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#1789940 - 08/01/07 03:26 PM Yamaha PLG150VL
dongna Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/21/05
Posts: 239
Anyone got one of these?

I've got an S90ES, and have always wanted to check out the Yamaha virtual instrument stuff. I listen to the demo on the Yamaha web site and am blown away (no pun intended). But I'm skeptical if it's really possible (realistically) to play those types of sounds. I already have the breath controller which I know is basically required equipment. Is it possible with a realistic amount of practice?

Any and all comments welcome.

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#1789974 - 08/01/07 04:19 PM Re: Yamaha PLG150VL [Re: dongna]
New&Improv Offline
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Registered: 02/27/07
Posts: 1594
Loc: Corvallis, OR
I have a VL-70M, which I believe is the same sound-engine and has a lot of the same patches as the PLG card. The sounds are really pretty amazing, but it does take a lot of practice to learn to phrase on a keyboard like whatever instrument you are emulating. For instance, I love the bass clarinet sound on the VL70, yet I just can't seem to play it in a way that sounds right. The muted trumpet and soprano sax patches seem to work for me pretty well, though.
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#1789981 - 08/01/07 04:30 PM Re: Yamaha PLG150VL [Re: New&Improv]
mate stubb Offline
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Registered: 10/26/03
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Yes! I had one in my S90. The breath controller is a must. You can play totally believable solo tenor and alto sax solos with this. Harmonica too.

Layer the VL sax with a sampled trumpet and trombone for as realistic a synth horn section as you are ever going to get from a keyboard. It erases a good deal of the cheese factor.

But solo, it's very impressive.
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#1790104 - 08/02/07 02:44 AM Re: Yamaha PLG150VL [Re: mate stubb]
Tusker Offline
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Registered: 08/02/00
Posts: 6073
Loc: Saddle Ridge
Yes it's possible. Especially as a solo instrument.

I am using a VL card with an S90ES and it's giving me great results. As emulations go, the reed instruments are very good to my ears, the brass instruments next. I still haven't got great results from the bowed string ... although I am trying different strategies.

Better than the emulations are the instruments that don't exist. Each one of them is detailed enough (and odd enough) to carry the melody by itself. Patches like Floboe, Mizu Horn and LyricOff get respect from my bandmates in a way that a good sax emulation never does. If you have been using the BC3 with decent results in traditional and VA synthesis, you are likely going to love what it does with VL.

Here's a clip of David Sancious using a VL board (starts at 3.06)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RByaN8w5mso

Jerry
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#1790540 - 08/02/07 07:53 PM Re: Yamaha PLG150VL [Re: Tusker]
dongna Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/21/05
Posts: 239
Thanks all for the comments. For ~$150, it seems crazy to not give it a try at least.

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#1790570 - 08/02/07 09:28 PM Re: Yamaha PLG150VL [Re: dongna]
Music*aL Online   content
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Registered: 09/20/00
Posts: 2396
Loc: SoCal
I have the VL in my ES6. I can't say it's grabbed me, but I haven't tried it with a breath controller, yet -- and I have been admonished to -- ;\) However, just today, I was tinkering with the ES, and tried the Jazz Flute, and found it very very nicely modeled. I could play it rather easily and it sounded quite authentic to my ears. Unlike the Flute samples in ROM which seem over the top, not as subtle and much less expressive. So, although I was starting to give up on the VL, I am thinking I'll keep it, if for no other reason to use that sweet flute...

aL
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#1790599 - 08/03/07 01:58 AM Re: Yamaha PLG150VL [Re: Music*aL]
Tusker Offline
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Registered: 08/02/00
Posts: 6073
Loc: Saddle Ridge
Al, which bank of instruments are you playing?

PLGPRE1 - is in touch EG mode
PLGPRE2 - is in velocity play mode
PLGPRE3 - is in breath controller mode

As you might expect, PLGPRE3 sounds lousy without a BC3. PLGPRE1 depends on how much aftertouch you are using. Without aftertouch they are pretty lame. On PLGPRE2, you can get a quite a bit of nuance with a "pecking" style of play.

But the VL board and the BC were made for each other. ;\)

Jerry

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#1790704 - 08/03/07 07:49 AM Re: Yamaha PLG150VL [Re: Tusker]
Music*aL Online   content
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Registered: 09/20/00
Posts: 2396
Loc: SoCal
You know Jerry, I wasn't paying attention to the bank I was scrolling through, but, with the flute, I didn't like what the AT did in bank PRE1, so I used the PRE3 Flute, which didn't have any modulation (except for the BC, of course) and added a touch of modulation for AT. Worked beautifully. Also, I would rather control vol. through my FC7.

One thing I haven't done with the VL is to sit down with the editor. I understand it's like learning a new language, but, you never know, I may end up with an interesting patch or two...

aL
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#1793133 - 08/08/07 04:19 PM Re: Yamaha PLG150VL [Re: Music*aL]
Mark Schmieder Offline
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Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 6670
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
The PLG150-VL is a steal for $150, or even $650. I sold mine shortly after buying it, because I ran out of PLG slots in my Motif-Rack ES and didn't find it advantageous to have the plug-in card when I would have to go through my VL70m anyway in order to trigger the PLG via my WX5 wind controller (one could do a MIDI merge with a keyboard controller, of course).

I never tried it with a BC3a. I sold my BC3a because it was so hard for me to coordinate my playing compared to using a wind controller, but at the time it did not occur to me that I was thereby giving up the capacity for more expressive brass section and string section playing (as the VL70m is monophonic and therefore only for lead voices vs. polyphonic ensembles).

The main disadvantage to the PLG card is that Patchman Music's excellent ROM replacement is not available for it, as it actually is a different architecture from the VL70m. They are quite similar and are voice-compatible but are not identical -- especially from the point of view of board layout. To be more specific, it is a common misconception that the VL70m is just a rack enclosure for a PLG150-VL plug-in card.

Using a PLG150-VL in a Motif ES gives you much better effects. On the other hand, the built-in effects of the VL70m are more specific to what makes sense for wind instruments. The actual audio quality is not quite as good, but Matt Traum of Patchman Music spent a lot of time to tweak the sound engine programmatically with his ROM replacement.

Note that Matt earlier released two voice libraries forn the custom bank of the VL70m, which also work with the PLG card.

A big advantage of the ROM replacement is that you get ALL of his voices (heavily tweaked and improved since his original voicing for the custom libraries) at once, vs. only six at a time. The six voice custom bank limitation is a PITA and limits the usefulness of the PLG and VL70m variants of the VL technology (the older but way better VL1 and VL1m rack are very rare -- especially with their version 2 ROM upgrades -- and most eBay auctions for those items are "supicicious" at best).

There are also some excellent VL patches from Yamaha's Phil Clendennin (aka "Bad Mister" on the forums) and the wind synth players community (though many of those were in a format that did not work on my computer). The voice editor is Mac OS 9 only, but a simplified version of it is available for Windows. This is another drawback, but I just use it as a preset machine since even just ONE of Matt's excellent trumpet patches is worth the $600 I paid for the VL70m, and there are 255 other excellent presets to go along with it.

I have done a considerable amount of tracking with my VL70m -- including last night. Much to my surprise, it even blends well with sampled brass section sounds from my Vienna Instruments mega-gigabyte software sample library, and also blends well with programmed voices from the Motif itself. I still must use all three approaches to capture all of the sounds that I need.

One of the hidden secrets of the VL technology is that it makes for one of the meanest and phattest synth bass sound sources on the planet. It is also great for sitar and other highly expressive sounds. Solo violin can come off very convincing, but with some practice on breath control and tonguing. I ended up going back to Vienna Instruments for my solo string work, but the VL would work great towards such purpose in a live setting.

I have used the VL70m live on many occasions, alongside REAL horn players, and no one could tell which was which. We even had trouble ourselves :-).


Edited by Mark Schmieder (08/08/07 04:27 PM)
Edit Reason: spelling errors
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#1813023 - 09/19/07 01:52 PM Re: Yamaha PLG150VL [Re: Mark Schmieder]
dongna Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/21/05
Posts: 239
Sorry for the thread bump, but I wanted to thank everyone who responded to my query... I picked up a PLG150VL, installed it in my S90ES with BC3 breath controller, and... WOW, is all I can say. I never thought I'd ever hear such realistic reed and horn sounds come out of a synth. One of my neighbors actually came over the other day and asked which one of my kids was taking sax lessons (which, now that I think about, doesn't exactly say much about my playing so far). It amazes me how the alto sax patch (in particular) even has the squeaks and octave jumps (not sure what the correct term is for that particular artifact) if you don't blow with the correct pressure. The one thing this is really going to force me to do is finally develop some real pitch bend wheel technique.

Anyways... thanks again to all who responded positively to my original question. And to anyone else reading who may be considering the purchase of a PLG150VL... I would say if you want the ultimate in solo reed and brass sounds, it's a no-brainer for 150 clams (the BC-3 breath controller really is a must-have to go along with it, though).


Edited by dongna (09/19/07 01:53 PM)

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#1813028 - 09/19/07 02:00 PM Re: Yamaha PLG150VL [Re: dongna]
Steve Force Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 03/01/04
Posts: 8684
Loc: Metro-Detroit, Michigan
I have had a PLG150VL (BC-3 controller as well) for over 2 years and it is great.
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#1813042 - 09/19/07 02:21 PM Re: Yamaha PLG150VL [Re: Steve Force]
MikeNZ Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 03/27/07
Posts: 184
Patchman music has 2 great sounding banks of sounds for the PLG150VL.

http://www.patchmanmusic.com/yamahaVL70m.html

Note that the card does not save these when you power down. Naughty Yamaha!

Michael

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