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Digital/Virtual Instrumental Questions??


Chopin_Guy

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Looking to enter the virtual instrument domain and need some direction...

 

Currently I have a Roland RD-700GX and a Fantom G8 at home. I use the RD mostly for gigs and would be looking to use it as the controller for this application -- I also have a MacBook Pro that I can wipe clean and use solely for this purpose.

 

After looking at software, Komplete7 looks to be great -- albeit I don't need even close to the entire library, as I am most interested in the high quality sampled pianos and orchestral sounds for my purposes. Are there any other libraries worth looking at??

 

So my questions are:

 

1. What interface do I need to use?? (I assume a MIDI interface that has audio outputs on it as well??)

 

2. Is this viable for live use??

 

3. Is the Komplete7 library and interface all I need to make this work??

 

Thank you for any input and wisdom you can throw my way...

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Well - both the RD-700GX and the Fantom G8 has USB ports so you won't need a MIDI interface at all.

What you do need is a good quality external sound interface - preferably one with firewire if your computer has FW (most Macs do).

 

Do you use a Mac or PC? Laptop or desktop? Give us more info and you're likely to get a better answer.

Too much stuff, too little time, too few gigs, should spend more time practicing...!  🙄

main instruments: Nord Stage 3 compact, Yamaha CP88, Kurzweil PC4, Viscount KeyB Legend Live

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Thanks for the quick reply. After I submitted the thread I realized that both the Fantom G and RD have those USB ports and those might be an option as well.

 

I use Mac -- and I have an extra MacBook Pro that I can wipe clean to use for the purpose. I want to use a laptop because I would like to use this live if possible and am not hauling a desktop. Specifically the laptop is a 2.0Ghz Core Duo, 60gb hard drive, 2gb of ram and I run the latest 10.6 OS.

 

 

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Ok - check if you have the firewire ports and then get a good quality audio interface. Do search in this forum and you'll find lots of discussions and recommendations about that.

Too much stuff, too little time, too few gigs, should spend more time practicing...!  🙄

main instruments: Nord Stage 3 compact, Yamaha CP88, Kurzweil PC4, Viscount KeyB Legend Live

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The USB port acts as a two way MIDI interface, but at a higher data rate than traditional MIDI - so in a way the USB connection is actually better.

 

You will probably have no problems with the communication between the Roland and the laptop.

 

The weak link is the audio playback - you need a fast hard drive (7200 rpm or better) to play large samples of the Komplete library, and a firewire audio interface will make audio handling "faster", so that the CPU don't have to work as hard. With a Mac you can use the internal sound card, but that will put more strain on the CPU = more likely to get you dropouts and other problems with the audio.

Too much stuff, too little time, too few gigs, should spend more time practicing...!  🙄

main instruments: Nord Stage 3 compact, Yamaha CP88, Kurzweil PC4, Viscount KeyB Legend Live

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Sven, thank you for the links to those libraries -- I will have a look at them. Do you have any experience with them?? Also, could someone point me in the direction of an appropriate firewire audio interface to use in this type of application...??

 

 

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I have the 700 GX and a MacBook Pro. I should start by saying I've not used this live at a gig, though I used a similar combination "live" with my old band at rehearsals. The MacBook easily handled recording stereo, MIDI from my controller, and playing Ivory at the same time.

 

Another option you may want to consider is Logic Studio. I don't know if it has the orchestral sounds you are looking for, but you can check here as the Symphony Orchestra Jam Pack is included in LS. You will also get at least three pianos in the package, basically the standard three, Steinway, Yamaha, and Bosendorfer.

 

Logic Studio also includes MainStage, which is designed to let you use software instruments such as what I listed above and any third-party Audio Units such as Ivory live. MainStage makes it really easy to set up different groups of instruments, splits, etc. for each song or whatever you need to do.

 

I have all three Ivory products (Grands, Italian Grand, and Uprights, but version I, not II yet), and I love them. Great sounding stuff.

 

As far as MIDI, MIDI-over-USB as mentioned above is super easy, though if you get a FireWire interface for audio, there are many that do MIDI for you as well.

 

Now about that audio interface. There are tons of choices out there. If you're not going to record with it or never more than a couple of tracks, a USB interface might be enough for you. You definitely need FW if you're going to be pumping a bunch of real audio back into the computer for recording, though.

 

I have a Presonus Firepod (now called the FP10) and it works great for me. They have models with less and models with more features now. But other than that, I'm not up on what is current from them nor other manufacturers. I've heard Focusrite is good. I can't recall the interface B3-er used for recording recently and thought was way better than what he previously had. Again, that was for recording. For live use, you can get away with gear that may not be as crystal clear sound-wise.

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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If you're not doing heavy synth work, Komplete 7 may be overkill: Absynth, Massive, Reaktor, Battery... they are cool, but if you're not already programming the snot out of the Roland, you may not use these either. Put another way, there may be more suitable software for synth bits should you want it. (That said I'm a huge fan of Massive!)

 

+1 for Sven's suggestion.

I make software noises.
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Thanks for the further replies....Joe I am actually in Houston as well.

 

As for what I am trying to achieve -- I'm simply looking for an advanced sound engine really. I don't program either of my Rolands all that much and am simply looking for the best piano and orchestral sound that I could use live when music directing shows around town.

 

I am very impressed with the Synthogy samples -- definitely the best piano I have ever heard reproduced digitally -- would love to be able to play that using the 700GX live as a controller. I have no desire to do any digital recording to my MacBook Pro -- just really wanting to use it as a sound module.

 

Definitely going to start with the Synthogy -- now to find a proper interface...

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Thanks again Sven...

 

So upon further reading it looks as if I would be best suited by runnning the Ivory 2 from an external hard-drive as opposed my MacBook Pro drive which is only 5400rpm -- is this accurate?? Probably a good idea for me also as I only have an 80GB drive to start with.

 

And on the subject of an external drive -- would using a solid state drive be good -- not sure totally about that technology, but I thought access is near instant with those drives?? Otherwise I would just go with a high performance 7200rpm external drive??

 

Thanks again gentlemen...

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I recently bought a 1TB Lacie D2 for use with my MacBook (13.3" white). It works great and is built like a tank and has a triple interface (USB, firewire and eSata). 7200 rpm of course.

Too much stuff, too little time, too few gigs, should spend more time practicing...!  🙄

main instruments: Nord Stage 3 compact, Yamaha CP88, Kurzweil PC4, Viscount KeyB Legend Live

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I have the very first generation MacBook Pro with 2.0Ghz Core Duo, 80GB hard drive, and I have it loaded with 2GB of RAM. Of course, as mac favors, the hard drive is 5400rpm. Now, this is an extra computer I have so I am going to wipe is clean and do a system restore and reinstall OS 10.6 and that should clean things up a bit -- as of right now it is clogged up with alot of music, video, files, etc...

 

I suppose starting with an attempt to run it on the laptop would be good and then go from there. The Ivory site says that using the RAID feature in OS X and a raid drive will provide performance advantages -- and a 500GB RAID drive can be had fairly cheap. Anyone have any experience with running such audio based software through a solid state drive though??

 

 

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I used Ivory on both a first gen MacBook (not Pro, the original Core Duo model) as well as my 2009 MBP with no problems. I'm pretty sure at various points I ran it from the internal drives, but I don't remember if the MacBook is a 5400 or a 7200.

 

You can upgrade the internal drive on your MBP fairly cheap with a 7200. I would think that SSD performance would be as good or even better. Check out MacSales.com. They may have performance info. You might also want to contact Synthogy.com and see if they have any advice or warnings about using SSD.

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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Okay, based on your specs, you ABSOLUTELY have to upgrade your key components. All of these are simple aftermarket upgrades, available through any competent computer parts supplier (i.e. NOT Best Buy :rolleyes:).

 

1) Upgrade that RAM to the 4GB max... don't wait, do it NOW. We'll wait 'til you're back.

 

2) Upgrade the internal HDD... get yourself a nice 320GB or 500GB eSATA 7200 RPM drive, install your OSX on that, and then install Ivory II. No need for an external drive, because you're only using this to play back, not do both playback and recording. Note: If your use changes, and you start to do recording on the laptop, then this advice no longer applies.

 

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For RAM, I recommend Ramjet or Crucial. Wherever you buy it, make sure you get a lifetime warranty.

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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Unfortunately, according to the spec for this laptop it is only capable of 2GB max which I have loaded already -- can you install more than the recommended max?? Not really looking to spend too much money on the laptop as it is 5 years old and if I really get into this virtual instrument world will probably be looking to get a newer more powerful machine anyhow.

 

I e-mailed Synthogy and they recommended either an internal SSD or an external SSD drive. They used one of the new MacBook Pros at NAMM(you can see in their demo video posted) with the internal SSD and had no issues apparently. So, I'll be looking into an external SSD drive with Firewire 400/800 capability as I only have FireWire 400 on my MacBook Pro. The new USB 3.0 and Thunderbold look like an awesome solution for the future -- the lastest MacBook Pros have Thunderbold (up to 10GB/sec transfer rate; amazing for audio/video).

 

So looks as if I am starting to wrap my head around this all -- now I just need to get an interface in mind that will work well -- are there any that do MIDI and audio?? Cause with the external drive I am rapidly running out of available ports on my laptop. If there's a solution that I can hook MIDI from the keyboard to and that will carry audio back for amplification, that would be ideal??

 

Thanks again as I get my feet wet in this exciting new endeavor...

 

 

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So looks as if I am starting to wrap my head around this all -- now I just need to get an interface in mind that will work well -- are there any that do MIDI and audio?? Cause with the external drive I am rapidly running out of available ports on my laptop. If there's a solution that I can hook MIDI from the keyboard to and that will carry audio back for amplification, that would be ideal??

Most external audio interfaces - except the very smallest - have MIDI ports precisely to address that need. Check out offerings from MOTU, Presonus, and Focusrite to start. There are literally dozens of good choices out there.

Instrumentation is meaningless - a song either stands on its own merit, or it requires bells and whistles to cover its lack of adequacy, much less quality. - kanker
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Unfortunately, according to the spec for this laptop it is only capable of 2GB max which I have loaded already -- can you install more than the recommended max??
RAMJet - How much RAM can you install?

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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