How well does the Mach Five reproduce Giga samples? Some information is lost in just about every translation. Is it really worth the hassle of loading non-native samples? Slow load times? Poorly mapped parameters?


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Re: Winter NAMM 2003 Gear Reports
#1108347 01/22/03 09:02 PM
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(Please note: Most of you know me as soapbox, but this post is under my real name.)

Quote:
Originally posted by Dan South:
How well does the Mach Five reproduce Giga samples? Some information is lost in just about every translation. Is it really worth the hassle of loading non-native samples? Slow load times? Poorly mapped parameters?
Dan, I can't answer your question because Mach Five is an unfinished product. For what it's worth, load times were quite fast during the demo. If I recall correctly, the importing process can be done just once and then the files can be saved in Mach Five format. Since MOTU is dubbing the Mach Five a "universal software sampler" and using this as a main selling point, my guess is that the product will hit or miss depending on how well it will import the libraries they say it will and on how well it will work in the OS & production platforms they say it will.

Presumably MOTU understands this and will do what it can to accomplish this. However, I'm sure that once the product has been released there will be plenty of people here who will put it through its paces! ;\)

Best,

Geoff


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Re: Winter NAMM 2003 Gear Reports
#1108348 01/22/03 10:57 PM
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Hey Geoff, did you get a chance to make it by the Emagic booth? ;\)

Re: Winter NAMM 2003 Gear Reports
#1108349 01/22/03 11:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by steadyb:
Hey Geoff, did you get a chance to make it by the Emagic booth? ;\)
Everyone I talked to thought Logic 6 was way cool.

- Jeff

Re: Winter NAMM 2003 Gear Reports
#1108350 01/22/03 11:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by steadyb:
Hey Geoff, did you get a chance to make it by the Emagic booth? ;\)
steadyb, it's interesting that you should ask! \:D

I've started on today's report; and I just finished typing the words, "Emagic showed a number of new features that will become available with the release of Logic 6.0. Forum member steadyb gave a very good demo of this version, and perhaps he'll add to my summary below."


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Re: Winter NAMM 2003 Gear Reports
#1108351 01/22/03 11:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jeff, TASCAM Guy:
Quote:
Originally posted by steadyb:
Hey Geoff, did you get a chance to make it by the Emagic booth? ;\)
Everyone I talked to thought Logic 6 was way cool.

- Jeff
Plus, in Logic 6 we support several (3 or 4) different Tascam controllers.

Re: Winter NAMM 2003 Gear Reports
#1108352 01/23/03 01:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dan South:
How well does the Mach Five reproduce Giga samples? Some information is lost in just about every translation. Is it really worth the hassle of loading non-native samples? Slow load times? Poorly mapped parameters?
Consider these challenges in trying to use Giga libraries in non-Giga samplers:

PROGRAMMING
Giga allows designers to program nearly any parameter at the sample level. I don't know of any other sampler, soft or hard, that allows that. For example, let's say on a single note you have an 8-way velocity split, stereo. What you have is essentially 16 waveforms. Within Giga you can have different filters, cut frequencies, envelopes, etc., etc. (dozens of parameters) for EACH of the 16 waveforms. In the Akai S1000/S3000 format the smallest unit you can effectively program is the zone, which is all the samples mapped to a single note. I've loaded Giga files into Kontakt and have found it does things like turns 8-way velocity splits into 4-way and randomly creates zones that have no relationship to the original Giga file. Kontakt has a notion of zones that is similar to Akai format, but it views EQ and filter like an FX, something to be applied to the overall sound not integrated into the sound. This isn't remotely close to how it's done in GS.

LOSS of DIMENSION KEYSWITCHING
Common technique to rapidly switch between libraries. I believe Halion might support this now, most others don't.

ART UPDATES
Giga came up with a nice solution which allows porgrammers to make modifications and improvements to the libraries without having to send out massive numbers of CDs. All of the programming can be saved in a special articulation (.ART) file. These are usually a few MBs vs. GBs and can be easily distributed over the Internet. The only way I know of applying an .ART file is to open up the original library in GigaSampler Editor, apply the file and save it. So you would be missing out on the updates.

SPECIAL MIDI PROGRAMMING
I've seen this with Garritan Strings, Post Pianos and Vienna Orchestra library where they use a special piece of PC-base software that sits between the incoming MIDI stream and GS. This allows them to do some very useful things such as in the Garritan Strings to provide alternating up and down strokes--you play a line and it automatically switches back and forth between the up and down stroke libraries.

---
From what I've seen I believe that, fundamentally, the new bread of virtual samplers are architected very differently than GS. Sample streaming isn't enough. The fact that the library converted without crashing isn't enough. For many people, the money that they have invested in sample libraries far exceeds their investment in the hardware/software needed to run them. It would be nice if there existed two defacto standards: Akai for RAM-based and GS for streaming. I just don't think we're there yet on the streaming side.

Busch.

Re: Winter NAMM 2003 Gear Reports
#1108353 01/23/03 01:31 AM
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(Please note: Most of you know me as soapbox, but this post is under my real name.)

I'll start today's installment by concluding my Mark of the Unicorn comments. Mach Five was demo'd with an OS X version of Digital Performer. Little seems to have changed in DP at this point. Cosmetically, it looks the same. However some menus now appear in the menu bar that had previously only appeared in the upper left-hand corner of windows. Other than the fact that this new version of DP worked with Mach Five, no new operational features were shown. This didn't surprise me much, considering how recently DP 3.1 was released.

In contrast, Emagic showed a number of new features that will become available with the release of Logic 6.0. Forum member steadyb gave a very good demo of this version, and perhaps he'll add to my summary below.

My favorite new feature is the Project Manager. It's a file management tool that's sort of like the Finder and "Save As" on steroids! The very configurable interface will be able to find and consolidate media files such as audio files, sampler instruments, settings, and movies on all local volumes. In addition, all Logic files will be able to be organized in a new "project" file format. A "Save As Project" command will then save all associated files, such as those named above, into one folder for archival and transport of projects.

A close second favorite feature for me is a feature new to Logic dubbed the Marquee Tool. For years, I have disliked the fact that Logic users were unable to copy part of an object without cutting it. Finally, users will have that ability, not just with one object but with all objects on all tracks that may simultaneously be highlighted. As Emagic puts it, "The Marquee Tool allows region and sequence-independent selection and editing – i.e. move, copy, delete, cut, mute, etc." Yes, steadyb, Logic 6 is a version that I will likely use a lot more often!

With version 6, Logic will also be able to do grouping. It will be possible to assign each channel in Logic to one of 32 groups. This alone is no big deal, Pro Tools and Digital Performer users have long been able to do this. What's impressive about this feature is once again, in true Emagic fashion, the unrivaled flexibility allowed the user. A Group Settings menu allows the tracks in each group to only be globally affected by pan settings, and/or by edit selection, and/or by record mode, etc. Click here to see a picture and description of the Group Settings menu.

The Group Settings function can also be set to work with another new feature: Show/Hide Tracks. The ability to toggle between showing and hiding tracks is a feature that I use a lot in Pro Tools, but I don't believe it can be linked to Group Settings in that program. Well done, Emagic!

I also liked the "Freeze" button for its ability to diminish CPU strain. It essentially bounces to disk any selected CPU-demanding tracks, such as tracks using software instruments and effects plug-ins. This bounce to disk function is automatically undone by deselecting the "Freeze" button.

There are many more features than I can go into depth about here - This is turning into a long post! Click on the link below to discover more:

Emagic Logic 6

On a personal note, I want to add that Emagic has more employees who I like than just about any other company I can think of. I've had a lot of fun hanging out with steadyb on many occasions, and he's a real Logic expert! I've also known Bob Hunt for the better part of a decade. He has gone out of his way to help me more than once, and he's an all-around nice guy. I can say much the same for Dave Smith, who I don't know quite as well but who has also been very friendly and helpful to me for many years. It's a pity that these guys have had to bear the understandable anger of alienated PC users for a decision in which Emagic employees had no say, but I guess that's life. Anyway, I thought that they could use a sincere pat on the back; and I just wanted to express my thanks for who they are.

Still more NAMM reporting to come!

Best,

Geoff


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Re: Winter NAMM 2003 Gear Reports
#1108354 01/23/03 01:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Geoff Grace:
On a personal note, I want to add that Emagic has more employees who I like than just about any other company I can think of.
It's the thing I like most about working for Emagic. Great people, funny, smart and very cool to be around and learn from.
That's also the thing I liked most when I was at Alesis.

If the people you work with, depend on, and depend on you, aren't enjoyable to work with, every day is a miserable chore. (And I've been in gigs like those too)

Re: Winter NAMM 2003 Gear Reports
#1108355 01/28/03 08:11 AM
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(Please note: Most of you know me as soapbox, but this post is under my real name.)

Considering that the show has now been finished for over for a week, I'm going to wrap up my report with today's post. Even so, I reserve the right to add a post or two if I forgot something. ;\)

Winter NAMM 2003 Trends:
We've reached a point in the last few years at which it has become possible to create "release quality" recordings at home. Granted, a lot of the best gear we use in order to accomplish this task is still quite expensive. However, many of us are quite happy with what we already have.

This has posed a dilemma for an industry whose very life depends on convincing consumers to spend their hard earned money. How do you convince customers who are happy with the sound of their music products to continue to buy?

The answer many companies seemed to have reached at this show is to make products that are designed to make the user's life easier. MOTU is designing the Mach Five to be a universal sampler that can easily be used with any program on any platform. If it works the way they say it will, the user can buy and setup just one software sampler (Mach Five) instead of two or three (GigaStudio, EXS24, HALion, etc.). Open Labs' eKo OpenSynth should make its users lives easier by providing access to VSTis without having to setup a computer and control surfaces and possibly without having to deal with a computer OS as well. Emagic's Logic 6.0 should make it much easier for users to keep track of files, organize tracks, save CPU resources, and even cut, copy, and paste.

However, this was not the only trend I noticed. There were an increase in software/hardware hybrids on the show floor. Open Labs' eKo OpenSynth is a good example, as is Creamware's Noah. I saw the Noah, and I asked a number of questions about it to a Creamware rep. I like the Noah in concept: dedicated VSTi hardware that takes a load off of the computer's CPU without using up PCI slots. The copy protection implementation also seems safe for developers and less painful for consumers. On the other hand, there still aren't enough available instruments on this platform for my money, and my understanding is that Creamware is weak in customer support. I'll file this one under "wait and see…"

Another software/hardware hybrid is the Waldorf AFB16 Analog Filter Bank. It features a rare combination of analog hardware filters & software control. My hunch is that we'll see a growing trend toward software control over analog devices. Not only does this allow users to control at their computer workstation an increasing percentage of their work, but it also allows analog devices to be manufactured without the cost of knobs and displays. Even so, there's always a downside. Remember the old saying, "Don't put all of your eggs in one basket." (In this case, the basket is the computer.)

Of course, the NAMM show also featured plenty of good, old fashioned hardware; and as a keyboard player, I mostly focussed on keys. The Alesis ION looked and sounded promising, but it's still a work in progress. The Kurzweil K266I looked promising as well; but at this point in time, it's getting by on looks alone. I'll be eager to have a listen once it's finished.

I briefly listened to a demo of E-mu's Vintage Keys Pro, and I happily discovered that it will also be available as a ROM slot soundset for owners of other Proteus 2000 based E-mu products. It was reviewed in the current (February 2003) issue of Keyboard magazine. I don't have much to add to what was written there, but I was told that E-mu is working on fixing the problem mentioned in the review regarding the Vintage Keys Pro's discrepancy between preset volume levels. There was too much reverb and show floor noise present during the demo for me to comment on the sound of the module, but I am definitely interested in hearing more.

My favorite new hardware synth of the show was Roland's V-Synth . It features realtime control over a waveform's pitch, time and formant. Sounds may be routed though its COSM filters. I liked its realtime controllers, the "TimeTrip Pad" (basically an X/Y pad) and the twin D Beam controller. This is not your grandmother's JV-880. Tonal control is a lot more fluid and flexible, and the sound is less clinical to my ears. (I realize that the last sentence could read a bit like, "It sounded less purple to me." \:D This is one of those things you've got to hear for yourself.)

There's one more feature of which I want to take note, before I leave the subject of the V-Synth. It's called V-LINK and it allows playback and performance of video clips with music created on the V-Synth, when connected to the Edirol DV-7PR Digital Video Workstation (sold separately). Clearly, Roland designed this synth with live performance in mind, with a large percentage of its patches geared toward dance music. It should be a big hit with musicians of that genre.

I realize that I've neglected many of the audio manufacturers in my posts. I admit that I didn't look into this area as much as I usually do. However, having been at the recent AES show, I didn't figure that much would have changed in two-and-a-half months. Digidesign continued to demo Pro Tools 6 and Steinberg continued to demo Nuendo 2.0. However, I did read in a Harmony Central report that Digidesign is working on Rewire2 support.

If I've missed anything in this or any other area, or if I was wrong about anything, I welcome other forum members to step up to the plate and fill us in. As for me, with the possible exception of an addendum or two, this concludes my reports. Thanks for letting me share.

Best,

Geoff


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Re: Winter NAMM 2003 Gear Reports
#1108356 01/28/03 08:45 PM
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Geoff - thanks for taking the time to file these reports.

They definitely help those of us unable to attend get the feel for the show highlights...

(hope you're all better, too!)

lz

Re: Winter NAMM 2003 Gear Reports
#1108357 01/29/03 12:57 AM
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(Please note: Most of you know me as soapbox, but this post is under my real name.)

Thanks Laurie. I'm glad I was able to help. The process of organizing my thoughts this way helped me as well.

I also want to thank everyone else here who took the time to share their impressions of the show. Even though I was there too, I enjoyed seeing NAMM through your perspectives.

Best,

Geoff

P.S. Laurie, I regret to say that I'm not quite 100%, more like 70% - 90% depending on the day; but that's a lot better than before. Slowly but surely, I'm getting well! Thanks for your concern! \:\)


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