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#2926864 - 05/13/18 08:17 PM Hypothetical / theoretical question - patch standard
Dr88s Offline
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Registered: 05/12/13
Posts: 1238
Loc: Montreal, Canada
Two recent reads here have prompted me to ponder something - a recent zombie thread resurrected by a first time poster asking if anyone had a source for a program for a certain song that would be compatible with his synth module (not otherwise specified in any way), and an old thread that I had commented on a few years ago that I just re-read.

From my understanding, the General MIDI standard was agreed upon / accepted by manufacturers in the early 1990s to allow different machinery to communicate meaningfully and integrate MIDI gear from different manufacturers into a user's rig.

This got me to thinking about how useful it would be to have a standard that somehow saves program data in a cross-platform way. Everyone has experienced the frustration of buying a new keyboard, just to have to reprogram all of his/her beloved patches into the new machine. How great would it be to be able to export some sort of file that contains information describing the major features of the program to be interpreted by any other keyboard by any other manufacturer?

Obviously, all keyboards have different architecture. Some are analog, some VA, some ROMplers, they have different numbers of oscillators/sources, they have different numbers of effects slots, different effects altogether, different modulation options and matrices, etc, which makes this a totally daunting challenge to even ponder. What if, however, the major vendors could agree on an extensive set of parameters that could be ignored by a board that does not offer that functionality, to get you as far of the way toward your desired sound, even as a starting point, as possible.

Would this even be feasible?
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#2927001 - 05/14/18 03:01 PM Re: Hypothetical / theoretical question - patch standard [Re: Dr88s]
llatham Offline
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Registered: 02/06/11
Posts: 327
This was tried before.

It was called MIDI (it's a joke, I know you know what MIDI is).

People didn't understand what MIDI was, so, when they downloaded "a MIDI" from the internet, played it in their computer, they got the cheesiest sounding sounds they could possibly imagine.

They went "MIDI sucks".

Well, we know it's the SYNTHESIZER's fault, not the MIDI file's fault.

But I see a similar "quality control" issue for manufacturers.

If someone uploaded a "Jump" patch they made on a Roland, and then someone downloads it on a Yamaha and it's not right, they're going to think Yamaha did something wrong.

It's why Apple (or at least one reason) wants total control over the sounds available in Garageband. They don't want users loading up 3rd part software instruments and having people make files that don't sound as good as the stock stuff and going "Garageband sucks" (whether it does or not is a side issue).

It also allows Roland and Yamaha to differentiate themselves from each other, and everyone else. They want to SELL their instrument, and if the Behringer sounds just like it, and is cheaper, guess what people are going to buy...

I think, if there were a huge demand for it among end users, we would have already seen it implemented (though, to be fair, many great ideas go unimplemented for various reasons, mostly money).

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#2927002 - 05/14/18 03:12 PM Re: Hypothetical / theoretical question - patch standard [Re: llatham]
J. Dan Offline
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Even General MIDI was not all that successful unless you stuck with the same manufacturer. Then most of them came up with their own supersets of the original specification. If I played a sequence into a Roland GS soundset, it would generally sound correct on another Roland device except for minor variations - for instance if I used NRPN's to do a filter sweep, the cutoff may be slightly different from device to device. But play it on another GM device and it's going to sound different. It may be some sort of saw patch on both, but not the same.

Now there are sample format standards, which is I think about as close as you're going to get.
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#2927006 - 05/14/18 03:45 PM Re: Hypothetical / theoretical question - patch standard [Re: J. Dan]
Bobby Simons Offline
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Registered: 12/28/17
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Loc: Northport, L.I., NY
Quote:
It's why Apple (or at least one reason) wants total control over the sounds available in Garageband. They don't want users loading up 3rd part software instruments and having people make files that don't sound as good as the stock stuff and going "Garageband sucks" (whether it does or not is a side issue).

This isnít true, or Iím misunderstanding you. You are absolutely free to use 3rd party AU instruments and effects in GarageBand.
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#2927021 - 05/14/18 05:26 PM Re: Hypothetical / theoretical question - patch standard [Re: Bobby Simons]
llatham Offline
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Registered: 02/06/11
Posts: 327
Originally Posted By: Bobby Simons

This isnít true, or Iím misunderstanding you. You are absolutely free to use 3rd party AU instruments and effects in GarageBand.


In Logic, for sure.

In Garageband, I don't think they always did. Or, if they do now, I don't think they always did it. I could be wrong of course and would be happy to be corrected, but wasn't there a time when all you could do was buy the Apple branded "expansion" packs?


Edited by llatham (05/14/18 05:28 PM)

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#2927029 - 05/14/18 06:23 PM Re: Hypothetical / theoretical question - patch standard [Re: llatham]
WesG Offline
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Registered: 02/16/13
Posts: 3384
Loc: Inverary, ON, Canada
You can't have a patch standard unless you have a homogeneous architecture. Unfortunately, this the exact opposite of what we need as a community.
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#2927034 - 05/14/18 06:47 PM Re: Hypothetical / theoretical question - patch standard [Re: WesG]
Dr88s Offline
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Registered: 05/12/13
Posts: 1238
Loc: Montreal, Canada
Originally Posted By: WesG
You can't have a patch standard unless you have a homogeneous architecture. Unfortunately, this the exact opposite of what we need as a community.


Alluded to in my initial post. I was just pondering if large manufacturers could come up with, say, 40 or 50 parameters that would either contain zeros if the particular board's architecture did not apply when saving, or superfluous data ignored by a receiving synth which lacks a particular functionality.

To be clear, I never expected such a system to reliably a transfer a sound from one synthesizer to another. I agree that people who didn't understand what could be reasonably expected from such a standard would complain that the receiving synth "sucks" because it would be unlikely that on first load the results would be satisfactory. I'm just thinking it could save users lots of time when reprogramming patches, and could allow for some central repository of, say, famous sounds. Sure, the program would probably sound very wonky on another keyboard with a different source waveform, different filter, etc., but maybe it could start you in the right ballpark.
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#2927065 - 05/14/18 10:23 PM Re: Hypothetical / theoretical question - patch standard [Re: Dr88s]
RudyS Offline
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I think even when you have those 40 or 50 parameters the differences between synths are too large to help the user. He still has to do a lot of tweaking and transfering the settings from the other synth might even making this process harder. If you try to copy a weird modulated patch into a synth with (a) different (number of) modulation sources, things can really be weird soon. Then half a patch doesnít help at all.

I think there has to be a standard (that means complete described architecture etc as WesG points out) or it doesnít work.
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#2927091 - 05/15/18 05:27 AM Re: Hypothetical / theoretical question - patch standard [Re: RudyS]
WesG Offline
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Registered: 02/16/13
Posts: 3384
Loc: Inverary, ON, Canada
Imagine trying to write even the most basic patch that plays a piano tone (good or bad) on a PCM, subtractive, and FM synth?

A PCM patch looks like a bunch of 1s and 0s - a recording.
A substractive patch looks like a parametric EQ plus a few other seetings.
An FM patch is an algorithm number, plus tuning numbers

The best you could do is try to standardize patch formats across machines with similar architecture. Yamaha did this with the DX series.

I suppose you could standardize envelope parameters to an extent.
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Hammond: L111, M3, BC, CV, Franken CV, A100, B3
Leslie: 710, 760, 51C, 147, 145, 122, 31H
Yamaha: CP4, DGX-620, DX7II-FD-E!, PF85
Roland: VR-09
Band Site: http://DrBombay.ca/

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#2927098 - 05/15/18 06:23 AM Re: Hypothetical / theoretical question - patch standard [Re: WesG]
Dr88s Offline
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Registered: 05/12/13
Posts: 1238
Loc: Montreal, Canada
I can't.

Conclusion: it's not feasible.
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#2927313 - 05/16/18 08:20 AM Re: Hypothetical / theoretical question - patch standard [Re: llatham]
Joe Muscara Offline
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Originally Posted By: llatham
Originally Posted By: Bobby Simons

This isnít true, or Iím misunderstanding you. You are absolutely free to use 3rd party AU instruments and effects in GarageBand.


In Logic, for sure.

In Garageband, I don't think they always did. Or, if they do now, I don't think they always did it. I could be wrong of course and would be happy to be corrected, but wasn't there a time when all you could do was buy the Apple branded "expansion" packs?
If it wasn't in the first version of GB, it's been there a very, very long time. I used to use Ivory in GB when it first came out. The DVDs I have say 2004-2005, and the system requirements say Mac with a G4 processor.
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#2928182 - 05/20/18 09:36 PM Re: Hypothetical / theoretical question - patch standard [Re: Joe Muscara]
Quai34 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 08/05/17
Posts: 95
Loc: Canada, MB
If it's standard, there is no differentiation, marketing wise, then the price will always be the only arguments/features, then it's the end of competition, then end of R&D and only one or two monopole companies....For a business sector which is based on creativity, no,one, even the end user would like that....
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#2928183 - 05/20/18 09:38 PM Re: Hypothetical / theoretical question - patch standard [Re: Quai34]
Quai34 Offline
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Registered: 08/05/17
Posts: 95
Loc: Canada, MB
Imagine Mozart and Beethoven having to use the big orchestra in the same way, no ability to have more strings or winds or whatever....We live in a fantastic area in term of choice of technology, being standard would be killing this in my opinion....
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