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Steinberg VST3.7 Adds MIDI 2.0
#3056668 07/31/20 10:33 PM
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Synthtopia just carriedthe press release.

I take this to mean that if a developer of a soft synth wanted, their plugin could now accept MIDI 2.0 data streams using the new developer bits from Steinberg. This is good, now there is a standard way for soft synths to take input.

It seems to me that the real innovation needed is on the hardware end, however. Part of what makes analog instruments so expressive is that there's a whole bunch of things all interacting at once in complex ways. There's no reason this couldn't be the case with high-speed sensors, but it just hasn't been the case so far. Osmose is the best hope so far for a keyboard based controller, though the Continuum is clearly "there already" for fine sensitivity in an "arbitrary controller".

Grid-based controllers have crossed over into a physical interface enough people are willing to learn. There are virtuoso finger-drummers, and I've seen stage performances where drum grooves that a human could play on a kit were instead performed by someone on an MPC/Ableton Push type controller.

It is such a catch-22. A new digital instrument needs to be rewarding enough to practice and master, and not at risk of disappearing before that occurs. It is apparently very hard to get this right, judging from the dearth of high-quality controllers. We just don't have great wind controllers that cost like a pro saxophone and offer similar expressiveness. We don't have superb bowed controllers, etc.

So, I guess I'm happy to see the software side - it is always going to be first. But I really want to see innovation on the hardware side - specifically instruments that put out nuanced, complex data streams. We have great synths with massive mod matrices - we need rich flows of data to drive them to really get at their potential. This a "gestalt" thing that the CS-80 got right. But some one will get it. I hope many do.

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Re: Steinberg VST3.7 Adds MIDI 2.0
Nathanael_I #3056685 08/01/20 01:51 AM
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Have you played a LinnStrument or ROLI Seaboard? They're pretty mind-bending.

Re: Steinberg VST3.7 Adds MIDI 2.0
Nathanael_I #3056696 08/01/20 05:01 AM
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The Seaboard, yes. I was one of the very first purchasers of the Seaboard Grand. I played it at Roger Linn's house before it was even released when they brought it on tour through the Bay Area. I got on the pre-order list on the spot. I was initially very interested in it, but ultimately I did not connect with the instrument, despite finding it more expressive than any keyboard I played. There are several reasons. First, the Seaboard Grands had issues with playing semitones; I couldn't deal. Second, it was frustratingly expressive. What I mean is that it could give much more than a keyboard, particularly on solo lines. But the fine control was just not there compared to an acoustic instrument. The overall touch system just didn't do controllable nuance in a way that I wanted to pour hundreds of hours into. The keys were not sensitive from first touch, there was a resistance that had to "break" and then there was an area of uncontrollable pressure before I could find consistency. This created a particular envelope that wasn't always wanted. I decided that it is more about big gesture, than subtle control. The industrial design is stunning, but the actual sensor is not at instrument grade to encourage hundreds of hours of practice (at least for me). Clearly others have found that to be untrue. The Equator soft synth is very nice, however.

I ultimately realized that I either needed it to have keys that were closer to traditional keys (why I am so excited about the Osmose), or I wanted it to be radically expressive and worth the time to master (I believe the Continuum is the best instrument in this category currently). That the Osmose combines a traditional key interface that is clearly very sensitive with the audio engine from the Continuum makes it promising. We will see what the Osmose delivers. Presently the Continuum is the only instrument that seems capable of "classical acoustic instrument" kinds of expression - but it is hid behind the daunting front of having to completely start over on instrumental mastery.

That last bit is the hard bit, and what ultimately limits the Seaboard. I remember early on, I took a phone call from one of their investors doing due diligence. I was asked if I saw a future of kids going to music stores for Seaboard lessons instead of piano lessons. I said, definitely not any time soon. There's no model, no example, and nothing to tell parents that it makes any sense as a pursuit. They thought it would transfer directly to piano or vice-versa and that was not my experience at all. It was a new thing, and piano technique really wasn't much help. I suspect someone with clavichord or tracker organ experience would have the best head start on Seaboard technique.

Re: Steinberg VST3.7 Adds MIDI 2.0
Nathanael_I #3056698 08/01/20 05:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Nathanael_I
It was a new thing, and piano technique really wasn't much help. I suspect someone with clavichord or tracker organ experience would have the best head start on Seaboard technique.

I haven't played the Roli or the Linnstrument but I suspect the technique will be congruent with those who play strings - violin, viola, cello - and electric guitarists including slide, lap steel and pedal steel guitarists.

Piano is going to play the tempered scale and that's that. String players are very accustomed to slight pressure or movement resulting in a change in pitch. I've spent the last 3 years re-learning my touch on the stratocaster - I fully scalloped my fretboards. There is zero friction between the finger and the fretboard now, a big change but I love the flexibility. I've realized that I do hear in microtones and the tempered scale leaves much to be desired when playing American musics. I've taking up fretless bass and dabble in fretless banjo as well. Many classical players are trained to play in the just scale since they don't need to be confined to mathematical convenience and can (and do) truly play by ear and intuition.

I've little or no talent on keys but I watch the Roli being played on YouTube and sense that I would be able to express in an intuitive way.
The Linnstrument looks insanely cool to me as well.


There is never enough time to be in a hurry...
Re: Steinberg VST3.7 Adds MIDI 2.0
KuruPrionz #3057453 08/07/20 05:18 AM
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Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
I haven't played the Roli or the Linnstrument but I suspect the technique will be congruent with those who play strings - violin, viola, cello - and electric guitarists including slide, lap steel and pedal steel guitarists.

That's what I've found. Roli is like a keyboard that plays like guitar players think, and the LinnStrument basically maps a 21st century Chapman Stick onto a keyboard. I haven't developed sufficient technique to play blazingly fast, but to do a slow, emotive solo with electronics, they've very comfortable. They sure beat switches-that-have-decent-velocity-and-maybe-pressure.

Re: Steinberg VST3.7 Adds MIDI 2.0
Nathanael_I #3057454 08/07/20 05:19 AM
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And BTW...Studio One 5 has added MPE support. I haven't worked with it, but it will be interesting to see what editing MPE data is like.


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