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GAS report


marino

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Some of you may remember that I stated more than once on the forum how much I am satisfied with the gear I have, how I don't really need more instruments, and I would like to buy a VA to replace the Chroma, but I don't really like them and blah blah...

 

OK so a couple of days ago I went to a big music store, and they had both the Virus Indigo and the MicroQ Keyboard in display. They're both powerful and stilish, so I said, maybe it's time for some G.A.S., I went in, asked for headphones and half an hour to spend with the little beasts.

 

I ended up playing the Indigo almost exclusively, but I'd worked with the MicroQ Rack just a few days before at a friend's studio, so I had a good idea of its sound already.

 

I left the store disappointed, and without buying anything. The Indigo has an HORRIBLE keyboard, and no aftertouch. The sound is good and rich, but... lacking something I need to hear. I swear it's very good for thechno/dance/trance/electro etc., but in my music, 90% of the time I mix synths with acoustic instruments, and that's my measure to judge a synth's "beef". I tried to program it a bit; I didn't stop at the presets. I found the Virus excellent for straight, "digital" sounds, arpeggios, electronic percussions and bip-bips - I believe a lot of people needs just that.

 

The Q seems to have a little more beef and bottom, but the basic quality is similar - "straight", predictable, cutting but cold. I can make very similar sounds on the Kurzweil already, with slightly different methods. Not identical, maybe - but all I really need in this family of sounds. Oh, and the keys are awful, too. (It does have aftertouch)

 

The Indigo went for about $1500, and the MQK for about $1250. I know it's pointless to quote dollar prices for German synths in an Italian store, but just for your reference... They also had a Virus Kb, with an excellent keyboard, for about $1650. I was tempted, but still the sound didn't convince me.

 

End of story: Today I went to play a Yamaha AN1x, and bought it like new for less than $400. It's no Moog, but I like it a LOT better than the other two! And, and a third/fourth of the cost. I know, it's less programmable, less polyphony, just bi-timbral, etc., but I found I liked lots of things about it:

-It has a warm, big sounds that's going to complement the Kurzs and Matrix-12 very well;

-It has a ribbon. Not the most responsive, but usable, and assignable to a lot of things;

-The Free EGs can give extra life and motion to the sound;

-The keyboard is a bit cheap, but quite a bit better than the german synths. I am a player, and want something usable. I find the aftertouch usable as well.

-It's very light and with a 5-octave keyboard. For quick reharsals, I can just bring the AN1x and a module, without carrying the XP-80 or the Fatar 2001 every time. Abig thankyou from my back - it misses my old JV-80 a lot!

 

Only real negatives:

 

-External power supply. Aaaaarrgghhh!!! I almost didn't buy it for this one reason - I can't STAND them. But the pluses were too strong :)

-Now, I have no excuse - I really need a bigger mixer! (GAS again...!)

 

marino

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oh my friend, i dream of the day i can walk into a music store and purchase whatever i want!!!! so far it's looking like:

 

1 x kurzweil PC2X

1 x heavy duty stand

1 x good hard case

1 x in-ear monitor (probably shure - wireless)

and to be totally affluent...

1 x korg cx-3

 

and that's only for a keyboard rig!

pray for peace

"Consider how much coffee you're drinking - it's probably not enough."
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Marino...

 

...my brother...

 

You need an Andromeda.

 

You know you do. Alesis is supposedly gonna make some more soon.

 

Wait for it. 16 voices. Real analog - VCO, VCF, VCA. Moog 900 series and SEM multimode filters. Envelopes that let you use one of 9 (!) different curves for each of the six (A, D1, D2, S, R1, R2) stages.

 

Trust me. You know we have many of the same tastes.

 

You'll love it. It'll be worth the wait and the money.

 

dB

:snax:

 

:keys:==> David Bryce Music • Funky Young Monks <==:rawk:

 

 

Affiliations: Cloud Microphones • Music Player Network 

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Originally posted by dansouth@yahoo.com:

 

Yeah, well, we need Jennifer Aniston, too, but somebody already claimed the only one ever built...if you catch my drift...

 

LOL!

 

I do indeed, brother Dan.

 

They swear that they're gonna make more. There's a dedicated Andromeda team in the remains of Alesis. They've been working on it for a while now. They say January.

 

You need one too, BTW...but you already know that...

 

dB

:snax:

 

:keys:==> David Bryce Music • Funky Young Monks <==:rawk:

 

 

Affiliations: Cloud Microphones • Music Player Network 

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Dave, you're absolutely right. I know the Andromeda features by heart now, but never got to play one. Maybe I don't "need" one, but I "want" one for sure. You know, I bought the AN driven by pure GAS... :) It was cheap, fun and like new. If I ever go bored with it, I'll sell it without losing sleep. For now, I'm having fun! This little toy has an OS that only Yamaha could dream of, for example they managed to place portamento rate, mode and switch in 3 different places and menus... :eek: Unbelievable. But it sounds nice - I'm proving myself by seeing how much "beef" I am able to extract from the thing! ;)

 

marino

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Originally posted by marino:

But it sounds nice - I'm proving myself by seeing how much "beef" I am able to extract from the thing! ;)

 

Yeah, the AN is a really nice sounding axe. Most folks I know feel the same way about it - great toy, weird OS...it needed that Knob Per Function thing, and it would've sold much better. It still has the most realistic ring mod of any VA that I've played...

 

Enjoy your new toy. Nice price...

 

dB

:snax:

 

:keys:==> David Bryce Music • Funky Young Monks <==:rawk:

 

 

Affiliations: Cloud Microphones • Music Player Network 

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Originally posted by jimbyjoe:

oh my friend, i dream of the day i can walk into a music store and purchase whatever i want!!!!

 

I hear you. I'm not rich, by any means! By most "western" common knowledge, I am almost poor. I am in desperate need of a new car. I currently own 12 synths and a piano, but I bought the vast majority of them used, and in the course of 23 years.

I'm not a struggling musician... What I'm trying to do is simply make a living as a musician, and at the same time not stopping to make the music that I love. The two things are often separate - plus, unfortunately for me, I'm a synth maniac, and that's where most of my money go..!

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I was thinking: GAS what am I not getting i should know this.

Then it hit me Gear

Acquisition

Syndrome

For my punishment I would go sit in the corner but corners enhance bass and I would like to much.

 

Michael

Q:What do you call a truck with nothing in the bed,nothing on the hitch, and room for more than three people in the cab? A:"A car"....
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Marino:

 

For that new toy.. there are some cool pc based software programs that add to the fun. An1xEdit is a really good patch editor, and there's a zany software called ANGenetix which semi-randomly interpolates between any two patches and yields a bank full of weird and demented children of the two parent patches. Links to both of these are in the files section of the An1x community at Yahoo:

 

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AN1x-list

 

As to making the AN1x beefy... I have loved your sound programming. I'd be happy to get any tips from you. I have been working on that issue for awhile. One of the things I do love about this toy is that it is flexible: the 24 db filter with some overdrive is more broad and Moogy, and the 18db filter does do thin and wet like a Roland. Oomph is the one thing I'd like to figure out on this synth. The free eg's haven't helped me as much as I had hoped in this area, though they have been great elsewhere.

 

I'd love Andromeda too.....but I am just not there financially yet. One day, I hope. ;)

 

Regards,

 

Jerry

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Originally posted by marino:

 

I'm a synth maniac, and that's where most of my money go..!

 

Oh yes. Another thing in common. Most people my age and in my income bracket own a house, or at least are paying for one. I live in an apartment surrounded by computers and keyboards. No yard to mow gives me more time to experiment with sound.

 

I am curious if you tried the Nord or Korg line of analog modeled synths? I have the Nord modular rack. The sound is a bit thin and harsh for someone who was raised on true analog so I pass it through a Line Pod6 or Korg Kaos. What I do like is the ability to create anything. Total control is nice, even if I am not a fan of the Nord sound.

 

I have considered picking up the Korg MS2000 or a Roland JP-8000. The Roland may be outdated but I notice that people that have them dont give them up. I tried the JP-8000 in a store a few years back and it was great for controlling tone on arpeggios. Never had a chance to try the Korg, or to compare the sound of those keyboards to my Nord. After I get something dedicated to playing arpeggios I will look for something that excels on thick, moving pads and is easy to program.

This post edited for speling.
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Originally posted by tenthplanet:

Speaking of Andromeda's..... Anything to the idea of having a baby Andromeda or will we never see that? Dave; hear anything?

 

I learned a long time ago that it's a frighteningly bad idea to talk about products that may or may not be in development.

 

I have seen way too many products axed before they were realeased - even some in the final stages of development that had already been announced at trade shows and had orders taken on them (can you say NanoTracker? :eek: ).

 

Consequently, my take on things tends to be when it's shipping, it's real. Otherwise, it should be left alone.

 

Vaporware sucks.

 

dB

:snax:

 

:keys:==> David Bryce Music • Funky Young Monks <==:rawk:

 

 

Affiliations: Cloud Microphones • Music Player Network 

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Originally posted by Rabid:

Oh yes. Another thing in common. Most people my age and in my income bracket own a house, or at least are paying for one. I live in an apartment surrounded by computers and keyboards. No yard to mow gives me more time to experiment with sound.

 

I admire a man who has his priorities straight!!!

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Originally posted by Tusker:

Marino:

 

For that new toy.. there are some cool pc based software programs that add to the fun. An1xEdit is a really good patch editor, and there's a zany software called ANGenetix which semi-randomly interpolates between any two patches and yields a bank full of weird and demented children of the two parent patches. Links to both of these are in the files section of the An1x community at Yahoo:

 

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AN1x-list

Thanks Tusker, I can use a few patches from the net and stuff, but frankly, the voice channell of the AN baby is simple, I don't think I'll have a problem coming up with "demented" sounds myself... :D

Seriously, I hope to get classic "analogisms" from it.

As to making the AN1x beefy... I have loved your sound programming.

Thank you... I just wonder where you heard it! The thing I did for the compilation sounds just awful, due in large part to the circumstances of the recording... Incidentally, that's why I didn't make any comment on the excellent double CD, I'm simply ashamed! (not of the piece, just the recording) And sadly, NOBODY cared to respond when I posted the link to my mp3s... :( Oh well, maybe I'll try again.

I'd be happy to get any tips from you. I have been working on that issue for awhile. One of the things I do love about this toy is that it is flexible: the 24 db filter with some overdrive is more broad and Moogy, and the 18db filter does do thin and wet like a Roland. Oomph is the one thing I'd like to figure out on this synth. The free eg's haven't helped me as much as I had hoped in this area, though they have been great elsewhere.

Well, I've had the thing for one day, but I agree about 24 db lowpass + overdrive + the right amount of detune and pitch/filter modulation = nice Moogy sounds. Also, it seems that playing with the Rev return parameter, then adjusting the reverb itself, can fatten the sound without giving a "real" reverberation to it. I have yet to explore the free EGs , ring mod, and FM. I hope to get to them this week, among 6000 other things, including a 13-minute score for a short commercial film and a new girlfriend... :)

I'd love Andromeda too.....but I am just not there financially yet. One day, I hope. ;)

Don't get me started on this, please...

 

[ 11-12-2001: Message edited by: marino ]

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Originally posted by Rabid:

 

Oh yes. Another thing in common. Most people my age and in my income bracket own a house, or at least are paying for one. I live in an apartment surrounded by computers and keyboards. No yard to mow gives me more time to experiment with sound.

He he... I guess we have definitely a similar history

I am curious if you tried the Nord or Korg line of analog modeled synths? I have the Nord modular rack. The sound is a bit thin and harsh for someone who was raised on true analog so I pass it through a Line Pod6 or Korg Kaos. What I do like is the ability to create anything. Total control is nice, even if I am not a fan of the Nord sound.

I think I have tried out the vast majority of VAs by now, and frankly, no one really appealed to me. I'm no snob - It's an instintive thing. Everybody raved about the Nord Lead, but it always sounded inefficent to me. When I read Keyboard Reports where they say that the MS2000, Z1, Nova, etc. have "stunning" or "amazing" sounds, I scratch my head and ask myself if maybe I'm living in another dimension. When I read the specs for the Nord Modular, I went "Wow!", then I heard it and it's the same "little" sound.

There are a few software VAs that made me take notice. First is VAZ Modular - depending of course on the converters, etc. But in general, I love its sound. It's on my priority list when I'll get a decent computer for music. (I'm on an old PC now)

Reaktor is good too, and an entire world of possibilities - But its 'analog' filters seem to have a tad less body than the VAZ's.

Among hardware VAs, the little Yamaha is pratically the only one which sound quality doesn't hurt my nervous system.

 

BTW I also find that a Pod is often of help to the VAs. In the past, I used to beef up the sound of digital synths by sending them thru something like a Mesa Boogie pre and a Marshall stack (one of the few advantages of working with guitarists :D ).

[/QB]

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Originally posted by marino:

Thank you... I just wonder where you heard it! The thing I did for the compilation sounds just awful, due in large part to the circumstances of the recording...

 

Carlo:

 

I thought Seven Corners rocked and have played it many times, with great enjoyment. I love the pitch detune on the lead horn, the woodwindy nasal feel of it, etc. For me, it evokes a number of 'eastern' jams I have listened to using Shawms and similar instruments.

 

I don't mean to embarass you with praise :) I've not visited you website since the update. I'll let you know when I do.

 

Sincerely,

 

Jerry

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Originally posted by marino:

Dave, what's a NanoTracker?

 

A product that was announced by Alesis at a NAMM show that never saw the light of day. Check it out .

 

As you may know, Alesis QS synths and the DM Pro have the ability to play sequences (playback only) off of a flash card. You burn the sequences on to the card from your computer - a single 8 meg card can hold 50 sequences, which is a ridiculous amount more than the average workstation's memory can hold. No load time, either - they play instantly, and you can load up a new set the moment you plug in another card. It's a great trick.

 

The nT was a 1/3 rack space module that was supposed to be able to do that, and to allow you to record as well. It was meant to have a bunch of onboard flash, and a card slot for additional memory. It was supposed to retail for $249.

 

The bottom line was that the company who were supposed to write the software couldn't make it work. The project was abandoned after it had been announced and a bunch of orders taken on it. Alesis had even had a bunch of the boxes built.

 

Here's an interesting related story...when Alesis went bankrupt, they blew everything out of the warehouse to anyone who wanted to come haul it away (really - some people I know got some serious deals!!!). Some guy came along and bought all of the nT boxes, thinking he had found a gold mine. Unfortunately for him, no one who was involved in the sale of the boxes knew that they had no software in them...so, this poor guy announced on rmms that he was selling Nanotrackers on Ebay. I kinda popped his bubble when I replied on rmms that what he was selling were basically doorstops.

 

Oh well...

 

Anyway, I hope that answers your question...

 

dB

:snax:

 

:keys:==> David Bryce Music • Funky Young Monks <==:rawk:

 

 

Affiliations: Cloud Microphones • Music Player Network 

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Originally posted by Dave Bryce:

[QB]

 

A product that was announced by Alesis at a NAMM show that never saw the light of day. Check it out .

 

The bottom line was that the company who were supposed to write the software couldn't make it work. The project was abandoned after it had been announced and a bunch of orders taken on it. Alesis had even had a bunch of the boxes built.

 

And i thought only Gibson worked like that.

 

:confused:

Q:What do you call a truck with nothing in the bed,nothing on the hitch, and room for more than three people in the cab? A:"A car"....
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Thanks, Dave - the NT seems a nice little tool for live playing, it would have been useful to a lot of people I'm sure. Sounds crazy to me that Alesis obviously created the software to make the sequence-playing work on the QS, and wasn't able to implement a very similar function in this box.

 

BTW the more I think about it, the more I find sad that Alesis went belly up right after designing the Andromeda... let's hope for the best!

 

Carlo

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Marino, funny you should mention the POD in the context of warming VAs. I was tinkering with the Wurli sound on my new Z1. I generally like the tone of it. Whether it's an accurate wurli is more or less irrelevant to me. I wanted to get a bit more grit and bite on but found the distortion on the Z1 unsatisfactory (in fact, I've never heard a synth with a distortion that I've liked). I also tried more drastic filter settings to respond to velocity, tried layeringin a more distorted second EP patch, all to no avail So I ran it through the POD. Dialed up the black panel model with a tiny touch of reverb, low on the drive setting. Phew! The Z1 suddenly seemed like a new keyboard to me.

 

PoD + synth = good. I'm more finicky when it comes to guitar sounds, and my opinion of the POD is mixed there (eminently useful for recording, but lacking the "blossoming" of a real amp--it's not in there) but, manoman, what a dynamite tool for keyboard sounds.

 

John

Check out the Sweet Clementines CD at bandcamp
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One thing to remember with the Pod, and some other devices, it adds just a bit of delay in the signal process. When playing live it becomes a bit intuative and you can adjust. If you add it to a sequence you may need to bump the timing on that channel just a bit to compensate.
This post edited for speling.
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Originally posted by Rabid:

One thing to remember with the Pod, and some other devices, it adds just a bit of delay in the signal process. When playing live it becomes a bit intuative and you can adjust. If you add it to a sequence you may need to bump the timing on that channel just a bit to compensate.

 

 

Interesting. I've never noticed latency issues with the POD. I have noticed a different problem: a levelling of dynamics, particular regarding pick attack. On keys, this is not so much a problem as it can be on guitar.

Check out the Sweet Clementines CD at bandcamp
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Originally posted by Magpel:

POD + synth = good.

 

Fully, completely agreed.

 

My MiniMoog is always running through the POD...I use three channels for it - the hi out of the Mini in mono panned straight up, and the lo out of the Mini into the POD, with the POD's stereo outs panned hard left and right.

 

Big woof.

 

dB

:snax:

 

:keys:==> David Bryce Music • Funky Young Monks <==:rawk:

 

 

Affiliations: Cloud Microphones • Music Player Network 

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Dave, Andy heads et. al., there's a couple of recent really, really glowing Andromeda reviews from users here. As you know, I'm a neophyte synth programmer, but how can an appetite be any more whet than this one?

 

Andromeda reviews

 

It's so cool to be on a BB with members of the andy brain trust. Now if the new alesis can get the act together.

Check out the Sweet Clementines CD at bandcamp
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Originally posted by Magpel:

PoD + synth = good. I'm more finicky when it comes to guitar sounds, and my opinion of the POD is mixed there (eminently useful for recording, but lacking the "blossoming" of a real amp--it's not in there) but, manoman, what a dynamite tool for keyboard sounds.

 

John

 

God, I thought I was the only one to think that the Pod sounds better on keyboards than it does on guitars, and now I discover that a good number of Cornerers use it the same way.

I don't own one (still undecided if buying something with real tubes instead), but two studios where I work frequently have it, and it's good on a vast portion of keyboard sounds.

Like Dave, I often prefer to split the signal: Usually, I put the Pod in a subgroup insert, assign the channel(s) of the synth to both the master mix AND the group, and mix the groups faders to taste. Or, I simply patch the stereo output of the Pod to two regular channels. This setting also minimizes latency problems. Hope all this makes sense...

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Originally posted by Dave Bryce:

 

I learned a long time ago that it's a frighteningly bad idea to talk about products that may or may not be in development.

 

I have seen way too many products axed before they were realeased

 

Consequently, my take on things tends to be when it's shipping, it's real. Otherwise, it should be left alone.

 

Vaporware sucks.

 

. . . EARLIER THAT SAME DAY . . .

 

They swear that they're gonna make more. There's a dedicated Andromeda team in the remains of Alesis. They've been working on it for a while now. They say January.

 

dB

 

Don't I sense a contradiction here?

 

What is this team working on --> 'real'easing the 'real' Andromeda? 'real'vising it? 'Real'tooling it?

 

My suspicions were aroused when the price was reannounced several months ago, BEFORE any 'real' Andromedas were 'real'eased!

 

Vaporware sucks . . .

 

and for shame, for shame --> raising our hopes like that!

 

I know, I know --> you really WANT it to happen, but don't let that stretch your credulity!

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Don't I sense a contradiction here?

 

No. Where do you see a contradiction?

 

What is this team working on --& 'real'easing the 'real' Andromeda? 'real'vising it? 'Real'tooling it?

 

Well, simply put - Alesis went bankrupt. A new company came along and bought what was left of Alesis. That new company needed to figure out how to make and build Andy, which is a very complex piece of equipment. That took quite a bit of work. That is what I have been told the team has been working on.

 

and for shame, for shame -- raising our hopes like that!

 

I'm not trying to raise anyone's hopes about anything. I'm not implying anything, and I'm not hinting at anything. I am not clear on what you mean by this...

 

I know, I know -- you really WANT it to happen, but don't let that stretch your credulity!

 

Once again - what are you talking about? What do I want to happen? That they build more Andromedas? If so, how is that stretching my credulity?

 

dB

:snax:

 

:keys:==> David Bryce Music • Funky Young Monks <==:rawk:

 

 

Affiliations: Cloud Microphones • Music Player Network 

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