Roland AX-7 Keytar and MIDI

Discussion in 'MIDI' started by JordanPoopess, Oct 24, 2016.

  1. JordanPoopess

    JordanPoopess

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    Hello guys, i'm new to the forum and wanted to ask you a question,
    I have a Roland AX-7, midi controller and I use with with FL Studio plugins, on live perfomances.
    I tried to dowload external plugins to get different patches, sound ecc but i always have problems with assigning functions, changing patches during a song (like a note stuck with infinite sustain for no reason) and stuff like this, i'm not really happy with FL studio and the plugins i have tried.
    Do you know the existence of a good software/softsynth i can use? I know about ableton, but never tried it, is it what i need? My needs are just to get a good sound quality, nothing complicated, i only use organs, leads, brass, strings and sometimes synths, the ideal setup for me would be just being able to change patch with only a button of my controller and using without bugs the pitch wheel, assigning a function to my D-Beam and tremolo intensity without any sort of problem, no arranger no sequencer , i only need to being able to select a sound, use it live, with my wheel, tremolo and d beam, stop. I saw people doing this but i'm new to MIDI, i only want to play my midi controller like a normal keyboard. Do you have a midi controller/ use a workstation/keyboard like a midi controller live? If yes, what's your setup? Should i just buy a Rack if i don't want to study DAWs and VSTs?
    Thanks in advance, and forgive my bad english.
     
    JordanPoopess, Oct 24, 2016
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  2. JordanPoopess

    happyrat1 Destroyer of Eardrums!!!

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    The problem is MIDI latency with computers. It just sucks in general. In fact IMHO all soft synths suck.

    What I'd suggest is picking up a MIDI synth rack module instead.

    It could be something as simple as a Ketron SD2 or something like a full blown used Korg Triton Rack or used Yamaha Motif Rack Module.

    Hook up one of those to your controller and when you tell it to "Jump!" it goes "How High?" :D

    Gary ;)
     
    happyrat1, Oct 25, 2016
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  3. JordanPoopess

    JordanPoopess

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    With FL Studio i fixed the latency problem with ASIO4ALL drivers, the problem about racks i could buy a second hand workstation for the cost of a good rack x)) but yeah i'm pretty in love with Korg Triton Rack, i should buy it but my problem is money x) i tried a Yamaha TX16W emulator plugin but the sounds aren't that good, In your opinion is really the best option to save up some cash and buy a rack? Because that would solve a lot of problems, but maybe there is a software for my purpose
     
    JordanPoopess, Oct 25, 2016
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  4. JordanPoopess

    JordanPoopess

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    After a quick googling, the prices for triton racks are higher than korg workstations, like korg tr le and korg pro, don't they use the same sound module? Sorry if i sound stupid but i'm confused, i just want to play with my band :(
     
    JordanPoopess, Oct 25, 2016
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  5. JordanPoopess

    happyrat1 Destroyer of Eardrums!!!

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    Take a look at your local craigslist. Bargains can pop up at any time and the only way to grab one is to have the cash in hand at the time.

    IMHO a rack is really the only way to go.

    I seriously think soft synths cause more problems than they're worth.

    Gary ;)
     
    happyrat1, Oct 25, 2016
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  6. JordanPoopess

    happyrat1 Destroyer of Eardrums!!!

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    The original Triton rack was a total beast with like 16 banks of 128 sounds, optional sampling capability, etc.

    The Triton LE was the "light" edition. Only 512 sounds and a few hundred combis.

    Gary ;)
     
    happyrat1, Oct 25, 2016
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  7. JordanPoopess

    John Garside

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    Just a quick reply (as something of a MIDI specialist).
    Usually, with a reasonable quality interface, the MIDI latency is close to non-existant. In the order of a millisecond (one thousandth of a second) or two, i.e. inaudible.
    MIDI is such a small data stream that it takes little to process it. (Just a three byte message at roughly 32,000 bits per second for a "Note On" message.
    Sorry to disagree with you, Gary.
    There are other problems with USB audio/MIDI interfaces, such as jitter, but I won't go into that here, and it's due to encapsulation of the MIDI message into a USB data packet.

    The problem is the latency of the audio output that results from the MIDI input to the computer. We're talking then about a much larger amount of data to be streamed out.
    The standard Windows audio interface drivers are not designed for rapid response. They're designed for playback of e.g. mp3 files.
    If playback starts 10 or 20, even 50 or 100 milliseconds after you press play, it doesn't really matter.

    What DOES matter is when you play a key and the sound occurs with a noticeable delay.
    It happens because the computer has a tiny delay to create the stream of bits internally, and then can take a noticeable amount of time to get that stream of bits output to the hardware that turns it into an audio signal.
    Remember we're talking 44,100 x 16 bits per second (705,600 bps) for a mono output. Twice that for stereo.
    (each digital sound sample is 16 bits, and 44,100 samples are taken for every second of audio)

    The problem of audio latency (the gap between playing a note and the sound of the note being heard) can be overcome by the use of something known as ASIO drivers which can be set to provide very fast response. The sound card I use (E-MU) comes with ASIO driver software (or firmware if you prefer) which, properly tuned, can provide a latency down to about 4 milliseconds.
    It's usually reckoned that sub 10 milliseconds delay is inaudible to most people.
    (ASIO = Audio Stream Input/Output)

    So the key to playing back 'virtual' instruments is a high quality sound card with ASIO audio drivers.
    They can usually be 'tweaked' setting buffer size and number of buffers to provide very low audio latency.
    The settings are individual computer dependant. (Processor speed, audio interface, etc.)

    Any help?
    John.
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2016
    John Garside, Oct 26, 2016
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  8. JordanPoopess

    Alchemy

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    good reference
     
    Alchemy, Oct 26, 2016
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  9. JordanPoopess

    John Garside

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    Thanks for the 'likes this' Fred and Alchemy,

    Just to add a few brief words as an afterthought.
    What I wrote was mainly for the sake of clarity.

    Of course there are timing issues depending upon how the keyboard is connected to the computer.
    i.e. MIDI out from the keyboard to MIDI in on an internal (PCI) card, directly via USB link or via a MIDI to USB converter, etc.
    Generally speaking the faster interfaces are the first described the slower ones the latter.

    Latency is a measure of how much time it takes for something to happen.
    e.g it's always a millisecond too late.

    One of the factors that primarily affects USB interfaces is one of jitter.
    Jitter is variation in timing.
    e.g sometimes it's a millisecond late, mostly it's two milliseconds late, occasionally it's three milliseconds late.

    Similarly, the method of connection of the audio interface will also have a bearing on achievable latency timings.

    On another front, all I dealt with was a simple Note On message.
    There are further MIDI issues to be taken into consideration with regard to using pitch bend and modulation wheels, as well as keyboard after touch and the expression pedal.
    If you're using several of these controls at once then the MIDI interface can become flooded with data.
    In these cases it's not clear what kind of response you might get from the receiving instrument, whether hardware or virtual.
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2016
    John Garside, Oct 26, 2016
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  10. JordanPoopess

    happyrat1 Destroyer of Eardrums!!!

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    John >>> No offense taken. There are two camps on the soft synth issue in general and we appear to be on opposite sides on the matter.

    To me, the fact is that unless you are using a dedicated machine, preferably an apple, soft synths are simply not reliable enough for onstage use.

    A BSOD in the middle of a love ballad can ruin your entire day. :)

    While it is feasibly and technically possible to configure a PC as a reliable soft synth, the reality is that people install hundreds of miscellaneous programs on their machines, each affecting reliability and stability and interacting in ways no human mind could predict.

    More often than not, when you attach a hardware synth module to a controller it will function reliably and predictably regardless of what your sister in law emailed you from the funny cat site this week. :D

    Hardware synths are simplified computers with closed, dedicated operating systems which have normally been tested and released with very few bugs and bulletproof stability.

    IMHO, soft synths are simply more costly and more trouble than they are worth in the long run.

    Besides? What's the resale value on a DVD ROM holding Pianoteq? :D :D :D

    Gary ;)
     
    happyrat1, Oct 26, 2016
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  11. JordanPoopess

    John Garside

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    Aha!
    But you're quite right Gary.
    If (big IF) one loads up a computer with a lot of applications, together with an active Internet link and expects it to double as a sound source for gigging, one is asking for trouble.
    It has to be empty, apart from samples and sample player (or soft synth, whatever) with LAN and WiFi connections deactivated.
    After all, as you say, a sound module is a dedicated computer in actuality. A processor, ROM, some RAM and so on. (no other apps)
    I've run a Lenovo laptop (an X61 with XP, bought used) and used that with an E-MU 02 PCMCIA card with an E-MU 1616m breakout box.
    So far so good.

    BUT, that's got nothing to do with latency whether MIDI or audio ... or has it?
    AND, there are many freebie soft synths out there, quite good ones too. Check out KVR.
     
    John Garside, Oct 26, 2016
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  12. JordanPoopess

    happyrat1 Destroyer of Eardrums!!!

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    I simply mentioned latency because it is usually the FIRST and most prevalent problem with PC MIDI setups.

    I ALSO mentioned SEVERAL times that I had more than one objection to using soft synths on principle.

    Please stop trying to make this thread confrontational.

    We BOTH had valid points to make and the original poster can make up his own mind based on the facts without the bias of personal preferences.

    Please let's us both agree to disagree and stop beating this dead horse into a bloody pulp.

    Gary ;)
     
    happyrat1, Oct 26, 2016
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  13. JordanPoopess

    happyrat1 Destroyer of Eardrums!!!

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    BTW. Just FYI, I happen to be running an all Linux Studio and have been for the past 20 years.

    I also used to troubleshoot and repair PCs (Windozers) for a living.

    I've played around with my share of soft synths on both platforms, but in general, they're buggy, prone to crashes and suck in general and THEY HAVE ZERO RESALE VALUE.

    Thanks for trying to educate me but you're preaching to the choir.

    Gary ;)
     
    happyrat1, Oct 26, 2016
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  14. JordanPoopess

    John Garside

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    Good grief!
    You have a remarkably short fuse don't you?
    Not for one moment was I trying to be confrontational, simply a throw away remark.
    I fail to see where I was trying to beat a dead horse into a bloody pulp.
    If you care to observe you'll see that I use both hardware and software solutions.

    If you want to compare backgrounds,
    I started my career working on radio/radar of VC10s and BAC1-11s.
    I spent several years writing code in assembler and COBOL for major utilities and then a large UK based mainframe manufacturer. (60's and 70's)
    I was a tester of early motherboards for the same manufacturer.
    I built systems from DOS through OS/2 and Windows.
    I wrote data communications code for mainframe operating systems.
    I was a member of the British Standards panel for the introduction of ISDN into the UK. (the old kite mark)
    I spent five years as a contractor to a major telecommunications organisation teaching LANs, structured cabling, ISDN, DSL and other technology.
    I was on the launch team of British Telecomm's introduction of ADSL to the ISPs teaching them how the technology worked.
    I ended up, before retirement, writing and delivering courses about data communications via satellite all around the world from America to Russia, Johannesburg to Sydney, including the Middle East, Africa, Japan ... The courses included hands on training how to use a satellite terminal.
    Look it up, Inmarsat GAN and BGAN.

    Didn't you exhibit personal preferences by steering him away from computers?
    Wasn't it your mistake about MIDI latency? And I did apologise.

    But you're quite right, I won't bother adding any more to the thread.
    Certainly not if you're going to lose your cool over such a trivial matter.
    Dear Oh dear Oh dear.
     
    John Garside, Oct 26, 2016
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  15. JordanPoopess

    Fred Coulter Collector of ancient keyboards

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    There are times when there is no hardware equivalent to a soft synth. An example -- and I'm using a very broad definition of soft synth -- is Hauptwerk. Yes, it only emulates organs. It doesn't do anything else.

    But there is nothing out there in hardware that comes close. If you want a pipe organ, and you don't have the money to buy a church to store it in, then Hauptwerk is probably your only option.

    But that's an exception, not a proof of concept.
     
    Fred Coulter, Oct 26, 2016
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  16. JordanPoopess

    happyrat1 Destroyer of Eardrums!!!

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    The point is the original poster has a choice. Either format his hard drive and reinstall only music applications from scratch and fiddle with buggy software and drivers assuming his CPU and HDD are fast enough to do the job or blow $400 on a used Triton or Motif Rack and enjoy simple plug n play.

    I know which choice I'd make.

    Gary ;)
     
    happyrat1, Oct 26, 2016
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  17. JordanPoopess

    John Garside

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    Absolutely Fred.

    Or, like me, when you're trying to get moderately realistic orchestral interpretations, the only solution is an orchestral library like the Garritan Personal Orchestra with its 13 Gigabytes of samples (at the most cost effective level) or Vienna Symphonic Library at its most expensive.
    I've tried many hardware units and none of them comes close to the realism that can be offered by a virtual equivalent, primarily due to samples being taken for every note of each instrument at many different dynamic levels.
     
    John Garside, Oct 27, 2016
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  18. JordanPoopess

    John Garside

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    Or Gary,

    To buy a used, refurbished laptop at maybe 150 pounds and load the library/libraries of his or her choice onto the system.
    Install a reasonable quality sound card with ASIO drivers (I bought my second E-MU card off ebay too).
    Disable all the unused elements, and then he/she has a dedicated high quality sound source for gigging.
    Clearly one needs to buy a good, reliable laptop. My experience has been good, so far, with used Lenovo's.

    Gary, I'm not advocating this as the only solution, nor was I ever, I use both myself depending upon the situation, but it is a reasonable cost alternative to a hardware sound module.
    And, again in my experience, can be quite reliable enough for gigging.
    If you think I'm 'having a go' at you, you are mistaken. I really don't do that. At the age of seventy I've had enough of that sort of crap. Really!
    If you doubt it, please visit my little MIDI forum at "midi-tutor.proboards.com". I hope that will show you otherwise. Oh! And no, I haven't come here to try to recruit.

    I make the choice each time. Sometimes it's the 8850. With some careful editing of sounds it goes a long way to being a pretend organ.
    Sometimes it's an MU1000 with the DX, VL and AN PLG cards in it (loads of great synth sounds), on other occasions it's the laptop with orchestral libraries loaded.
    Sometimes it's just the ancient AN1x.
    Horses for courses.

    I'm not saying your choice is wrong, Gary, it's certainly ultra reliable, but I have found by direct experience that both options are viable.
    All I'm trying to do is offer an alternative point of view, not attempting to trash you, and correct a few misunderstandings about latency.

    These views concerning MIDI latency are commonly held, and it kinda makes sense that if the response to a keystroke is slow one might intuitively surmise that it's the MIDI link that's the problem.
    (Actually, with poor quality MIDI to USB adapters, the kind one buys from ebay for a few quid, it often is a problem, but not with the MIDI, but with the appalling design of the hardware and the firmware within it. But that's quite another story.)

    Peace!
    John.

    P.S. You don't have to join my forum to have a look at the basics, that stuff is all free to view.
    Just scroll down to MIDI basics and General MIDI tutorials for the freebies. It's enough for most people!
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2016
    John Garside, Oct 27, 2016
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  19. JordanPoopess

    Becky Administrator

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    You're welcome to have disagreements, but please don't make it personal.
     
    Becky, Oct 27, 2016
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  20. JordanPoopess

    JordanPoopess

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    I think guys you're both right, latency isn't a problem (i have a 10 dollars MIDI-USB cable, ASIO drivers on windows and no problem at all) and a rack is a easy fast option and it doesn't cost that much too.
    My question was a bit different, but anyway i didn't point out that i have not enough money to buy a rack or a softsynth, and all the vst/daws/plugins ecc i download are for free or "for free" (wink wink).
    So i just wanted to know the easiest way to play my keytar live, after some researching and asking on the internet, my best guess would be ableton live with a rack emulator (Sonic Charge Yamaha TX16W), so guys you're really both right.
     
    JordanPoopess, Nov 4, 2016
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