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polyphony. am I missing something?


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okay , so ,after searching, i foun dout that polyphony is the number of keys that will play when pressed down at the exact same time.

 

So, i figured that 32 voices means that if you stack patches on each other, well, suppose 4 than each patch gets 8 voices(32 divided by 8), right?

I also discovered that a boards engine power is the factor in allowing more voices, the better the engine, the more voices.

OKay, so the Alesis Ion says that instead of using its powerful engine for more voices , they concentrated the power on single oscs for richer sounds.

 

My question is if polyphony is what I explained, why don't all boards concentrate the power on osculators instead of voice polyphony?

 

because, a lot of times these boards are used for recording, so instead of stacking patches where you'd need 32 voices, why not just record each patch seperatly , then mix down??? :(

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My question is if polophny is what I explained, why don't all boards concentrate the power on osculators instead of voice polophony?

1) Because some people want to "sequence" arrangements (ie bass,strings,lead etc) for example) via the MIDI data (as opposed to the keyboard's audio) and play it back from the sequencer tweaking the sounds further without having to re-record the performance part. Thats the big advantage to MIDI. You can edit/correct wrong notes/timing/ dynamics etc. without having to actually play anythiung again. When you record the audio of each part seperately you can do some audio editing such as cut and paste different parts together or compress/expand the timing but it's more "committed" at that point compared to the MIDI.

 

2) Stacking sounds and playing them live requires more polyphony as you said. Some people (actually a lot) want to "play" those sounds and not just record them individually. Glissandos various sustain/pedaling techniques take up a lot of polyphony. Some people actually perform using a combination of sequenced tracks and live playing. This can and is also done with recorded audio/playinglive. But again changing tempo o the pre-recorded tracks is easier with MIDI thus requiring the keyboard to handle more simultaneous notes. You can obviously use multiple keyboards to solve the polyphony problem. Most keyboardist though dread having alot of keyboards. :D

 

There has been a recent trend back to the lower polyphony due to the type of technology being used. The Andromeda went to 16 voices of true analog where many digital type keyboards were approching 128 or more voices. The VA's are less then the typical Rompler/Sampler type due to the required processing power needed. The Ion take this concept a step further (or back depending on your perspective) to redirect its use of processing power. This is an engineering as well as cost tradeoff. I believe this significantly helped bring the ION to its unbelievable price. Of course I can't say the same for the 1 voice Voyager - expensive but Soooooo good(IMO).

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I, as a classical-trained pianist, would not be able to play some of my music with only 32-voice polyphony! When you hold the sustain pedal down for half-a-dozen 8-note chords, you would be cutting off the first notes you played - sounds like S%#^. Forget about layering!

 

Thank goodness my RD-700 has 128-voice polyphony. Admittedly, this is a "digital stage piano" so you need high polyphony and I do realise that some people would prefer better sounds over lower polyphony, but dis one suits me fine :-D

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I agree with galiways. I don't understand this obsession with polyphony. I've seen posts by people reviewing synths and this appears to be the most important thing to them. It's way down the list for me.

 

Back in the olden days, the 1970s, my first polyphonic synth was a Yamaha CS50. Besides not sounding that great, I found the four note polyphony to be limiting. But moving to the Prophet 5, I was completely happy. I rationaized that the vast majority of what I needed from a poly synth could be done with five notes (either one note left hand/four right or two notes left/three right). Additional polyphony would have been nice, but not something I would have paid a lot of money to get.

 

I quess I use MIDI differently than most others. I use it as a scratch pad but I NEVER have a complete MIDI arrangement put together nice and neat. I've been burned by MIDI in the past where I either changed out a synth (and the arrangement fell apart) or something just didn't sound right when I came back to it later. I usual commit my ideas to audio very early on. I've been freezing my MIDI tracks long before it was fashionable.

 

Yes, pianos need a hunk of polyphony and I hate it when sounds cut off (Roland in particular), but aside from that I'll take quality over polyphony any day. My favorite hardware synths that I own are the Omega8, VL1 and Voyager (8, 2 and 1 note polyphony respectively).

 

Busch.

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Remember though, that affordable studio quality digital recording is a relatively new phenomenon. Sequencing was, as little as 6 years ago, the only way to get the highest quality sounds at mixdown for the vast majority of people, so polyphony was a big issue even for recording. I actually still like to sequence most parts, committing them to audio at the last possible moment (when I need plug ins, etc.).

 

But even apart from piano, if you use a sound with 4 layers and employ a lot of sustain pedal, that 128 notes of polyphony gets sucked away in a measure or two.

 

I agree that the emphasis for most VA's should not be on polyphony, but doing two or three passes for some sustaining chord cluster is also a drag, and often it does not result in the desired effect.

"For instance" is not proof.

 

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I saw a review of RedSound's Darkstar which knocked it for being only 8-voice polyphonic. Considering that it's a unique-sounding VA for less than $150, this is a silly point!

 

I've found 8 voices are entirely sufficient for a VA from a live performance standpoint.

I used to think I was Libertarian. Until I saw their platform; now I know I'm no more Libertarian than I am RepubliCrat or neoCON or Liberal or Socialist.

 

This ain't no track meet; this is football.

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8 voices is great , 10 is perfect.

Anyhow,

I though that the polophony ment the amout of keys pressed down at the exact time, not in total. for example, take a 4 voice Korg MS2000.

I thought that since it's only 4 voices, I could still play a 10 key chord, as long as I don't press more than 4 key sat the same time( like to play the 10 key chord, continue pressing key safter eachother and blending it all together)

However, After testing the MS2000 just before, I discovered that 4 voices means 4 notes , period.

 

I played 4 really deep octave notes, and to see teh test, i hit high pitched keys, and the deep notes just dissapeared and didn't blend in.

4 voices sucks , but the MS2000 can get away with it, IMO. :idea:

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I'm a littel bit confused.

 

Can someone who knows well, please explain to me polophny ?

 

Can you also explain if low polophny (like MS2000) dosen't nessisairly mean that the engien and sounds aren't so high tech?

 

Thank you so much.

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Polyphony is simply the # of voices a synth has. Your JP8000 has 8 of 'em - if you hold down 9 keys only 8 will sound.

 

Some synths let you stack voices. The JP does this in 'dual' mode, where one keypress will trigger two voices. The polyphony is still eight, but the *apparent* polyphony becomes four in dual mode. Other synths let you stack a whole slew of voices, to the point that a sixty-four voice synth could have an effective polyphony of four or two, or even a single available voice!

 

Low polyphony has no bearing whatsoever on the quality of the available sounds. The great synths of yesteryear were monophonic, and sounded awesome.

I used to think I was Libertarian. Until I saw their platform; now I know I'm no more Libertarian than I am RepubliCrat or neoCON or Liberal or Socialist.

 

This ain't no track meet; this is football.

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Polyphony is a great way to be confused by a spec.

 

Each company describes their products differently and what you read is not always what you get.

 

I am in this business and I have a VERY Difficult time boiling down the fact from fiction on spec sheets. Some companies list conservative numbers (rarely) and other list a Theoretical number that is almost never achieved.

 

I wish we as "Musical Instrument" manufacturers would go back to describing our products in more "musical" terms instead of a laundry list of computer mumbo-jumbo

Take Care,

 

George Hamilton

Yamaha US

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Originally posted by coyote:

Low polyphony has no bearing whatsoever on the quality of the available sounds. The great synths of yesteryear were monophonic, and sounded awesome.

The same can be said of the human voice, and most of the instruments of the orchestra/big band.

 

dB

:snax:

 

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

 

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Even on VA's I like to have a minimum of 6 voices because I tend to play 4/2 pads. (4 notes right hand with 2 notes left hand) Layered pads also sound great on VA's so a layered patch needs 12 voice polyphony. For that reason a 16 voice multi-tembre VA is perfect. 12 for pads and 4 left over for bass, lead and arps. I really like the Novation KS and Access Virus polyphony and 4 channel operation. The Virus keeps adding more polyphony with updates. I would prefer improved sound and features instead.

 

For a workstation I consider polyphony to have totally different rules. While quality is prime on a VA, workstations really need a lot of polyphony. The idea behind a workstation is to create an entire song, or at least to put one together.

 

Robert

This post edited for speling.

My Sweetwater Gear Exchange Page

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